Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association

Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association Gives Award to Inventor of Paediatric Prosthetic Device

MEVA treasurer, Jeff Bergal, presents 1st place award to Matthew Gale for his invention, a paediatric prosthesis.

1st place winner Matthew Gale smiles broadly, and MEVA member Tom Tessier claps enthusiastically, as MEVA Treasurer Jeff Bergal presents Matthew with a cheque for $1,000.

On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, several hundred people converged on Winnipeg’s Innovation Alley for a big block party, hosted by the North Forge Technology Exchange. In the “Alley,” folks were treated to 3D scans, virtual reality demonstrations, and an inspiring display by over 30 of the neighbourhood’s most amazing startup technology companies. Ziya Tong, the ever-popular co-host of the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, emceed the formal portion of the event. Earlier, Ziya and her crew shot video for Daily Planet at the North Forge Fabrication Lab. Five years ago, that fab lab (formerly known as AssentWorks) was started by volunteers. Since then, it has become North America’s most successful, member-operated, publicly-accessible, product prototyping workshop!

Bell Canada CEO George Cope kicked off the festivities by announcing that Bell intends to continue the substantial support for innovation at North Forge, which was begun by MTS, under the leadership of its CEO Jay Forbes. Cope ramped up the excitement, by declaring that Innovation Alley will be the launch site for Bell’s outstanding broadband fibre network and LTE wireless networks in Manitoba. Compared to what’ available to most Winnipeggers presently, Bell broadband will be twenty times faster and wireless speed will increase by a factor of four or five. That fantastic news was heartily endorsed by everyone, including Mayor Brian Bowman, Premier Brian Pallister and most especially by the CEO of North Forge Technology Exchange, Jeff Ryzner, and North Forge Board Member Chris Johnson. (If you have a smartphone, then you’ll really enjoy watching this announcement in full 360º video. It’s truly astounding – as if you’re really there! But it works best [undistorted] on a smartphone. This amazing video was created by Dan Blair, founder and CEO of Bit Space Development Ltd.)

Off stage, Manitoba’s Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade, Cliff Cullen, expressed his support for the North Forge Technology Exchange, and so did Kathy Knight, CEO of the Information and Communications Technology Association of Manitoba.

Next up was Pitch Idol, a rapid-fire event animated by Ace Burpee. The irrepressible 103.1 Virgin Radio host gave ten aspiring entrepreneurs just ninety seconds each to explain why their product prototype could become the most successful new business. As President of the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association (MEVA) and Past-Chairman of the North Forge Fabrication Lab Member Council, yours truly was privileged to have been invited to join Pat Solman, a Senior Vice-President at MTS, and Ziya Tong, to judge the competition.

All the pitches were impressive. But, we judges were unanimous, one pitch stood out from the rest. Using CAD programming and a 3D metal printer, Matthew Gale has created a truly affordable myoelectrically-controlled prosthetic arm. In addition to having great potential to become a successful product, Matthew’s prosthesis could dramatically improve the lives of millions of underprivileged children around the world. To reward Matthew for earning 1st place, MEVA Treasurer Jeff Bergal presented the innovator with a cheque for $1,000 and wished him every success in bringing his product to market. (To learn more about the prosthesis Mathew has invented, read Braeden Jone’s article.

MEVA members also congratulate 2nd place finisher Kyle Jagassar, for pitching his clever new cell phone repair service, Techmate Inc., and Adriana Brkic, for HeartShip, her proposal to revolutionize international shipping. They were rewarded by RRC and MTS. Kudos to all ten product innovators for making excellent pitches. Please, keep up the good work.

Many Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association members were at the event to demonstrate our association’s continuing commitment to innovation in Manitoba. MEVA members from Peg City Car Co-op and First Nation Auto displayed a plug-in Ford Focus and a Nissan LEAF, the world’s most popular electric vehicle. Also, film-maker Bruce Little and other MEVA members showed off Electruc, the star of the movie DRIVE FOR FREE 2 – The Revolution Continues. (It’s one of the Stories From Home, which can be viewed for free on MTS TV cable.) Because, some of the ELECTRUC components were made at the the North Forge Fabrication Lab, Ziya Tong’s visit to Innovation Alley wouldn’t have been complete without seeing that award-winning, electric vehicle. Now, Ziya wants an EV!

Also celebrating at Tuesday’s event were Wab Kinew, MLA for Fort Rouge; Winnipeg City Councillor Ross Eadie; several Bell and MTS executives; University of Winnipeg President Dr. Annette Trimbee; Red River College board members, staff and students; representatives from the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, the World Trade Centre Winnipeg, and most of the province’s leading business and professional organizations. MEVA thanks our good friends at New Flyer Industries for providing several special guests with shuttle service to and from the event onboard the quiet, comfortable Xcelsior battery-electric bus. A special thanks to the Director of New Product Development at New Flyer, Thomas Small, who attended the event, and thanks to Russ for driving the bus. Despite the cool temperatures, a great time was had by all!

Photo courtesy of  Wayne Perkins, Relish New Brand Experience






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