Making the grade: Machinist-technician wins outstanding staff award

Dave Waege has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to students.

Edmonton—The contributions of Department of Mechanical Engineering Machinist Technician Dave Waege have been recognized with a Support Staff Recognition Award.

“I’m quite honoured to be recognized for doing my job the very best I can. It’s nice to be recognized for the effort I put in,” said Waege, who has worked in the mechanical engineering machine shop since first coming to the University of Alberta in 2006.

The prestigious university-wide award acknowledges Waege’s enthusiastic approach to his job, his exceptional service, his contributions to a positive work culture, and how he continuously brings the best of himself to work.

“I try to be positive about everything, to go in with a good attitude, to be open, and to do my best every day,” said Waege, adding he loves his job. “I quite enjoy being at the U of A. I’m a very hands-on person, so this is the ideal job for me.”

“I really like working with students,” said Waege, who explained that the bulk of his position involves helping students involved in lab work for courses, research, and extracurricular activities. “I really like teaching and spreading what I know to others, and I really like helping people.”

According to Waege, it is essential for students to experience time in the machine shop, where they can develop hands-on, practical engineering skills. “They get their hands dirty a little bit, and we sit down and work with them. It’s very hands-on,” he said, adding the most rewarding aspect of his work is when a student “sees the light” when he is helping him or her and is able to understand a new concept or can figure out a solution to an engineering problem.

One of the extracurricular student activities Waege devotes time to is the FSAE group, in which students design, build, and test a formula style autocross race car to present and race in an international competition. “I try to support the FSAE team as best I can.”

Waege has attended every international completion for the past six years. He goes to share his experience and wisdom gleaned from past events, as well as support the team in whatever ways he can. To his delight, every year since he first started attending the competitions, the team has improved their standings.

Most recently, at the 2011 competition, held in California, the U of A’s FSAE team achieved an impressive seventh overall ranking, as well as placed first in the presentation event and the competition’s costing category. “It’s a lot of fun,” Waege said, with the characteristic enthusiasm he brings to all aspects of his work at the U of A.