Turtleford resident makes Mensa history

By Tom Pierson/@Gazetteman


Dave Smith, of Turtleford, Sask., is a member of Mensa, which is the high IQ society that provides a forum for intellectual exchange among its members. There are members in more than 100 countries around the world.

Instead of calling Mensa an elite group whose members have high IQs, Smith prefers to define the members as, “Ordinary people who passed the speed test. Mensa as itself is an organization that  is dedicated to promoting intelligence, especially amongst youth.” 

Smith became the first Canadian to be conferred to the International Intellectual Benefits to Society Award for a combination of his personal and professional life. Then Smith went a step further by being awarded the Copper Black International Award for Creative Achievement. So now, Smith is the only ever Mensan, out of 110,000 worldwide Mensa members, to receive two awards.

Both awards were conferred on Smith through the Mensa Education and Research Foundation. For the Intellectual Benefits award, Smith, a professional training consultant, started Canada Training Group in Calgary in 1980. In 1995, he relocated the company to his hometown of Turtleford.

In partnership with his son, Rob, and daughter-in-law, Jenny, they manage staff and projects throughout Canada and internationally. Together they have trained over 23,000 people in six countries and five languages.

A group leader with the Canadian Standards Association, Smith helped develop CSA Z463, Canada’s forthcoming electrical maintenance standard. His efforts have changed the behaviour of thousands of workers. To meet the personal criteria for the award, in his personal life, Smith has been a musical volunteer at nursing homes since 1997.

With a strong instructional staff that has over 500 years of experience, “We’re doing advanced courses in electrical maintenance and safety and troubleshooting all the time. So there is a huge body of work in that,” said Smith.

Smith’s company motto is “building a better world” and because of the training they have done, some people believe because of the electrical safety courses, “That we’ve saved thousands of lives over the years with the behavioural change in and around the initiatives that we are implementing with our classes,” he said. 

The Copper Black Award for Creative Achievement is the one that outlines work Smith is very proud of.  The award was bestowed on Smith for the development of three mobile electrical training labs that are unique in North America.

“There has been a U.S. award for 15 years, this is the first year they have had an international version.” said Smith.  

“We’ve taken 53-foot highway trailers and turned them into mobile electrical training labs. We had one of them down in Esterhazy the last two weeks, and we were doing advanced testing and maintenance training for the plant electricians. That type of training, the technical institutes and the universities and colleges don’t have the ability to do.

“This is very specialized training and the instructors for that are very rare and the equipment is really expensive to purchase, and the market for the training is really small.”

That seems to be where Smith has found a niche for himself in helping to make the world a better place.

Smith will be travelling to Boston, Mass. in July for the joint U.S.-Canada annual gathering to be presented with his awards.

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