Education: Instrumentation and Process Control degree, South Alberta Institute of Technology
When other neighborhood kids were learning to pitch a baseball, Albert Rooyakkers was busy tearing apart and rebuilding all the electronics and machinery he could find. Years later, he rebuilt motors and cars inside the family garage, despite being too young to drive them.
Rooyakkers has since taken his lifelong love for technology to new heights.
As founder and CEO of Bedrock Automation, he’s said to have turned the world of industrial control systems and cyber security inside out.
The technology: Rooyakkers invented the world’s first high-performance control system with built-in cyber security. He accomplished this by embedding into all system components authentication and encryption capabilities that had previously been applied only in military and aerospace industries.
The Bedrock platform provides a root of trust against which all requirements to execute code in any system electronics are authenticated. As a result, rogue code, communications or human transactions are simply not executable.
System modules are further protected in sealed, anti-tamper metal and a pin-less electromagnetic interconnection on the backplane which also delivers extreme electromagnetic and thermal hardening and reliability.
The Bedrock Open Secure Automation (OSA) system has been independently tested to military specifications equivalent to a nuclear EMP attack.
Career path: Rooyakkers was born in Canada to Dutch immigrants. Some of his earliest memories involve building electronics with his father and reading textbooks for fun.
After graduating college in 1985, he worked throughout Canada before moving to Saudi Arabia in 1995 to work on Middle Eastern oil and gas projects. He then relocated to the U.S. to begin his career in product development.
Before founding Bedrock in 2013, Rooyakkers worked at Maxim Integrated, where he managed sales, applications and its corporate business development. He spent three years leading its Japan operation. Maxim Integrated, the parent company of Bedrock, designs, manufactures and sells analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits.
Plot twist: In 2010, the destructive computer worm Stuxnet caused significant damage to Iranian nuclear facilities and brought cyber vulnerabilities of global infrastructure to the front pages. This inspired Rooyakkers to fight back.
“My concern for cyber security started at the dawn of the Internet, with the application of wide area networking and remote connectivity. I predicted it would end badly in automation,” he says. “Stuxnet was the catalyst in 2013 to draw me back into automation and see what it would take to solve it.”
Rooyakkers is named in more than 50 patents relating to control systems, parallel processor design, power systems, human interface and cyber security. An additional 50 patents are pending.
Rooyakkers says he is connecting industries to the promise of the digital age through his unique OSA system.
“In addition to averting the cost and disruption of a security breach better than any solution, intrinsic cyber security provides significantly lower life-cycle costs over conventional automation technologies.”
Outside the office: Rooyakkers is a father of eight with a passion for countless things. He sums it up, stating: “I do not wake up and think it is time to go to work, I just wake up and live.
“I do not have hobbies. Rather, life is my hobby with countless things to do, to learn, places to go, with a family, employees and a nation to serve. Living is one continuous flurry of activities, some of which I get paid to do.”