A dive into Ovivo’s AquaHacking experience with Christopher Lewis

By Laurence Basso December 1, 2020

Ovivo is an important program partner of the AquaHacking Challenge. Over the years, many employees have been engaged in various AquaHacking Challenges. Some have served as pitch competition judges as well as business expert mentors. To highlight their significant engagement in AquaHacking’s programming, we recently met with Christopher Lewis, Engineering Manager for Silicon Carbide (SiC) Systems, who was on the panel of judges for the British Columbia 2020 AquaHacking Challenge Semi-Final event. Continue reading to learn more about Christopher’s experience with the AquaHacking Challenge!

Tell us about Ovivo.

Ovivo is a manufacturer and global provider of water management equipment. With offices in 13 countries around the world, including one in Montreal, QC, Ovivo delivers both conventional and highly technologically advanced water treatment solutions for the industrial and municipal markets. It leverages its large network around the world to offer parts and services to its customers.

  • Tell us more about yourself.

My name is Christopher Lewis. I began working for Ovivo in 2007 with the Membrane Bioreactor group in Austin, Texas. My current role is as Engineering Manager for Silicon Carbide (SiC) Systems. This role involves a number of applications with Ovivo’s Silicon Carbide Membrane products. My education and work history include Biomedical Engineering and Semiconductor Manufacturing, but I’ve grown to love the challenges related to water and wastewater treatment. I embrace Ovivo’s mission to solve global water issues.

  • Why did you get involved in the AquaHacking Challenge?

I was excited to receive an invitation to participate as a judge in the British Columbia 2020 AquaHacking Challenge Semi-Final event. My expectations were high, and I was blown away to see such enthusiasm and engagement from all participants, including the competitors, the other judges, and the AquaHacking organizing team.

  • In your view, what are the best elements of the AquaHacking Challenge?

The AquaHacking Challenge is a terrific opportunity for engagement, information-sharing, and problem-solving for anyone who understands the urgent need for all types of water treatment. I love that it is a competition, as this element of the Challenge is so critical to engineering engagement. It pushes all of us (not just the competitors) to evaluate our own efforts and appreciate the spirit of improvement.

  • What is your best experience with the Challenge so far? 

As a Semi-Final judge, I thoroughly enjoyed talking with the competitors and asking them questions. It allowed me to gain a better understanding of the world of water and wastewater treatment from different perspectives. It opened my eyes to the very different technological approaches than can be applied to solve problems!

  • Why is water management important in North America and around the world?

Survival of the human race on Earth requires robust, sustainable water management.

  • How can innovation help with water preservation?  

The objective is to improve water management. We apply new technologies and processes, and fail, and then try again, and fail again. We repeat this process until improvement is objectively measured. This is innovation. Innovation is not an action. Innovation is the result of a disciplined effort to do things better than we did yesterday.

  • If you had one piece of advice for young innovators, what would it be?

I am inspired by the words of author, Angela Duckworth:

“There are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems takes time―longer than most people imagine… But this is what is required. You must apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people. True sustainability demands it.” – Paraphrasing Angela Duckworth, author of Grit, The Power of Passion and Perseverance.