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The CSA’s Dr. Alex Jablonski is an Associate Fellow of CASI as well as a Councillor of the Institute. He has been a member since 1993. Dr. Jablonski received BSc & MS (civil engineering – structures) from the Technical University of Cracow, Poland (1970), MS (mechanics and materials engineering.) from the University of Illinois at Chicago (1982) and PhD (structural dynamics) from Carleton University in Ottawa (1989).
What is your most memorable CASI experience so far?
My most memorable experience was my participation in the Organizational Committees for ASTRO especially in 1998, 2000, 2006 and 2008 where I worked with John Beck, Bjarni Tryggvason and Ron Buckingham.
What’s the highest altitude and speed you’ve reached?
Regular flight experience crossing Atlantic to Europe up to 30,000 ft., I think.
What is your current job?
I am Project Manager, Assembly Integration and Testing (AIT) Development at David Florida Laboratory (DFL), Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in Ottawa and I just completed my appointment as A/Manager RF Qualification Facility. I am part of the Core Management Committee of the DFL working directly for its Director.
What is the favourite moment of your career thus far?
My engineering career encompasses mainly two disciplines: Structural Engineering (with a specialization in Structural Dynamics in which I did my Ph.D. at Carleton University in 1988) and Space Engineering (with a specialization in Space Dynamics, Space Systems and now in AIT, which stands for Assembly Integration and Test and various aspects of management of space projects). For the first part I like very much my work in the field of Earthquake Engineering while at Carleton and also at NRC, when I took part in the reconnaissance trip of the Canadian Team to assess the damage in the Greater San Francisco Area after the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989. For the second part I have a number of favorite moments, for example as a member of a team that worked for the OEDIPUS-C suborbital tethered payload mission between 1992-1995. I also enjoyed my work for BOLAS orbital satellite configuration with an excellent team from old ST, which included international partners from NASA Langley, NASA Marshall, CRC and a very competent team from Bristol Aerospace (now Magellan Aerospace) and a number of Canadian universities. I cherished my participation in preparation and development of the Long-Term Space Plan III for Canada under leadership of Dr. Karl Doetsch, which was approved by Cabinet for the 10-year period 1999-2009.
What was your childhood dream job?
I was raised in a family who has a great respect for education and service to society. These values are still in my heart. As a Canadian of Polish origin I have tried to serve society as much as I can as a public servant, as an engineer and as a volunteer working for professional and scientific organizations like CASI and the AIAA. I also act as a reviewer of scientific research papers, theses and I am still doing part-time teaching of advanced engineering courses such as Finite Element Method (FEM) or advanced vibration theory of continuous systems.
Guilty pleasure: what can you not live without?
I cannot see myself without being involved in something like CASI or other type of service for my profession or society. This should not be made at the expense of family as family plays an important role in a human life.
Who would you like to see play the lead role if Hollywood made a movie of your life?
I like many actors and it is a difficult question. My favorite actor was James Stewart and I liked him in Hitchcock’s Vertigo. My second choice is Mel Gibson. I like his role in Braveheart, a film that tells the story of William Wallace, a Scottish nationalist who was executed. I took part, as many of us from my generation did, to bring down the communist regime in Poland. We could not fight openly but we transformed our fight to a fight for values – and we won.
What is your favourite Aero or Astro activity?
I have participated for many years in the ASTRO conferences and tried to transform them into a higher level from many points of view – including a level of attendance and as a meeting place for all types of specialists taking part in discussions about the future of Canada in space – it’s a never ending discussion.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever been offered?
When I was a young engineer we had to develop all our working and conceptual drawings ourselves after tedious engineering calculations and I remember my excellent job in the one of the leading consulting offices (back in Europe) and involved in grand projects in various countries including Poland, Finland and Germany. Sometimes we got scared about upcoming deadlines and all typical pressures in the life of engineers and one of my technologists used to say: Engineer Jablonski remember to work in a steady pace to achieve your goal and you will do it on time, do not accelerate too much – just steady state effort will bring you there…
Where would you like to go that you haven’t been yet?
I like to ski and I like both downhill and cross-country. My dream is to go to ski to the Rockies and also to Alps one day…
Star Wars or Star Trek?
I like both but my preference goes to Star Trek and to Captain Kirk. I carry the sign of Star Trek every day with my keys with a note – MAKE IT SO…
What decision in your life would you most like to change and why?
I think that I cannot find the one right now. I am by heart a humanist but I cannot live without engineering…