Alumni spotlight

Corbin Coyes, BSc (Eng)'97

Engineering innovator saves companies money

Corbin Coyes graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Calgary with an oil field internship distinction. His entrepreneurial spirit has helped him grow and sell two successful oil and gas service companies over the last decade.

Corbin’s biggest contribution to the oil and gas industry was his invention of the TangentFlow valve, which is now pumping oil over the world. This novel pump’s efficiency equates to larger profits for oil companies with the benefit of reducing carbon emissions.  He is currently the vice president of engineering at Q2 ALS, one of the largest artificial lift companies in the world. In his role, he leads new product development and enjoys creating solutions for the oil and gas industry.

There is always a solution. Determination and creativity, along with hard work and perseverance, will get you there.

Corbin Coyes

BSc (Eng)'97

What is your favourite memory from your time at UCalgary?                      

One of the highlights was traveling to Montreal and Ottawa with classmates to compete in the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race with hundreds of other engineers from around the globe. We built a 300 pound concrete sled and finished second! Thankfully, the rules didn’t specify that the riders had to stay on the sled. As we hit the brakes at the finish line, the laws of momentum thrust us into a soft landing of hay bales at high velocity. This is one of countless moments with fantastic friends I met through engineering.

What was your favourite campus hang-out spot?

Homeroom for us resulted in an atmosphere of togetherness and inspiration for learning. The Reserve Library provided a quiet and cozy spot to work on solving engineering problems with ancient formulas. Playing intramural hockey and making good use of the university gym helped to stretch the legs after marathon study sessions. Swilling beers with geers at Max’s and the Den to celebrate our accomplishments together.

What advice would you give your student self, knowing what you do now?

There is always a solution. Determination and creativity, along with hard work and perseverance, will get you there. Pay attention and be mindful to the small things. Take those foosball and hacky sack breaks with your buddies!

How did your engineering degree help you get to where you are today?

My degree, with an internship, opened doors for me to become an executive director and partner at an early age. After the sale of our first company, I had the time and resources to design my first pump valve and commercialize it. The knowledge I gained in engineering gave me the tools that led to my invention and ultimately to its worldwide success.

I continue to be fascinated by fluid flow, finite element analysis, metallurgy, structural forces, Bernoulli’s equation, Newton’s Laws of Motion, Reynolds number, pressure drop, laboratory experiments and the list goes on. U of C engineering was the start of my passion for learning.

How has your career path evolved and changed since your graduation?

My path evolved from fieldwork to corporate Calgary to now working internationally. The oil and gas industry has its ups and downs. In my early years, I questioned my involvement after being bumped around. Looking back, each obstacle opened new doors and provided exciting opportunities that have all contributed to where I am today. I am very grateful for U of C engineering, for my great engineering friends and to my father Randy Coyes who has always been my biggest inspiration.