Mary Austin has stepped down from her role as Director of Business Development with Austin Engineering to launch a new clean technology company dedicated to optimizing the electrical energy sector.

She now heads Austin Innovation, which is leading the charge from Trail, B.C.

“We’re located in the heart of the Kootenay-Columbia River system, home to 18 dams and generating stations on the Canadian side alone,” she explains. “Our business focuses on harnessing renewable materials and energy sources to optimize natural resource use.”

Mary is dedicating her full attention to her new venture. She looks forward to enhancing future client’s networks through data systems, cleantech software, and hardware products.

“Austin Innovation helps clients reduce energy loss and optimize designs; we’re working to create cleaner, more efficient networks that generate and optimize existing power areas,” she explains. “The system for efficiently managing electrical energy is highly reliable, but could be enhanced with 21st century tech solutions to meet modern standards by using our technology to provide new metrics on cost, environmental impact, and end user delivery.”

The company officially launched in late March, concurrent with new developments in the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Though outside the company’s scope, Mary shifted the business to temporarily focus on manufacturing medical face shields to meet the demand generated by the crisis.

“We’ve effectively collaborated with Selkirk College and other local businesses to scale production of health and emergency worker personal protective equipment (PPE) from our lab,” she explains.

The assembled team iterated designs based on end-user feedback to create a high-quality design tailored to meet form, fit, function, comfort, and ease of sterilization targets.

“Our team has shared design and production techniques with the Provincial Health Services Authority, partners at the University of British Columbia, who are coordinating epidemiology with national and international teams, and colleagues abroad,” explains Mary. “I’m proud of the responsive action we took and the contribution we’ve made. We’re extraordinarily grateful for the foresight our community leaders showed in creating the MIDAS lab – now the Selkirk Technology Access Centre – which built invaluable relationships and high-skill local capacity.”

Austin Engineering supported Austin Innovation and Jason Taylor, instructor and researcher at Selkirk College, to design the effective PPE. 

“Mary has a passion for driving the economy in the West Kootenay Boundary; she’s always finding ways to improve business. She is a problem solver and connector and I’m very pleased she’s taking on this new opportunity to make positive change in our community for the long term,” says Roger Austin. “Of course we will miss her drive and focus but we’re happy she’ll be putting her energy into her new cleantech company.”