Why I chose an astronaut to be our special guest

June 17th, 2019

Why I chose an astronaut to be our special guest

by Terry Cassaday

A few weeks ago, we hosted the grand opening of our flagship showroom&store, located in downtown Toronto in the historic King Edward Hotel.

The reason I chose to open this showroom is that we believe we have finally designed the best ergonomic office seating in the world. Over the almost 30 years we’ve been in business, we have accumulated a prestigious customer list, yet ergoCentric remains relatively unknown. I felt it was time to let the world know about the advantages ergoCentric brings to workspaces.

In a survey we conducted at the 2017 Association of Canadian Ergonomist (ACE) annual convention, we learned that 94% of ACE members recommend our seating systems. Ergonomists – specialists in human factors – are key to healthy workspace design, yet too often they are called in when a workplace injury has already occurred. For whatever reason, large companies ignore the injury prevention value Ergonomists bring to workplace design and they continue purchase task chairs based on the recommendation of Interior Designers, who have little or no training in ergonomics. And though the chairs they specify may look great, they usually fit less than 70% of the people who have to sit in them.

This is not okay. The people who are forced to sit in chairs that don’t fit them will be uncomfortable which affects their health and productivity and over time can result in injury.

Now you may be thinking, this can’t be true. Large companies are run by really smart people and there is no way they don’t know what they are doing nor would they intentionally put their employees at risk of developing a musculoskeletal injury.

Well it is true and it brings me to why I asked Dr. Roberta Bondar to be the guest speaker at the opening of our new showroom.

A few months ago, there was an article in the Globe and Mail about Dr. Bondar which demonstrated that even NASA did not always get the ergonomics right. When I read this article, I realized that my theory was even more conceivable.

Dr. Bondar has a huge list of accomplishments. She was:

  • One of the six original Canadian astronauts selected in 1983;
  • She flew on the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery in 1992 where she conducted experiments in the Space Lab;
  • She was the first neurologist in space;
  • For 10 years she led an international team of researchers at NASA examining data obtained from astronauts on space missions to better understand the mechanisms underlying the body’s ability to recover from exposure to space
  • She served two terms as Chancellor of Trent University;
  • She has a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Agriculture from the University of Guelph, a Master of Science in Experimental Pathology from the University of Western Ontario, a Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience from the University of Toronto and a Doctor of Medicine from McMaster University;
  • She was a certified skydiver, underwater diver and a private pilot;
  • She is a celebrated landscape photographer and is the author of 4 books;
  • She has received many honors including Companion of the order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, the NASA Space Medal, has been inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame.

When I spoke to Dr. Bondar about the opening of our showroom&store, she told me that she had furniture custom made for her Toronto home because she has longer than average leg length, and something different made for her sister because she has shorter than average leg length. Who does that? A rocket scientist does that.

I was very proud to have Dr. Bondar address our customers, employees, suppliers and I would like to share an excerpt from her talk. I hope you’ll find the time to visit the ergoCentric showroom&store the next time you’re downtown Toronto.


About Terry Cassaday

Terry is the Founder of ergoCentric Inc. and has been instrumental in designing the company’s extensive line of ergonomic seating systems. To date he has over 20 patents and patents‑pending. He also wrote and produced The Anatomy and Biochemistry of the Human Body in the Seated Posture and has published many articles on ergonomic seating. He was a member of the technical committee that drafted CSA Z412‑17, Office Ergonomics – An application standard for workplace ergonomics.