Canada National Engineers Month

In honor of Engineers Month in Canada, we take a moment to spotlight the invaluable contributions of engineers in various specialties
Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2024
In honor of Engineers Month, we take a moment to spotlight the invaluable contributions of engineers in various specialties. Meet Smit Patel, Nirag Patel and Kathleen Yamamoto, three remarkable individuals shaping the landscape of engineering at our Koch Fertilizer Canada facility.  


Smit Patel: Plant Engineer 

During high school, Smit Patel’s favorite subjects were physics and math, which drove his interest in engineering. After a visit to his uncle’s hydraulic cylinder factory and watching shows like “Engineering Marvels”, he decided to study mechanical engineering.  

Today, Smit is a plant engineer-in-training in the nitric acid area at the Brandon, Manitoba facility. With a master’s degree from the University of Alberta, Smit's expertise lies in troubleshooting mechanical systems and enhancing plant reliability.  

“A fertilizer plant is a complex process and I encounter new and unique challenges every day,” Smit says. “The most fulfilling part of my job is working in a collaborative environment with diverse engineering groups to identify causes and determine solutions for improving plant reliability.”  

For individuals pursuing a career in engineering, he recommends meeting people from different engineering backgrounds and getting to know each field and that field’s future career options before deciding on a focus area. Looking ahead, Smit expects to see greater emphasis on renewable energy and innovative technologies. 

“The future of engineering is bright,” he says. “You can choose any field as long as you are passionate about it and love what you are doing.”  

Kathleen Yamamoto: Fixed Equipment Engineer 

Kathleen Yamamoto’s interest in engineering sparked during high school, and she pursued it with encouragement from her family and friends. 

As a fixed equipment engineer, she plays a crucial role in ensuring the mechanical integrity of pressurized equipment. She says the most fulfilling part of her role is the ability to develop long-term solutions to complex situations at the plant. Looking toward the future, Kathleen anticipates more focus on stewardship, emphasizing the importance of becoming more efficient while using fewer resources. At Koch Fertilizer, she values the diverse work opportunities and encourages aspiring engineers to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. 

“My advice is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Kathleen says. “It may not be easy but there is growth and opportunity behind the challenge.” 

Nirag Patel: Project Manager, Instrumentation and Control 

Growing up, Nirag Patel always tinkered with anything he could get his hands on.  

His journey into engineering began with a natural inclination towards problem-solving and a love for science and math. As a project manager for instrumentation and control, Nirag excels in managing technical aspects and project execution. At Koch Fertilizer, he appreciates the supportive work culture and opportunities for growth — advising aspiring engineers to explore various disciplines to find their passion. Nirag envisions the future of control system engineering to embrace machine learning and AI for safer and optimized plant operations. 

“My advice for future engineers is to explore all areas of engineering and find the one that stands out and interests you,” Nirag says. “Internships are also a great opportunity to get hands-on learning and knowledge from other engineers in the industry.” 

Whether it's optimizing plant operations, implementing cutting-edge technologies, or ensuring mechanical integrity, engineers play a pivotal role in shaping a better tomorrow. If you are interested in an engineering career with Koch, please visit