The half-million-dollar man
Prior to arriving at Concordia as a graduate student in mechanical engineering, Nimroj Maknojiya had already amassed a wealth of engineering experience in his native India, where he designed and developed industrial gearboxes. Even so, Maknojiya wanted more.
“One of the top reasons that I applied to Concordia was because of the Co-op program,” he says.
Maknojiya signed on for Industrial Experience, an alternative experiential learning option offered through the Institute for Co-operative Education to students in Engineering and Computer Science that requires them to complete only one work term during the summer.
Canada Steamship Lines (CSL), which operates 23 ships on the Saint Lawrence Seaway, hired Maknojiya to help with upgrades to their engine performance and analysis systems.
“I told the company that with my professional experience I would be able to update all the systems on my own, and wouldn’t need help from an external supplier,” he says, estimating that he was able to save CSL around $50,000 with that project alone.
As it turns out, those systems were just the beginning. CSL was also planning to replace the 12 gearboxes on each of their ships. Their timing couldn’t have been better: Maknojiya asked if he could lend a hand, since he already had related professional experience.
Maknojiya launched a thorough analysis of the marketplace. “I contacted about seven gearbox manufacturers and arranged 27 meetings in all. Ultimately I found a manufacturer called SEW Eurodrive, which is one of the best in the world.”
In August, CSL released a purchase order for the new gearboxes. Maknojiya calculates that the deal with SEW Eurodrive saved more than half a million dollars. “My responsibility was to select a particular size of gearbox that would not compromise performance, and would achieve better efficiency. I was able to find a better deal.”
CSL awarded Maknojiya a $7,000 Financial Sponsorship Award for Outstanding Achievement. It also offered him a full-time job. Currently he is working for the company part-time while finishing his studies.
“This was only possible because of Co-op,” he says. “Without it, there would be no success story.”