Howard Malm

PhD (Physics),  1971

"I attended SFU from 1968 to 1971 working towards my Ph.D. in Physics. During that time I met my wife. Both our sons have degrees from SFU.

My degree was granted for work on cadmium sulphide, under the supervision of Rudi Haering, head of the Physics Department and Academic VP. Prior to that I had received my B.Sc. (Honors) and M.Sc. in Physics from U of A in Edmonton and worked at Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) on germanium gamma ray spectrometer development, which brought greatly improved precision to nuclear spectroscopy.

Following my return to AECL and 3 years of work on other semiconductors for nuclear spectroscopy, I joined Aptec Engineering as Technical Director and later VP of Engineering. My mandate was to develop production of germanium spectrometers and other nuclear radiation measurement systems for research and the nuclear power industry.

With the slow-down of the nuclear industry in the 1980’s I joined a small company in Vancouver to provide project management. While the main project was a control system for a small nuclear power source, a secondary project involved the development of a computer-based diagnostic system for large engines (> 1000 HP). This project was the genesis of a product for determination of large engine health. I formed a company to take over the manufacture, sales and continued development of this product, CARMA.

In 1999 my company and my services were acquired by Spartan Controls of Calgary. The reduced management load enabled me to concentrate on development of improved monitoring and controls technology for large industrial engines in natural gas production. This spawned several REMVue products and several patents, which, by improving energy efficiency and using petroleum gases otherwise released to the atmosphere, now contribute to the annual reduction of over 500,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent compared to business-as-usual technology. This is equal to the CO2 output from about 100,000 cars in one year.

In retrospect, my time at SFU (also during the days of student revolt) taught me to not be constrained by old ways and how to systematically proceed to a project goal. My supervisor, Rudi Haering, was very supportive in these respects

My years in the business world have taught me the importance of excellent written and verbal communication skills to translate highly technical work into terms that others can understand.

My degree from SFU demonstrated my ability to learn new things quickly and to prepare a thesis. My experience at SFU taught me to question current ideas, which continues to be a huge advantage in discovering opportunities to make things better."

- Written by the Faculty of Science

Categories

Science I Technology

Disciplines

Physics

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