Rock Star: Rithmik Solutions founder and CEO Kevin Urbanski
Kevin Urbanski pursues passion in AI
Kevin Urbanski is one of those lucky people whose passion project is their full-time job. He is the CEO and founder of Rithmik Solutions, an artificial intelligence (AI) company based in Fernie, British Columbia. The company works with mining companies, leveraging AI to unlock value within customer data, specifically finding early indicators of equipment issues.
After working in the mining industry for eight years, Urbanski saw a problem that AI could solve. “I’ve spent time all over North and South America at many different mines,” he said. “While I was travelling, I gathered data for customers. I realized that there is a lot in the data that is not being leveraged. I stumbled upon AI and realized that this is the ticket I’ve been looking for to exploit the data.”
His passion for AI wasn’t always so clear. Urbanski worked a dissatisfying job and took two years off to explore before finding the solution he was looking for. “I travelled. I came back to AI and realized this is what I need to be doing,” he said. “It just made sense. It’s my passion. From there it’s been full tilt and very fun.”
Founding Rithmik Solutions
Here’s the lesson he learned through building Rithmik from the ground up: “When you focus, that’s when the magic happens. You can get places fast by just giving your undivided attention. When you are passionate about something, things are a lot easier.”
Right now, Urbanski juggles a few roles within Rithmik. Like any startup, there is time spent wearing multiple hats. “I’m balancing both CEO and engineering activities,” he said. “I’m getting my hands dirty at the same time as conducting business.” However, the root of his passion lies in solving problems, so he expects that he will always be directly involved in creating Rithmik’s solutions.
Keeping up with the evolving industry
Artificial intelligence moves quickly. It’s impossible to know everything in the field because tomorrow the field could change. Rithmik needs to keep up with and apply new technologies to continually improve.“I spend a lot of time reading to keep up on the times,” Urbanski said. This is how Rithmik offers its customers valuable data leveraging solutions.
As the company grows, Rithmik will be adding more people to his team. More important than understanding everything there is to know about AI is to share similar values. Urbanski values continuous learning and a passion similar to his own. “I look for people who are driven and excited about the solutions that Rithmik is creating. Excited to learn—that’s a big one.
“The most challenging aspect of my job is communicating the power of AI,” Urbanski said. He combats this lack of understanding with transparency. He tries to understand the customer’s struggles as much as possible before suggesting a solution. “AI, specifically machine learning, allows you to give a computer data and it does the learning itself. It can find complex and unconventional insights within that data.” The challenge, however, lies in the fact that computing power is the solution. “Because of that, it’s challenging to build trust in the solutions.” On the other hand, the rewards are solving complex problems and coming up with cost savings.
Focus on your passions
Urbanski talks about focus. Dedicating your attention to a single goal makes moving through challenges a little easier. This is exactly what he’s done to bring Rithmik to where it is today. “I attribute doing meditation twice daily to keeping me energized and focused, especially during busy and demanding times,” he said. Now that Rithmik Solutions is well underway, Urbanski hopes to focus on the other passions in his life: guitar, the outdoors, travelling and learning about new cultures.