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Alumni Profiles

Robert Sochaj

Robert Sochaj

Faculty of Applied Science & Technology
Year of Graduation: 1999
Program: Mechanical Engineering Technician - Technology

Robert Sochaj started building his career at Cyclone Manufacturing in 1992 from the ground up, working in a variety of areas including data entry and shipping and receiving. He even cleaned the shop floor. Over the next 16 years, he gained experience in all aspects of the aerospace manufacturing industry through increasingly senior roles, becoming Executive Vice President of Cyclone in 2008.

Under Andrew Sochaj’s (Robert’s father) leadership as President, Cyclone has built a client list that contains the top names in the aerospace manufacturing industry, including Bombardier, Lockheed Martin and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Robert has been part of the company’s unprecedented growth over the past decade. Since 2003, Mississauga-based Cyclone has opened three plants, and is now investing $15 million in equipment for its fourth facility. Robert points to four main reasons for such growth: customer service, vertical integration, as well as ongoing training of Cyclone’s 400 employees, and investment in the latest technology.

In 2009, Robert helped lead the introduction of a new, more energy-efficient manufacturing process that produces ‘greener’ commercial aerospace components. The result is a win for both the manufacturer and its customers, says Robert. For Cyclone, the new process requires less energy, creating a smaller carbon footprint. For its customers, lighter weight components mean lower fuel consumption and costs and less pollution. “As aircraft become more efficient, airlines are able to pass on savings in the form of lower ticket prices which remain priced well below the rate of inflation,” he explains.

Robert’s ability to combine financial savvy and technical knowledge for the good of his company stems from his choice of study at Sheridan.

“Although a manufacturing business requires someone with a high level of financial expertise, it also needs a good technical leader who knows the tools and how to structure equipment, labour and material costs (among others) to ensure profitability.”

A well-rounded education is just one component to career success, however, says Robert, who counsels new alumni to “work hard; then work harder.” A quote from a Sheridan business professor still resonates with Robert 15 years after graduation. “The harder you work, the better off you’ll be. It’s a very simple philosophy to follow.”