Building a better life with Chemical Engineering

Wednesday, January 10, 2024
Rosemary Niechcial behind a tan desk

Rosemary Niechcial (Class of 1998) leveraged her BASc in Chemical Engineering to create a globetrotting, diverse and successful career. She has worked extensively throughout South America, Australia, the United States and Japan.

“The fact that I chose to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo is key to my success,” says Niechcial. “Although the University of Waterloo definitely is regarded as the best engineering school in Canada and recognized globally, it felt very intimate due to small class sizes in the Chemical Engineering Program and being with the same cohort throughout the years during my undergraduate degree.”

 Niechcial was a single mother in her twenties when she enrolled in the program. Her goal was to obtain a degree in Chemical Engineering and create a better life for herself and her four-year-old daughter.

The cohort system allowed her to develop strong bonds and friendships with her peers. She grew to know her professors well and felt accommodated and supported by the faculty. There were times she had to bring her daughter to class with her.

Rosemary Niechcial in a yellow vest sunglasses and hard hat standing by silver pipes

Although enrolled as a co-op student, Niechcial could not feasibly uproot her daughter for months at a time to work at far-off locations. Her professors always assisted her in securing local co-op positions to create the continuity that her daughter needed.

“I got to know my professors well. I felt like everybody wanted me to succeed. If I needed additional help, there was help available,” says Niechcial. “I remember the day I graduated I felt like I could do anything! It was this intense feeling of being powerful because true power is being in control of your own destiny and knowing that you can handle whatever challenge comes your way.”

Expertise gained through obtaining her degree allowed Niechcial to create a dynamic career. She worked for several companies over the years, as well as creating her own entrepreneurial ventures by establishing consulting companies.

Niechcial specializes in wastewater management and treatment associated with mining. After graduation, she was employed by a French water company and then by Hatch. Niechcial is currently the director of sales for North and South America, for a division of Baker Hughes, an energy, technology, and services company.

“I love languages, so it was wonderful to have the opportunity to learn different languages or to learn about different cultures, to learn how to do business internationally,” says Niechcial.” The way you work in Japan is so thoroughly different from the way you work in the United States or Chile.”

Niechcial has also run several consulting firms over the years, including a company she established in 2017 that consults on water treatment associated with the mining industry.

She is also working with a mining company in New Mexico currently to reprocess tailings stockpiles. There are legacy stockpiles and tailings impounds all over the globe that are an environmental liability. Niechcial’s consulting firm helps companies reprocess stockpiles into useful products. Niechcial credits her entrepreneurial spirit to her outstanding experience at the University of Waterloo.