Ask Me Anything: Sounding Off with Aercoustics Associate Derek Flake

Posted by Derek Flake /

How did acoustics, noise, and vibration become your specialization?

Ever since my high school physics teacher explained how bass in music goes through walls, I’ve had an interest in the way sound waves interact. My affinity for sound grew during my undergrad in Engineering Physics. During my graduate studies, I chose to focus on high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) and designed and built a prototype device capable of generating and steering complex sound fields underwater.


How did you arrive at Aercoustics?

It didn’t take me long to narrow down the industry I wanted to work in. I focused on the relatively small number of companies in the area with an acoustics, noise and vibration specialty, and even contacted professors around the world to obtain specific course materials so I could get a leg up when applying. After working for a couple years at one firm, I was approached by an Aercoustics partner to help grow the team. I was attracted by the fast-paced entrepreneurial approach to consulting, and the scale and complexity of the projects.


How do you describe your area of specialization to your family?

I specialize in Environmental Noise so it’s my job to make sure noisy activities don’t interfere with people’s well-being and enjoyment of their property. I work on a huge variety of sites including cement plants, automotive factories, grocery stores, oil & gas plants, data centres, and pits and quarries. The noise studies I write are often provided to the public, so it’s a big part of my job to communicate the results and support the engineering in clear terms.

What project are you most proud to have worked on?

It’s really difficult to pick one out of hundreds of great experiences. There’s a certain elegance I’m always proud of when our team designs noise controls for a noisy mining operation by modifying procedures that are already planned, rather than adding expensive controls like giant walls. One recent project involves the design of a number of data centres overseas; applying our fundamental design principles in a foreign regulatory framework provided a unique challenge.


What hobbies do you pursue in your spare time?

I’ve always found time for painting, guitar, photography, good food and reading. Lately though, my style has shifted a bit to painting cartoon elephants, playing Disney theme songs, toddler action-shots, expertise in online food delivery, and an anthology of Peppa Pig stories. As a father of a two-year-old daughter and a two-month-old son who freshly moved into a new house, life has been a fast-paced adventure lately!  I’ve always been an avid reader and no stranger to book clubs with varying levels of whiskey consumption. I love running, hiking, and golf, and I’ve been the captain of an Ultimate Frisbee team for over a decade. I jumped headfirst into homeownership – from rebuilding part of the deck to coding a robust smart-home dashboard in Home Assistant. There’s not much I’ll shy away from.

Derek Flake


As a father of two, Derek is busy painting cartoon elephants and learning Disney theme songs on guitar. Other days, you’ll find him running, hiking, and captaining an Ultimate Frisbee team.

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