After a 28-year career at SED/Calian, Dwain Stensrud is retiring, effective September 30, 2022, as Systems Engineering Architect/Section Head, Systems Engineering. Dwain began his career with SED Systems on June 6, 1994, as an RF Systems engineer with the IOT/CSM group. The first program he worked on was SSMS3, a large carrier monitoring system for Inmarsat. Dwain was the junior engineer on the program and he had two international sites to install and test.
Dwain has great memories and interesting stories from his international work trips.
“My first international trip out of North America was to Arvi, India, quite the eye-opener for a prairie farm boy from northeast Saskatchewan,” says Dwain. “I flew to the worksite seated next to Seann Hamer, who spilled his water on my lap during the flight. He said it was an accident, but you can never be sure with Seann. My second international trip was to Perth, Australia; I really enjoyed that site and I got a wedding and a honeymoon out of it too, so that worked out all right,” says Dwain.
He adds “I continued to work in the IOT/CSM group for a few years where we delivered a lot of cool IOT systems. The first time you go to put a test signal up on somebody’s satellite, you have a bit of a knot in your stomach. If the signal doesn’t come down as expected, then things get interesting. Troubleshooting a customer’s multi-million-dollar satellite on orbit with a system that SED has designed and delivered provides a whole new level of pressure. But the company builds good stuff, and we’ve always managed to figure things out.”
Dwain has made multiple friendships with team members during his almost three decades with the company.
“As a key member of our Systems Engineering group, Dwain’s deep knowledge of RF Systems is complemented by his considerable mechanical skills, and his sense of practicality brought the two together into the leading-edge designs he delivered to the field over his 28-year career. He was comfortable not only in both project management and lead technical roles but also as a mentor to other staff with whom he freely shared his knowledge. Doing the ‘right thing’ for the company, our customers and our staff was deeply ingrained within him, and that served as his guide to the tough decisions he made daily. He represented the best parts of this company in every way. As a person, he is kind, caring and generous. He has the tenacity of a bulldog, the patience of a saint, and the negotiation skills of a UN diplomat,” says Darryl Kacher, VP, Engineering.
“I worked with Dwain on several projects early in Dwain’s career,” said Peter Waskowic, Senior Director, Satcom Products. “One particularly interesting project was the flowline automated test system we did for Nortel that included RF test sets, temperature conditioning units and a conveyor system to test radios over temperature. Dwain designed a mechanical blind-mate system for connecting radios to the RF test set that was unique in the world (and worked great!). Dwain could always find practical solutions for difficult problems,” says Peter. “Dwain was great to travel with as well. For a man of smaller stature, he proved in Italy that he could eat through all the courses of a traditional, small-town Italian meal and even have room for dolce (dessert).”
“My first overseas trip was with Dwain in the Philippines, and we had a blast," says Dave Fenske, Systems Engineering Architect/Section Head, Systems Engineering. “We arrived in the Philippines in April and nearly blinded the locals at the beach with our plucked-chicken white skin.”
“Dwain is an extremely intelligent guy with a ton of real-world RF engineering knowledge," says Tom Thalheimer, Intermediate Systems Engineer, Systems Engineering. "And he is endlessly generous with sharing that knowledge to give people the best possible chance to learn and succeed. When I was doing my first site installations it was extremely reassuring to know that I could contact Dwain with any questions. It didn't matter if it was a technical issue or some difficulty of life on the road, he would talk me through it to find a solution. While I'm going to miss him, he's certainly earned the right to a relaxing retirement,”
Dwain has some thoughtful insight into what makes Calian a great place to work.
“In my time at SED/Calian, I have been given the opportunity to travel, to work on ground-breaking RF systems, and to participate in the systems engineering interview process to help ensure the long-term success of Calian. If you were to ask me why Calian is a great place to work, I don’t say look around—I say look in the mirror. You are the reason your friends and co-workers enjoy coming to work each day,” says Dwain. “The decision to retire was made easier by working from home the past couple of years. I’ve gotten used to the commute and adapting to change, so one more change is less intimidating. I’ll keep myself busy in retirement. I have lots of hobbies, I just need to remember what they are. I’ll be spending lots of time at our cabin, fishing, biking, woodworking and doing renovations.”
“Since I’ve taken on the role of Manager of Systems Engineering, I’ve really appreciated Dwain’s leadership as a section head for the RFS area, says Dale Meginbir, Manager, Systems Engineering. “He’s helped greatly with the hiring process, and with training new hires, helping them to get off to a successful start. I’m really going to miss having Dwain’s experience around. I wish him the best of health and happiness in his retirement as he remembers what his hobbies are.”
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