DESTINATION Windsor Essex Blog Series
meet Gaurav and Pavithra, engineers at Ford Automotive
As part of the #STARTyqg project, Workforce WindsorEssex is meeting talented people working in emerging and in-demand jobs who have moved here from elsewhere. Our goal is to explore what they enjoy about living and working in the region, and to share these stories with the community.
Read our first blog in the “Destination Windsor-Essex” series to learn about why Gaurav and Pavithra chose to live and work in Windsor-Essex and what they enjoy about it.
Gaurav and Pavithra are both engineers who live in Downtown Windsor and work at Ford Automotive in Dearborn, Michigan. They met while studying Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan. They recently became Canadian permanent residents and moved to Windsor in February 2019. We went to meet them at one of their favourite spots in the city, the riverfront, and they told us what they enjoy about living and working in the region.
Tell us a bit more about your professional stories
Gaurav: I grew up in North India, but moved to South India for undergrad. I came to the US to pursue my masters at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. That’s where I met Pavithra. Both of us studied Electrical and Computer Engineering, in the same control systems major. After completion, we both got employed at an automotive supplier, did that for a while and then moved to Ford. At Ford, I work in Autonomous Vehicles group. My initial focus was on machine learning research, but these days I work on the strategy and planning side of things.
Pavithra: I am from South India, but grew up in West India, and then came back to South to pursue an undergrad in Engineering. The reason I pursued engineering was to get into robotics. My undergrad was related to electronics and instrumentation, which followed into my master’s at the University of Michigan in robotics. I currently work in the robotics department at Ford Motor company, where I work on machine and deep learning.
What are you working on at Ford Automotive?
Gaurav: My current job involves lots of future planning on preparing ourselves with all the tools needed to launch the autonomous vehicles services in major cities in a few years. It’s upcoming field and has the potential to change the world, so it’s something I’m very excited about.
Pavithra: I design machine learning algorithms for robots to help them navigate around the world. These robots will be assistants to humans with a variety of tasks.
What brought you to living in Windsor-Essex?
Pavithra: The original plan was for us to work in the US for some years and then to see what happened, but the wait for a green card was getting to be too long. That’s when we decided to move to Canada. We’re excited to see what the job market in Canada has to offer, but until then we decided to give the Windsor-Detroit commute a try, which has been great so far.
Gaurav: Permanent residency was very important to us as it allows us to engage in initiatives outside of work while in Canada. On an American work visa, visa restrictions limit your involvement in activities outside of work. Being involved in the tech community and helping out folks like students and startups be successful in the world of emerging technologies is really important to me. Since living in Windsor and having permanent resident status, I’ve had the opportunity to do that alongside people at WE Tech Alliance, IBLS, and the Economic Development Corporation, which I’ve really enjoyed.
What do you like most about living here?
Pavithra: We feel welcomed in Windsor, and we feel a sense of community. I have a really fond memory where I really felt this recently, which was during the NBA finals. We never really participated in community events in the US. But when we had just moved here, the Raptors games were being broadcasted at Charles Clark Square, which is right by where we live so we were able to just walk over there. It was so much fun! There must have been two thousand people there. The feeling of community was incredible.
Gaurav: I especially enjoy living downtown. Being able to walk to the river and to restaurants is great. It’s nice not to drive as often. Something that really surprised was the level of multiculturalism. It’s much more than what we experienced when we were in Michigan. We see all kinds of people here. There are people with all sorts of backgrounds with different goals and ambitions. You see them every day… and I feel that everyone wants to support Windsor through their work. I think Windsor has a lot to offer and has great potential.
What are some things that you enjoy doing on your spare time?
Pavithra: We love eating out and checking out new restaurants. We recently went to Spago’s on Erie Street which we really enjoyed. We also really enjoy walking on the riverfront: we come out here at least once a week.
Gaurav: We’re really into brunch: we go out for brunch every Saturday morning and have tried at least 10 places so far. We’ve gone to Roast, Stacks, Paul’s Kitchen, a Dog’s Breakfast, and several others. There’s no shortage of places to try!
We also enjoy going out for drives on the 401 to enjoy the beaches nearby and places like Point Pelee and Lambton shores.
Want to share your story?
We’re running a survey to learn about why people have chosen to live and work in Windsor-Essex. With a large number and diversity of responses, we’ll be able to make strong recommendations to our partners in industry and in government to make sure we are attracting and retaining the workers we need to keep the region thriving. Share your perspective by clicking below and taking the survey.
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