Lockheed Martin looks to make impact at new Kanata innovation centre

Lockheed Martin Canada is hoping its new Kanata IMPACT centre, which opened earlier this week, can be an economic driver, not just in Ottawa, but across the country.

By Marc Shaw

“The IMPACT Centre has several purposes,” Rosemary Chapdelaine, Lockheed Martin Canada’s vice-president and general manager of missions systems and training, told OBJ at the opening. “Talking with small to medium enterprises, finding local industry to partner with, and looking for technologies.”

The centre is part of Lockheed Martin’s latest initiative to accelerate technology development. The name IMPACT comes from the centre’s focus on innovation, mentorship, partnership, collaboration and technology.

Those gathered for the grand opening heard of Lockheed Martin’s focus on the next generation of technology through its support of local high schools and post-secondary institutions, and its first partnership, with Algonquin College, was on full display.

Third- and fourth-year students from the college’s design program were invited to take part in an interior design competition for a room in the space, with the winning team – Jessica Drolet, Sarah Taylor and Brooke Zacharuk – winning $1,000 each.

“The design community doesn’t get enough recognition or awareness of what we can do,” Ms. Drolet said. “I think it was really valuable for a company as big as Lockheed Martin to come to the college and ask us to do this.”

Lockheed Martin also sponsors the first robotics competition team at All Saints High School, to develop robotics and engineering skills in younger students.

All Saints student Zach Harvey, who was at the opening demonstrating his team’s project, said he’s grateful for the support.

“This stuff isn’t very cheap,” he said.

The launch also gave Carleton University students a chance to show what they can do. There was a virtual reality demonstration from Carleton’s advanced cognitive engineering lab which showed off how Lockheed Martin plans to use VR and alternate reality programs to better train people on how to use and maintain the company’s technology.

While Lockheed Martin’s main focus is adapting any technological advancements made through partnerships for use in the naval sector, the centre will provide opportunities for collaboration and mentorship that will have a notable effect on the Kanata tech sector, Ms. Chapdelaine said.

“There’s a bright future in Kanata. We moved here on purpose,” she said. “We have expansion space, there’s another floor we can build and our plan is to really grow our portfolio and footprint here.”