CYSF: Tell us about your project(s) and the type of research you did.
Electrogravitics, dielectrophoresis… the study of the movement of high voltage capacitors. Utilized high voltages of 200,000 Volts and measured how much of a force that they created when the capacitors were fully charged. Built the power supply and test capacitors from scratch. The force generated was not explainable by “traditional” Newtonian physics (according to the University Physicists), and was a force that could be controlled and measured. The magnitude of the force was fairly small, but was measurable and repeatable. Developed a mathematical relationship to explain the force generated.
CYSF: How involved were your teachers and parents with your project(s)?
Not significantly, as they unfortunately didn’t have the expertise to assist. I sought out expertise through the University and Technical colleges. Support here was still fundamentally limited, as I was exploring a very specialized area of physics.
CYSF: How did the science fair experience affect your choice of career?
I initially went into engineering – mechanical and aerospace. I worked in the aerospace industry for 5 years, before becoming a pilot in the Military for a number of years. I developed a combustion heater for the US army in the early stages of my engineering career. Next I moved into aerospace repair development, designing repairs for turbine engines. I wanted to get involved in the aerospace field, and used my engineering background to get into this area. Even in the current field – running my own business – I was able to deploy new software development and new technology into the business, to develop a very unique business model of mass-customization, as I had the scientific and engineering background.
CYSF: What post-secondary institutions have you attended and in what programs?
SAIT – Technology
University of Calgary – Engineering
Royal Roads University (Victoria) – MBA
CYSF: Growing up, what were your views on science and your abilities in that field? How did participation in science fairs change those views?
I have always loved science and the learning of science topics, focused on physics. I felt that I was very capable of learning the science curriculum based on my achievements with science fair. I was able to present numerous papers for publication, learn how to properly present ideas, investigate and complete proper experimental procedures – all skills that I still use on a regular basis. There are actually people online who have published my science project papers online, around the world.
CYSF: Do you still have your science project(s)?
Yes – I have had them in storage for 20+ years. It would be the basic power supply and some of the basic experimental devices that I used for testing. I have tested the power supply about 15+ years ago – still seemed to work. I still have all of the reports, project descriptions, papers and general research materials surrounding the entire project.
CYSF: Would you recommend science fairs to others? What advice would you give to students you wish to participate in science fairs?
Absolutely. It is a great opportunity to learn and to investigate. A lot of the current curriculum is one-way – pointed from the instructor to the student. The science fair allows students to become the instructor and investigate and present new and exciting information to others. They are also a huge opportunity for scholarships into post-secondary education.
CYSF: Are you currently involved in mentoring youth in the field of science in any way? What do you believe is the best way to encourage students to pursue further education in the sciences?
Not science, but I have been mentoring students in business for years. The best way to encourage further science education would be to show them exactly what science and technology can do in the real business world. I also teach business/entrepreneur classes for people completing probation/restitution. I talk regularly to high schools about being entrepreneurial in their thinking, even if they don’t want to start a business, as well as take in numerous students throughout the year to work with the business to see what it is like.
CYSF: What is your present occupation/field of study?
I run a successful online, worldwide business based on mass-customization (ability to produce consumer products on-demand and personalized by the end customer). I developed an online design tool, the first of its kind, in 2005, as well as patented first product “skins”.
CYSF: What special recognition have you received during your career?
• Manning Innovation Award Nominee 2009
• Profit Magazine – 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Canada (#34) (2008)
• Manitoba Business Magazine – Fastest Growing Company in Manitoba (2008)
• Junior Achievement – Advisor of the Year – 2008
• Windsor Park Collegiate Career Internship Program – Partner of the Year
• Aviation Week and Space Technology – Top aviation photographs 1996/97/98
Find out what’s happening at this year’s Calgary Youth Science Fair.