Q&A with Evelyn Allen, Co-Founder and CEO of Evercloak Inc.
by Sadi Muktadir
Co-Founder and CEO Evelyn Allen sits down with Canadian Manufacturing to speak about the new advanced manufacturer Evercloak Inc. and the work they are doing in the HVAC industry with their nano-films.
CM: Hi Evelyn thank you so much for joining us. Can you tell us a little bit about your Evercloak journey and what led to its creation?
Evelyn Allen: Absolutely! It starts with me and my background. I’m an engineer, and I was working in a role to facilitate innovation out of research technologies in universities. I got to see some cutting-edge research at the University of Waterloo, and learn how industry roadmaps work in terms of commercializing those technologies. I came across MaRS – Women in Cleantech Challenge, which was launched in partnership with NRCAN to help more women bring their ideas into the cleantech space. I applied with the University of Waterloo, asking them about licensing their nano-film technology and 2D nano material coatings, and it’s been a great journey since then.
CM: So how do these nano-films work when they’re applied in a manufacturing setting, what industries will they help?
Evelyn: So there are a lot of different nano-materials and nano-films and each of them have unique properties in terms of tensile strength, conductive capabilities and barrier efficiencies. We’re focused on manufacturing graphene-based membranes to create a material to block air, but letting water pass through. This can be applied in the HVAC process to dehumidify air, and pull out the moisture. We can create a really efficient cooling system this way, and we’ve demonstrated over four times as much efficiency as other products trying to dehumidify areas. This also has the ability to save energy, and sanitize areas by blocking certain particles through these membranes.
CM: What are the major barriers right now in the commercial HVAC industry or automotive industry in adopting these kinds of technologies right now?
Evelyn: Industries can provide access to their facilities for testing, pilot projects and small batch production. The opportunities are there to support technologies like this and we’re currently working with a number of manufacturers like this thanks to the help of NGen.
CM: I did want to ask you as well about your work in manufacturing as a woman. Women are still underrepresented in the industry, and especially with our current labour shortage, I’m wondering if you can tell us how manufacturers can do a better job in attracting more diverse talent?
Evelyn: It was very important for me to see other women in leadership roles. With that in mind, it’s important to showcase women in those roles as a manufacturer. I would also say that it’s important to create a network for women. We recently had an opening for a job and we had 150 applications and only 2 of the applicants were women. So it’s important to examine how you’re posting the roles and where you’re posting them, the language you’re using and things like that. So instead of proceeding with that application field I searched for women in manufacturing groups. I think it’s important to focus on building a peer to peer network to access a community of women in manufacturing if you’re trying to create a more diverse workforce.
CM: What does Evercloak’s workforce look like from a diversity and inclusion perspective?
Evelyn: We do a lot of hiring from the universities, and university talent is already really diverse so we’re happy to say we have a diverse workforce.
CM: What’s next for Evercloak? What happens next in 2022 after these paid pilots?
Evelyn: We’re actively scaling up and transitioning our technology into contract manufacturing to increase sales and production. If there are readers out there that have interesting needs around 2D nano materials and graphene oxide, we’d be interested in speaking to you.
CM: Thank you for joining us and sitting down with Canadian Manufacturing!