Calling all engineering superheroes in a brave new world
By Sohail Kamal, West Coast CorrespondentElectronics Engineering Medical consultancy consultancy engineering engineering prototyping prototyping
MistyWest sets goal to create intelligent, connected devices
The COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on markets and commercial activity will present challenges to everyone. From an individual standpoint, consumption and work routines have changed. The challenges could deepen depending on the severity and length of the crisis, and the uncertainty will make it hard to anticipate how a recovery could unfold.
Many companies have pivoted to help out: Bauer is making medical devices and Tesla is developing ventilators, to name a few high profile examples. More than ever, we have pitted our hopes on our engineers and scientists – this time, to solve a viral calamity that has led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, and counting.
Enter MistyWest. West Tech Report recently had the opportunity to reach out to Leigh Christie, co-founder, engineer, and community builder of MistyWest, one of Western Canada’s highly regarded contract engineering and design firms. They have worked on several high-profile product development projects with a humanitarian slant, and the team has grown from a start-up just over a decade ago to over 25 full-time equivalent employees in 2020.
Mandate to create intelligent & connected devices
Their goals as an organization are lofty. Their mandate is to create intelligent and connected devices that have positive impacts on the health and prosperity of all. By targeting projects that support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), MistyWest stands out.
“We’ve grown a lot because of our incredible engineering talent, and our unique work culture. Plus our specialization [in connected and intelligent devices] has been an incredible growth industry,” says Christie. The firm’s work is usually commissioned by large organizations, such as Microsoft, Google, LuluLemon, and Intel, but they also work with start-up companies.
One of the challenges with having an ambitious vision is that it requires finding other ambitious companies, of adequate size, to work with and work for. In this way, being in Vancouver has been both a blessing and a curse.
Deep talent pool
“The talent pool [in Vancouver] is deep, but there are not enough Fortune500 companies in Vancouver who need our help. But we are always looking for companies who think big and want to change the world for the better,” explains Christie. “More specifically, we are really picky about the projects we work on. We choose projects that require a multi-disciplinary team, who are working on exciting new technologies.”
Misty West’s unique culture and success may explain why companies often sought them out for strategies in hiring and culture.
“More companies are looking to us to sort out what a company should be, how we succeed in operating so differently. In the hardware community we like to help guide the careers of many engineers,” says Christie. MistyWest often helps to bring top engineering minds together through hosting speaking engagements, but social distancing has forced MistyWest to postpone their most recent engagement. Their Robotics Overlords event, which has been postponed until June, will feature machine learning and artificial intelligence, and is at the core of MistyWest’s outreach.
“It’s how we make friends, build the community, recruit, and find new clients,” Christie adds.
Partnering to make ventilators
In the meantime, MistyWest is working on the third UN SDG of Health and Wellbeing, partnering with Ocalink Tech to help manufacture one-million ventilators in 90-days. That is one fantastic goal. MistyWest’s website explains that
“We are passionate about creating futuristic technologies that enable a healthier planet and bring prosperity to all humankind.” Perhaps lofty, but our world is especially in need of superheroes this year.
Christie has created an open-source COVID-19 Medical Supplies group (#OSCMSBC) for anyone in BC engineering, manufacturing, government, or medicine to collaborate on solutions. To learn more about MistyWest, go to www.mistywest.com.
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