It includes representation from Ottawa Tourism and the city’s largest chamber of commerce. Several tech executives, the heads of Carleton University and Algonquin College, as well as a partner from accounting firm Welch LLP, also sit on the 14-member volunteer board.
While acknowledging that Invest Ottawa has a much broader mandate than its predecessor, OCRI, co-chairman Jeff Westeinde said it will continue to focus on the same types of industry.
“Our job at Invest Ottawa is to stick to export-oriented economic development,” he said in an interview.
“In this city, (that) largely means knowledge-based industries.”
Mayor Jim Watson will co-chair Invest Ottawa with Mr. Westeinde, who was named chair of OCRI in May 2011 and oversaw the organization’s transition to Invest Ottawa.
He points to his own background as an example of the wider net the new organization is trying to cast. Mr. Westeinde is the co-founder of Quantum Environmental Group, an environmental remediation and hazardous waste materials contracting firm. While the company can be considered a clean-tech firm, it is not the typical high-tech enterprise that many associate with the organization’s past.
Invest Ottawa and city officials have frequently articulated a local economic development vision that includes three primary sources of generating wealth: attracting visitors to Ottawa who will come to the city and spend money; business-to-business transactions within Ottawa; and exports.
In their view, this vision neatly corresponds with some of the city’s largest economic development bodies: Ottawa Tourism, the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Invest Ottawa, respectively.
Mr. Westeinde raised this model in an interview Thursday, saying it is important to avoid having multiple organizations pursuing the same goal. At the same time, he said, there will inevitably be some overlap that requires collaboration.
He added that even though Invest Ottawa reached out to the city’s chambers of commerce and tourism sector for representation, Ottawa Tourism president and CEO Noel Buckley and Ottawa Chamber of Commerce vice-chairman Mark Sutcliffe sit on the board not as representatives of their respective organizations, “but as private-sector leaders who have a strong understanding of those sectors.”
All board members will initially serve for one year before their terms are reviewed so that no more than a third of the board turns over in a single year.
The first board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 6. It will be closed to the public, but Mr. Westeinde said Invest Ottawa envisions holding an open annual general meeting in the future.
Invest Ottawa board of directors:
- Jeff Westeinde (founder of Quantum Environmental Group)
- Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson
- Chandrakanth Arya (chief financial officer of D-TA Systems Inc.)
- Lise Bourgeois (president of La Cité collégiale)
- Noel Buckley (president and CEO of Ottawa Tourism)
- Bryan Haralovich (partner of Welch LLP)
- Chris Knight (president of Knight Enterprises)
- Kent MacDonald (president of Algonquin College)
- Cyril McKelvie (president and CEO of Marport Deep Sea Technologies Inc.)
- David Ritonja (vice-president of Alcatel-Lucent Canada Inc.)
- Allan Rock (president of University of Ottawa)
- Roseann O’Reilly Runte (president of Carleton University)
- Doreen Steidle, President, Doreen Steidle Consulting Inc.;
- Mark Sutcliffe (CEO of Great River Media, which owns Ottawa Business Journal)