Techopia Live: Invest Ottawa CEO Mike Tremblay looks back on a ‘whirlwind’ first year

Though his silver hair wasn’t exactly windswept, Invest Ottawa’s president and CEO joined Techopia Live this week to talk about the “whirlwind of activity” surrounding his first year in the role.

“It’s quite shocking to me how much as been completed,” Michael Tremblay told Techopia Live.

We covered Invest Ottawa’s sponsorships, new offerings and fresh graffiti paint job in our year-in-review, but Tremblay pulled back the curtain on changes to the organization’s restructuring. Bringing Bayview Yards’ operations into the fold and rejigging the existing team made operations a bit haphazard at times, but the economic development agency’s captain says that only makes the year’s accomplishments more impressive.

“We’re flying this ship while we’re repairing it. Now the repairs have been completed and it’s time to throw it into that next gear,” he said.

That “next gear” is the organization’s five-year strategic plan, unveiled at the Mayor’s Breakfast event last week. Tremblay says the plan is aimed at meeting Ottawa’s potential, and efforts such as talent recruitment are integral to the vision.

“Unless we have a way of scaling up the resources in the city, retaining the ones we have and recruiting more and more capability in the city, we’re going to struggle to reach our full potential.”

Michael Tremblay
Invest Ottawa CEO Michael Tremblay.

Tremblay expounded on another key theme in the plan: capitalizing on the so-called “fourth industrial revolution,” the intersection of physical, digital and biological technologies. He says 3D printing is an example of a technology that typifies this coming industrial wave.

He also highlighted the plan’s global perspective. While in the past it might’ve been okay to lose a local industry – as another one could likely pop up to fill its place – today’s globalized market means a city’s needs can be met by a competitor halfway across the planet. Tremblay says local economies could be irrevocably damaged in today’s market if not prepared to take on the world.

“We need to have a global perspective on competition like never before. If we compete as a regional player, I fear we will fail. On my watch, that’s not what’s going to happen.”

To hear more about where Tremblay wants to take Ottawa’s economy and the process of putting his plan together, watch the video above.