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July 23, 2021

A Passion for Engineering Opens New Career Opportunities in Ireland

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Shane Coss shares his passion for engineering and how it contributed to the development of a new Bachelor of Engineering in Automation and Robotics in Galway, Ireland.

When he was young, Shane Coss wanted to build things that would create new opportunities and make a difference in the world. And that is exactly what he does as a Manufacturing Engineering Manager working at Thermo King, a brand of Trane Technologies, in Galway, Ireland. 

He supports the production assembly line at the Thermo King Galway manufacturing plant, ensuring the production of products in the most time-efficient and cost-efficient way possible. He also supports the engineering team with new technology and new product development. And his latest role is helping develop the new Bachelor of Engineering in Automation and Robotics (BEng), a program Thermo King co-developed with the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) to build stem skills in the local community.

The idea to develop this program all started when Shane and his team identified a need for it.

“My first couple of years at Thermo King, I helped implement some robotic cells to automate select tasks for our assembly line. It was very successful. I then took the lead on more projects to further automation efforts,” he said. “We had been completing the automation projects until we hit a point where we realized how costly it was to rely on third parties to design and build the cells. We needed to find a way to be more efficient.”

Need leads to an innovative program

Shane and his team discovered that they could save more money training employees on building robots in-house. When they searched for a program to help train employees to build machines, they also discovered there weren’t any.

After reaching out to GMIT for advice, they learned that it wasn’t just an issue for Thermo King—region-wide, there was both a skill deficit and training program deficit.

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There was a need for a good automation program that could teach employees the skills to help them design and build machines that will become prominent in modern and advanced manufacturing. That led to our collaboration with GMIT to develop this program and build the new automotive and robotics center where the program will take place.

“What’s paramount to me in upskilling the community in engineering, automation and STEM is that it creates more jobs and opportunities,” shared Shane.

Engineering an interest in learning 

Shane's own pathway to engineering began because of his father. In the small rural town in Ireland, where he grew up, he looked up to his father, an electrician, who encouraged him to pursue a degree in engineering at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. 

For the last 25 years, he’s worked as an engineer in a variety of industries.

“I worked at Motorola building phones, in automotive building car parts, then I got design experience working for a medical device company. I’ve learned a lot about engineering and manufacturing. What ties my experiences together is that I always strived to be as successful and as cost-efficient as possible. I'm always looking for opportunities to grow,” Shane shared.

He came to Thermo King six years ago. What stood out to him about the company is that employees could bring forth new ideas to the leadership and receive support.

“One thing I’ve learned over the years is how important it is to be open to continuous education, continuous training, and continuous development so that as technology evolves, we evolve with it,” said Shane. “We're constantly bringing the best technologies into the company to make our products top quality and as cost-effective as possible. And we want to cultivate a mindset in employees, where they are embracing change and spotting new opportunities where they can learn and develop.”

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Inspiration for the future

The program reflects Trane Technologies goals and leadership principles which include building a world-class lean enterprise, uplifting people and communities, and innovating for customers. In addition, the program aligns to the company’s citizenship strategy, Sustainable Futures, which focuses on enhancing learning environments, advancing student success, and creating pathways to green and STEM careers.

“We’re the first to develop this program in the region. It will update the skills of engineers who have been in the industry for years and need help learning new technology – including a high level of dedicated laboratory and workshop hours for hands-on learning. Students will come from other companies—local companies—to learn at our automation center,” said Shane. “We’re excited, but we're just getting started—just scratching the surface. The program will continue to evolve, and with it, so will the opportunities.”

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