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Alumni Engagement

Seeing through you: EET grad lands sought-after role repairing diagnostic imaging equipment

October 29, 2019

John Hamilton’s profession is the picture of health.

A 2012 graduate of Red River College’s Electrical Engineering Technology program, Hamilton works as a field service engineer at Philips Healthcare, where he maintains and repairs diagnostic medical imaging equipment. That includes machines related to X-ray, ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nuclear medicine.

In other words, if someone can see right through you, it means Hamilton is doing a good job.

“We’ll get calls from different hospitals around the region. My territory is Manitoba and northwest Ontario, so I’ll go as far as Dryden to do work,” Hamilton says. “Usually we get a call that there’s an issue or something wrong with their system and we’ll go in and troubleshoot, order parts and repair.”

Prior to entering the EET program at RRC, Hamilton was halfway through a computer science degree at the University of Winnipeg, but found it wasn’t the right fit for him.

“I didn’t like it because I was going to be just sitting in front of a computer all the time, doing coding and not working hands-on as much, so when I heard about the Red River program, I signed up for it,” he says. “I really enjoyed the program because it gives you some aspects of that (computer science) but it also gives you a lot of hands-on skills as well.”

“I like that the program covered a lot of different areas. It wasn’t too focused on one stream. I was able to do some biomedical courses in there too, so I got a taste of what I’d eventually do. It was everything from PCB (printed circuit board) design to how circuits work, so it gave me a really well-rounded knowledge.”

That said, when it comes to computers, Hamilton is a seasoned pro. From 2005 to 2010 he worked in technical support at Birchwood Automotive Group, where he took care of the computer systems for Birchwood’s dealerships and associated businesses.

Also, he brought his information technology skills to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights during its initial planning stages.

“This was before the museum was actually built. They had their offices downtown and were just setting up the exhibits and planning out everything. We would do the tech support for their office while it was in a temporary location,” Hamilton says.

“It was neat to see how that side of a museum works, how the exhibits are designed and planned out and all the research that goes into it.”

John Hamilton, Red River CollegeThat said, Hamilton prefers his current position at Philips, which involves a combination of desk and field work.

“It’s not a job where I spend eight hours on a computer,” he says. “There are definitely days like any job where you’re doing administrative and paperwork, but most of it is hands-on kind of work. The issue could be reloading software onto a machine, but it could also be mechanical, say changing out a bearing or something like that. It’s a mix of both worlds.”

Not only did RRC prepare Hamilton for his current position, the College set him up with the job. Hamilton started at Philips as part of a summer job placement through RRC, and was hired on by the company after he graduated.

“It was good timing for me. The job that I do here, there are a few other major companies that do it, but there are not a lot of positions that open up, so it’s a pretty sought-after job,” Hamilton says.

“It just worked out that when I was finishing school, they were hiring for this position, and since I was hired by Philips, they haven’t hired anyone new in our area. It’s not something they’re hiring for every year.”

Also, because Philips is a Dutch multinational conglomerate corporation, Hamilton has had the opportunity to travel to The Netherlands for work.

“I’ve been there a couple times for training and also there’s a training facility in Cleveland that I’ve been to a dozen times to learn about this equipment,” he says. “Both times when I was in Europe for training, it was for three weeks, and I took an additional week of vacation just to do some sightseeing in the area.”

While Hamilton’s career path takes him all around the province — and yes, sometimes Eindhoven and Amsterdam — it’s also brought him full circle. Over the last few months, he’s made multiple visits to RRC’s Notre Dame Campus to install two new X-ray systems (shown above) for the College’s Medical Radiologic Technology program.

Profile by Jared Story (Creative Communications, 2005)

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