words:: Colin Field
Alex Rose and his classmates were all looking for jobs during the final semester of mechanical engineering technology at Niagara College. The avid downhill mountain biker already had a bunch of friends in Collingwood and often spent weekends up here. So when his buddy found a job listing in Collingwood for a hydraulic mechanical designer, Rose immediately made some calls.
“They actually came down to interview me because I was in the middle of exams and couldn’t make the drive up,” he says. “Then once I was done school I came up for a couple of days to see what it was like and they offered me the job. It all happened pretty quick.”
The move from Welland to Collingwood was easy.
“There are a lot of riders working here,” he says. “Almost everyone’s into mountain biking. I think my first week here we went for three bike rides at Three Stage.”
That was back in 2015 and Rose has now worked at Medatech for just over four years. The company specializes in powertrain, hydraulics and controls system engineering. Founded in 2003 in Collingwood, they design heavy equipment for a variety of industries; construction, mining, waste, transportation and energy.
It’s a great fit for Rose who always loved building things and working with his hands.
“Most jobs as a designer you design something, send it out and you might never see it again. Whereas this job, I design it, and we’ll usually do the assembly of the first unit here. So I’ll be in the shop offering engineering support. We’ll do testing here and then even go to site. Like in the winter I was two-and-a-half kilometres underground in a mine in Sudbury.”
For Rose, whose passion for cycling is obvious, it’s the perfect place to live and work.
“I grew up riding the Welland Canal trails near my house and was always on my bike since a young age,” he says. “Then I joined the Saint Catharines Cycling Club when I was around 12 and rode a bunch of cross country, but always had a bigger interest in freeride and downhill. Then in 2007 I got my first downhill bike and did my first downhill race in 2008.”
That passion for downhill riding never waned and these days it’s not uncommon to find Rose on the podium at a Blue Mountain Tuesday night downhill race. He’s a regular at most of the downhill events at Blue and in 2017 he started racing enduro races, qualifying for the Enduro World Series this year.
While Rose is competing at a high level, he still gets out with his workmates.
“We usually do a couple bike races each year,” he says. “We’ll go do the 6 Hours of Gibraltor, or one of the 24-hour races as a team. In the winter we’ll go skiing, snowboarding, all that. It’s a good work/play balance.”
Indeed it is. —ML