And now for something completely different…

5 10 2011

After 15yrs in the UXO clearance industry it's time for something new...

For over 15yrs I’ve made my living in the UXO clearance industry, primarily as a consultant for one of the leading clearance companies. Due to tough economic times in a tiny niche industry with the Department of National Defense as the only client I’ve decided it’s time to move on to something new. What will I do now you might ask? I’m not 100% sure. I was an army captain for 10yrs and then worked in UXO clearance for 15yrs – both periods of my life were long enough that I was fully satisfied with accomplishing what I needed to do before moving on. I’d like a to pursue work that offers fresh challenges and that allows me to develop my skills further.

The three areas of expertise I have are:

  1. Project Management
  2. Quality Management
  3. Change Management
All three are management roles which I enjoy because I am leader and I thrive on planning work, motivating people to help me implement the plan and successfully achieving our goals. I especially like change management and quality management projects because they are particularly challenging for most organizations to complete successfully, but they offer the biggest rewards in terms of money saved, new capabilities realized and customer satisfaction.

Here is a little about my background:

    • I joined the Canadian Army in 1987
    • I received a B.Eng [Computer Engineering] from The Royal Canadian Military College in 1991
    • I served as a Canadian Military Engineering Officer [Captain] until 1997
    • I pursued extensive graduate studies in GPS engineering and project management at University of Calgary 1997-1999
    • worked as a technical consultant in the UXO clearance industry 1997 – present
    • I hold 2 patents for a technical UXO safety process I developed
    • I am a Professional Engineer [P.Eng] and a certified Project Management Professional [PMP]
    • I am studying for my Certified Quality Engineer qualification through ASQ

I have been working remotely from my clients with visits to their offices and project sites as needed. I would prefer to remain on Vancouver Island and travel from here as required, but I would entertain moving for the right opportunity. I am happy to work on a contract basis full-time or part-time as required. Working part-time for a few clients is ideal as it allows me to flexibly schedule my work, work on a variety of interesting projects and allows my clients to leverage my skills for their priority tasks at a lower cost.

Since most people are unfamiliar with the UXO clearance industry here are the main activities I have been involved with the last 15yrs:

      • planning and executing projects
      • developing communications plans and engaging stakeholders
      • developing and implementing quality systems and project quality plans
      • risk analysis and mitigation
      • leading strategic planning initiatives and the change management projects that resulted from planning sessions
      • led field teams in challenging environments to complete project tasks
      • acted as a corporate trouble shooter to resolve critical problems and implement time sensitive process improvement projects
      • developed and negotiated contracts
      • led dispute resolution efforts to resolve contractual disagreements
      • project estimating and bid preparation
      • technical report writing
      • development of new processes and equipment for particularly challenging project conditions [ie. under water UXO detection surveys]

I’m not set on any specific industry that I would like to work in. In a perfect world my work and passions would combine, but I’m not sure the bicycle or kitesurfing/surfing industries are the right fit for me. Although I am totally open to exploring them as options. All my previous jobs and contracts have ended up being longterm and I like forming productive relationships with people I work with. Given that I am ending a 15yr run in UXO clearance I’d enjoy gaining experience in a wide variety of industries before I specialize in one field.

Here are a few more pertinent details:

      • I hold Canadian and Swiss citizenships
      • I can work in the European Union, Switzerland and Canada without any issues
      • I can get US work permits/visas fairly easily and will deal with this for any US clients
      • I am fluent in English, functional in French and understand spoken German

So why am I posting all this on my blog? Well I have never applied for a job or pursued a consulting contract the normal way. One opportunity has just led to another and since I am very good at adding value to organizations I work with they tend to want me to tackle other projects. So I work with the same people again and again. That’s been fabulous, but it does mean I’m not highly skilled at marketing myself – especially when I want to start fresh in industries I haven’t been involved in before. So I figured why not start the process by putting the word out on my blog? If you know of any opportunities that seem like a reasonable fit for my skills and experience please let me know or forward this post to the appropriate folks. I will provide a comprehensive resume upon request.

You can contact me by leaving a comment on this post or emailing me at vik.marbach “at” gmail “dot” com.

KSi900r Seatpost 1yr Review…

5 10 2011

5" of infinitely adjustable seatpost travel...

It’s been a little over a year since I installed a KSi900r adjustable height setapost on my Santa Cruz Nomad mountain bike. In case you didn’t read my my initial impressions here they are. I put this on my bike to replace a 3″ Crank Bros unit that blew up on me – Kurt had the same model blow up on him so I figured I better try something else:

  • so far the KSi hasn’t blown up – good!
  • it does get sticky which means I need to lube it regularly or push down to release it so it can pop up….going down is no problem with my fat butt on the saddle. This is a bit of a hassle, but a squirt of oil on the shaft once a week isn’t too much of an ordeal!
  • the bar mounted lever works fine…the Crank Bros lever is a bit easier to use, but the difference isn’t enough that I was motivated to track down a spare Crank Bros lever to swap in – although if my KSi lever broke I would get a Crank Bros lever as a replacement.
  • 5″ travel is actually too much on this XL frame as the top of the adjustment range i slightly higher than I want my saddle, but I have the seatpost as low in the frame as I can set it. If I was buying a new post I’d stick with a 3″-4″ model.
  • I like the fact I can lift the bike by the saddle with this post unlike the Crank Bros unit which sucked air into the oil chamber when you did that and you had to bleed it out.
Overall it’s a winner. If it was a 4″ travel unit and it didn’t need to be lubed quite so often it would be perfect, however, I have no trouble recommending it to anyone looking for an adjustable seatpost on their mountain bike.