VoltSafe Blog Team – August 11, 2023

Get To Know: Kenneth Doolan, Hardware Engineer, Runner, & Backpacking Pro

Since joining the Engineering Physics program at UBC, Kenneth has been playing around with electronics and working on personal PCB (Printed Circuit Board) projects which include an Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) to control 3-phase motors. Working on these projects allowed him to learn numerous ways to solve problems and how to choose the best solution for an application, working against constraints such as risky design, cost and reliability. Researching these solutions was what started his interest in electronics and circuits. These types of projects were what earned him a seat in VoltSafe’s co-op program.  He discovered VoltSafe’s co-op program through Thomas Bichel and Adam Beckie who were not only peers in his engineering program, but also former VoltSafe co-op. They shared that while working at VoltSafe, they were given opportunities to design and own their own project(s) – an opportunity rarely provided in other co-op work programs.

Since joining VoltSafe, Kenneth has been working on a new power metering circuit for revenue grade products. A big part of his day is spent performing a lot of research by reading textbooks, white papers, and other sources to learn about different ways to solve problems around power metering. He also delved deep into the non-idealities of different aspects of those solutions, weighing the pros and cons, then selecting one that best matches VoltSafe’s criteria.

Kenneth has also been working closely with one of his mentors, Keenan Bell, on the Endurotron.  The latest version of the Endurotron was originally crafted by Thomas Bichel, and Kenneth marvels at the fact that it is a design of one of his peers. He finds the “smart mechanical design” involved in its creation as the coolest thing about the machine. In fact, one of the key learnings from his experience so far at VoltSafe is the understanding of what exactly goes into a “smart design”. There’s lots of ways of solving problems, but it is the ability to pinpoint the best thing to do for your application given constraints. Guidance from his mentors, Power Engineers Keenan and Shahbaj, who have both been generous with providing their feedback has allowed him to gain a better understanding of product development. Having such a supportive working peer network is great. As a co-op at VoltSafe, Kenneth will have an opportunity to leave his mark on VoltSafe’s products. He has been working hard on the universal circuitry that would be used on all of VoltSafe’s hardware. The first piece of hardware that will benefit from his work is one that has generated a lot of buzz within the marine industry, VoltSafe Marine.

Unprecedented safety, and the clever method employed of sensing connection and disconnection in a robust manner, are what Kenneth believes to be the most interesting features of VoltSafe’s hardware and technology. The safety feature is by far one of the major benefits of VoltSafe technology. Another benefit is that VoltSafe technology will enable customers to learn about their power consumption through power metering and load classification data collected from their appliances and devices. This will help customers understand when they’re consuming the most power and give them an idea of how they can be more efficient with their power usage.

When not hard at work on VoltSafe’s hardware, Kenneth enjoys long distance running. The longest he has run is approximately 50 km. His favourite route is along the seawall that connects Granville Island to UBC. Running has always been a method he has used to push himself to his limits. One of his oldest memories of this was when he ran alongside a childhood friend on his bike. He knew he couldn’t keep up but held on for a decent amount of time (and maybe his friend showed some mercy). These days, running is less of a competitive sport and more of an activity to reflect, meditate, and strengthen himself. He believes that there is always room for improvement and is eager to see where running will take him.

Aside from running, he also enjoys backpacking and hiking with friends and family. When hiking, Kenneth loves exploring the coast of Vancouver Island, while Garibaldi is his favourite backpacking spot. His friends introduced him to the world of backpacking by lending him equipment and he now reciprocates that goodwill by taking other people out backpacking who have never experienced it before. He feels very fortunate to live in British Columbia where there are a myriad of outdoor activities to take part in. Being able to experience these moments with others makes the time more meaningful for him. In the future, he plans to go on long-distance backpacking and running trips around the world. 

Kenneth will sadly soon be completing his co-op experience with us and heading back to classes. We are sure we’ll run into him again in the future. If you would like to pick up the baton from Kenneth, check out voltsafe.com for our co-op opportunities or email us at careers@voltsafe.com.

About VoltSafe Inc.

VoltSafe Inc. is changing the way people connect to power. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, the Canadian tech startup has reinvented the electrical plug by eliminating prongs, adding magnets and an “electrical fingerprint”. Using patented technology, VoltSafe has created the world’s safest, simplest, and smartest plug design since electricity came into homes more than 140 years ago. The company’s product pipeline includes magnetic plug replacement solutions for household, commercial, industrial, marine, electric and autonomous vehicles, emergency services, data centres and more.