When Ulteig acquired NLS Engineering, based in Hamilton, Ontario, it knew it was acquiring a firm with immense talent that would have an immediate impact on Ulteig’s business. One of those folks is Rhoel Thomas, a resident of Hamilton, who joins Ulteig as a Senior Systems Integrator. Rhoel will be primarily working with Ulteig’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Team.
Starting with NLS Engineering in 2013, Rhoel has been instrumental in developing the company’s successful process systems; he was actually the firm’s first engineering employee. Now, as a Senior Systems Integrator at Ulteig, Rhoel will be able to utilize his established approach of designing and implementing customized SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) solutions to meet the individualized needs of Ulteig’s clients.
“Ulteig is a perfect fit for the next chapter of my career,” said Rhoel. “Ulteig’s approach to customer service — We listen. We Solve. — aligns with my desire for instilling confidence through mutual appreciation for integrity and high-quality client service.
“I truly believe that you can’t solve a customer’s problem without fully understanding that problem first,” Rhoel added. “And, I’ve learned that the best way to do that is to listen to your client at every step of the development process.”
As a systems integrator for Ulteig, Rhoel will utilize his already established approach to SCADA engineering solution development where he thrives on helping to define the need to relentlessly pursuing better solutions for Ulteig’s clients.
A Focus on Water
In addition to his experience in systems integration, Rhoel also brings considerable understanding about water and wastewater treatment systems. Over the course of his 12-year career, Rhoel has worked on numerous water and wastewater treatment systems, ranging in size for towns with 500 or less people to small cities and suburban municipalities (populations of 1.5 million). The majority of his work over the past four years has been in the Region of Peel. Rhoel applies systems integration to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of water treatment processes – increasing water quality while seeking to reduce operating costs.
As he looks toward the future, he anticipates significant changes in water treatment technologies and systems in the years ahead and looks forward to working with his new Ulteig colleagues by developing systems to identify problems easier and faster with the intent of eliminating or minimizing the risks of water contamination. Rhoel believes that safe, healthy water should never be the exception; it should be the rule.
“It’s exciting for me to think about the possibilities of water treatment,” said Rhoel. “The rewards of knowing I can contribute to something as important as safe, healthy water is something I look forward to at my tenure at Ulteig. It is work that really matters; it literally can save lives.”
Born to Integrate Systems
From building things with Legos as a young child to mixing complex music audio in high school and college, his love for pulling together various components to make something wonderful has always given him joy.
“It’s exciting to find solutions where the overly complicated comes together to solve a problem, especially when it is where other people often would stop searching,” said Rhoel. “For some, unfamiliarity is bad. But for me, it presents an opportunity as I know it just means there is something new to learn.”
After pursuing a degree in music, Rhoel expanded his horizons into electrical engineering. During one of his electrical engineering classes, he was exposed to programmable logic controllers (PLCs), which are used heavily in SCADA support. Rhoel found he could use the same proven techniques and principles that he used in mixing complex music sets into programming PLCs. It was a lightbulb moment, and Rhoel hasn’t looked back since.
Speaking about his passion for PLC programming, Rhoel equates himself to PLCs. Both cannot be stagnant. Neither can just sit and wait. PLCs must keep moving, be executing to operate and to help reach client solutions. Rhoel’s same inability to be stagnant, to sit and wait, helps drive him to develop solutions that ensure all parts are working seamlessly together.
Welcome to Canada
When not wading through multi-faceted problems at work, Rhoel continues to enjoy recording and mixing music and learning new software, including photo and audio editing and programming and web development. A fan of all types of music including everything from Motown and R&B to Electropop and Rock, for a quintessential Canadian music experience, Rhoel recommends three must-listen to bands from Canada — Monster Truck, The Tragically Hip, and Mat Heddle (Slur).
While not too keen on hockey, Rhoel is a huge fan of the Hamilton Forge FC (two-time defending champions), which play in the Canadian Premier League and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who play in the Canadian Football League (CFL).
As Rhoel embarks on the next phase of his career journey with Ulteig, he’ll be taking another step in his personal life. He will marry his fiancée, Casey, in October and together, they will make a new home for themselves, their cat, Bubba, and their dog, Boogie.