Spring 2010 Forward to a Friend

Owner Spotlight: John Koivula - A Gem in the Fast Lane
John Koivula


Koivula admits to building snowmen in his yard as a child, only to blow them to smithereens. (We’ll spare the details.) The budding chemist grew up and pursued a formal education in chemistry and geology.

In the 1980s, Koivula was instrumental in the development of the MacGyver television series and worked as the show’s technical adviser. His specialty was developing safe and effective James Bond-style devices and trick explosives.

Today, Koivula lives in Vista, California, with his wife, Kristi. He is an award-winning chief gemologist with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). His mastery of using a microscope to photograph gem inclusions – flaws either in the gem itself or on its surface – has made him a recognized authority, author, and speaker in the gem industry. Koivula recently earned the Richard T. Liddicoat Award for Distinguished Achievement, the highest tribute the GIA bestows upon an individual.

For a techie like Koivula, it’s no surprise that the science behind his vehicle and knowing exactly what’s under the hood are essential. But it was Kristi who talked him into test-driving the WRX STI.

“I have driven high-performance American cars all of my life, and even spent some years racing on drag strips and road courses,” Koivula said. “The WRX STI put a smile on my face when I drove it, and, after two years, it is still a lot of fun just getting behind the wheel and turning the ignition on.”

To an outsider, a WRX STI might not seem to be a logical choice for someone who is a husband, father, and grandfather with a long-established professional career. But to anyone who knows Koivula’s enthusiasm for performance, technology, and combustion, the allure of the WRX STI is understandable.