About us: Leading the Industry: FRP Subject Matter Experts
Graduating from University of Waterloo in 1982 with a degree in Systems Design, Geoff Clarkson launched a 30+ year career in Maintenance Engineering. Employed by many large organizations using Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) assets, he saw the need to ensure end-users about the reliability of their assets and have access to the ability to predict and plan for repair and replacement, which included scope control and asset management.
In 1998 he created Physical Plant Improvements, Inc. a service company, that provided preventative maintenance for industrial processes. He expanded into fiberglass reinforced plastic inspection as need increased. He added engineering design of fiber reinforced plastic assets to his portfolio. Clarkson was quickly becoming a world FRP Subject Matter Expert in fiber reinforced plastic assets in corrosion applications.
In 2000 a customer asked: “Can we create the ‘corrosion curve’ for FRP like we use for steel?”
Geoff’s engineering mind was ignited. The “curve” refers to the thickness history of metal vessels used to determine reduced structural thickness and container compromise. At the time, visual inspection was the dominant evaluation used to inspect FRP and the quantitative results were unable to predict remaining service life.
This added fuel to the fire and Geoff dug deeper, looking at the current non-destructive testing (NDT) used for composite materials. Time after time he recognized the failure of current evaluation and the resulting damage. At the time, all NDT in use on composite materials identified typical defects like voids, cracks and layers that are not bonded to layers below. For new fabrications, some fabricators were able to use ultrasonic equipment to determine thickness of FRP. There was general agreement that there was no current non-destructive method to evaluate FRP reliably, validly and quantifiably thereby creating the “corrosion curve” as in steel.
In 2005 Geoff deepened his research into alternatives of evaluation for fiber reinforced plastic assets. He discovered ultrasound showed significant benefits.
In 2006, Geoff met Jo Anne Watton. Doing her PhD at the University of Waterloo (non-engineering), she encouraged him to research past published research and provided access to the university library. This work demonstrated that there had been significant research into the use of ultrasound in FRP, but they did not link the advantage to in-use evaluation. Working with a number of providers of ultrasonic equipment Geoff identified the specific equipment to provide data. When he applied the algorithm he developed to the process, he was able to evaluate containers in use.
Geoff was extremely positive about the test and began testing other applications.
In 2007, as tests continued to impress industry leaders, Jo Anne and Geoff realized the expansive application for the system they developed. FRP is a perfect solution in many industrial situations, but past experience, lack of a consistent and reliable evaluative model caused industry to shy away from the product. Asset integrity was critical, especially when storing dangerous goods. While FRP is ideal for many applications – not knowing the integrity of the asset is a serious downfall.
In November 2007 UTComp, Inc was incorporated and development of the System continued. Customers of sister company, Physical Plant Improvements, began to request this advance service and refinement of the system continues.
Today, UTComp has proven its reliability and is being used by global industry leaders. Other companies are expanding the service area around the world. UTComp has a focus on reliable and valid inspection of fiber reinforced plastic tanks, pipe, scrubbers, etc.
About Us: Geoff Clarkson, President and CEO
Geoff completed his engineering degree at the University of Waterloo, Canada in 1982, specializing in Systems Design Engineering. Throughout his career he has worked in maintenance and project roles in pulp and paper, mineral processing, water treatment, nuclear energy and chemical processing. In 1998, he established himself as an independent plant and project engineer for industrial clients and has worked throughout North America as well as Russia, Mexico, New Caledonia, and other locations. Throughout his work, he found a consistent gap in support for end users of equipment made from fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP).
Geoff developed the UTComp System, an innovative approach to NDE of FRP which gives end users reliable and valid information about their FRP assets.
His career has enabled the development of a high level of expertise in all aspects of the engineering, design, inspection and evaluation of FRP. Since 2006, Geoff has focused his attention on the development of non-destructive tools for evaluating FRP and providing useful reliability information to end users.
About Us: Jo Anne Watton, Chief Operating Officer
Jo Anne oversees UTComp’s operations – including Marketing, Human Resources, Finance and Information Systems. Since completing her post-graduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier, Jo Anne has spent years gaining leadership skills and experience in the not-for-profit, for-profit, research and government sectors.
During her time working for a major charitable organization, Jo Anne formed and led the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness. She was instrumental in the formulation of 3 bills being put before the House of Commons and the Province of Ontario. As a registered Federal Lobbyist, Jo Anne has been published in a number of journals and has spoken at many conferences. Her work has been quoted by the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and CBC.
Working closely with the CEO, Jo Anne now directs the internal team at UTComp to work in accordance with strategic objectives as developed by Senior Management and the Board of Directors.