I attended Calgary-based TechRev‘s second event this year. This one featured a couple of successful CleanTech companies, as well as ENMAX, which is one of Alberta’s electrical utilities. It was an eye-opener for me, as I can’t say that I know much about this sector. In the short 20 minutes of presentations by Michael Carten from Sustainable Energy Technologies, Clayton Bear of New Energy Corporation and Doug Sullivan of ENMAX, I heard the heroes (and like most heroes, unsung) of CleanTech describe their companies’s products, and moreso their passion to make the environment better and to supply solutions to countries and organizations where there would be no solution otherwise.
They’re heroes not only in developing clean technology but in an entrepreneurial sense. Hearing their story of what it takes to get it done in the face of economic, technology and financial changes make ‘normal’ tech startups seem relatively easy. Michael and Clayton have some common qualities I think. They were both humble, hard working engineers who have had to endure a great deal, for a long time to get their products to a point where they are available when the world needs it. So while the rest of the world is going green, these guys were ahead of the curve, and against the headwinds at the time, made it possible for the world to ‘go green’.
Both of them made mention that their products might not have made it, if it weren’t for the help from the folks at NRC-IRAP, which are also unsung heroes. They’ve helped many tech companies, maybe even yours, and for something like CleanTech, they’ve enabled Canada to be one of the leaders, when it didn’t make much economic sense, or have a large market. Both Michael and Clayton voiced a genuine thanks to NRC-IRAP, which should be on all our behalf. Sure, it’s their ‘job’, but I’ve met enough of them to know that they those thanks are earned.
More kudos to Pam Boytinck, Ivan Sierralta, Laura Sullivan and their bosses Darren Massey and John Masters at CTI for making TechRev happen. Their mission is to ‘profile local technology leaders and promote opportunities for investment and innovation’. It took a lot of work and cajoling for them to get various groups together to create TechRev and is yet another thankless job of theirs.
Well I’m going to thank them. TechRev is important because it brings industry and the tech sector together, to recognize what can be achieved by getting industry to become sponsors, initial customers and maybe even investors. The CTI folks are far too modest to say, but I’ve heard that some of these industry/tech sector successes are a direct result of them doing this. So you can see why TechRev can be a great catalyst and model for all of us in the tech sector.
Doug Sullivan represented industry and they deserve credit for stepping up and supporting companies like these. There was an announcement with another industry partner that didn’t make it in time for the event. Rumor has it that it’s another large company that starts with an ‘E’. In any case, can you say momentum?
I don’t have the space here to actually describe their companies, and I would probably would do it poorly, but click on the links above and see for yourself, some real technology heroes.