Adapting to new challenges to better herself has always been in Linda's repertoire. She began EWI Works, an ergonomics service provider, 25 years ago with an Occupational Therapy degree from the University of Alberta with the goal of integrating ergonomics into her occupational therapy practice. Shortly after starting she realized she needed to go back to school for the betterment of her company. "I knew in order to get solutions; I had to understand how products were developed." So she completed her Master's degree in Environmental Design from the University of Calgary. "I wanted to know how to consult with industrial designers, architects, and interior designers to highlight occupant needs and how they can be incorporated into the design of space and products." To round out her impressive education, she went back to her roots for her doctorate in 2012, completing a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Boston University.
As a leader of a company with offices in Edmonton and Calgary, one of Linda's biggest strengths has been her willingness to adapt to the marketplace "I'm very much a person that likes to experiment," Linda said. "If there's a new technology or a new way of doing something, I'm not scared to go out and try it." This eagerness to try new things has been important for Linda recently as she realized that in order to grow, EWI Works must become an active player in the digital arena. EWI Works has done extraordinarily well in Alberta but in order to expand outside of the province's borders, they will have to develop software in the form of apps that will replace some of their in-person service calls. "We really know our business in service. We're twenty-five years in service," Linda said, "and yet, we're like a start-up in the software realm."
Linda sought help securing a loan through Alberta Women Entrepreneurs in order to fund the new venture. "I think it's quite common for female entrepreneurs to self-fund. I would do lots and lots of jobs, save up the money, and then self-fund the next step. However, getting a loan allowed me to focus on growing this new leg of the business."
Her visionary approach to growing her business was recognized when she was selected as a finalist for the 2016 AWE Upsurge Award. Now she's focusing on expanding EWI Works into the United States after operating inside Alberta's borders for 25 years.
"I went on a trade mission last year to understand the market and how people do business down in the U.S.," she said. "We're going to want to penetrate into Europe and Australia down the road as well."
A world of opportunity awaits this driven entrepreneur.
EWI Works is a Canadian occupational ergonomics company. EWI Works provides information on ergonomic services including training/education, usability testing, design reviews, and industrial and office ergonomic assessments.
This success story is provided by Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) – dedicated to enabling women to build successful businesses.