MistyWest is an engineering design consultancy that exists to create an inclusive and prosperous global community enabled by technology, with a focus on projects that advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a UBC Engineering Physics alumni and a founding employee of MistyWest. I was drawn to MistyWest because of the commitment to working on projects that enable sustainability and the freedom to experiment when solving difficult problems. As the CEO of MistyWest, I play an active role in ensuring Westies understand our value proposition so that we can deliver world-class results for our customers.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
I would talk to more people who have gone through the same growth patterns we expect MistyWest to go through. In the last six months, the biggest improvements we’ve seen have been thanks to leveraging the experience of others. We’d be in an even better position if we had pulled in the advice two years ago.
Some of the specific advice has been to focus on profitability to enable growth (rather than growth to enable profitability), as well as methods for tracking, developing, and maintaining a larger backlog of client projects to work on.
What problem does your business solve?
We’re a product development partner that creates technically complex, intelligent connected devices that accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable future. Our core areas of expertise are deep tech, embedded intelligence, and connected sensors, and we’ve worked on polar bear tracking devices for World Wildlife Fund, borehole muon tomographers for ethical mining practices, and computer vision medical diagnostic tools.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
The inspiration behind MistyWest comes from its cofounders, Josh Usher and Leigh Christie, who are ultimately building the engineering firm they wished already existed when they started their careers. Our vision for MistyWest is to be a leading product development partner that helps shape the future through novel technology – while also being seen as a cool place to work.
What is your magic sauce?
The core DNA of MistyWest is our priorities of People, Planet, and Profit, in that order. This helps us recruit excellent engineers who want to work in an inspiring environment to build a sustainable future.
We always remind ourselves that Profit comes third, but not last, and that profitability is key to being able to support the careers and lives of the people who work at MistyWest.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
We are continuing to work on making MistyWest a profitable and prosperous place where our team feels empowered and inspired to go to work every day. We plan on refining our expertise so we can be recognized as experts in our domain and can enable our customers to significantly contribute to the UN SDGs.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Balancing the workload across all of our disciplines (ID, ME, EE, FW, SW, and Scientific R&D) is a key challenge for MistyWest, as it can impact our ability to be profitable and grow Westies’ careers. We’re also learning to balance the development of our product MistySOM with our client projects.
This will be improved by being able to reliably support a larger team, which, fundamentally, is a sales and profitability challenge.