Don Freschi, Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR)

Don is KAST’s Executive Director and has been KAST’s lead business coach or Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) for our Venture Acceleration business coaching program (VAP) since the program’s introduction in 2013. As co-founder and CEO of Firebird Technologies Don helped bring millions of R&D dollars into the region, managed a shareholder exit, developed a new product for international markets, and increased sales from $3 to 9 million over a two-year span.  Don has 20+ years’ experience in high tech manufacturing, operations, P&L management, sales & marketing, technology development and strategic planning.  Don recently co-founded a new venture, Fenix Advanced Materials, a high technology company specializing in the manufacturing of ultra-high purity (UHP) metals for use in the Solar Energy, Telecommunications, and Commercial & Military Infrared markets.

Brad Pommen, MIDAS Lab Director

Brad is President of the Nelson Tech Club Hackerspace, since 2010 has have taught hundreds of people, of all ages, how to code, design and adopt emerging technologies in the local community. For the past 4 years he has organized a successful robotic educational event called “RoboGames” for local youth which has attracted over 80 participants in 2016 and entertained hundreds of spectators. Brad regularly lecture for community groups on multiple technology subjects and coordinate the successful weekly, all-ages “Hackerspace”, partnered with Selkirk College. Brad has a record for successful project management, client-care satisfaction and quality adherence in dynamic software and technology environments. He is a Kootenay-wide technology network liaison, providing professional representation, influence in technology funding and STEM education leadership and maintain strong networking relationships with local technology supporters and businesses. Brad is a hacker, a maker, a technology enthusiast and a leader in STEM initiatives, a passion he will bring to MIDAS. He is Mr. Technology.

Shawn Curran, MIDAS Lab Services Manager

Shawn grew up in Nelson and happily moved back to raise his family, as he loves the Kootenays. He specializes in organization and documentation and has been part of growth in all previous companies that he worked for. With a passion for learning and excelling he is a recent grad from Selkirk College Plant Operator Program as well as is moving onto PLC and Robotics Courses and is excited to grow with MIDAS and KAST.

He has solid production and manufacturing background, technical sales, management as well as equipment and machinery repair. Always liking to share the good word and what he has learned he is teaching and writing courses at MIDAS and School Districts as well as involved with the Nelson and Lower Columbia Tech Clubs.  Also often making and enjoying good food and coffee as well as volunteering at his meditation centre and children’s school (or just in the community).

Ben Marken MIDAS Lab Assistant

Ben Marken, MIDAS Lab Assistant

Ben is a new addition to the Midas team. With a strong background in 3D CAD modeling, rendering, and prototyping, Ben is eager to take on any kind of task. His most recent projects include work for FortisBC, Teck, Austin Engineering, and Columbia Basin Trust. The Corra Linn Dam Model was one of Ben’s most successful projects, winning the Clean Energy BC award for Operational Excellence.

Born and raised in Nelson, Ben has always had a love for the outdoors. Kayaking, sailing, skiing, biking, hiking, and paintball are some of his favorite activities. Ben also spends a large portion of his spare time on his own projects, designing upgrades and gadgets for many of his hobbies.

Jason Taylor, Instructor

Jason Taylor is an Instructor and Researcher at Selkirk College and has specialized in 3D design workflows for solid and polygonal modeling, digital fabrication and rapid prototyping with extensive research and application in additive and subtractive manufacturing and motion control systems. Jason has over 19 years of teaching, managing and program development at Selkirk and continues to push his colleagues, students and peers in new and challenging directions. Jason conducts research for Selkirk College clients and provides technical and logistical support to the MIDAS team and its members.

Sharon Thompson

Sharon Thompson, MIDAS Facility Manager

Sharon has performed in the roles of Office Manager, Operations Manager, Administrative & Accounting Assistant, Shipping & Receiving Coordinator, Purchaser and Receptionist. Although she has spent the majority of her time working in Administration, the companies she has worked within for the past 10 years have been Science & Technology based. Firstly with Firebird Technologies Ltd. (Pure Metals refining and Semi-Conductor manufacturing), moving on to 5N Plus Inc. once they aquired Firebird Tech and currently with Fenix Advanced Materials Inc. and MIDAS. She has gained irreplaceable experience and training through her employment with these companies, assisting her in becoming a knowledgeable team member within the Metallurgy, Science & Technology business.