Wenzel Downhole Tools ULC is proud to shine a spotlight on Sydney Stagg, Wenzel alumnus and Wenzel’s first female machinist. This is her story.

Fresh out of high school, I tried a few different trades, but none seemed to fit.

My mentor—my dad, a machinist, and Machinist instructor at NAIT for 18 years suggested I try machining. I found my niche, and the rest is history. I have had amazing experiences with employers and co-workers alike who saw my potential and assisted me in building a good foundation and helped nurture my skills in the machining trade.

I started my career in a manual machine shop doing valve modifications and repairs.

My dad suggested I apply for a position at Wenzel Tools.

He had asked around and received positive feedback about the company. I reached out with my resume, got a call back from Shawn Feguenne, and had an interview that very day. Despite my experience in manual machining, Shawn offered me a position running a CNC mill; this was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I was up for the challenge.

Most of my experience at Wenzel was learning CNC milling in depth. As a second-year apprentice I had the opportunity to do my own programming. I built skills on CNC lathes, manual lathes, and manual mills. It was rewarding to work with people throughout the various departments and see everything from drilling tool assembly to the functionality of the tool.

The crew at Wenzel were family to me.

We worked hard and knew we were appreciated for our efforts. I worked at Wenzel for just shy of 5 years and completed my schooling, achieving a Red Seal Journey Person Machinist, a proud accomplishment. I became Wenzel’s first female Journey Person Machinist.

Family decisions led me to relocate to Red Deer and expand my machining career there. But around a year ago, I returned to Edmonton and became the first female Machining instructor at NAIT. Working at NAIT has become the highlight of my career. It is amazing to be able to help machinist apprentices develop their skills and spark a love of the trade. I am passionate about machining and eager to be a role model for other women thinking about pursuing a career in this field.

Former Wenzel machinist Sydney Stagg stands in front of a Mazak CNC machine with colleagues

Learn more about NAIT’s Machinist apprenticeship program »