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Alexander Palynchuk


Unlike most people, Alexander Palynchuk had a good sense of his vocation early on. Now 87, he recently showed a friend the spot near Whitney Lakes, Alta., where, at age 12, he had resolved to
become an engineer.

His skills showed early. At 11, he used simple tools to carve a scalemodel plane from the wood of a single tree. Born on a farm near Gorlitz, Sask., in 1927, Palynchuk was raised in Lindbergh, a prairie town in east-central Alberta.

As a boy, he read every book in the Lindbergh School library, according to a friend. In hindsight, it might have been a wise move. As graduation neared, Palynchuk's high school teachers threatened to hold back his diploma in view of his many absences during Grade 12.

He was not playing hooky. Recruited by his father in the family business, Palynchuk was often too busy working to attend class. As it turned out, he finished Grade 12 and got his diploma, despite his teachers' threats.

Friends credit his business skills to his role in his dad's business. At age 13, although unlicensed, he began delivering bulk oil by truck to local farmers. Later, still licence-free, he delivered grain to the local elevator. Tall for his age, he was never stopped by local police.

In 1951, at 24, Palynchuk received a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Saskatchewan, later adding an economics degree. For the next 15 years, he worked in the pipeline industry, eventually becoming chief engineer for an Edmonton pipe manufacturer.

In 1965, Palynchuk founded Western Instruments Inc., now a leader in ultrasonic testing of tube and pipe, and in manufacturing testing systems, magnetic coils and pit gauges. In 1966, while consulting, he began developing the coiled sucker rod (COROD) system that would later replace conventional, jointed sucker rods in most producing oil wells.

Having invented COROD and the system used to deploy it, Palynchuk commercialized the works, gaining 10 patents before selling to General Electric in 1985.

Today, he is Western Instruments' president and chief executive, exporting products worldwide from a facility near Edmonton. He is also president of Tri-Coil Inc. In the community, he has organized heavy oil symposia, improved library facilities and re-tooled the science fair system in Alberta schools. A donor to Rotary Clubs and the International Pressure Equipment Integrity
Association, he continues to develop innovations for industry.


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