David Collins

David has a broad background in group process and conflict resolution and a deep background in applied mathematics. Facilitating meetings started in the late ‘80’s with workshops in fraternities that brought awareness of sexual assault perpetrated by acquaintances. Since then other community functions that have benefited from his reflective listening skills and thematic observations include a local implementation of The Free University, The Alternative Economics Conference (before the sharing economy was popular), and participatory workshops on giving, receiving, withholding, and withdrawing consent.

Solar Thermal Evacuated Tubes
David’s teaching how solar thermal evacuated tubes work at a local community fair.

David organized a local recycling company and negotiated two labor contracts, for the drivers and other manual laborers, after having been trained in labor contract negotiations by the United Auto Workers. He also completed mediation training sponsored by the Office of the Supreme Court of Michigan, mediated civil cases referred to the Dispute Resolution Office by the civil court judges, and went on to co-facilitate that mediation training. While in the entrepreneurial sphere, he led discussion groups focused on “distilling a complicated message” and on “communicating a technical message to a lay audience.’

He has facilitated meetings using four different forms of consensus where conflicts needed to be resolved so that actions could be implemented under deadlines. The Magnum Opus feat of his work in consensus facilitation was two years of weekly meetings to rewrite a non-profit’s (A Community Supported Agriculture organization’s) by-laws as it grew from a ‘small’ to a ‘medium’ farm.

When he wasn’t teaching high school math, in his spare time he has designed and built a biodiesel reactor on a ‘household’ scale. This machine produced biodiesel in half the time, and using half the energy, as typical reactors of a similar size. He also designed and produced a prototype for an energy meter that recorded and logged the energy produced by a residential-scale solar-thermal domestic water heating unit.

After taking those projects to their natural conclusion, he googled a few key words that would have been needed to further either project and arrived in Victoria, BC to do a Ph.D in applied mathematics. Building on the topics of turbulence, fluid dynamics, and probability theory he modeled how water droplets in clouds combine together and get bigger in size.

Now, he’s used Python and JavaScript to build an educational tool that teaches the use of different forms of (voting) ballots as the people in the province of British Columbia wrestle with electoral reform and proportional representation.