A man with a long history of helping businesses is the new local technology development adviser for Alberta Innovates — Technology Futures, and the contact for the Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN).
Michael Kerr replaces Mark Burggren, who has retired. He stepped into his new position on June 11 started, with Burggren remaining on the scene until June 29.
A corporation created by the provincial government, Alberta Innovates — Technology Futures has a mandate to help build sustainable businesses in Alberta through various programs and services. These include technical and funding support to further the commercialization of technologies.
CARIN is a collaboration involving Red Deer College and regional manufacturers through the Central Alberta Rural Manufacturers Association. Its objective is to help companies develop new innovations and adapt new technologies.
Kerr, who has a degree in chemistry and a master of business administration degree, spent 13 years as an industrial technology adviser with the National Research Council. He covered an area that extended from Kamloops, B.C., to and including the Yukon, and worked with such industries as agriculture, oil and gas, bio-energy, forestry and manufacturing.
“You name the sector, I’ve been involved,” said Kerr, who also served as president of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce, was a director with the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce and in 2008 was named Prince George’s Citizen of the Year.
He believes he’s well-suited for his new role in Central Alberta.
“This position is actually very similar to the position I held in British Columbia. It fits perfectly.”
Kerr added that he’s enthused to be in Central Alberta, where the outlook for businesses is bright.
“This is where things are booming and the future is looking very solid.”
He said he’s noticed a “get-it-done” attitude here, as well as a commitment to work as a team, move things forward and innovate.
“That’s what we need in a global market, because others are innovating quickly too.”
He plans to support the businesses he works with by listening to their needs and responding.
“I’ve always found it’s better for a government person to serve a need rather than come and tell them, ‘This is what we’re going to do.”