Title: Field Service Technician at OPEX Corp., a manufacturer of goods-to-person automated storage and robotic sorting products.
Location: Toronto, serving Ontario and surrounding areas.
Duties: On-site service and support for clients with OPEX equipment.
Materials Handling Maintenance Repair and Operations (MHMRO): What are the most important skills for a successful technician?
Ouchakov: Be interested in learning new things and never be afraid to admit you don’t know something. That is crucial to success in almost any field, but this field is constantly evolving, and you need to be able to adapt quickly to stay competitive. Again, never be afraid to say “I don’t know.” It’s always better than making something up.
MHMRO: What do you like about this field?
Ouchakov: A few years after I went to college for electromechanical engineering, I found OPEX. I’ve been here for three years now. I like it because this job constantly keeps me on my toes. I feel like I learn something new every day. I’ll never get tired of that feeling of accomplishment after fixing an issue and watching the machine fire up and run smoothly.
MHMRO: Who were your mentors or other influential professionals?
Ouchakov: My parents, who kept buying me Legos so I would stop taking apart the VCRs and alarm clocks around the house. My dad has been a millwright for most of his life and has always encouraged my curiosity. Whenever the lawnmower broke down or the TV stopped working, I was constantly looking over his shoulder to see how he fixed it.
MHMRO: How do you keep up with new technologies?
Ouchakov: I read a lot. I love learning about emerging tech, everything from machine learning to the next shuttle to Mars. I’ve always been into science fiction books, and now it feels like the stuff we invent is straight out of those books.
MHMRO: What technologies have helped you become more effective?
Ouchakov: We have phones, tablets, and laptops to help us with troubleshooting quickly and successfully. We are a quick phone call away from our tech support line, and those people are a short walk away from the engineers that designed the stuff. The amount of tools and information available to us is staggering. Knowing how and when to use these tools is the key to quick and effective repairs, especially since we have to service some older products as well as the most recent technology.
MHMRO: What would you say to young people considering a career as a technician?
Ouchakov: If you love knowing how things work and figuring out why they aren’t working, go for it. You get to work with robotics, computers, mobile devices, cool automated machinery, electronics, and some very smart people. It can be a very challenging field but is also a very rewarding one.