OSTN – May Newsletter

Owen Sound Technology Network – Newsletter

Launch Pad

The Network took to the road on May 23rd holding our meeting at Launch Pad – Youth Activity and Technology Centre in Hanover, ON.   http://www.yatc.ca/ Bernie Blakeney, Manager of Programs and Innovation, provided the group with a tour of the facility which was transformed from an old auto dealership.  The main building has a collaboration art space, computer lab, commercial kitchen, high bay open area and a new welding area.  There is another annex building for automotive and small engine programs. Bernie is pretty passionate about Raspberry PI and has helped the youth design console video games in one of the tech programs.   The commercial kitchen is a great space. Not only do they run classes there but they rent the space to local food producers so they can produce in a facility that lets them sell to retailers. Bernie told us a 12 year old started a local cookie company and is selling to the local coffee shop. What a nice boast to local entrepreneurship.  The welding area got me excited. Not because I am a big welder but because it was a space for learning a skilled trade.  There is a lot of work out there for skilled trades but there are limited avenues for youth to get engaged in them early.  Welding is an art in the nuclear industry and there is a prime employer in the neighbourhood. Bernie then told us of the social benefits of the centre.  The youth crime rate in Hanover has dropped considerably since the centre opened.  Launch Pad was also a component to Grey County’s bid for the Intelligent Community Forum prize.

We finished up our meeting at Launch Pad with some MacLean’s beer locally crafted in Hanover.  If you haven’t tried MacLean’s you really should! http://macleansales.ca/

Big Data in Owen Sound

I met with the dean Dale Schenk and business manager Lise Mollon at Georgian College a few weeks back for a brief introduction.  I brought up to them our first meeting and the fact that the group felt that the college would be a difficult partner in developing content that would encourage technology growth in the area.  The dean indicated that 2 changes in the Owen Sound campus would help.  First a full dean not an associate dean has been added to the college.  Previously the campus was always run by an associate dean which had less autonomy from the Barrie “mothership”.  Second a business manager position was created and filled.  I spoke of my idea around private industry, the municipality and college being the catalyst for technology growth along the same lines as the Waterloo model.  The dean indicated the campus would like to be a participant.  The college offered to host a meeting and continue our discussions.

A day or two after my meeting I read in the paper about Rolls Royce opening an office in Port Elgin to support Bruce Power.  I found out that Rolls Royce has a large presence in the nuclear industry.  One of the services they will provide Bruce Power is a data and analytics package that allows better maintenance and obsolescence planning.  This fits with the data analytics Rolls Royce does on aircraft engines, and could have an application in the marine industry as well.  I started connecting dots between Rolls Royce, Marine Industry, the marine simulator data, the electronic records of the hospital, the manufacturing data we collect at 10in6, basically “Big Data”.  I fired off an email to Lise suggesting these connections and a potential course offering.  I was greeted by a reply that indicated a Data Analytics program has just started to be offered in Barrie.


Could this be a program that Owen Sound offers, or even better becomes a leader in, I’d like to see it happen.

May 23 Meeting Notes

  • We had 10 people out to the meeting in Hanover. 3 new faces!  2 from Hanover
  • Discussed new ways of promoting the area and technology
    • Profiles on the website of members
    • Website improvements, pictures
    • Russ is interested in building some video content around technology and the area.
    • Guest bloggers to add relevant content
    • Video conferencing meetings – we are prompting technology and ability to be connected anywhere, this would be a good demonstration
  • Discussed meeting frequency
    • October – May monthly meetings alternating between a social networking meeting and a guest/topic focused meeting
    • June – September – meeting every other month topic or social
  • Discussed network and direction
    • Continue to evolve the network but focus on promoting/encouraging technology individuals and business to come to the area will be a core mandate

Next Meeting – July 25 – Bluewater Angel Investor Group – Stan Didzbalis

Upcoming meeting – September – Georgian College


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