Without innovation, there will be no progress. But for most of us, build- ing that “better mousetrap” is exclu- sively the stuff of daydreams. And in- deed, creating an invention demands a rare confluence of imagination and technical skill which few possess. Bryan Coughlin not only holds that extraordinary combination of tal- ents himself, he’s devoted a lifetime to helping others tap into their own creative muse. “I was a [high school] ‘Tech Design’ teacher until I retired in 2012,” he explains. “It was a shop-course that combined elements of computer-aid- ed drafting, architecture, engineering challenges, wood- and metalworking. Students needed good mechanical skills to design, build, and create.” And the list of those results was impressive. “One of our projects – it took two years to complete – took aim at one as- pect of BMW’s technology regarding non-polluting race cars. Eventually, we beat their time in the eighth and quarter-miles. “We were the only high school to compete on the same level as the uni- versities. That earned us a display at the Toronto Auto Show.” Bryan’s passions, for both teaching and creative process, lie close to the surface. Not surprisingly, his enthusi- asm began in childhood. “My dad worked in a saw mill,” he recalls. “I had early experience with heavy machinery and woodworking. I was always fascinated by design- ing and building, and eventually I found that I enjoyed teaching others about the things that interested me, so I’d found the perfect career. And with Tech Design, I had a great deal Bryan’s the Ultimate “Figure-It-Outer” ...................... Please turn to page 29 Bryan in his workshop. FOCUS - JULY 2018 27