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James Palcik

General Manager and Director of Safety, Compliance, & Education
FLINN Scientific Inc.
James Palcik sur un bateau avec un énorme doré
James Palcik sur un bateau avec un énorme doré

James Palcik is the General Manager and Director of Safety, Compliance, & Education for FLINN Scientific Inc.

About me

I was born/grew up in: North Bay, Ontario

I now live in: Hamilton, Ontario  

I completed my training/education at: Completed a graduate degree in Geography and Environmental Science at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario. I also completed a Bachelor of Education degree at the same university afterwards. I have participated in multiple courses and programs involved with instructional design, chemical safety, disposal, OH&S, and adult education.

What I do at work

I am directly involved with providing STEM equipment to schools across Canada in the K-12 and post-secondary markets. We manufacture and distribute all of the items teachers use in laboratory and hands-on activities. This includes chemicals, glassware, microscopes, dissection specimens, and  software. These resources enhance student learning and supports teacher instruction in STEM subjects. Our team is in constant communication with teachers and students about our products. We actively modify or create new products based on the needs of the learners.

On any given day, I am involved in decisions related to all aspects of our business. This includes the products we sell, the pricing of these products, and the contracts we have with suppliers. I am also involved in decisions related to travel, workshops, PD sessions, and marketing. In making decisions on these topics, I involve the people in these work areas. Together we come up with the best course of action to take. I interact with my colleagues either in-person and remotely through Zoom or MS Teams. I have led many PD sessions remotely. In this way, I help school districts with safety and compliance training and product training.

We are a bilingual company -- but 99% of our work is in English. We design specialized equipment, kits, and software solutions. These are built into our blended learning platforms. This involves practical hands-on experience with academic training on various topics, subjects and grade levels.

My career path is

I expected to be a geography, science, or possibly an economics teacher in a high school for my entire career. At university, I enrolled into the Geography Environmental Science program and then completed the Education program. When the provincial science curriculum changed, I was recruited from teaching to work for a science supply company.  They were looking for people who could communicate with teachers about 'how to make lessons work in the new curriculum'. I traveled across Ontario meeting and helping teachers.

I never went back to my traditional classroom-teaching job, but I am still an accredited, certified member of the Ontario College of Teachers. I am still involved in education, just from another side of the room. I work to make STEM teachers lives easier by getting them the products they need to teach inquiry-based outcomes or traditional lab activities.  We work to predict what they want and involve many teachers in our internal product development to make it easier for their colleagues. 

I am motivated by

I enjoy the interaction with teachers at workshops, conferences, PD sessions and informal conversations the most. As a teacher myself, I can easily understand the obligations and responsibilities of educators. I am always eager to help teachers achieve their objectives. I have traveled across North America and am well known as a public speaker and as a captain in my industry. I have always been involved in education, as a teacher, as a sales representative for a school supply company, and as a trusted leader. This is what I find rewarding about my career.

How I affect people’s lives

We are the most reliable science education supplier in Canada (and in North America )! We make sure that schools have the right products on-hand to teach science and STEM programs safely. Most people don't think about where their beakers come from, or the chemicals, or the fetal pigs, or the microscopes. We work on the sidelines with teachers to get them what they need, when they need it! Our products may be the reason that a student decides to pursue a career in STEM.

Outside of work I

I love fishing!  Plain and simple. I have been fishing my whole life and feel very comfortable on the water or on the ice in the winter. My job can be stressful and involves long hours, and I really enjoy getting outside to relax. When my kids were younger, I was a hockey coach, soccer Dad, and a 'dance daddy' for my daughter. I was playing 'old timer' hockey pick up games on Saturday evenings when I was younger. Now I just go for bicycle rides, hikes, and kayak paddle adventures with my wonderful wife (who is a teacher too!)

My advice to others

If you are interested in a sales role, become an expert in that field. That way you will become a trusted advisor, rather than a sales person. People prefer buying from a trusted source even if your price is a little higher because you provide confidence and integrity.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Geography
  • History
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Business & Economics
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought people together
  • Liked helping people
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Played on a sports team
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do
  • Engaged in activities such as fishing

Explore Career Profiles

  • Yetong Dong headshot wearing lab coat

    Yetong Dong

    Research Assistant/Graduate Student

    I am studying to become a scientific researcher.
  • Andrea Goldson-Barnaby headshot

    Andrea Goldson-Barnaby

    Head of the Food division

    I teach and do research on the topics of Food Chemistry and Food Processing.
  • Jo-Anne McArthur photographing hog in pen.

    Jo-Anne McArthur (she/her)

    Photojournalist, Founder

    I operate a non-profit media organization that shows the lives of animals in pictures.
  • Adrienne Ethier headshot

    Adrienne Ethier

    Environmental Risk Assessment Specialist

    I am responsible for evaluating potential exposure risks to people and the environment near nuclear facilities and mines.
  • Alyssa Smith headshot

    Alyssa Smith

    PhD Candidate in Cognitive Science

    I am researching how people’s attention is affected by factors in everyday life such as taking medications.
  • Karen Fleming at work, wearing mask and virtual reality goggles.

    Karen Fleming (she/her)

    Simulation Educator

    I help create education and training experiences that contribute to safer environments for patients.
  • Dr. Marcia Anderson headshot

    Marcia Anderson (she/her)

    Physician and Vice-Dean Indigenous Health, Social Justice and Anti-Racism

    I am a medical doctor and I work to help create culturally safe healthcare that is free of racism.
  • Luke Humphries working with biological sample in his lab.

    Luke Humphries

    Director, Process Development

    I lead teams of scientists to discover and develop the best ways of making drug molecules for clinical trials.
  • Sydney Robinson headshot taken outside with green leaves in background

    Sydney Robinson

    Entrepreneur

    I am an entrepreneur who used my engineering background to design a device that helps amputees do daily tasks in a more painless manner.
  • Allison Guitor in her lab at McMaster University.

    Allison Guitor

    PhD student (antibiotic resistance)

    I study antibiotic resistance, which is what makes bacteria able to live in the presence of antibiotics.
  • Dr. Harpreet Kochhar at standup computer station in his office.

    Dr. Harpreet Kochhar

    President

    I am the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
  • Isabel Hilgendag in the fileld collecting samples in the Arctic

    Isabel Hilgendag

    MSc Student (Biology)

    I look for heavy metals, such as mercury, in Arctic marine animals, to ensure they are safe to eat.
  • Manpreet Kaur in her lab

    Manpreet Kaur (She/Her)

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    I work on research projects to discover drugs to treat infectious diseases.
  • Ryan Mitchell headshot

    Ryan Mitchell

    Hatchery Supervisor

    My job is to supervise the daily workflow at our salmon hatchery.
  • Daryl Lawes

    Daryl Lawes

    Environment Manager

    I am responsible for all aspects of environmental protection, performance, and regulatory compliance for Seaspan Shipyards.
  • Portrait de Corie Houldsworth

    Corie Houldsworth

    Inspector

    I perform inspections of worksites where radiation is used, stored or transported.
  • Terra MacDonald at aquaculture site holding farmed salmon.

    Terra MacDonald (she/her)

    Veterinarian and Fish Health Manager

    As the veterinarian for Mowi Canada West, I care for the salmon at all life stages, from egg to harvest.
  • Isha Berry Headshot

    Isha Berry

    Epidemiologist

    I look for patterns in disease outbreaks and health outcomes in populations across the world.
  • Clair Poulin hiking near wetland area

    Claire Poulin

    Zebrafish Researcher/Pre-Med Student

    I am researching how Zebrafish respond to lower oxygen levels in their environment.
  • Jasmin Chahal headshot

    Jasmin Chahal

    Assistant Professor

    I teach in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at McGill University.