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I initially started this page with "Qsine was incorporated in 1968..." but it felt like starting a book on page 200. For those who are unfamiliar with Qsine, it is important to know that until August of 2002, the core of the company was Mick and Kevin Saruwatari, dad and myself. Dad passed away in August of 2002.
Dad had been operating, creating and recreating Qsine since 1968 and I joined him full time in 1991. I worked for him doing odd jobs as I was growing up so 1991 is merely my official start. Dad carried his philosophy into every aspect of his life. He didn't have a career and a personal life. He treated everything as one life, so my introduction to Qsine ways happened before I could walk or talk. By 1994 I began making contributions to the business more or less as a partner and we had more or less a partner-like relationship since.
The real origins of Qsine are dad's origins. He was a farm boy from around Raymond, Alberta and the son of Japanese immigrants who settled in the area in the early 1900's. And it is from his parents that he inherited his entrepreneurial nature. My grandfather, as a starving peasant in Japan, came to Canada with hopes of finding opportunities that he knew were non-existent to him in his homeland. With only a few dollars in his pocket and my grandmother pregnant, they left their oldest daughter (about 6 at the time) with relatives and set out for a new place where they could understand neither the language nor the customs. His intention was to make great wealth in this place, for there were many rumors in Japan about North America making millionaires every day, and then return home. As time has ways of changing plans, his were changed by the onset of the Great Depression followed by World War II. My grandparents never made their fortunes and were never reunited with their oldest daughter. They did have a tremendous work ethic and they had great personal integrity and for this, they were rewarded with wealth that is not measured in dollars.
Being a high school drop-out and a farm boy, it is in some ways odd that dad would make his livelihood at something as academic and calculation intensive as machine and hydraulic design. His aversion to school did not mean that he was a poor student. His curiosity and interest in all things mechanical made him an avid student to those who would teach him about his interest. These teachers were rare people in that they would take much of their own time to help people who, like dad, were motivated, curious and just tried hard.
In the 1950's dad went to Tech (now SAIT) for the Agricultural Mechanics program. He later went to the Hobart School of Welding (in Troy, Ohio) He worked as a welder at Lethbridge Industries for a short time and then took a job as a draftsman at C.I.L.'s Polyethylene plant in Edmonton. In the next few years he worked as a draftsman at Steelcrafts and Barber Machinery - both in Calgary.
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His first machine design responsibility came when working at Robin-Nodwell. He originally was working in the welding shop but asked the engineering manager, Harry Hanford, if he could give engineering a try. Harry gave dad the opportunity to try his hand at engineering. To be given a chance was in some ways a small thing but in retrospect, dad realized that it was something that very few people were willing to do. Harry was a person that dad would talk about quite often in later years. He was given a job to design a front end loader for the Ag side of business (Robin).
From the other side of the company (Nodwell), dad gained one of his biggest supporters and one of his leading role models. Bruce Nodwell was one of those rare people that seemed to just give of himself, especially to those who had the right attitude. When dad finished the prototype of the loader, pictured to the right, Robin's management and sales people gathered around the machine for a meeting. According to dad they wanted the loader kit to sell for something like $650.00 and he was about $50.00 over (which was a lot of money back then). He wasn't invited into the meeting and hence, stood back from the crowd. Listening in he could tell that the cost was a major concern and that the group was ready to kill the project and continue on distributing a loader that they were buying from the United States. That imported loader was selling at a rate of about 50-75 units/year.
About that time Bruce Nodwell walked by and asked "Why aren't you in that meeting?". To which dad replied that he wasn't invited and furthermore he was pretty sure he was about to lose his job. Bruce wheeled around, barged into the meeting and said "You're wrong. This will sell, and it will sell well!". He talked them into arming each salesman with a specification sheet (hand written by dad) and the photo shown above and had the salesmen make one run around the territory. In two weeks they signed up orders for more than 150 units. The loader went on to capture more than 35% of the Canadian market.
Dad never knew whether Bruce really new the loader would sell or he if just stuck up for him out of the goodness of his heart.
Robin-Nodwell had its up's and down's and in around 1966 it went bankrupt. Dad then took a job at Oliver Industrial (now Motion Industries) and that was where he got his real introduction to hydraulics. Oliver had just picked up the Vickers line and dad never knew whether it was luck or because he was interested but he seem to fall into the "hydraulic's guy" seat. He got the opportunity to go to Vicker's factory training school in Troy, Michigan where he met hydraulics pioneer Harry Vickers. Until 1968, dad got to do quite an array of hydraulics applications at Oliver.One Project is shown here.
When Robin-Nodwell shut down dad, his boss at the time Ralph Jorgenson, and co-worker Cliff Pulfer were toying with the idea to start their own company. In 1968 they formed Qsine with the intention of designing and manufacturing All-Terrain Vehicles for industrial applications. The three were, however, a bit naive as to how much resources it took to do such developments and soon realized that they would need income sooner than they could get by selling vehicles.
They decided to try consulting in attempt to create a billable service. As things unfolded they found that their ambitions and expectations were far apart and that the partnership would not last. In 1969 dad bought out Ralph and in 1970 he bought out Cliff. Things were not going very well for Qsine at that time. So in 1970 when Bruce Nodwell asked dad to help set up the engineering department at Canadian Foremost he went... with the stipulation that when the department was operating well, he could leave and try to make a go of things at Qsine again.
While at Foremost he set up standards for material callups, dimensioning and tolerances, finish and heat treatment and for other engineering procedures. He headed the development of the Delta 3 vehicle and by 1972 the department was running quite well. Around that time a man by the name of Art Farr-Jones from Lynes made dad an offer he could not refuse: "Start your own business again Mick and I will keep you busy for a year. After that you're on your own!" Art is another man that dad talked about regularly. Obviously he was and important factor in Qsine even being around right now but it is more than that. Whether he saw talent, a diamond in the rough or nothing at all, he created an opportunity. There are few people like this in the world and we always grateful when we meet them.
If you look at the list of our customers and the industries Qsine has served, we have been fortunate enough to work at many endeavors. I feel sad that dad passed away before I could finish this web page. I probably don't have a lot of the facts straight and I know I'm missing a lot of colorful people and events that made Qsine what it is today. Unfortunately, when dad died a lot of history and other information was lost with him.