Faculty of Applied Science & Technology
Degree: Mechanical Engineering Technology
Year of graduation: 1981
Curiosity and Confidence
Julius Hajgato gets bored easily. But the results of his natural curiosity have made life easier for both medical professionals and their patients. Julius designed and patented an oxygen mask while working for Southmedic that has changed the standard of care for oxygen delivery worldwide. Called the OxyMask, the device uses allows patients to receive the appropriate oxygen flow, vastly improving the experience for patients. His efforts have not gone unnoticed. The Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists gave Julius the 2012 Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for the OxyMask and he has been featured in The Globe and Mail for his design. A prolific inventor, Julius also holds co-patents on three other medical devices including a nebulizer mask, a bite block and surgical scalpel.
Julius didn’t plan a career in technology. The son of Hungarian immigrants, he had designs on becoming a gym teacher (he was a university-level champion wrestler while attending Sheridan). With a dearth of teaching jobs in the late 1970s and early 1980s he turned his attention to engineering, having gained mechanical skills working around his father’s Mississauga machine shop.
Following graduation, Julius proceeded to build a career as a technologist at a variety of firms, along with a reputation for getting a viable product to market quickly. He was particularly productive during his time as Project R&D/Program Manager at Southmedic in Barrie (he joined the company in 2000) when he developed eight new products within a one-year period and published two technical papers.
The secrets to his success? It certainly takes technical know-how, says Julius, but also the confidence and ability to work with people at all levels of the process.
“People get scared of breaking into new territory, getting out of their perceived area of skill. That can be a mistake,” says Julius who is now consulting.
“Companies took a chance on me because of my practical skills and my willingness to tackle problems. You need to see yourself as an integral part of team made up of people from other disciplines – that’s how innovative products are produced.”
Learn more about Sheridan’s Mechanical Engineering Technician-Technology Program.