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  • Writer's pictureLenora Thomas

35 Years of Innovation: 2003 ASTech Winners

In 2003, technology continued to advance at a rapid pace. iTunes Music Store was launched, WordPress, now ubiquitous, was just beginning, and Skype went public, quickly leading the market. Additionally, MySpace made its debut, becoming a significant cultural phenomenon.

In Alberta, several companies that remain active today were founded. Envirosoft, a Calgary-based software company, began providing the oil and gas sector with tools to track and report emissions for governance and compliance. In Edmonton, Rehabtronics was established, developing scientifically designed products to aid patients recovering from strokes or neural injuries. Also launched was Intelligent Imaging Systems (now Drivewyze Infrastructure Services), aimed at enhancing safety and efficiency in commercial trucking for fleets and government agencies. Drivewyze focuses on improving weigh stations, inspections, and driver safety.

The 2003 ASTech Awards recognized numerous innovators. Among the notable winners were researchers from the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary, along with several startups improving the oil and gas sector. Here are a few of the standout winners:

Dr. Miodrag (Mike) Belosevic, a distinguished water treatment researcher, won the Applied Technology & Innovation award. His groundbreaking work on detecting and controlling parasites in drinking water, such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium, transformed water quality testing worldwide. Dr. Belosevic's team demonstrated that common chemical oxidants like chlorine, monochloramine, and carbon dioxide were only mildly effective against these parasites. They discovered, however, that ozone and ultraviolet radiation were highly effective treatments. Additionally, Dr. Belosevic developed innovative tests that replaced live animal testing, using laser-based detection equipment to find stained DNA of parasites. These automated tests, which took just 30 minutes, enabled continuous monitoring of water supplies to prevent outbreaks. For his contributions to public health, Dr. Belosevic received numerous accolades, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and fellowships with the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

NOVA Chemicals earned the ASTech award for Outstanding Commercial Achievement in Alberta Science and Technology for its Advanced SCLAIRTECH process. This innovative method revolutionized polyethylene production by using dual reactors and advanced catalysts to create premium resins with improved properties, such as enhanced clarity and durability. NOVA Chemicals has continued to innovate since 2003, most recently launching a 100% post-consumer mechanically recycled polyethylene resin, maintaining their excellence in Joffre, Alberta.

Spartek Systems Inc., based in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, received the ASTech award for Industrial Research. Specializing in geophysical instrumentation for the global petroleum industry, Spartek has developed advanced products like quartz and sapphire pressure gauges that significantly improve reservoir characterization and wellbore diagnostics. Since its founding in 1994, Spartek has focused on meeting customer needs with its headquarters in Sylvan Lake serving as the center for research, development, and manufacturing of products sold internationally.

Overall in 2003, there were 14 ASTech Award Winners, which you can dig into deeper on the ASTech Website.

This post is in partnership with Technology Alberta and the ASTech Awards, celebrating the impact of 35 years of innovation in Alberta, tying our past to our present. Our thanks to Lisa Carter and Neil Goud for their research and support.

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