Sebastian’s career has been varied. Hailing from Poland, he originally trained as an electrical engineer apprentice before army service called him away. He then spent around a decade in finance, sales and marketing before returning to his passion, that of being an engineer.
“The IET has everything that an active member requires to continue his own development. It's got the right tools in place, the right support. For someone who wishes to develop, you can achieve much more as an IET member.”
Since moving to the UK Sebastian has continued to develop himself both in the workplace and educationally, currently working towards Chartered Engineer status as well as embarking on a PhD/DPhil. Sebastian's current position is as a Technical Project Leader at Cummins Generator Technologies.
Sebastian’s relationship with engineering began at a young age: when he was 12 he started to build electronic circuits he’d seen in magazines and by the age of 16 he became the “family engineer”, always called on to fix the TV or radio. He knew it was his passion and so became an electrical engineering apprentice at a power station, working with power lines and transformers.
After a break for army service Sebastian made a big decision - to move into a new career, one that might not excite him as much but could provide better security. He therefore made the decision to work in sales and marketing whilst he completed his BSc Hons in Economics.
“When I finished my service there wasn’t many opportunities for engineers in Poland. It’s not easy to change professions, but I had to think about my future and providing for my future family, and at the time there were many more jobs available for people with finance or economics backgrounds,” he explains.
However the pull of engineering never abated and in 2002, after roughly a decade away, he returned to its embrace. He spent time building and designing control systems, working as a multi-skilled electrical biased CNC maintenance engineer and a lead systems engineer before moving to his current company Cummins Generator Technologies.
“When I made the decision to move to the UK I already knew I wanted to settle there and so I had to make a decision about the profession I wanted to progress in. I decided to go with my area of interest and came back to engineering, and have focused on my personal development both in education and the workplace,” he says.
Sebastian has been in his current role for just over a year and is responsible for leading global projects, mainly related to engineering information systems. He loves the variety that the job entails: no one day is ever the same.
“Every day there is something different to work on, so it’s always interesting,” he explains. “It’s a great job because you’ll never get bored, and I’m always working on several projects in parallel.
“I love the multinational environment - you’ll hold a meeting with people from all over the world, and I also love engaging with the newest technologies,” he continues. “I really enjoy seeing how my contribution has a positive influence on the project and engineering in general. It is great to see people happily using the new software tools or follow improved procedures, and that my contribution will stay with the company for a long time to come. It's a really brilliant feeling.”
Sebastian also likes a challenge.
“I really like challenging projects, something that needs real effort to complete,” he explains. “From my point of view the more complex problem I’m solving the better.”
Sebastian has also excelled in his education since moving to the UK. So far he has completed an HNC in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, an MSc in Computer Science by Research and plans to begin a PhD/DPhil in 2012.
He presented his paper entitled Reliability vs. Total Quality Cost - Part Selection Criteria Based on Field Data, Combined Optimal Customer and Business Solution at the 2011 IEEE International Conference at Quality and Reliability (ICQR) in Bangkok and was ecstatic to be given the Outstanding Paper Award at the event. He is now working on extending the paper for journal publication.
So what’s behind all these successes? Sebastian would say a great personal development plan (PDP) and a supportive employer. The company has helped him in many ways - not just by financially supporting his education, but also through mentoring, training and feedback. For example before presenting his paper at the conference, his manager called in colleagues with experience in this area to guide Sebastian and give him some useful presentation skills.
Focusing on his PDP, in 2009 Sebastian had planned to apply for Engineering Technician (EngTech) professional registration. In the end he applied for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) after discovering his experience and skills went far beyond EngTech level. Because he knew he wanted to progress as an engineer, straight away he began to focus his professional development towards gaining the skills he needs to apply for Chartered Engineer (CEng) and aims to apply in the next few months.
“Getting IEng was great, another step on my PDP, but now I’m ready to go for CEng,” he explains. “I’ve done a lot already to get to this next level. I’ve completed extra studies, done specific work, got to a higher level on the organisational ladder. It is hard work, it doesn’t just come on its own, but I’m achieving what I want to achieve,” he says.
Sebastian is keenly aware of what the IET can offer and feels it provides the perfect resources to any engineer keen on professional progression.
“Being a member of the IET gives access to a global knowledge network, opens up opportunities for awards and sponsorships plus gives you access to IET library resources and other members, which is equally as important,” he says.
“The IET has everything that an active member requires to continue his own development. Its got the right tools in place, the right support. For someone who wishes to develop, you can achieve much more as an IET member,” he concludes.