Meet the Speakers at the 2023 KORE Rec-Tech Summit

The Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Enterprise (KORE) Outdoor Rec-Tech Summit is Canada’s only conference dedicated to the outdoor rec-tech manufacturing and product design sector. The summit will be held October 11-13, 2023 at the Kimberley Alpine Resort’s Conference Centre in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia and there will be an optional “stay and play” day on the 14th for those who would like to explore and recreate.

Industry thought leaders and speakers will be giving presentations throughout the event and anybody interested in outdoor rec-tech manufacturing and product design in British Columbia, Alberta, Pacific Northwest and the U.S. Western States are invited to attend.

For more information about the speakers at the event, see the listings below.

Jeff Polster, Design & Manufacturing Manager, Rux Box Corporation

Jeff serves as the Design and Manufacturing Manager at RUX Box Corporation. With a robust background in mechanical engineering and an unwavering passion for all things outdoors, he has forged a career dedicated to collaborating with small companies and startups to bring their innovative concepts to life. Whether it’s bags, or bikes, if you use it outside he’s probably interested in finding a way to make it better.

His presentation is called “Creating a Category” and will be a Q&A format with Christian Rawles from Ambler Mountain Works.

Kailey Allan, Mechanical Designer & Selkirk College Instructor

Kailey Allan is a mechanical designer, instructor, and faculty researcher at Selkirk College with a background in consumer product design and digital technology. She’s a founding faculty member of Selkirk’s Digital Fabrication and Design Program in Trail, BC and teaches courses in 3D design, 3D printing, and CNC machining. Kailey is also a program advisor, working to understand the needs of local industry and to connect students to fulfilling careers in design and manufacturing. When she’s not working, she is backcountry skiing, mountain biking, and trail running.

In her presentation, Kailey will touch on how to think more conscientiously and sustainably, and to use design and digital technology as a tool to better our futures.

Jonathan Audet – CEO, Ferreol Skis

Jonathan Audet has spent the past 12 years working in the ski industry in Quebec and is an experienced alpine Slopestyle skier, having competed in numerous events. He is the CEO of Ferreol Skis, based in Quebec, and the co-founder of Ferreol Technologies, which aims to provide eco-friendly and performance solutions for the ski and sports industries.

In his presentation, Jonathan will be discussing his business journey and specifically the launch of the spinoff Ferreol Technologies, which developed and commercialized the world’s strongest aluminum alloy along with an innovative surface treatment that offered high bonding strength. The idea originated during the development of sustainable and high-performance solutions for Ferreol Skis and lead to the realization that the solutions should form a separate business model. By commercializing the innovations to other ski manufacturers and sports industries, the company aims to extend its positive impacts on the environment.

Tanner Fandrey, Owner of Grey Space Adaptives

Tanner Fandrey has been passionate about outdoor recreation since a young age. Some of his favorite sports include skiing, rock climbing, and hockey. In 2009 he was diagnosed with a degenerative hip condition called Avascular Necrosis in his right hip. One year later Tanner was hit with a second diagnosis of Bilateral Avascular Necrosis in the left hip. In 2012 Tanner learned the root cause was Ankylosing Spondylitis and, with both hips unstable and decaying, he was told he’d never compete in sport again. After the diagnosis, Tanner turned to adaptive sports such as sledge hockey and sit skiing where he excelled. He competed on the international stage in both sledge hockey and sit ski racing before retiring from competition and has now turned to designing lightweight custom adaptive sporting equipment for disabled athletes. Tanner is a mechanical engineering technologist with a passion for solving complex problems through simplification. He has brought this mindset into the disabled sporting world and developed equipment that is up to 30 percent lighter than other gear found on the market. Tanner looks to unlock the inaccessible for all athletes with continual design improvements and direct manufacturer-to-customer relations. He started Grey Space Adaptives in March of 2023 and the company is currently producing its first sleds for commercial release in late October 2023.

At the Summit, Tanner will be discussing precision, performance and progression, the three driving factors of the disabled sporting community. Athletes are pushing the boundaries of what is possible and it’s their equipment that has become the limiting factor rather than their disabilities. How can manufacturers support this athlete progression and allow disabled athletes to compete at the highest possible levels without barriers?

Russell McPherson, Founder, Gear re-Store

Russell McPherson is the founder of Gear re-Store, which has locations in Calgary, Denver, and Philadelphia. He earned his Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Manitoba, went on to complete a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University in Ontario, and then worked as a Certified Management Accountant from 1991 to 2018. Russell has direct experience with companies large and small, private and public, and in a variety of industries, but eventually his passion for innovation and business collided with his love for the outdoors, and so began Gear re-Store.

His presentation at the 2023 Summit is called “End of Life vs. End of First Life” and he’ll be speaking about re-Commerce, upcycling, downcycling, business sustainability and collaboration opportunities among other things.

Robert Bleier, Founder of Tempus 3D

Born and raised in the Kootenays, Robert Bleier spent the first part of his career in banking after studying at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He made into the transportation and resources industries in 2013 and then returned to the Kootenays with his family a few years ago. Founding Tempus 3D in June of 2020, Robert is delivering on his vision of building a sustainable manufacturing Hub in the Kootenays built on industry 4.0 philosophies and providing high-skilled and exciting jobs for the residents of the Kootenays.

Robert’s presentation will include three customer case studies from different sectors about how 3D printing, injection molding, and CNC machining was used at different stages during product development lifecycle.

Dr. Bryn Crawford – Program Manager, University of British Columbia’s Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute

Dr. Bryn Crawford is an engineer with technical expertise in materials, process and multi-physics modeling, artificial intelligence methods, logistics and supply chain management among other topics, particularly in the contexts of research and development towards commercialization. He has worked in both academic and industrial settings, executing over $20M of projects. He’s had many roles including the Manager of Test Engineering global programs at Fox Factory and is currently the Program Manager of circular economy-related projects and initiatives at the University of British Columbia’s Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute. He works with various community stakeholders to establish technical needs towards circularizing supply chains, match-making with faculty who have relevant expertise, creating knowledge transfer mechanisms and establishing project scopes, budgets, funding sources and timelines that integrate with stakeholder needs.

Dr. Crawford will be presenting about UBC’s MMRI, a world-class initiative that supports Canada’s industrial, government and non-profit sectors among others, for advancing technologies and education for a globally-competitive future. In the circular economy space, the Institute offers a range of programs to this end, including a partnership with NRC-IRAP that provides seed funding to Canadian SMEs for feasibility studies in circularizing products and supply chains, hosting research and networking events for knowledge dissemination, as well as building collaborative projects with researchers of all disciplines towards training and integrating the next-generation of students. MMRI is also in the process of developing a micro-credential course with industry partners, on training decision-makers to build triple-bottom-line business plans for circularizing value chains, using current best-practices.

James Friedrich, Senior Merchant, Mountain Equipment Company

James Friedrich is a product consultant who specializes in helping businesses unlock growth and he’s also a senior merchant for Mountain Equipment Company who oversees a $60M product portfolio, collaborating with some of the outdoor industry’s major brands. But before all that, James was an engineer and startup founder. His primary goal is to offer entrepreneurs the guidance and support he wished he had many years ago. Attendees of his presentation will get a peek behind the curtain of more than 5,000 products to discover the secrets to explosive growth and save years of trial and error. Imagine gaining wisdom from some of the top companies in the outdoor industry that have successfully transitioned from struggling to thriving. James will share practical insights on how you can do just that, with examples gleaned from years working with thousands of products and hundreds of companies.

Cam Shute, Owner of Dark Horse Innovations

Cam Shute of Dark Horse Innovations worked for G3 for 18 years before setting up his own company that designs and engineers a variety of outdoor products. His presentation will be about managing new product development and the key tools required. “The product development process is complex and non linear,” he says. “This talk will go through the process at a high level, and highlight some key tools to be used during the process.” Also included will be a discussion about how to manage the process and real life examples of the application of these tools and processes will be presented and discussed. Cam says, “One thing to ask yourself prior to attending this talk is, ‘Can I describe my work as a process?’ If not, you might not really know what you’re doing. These tools and process can be applied if you’re a startup or a corporate juggernaut.”

Dustin Adams, CEO, We Are One Composites

Dustin Adams is the CEO of We Are One Composites in Kamloops and his presentation is “Overcoming manufacturing challenges – workforce, retention, space, zoning and more.”

As the owner of a company that builds carbon fibre bike components and frames at a factory in North Kamloops, Dustin says he’s had to overcome various obstacles related to attracting, training, and retaining staff as well as space, automation, and more. What he’s learned is municipalities that invest in cultural activities that support the manufacturing sector, and that create zoning for the right-sized commercial and industrial space for manufacturing businesses will see a major uptick in both outside investment and new healthy population growth.

P.J. Hunton, Senior Design Engineer, Norco Bicycles

P.J. Hunton is a self-proclaimed mountain bike addict of 30 years and has been at Norco Bicycles for the last 15 of those years. Starting out as Engineering Manager, he steadily built up a strong design and engineering team that went on to design multiple award-winning bicycles. In 2017 P.J. took on his current Senior Design Engineer role at Norco when his family made the decision to move to Kimberley where he now works remotely and where they enjoy the Kootenay lifestyle together.

In his presentation, P.J. will be discussing downhill mountain bike racing, which is often called the Formula One of mountain biking. He’ll share te inside story of Norco Bicycles’ journey from 2007 until the present, travelling the globe on the UCI World Cup Downhill circuit, developing downhill racing bikes, navigating the pandemic, and ultimately doubling down on R&D investment in the midst of financial crisis with a project that’s goal is to create the fastest downhill racing bicycle the world has ever seen.

Katrina Hillyer, Founder, Earth Warrior

Katrina Hillyer is the Founder of Earth Warrior based in Edmonton, Alberta. With a love for nature and textiles she has been on the pursuit to create circular processes by upcycling textiles into solutions to reduce single-use waste. She has over 10 years of upcycling experience and since 2020 has diverted over 15,000 pounds of textiles from landfills. She has also developed a full-circle model in her studio and generates close to zero waste.

In her presentation, Katrina will be sharing facts on textile waste, upcycling solutions, design development, and sustainable business practices.

Adam Marchand, Engineering Manager, We Are One Composites

Adam was born and raised in Ontario where he first fell in love with cycling through road riding and triathlons, but quickly caught the mountain biking bug when he started university. After working in tech and Silicon Valley for a few years, he realized he was much more passionate about the outdoors space and decided to make an engineering career out of it. He joined Kamloops, BC-based We Are One Composites in 2020 to take the Arrival trail bike from a few prototypes to over 1,000 shipped units, and he’s been along for the ride ever since. He now manages a talented and passionate engineering team of three that continues to push the envelope of what’s possible with on-shore bike frame and component manufacturing that is sourced locally, more durable, and higher performing that overseas manufacturers while still remaining cost-competitive.

In his “Shifting Gears” presentation, Adam will be discussing how to establish an engineering career in the outdoor sports world and how a young engineer can get their foot in the door in the industry and turn a passion into a paying career.

Emilia Steinbock, Sustainable Fashion Technology Student

Swedish skier Emilia Steinbock is a student at Copenhagen School of Design and Technology in Denmark but is currently part of the study abroad program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in the Lower Mainland of BC. He current major is in sustainable fashion technology and she recently caught the attention of outdoor brands when she proposed and designed an avalanche airbag system specific to female athletes. She says her goal is to push female technical apparel to the forefront of the industry and create more space for female skiing.”

Emilia will be discussing her journey to innovate personal protective equipment for female athletes and specifically the development of an avalanche airbag vest that incorporates a unique weight distribution system.

Phil Shellhammer, Venture Innovation, University of Arkansas

Phil Shellhammer graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from Harvard Business School and is now a faculty member at the University of Arkansas where he holds the positions of Senior Director of Business Incubation at the Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Adjunct Professor in the Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Venture Innovation Department. His main focus is stewarding the Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP), which has successfully nurtured and mentored over 200 outdoor recreation entrepreneurs. Prior to this, Phil built a 20-year career in the retail and consumer products industries and worked for the likes of Sam’s Club, Best Buy, and Procter & Gamble.

In his presentation, Phil will explore the journey taken by this region, the pivotal contributors who played a vital role in crafting its identity as the “Mountain Biking Capital of the World,” and the accomplishments of GORP in nurturing innovative concepts into thriving, sustainable business models.

Thomas Archer, Executive Director, KAST

Sam Ferrell is the East Kootenay Director of the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology. He will be giving a joint presentation with Beth Gallup that’s aimed to inform the audience about the KAST, the Venture Acceleration Program that supports economic development in the region as well as new initiatives including Accelerate IP supported by New Ventures BC, Innovate BC and the BC Accelerator Network.

Beth Gallup, Executive-in-Residence, KAST

An artist and innovator, Beth Gallup brings new ideas to life. In her role as Executive-in-Residence for KAST, New Ventures BC and Accelerate IP, she mentors early-stage technology entrepreneurs. She is deeply versed in the outdoor rec industry, having managed a snow-cat skiing operation, co-founded a mountain bike guide service, and taught business to students in COTR’s Mountain Adventure Skills Training Program. Her academic qualifications include an MBA, plus further study at the European Summer School for Advanced Management.

Beth will be giving a joint presentation with Sam Ferrell. See above for topic description.

Rob Gomme, CEO, KUMA Outdoor Gear

Rob Gomme helped start Kuma Outdoor Gear in Jasper nine years ago and since then has seen 100% growth year over year. The company makes luxury camping supplies and believe in creating durable, outdoor products. Their emphasis is on rugged and tough products that you can depend on by using premium materials focussing on ultimate comfort. The company is also making sustainability a priority and Rob will be speaking about “Moving the Sustainability Needle” and how every manufacturer can take steps to ensure products are as amazing as they are sustainable.