The Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists

OACETT members exemplify what Black History Month is all about

Every February, Canadians recognize Black History Month across Canada, embracing our nation's diversity, acknowledging the accomplishments of Black people, motivating cultural pride, and inspiring future generations of this diaspora.

We want to take this opportunity to celebrate Sefton Grell, C.E.T. and Jodi Dublin, OACETT members, who are examples of excellence in engineering technology and are positive role models for the future generations of technicians and technologists across Ontario.

2.pngSefton Grell, C.E.T.

Sefton Grell, C.E.T., is the Ash Grove Cement company's site manager at the Ogden Point Quarry in Colborne. When asked what Black History Month means to him, the 44-year-old originally from Dominica in the Caribbean, says, “It’s not about advertising yourself or anything like that.”

Grell continues, “For me, as a minority, Black History Month is about having people serve as an example to others. People have served as an example to me, and I hope to serve as an example to others, including my children.”

And serve as an example is exactly what Grell does. As the manager of 18 employees at the limestone quarry, Grell describes the site’s operations. He says, “We drill, blast, and haul the aggregate, which is then crushed into smaller denominations. That material used to make cement is then conveyed, stockpiled, and then loaded onto a vessel.

"The vessel takes approximately 18,000 to 20,000 tons per load and takes the eight-hour journey down Lake Ontario to Mississauga, offloads for 10 hours, come back in seven, loads for 10, and we do it all over. So, it comes back every 24 hours, depending on the weather."

Loving the challenge

And the weather is part of what Grell considers to be the most challenging and enjoyable part of the job. He says, “My forte is planning and logistics, and you need those skills for a job like this. The weather doesn’t always cooperate. Sometimes the vessel doesn’t come in. So, I have what I call my list: things for the employees to do, such as cleanup and other activities. You just can’t send them home.”

As large a responsibility as managing the quarry site is, Grell has actually had even greater responsibilities in his life. In Dominica, he was an air traffic controller and is glad he left that work behind. 

He says, Actually he knows someone who had to take time off due to a plane crashing on their shift. This caused the individual emotional and psychological stress. This unfortunate situation made me realize how stressful working as an air traffic controller can be. When I went to work and I would see a plane in the air, I would say a prayer and would pray to God everything would be okay.”

When Grell came to Canada in 2000, he studied civil engineering technology, municipal co-op at Seneca College. He then worked his way up in the field in various jobs, including as an assistant field/student surveyor for Toronto Hydro during the building of the Sheppard subway line, a quality control technician for Dufferin Aggregates/ Lawrence Cement and then served in various other roles within the company's aggregate division.

Asked why he received his C.E.T. designation in 2009, Grell says, “Jobs. It was that simple. Just about any good job in the field, including the company I was working for, required a C.E.T. to be considered. So, I worked to get it, and I believe it’s paid off very much. I’ve had good jobs and a rewarding career.”
3.pngJodi Dublin

Jodi Dublin is a strain/gauge instrumentation technician at Pratt & Whitney in Mississauga. Asked about the importance of Black History Month to him, he says, “Growing up in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, I was taught that hard work leads to successful outcomes. Living in Canada, I’ve seen the many contributions of people of colour in developing this great nation and it motivates me to keep pushing and working hard for my overall betterment.”

The 27-year-old came to Canada and started studying at Humber College in Toronto to be an electronics engineering technician in 2013, and then went on to electronics engineering technology, having graduated in 2017, and with honours for both Humber programs. Dublin currently serves as an associate member for OACETT and plans to obtain his C.E.T. designation.

Asked why the C.E.T. is a goal and why OACETT is important to him, he says, “For my current job, the C.E.T. is not generally required. However, I believe it provides a degree of professionalism so that it’s not just about having a job but having a certain skillset that is of value to the profession.”

Wanting to give back

Dublin continues, “And one of the reasons I like OACETT so much is because of the charity work and bursaries we provide. I know I benefited from bursaries during my development, and I really want to be part of the effort to provide such help to other young people as well.”

Dublin explains the kind of work he’s currently involved with at Pratt & Whitney, where’s he’s been working since graduation. He says, “I work on calibration of instruments, installation of instrumentation on the engines, as well as telemetry design and build, where a lot of the data analysis is used to work on the jet engines.”

Asked about what he most likes about his job, Dublin says, “I think anyone who goes into engineering has it in their personality to want to know how things work. So, I became interested in electronics, where I started learning about telemetry, which is wireless communication. It fascinated me, and I just wanted to learn more about it, and work in the field.”

Dublin adds, “And here in the Pratt & Whitney Plant 22 in Mississauga, we do a lot of telemetry work, which I really enjoy. And the work I specifically do is for R&D, not the production of engines.”

Asked generally about why he entered the field of electronics engineering technology, Dublin says, “It’s curiosity. When I was younger, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was looking for something I might be interested in, and I eventually realized it was electronics. And it’s been very good so far, and there’s still so much more to come.”

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