Altitude Accelerator’s New Chair – John Switzer

Ready to Take RIC to the Next Level of Innovation

 

By Mary Dytyniak

The Altitude Accelerator recently named John Switzer as the new Chair of the Advisory Board. Stepping down from the position is Bill Matthews.

Matthews was a key contributor in establishing and setting in motion the development of the Altitude Accelerator as the fourth largest innovation and commercialization centre in Ontario. Matthews found it both rewarding and enlightening to work with Pam Banks, the Commercialization Director at RIC, the board and especially John Switzer.

“I have great confidence in John. I was delighted when he was selected to be the next chairman,” Matthews said.

Partnering with the city of Mississauga, Brampton, the Town of Caledon and Peel Region, as well as educational institutions such as the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College has helped bolster RIC’s clientele through support and funding.

During his term Switzer hopes to take the Altitude Accelerator to the next level of advancement, supported by a renewed 3-year funding commitment approved by the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

“Our performance will be measured by the number of firms that take those ideas to fully funded, commercially viable enterprises in Peel Region, creating jobs in the process. Our job is about economic development,” Switzer said.

The RIC centre is one of 12 regional innovation centres in the ONE Network of Excellence, a network of organizations across Ontario designed to help entrepreneurs, researchers and business professionals commercialize their ideas.

Although the Altitude Accelerator has been in operation since 2002, as the Western GTA Convergence Centre, it wasn’t until Pam Banks came onboard as the Commercialization Director and funding was granted by the Ontario government that RIC established itself as a non-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting and growing innovation in Peel Region. Switzer plans to work with the RIC board and its partners to push the innovation agenda further over the next three years.

“We have to raise our level of visibility by getting out and making calls to partners and to prospective enterprise partners, who can assist us by working with all our entrepreneurial clients. We need to actively promote and speak to  the innovation agenda within Peel Region, so that people will see RIC Center as the place to go for support in advancing innovation in the region,” Switzer said.

2011 looks to be a promising year for the Altitude Accelerator, with the launch of a number of new programs such as the Peer-to-Peer network that will facilitate knowledge sharing among clients and entrepreneurs at monthly meetings.

The Altitude Accelerator is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and guiding small to medium-sized enterprises through the process of bringing innovative ideas to market in the fields of aerospace, advanced manufacturing, life sciences and emerging technologies.

Mary Dytyniak will be graduating from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Arts this June 2011. She is currently finishing her major in Professional Writing and a double minor in Classics and History. Mary has published works in the fields of non-fiction, creative, journalistic, research and corporate writing. She is currently pursuing a career in the magazine and publishing sector.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit Altitude Accelerator for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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