Spartan Controls pushes SAIT programming forward faster

SAIT Instrumentation Engineering Technology student
SAIT Instrumentation Engineering Technology Student Amanuel Tadesse 

For Instrumentation Engineering Technology student Amanuel Tadesse, the path to SAIT has been shaped by a search for understanding and disruption in industrial technology.

And if it all sounds a bit unconventional, that’s because it is.

The 25-year-old, originally from Brooks, Alta., made the decision after seeing firsthand how challenging a cyber-attack on critical infrastructure can be. While Tadesse was still living in Brooks, a major local employer – an industrial meat packing plant – experienced a cyberattack, leaving much of the town’s workforce temporarily paralyzed.

“In my attempt to find answers, I discovered the world of industrial instrumentation and its growing connection with information technology," he says. "What fascinated me the most was the digital transformation underway in so many industries, which brings with it great opportunities for innovation and also challenges to overcome. I applied to the instrumentation engineering technology program shortly after."

Tadesse was a featured speaker at a recent SAIT event where a renewed 10-year partnership, along with a $1.58 million gift, was announced from Spartan Controls. The investment will support accelerating instrumentation and automation programming within SAIT’s MacPhail School of Energy, and enhance innovative collaboration with the School for Advanced Digital Technology (SADT).

Tomorrow’s industrial automation today

attendees observe instrumentation demonstration
Attendees observe a demonstration of instrumentation technology at SAIT

For SAIT, the support from Spartan Controls will make a major difference in the ability to continuously evolve its offerings and keep pace with new and emerging technologies, including ongoing advancements in the interconnectivity of industrial network infrastructure, which now makes everything from water treatment to predictive pipeline maintenance possible.

“We need to lean into our trusted partnerships with the leaders in that sector – the ones who are helping to move the energy industry into the future,” says Dale Hansen, Dean of the MacPhail School of Energy.

According to Hansen, it's partnerships and an ongoing effort to champion the transition of students into meaningful careers that keep SAIT on the cutting edge of where technology is transforming work.

“We wouldn’t be able to remain as connected to industry priorities and emerging technologies, and wouldn't be able to weave these core themes into our school’s teaching practice, without that resilient pipeline," he says. "Thanks to partners like Spartan Controls, we can offer students deeply relevant learning opportunities taking into account both today’s tech and what’s coming tomorrow.”

Keeping pace with a global industry

Speaking for Spartan Controls, President and CEO Grant Wilde says his company’s reasoning for the continued support of SAIT is clear.

“This renewed pledge will empower future leaders and innovators in industry and business," he says. "We know it is a critical investment to ensure leading instruction, current and relevant course content, supportive student awards, and world-class technology for training and development. Students having access to this is key when it comes to preparing them for the world of work.”

According to Wilde, his passion also stems, in part, from the ubiquity of automation technology worldwide.

“Whether it is improving safety, efficiencies, and reliability, or optimizing outputs and production of the myriad of complex process systems, the students here and in the future can be assured they will be able to play an important role in making a difference, by enabling our sustainable modern world," he says. "As technology continues to influence how we get things done, our training must keep pace."

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