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Shift by Alberta Innovates

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Shift by Alberta Innovates is dedicated to interviewing the innovators, entrepreneurs, and researchers who are leading the future of innovation in Alberta and globally. Alberta has many unsung heroes and many interesting and important technological advancements being made that will greatly impact our lives. Shift is a spotlight for listeners to get a sense of how Alberta innovation is leading the way.
85 Episodes
I had the chance to talk with  co-founders Megan Leslie and Julian Mulia about their work with Nanotess and their entrepreneurial journey while we are at Inventures 2023 this past May.We dive into Nanotess 101, what it means and what they do and then we're right into discussing how Nanotess became certified as a manufacturer of medical devices with subsequent approval from Health Canada in an incredible two year time span. Megan and Julian are very easy to talk to and are open in explaining their experiences as a young couple running an innovative company. We speak about using values and communication to guide the company in making decisions and much more!Welcome to Shift!BiosMegan Leslie – Co-Founder & CEO of NanoTess IncMegan holds two degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Finance. At NanoTess, Megan has led the company to achieve numerous critical milestones. Notably, oversubscribing NanoTess’ pre-seed and seed financing rounds, winning several pitch competitions and awards including Startup Canada’s global pitch competition in the scale up category, REHAB i2c pitch competition and the Start Alberta A100 One to Watch, securing funding from federal, provincial, and military sources, completing a successful project with the Canadian Department of National Defense, certifying NanoTess’ ISO13485/MDSAP quality management system for medical device manufacturing, and obtaining Health Canada approval for NanoTess’ flagship product - NANOSALV Catalytic Advanced Wound Care Treatment Matrix.Julian Mulia – Co-Founder & COO of NanoTess IncAs an engineer by training, Julian has worked as a management consultant, advising Fortune 500 C-Suite clients on Strategy, Operations, and establishing their innovation ecosystems and intrapreneurship practices. As a co-founder of NanoTess, Julian has led several critical milestones including securing dilutive and non-dilutive funding, establishing both an R&D laboratory and a production facility for NanoTess, developing scalable supply chain partnerships for equipment and materials to avoid delays associated with scaling production quickly, and securing several key business development partnerships with clinicians, health care organizations, and multi-national companies to help grow and scale NanoTess and its technology.Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
Sacred Science brings together Indigenous knowledge and western science to create opportunities for new solutions to environmental challenges, including issues that are important to Indigenous People.For this edition of Shift, I had the chance to sit with Alvin First Rider and talk about the Blood Tribe's Buffalo Restoration Project. We were joined by Emily Herdman from InnoTech Alberta and Brett Purdy from Alberta Innovates.Alvin is a member of the Káínawa, or Blood Tribe,  in southern Alberta. Extending into US territory, these lands form the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Alvin speaks about his nation's use western science alongside Indigenous Knowledge to bring buffalo back to their historical plains.We discuss the importance of restoring this iconic animal as part of an intertribal effort to restore the great plains ecosystem and to reclaim the traditions of the Indigenous peoples who have occupied these lands since time immemorial.The Sacred Science video series, developed in collaboration with Indigenous communities in Alberta, Alberta Innovates and InnoTech Alberta, tells the stories of how these communities are leveraging Indigenous knowledge in tandem with western science to tackle complex conservation and land management challenges that impact all of us and to preserve their cultures.These videos demonstrate successful collaboration between Indigenous communities and natural scientists that create meaningful impact and demonstrate our commitment to reconciliation, particularly in the natural sciences.  You can see all three videos here. BiosAlvin First Rider, Environmental Technician, Blood Tribe Land Management Alvin is a member of the Blood Tribe of Southern Alberta and a descendant of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana both of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Alvin works as a environmental technician with Blood Tribe Land management. He's been an advocate for the voiceless flora and fauna of Blackfoot Territory, and for traditional use land management practice such as bison, cultural burning, beaver restoration from a Blackfoot perspective. Emily Herdman, Technical Lead, InnoTech AlbertaEmily is the Supervisor of Integration and Sector Alignment for the Environmental Services division at InnoTech Alberta. She supports project development and implementation in Environmental Impacts and Biodiversity Monitoring, while also nurturing strong relationships with key partners and progressing strategic planning for priority areas.Bringing the right people together to solve complex client problems is what Emily enjoys most about her job. Her projects have included Indigenous communities, industry, academic, government, and regulators, reflecting her broad network and focus on collaborative approaches to achieve meaningful outcomes.Brett Purdy, Executive Director of Environmental Innovation, Alberta InnovatesBrett is the Executive Director of Environmental Innovation at Alberta Innovates. In this position, Brett works with a talented team responsible for a supporting research and innovation in the areas of integrated land management, restoration and reclamation, climate adaptation and sustainable water resource management. Brett has worked in government and academic institutions as a reclamation research scientist, and has conducted research in reclamation, forest ecology, conservation biology, and population genetics and taught university courses in forestry and conservation. Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
I had a chance to sit down with Ian Beacraft, an engaging, energetic and creative visual presenter, while at Inventures recently. Ian had flown in from Chicago and was providing one of the keynotes the day we got to chat. Ian is very well versed in artificial intelligence. He understands the nuances, the concerns and the opportunities. He was willing to go down any rabbit hole I wanted to explore and I feel it made for a great conversation. Don't take my word for it, though. Dive in for yourself!Welcome to Shift.BioIan Beacraft, CEO and Chief Futurist, Signal and Cipher Considered one of the top voices in emerging technologies, Ian Beacraft is a trusted advisor to the world's most innovative companies. The founder and chief futurist of Signal and Cipher, Ian leads a strategic foresight agency that guides companies through the rapidly changing technology landscape and finds meaningful routes to innovation that impact the bottom line, inspire cultural change, and create new products and services. Previously responsible for P&Ls and innovation departments at the largest agencies in the world, Ian is known for making bleeding-edge technology understandable and monetizable. Brands he has advised over the last decade include Samsung, Intel, Coca-Cola, Google, Microsoft, Nike, and dozens more.Ian has pioneered a digitally immersive presentation style that brings artificial intelligence and extended reality to life so audiences can understand the future of technology in actionable ways. Ian is also the co-owner of a production studio designing virtual worlds and the first person ever to host a news segment as a synthetic human, streaming to over 100 million devices around the world.A classically trained musician, Ian understands the magnitude of AI's coming impact on human creativity. As a strategist and speaker, he strives to educate stakeholders on the real-world implications of emerging technologies so they can make informed decisions that positively shape our world and advance humanity. In a rapidly evolving world that some consider dystopian, Ian remains a steadfast optimist and offers what everyone needs now: hope.Taken from Ian's LinkedIn profile.Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
I met Ryan Greir from Whispering Cedars Ranch while I was at the Olds College of Agriculture and Technology AgSmart event in early August. Ryan and his wife Janna are first generation Alberta farmers originally from British Columbia. I walked impressed with how these two are embracing and engaging a lifestyle that's not for everyone but one that everyone depends on. On their farm, Whispering Cedars Ranch, they strive to raise Alberta lamb and provide the industry with healthy and proven purebred replacement breeding stock.  As entrepreneurs they're constantly looking for ways to diversify their income as they continue to grow sustainable farming in the province.Sit back and settle in as Ryan sheds light on his experience and the joy he and his family derive from farming in Alberta.    Additional links mentioned in our interview:Campaign for WoolOneCup AICapital PowerAlberta Lamb ProducersShift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
Welcome to episode one of our KDays Innovation Zone retrospective! Alberta Innovates had the opportunity to participate as in-kind sponsors for the Innovation Zone led by Explore Edmonton. This was a great opportunity to meet and feature some Edmonton-based entrepreneurs, businesses and students on the Shift podcast. Other KDays Innovation Zone interviews include:Krishna Panchal from the University of Alberta's Future Creators, Kathy Janzen and Ken Schmidt from Wilson Analytical, and Joe Callahan from Correct AI.This third episode is my discussion with Jean Bruce Koua from Elev Homes. Born from the shared struggles of three university students - Jean Bruce, and his partners Kevin Mpunga and Kwasi Boateng - Elev started as a side project but quickly turned into a mission.These three weren't just sympathetic observers of the student housing struggle - they were in the thick of it themselves. Their drive to find a solution came from firsthand experience; they knew that by fixing this issue for others, they'd be fixing it for their own lives too.    BioDubbed the "Master of Making Things Happen," Jean Bruce Koua is one of Elev's founders. His first 'student home' in Canada was a budget hotel room. Jean Bruce believes challenges are the greatest form of learning opportunities, and once overcome, can help efficiently address other sets of obstacles. As the co-founder of Elev, he is able to provide tools to help students facing challenges navigating the off campus housing market, an experience he endured as an International student studying in Canada. Having worked in both the public sector with the Federal Government of Canada, and the private sector with the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, he is able to provide strategic input in the growth of Elev. Being able to merge his economics and problem solving skills allow him to make informed and calculated decisions that are key to the success of the startup. Jean Bruce Koua believes that learning from one another is very important and looks forward to connecting with great minded people in the community! (LinkedIn profile)Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
Welcome to episode two of our KDays Innovation Zone retrospective! Alberta Innovates had the opportunity to participate as in-kind sponsors for the Innovation Zone led by Explore Edmonton. This was a great opportunity to meet and feature some Edmonton-based entrepreneurs, businesses and students on the Shift podcast. This second episode is my discussion with Kathy Janzen and Ken Schmidt from Wilson Analytical Services. We dive into the work they're doing in the area of spectroscopy.  Other KDays Innovation Zone interviews include:Jean Bruce Koua from Elev Homes,Krishna Panchal from the University of Alberta's Future Creators, and Joe Callahan from Correct AI.BiosKen Schmidt, President and founderKen is an Alberta based Professional Chemist and entrepreneur. He completed his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Calgary in 1990. Over the last 25 years, he has worked with universities and the mining and energy industries to solve industry specific problems in sulfur chemistry, catalysis, ceramics, chemical vapour deposition (CVD) coatings and spectroscopy. His expertise is in industrial analytical chemistry, process laboratories for industry, instrument design, manufacturing, sales and technical support.He has been involved in several high tech start-ups, including Wilson Analytical (which he co-founded in 2003). He is also President of Canadian Tool, a Montreal firm specializing in machining and manufacturing. Ken's key role at Wilson is technical development and customer relations.Kathy Janzen, Vice President and founder Kathy is a professional Chemist with twenty-five years of experience with the RCMP as a forensic scientist, followed by two years as one of the principles of the analytical services side of Wilson Analytical. She was also involved in several high tech start-ups, and worked with entrepreneurs at the Northern Alberta Business Incubator (NABI).Kathy served 10 years as the Executive Director of the Association of the Chemical Profession of Alberta (ACPA) and was also the former council chair of the Federation of Canada’s Professional Chemists. Kathy's main role with Wilson is financial and strategic planning, sales, and human resources. Together, Ken and Kathy make all company business decisions.Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
I met Nick Kazakoff onsite at Inventures  2023. His company OneTwoSix Design had generously offered the use of one of their Loop Phone Booths for me to feature to interview guests for the podcast while we were in Calgary for the event.My Inventures 2023 guests included the following: Nick, who you'll hear from todayDamien Hocking from Madala Software, Lorna Baird and Joy Agnew from Olds College of Agriculture and Technology, Dr. Ben Schultz from Maverick Large Animal Veterinary Service, Ian Hagreaves from ATB, and, coming soon, Ian Beacraft from Chicago-based Signal & Cipher.OneTwoSix DesignFounded by Industrial Designers Nick Kazakoff and Brendan Gallagher, Onetwosix is an award winning design agency and team of artists, researchers, designers and builders working to give form to ideas.Based in Western Canada, they regularly work with clients across Canada and the USA. From businesses in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and San Francisco to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and New York - they turn great ideas into beautiful and functional products that can be manufactured efficiently and cost effectively. Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
At Edmonton's recent KDays event, Alberta Innovates had the opportunity to participate as in-kind sponsors for the Innovation Zone led by Explore Edmonton. This was a great opportunity to meet and feature some Edmonton-based entrepreneurs, businesses and students on the Shift podcast. This is the third episode and it features my brief chat with Krishna Panchal from the University of Alberta's Future Creators. KDays Innovation Zone interviews also include:Jean Bruce Koua from Elev Homes,Ken Schmidt and Kathy Janzen from Wilson Analytical, and Joe Callahan from Correct AI.Future CreatorsFuture Creators is a University of Alberta Engineering student group and nonprofit organization that inspires future engineers and technology innovators by providing youth with the mentors, knowledge, and resources to bring their own technology projects to life.They partner with schools to provide a weekly afterschool program to students in grades 7-12.Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
I met and interviewed my guest at Inventures 2023 in Calgary this past May. He had a wee break in his schedule and was kind enough to join me onsite to discuss the work he and his company are doing optimize oil production on Alberta well sites. It's fascinating to learn that his company's technology helps the onsite production engineers understand and adjust variables related to each well in real time. Evidence to this point has shown that sites using the technology are up to ten percent more productive. Over the course of many wells and many sites this number adds up to become quite impressive.Pour yourself a cup of your favourite wake-up elixir and settle in to learn more about this made-in-Alberta oil & gas optimization tool.Welcome to Shift.   BioDr. Damien Hocking - Chief Technology Officer for Madala SoftwareDamien has a diverse career in solving complex problems through technical software development.  He is an expert in hydraulics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, and both steady state and transient simulation.  He has held key technology roles at Hyprotech, Aspentech, KBC, and Computer Modeling Group. Additionally, he's worked for MEG Energy and HTRI.  In addition to Madala Software Inc, Dr. Hocking founded Corelium Inc. which provides a scalable simulation platform.  He's the co-author of six patents in the heavy oil industry and holds a Bachelor in Engineering and PhD in Chemical Engineering both from the University of Adelaide.Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
Artificial intelligence has taken the public imagination by storm and things are moving quickly. At Inventures 2023 in Calgary we had Ian Beacraft and Timnit Gebru dedicate their keynotes to it, and a panel featuring representatives from Microsoft, Enmax and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute discussing it from an industry perspective. Today, we're featuring my discussion with Ian Hargreaves from ATB. Ian and I dive in and build off a previous discussion he had on Tyler Chisolm's podcast Collision YYC (I encourage you to give it a listen) to further explore the implications, considerations and what keeps him up at night as far as artificial intelligence goes. Again, things have been moving fast and we'll talk about some of the changes that have occurred between his and Tyler's interview and his and mine. One of Ian's big messages is that it's critical for us, ALL of US, to stay on top of AI developments and specifically business exploring the use of AI to understand the role and implications of the incoming federal Act C-27.  BioIan Hargreaves, Fellow, Artificial Intelligence at ATBAs Fellow of Artificial Intelligence at ATB, Ian is responsible for taking AI out of the lab. This means creating secure, scalable and transparent platforms that deliver on core AI capabilities like computer vision or personalization. His mission is to weave a thread of AI through all digital experiences at ATB - whether it’s tools used by ATB team members, or experiences that directly benefit customers. By rethinking how teams build, support and deliver AI capabilities, Ian and his team believe that they can truly reimagine banking by surrounding all Albertans with a network of intelligent services designed to grow their wealth, however they define it.After an academic career using neuroimaging and predictive models to understand how people make decisions, Ian graduated from the University of Calgary with a PhD in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Ian has developed both highly valuable intellectual property and also the foundations of a data science practice within business operations. Ian has managed numerous proofs of concept, and in scaling those quickly learned that the impact of AI is ultimately limited by trust: trust in the algorithm, trust in the team that designed it, and trust in the overall strategy. Ian has co-authored one patent and has 20 academic publications.Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
I had a chance to sit down and talk with Dr. Ben Schultz at this recent Inventures 2023. Ben is a large animal vet and recent graduate of the Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network's Catalyst Incubator. Large animal veterinary medicine is a fascinating practice that Ben describes as being a fertile ground for innovation.I hope you enjoy our talk. Welcome to Shift!   BioDr. Ben Schultz Ben founded Maverick Large Animal Veterinary Service in 2012. He is also a founding partner of Momentum Equine Veterinary Specialists in Sherwood Park, and a partner at Uncas Veterinary Clinic in Uncas, Alberta.In addition, he is the founder of Emergion Technologies, creators of TREATURE, a web based animal health protocol app designed for veterinarians, livestock owners, and veterinary pharmacies.Ben has a professional interest in cow/calf and small feedlot and backgrounding, and is keenly interested in the economics and sustainability of the beef production industry as a whole.  Ben is particularly interested in the application of new technology to address challenges facing rural veterinarians and their clients.Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
Food production is essential. Full stop.As demand for food and the urgency for sustainable crop and animal production increases, our need for better tools increases: artificially intelligent, mechanized, data-driven tools. With this, however, come challenges:  how do we help get these, so called, "smart" tools into the hands of those who will be using them on the frontlines? And opportunities: how do we start to understand each farm is different and localized data will help to increase sustainable production? In this episode, we talk with Joy Agnew and Lorna Baird from Olds College of Agriculture and Technology about smart farming, how the College uses its Smart Farm to support famers to use the tools, and how it teaches the next generation of food producers and entrepreneurs to use, develop and test these tools in the field. We also talk about the Pan Canadian Smart Farm Network that's spreading across the country, with the various locations sharing data and learnings to increase overall knowledge, and the support the College provides entrepreneurs through its Centre for Innovation, as well as partnerships with Alberta's Regional Innovation Networks and the Technology Access Centres. This is an inspiring episode. Welcome to Shift.Bios  Joy AgnewJoy grew up on a grain farm near Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and earned her Ph.D. in Ag/Bio Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. At Olds College of Agriculture and Technology, Joy oversees the applied research portfolio and smart farm operations. Applied research at Olds College is focused on crop and livestock production with a specialty in environmental stewardship, technology integration and data utilization to improve productivity and sustainability of food production.  Joy also has a leadership role in the development of the College's Smart Ag Ecosystem, bringing together the academic programming, applied research, strategic partnerships, smart farm operations, and extension & communication activities to help the College meet its goal to be a leader in Smart Agriculture. In 2021, Joy was named one of Canada’s top 50 most influential people in Canadian Ag by Canadian Western Agribition.Lorna BairdLorna is the Manager of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Olds College Centre for Innovation where she helps people with new business ideas and small to medium-sized businesses access networks of people, organizations and programs that can help them develop their entrepreneurship journey. Lorna also supports Business Development for the Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production at the College where she continues to help those same individuals and businesses develop, validate and demonstrate new technologies or innovative techniques. Lorna also co-chairs the Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network, one of eight Regional Innovation Networks across the province that are supported by Alberta Innovates. The networks work collaboratively and share ideas and noteworthy practices. Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
The Metaverse. What were people saying about the Internet before it became commonplace? To me, it feels like a similar thing.Thankfully we have people like Mike McCready to help us navigate and understand what a tool like the Metaverse is and can become.To paraphrase both Mike AND Inventures keynote, Matthew Ball, it's  key for us to educate ourselves on what this technology means for us and how it will impact us. Understand it before you HAVE to understand it.In our conversation Mike not only mentions how people attending Inventures can experience and learn about the Metaverse, but how people not able to attend can participate in the Inventures Metaverse Experience.The INVENTURES Metaverse Experience – presented by Lethbridge CollegeExperience first-hand what metaverse technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR), motion capture, and more can offer industry.  Listen to global leaders share insights on various topics, ideate and collaborate together, and meet new people – all within a virtual representation of the main floor of the TELUS Convention Centre. Explore some of the advanced technologies that the Lethbridge College START Centre offers which enable industry to digitize the physical world, experience the virtual world, and blend the two together. These hardware demonstrations will be live-streamed into the INVENTURES Metaverse Experience. How to participate physically at INVENTURESYou can join sessions or demo advanced spatial technologies hardware by visiting rooms TELUS 101-103 on May 31 between 10:15am and 4:30pm and on June 1 between 9:15am and 4:30pm.How to participate virtually in INVENTURESYou can join sessions using the ENGAGE platform. Instructions on how to download ENGAGE, create an account, and join sessions can be found here (opens a .pdf).BioMike McCready, Industry Liaison and Research AdvisorSpatial Technologies Applied Research and Training (START) CentreLethbridge CollegeMike is an educator and researcher with a focus on immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality. He has over 23 years of development experience and is driven to explore new technologies and understand their application within business and society. He introduced one of the first VR development courses at Lethbridge College in 2016. One of Mike’s focuses is the social interactions made possible with VR and has planned and facilitated numerous social VR activities that have garnered national and international attention, including the world’s first full-day conference held in VR – Merging Realities.Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
What's your plan?Ethics and values: two words that provide a solid foundation to any and all companies. Ignore at your own peril. Ethics and values provide guide posts for all of your business decisions. They help to direct all members of a company into doing what that business holds as a key value. In this era of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the growth is substantial and quick. The need for ethical guidelines when it comes to growth using AI is significant. Join me as I talk to Susan Divers from LRN about her upcoming session at Inventures entitles: Business Ethics – What’s Your Plan? Welcome to #ShiftbyAIBioSusan Divers, Director of Thought Leadership and Best Practices, LRNSusan brings 35+ years’ accomplishments and experience in the ethics and compliance area to LRN, a leading provider of solutions in the ethics and compliance area. She is a frequent speaker at events and conferences on ethics and compliance topics. Prior to joining LRN in 2015, she served as AECOM’s Assistant General for Global Ethics & Compliance and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer. Under her leadership, AECOM’s ethics and compliance program garnered six external awards in recognition of its effectiveness and her thought leadership in the ethics field. In 2011, Susan received the AECOM CEO Award of Excellence. She is qualified as a solicitor the the High Court of England and Wales and admitted to the DC Bar.TRACKS: ACCELERATING GROWTHSESSION: Business Ethics – What’s Your Plan? – June 01, 9:15 amShift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
Alberta IoT is a member-based non-profit organization working to build connections and support for Alberta-based digital companies with a focus on the Internet of Things. I had a chance to sit down with Brenda Beckedorf, Alberta IoT's Executive Director to talk about her organization's growth since its inception and the direction their boldly charting as they continue to function as a vital player in building Alberta as a centre for digital-based  businesses.We discuss a number of their programs, from the Fast Track Accelerator and their Start-Up Visa for new Canadians who are working to establish themselves as tech entrepreneurs to the Science Park, Alberta IoT's newest initiative to tie industry with post-secondary to create a space for connection, collaboration and innovation to support the growth of all things digital, and much more!Buckle up and welcome to Shift!BioBrenda Beckedorf is the Executive Director of Alberta IoT. In her role as Executive Director, Brenda’s focus is to bring our community together to provide a common voice in advancing the knowledge, adoption, and growth of the Internet of Things industry within the province of Alberta and throughout the world.Prior to Alberta IoT, Brenda started her career in technology with Graycon Group as Director of Business Development. She is a current Director of The Calgary Innovation Coalition (CIC--part of Alberta Innovates group of eight Regional Innovation Networks), a group of organizations in the Calgary region that support innovation-driven entrepreneurs, startups, and enterprises.Brenda is also Director for Alberta Women Entrepreneur, who supports women in business through business advising, business skills development, financing, and providing networking opportunities. Brenda is a 2020 winner of the Universal Women Network Mentorship Award. Brenda previously served as Vice President of Calgary Women in Energy and until recently as Regional Director for AIoT Canada.Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
Nestled in central Alberta, Red Deer Polytechnic is a post secondary institution with major aspirations--and some serious clout. With lots of connections through the regional innovation networks across the province and the Technology Access Centres in Alberta and across the country, they're built to support students AND entrepreneurs. In this discussion with Tonya Wolfe, the director of RDP's two centres of innovation, we learn about how the school gets power, touch base on what the tech access centres are, learn about their role with the Regional Innovation Networks, and generally plumb the depths of what she oversees and how the school supports innovation in Alberta.Welcome to Shift! BioTonya Wolfe, PhD P.Eng, Director, Centres for Manufacturing and Energy Innovation at Red Deer Polytechnic, and adjunct professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Alberta.Tonya is a recognized leader in Alberta’s innovation space, Tonya is never satisfied with the status quo. Her areas of expertise include metallurgy, materials design, additive manufacturing, welding, wear resistant materials, steelmaking, biomedical engineering, and process modeling, and she enjoys sharing her knowledge in order to facilitate the growth of innovation for SMEs.Tonya has a professional engineering designation, a Bachelor of Applied Science from Queen’s University, and graduate degrees from the University of Alberta. Her MSc investigated the use of biomaterials for prosthetic applications and her PhD studied composite overlays deposited by plasma-transferred arc welding.Prior to arriving at Red Deer Polytechnic in 2020 as the CIM-TAC Manager, Tonya spent more than two decades building connections and working to advance technologies and innovation with Alberta’s manufacturers. She is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (, the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, and a founding member of the Alberta Additive Manufacturing Network. In her spare time, Tonya competes as a Masters Synchronized Swimmer and is a leader with the Girl Guides of Canada, an organization she has been a member of for over 40 years.Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
There's no one playbook that defines the path to startup success. For Chris Heivly, it's a mindset. My conversation with Chris touches on his new book, Building the Fort, what people can expect to take away from his talk at Inventures, and he gives listeners some great insight how to pitch.Welcome to Shift!Inventures sessionsStartup Pitch Event – The Metaverse – June 01, 9:15 amWhy Building Great Ecosystems Is Even More Important Today – June 02, 10:15 amBioChris Heivly,  Managing Director, Build The FortChris is one of the nation’s leading experts on launching startups. He co-founded MapQuest, is an investor (angel, corporate VC, 2 micro funds ~ directed over $75M) and was SVP Innovation with Techstars. Today he is focused on startup community building enabling city leaders to create the right environment for entrepreneurs.Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
On this episode we're teasing another of our Inventures speakers: Lia Garvin. Lia is engaging, insightful and an absolute pleasurer to talk with. She takes years of experience working for some big companies and distils her learnings into useable knowledge that entrepreneurs can easily deploy in the startups.  Lia is a master business consultant that will describe how to reframe the workplace and do more with less, and how to become unstuck from business ruts many of us get stuck in.Welcome to Shift! BioLia GarvinLia is the best selling author of Unstuck, TEDx speaker, and organizational effectiveness consultant and coach with experience leading team operations across Google, Microsoft, Apple and Bank of America. She uses the lens of “disruption without destruction” to equip innovative organizations of any size and industry with the tools to cultivate inclusive, motivated, high performing teams. She is a sought after expert in the media, featured in Inc, FastCompany, ABC News, CNN Business, US News & World Report, HBR, Yahoo and TV News.She'll be joining us at Inventures to present her talk "Doing More With A Smaller Team" on June 01, 10:15 amShift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
Welcome to the second in our series of Inventures teaser episodes leading up to our event starting on May 31.My guest this episode is Erik Severinghaus. Erik joins me for brief discussion to set the stage for his talk entitled "Everest to Entrepreneurship: How to Scale YOUR Everest" on May 31 at 10:15 am.Resilience isn't taught in class. It's lived experience, but Erik will inspire you to think differently about it and he'll work to give some tools and means to conquer the challenges you may be face as an entrepreneur. Join me for this great, and candid, conversation about how Erik faced obstacles, suffered defeats, but persisted and built his resilience to achieve satisfying personal and business successes.BIOErik Severinghaus, Co-Founder / Co-CEO, BloomfilterErik Severinghaus has summited the highest peaks of both the business world – selling four companies for hundreds of millions of dollars – and the physical world – successfully climbing Mt. Everest in 2018. He is proudest not of the trophies on his wall memorializing these accomplishments, but of the scars he has accumulated overcoming both the external obstacles and internal trap of self-doubt along the way. Erik released his first book in 2021, Scale Your Everest, a guidebook for mental health, resilience and entrepreneurship. Erik has an MBA from Kellogg School of Business and an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina. He lives with his wife and daughter in Chicago.He'll be joining us at Inventures to present his talk "Everest to Entrepreneurship: How to Scale YOUR Everest " on May 31, 10:15 amShift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
Welcome to the first in our series of Inventures teaser episodes leading up to our event on May 31. My guests on this initial episode are Christine Maligec from Marsh Canada and Ron Markowski from the NAIT School of Business . Representing the industry and academic perspectives, respectively, they join me for a brief look at their panel topic on critical thinking entitled "Critical thinking to mitigate risk in a chaotic information economy." Really it could have been called "Get ready to learn critical thinking skills to help you avoid analysis by paralysis." Ron and Christine are engaging, knowledgeable and great speakers. This episode only gives you a shallow look (a teaser!) at what their panel on May 31 at 10am will be all about, but I think it gives enough to whet your appetite! I hope you'll enjoy this episode as much as I did. AND I can't wait for their panel!I hope to see you at Inventures and welcome to Shift!BiosChristine Maligec, Vice President of Enterprise Risk Service, Marsh Canada  Christine has 20 years of combined insurance as well as 15 years of risk management experience. She has a diverse background of experience in the public sector including education, health and municipalities as well in the private sector.  Christine also gives back by contributing time to her local Risk & Insurance Management Society Chapter and is a Public Member for the Alberta College of Pharmacy.Dr. Ron Markowski, Program Coordinator/instructor, Critical Thinking, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, School of BusinessRon is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and international keynote speaker. He's worked extensively with public and private sector organizations, and has helped entities ranging from start-ups, to large multinationals. In addition, his extensive research has demystified Critical Thinking into a simple four-quadrant model that can be easily understand and quickly applied by individual, teams, and organizations alike.  This model has proven to be particularly effective in data-driven environments that require diagnostic and analytical thinking to quickly identify and respond to emerging threats or opportunities.  Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.
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