Ronil Awarded ISA Scholarship On Canadian Shores
June 23, 2023
From Ship Engineer in the Philippines to Instrumentation Engineering Technologist in Canada, Ronil Banac leveraged his seafaring profession experience to excel as a Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) student, and volunteered with the ISA SAIT Student Section, earning himself the ISA Calgary Section Joe Wolkowski Scholarship Award.
This award was created to honour Joe Wolkowski, a former instructor and program coordinator at SAIT who was also instrumental in establishing the ISA SAIT Student Section. Much like Banac, Joe embarked on his career working offshore and landed in Calgary.
The ISA Calgary Section reached out to Ronil to find out more about what inspired him...
What brought you to Canada?
My desire to continue to learn and passion for instrumentation outweighed the job security I had. I decided to risk it all to move to a foreign country to pursue a career in instrumentation.
While new in the Philippines, SAIT's program is well-rooted and has an expansive curriculum, therefore it could fully provide the education I wanted. Aside from the common knowledge that Canada is one of the safest and friendliest countries in the world, it is also a hub for international students making it a perfect place for me to study and learn. Furthermore, Canada’s educational standards and my work experience will give me a huge advantage in my future goals in this field.
I have always had a keen interest and fascination in the automation industry. While working as a Ship Engineer, at times we would bring service technicians a board to help with electronic errors (PLC/ microcomputer control) or technical difficulties relating to automation/instrumentation control that were beyond our scope. I never hesitated to assist during the troubleshooting and repair, but it was hard to fully comprehend it all without the proper education.
How did you first learn about the ISA? What attracted you most to this organization?
I first heard about the International Society of Automation during SAIT's orientation week. I was officially introduced to the organization through a membership drive that took place at SAIT, where the ISA-SAIT Student Section joined forces with the ISA Calgary Section to give away free memberships. I recall, Marty Bince and Mark Tarrant, who both talked highly about the organization, highlighting the numerous benefits we could gain by becoming a member of ISA. Their compelling speeches convinced me to not only become a member, but to also run and become one of the ISA-SAIT Student Section Directors.
Why ISA? What value do you get out of your membership?
I only get to know the existence of ISA when I joined the Instrumentation Program at SAIT. Since then, I’ve come to recognize the immense value of ISA particularly when you’re pursuing a career in automation, control, and instrumentation. The moment I became a member, I immediately got to access the organization’s complimentary publications, including the ISA/ANSI 5.1 Instrumentation Symbols and Identification. These resources were incredibly beneficial to me during my time as a student at SAIT. Furthermore, the organization provides numerous professional development opportunities, such as reduced-price training programs and webinars, exclusively available to members. One of the most valuable aspects of being a member was the opportunity to network. Through the membership, I was able to connect with professionals in automation industry, learn from their experiences, and expand my professional circle while still a student. Now that I am working in the field, it has been rewarding to reconnect with people I met while still in school and see how they are making an impact in the industry.
What would you say is your biggest volunteer accomplishment for the ISA?
Being the ISA SAIT Student Section as a Finance Director, which entailed maintaining financial records and generating monthly reports, supervising financial transactions, and managing the budget.
Two of our biggest events that I helped with were the Industry Night and ISA SAIT Students Games (the largest student-led industrial automation games in the world). I helped with contacting companies about sponsorship and help with competition planning.
Which ISA member has inspired you most?
Mark Tarrant, the SAIT Lead DCS Instructor and the ISA SAIT Student Section Adviser - he always shows remarkable dedication and enthusiasm in both roles. Throughout my student journey at SAIT, his unwavering support and invaluable lessons have left a lasting impact on me. He challenges us to soar high to our full potential. He ensures that every event and activity within ISA SAIT and ISA Calgary Section are passed on to us, for our own betterment and growth, and encourages all students to get involved. Mark's use of his connections and networks for the benefit of us is admirable. It is an honor to have known him both as an instructor and an adviser. His volunteerism inspires many of us to give back and be a part of this professional community, without expecting anything in return.
Congratulations to Mr. Ronil Banac, on being the successful recipient of the Joe Wolkowski scholarship award! Ronil distinguished himself as the ISA-SAIT student section's Financial Director and board member, for the 22/23, SAIT school year. It was an absolute pleasure having Ronil as a key contributor to the success of the ISA-SAIT Student section's activities. It was equally rewarding and a privilege to be a part of his learning experience(s) here at SAIT. I look forward to Ronil sharing his inevitable successes and moving forward, wish him the very best in his newly minted automation career. - Mark Tarrant