Tyler Bragnalo received the innovative project of the year award on Feb. 21, 2013.
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THUNDER BAY -- The Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre named Mathew Leitch hero of the year.
Leitch won the title and was presented with the prize at the fifth annual RBC Innovation Awards, held at the Victoria Inn Thursday. A wood scientist at Lakehead University, Leitch helped attract more than $2 million in funding to develop a research capacity in wood science and forest products.
“For anyone, an award is recognition of the work we’ve been doing,” he said while sporting a homemade wooden tie. “It shows we’re doing good things at Lakehead University. We’ve done a lot of work mapping our resource and recognizing how we can use it.”
He said they work with a lot of companies to help them move into new areas such as the bio economy. The bottom line is, if there’s something someone is interested in doing with wood, Leitch said they’re willing to do research on it.
Leitch wasn’t the only recipient honoured at the awards ceremony.
Jon Wynn received the first innovation advisor award for his assistance in helping Nicole Reid with her business, Yuley’s Footwear. The award is a new category and is given to an individual who has been exemplary in their role as a mentor and advisor.
Wynn, who is an owner with Gear Up for Outdoors, said he was surprised when he received the award because he didn’t even know he was nominated.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” he said.
Tyler Bragnalo of Kam Valley Industries took home the innovative project award for his axis jib. The product works to elevate a camera load of up to 50 pounds from the floor to about eight feet.
Bragnalo said he’s also developed a machining process that fast tracks the assembly of parts in one location.
The result means it’s cheaper and less time consuming to assemble products.
“I just feel lucky to be able to work on these things,” he said. “(Clients) don’t have to inventory thousands of components before they have to sell their product. I’m able to provide them with their product much quicker.”
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