Mladen Ivankovic: Co-op provides welcome experience for Electrical Engineering Technology grad

Mladen Ivankovic, C.E.T. ‘18 didn’t have the easiest journey to his education. “We came to Canada as refugees in 1994,” he says. “It was just my two parents, my sister, and I. My parents came here with 80 Deutschmarks (approximately $67 CDN at the time) and we [arrived in] Quebec to restart our lives.”

His family managed to make it work, though, and helped him to start his career in a field that would lead him to Mohawk College.

Mladen found work at the Ford plant in Oakville as a part-time employee with his dad, but a new opportunity made him reconsider his future. “At the time [Ford] offered me a full-time position I got accepted into Mohawk College for the Electrical Engineering Technology program,” he says. “I said to myself: you know what, I’m going to take a chance.”

The program gave him the technical knowledge and real-world experience he would need to take the next steps in his career.

“I managed to get offered a co-op with Toronto Hydro, and I was there for a full year,” he says. “I took a lot away from that and appreciated the whole experience.”

The co-op at Toronto Hydro helped to show Mladen the practical uses of all the theory he had been studying in college.

“Within our program, we would learn about things that I sometimes didn’t quite understand. When I went out into the field and saw all of the infrastructure and equipment, it managed to open my eyes and help me understand what we were doing,” Mladen says.

With the experience of his co-op under his belt, Mladen went on to create something that could save lives, for his final Mohawk College capstone project.

“I created a simulation of a hospital intersection with functioning traffic lights and crosswalks. I put a light sensor at the corner of the intersection with the hospital. If an ambulance were to leave the hospital, the sensor would see the flashing lights and stop all the traffic in the intersection to let the ambulance leave,” he explains.

After finishing multiple co-ops and going into his final year of the Electrical Engineering Technology program, Mladen’s hard work and determination were bearing fruit.

“In my fifth semester, I had 11 interviews during my midterms,” he said. “I actually interviewed for a different position than the one I had accepted [at Toronto Hydro]. I got a call back and they were quite impressed with my interview, so they wanted to see if I was interested in going into the engineering department. It was fantastic.”

Mladen now works at Burlington Hydro as an Engineering Services Technician, holds a designation as a Certified Engineering Technologist, and is on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) as well as the Program Advisory Committee Chair for the Electrical Engineering Technician program through our Marschall School of Skilled Trades & Apprenticeship, Mohawk College - Stoney Creek Campus.

By Calum Smethurst ’24, Journalism