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 Rex Hsieh

When I was 18 years old, I had no idea that one day I would cross the Pacific Ocean and live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

I earned my mechanic engineering diploma in Taiwan when I was twenty. Then I served mandatory military service as a sergeant on a tiny island. I stood on the beach all the time, watching ocean waves coming and going, and thinking about my future...

After carrying a gun around for two years on the tiny island, I still had no idea about my future. Anyway, after I got out of the army, I found my first formal job as an AutoCAD technician at the Gian Group International Patent, Trade Mark & Law Office. I drew patents and trade marks every day. My formal boss gave me a raise three months later. The pay was good and I shared an office with a law advisor; at the time, all other workers had to share another big office. The law advisor had a nice stereo and a good coffee maker. We drank dark coffee and smoked together in the office. No other colleagues wanted to enter my office because the heavy smoke would flow out the office door like a dark cloud.

I quit this job after working for six months because I realised I was interested in computer technology. I then went to the D & J Corporation as a technical engineer for finger print image systems. I traveled to banks all over Taiwan to install and maintain these systems. Therefore, I had a lot of opportunities to taste the local food at the night markets in different cities.

I acquired hardware and network skills while working for the D & J. However, I soon found I needed software skills.

Around this time, my parents moved to Canada, and hoped I would come along. The next thing I knew, I found myself on Canadian Airlines crossing the Pacific Ocean. Looking at the blue ocean outside of the tiny round window, I expected to see the land covered by white snow and people living in houses made of ice cubes.

Luckily, when I arrived in Vancouver sun was shining on the west coast. I stayed in Vancouver for four months, before moving to Edmonton, Alberta in January because of cheaper tuition and living expenses. When I arrived in Edmonton, I saw snow for the first time and the temperature was minus twenty degrees.

I carried one suitcase in each hand. My fingers were frozen, my nose was dripping, and each side of my face was turning red because of the cold air in Edmonton.

I then went to the Computer Systems Technology program at NAIT. My college life was not as exciting as Hollywood depicts. I spent most of my time studying. Lack of sleep made my eyes heavy, too much coffee made my hands shaky, and long hours of looking at a monitor made my glasses become thicker.

To avoid becoming a computer geek or freak, I spent a lot of time doing outdoor activities such as fishing, biking, camping and traveling in the summers. I rode a bike from Jasper to Vancouver during summer vacations in 1998 and 1999.

I received honor status with my Computer System Technology diploma. I decided to continue student life by enrolling in the Bachelor of Applied Information Systems Technology program at NAIT. Again, I received honor status in the bachelor degree program.

During school, I developed a Fund Raising System for Meals-On-Wheels with my classmates. In 2001, I worked at FPInnovations in Hinton as a Co-op student. I developed the Wildfire Operations Research web site during the summer of 2001. After that summer, FPInnovations contracted me to maintain the web site and develop a publication library system.

I then moved to Hinton and continue to work for FPInnovations. I have finished the web site – (, the Publication Library, the Photo Gallery System and the Project Schedule System. I also involved in research projects in technical aspect such as Smoke Detection System Evaluation, Infrared Scan Evaluation and Drop Testing.

My specialties are database design, web design, application programming, and system development by using object oriented analysis, design, and programming.

In the future, I will continue to improve the information system services at the Wildfire Operations Research as well as helping researchers with their field works.

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