Boris Cherkasskiy, Senior Project Engineer
What has been one of your most memorable projects at DMC?
Several years ago, I was sent onsite to a chemical plant for what was supposed to be a super simple project. There were a lot of unforeseen finicky issues and it actually ended up taking several days, but finally I made the machine work. It wasn’t until later that I was informed of significant mechanical problems with the machine, which should have prevented it from ever working at all. It was cool to learn that I was able to program something to work when it should have been mechanically impossible.
Do you have any engineering hobbies?
I like to find old electronics and collectible historical items and update them for use today. My favorite is probably a steam engine pressure gauge from 1891 that I bought online. It’s an antique brass gauge that I programmed to measure internet speed on my home computer. Another piece that I’ve updated is a huge old cell phone from 1992, which I have converted for use with Bluetooth.
I also enjoy collecting and using vintage cameras. I like the idea of having only as many shots as there is film, and making each one count as opposed to sifting through several hundred on a digital camera.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like going biking with my wife and son. We have also been doing a lot of gardening this summer, although Edward mostly likes watering. I really like reading, but lately I feel like I have been cheating on books with audiobooks because it’s easier when commuting. My favorite books are Russian, of course. My favorite Dostoyevsky work has to be Poor Folk, which is written as a series of letters.
How did you decide to move to America?
We were actually deciding between Australia, Canada, and the USA. We initially tried Australia, but the visa application process was terribly long and I did horrible on my English test at first. We were in the middle of the Canadian interview process when our American application was drawn in a lottery. I was twenty-eight when we moved to the USA and I am glad we made the right choice.
Do you identify with any of these men?
Boris Badenov, I get that one a lot. “First I plant the bomb and then I kill moose and squirrel.” By the way there is no more KGB, it’s now known as the FSB. Totally different, but I swear that is all I know.
Not Ivan Drago?
No way. He is so fake.
Can you tell us anything about your military service?
It was boring. I worked on computers in a shielded steel room. It was to prevent compromising emanation of classified information so people could not pick up on what the Red Army was doing.
What other jobs have you had?
Aside from the military I have also worked for the postal service and the railroad. I was a Eurodance DJ while I was in school. I was also a small business owner for a while, and my company specialized in ties, socks, and stocks. It was a ties and socks store and my partner had a broker’s license so we started trading on the stock exchange as well.
As a child, were you trained in gymnastics or hockey?
I was ok at gymnastics and terrible at hockey. Edward is actually taking gymnastics now and he likes it but he’s only three years old. My mom was a musician and wanted to teach me how to play the piano as a kid. I actually learned how to play guitar. I still pick it up occasionally to play some Beatles songs.
Back in the USSR?
Actually, that would be a good one to learn.
What are your tips for travel to Russia?
Bring winter clothes just in case. It doesn’t matter where you are going – seriously. Also, take an organized tour; don’t just go wandering by yourself. Aside from safety concerns, traveling with locals will help you see the best places. They can get in you in the “back doors.” I would recommend visiting Russia, it’s fun!
What are the differences between living in Russia and the USA?
Surprisingly, not much these days. Now the USA and the USSR, that was different. On one hand, all the decisions were already made for you and the unemployment rate was quite low. Everything else was not so good, and the propaganda was especially bad.
What do you like most about Chicago?
Well the weather is pretty bad, but it is a great city in terms of diversity with so many cultures and languages. The Museum of Science and Industry is incredible, and Edward loves going to see all of the trains. We also like taking him to the lakefront and Navy Pier, which may be pretty touristy but it is always busy.
Do you have a favorite brand of vodka?
This is so not patriotic, but I prefer Absolut. It’s easy to sip on because it’s tasteless, whereas Russian vodka has a kick to it. There is a stereotype about Russians drinking vodka all the time, but it’s just something to order with dinner along with several plates of food. Salted herring is an awesome pairing with vodka, as well as pickles or salted mushrooms. I could talk about vodka for hours.
Describe yourself in three words?
Smart. Honest. Russian.
Would you mind sharing some advice on career success?
The opposite of the three words I just said haha. Also, be more like this guy.
What do you like about working at DMC?
At DMC you get to do something different nearly every day. Many positions in engineering involve working for a very large corporation and doing the same routine tasks. We have a lot of fun at DMC because we have the opportunity to work with new technologies and random equipment all the time.
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