engineering

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Babcock Canada has donated $800,000 to launch a high-tech Interaction Lab at Camosun College’s Inter see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Carla Wilson

    Donation helps fuel Camosun high-tech interactive classes

    Photo: Matt Zeleny performs a 3-D scan of a bone in the high-tech Interaction Lab at Camosun College’s Interurban campus. Photograph By ADRIAN LAM, Times Colonist

    Babcock Canada has donated $800,000 to launch a high-tech Interaction Lab at Camosun College’s Interurban campus, part of a fundraising effort that has exceeded expectations amid growing recognition that more skilled trades workers need to be trained to meet demand.

    The donation from Babcock is the largest individual contribution to Camosun College Foundation’s TRADEmark of Excellence Campaign.

    The college’s fundraising effort has surged past the original $5-million goal, reaching $6.5 million.

    Funding the Interaction Lab made perfect sense to Mark Dixon, Babcock Canada president.

    “It is in our interest, as well as the local economy and the people, to try and promote more people getting into the trades,” he said.

    The Interaction Lab’s new equipment includes 3D printers, high-end scanners and virtual-reality technology. It allows students from different disciplines to work together using top-tier technology.

    Students will broaden their experiences, have the chance to be innovative, use their analytical skills and get comfortable using the latest technology, Dixon said. “I think it kind of brings them into the modern age.”

    Babcock Canada is a subsidiary of U.K.-based Babcock International, an engineering support-services organization serving customers around the globe.

    In Victoria, Babcock has the in-service support contract for Canada’s submarines.

    Tim Walzak, director of Camosun’s centre for applied research and innovation, said its current high-tech lab, called Camosun Innovates, is being expanded with the addition of the Babcock-funded equipment.

    The new lab will be installed in renovated space in the Jack White building, serving Camosun’s school of trades and technology students.

    The Babcock-funded technology will “really help us enhance what we already have,” Walzak said.

    The installation will be completed by July.

    “Once we move into the new space, it will give us great capacity to involve local companies in more and more projects,” Walzak said.

    Firms will have access to services and equipment that they would not have otherwise, he said.

    The lab’s open-door policy means all trades are welcome.

    One example of trades in technology is development of the “CamoSun” solar-heating system and installation. Many plumbing and pipefitting students are doing extra work for certification in this field. When they graduate, “they are fully tuned in to the latest approaches,” Walzak said.

    The 3-D technology means a small item can be scanned with laser or white light. Information from the scan is fed into a computer where it can be adjusted. Students can then print a 3-D model with their changes to try out. Dixon said this technology is already being used by Babcock to create equipment.

    Scanners can be used to gather information on a large area, such as a ship’s hull, and once that information goes into a computer, students can design what goes into that area.

    The TRADEmark campaign, which dovetailed with the new $30-million trades-training building at Camosun, raised money to buy equipment and renovate buildings.

    Donations came from individuals and companies, some owned by second- and third-generation families. Family gifts alone account for more than $1 million. Unions donated a total of $250,000.

    The campaign’s goal is to create a “trades powerhouse” at Camosun, said Murray Farmer, who chaired the initiative with wife Lynda.

    “From my point of view, you spend so much of your life working, you better be doing something that you really like. And if you can have a passion for what you are doing, you are going to do a better job, you are going to be more productive and you are going to just have a more fulfilled life.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    MetaLab is bringing world renowned developer trainers to Victoria March 10-11 and 14-18 see more

    MetaLab is bringing world renowned developer trainers to Victoria March 10-11 and 14-18. Big Nerd Ranch (they train Facebook and Apple developers in iOS) will provide an intense iOS + Swift bootcamp to cross train a large group of MetaLab engineering staff in iOS... And MetaLab has 5 spots left for VIATEC Members to purchase! It's incredibly hard to find people with the right iOS skills, so they thought, hey, why don't we just train everyone and invest the time and money to do it properly?

    Course outline: https://training.bignerdranch.com/classes/beginning-ios-iphone-ipad-with-swift

    MetaLab has 5 spots left in the course, and they want them to go to VIATEC Members.

    Typical cost is $5,200 USD, not including getting to their ranch in California or Atlanta. MetaLab is selling the seats for $5,000 CDN* each, which, if you consider how rare and sought after iOS skills are in Victoria, is an absolute drop in the bucket compared to impact of having iOS skills in-house!

    Interested Parties can contact Elexa Styan (elexa@metalab.co

    *Quick Note about Job Grants BC: You'd be unable to apply for this grant unfortunately due to MetaLab hiring BNR directly.

  • Silkstart Importer posted an article
    "This place has a very entrepreneurial attitude.” see more

    Source: Globe & Mail
    Author: Sean Silcoff

    Burgeoning tech companies are on the rise in Canada, attracting funding and IPO buzz in hubs across the country. The Globe & Mail's occasional series explores how each locale nurtures its entrepreneurs, the challenges they face and the rising stars we’re watching.

    Owen Matthews found the perfect way to convince his father, Ottawa tech pioneer Terry Matthews, to invest in a startup in his home base of Victoria: The company, Echosec Systems Ltd., can track social media postings by their geographic origin, so to demonstrate the power of the tool, the younger Mr. Matthews showed his father what had been posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram in the vicinity of his house. What showed up during the demonstration eight months ago shocked the billionaire: 15 pictures, including one of his grand-daughter, on his property. The first thing the elder Mr. Matthews did was track down the posters to get them to remove the pictures. The next thing he did was invest. “I like this tool, it clearly has a lot of value,” he told his son, who noted that the technology is already used by military and law enforcement agencies.

    While Terry Matthews is known as one of Ottawa’s most prominent tech investors, he and his son have also poured money and time into Victoria, another government town with a surprisingly buoyant tech ecosystem. Victoria does not have any big tech companies, but it has enough small and medium-sized firms that the sector – not government or tourism – is the top employer in the metropolis of 344,000 people. The Victoria Advanced Technology Council says there are 900 technology companies employing 15,000 people in the area, generating $4-billion in economic impact. “Most people go to Vancouver and miss Victoria because it’s a cute government town,” Owen Matthews says. “But this place has a very entrepreneurial attitude.”

    Mayor Lisa Helps argues that Victoria’s climate, abundance of restaurants, local beer and coffee, rental units and pleasant lifestyle options (“work here ends at kayak o’clock”) make it a magnet for startups. “What works in our ecosystem that makes us unique is small companies that grow rapidly and punch away above their weight on the world market,” she says.

    It’s certainly helped by the Matthews family: Owen Matthews, 43, came to University of Victoria to study computer science and psychology and never left, starting a telecommunications software company in 1998 and selling it to Vancouver’s CounterPath Corp. in 2007 (the Matthews family owns close to 30 per cent of the stock).

    He’s since helped develop the local startup scene by convincing several government and industry bodies, along with his alma mater and father, to fund the creation of the non-profit Alacrity Foundation, dedicated to helping nascent entrepreneurs get on their feet.

    Owen Matthews argues that the first six to 12 months of an entrepreneurial enterprise is too early for serious investors to commit financing. So the foundation offers training, space, mentorship, access to industry players and expense money to help get B.C.-based business and engineering graduates on their feet as entrepreneurs. The idea is that if they flourish at Alacrity, there may be investors ready to jump in after a year.

    Sure enough, several companies that have graduated from the program have landed seed investments, from the Matthews family and others. They include telecommunications software startup Tutela, online marketing firm Pretio and Echosec.

    Karl Swannie, a former partner of local geospatial technology firm CloverPoint who heads Echosec, argues that “you have to be good in Victoria to survive. Your software has to be good enough to make it off the island. Because if you don’t do well, you die.”