Sunday April 20, 2014



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The next big thing

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Derek Bedry Photo

Jason Linley, president of JD Piling & Anchor, developed the "Swiss army knife" of foundation rigs, pictured. He is nominated for Innovator of the Year at the 2013 Natural Resource Forum in Prince George Wednesday.

The next big game changer in foundation technology is from Fort St. John.

Jason Linley, president of JD Piling & Anchor, is heading to Prince George for the B.C. Natural Resource Forum today, from which he hopes to walk away with the title of Innovator of the Year. Linley and his team developed a tool carrier that can not only drive, drill and screw, but boasts flexibility and environmental features never seen before. For Linley, the award would mean the culmination of many years’ work.

“It would make it real,” Linley said by phone on his way to the conference. “It would complete the passion. You think you’re okay, you think you’re doing it right and then if someone gives you an award for it, it pretty much says ‘yeah, you did it man.’ So it kind of completes the process of becoming the game changer.”

Dubbed “the Swiss army knife of rigs” on its website, Linley said the vehicle has been extremely popular with investors from early stages due to lessened environmental impact, labour and equipment costs. With one vehicle doing the work of three, it also conserves gas, he said.

“With all the 180 degree rotations our machine can go through, it allows us to go through all the rotations we want and maintain a level pile. So we don’t have disturb the earth the or all the stuff that’s endangered,” Linley said.  “We have the reach with our extendable booms to get to locations without wrecking them with tire tracks … it has way more flexibility than anything else on the planet right now.”

“When he calls it the game changer, it is the game changer,” said Lori Ackerman, Sci-Tech North executive director. “He’s not the only innovator in this region, but I know Jason has been working on this long and hard. You come up against barrier after barrier when you work toward commercialization.”

Sci-Tech North helps entrepreneurs take their ideas from concept to commercialization.

Ackerman added she is in awe of her other clients. She said innovations are born of necessity when living in the North.

“I think it’s because we live in an area where if you’re not innovative, you could wind up spending a whole lot of money,” Ackerman said. “You’re out in the field and something breaks down, well, you gotta ‘McGyver’ that thing back together again and all of a sudden your mind starts thinking , ‘I gotta do something else. This could save me.’ Do I want to make another run into town to do this, or is there something I can do? It’s cold out here, how can I be more efficient? You really have to step out of the box.”

Linley’s next step is to show the vehicle at an open house in Indiana, U.S. in May to 1,000-odd contractors and drum up some more business. He’s optimistic about the award, and the future of “the game changer.”

“All the local people and internationally even, everybody’s really excited. All our suppliers are excited because they’re going to be hit with the same kind of golden stick that we are with the award. So we’ve got some pretty big people playing in this game right now,” he said.


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