Alpha Systems & Research Ltd. — Technical Services for Small Business and Entrepreneurs

Jeff Latta, P.Eng.

I am a registered professional engineer, machinist, and manager. I started my career as an apprentice machinist before earning a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Alberta.

I then worked in the production machining business at Gambit Products Ltd., starting as a manufacturing engineer. Over thirteen years I assumed increasingly greater responsibility becoming general manager and then president. During this time the company went through a growth period that saw sales increase threefold with forty employees operating out of a newly built 18,000 square foot modern shop.

In 2000 I started Alpha Systems & Research and since then have gained varied and broad experience working on projects ranging from prestressed concrete fence posts to wind turbines to automation projects, as well as doing feasibility studies for inventors.

Skills, Experience, Accomplishments


Researched and evaluated many industrial processes, e.g. hydrogen atmosphere brazing, resistance welding, hydroforming, accelerated concrete curing, composites manufacturing.

Designed small wind turbine including selection of airfoil, modeling of aerodynamic performance, construction of prototype, and testing.

Designed and built high-current semi-automatic resistance welding machine.

Performed research, design, and construction of a prototype machine to fill straws with honey.

Electrical and Electronic

Designed and built high-current resistance welding equipment.

Programmed (Assembly and C) and wired microcontrollers for data acquisition and control.

Calculated transformer and power electronics component ratings. Determined conductor sizing and routing to minimize impedance. Built zero-crossing detection and peak-voltage turn-on circuit.

Designed and built electrical control panel receiving CSA approval.

Computer and Software

Wrote extensive custom code for production scheduling of a machine shop, a parts & manufacturing process database, and serial data transfer. Built an inventory control system in Excel. Have used many software tools: SolidWorks, DraftSight/AutoCAD, Inventor, MATLAB, Fortran, BASIC, dBASE, Assembly, C, Python, Word, Excel, LibreOffice, GNU/Linux, Bash, HTML/CSS, XML.

Shop Floor

Set up and operated various machine tools: CNC & manual lathe, CNC and manual milling machine, automatic bar-feed lathe, screw machine, gundrill, surface grinder, cabinet saw, punch press.

Programmed and set up CNC milling machines and lathes.

Programmed CNC machines in G-code (Fanuc) and conversational (Fagor, Milltronics).

Programmed Intermac granite machining centre with OSAI controller.

Designed and built jigs and fixtures for machining and inspection operations.

Disassembled, repaired, reassembled, dialed-in, and aligned precision machine tool components.

Repaired and troubleshot equipment: mechanical, electrical, and control system.

Calibrated machine shop measuring tools.

Assembled components using various methods: resistance welding, press fit, rivet, pin, TIG/MIG/stick welding, brazing, adhesives.

Built machines and frames from structural aluminum profile systems.

Constructed polyurethane molds for concrete casting.

Fabricated assemblies from Acrylic.

Hand scraped parts to obtain precision flatness.

Made custom form tools from high-speed steel, hand sharpened drills & cutting tools.

Manufacturing Management

Planned manufacturing schedule for machine shop with about 100 jobs and 20 machines.

Calculated job costs and prepared quotations.

Specified production sequence for machined parts.

Designed and wrote computer programs for job scheduling of a production machine shop.

Identified weaknesses with manufacturing information system. Created new system to track manufacturing times and costs.

Developed and implemented a quality management system to ISO 9002.

Evaluated and purchased automation equipment.

Ensured safe work practices and environment.

General Management

Experienced with all the elements involved in the operation of a medium-sized manufacturing business including strategic and operational planning, marketing and sales, estimating, production management, human relations, financial management & reporting, and quality assurance.

Led three department managers to achieve an average annual growth rate of 15% in a business constrained by capital and production capacity.

Orchestrated efforts from multiple parties to design, finance, and build an 18,000 square-foot manufacturing plant and managed staged shut down and transfer of equipment with minimal loss of production.


Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Co-op), University of Alberta

Accelerated Introductory Accounting, Grant MacEwan Community College

Strategic Management, Business Development Bank

Numerical Methods, University of Alberta

Machinist Training: first-year apprenticeship at NAIT, remainder learned on the job.

Short Courses

Machine Tool Metrology

Precision Machine Design

Finite Capacity Planning

Fundamentals of Lasers

Fundamentals of Networking

Fundamentals of Intellectual Property Law

How to Effectively Commercialize your Invention