August 8, 2022 – WINDSOR, ON
WEtech Alliance is proud to announce that Member of Parliament for Windsor-Tecumseh – Irek Kusmierczyk – has been recognized as the inaugural Canadian Official of the Year at the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) Innovation Awards.
TECNA represents over 60 IT and Technology trade organizations that, in turn, represent more than 22,000 technology-related companies in North America. WEtech Alliance has been a proud member of TECNA since 2018.
Now in its fourth year, the Innovation Awards recognize TECNA Member Council staff and leaders who have been integral to developing and implementing innovative and impactful work on behalf of their tech association or council.
Seven ultimate winners were selected at the TECNA summer conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 21st with winners from cities/states such as Greater Kansas City, Northern Virginia, Milwaukee, Greater Nashville, and Arizona.
“Since being elected to Canadian Parliament in 2019, Irek has worked tirelessly with WEtech Alliance, our clients, and regional and national partners to advance a technology-centric economic development plan that creates jobs, increases our nation’s competitiveness and drives sustainable growth across every sector of our economy,” says Yvonne Pilon, President and CEO of WEtech Alliance, who was present to receive the award. “We value his commitment to innovation and congratulate him on being named Canadian Official of the Year.”
On behalf of the Government of Canada, Kusmierczyk was instrumental in advocating for a historic connectivity investment of $21M to connect the rural residents of Pelee Island in collaboration with the Government of Ontario. This project, once completed, will be the largest fresh-water fiber project in Canada’s history with over 800 rural residents being able to access high-speed connectivity.
“We are grateful to work with officials like Mr. Kusmierczyk as he is a clear leader in promoting policies that encourage the growth and success of the technology economy and tech workforce,” said Jennifer Young, CEO, TECNA. “We look forward to working with Mr. Kusmierczyk in the future on ways TECNA can be supportive of his efforts and congratulate him on this honour.”
Kusmierczyk is passionate about supporting tech talent through all ages and stages. He regularly consults with the talent community at the high-school and post-secondary levels as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Workforce Development, Disability, and Inclusion to ensure Windsor-Essex and neighbouring Detroit continue to have a collaborative flow of talent that supports the innovative companies and investments he continues to work with the local team to attract.
Among other notable technology and innovation initiatives and advocacy support include:
- $7.5M investment in the Automobility ecosystem through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev)
- $5B for the Stellantis & LG Energy Solution EV battery plant
- Strong proponent of Canada Summer Jobs, securing a record number of postings in the riding
- STEM talent and entrepreneurial advocate and volunteer for programs such as Windsor-Essex FIRST Robotics, Erie Hack, MedHealth, and Tech Week YQG.
- Continued and consistent voice at the table when it comes to cross-border collaboration, trade, and employment related issues in conjunction with the Consul General of Canada in Detroit and most recently, the Consul General of U.S. in Toronto, to ensure Windsor is well represented in bi-lateral affairs.
“I’ve had the privilege of working alongside some incredibly innovative and passionate people who are working together to leverage technology to build better connected, more prosperous, more sustainable and more equal and engaged communities across North America, said Irek Kusmierczyk. “To receive this recognition from those on that frontline, where technology meets community, is both humbling and a great honour.”
For a complete list of 2022 TECNA Innovation Awards, click here.
Check out our nomination video below:
About WEtech Alliance:
WEtech Alliance is one of seventeen Regional Innovation Centres, funded by the Province of Ontario, serving the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent regions. They provide entrepreneurs with business services, training, mentorship and strategic connections to help bring new ideas to market, scale to the next level and build a dynamic culture and a community of innovation. WEtech Alliance has served as the catalyst for technology and innovation in the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent regions since 2011. Learn more about WEtech Alliance by signing up for our Tech It Out newsletter, visiting our website, or by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
TECNA represents about 60 IT and Technology trade organizations that, in turn, represent more than 22,000 technology-related companies in North America. We empower regional technology organizations and serve as their collective voice in growing the North American technology economy. We strive to deliver valuable services to member organizations fostering collaboration, innovation, and the exchange of ideas.