TechTalk Blog
EDS Advanced Solutions Named One of BC's Top Employers

EDS Advanced Solutions Inc (EAS), a subsidiary of EDS Canada Corp., a member of HP Enterprise Services, today announced it has been selected as one of British Columbia’s top 55 employers for 2010 by Media Corp Canada.

Companies are selected for leading their industries in offering exceptional places to work and are known for attracting and retaining employees.

“This is a great achievement,” said James Hamilton, president, EDS Advanced Solutions. We are pleased with this recognition and it demonstrates we are moving in the right direction. One of our top objectives this year is to not only provide excellent performance and service to our clients but to create a great place to work for our employees. It’s working.”

Hamilton credits EAS employees for the selection. He believes the ranking is possible because of EAS’ high level of employee engagement and the employees’ interest in creating a great place to work.

EAS employees collectively developed the company’s vision statement which is “To be recognized by industry, clients, and employees as Canada’s No. 1 provider of labour-friendly business process and technology services”. 

Formula One Circuit Goes Solar with Carmanah Technologies

This fall, the world of motorsport will celebrate a spectacular new venue when the first Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place on Yaz Island from October 30th to November 1st. Combining world-class luxury and cutting-edge innovation, the Yas Marine Circuit also incorporates solar-LED lighting technology from Carmanah Technologies (TSX:CMH), provided by Carmanah’s authorized distributor in the Middle East, PTL SOLAR.

Designed to perform reliably in some of the world’s most challenging environments, Carmanah’s solar-LED obstruction lights are compact, durable and self-contained, making them a suitable choice for a range of applications — whether helping to mark a sweltering airfield runway, a frozen navigational buoy, or obstructions along a busy roadway. For this application, one hundred Carmanah 600-series lights will help mark potential hazards to ground and air traffic including towers, lamp standards and obstructions along the YAS Marina Circuit’s trackside. Other Carmanah solar-LED technology at this location includes two internally illuminated windsocks, designed to accommodate round-the-clock helicopter service.

As the only motorsports venue in the world to offer covered grandstands for all (50,000+) spectators, the new Yas Marina Circuit will also be the first Formula 1 venue to start the race in daylight and end during nighttime. Sophisticated lighting technology throughout the facility will ensure a seamless transition from daylight to dark, providing a consistent daylight effect, while eliminating shadow or glare for drivers and spectators alike. As part of this optimized lighting environment, Carmanah’s LED lighting equipment will offer a safe and practical solution.

Designed for optimum visibility, Carmanah’s time-tested A601 and state-of-the-art A650 obstruction lights offer more than 250 possible flash patterns, and can be ordered in a choice of blue, yellow, green, white, or as in this case, red light outputs. Optimized and tested to the toughest industrial and military standards, Carmanah solar-powered lights will ensure a dependable year-round solution for this challenging location.


Oregon Wave Energy Trust Awards New Contract

PORTLAND, Oregon, October 16, 2009Oregon Wave Energy Trust recently awarded JASCO Applied Sciences – a leading company in the areas of underwater acoustics and the impact on the environment of noise from industrial operations – a contract to define an operating framework for assessment of underwater noise from wave energy projects.

Plans for wave energy development in the coastal waters of Oregon require the definition of a clear framework for the assessment of potential underwater noise effects from industrial activity on the surrounding ecosystems, thereby allowing regulatory agencies to refer to a standardized set of guidelines for acoustic impact assessment requirements. These will include both the establishing of a seasonal ambient noise baseline and the estimation and later monitoring of underwater noise produced by the construction and operation of the devices. Having an internationally respected independent consulting company develop such a framework will ensure that Oregon’s environmental assessment practices in this sector are based on a solid and trustworthy scientific approach.

"This study will provide important information to wave energy developers and regulatory agencies as we work to continue the responsible development of the wave energy industry in Oregon,” said Kevin Banister, president, board of directors, Oregon Wave Energy Trust. “We're excited to work with such a qualified and recognized partner as JASCO Applied Sciences. This project, in addition to the others the Oregon Wave Energy Trust has sponsored, continues to lay the groundwork for economic development and job creation from this exciting new industry."

Key components of the research to be conducted by JASCO Applied Sciences include identifying present knowledge about the background underwater noise environment in regions of Oregon coastal waters where wave energy development may take place, documenting current information about anthropogenic noise levels from comparable installations in other geographic locations, and defining protocols and methodology guidelines for the estimation and measurement of underwater noise at both the planning and development stages of a wave energy project. The final report is scheduled to be available in December 2009.

“We are very enthusiastic about this study that will assist in defining accountable, realizable and forward looking environmental permitting processes for wave energy development in Oregon. Building from the experience that we have accumulated in both conventional and renewable energy offshore development projects, we shall work with Oregon Wave Energy Trust to provide acoustic measurement methodologies for regulatory assessment that will both help safeguard the environment and provide unambiguous standards to industry” said Roberto Racca, chief communications officer, JASCO Applied Sciences and one of the senior researchers assigned to this study.

Times Colonist Reports: Engaged workers is good business

Written by: Andrew Duffy, Times Colonist Reporter

  Jim Hamilton doesn't mind the joke that it's a wonder any work gets done at EDS Advanced Solutions.

In fact, the president of the IT firm, a division of HP Enterprise Services, suggests just being able to make the joke is actually good for business because the firm offers a variety of seemingly non-work-related perks to its employees.

It certainly helped EDS get recognized as one of the province's top 55 employers in a survey done by Mediacorp Canada.

"We believe that getting engaged employees, employees who really enjoy what they are doing, enjoy where they are working makes a huge difference in terms of their performance and the way they treat the clients," said Hamilton.

"If they are happy our clients seem to be happy."

And that leads to a healthy bottom line. "(Being recognized) has been a great vindication, … it really does confirm we are on the right track," Hamilton said. "One of our top three objectives for this year was to make [EDS] a great place to work. It was right up there with making our financials and delivering great service to our clients."

To keep the 390 employees at EDS engaged and happy, the company has provided access to a free onsite fitness facility, an on-site meditation room, and maternity and parental top-up payments.

The company also helps employees make the transition to retirement with phased-in retirement work options and assistance with succession planning. There is also a flexible work schedule and, because EDS is part of the HP family, employees have access to discounts on HP and Compaq computer equipment and employee prices for vehicles, hotels and travel.

Because EDS is located at the Vancouver Island Technology Park, there is also the attraction of an environmentally responsible workplaces as the park is rated LEED Gold.

The park also means EDS employees have access to foosball tables, darts and employee lounge areas, a series of forested walking trails, basketball and volleyball courts, secure bike storage and onsite dry cleaning.

"To say we value our employees is an understatement," said Hamilton. "They are fundamental to everything we do. There is no lip service in our company; we really do provide a great place to work."

The company maintains its employees are appreciated, understood and developed, noting employees collectively developed our company vision statement — "To be recognized by industry, clients, and employees as Canada's No. 1 provider of labour-friendly business process and technology services."


Times Colonist Reports: UVic Professor shares entrepreneurship award

The University of Victoria's Brad Buckham shared honours with tech entrepreneur and academic Gerri Sinclair yesterday in the first entrepreneurship fellow awards to be granted by the British Columbia Innovation Council.

Buckham, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Victoria, leads the West Coast Wave collaboration program, which is studying wave energy potential off the west coast Vancouver Island, and he is co-inventor of the SyncWave Power Resonator that harnesses wave energy for sustainable power generation.

Sinclair is executive director of the Masters of Digital Media Program at the Centre for Digital Media, a joint program of the University of B.C., Simon Fraser University, British Columbia Institute of Technology and Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Recipients of the entrepreneurship award, which debuts this year, get $20,000 to be used for education or commercialization initiatives at their institution.

In other BCIC awards, Mahmoud Pouladi, at PhD student at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics at UBC, received the Ripples of Hope Award in biotechnology and entrepreneurship, an award that provides an internship opportunity in a B.C. biotech company.

Lungpacer Medical won the emerging technology award for its Transvasular Diaphragm Pacing System, a system developed to assist with the mechanical ventilation of critically ill patients in intensive care.

Vigil Health Secures $770 Thousand Sale

Vigil Health Solutions Inc. (“Vigil”), is pleased to announce receipt of a signed contract for $770 thousand from a leading North American provider of seniors housing. The client’s project is the largest system implementation in Vigil’s history.

Located in Virginia the 108-acre campus is one of the largest senior living communities in the country.  The signed contract received in September is the 17th sale to this corporate group and utilizes Vigil’s latest hybrid wireless/wired emergency call technology in a large, multi-building Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).

“Our scalable solution has been proven in sites ranging in size from a few residents up to high rises as well as campuses spread over several acres.  This sale is a testament to the breadth of the technology and the capabilities of our team at implementation.” said Troy Griffiths, President, Vigil Health Solutions Inc.

For information on other second quarter sales please see the Company’s quarterly news release to be disseminated in November.

Federal Funding Strengthens Life Sciences Sector in British Columbia

Today, Andrew Saxton, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced federal support for LifeSciences British Columbia to strengthen its industry development capabilities. 

"Life sciences is one of the key contributors to the global economy and our Government’s support has been instrumental in the development of this sector in Canada,” said Mr. Saxton. “Today’s investment will allow LifeSciences BC to further diversify and improve this vital sector of the British Columbia economy."

As a result of this funding, LifeSciences British Columbia will implement a multi-year strategic plan focused on strengthening the workforce and economic capablities of the life sciences sector. Activities will include marketing, public education and outreach programs to increase research collaboration and investment capital. The life sciences sector in B.C. is diverse in nature and includes companies, research institutions, industry associations, government labs and professional service providers active in a range of fields.

“Global marketing of British Columbia’s life sciences sector is pivotal to partnering and investment opportunities in our sector.  Public education is important to the understand the role of life sciences in providing solutions for not only a better quality of life, but also for economic development in the new knowledge economy,” said Karimah Es Sabar, President of LifeSciences BC. “WD is an enabler of us, allowing the implementation of important projects supporting their activities.”

$754,000 in federal funding for this project is being provided through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) under the Western Diversification Program. This is WD’s third science and technology related announcement this week in British Columbia.

LifeSciences British Columbia supports and represents the biopharmaceutical, medical device, bioproducts and bioenergy, and greater life sciences community of British Columbia through leadership, advocacy and promotion of our world-class science and industry.

Western Economic Diversification Canada works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and represents the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.

ImmunoPrecise to service the quantitative proteomics field

ImmunoPrecise has secured funding from the Canadian National Research Council (NRC) to explore the use of novel and highly specific monoclonal antibodies coupled with mass spectrometry for absolute quantitation of proteins from biological samples. The research will span close to one and a half years and total $320,000.00 with a contribution of over $200,000.00 from NRC's Industrial Research Assistance Program.

Major breast cancer breakthrough announced at BC Cancer Agency

For the first time in history, BC Cancer Agency scientists have decoded all of the three billion letters in the DNA sequence of a metastatic lobular breast cancer tumour and have found all of the mutations, or “spelling” mistakes that caused the cancer to spread.The landmark study, which will be published tomorrow as the cover story in the prestigious international science journal Nature, helps unlock the secrets of how cancer begins and spreads, thus pointing the way to the development of new breast cancer treatment targets and therapies.

“I never thought I would see this in my lifetime,” said Dr. Samuel Aparicio, head of the breast cancer research program at the BC Cancer Agency. “This is a watershed event in our ability to understand the causes of breast cancer and to develop personalized medicines for our patients. The number of doors that can now be opened to future research is considerable.”

The discovery is not only a major scientific milestone for the BC Cancer Agency, an acknowledged world leader in cancer research care, but also a significant testimony to the power of philanthropy invested in science to fuel cancer research and drive new discoveries.  Unarguably, the Weekend to End Breast Cancer has made a huge impact on providing funding this research. Thank You.

Watch a short video from Dr. Aparicio, read more about this breakthrough  and learn how your donations support breast cancer research at the BC Cancer Agency. 

Victoria News Reports: High-tech monitors track methane on seabed

Roszan Holmen

News staff

Trawlers stumbled upon it accidentally off Vancouver Island’s coast .

Dredged up from the sea floor, half a ton of yellowish ice filled their nets, taking both the fishing and scientific community by surprise.

“It was just astonishing,” said Ross Chapman, the lead investigator in a project to study the mysterious mounds of ice. 

Some five years later, he and his team of international engineers, geophysicists, ecologists and  biologists have high-tech surveillance equipment trained on the frozen gas hydrates (comprised mainly of methane) 24/7. 

Chapman’s proposal — to study where and why the methane ice forms and how long it lasts —  was one of a handful selected by Victoria-based NEPTUNE Canada, dedicated to researching the ocean depths. 

Last week, NEPTUNE crews returned from their month-long mission to install dozens of sensors and probes along the sea floor, off the West Coast of Vancouver Island. 

Frozen methane is a source of growing concern and interest for scientists, governments and oil companies around the world. While some fear rising temperatures will speed its release into the atmosphere, others, such as the Geoscience Centre in Sidney, are investigating its potential as a source of fuel. 

“Methane is perhaps 100 times more potent as a green house gas than Co2,” said NEPTUNE’s project director Chris Barnes. 

Frozen methane in the Arctic permafrost gets most of the media attention while methane off the coast is “out of sight, out of mind,” he said.

“In the bigger picture, one really needs to be worried because there are probably far more hydrates in the marine realm than in these relatively small permafrost areas.”

In the ocean, methane solidifies under a certain temperature and pressure. It occurs extensively along continental margins in many parts of the world and has been discovered to run from B.C. down to Oregon. 

Just how big the deposits are, however, nobody knows.

Also unknown is how global warming will affect the gas hydrates.

“We’re not sure which way it will go,” said Mairi Best, NEPTUNE’s associate director of science, who just returned from the month-long sea voyage.

While warming oceans could cause the methane to bubble to the surface, rising sea levels could also counteract the temperature change.

Chapman’s research takes place at Barkley Canyon, an underwater valley cut by ancient rivers 100 kilometres off the coast. While methane is usually frozen in the subsurface, here it juts out in the form of icy mounds.

Among the many probes, sensors and cameras installed by NEPTUNE is a machine named Wally.

Wally is Chapman’s main “methane sniffer.”

“He’s kind of a myopic little fellow that can’t see very far,” said Chapman, admitting Wally’s taken on a real personality in the minds of the whole crew.

Wally is a crawler that’s tethered to a track and designed at Jacobs University in Germany.

Equipped with a light and webcam, Wally is trained to respond to the unexpected, such as seismic events.

Operators will send Wally on a mission to check out how the change has effected the methane structures.

Wally’s also equipped with a number of sensors to measure methane, temperature, water flow, and salt concentration.

The data is continuously streamed to NEPTUNE’s headquarters at the University of Victoria.