SAIT alumnus retools for the health care crisis
What happens when you make things for a living and business dries up? When there’s a worldwide pandemic – it’s time to get busy. That’s Levi Kuta’s attitude.
Levi is a Mechanical Engineering Technology graduate from 2012. He’s also the 2016 Outstanding Young Alumnus who has cutting edge knowledge of manufacturing and design, including the latest 3D printing and polymer technology (he’s been named in two patents and earned an Innovate Calgary TechRev award).
“There has been a big impact from the crash in oil prices. In our manufacturing plant, production of a significant portion of the products and services we offer have stopped but we’re adapting,” says Kuta, the general manager of Metal Alloy Fabrication Ltd. (MAF). His company provides steel fabrication services to a variety of industries including oil and gas, construction and automotive.
“We have put together a team that will investigate where our company can be of assistance to the health care industry. We are coordinating with my colleague, Lewis Stevens (MDT ’11) whose team is designing various items to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic. My company will provide the manufacturing services."
Meanwhile Kuta and his crew are also changing their workstyle to meet the current COVID-19 disruption.
“I lead a team of approximately 30 people. We have very stringent cleaning and sanitization practices to keep our workplace safe. ‘Air fives’ are becoming the new norm. It’s a small gesture – while we’re abiding by social distancing – to maintain positivity.
“We must physically distance ourselves to combat the virus. It doesn’t mean we should lose our sense of humanity. Simple acts of politeness, a simple ‘hi’ or ‘thank you’ help us to maintain our community spirit.”
Meanwhile, the Kuta family is facing challenges at home.
“My wife and I are both considered essential service workers which is difficult to accommodate with daycares and schools being closed. My wife Heather is a public health nurse so naturally she is playing a significant role in the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently she was recruited to work for Health Link, the Alberta Health Services phone service where people call 811 to get information.
“Our jobs are important, but our family and the health and safety of our son is top priority. We have had to adjust our schedule and have been trying our best to not let the current stressful climate affect him.”
Kuta has good advice to pass along to everybody. “As important as it is for us to stay apart,” he says. We have to all stick together to make it through this. We’re all one big team, in our jobs, in our families. As a community and we have to work together from a distance.”
Find out more about SAIT’s everyday heroes – the front-line alumni, instructors, employees and students using their skills to make a difference.