MACH32 Origin Story: True Grit

So the origins of MACH32, and I say this over and over again, I never meant to start a company. I’m an accidental entrepreneur. I had a problem that I wanted to solve. And in trying to solve this problem, a company built up around it. When I’m going through my training to be an emergency doc in an Edmonton hospital, I kept seeing young Northern Alberta, Northern B.C. teenagers, 20-year-olds being brought in from major traumas. And they were stuck out in the wilderness for hours and hours and hours, not receiving medical care. And I thought, how can we bring high-level medical care to a patient? And that just sat with me for years and led to me coming up with an idea.

 So I had an idea for a medical device, and I had no idea where to go or how to build it. I don’t build things. I’m not very handy. But I have a friend who is. And luckily this friend is actually a mechanical engineer by training, Chris Terra. So the idea for our company actually started at a spray park, not this spray park behind me, but one just like this. And this is part of what makes Edmonton so great is that there’s green spaces and parks and great places for kids to grow up all around our city.

So one day, Chris and I had our families at spray park and we got around to talking about my idea. Our kids are playing and they’re doing crazy things, which I’m sitting there thinking, oh, my God, you’re going to kill yourself. And that jog my memory about, I have this product I want to build to help people who injure themselves. I don’t know how to build it. Do you have any ideas?

And immediately Chris came up with five different ways to build this device, and off to the races. We originally thought that we’re going to build a product, not start a company. Little did we know. So Chris and I both chose to live in Edmonton for a lot of reasons. I did my residency outside of the city. Chris worked for years outside of the city. We both decided to come back to Edmonton with our families because of the great opportunity it provides for families.

And it actually provides great opportunities for companies too. I never saw this, but Edmonton is a hub of innovation. You know, Edmonton is very pretty. And you look at our River Valley and our green space and it’s wonderful. But Edmonton is also extremely gritty. And that’s what I love about the city, is the people would rather get something done than talk about doing it.

And that’s that grit that really drew us back to the, back to the city. One thing that’s great about Edmonton is it’s not pretentious. You’ll meet somebody and there’s a ton of skill and a ton of expertise in our town. But people don’t lead with that or wear it like a badge of pride. They don’t say, I’m Joe and I’m a CEO. They say I’m Joe. I live in the West End. What do you like to do for fun? And you start talking and then two hours later, you might find out that they’re a CEO of an oil field company and they’re really interested in helping you build your product.

And that’s what I love, is people want to pitch in and just try something. The business community in Edmonton has been unbelievable. And I think the community in general in Edmonton is unbelievable. Everyone’s warm and welcoming. They shake your hand and want you to do well. They want you to come in and succeed. I think that that applies to life in Edmonton and I think that applies to business in Edmonton. There’s so many introductions that have been made for us that have opened doors that I don’t think we’d have anywhere else in the world.

WAYFINDING: Ever wonder how we make sure the water coming out of our taps is safe to drink? Never fear, our next entrepreneurs are on the case! Just head west along 87th Ave back to Gateway and north to Saskatchewan Drive. Cross at the pedestrian lights to be on the north (or river) side of Saskatchewan Drive. Head left, walking west along the pathway until you come to a lookout over the city with a path snaking down to the River Valley.

About MACH32

Is an Edmonton-based start-up focused on creating innovative medical devices.


The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm in 2020, putting our front-line healthcare workers at high risk of contracting the virus. We created an innovative engineered aerosol containment device to control airborne COVID particles, improving on current PPE controls.


Trauma is responsible for 9% of all deaths worldwide, and is the leading cause of death for the military and people under 45 years old. Post-partum hemorrhage is a major trauma concern in developing nations world-wide. We set out to create an innovative product line for trauma victims in pre-hospital environments.