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Forestry’s rising stars: Meet Brett Erickson

November 18, 2020  By Canadian Forest Industries staff

The future for Canada’s forestry sector is bright, judging by this year’s winners of CFI‘s Top 10 Under 40 competition. We scoured nominations from across the country in all sectors, including logging, sawmilling, equipment and technology suppliers and associated industries.

To acknowledge and highlight each winner’s contributions, CFI will feature one of 2020’s winners every week for the next nine weeks.*

This week, we introduce our readers to Brett Erickson, control systems specialist for Tolko Industries in High Level, Alta.

If forestry has a Tony Stark – the legendary technical genius from Marvel’s Iron Man – it just might be Brett Erickson.


After finishing a bachelor’s of applied science in mechatronic engineering at Simon Fraser University, he participated in a 20-month co-op term at Tolko Industries working on a wide range of projects.

Brett, 29, has helped push technological advancements in diagnostic systems at Tolko’s High Level, Alta., mill and was recently awarded a company-wide Innovation Award.

The diagnostics system for the sawmill monitors devices and alerts maintenance personnel when issues arise. It’s a massive project that keeps an eye on more than 100 devices on each line. It was so successful that the company applied it at each of their sites across Canada.

“Brett’s focus on innovation and desire to push the boundaries of what we can do in sawmills is what will keep this industry advancing far into the future,” says Jessica Rempel, a colleague at Tolko. “He truly is one of the best and brightest in the industry.”

He has also received accolades for a high-efficiency HMI screen. Following new industry standards, Brett removed almost all colour from the screens so the operator can be quickly notified of an issue. The HMI screens not only work well, but they are also visually impressive.

“Picture the computers in Tony Stark’s Iron Man lab and you’d be on the right track,” Rempel says.

Up next: we showcase the achievements of winner Jonathan Simard.

*Editor’s note: At the request of one of this year’s winners, CFI will not be posting their individual profile.

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