Joe Newton is a Project Leader for the BCIT Product and Process Applied Research Team (MAKE+) and a graduate of multiple BCIT programs. On October 17, 2017, he’ll be recognized at the BCIT Distinguished Awards with the Faculty & Staff Association Distinguished Alumni Award.
Joe is renowned for the breadth and strength of both his technical and leadership skills, which have touched projects ranging from cutting-edge medical devices and atom-cooling control circuits to green roof technologies and robotic control systems.
“I was really surprised with this award because I’m the guy in the basement,” says Joe. “I can make a lot of stuff happen and do cool things, but I don’t need the glory. If people are happy and everything works and I got to solve a problem, I’m ecstatic.”
Throughout his career with BCIT, Joe has worked with internal and external clients—ranging from large multinational companies through to one-person start-ups—on a diverse array of research projects involving the development of mechanical and electronic prototypes and devices, as well as automated production systems.
“A lot of times, [clients] come in and they want something, but it’s not what they need,” Joe says about his work. “So to discover what they need and then create that for them, it’s really rewarding.”
A graduate of both the Bachelor in Technology Management and Diploma of Technology in Robotics and Automation programs at BCIT, Joe also holds ASTTBC certification, Red Seal Certification as an electrician, and an internationally-endorsed marine engineering 2nd Class Ticket from Transport Canada—which he also received through training at BCIT (then known as the Pacific Marine Training Institute).
After working as a marine engineer for 10 years, Joe returned to BCIT—this time, as an employee.
“I was ecstatic to work at BCIT,” Joe says about being hired by the Institute. “It was always different, always challenging. It kept my brain going all the time, coming up with different solutions and learning the new stuff. It couldn’t have been better. I think it’s 21 years now; I haven’t left.”
An objective and supportive innovator and true leader, Joe is known for setting high standards—both for himself and for the teams he leads.
“The beauty of MAKE+ is that the team of people is diverse, and they have a deep background in different areas,” he says. “It’s so much fun to work with these people. The ideas just fly.”
Joe has been a Board Director of the BCIT Faculty and Staff Association and is currently a member of the BCIT Emergency Response Team. He has taught and guest lectured in a number of BCIT courses and is known for lending his experience, advice, and time to students and faculty, to his colleagues, and within the larger community.
For all of this—including his willingness to push the boundaries—Joe is well-respected.
“Joe looks at the solution in a responsible way, but if a particular role or aspect doesn’t make sense to him, then he goes his own way,” says former colleague Bruno Jaggi. “I think truly that Joe believes in being better in the sense that he can always do better. And if you do that you have to push the boundaries.”