Striving for Excellence – Sci-Tech North’s Excellence in Innovation Award

Local innovators will have their moment in the spotlight tonight at the fifth annual Excellence in Innovation Awards. Presented by Sci-Tech North, the awards will have MBA professor and accomplished mountaineer Scott Kress address the crowd.

Lisa Wildman, project coordinator said the awards have grown in popularity over the years. “People are recognizing that we do have innovative entrepreneurs here, we have extremely creative people, we have a lot of youth who go out into the oil patch right out of school and they’re brought up in a farming background so when something breaks down, they know to put a widget in place and get it up and running right now.” Wildman said.

“They’re very innovative and they’re saving thousands and thousands of dollars in downtime, sometimes the widget that gets put in place is far more effective and efficient then what was originally there so these innovations that are being used in the workplace, they’re a creation of the type of people we have in the north, the pioneering spirit and the creativity and the get it done attitude and people are recognizing that is isn’t all that common.” The nominees range from age 17 to 70, and there are seven award categories. Innovative Youth of the Year, recognizing a person up to age 26 who has taken initiative to develop innovation, teamwork and social responsibility.

Innovation in Education recognizes non-profit organizations committed to excellence in development, promotion and use of technologies, practices and policies, which leads to enhanced access to learning for all students. Innovation at Work recognizes a company, individual or organization that has implemented an innovative process or product created within the workplace that promotes efficiencies or introduces new processes within the operation. Innovation in Industry, which takes note of the company or enterprise that’s increased production through the use of innovative processes, systems or procedures. Technology entrepreneur of the year, will go towards an organization or individual that has commercialized new technology.

Innovative Action for the Environment recognizes created solutions to protect the environment and promote ecological sustainability.

Technology Leadership is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated leadership and mentorship in developing, applying and promoting science or technology and who actively contributes to their community.

“People are stepping up to the plate and they want people to be recognized for the things they’re creating, for what they’re doing, and it’s just become quite a success and we always get a top-notch speaker in and people have an evening not only celebrating their peers but also something where they can take away creative learning.” said Wildman.

Kress volunteered to deliver a presentation to Bert Bowes Junior Secondary students at 2 p.m. today, focusing on reaching dreams and developing skills that will lead you in the right direction. He’ll be highlighting some of the challenges he had to endure while climbing Mount Everest last year in May when China hosted the Olympics and there were military blockades. One side of Everest was closed, so Kress had to change his plans.

“Basically what he is going to be talking about is to survive or thrive, so you can make a choice to in the economic difficult times, you can make a choice whether or not you are gong to merely hold your own and merely survive or whether you are going to take advantage of the uncertainties of the situation look in new directions and thrive . . . it’s thinking on your feet, being able to respond to the challenges that are dished out to us in a timely fashion and always be that innovative, creative person who can grasp the opportunity.” Wildman explained. – Hiedi Irvine, Alaska Highway News