2023 Innovation Awards

Innovation has always been an integral part of the culture at Tomlinson, and this year’s Innovation Awards showcase the incredible work that our team has done to drive innovation and progress within our organization. We may have given out our first Innovation Award in 2012, but our team has been innovating since the 1950s. Back then, Ralph saw an opportunity to remove rail ties from the abandoned line across Preston Street where the Queensway now runs. They weren’t necessarily equipped for this job, but, in the Tomlinson spirit, they made it work. Removing the sides from the box of his truck, he headed to the railway with one other labourer to begin the back-breaking labour of removing the heavy ties, then stacking them to what would be almost 10ft off the ground in the bed of the truck. Keep in mind, there was no such thing as CVOR yet. Since then, innovation has fuelled a lot of change within our organization.


This year, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2023 Innovation Awards, which recognize the incredible work that our team has done to drive innovation and progress within our organization. As we looked to continue pushing this program throughout our organization this year, we made a few changes to increase the incentives for innovating within Tomlinson. Not only have we double the value of awards for the Ground Breaker, MacGyver, and People’s Choice Awards. We have also created innovator t-shirts and stickers to reward each participant who enters the program.


Starting off with the People’s Choice Award, this innovation highlights the Red Army favourite from all the innovations that came in! This year the People’s Choice Award goes to the Sani Saw and Sani Blaster innovations. Which enabled our industrial waste team to 3x their production for hand sanitizer disposal contracts, increasing production from 200L a day to 600L a day. Created by Carl Bowles, Al Ferguson, and Dylan Sutton, these innovations use a sliding table and band saw that holds seven bottles of sanitizers to cut the bottoms off bottles when pushed in, paired with a four-bottle turn table and pedal to push air into the bottles, extracting the contents.



The next award we gave out was the MacGyver Award. Which recognizes a team that thought on their feet to provide a solution to a specific problem that only exists in one project or area. The winner of the 2023 MacGyver Award is the Baffle Extractor, created by Yousef Al-Oqbi. This innovation uses a hydraulic attachment system on the forklift to replace baffles on the IWD evaporators, vastly increasing safety and decreasing labor time from approximately 150 hours to 20 hours a year.



Finally, the Ground Breaker Award represents the implementation of an innovative idea that can be used more than once and has been identified and implemented in the field. This year, we recognize the Fire Hydrant Installation Device, created by Bobby Bryan with the help of Kevin McCrae who helped bring this idea to life in the shop. This innovation has changed the way we install hydrants at Tomlinson, greatly increasing safety and stability when installing and backfilling.



We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the awards program this year. Your innovations show so much value and work to make Tomlinson safer, drive productivity, and work smarter. We also want to thank the Innovation Committee for making this all possible. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to drive innovation and progress within our organization. Congratulations to all the winners and participants who participated in the 2023 Innovation Program, we can’t wait to see what our team brings to the table next year.