Todd McKay

Modernizing the Construction Industry With Safer Solutions



Todd McKay

For far too long, the places in which we live, work, heal, and play, have been built to minimum standards affecting health, quality, safety, and sustainability. Why do we still build with sticks and wood when daily news articles report deaths or injuries from fires destroying homes, schools, or workplaces? How many people have to die before the industry takes responsibility and makes changes to prevent it? "These questions and problems are what drive me to work in this industry. We spend 90% of our time in buildings; I want to make them safe. I want change," exclaims Todd McKay. Todd McKay is Founder and CEO of MgO Systems. It was established in 2012 and is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta.

MGO Systems develops and manufactures technologically-advanced building solutions for commercial, residential, educational, hospitality, and healthcare applications. It is a technology company that strives to change the construction sector with 'Faster, Stronger, Safer' solutions. Compared to routine methods, their proprietary engineered wall systems provide superior fire rating, water resistance, insulation value, and mold plus mildew resistance, green and environmentally friendly, and acoustic performance- all with a pre-fabricated solution that is efficient, cost-effective, healthy, and sustainable.

"These questions and problems are what drive me to work in this industry. We spend 90% of our time in buildings; I want to make them safe. I want change"

MgO Systems: Faster, Stronger, Safer

Driven by Passion

MgO Systems is a family-focused company that is made up of individuals who have faced fires and other home tragedies and are striving to find new, better and safer ways to build.

Todd McKay built MgO Systems up out of the ashes of a house fire that fortunately happened during the day or it is likely that the McKay Family would not be here today. His experience as an electrician, working in construction and running construction companies gave him the perfect background to begin the adventure he's still pursuing today. Jim Pendergast and Dave Burtt were the next two to join the journey. Jim Pendergast, a leader in business development and corporate finance, experienced his own tragedy with a house fire. On the other hand, Dave is a Master Home Builder who has unmatched energy and passion for building the right way. It was during the research and development of MgO Systems that Todd met Tim Sweeney, an expert Architect who speaks regularly on behalf of the American Institute of Architects and numerous construction plus architectural conferences. His love of the product and passion for finding creative designs brought him into the team, and he now runs the Reno division of the Company.

Building a Magnesium-Oxide Board requires a scientific precision that can only be done with an expert chemist, which led to Dr. Doug Brown a chemistry genius with over ten years of experience in research and prototype development of next-generation green technologies. This was followed by the newest member to the MgO Systems' team Scott Jenkins, former President at DIRTT Environmental Solution. He fell in love with the MgO story, its product and quickly jumped on board bringing along with him his wealth of manufacturing, technology, business development, and finance experience.

"I work in this industry because it is broken, and I believe that we can change it. We have a technology that can save property, possessions, and most importantly lives. It is time for us to utilize it"

An Idea with a Modern Spin

Conventional OSB, plywood, gypsum, MDF, and Portland cement wall products that constitute the 'modern stick-build construction' has a 40-year life cycle. MGO's C3 Fireboard™‚ and C3 EngineeredWall System‚ solutions are designed for a 100-year lifecycle. The C3 Fireboard™‚ is a technologically advanced MgO (Magnesium Oxide) board while C3 Engineered Wall System™‚ is an advanced engineered panel system created by combining C3 Fireboard with an insulating core.

Beyond building with a longer outlook, the company's C3 Engineered Wall Systems provide superior insulating value for more efficient heating and cooling, even in extreme environments. Their current board composition is one of the best in the market and is in alignment with the company's vision of 'green-built' in addition to 'sustainable building material' of future. The most critical aspects of the board are that they offer inhabitants safety and security knowing that they will have a better chance to get their families, co-workers, clients etc. out in the event of an emergency. In addition, the C3 engineered wall systems incorporates structural elements (having the same structural support of a traditional building), which further reduces the need for additional trades and materials and exceeds building code standards.

"I work in this industry because it is broken, and I believe that we can change it. We have a technology that can save property, possessions, and most importantly lives. It is time for us to utilize it", asserts Todd.

Not a Cakewalk

Though Todd and his team have a very noble vision, turning an idea into a marketable product is complex and multifaceted. The test is to execute all the steps correctly and also create a product that appeals to the market. The challenges MgO Systems faces as a 'new-product' development company are:

MgO-cement chemistry: The magnesium oxide is usually mined in the chemical form of MgCO3 (a mineral) which needs to be converted into MgO and CO2 by intense heat in the process of calcination. The purity of the minerality and reactivity of the resulting MgO significantly affect the stability of the cement. If not precisely accounted for the resulting products can lose structural integrity and/or begin to effloresce (lose moisture, becoming a fine powder when exposed to air) in extreme environments over time. Something the company has to continuously monitor while exporting the raw materials and developing its creations.

Negative perception: The other problem is the negative perception of SIPs, these structurally insulated panels typically consist of two pieces of OSB (orient strand board, a product infamous for terrible off-gassing and flammability, not unlike being doused in oil), a portion of EPS Foam (Expanded polystyrene) and call it structural. The problem with SIPs is that if there is a fire and it damages one of the pieces of OSB board the structural capacity of the SIP is gone. On the other hand, MgO C3 (Cast Cement Composite Board) engineered wall panels are similar to SIPs in that they have two magnesium oxide boards on the outside of an EPS foam core, the difference is all of our C3 engineered panels are built with an internal wood or steel stud as needed by the building structure. This means that if there is a fire or other incident and the magnesium oxide board is damaged, the structural integrity of the building itself is not.

A Future that is Progressive

The company has discovered a new source of Magnesium in Alberta itself. This source is purer then what is currently on the market and is in accordance with the high-quality control standards of MgO Systems. The company is currently testing this new proprietary building product which is made green, environmentally friendly, and safely from local (North American) sources. The company is now looking forward to finalizing the testing of their new MgO board and get it into the market soon.

The firm is very much excited about the opening of their new plant in Palm Springs which would facilitate working on larger and increasingly more complex projects. In the near future, the organization is geared up to grow MgO Systems into a responsible industry leader and a flourishing company, changing the ideals of the current industry into building a greener, faster, stronger and safer future.

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