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Monday, May 27, 2002

  • The six-billion-dollar industry
  • The talk of the campus
  • Ex-dean gone to Michigan
  • Looking ahead through June
Chris Redmond

On this date in 1930: a patent for Scotch tape

[Main entrance and co-op building]

Maybride, Molten Lava, Red Jade, Red Splendour, Royal Beauty, Snowcloud, Weeping, Profusion, Baskatong, Flame, Dolgo, Bechtel, Thunderchild . . . there are at least two dozen species of flowering crabapple trees, and the campus has specimens of many of them. They're at their glory just now. "This used to be convocation week, and we would have it bang on," says grounds supervisor Les Van Dongen, remembering the days before convocation was moved to mid-June. Barb Elve took this photo at the main entrance to campus. Got flowering crabs at home? From far away North Dakota State University comes advice on how to look after them.

The six-billion-dollar industry -- a news release from Canada's Technology Triangle

With over $6 billion in revenue, the high tech sector in Canada's Technology Triangle is a major component of our local economy. An analysis of Statistics Canada data reveals our high tech sector surpassed the $6 billion benchmark in 1999 and is well positioned for sustained growth.

Using the same stringent criteria to identify high tech enterprises co-developed with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Silicon Valley North, Communitech and Canada's Technology Triangle Inc. in the 2001 Waterloo Region TechMap project as a base, research conducted on behalf of Canada's Technology Triangle by Community Benchmarks reveals our high tech cluster is growing at a significant pace. Financial characteristics of the high tech sector, examined over a period spanning 1993 to 1999, indicate exceptional performance and growth. With a stunning 120% increase in revenue, asset base growth of 163%, an equity increase of 420% ($1.5 billion in 1999 alone) and a pretax profit increase of 58%, technology is clearly one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy.

"It is one more great message to add to the many reasons why companies should invest here," says Randy Ellis, CEO, Canada's Technology Triangle Inc., "and a definite advantage to Canadian, US and European companies of new emerging technologies. This proves we are a tech community with the skilled human capital, research institutes, access to capital and the entrepreneurial culture to encourage new technology companies to establish themselves here and do well."

The research also reveals the local technology cluster is a diverse mixture of software, hardware and technical services. Another positive indicator is healthy working capital. In software, average working capital ratios were 3:1 for incubating companies and much higher for mature companies, giving rise to "a home-grown, balanced high tech environment where established enterprises can foster stability and innovative new companies can thrive. This is a positive message to the international investment community," says Ellis.

Canada's Technology Triangle Inc. is the local regional private/public economic development corporation marketing Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo to the world.

How's your sense of humid?

Iris Strickler of UW Graphics has some suggestions about how to cope when it is hot and humid and paper jams are driving you crazy.

[Graphics logo] She writes: "It is a fact that the environment affects the performance of photocopiers -- from your little desktop copier to the powerful production machines in Graphics' Printshop. During times of hot temperatures and high humidity or even on rainy days, the paper in your photocopier will absorb moisture from the air and this causes paper to jam more frequently.

"It is frustrating but there are a few things that you can try before you call for service. Whenever possible, paper should ideally be kept in a dry storage place in its original packaging. When you notice that your paper is starting to jam frequently, try feathering or fanning the paper in your paper tray and turning the stack upside down. If that does not seem to help, remove the paper for future use and open a new package. These techniques are frequently very successful."

The talk of the campus

In Friday's Daily Bulletin, in the context of a proposal that UW should "encourage the adoption of laptop computers", I asked, "Do you own a laptop?" Here are the results received as of this morning: As always, a self-selected sample isn't the same as a random sample, so the poll results may or may not be a reflection of reality.

There are 16 kinds of people, whether or not they own laptops -- at least, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator classifies people on four criteria, which works out to 16 "types". The system is seen as a valuable way to understand how you prefer to work and see the world, and so UW's counselling services offers a workshop that provides that insight. It's already happened once this term, and four more workshops are scheduled, the first one being this Thursday. Counselling services in Needles Hall is taking registrations. (Also offered is the Strong Interest Inventory -- find out how your interests relate to specific vocational opportunities.")

'Tis the season for construction work, and not only on big projects such as the Centre for Environmental and Information Technologies and the co-op and career services building. Dan Parent, UW's university architect, notes that minor renovations are under way in two buildings just now -- Carl Pollock Hall, where a former two-storey high-voltage lab is being turned into work space for graduate students, and the PAS (Psychology) building, where some former animal laboratory space is becoming a classroom and a language lab.

Frank O. Goodman, long-time professor in the department of applied mathematics, will officially retire June 1. Goodman, whose original background was in physics, did mathematical research in such fields as geosurface scattering and blood flow mechanics. He joined the UW faculty in 1970, and served for many years as chair of the applied math department.

"We've posted the PowerPoint material from our first two Knowing Your Workplace sessions on the human resources home page," writes Glenda Rutledge from the HR department. So staff and faculty members who didn't manage to attend those sessions -- one on the sick leave and return-to-work program, the other on staff recruitment and promotion -- can get the essentials with a click or two.


Ex-dean gone to Michigan

Long-time faculty member Jack Kalbfleisch officially leaves UW at the end of May for a future at the University of Michigan, where he has been on leave. Since January he has been serving as chair of UM's biostatistics department.

Kalbfleisch has been a faculty member in the department of statistics and actuarial science since 1973. He chaired the department from 1984 to 1990 and then was dean of math 1990 to 1998.

Leaving Waterloo "was a really tough decision," Kalbfleisch writes. "but this is something quite new that offers many new challenges, directions and possibilities. It felt like the right time for that. Over the years, much of my work has been directed more or less toward medical and health applications, and yet I have never worked in the context of a medical school or school of public health. The department at Michigan is in such a school and it seemed a good place to try my hand at something new. I miss lots about Waterloo and I am still working with students and faculty there."

What's happening now

Employer interviews for fall term co-op jobs get going this week in Needles Hall.

Rev. Brandon Malo speaks on "The Gospel According to Star Wars", as The Embassy, a church with a style of its own, holds its weekly gathering tonight in Federation Hall (7:30 and 9:00). The recently released "Attack of the Clones" is not explicitly Christian, but it's certainly "a spiritual movie", says Malo, whose "church, campus style" is drawing hundreds of people each Monday night.

Water, both hot and cold, will be turned off in Carl Pollock Hall from 6 to 7 tomorrow morning, so plumbers can move a water line for those renovations that I mentioned above.

The "iWeb" group will meet in the Flex lab in the Dana Porter Library tomorrow at 11 a.m. topic this month: "Learn about Microsoft's .NET architecture, how to use it, why you should use it and some sample code." More information: ext. 3779.

Looking ahead through June

A very busy month lies just ahead of us; here are some of the things you might want to mark on the calendar now.

June 1, this term's local ACM programming contest, in preparation for the regional and international contests next winter. Details are on the web.

June 1, reunions for engineering graduates of 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, and 1997 -- details, ext. 6838.

June 3, the staff association annual general meeting, 11:45 a.m. in Davis Centre room 1302.

June 4, official opening ceremonies for William Lyon Mackenzie King Village, 12:30 p.m.

June 5, a colloquium by Tim McLeary of Pearson Education Canada, on "How Technology Is Shaping the Way Pearson (the World's Largest Education Publisher) Creates and Delivers Content", 10:30 a.m.

June 5, "a computer show for faculty and staff", 10:00 to 3:00 in the Davis Centre lounge, sponsored by the purchasing department (which is currently trying out the name "procurement and contract services").

June 6, "The Journey of a Successful High-Tech Businessman", a talk by John Chen, president of Sybase Inc., 4 p.m., Davis Centre room 1350 -- reservations, ext. 4973.

June 10, open house for comment on the proposed directions statement about information technology at UW, 11:30 a.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

June 12, "Information for Summer Living", a noontime session on food, air quality, heat, tanning and such, by nurse and consultant Linda Brogden, sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program -- reservations go to Johan Reis in health services.

June 12-15, spring convocation in five ceremonies.

June 12, a "gala" dinner at St. Paul's United College, with address by Very Rev. Stan McKay, former moderator of the United Church of Canada, who's receiving an honorary degree from UW next day. The event is a fund-raiser for a planned "Centre for Native Initiatives" at St. Paul's. Information: 885-1465 ext. 201.

June 17, the Matthews Golf Classic at the Grand Valley Golf and Country Club (information, ext. 6494, and don't wait, as the reservation deadline is this Friday).

June 20, noontime event (repeated at 9 p.m. for evening staff) to launch the Keystone Campaign.



May 27, 1961: UW awards its first bachelor's degrees, eleven in arts and five in science. May 27, 1964: A Toronto branch of the UW alumni association is organized.

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