Spot Light

Adam Serblowski BASc’08 describes himself as hardworking, driven and always up for a challenge. With these qualities, he was just the man to lead Royal Dutch Shell’s quest to develop the world’s first resident, mobile robot designed to operate in potentially explosive environments.

How did your University of Regina educational experience most prepare you for life after university?
By teaching me how to work and learn effectively. The sheer volume of work you have to tackle over the course of your engineering degree can be overwhelming. Learning how to effectively manage this workload has been critical to my daily work life.
What was the best thing about being a university student?
More than any time in your life you are surrounded by people of different experiences and viewpoints. It presents an opportunity that really challenges your core beliefs and helps you grow into a more well-rounded individual. I didn’t realize how much my way of thinking had changed until years after I graduated, but that is what I appreciate most about university.
What is the worst thing about being a university student?
Easy, the exams.
How would you sum up your experience with Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands?
A time of transition and learning. I moved to the Netherlands as a telecoms expert and ended up leaving a few years later as a robotics expert. Going through this kind of professional transition brought me face to face with some of my shortcomings and forced me to grow.
What was the most fabulous thing about living in Europe for four years?
The chance to travel around and experience the continent in a way you never could as a tourist. Jumping on a train for a weekend in Paris or catching a plane to Florence just to get some pasta is something you can’t imagine.
What did you most miss about Canada while you were abroad?
It may sound cliché, but it’s the people that you miss the most. I always look forward to coming home and seeing my friends and family.
What was the most challenging aspect of the development of Sensabot?
Completing the explosive atmosphere certification was far and away the most difficult aspect of Sensabot. It was a world’s first that led to many engineering challenges that we needed to overcome. In addition, the logistics involved in certifying a device of this size were incredibly complex, with the certification being more involved than the design of the robot.
What gives you more satisfaction, having solved the engineering challenges or knowing that Sensabot means humans aren’t put in harm’s way?
Knowing that the work you are doing is helping to contribute to a safer work place and could help to save lives brings a personal satisfaction that solving engineering problems never can.
Finish this sentence. My time in Houston will likely make me…
Regain my freshman 15!