Appin was established in 1980 by two engineers - George Bowman and Grant Wichenko, and an architect, John Hockman. The company was named after Appin, a small town in Scotland near where George Bowman was born and raised, and famous for being the home of Castle Stalker, known to many as “Castle Aaaaagh” in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. Originally, the three partners worked from their homes with family and friends providing secretarial and bookkeeping services. However, it was not long before their innovative ideas enabled them to set up offices and begin to grow the company.
Appin has always been on the leading edge of environmentally sustainable technology for engineered building systems as the two disciplines of the partners worked together to combine design and engineering ideas that conserved energy, increased indoor air quality and created advantages for the owner. Appin began working with experimental solar engineering, which led to work in Barbados and Zimbabwe in the early 1980s. From there it continued to be on the cutting edge of applications of new technology.
Unfortunately, George Bowman, who was older than the other two partners, died in 1988 and, a few years later, John and Grant dissolved the partnership to go their separate ways, but in similar fields. John Hockman entered the area of residential energy efficiency while Grant Wichenko carried on the work and growth of Appin – primarily in HVAC and controls design for commercial buildings and facilities management training.
Throughout the last 30 years Appin has developed many innovative systems for energy savings and efficiency and the application of cutting edge technologies to improve sustainability in the built environment. The firm has worked on solutions for various topical building environmental problems such as UFFI, radon, mould and other indoor air quality issues. Appin, under the leadership of Grant Wichenko, has upgraded the HVAC systems in many older buildings throughout Manitoba, particularly schools, designing and overseeing the installation of systems that improve the work environment for the occupants and save energy dollars for the building owners and operators. Appin has also provided training courses for those that operate these systems.
Appin is now leading the way in design and implementation of Building Automation Systems (BAS), the use of remote controls for energy savings, Smart Grid applications and efficient facilities management. Appin has clients all across North America and is working on projects from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut to Mississippi and with a wide assortment of clients that include the Federal, State, Provincial and Local government bodies.
Enabling an equipment provider to have remote access to complex equipment for problem diagnosis and possible repair offers the possibility for enormous financial and environmental savings in avoided travel costs to remote locations. It also presents security challenges for some clients. Consistent with the company history, Appin is creating solutions for these problems. See the BAS section of this web site for details of the way that Appin works as the BAS consultant with professional from other disciplines to provide a coordinated controls implementation process for the Owner/Developer.
In the summer of 2010, the staff of Appin arranged a surprise party in Appin’s Board room to help Grant celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of “Appin Solar Associates”.