Helping opportunity knock
Right here in Barrie, Ralph Bouwmeester is delivering unique information that’s in demand all over the world.
Ralph is a civil engineer whose business is built on providing services to architects, developers, municipal departments, land-use planners etc. It’s pretty standard stuff and Ralph has been meticulous in his approach to starting and building his business.
That’s his core business.
But, this fellow is a splendid example of what can happen when enthusiasm meets brains and creates opportunity. Ralph has a lifelong love of the sun, moon, stars, planets and their movements in their environment as the days progress and the seasons change. He also has a longtime interest in computer technology.
He combined these two loves of astronomy and computers and wrote a program which lets him predict the angle, strength and position of the sun… anywhere, on any day, at any time past or present. If you really think about this you can get a feeling for the usefulness of this program. Not only are builders, developers, architects etc interested in this because of the impact a tall building might have on its shorter neighbouring building, but others are also interested.
In the first year of Ralph’s business, he was encouraged to build a specialty area in his sun and shadow forecasting program. To that end, he designed a website (www.bconnex.net\~rba) and decided to give a gift and latitudinal sunrise & sunset for each hit. It’s customary on the web to give before you get. Ralph’s website is garnering international interest. Wedding photographers want to know the angle, strength and sunset times for weddings even three years away. Sports facilities want to know the best angle to accommodate dignitaries at official openings. Lawyers, both defense and crown, want to know the angle and strength of sun when working on car accident cases for court dates.
It goes on and on. Ralph could entertain for an evening just sharing the many ways he’s delivering sun and shadow information all over the world.
However, a recent request gave him cause for smile… a New Zealand television station called to ask the exact sunrise time and angle on a small island off its east coast. This island is the first land that the sun’s first rays will hit on January 1, 2000. Location of musicians and stages, best photography positionings, best television camera angles… all this was delivered to New Zealand from Ralph Bouwmeester’s computer in good old Barrie, Ontario.
Ralph is actually making money from his website; he’s also now advertising on the accident reconstruction site which is generating additional legal calls. He’s been through the testing and been accepted as an expert witness in Ontario’s court system.
And all because of a childhood interest in astronomy. Plus a pursued interest in computer programming. Plus initiative. Plus risk. Plus initiative. It’s amazing how “lucky” some people are.