Meet our Technology Development Advisors
Kim Caves, Calgary
Kim has spent most of her career in a digital transformation journey. She worked her way up from a role in Community and Public Relations, to Global Carrier Marketing Director, and then to Enterprise Sales – all in the technology sector.
From the development of the first marketing campaigns for cross-country fibre and mobile networks, to best-of-breed US-based cyber-security software companies, she was able to work with domestic, North American, and global clients. Her most proud moment was winning the “pitch” contest at an international sales meeting in Madrid as a Canadian Channel Manager amongst 500 global peers.
Following her career in cyber-security sales, she decided to go out on her own helping small businesses with their customer acquisition strategies. She found as much joy and adrenalin by helping others as she did working in the battlefield.
Her progression to a role at Alberta Innovates is a natural career move, allowing Kim to further her work coaching and mentoring startup businesses. Not only does she bring a great skill set from her tech background, she has been a student of some of the best sales and marketing gurus in the world, adopting best practices to share with clients.
Pej Ghanipour, Calgary
Pej has over 20 years of experience in R&D and technology commercialization; from being a venture capital analyst to co-founding and exiting a technology startup, he has seen all aspects of the entrepreneurial journey from ideation to market validation to growth and successful exits.
Pej comes to the TDA role following six years at Innovate Calgary (IC), where he managed the protection and commercialization of intellectual property developed at the University of Calgary. He also led the development and management of two energy and cleantech startup accelerator programs at IC, namely: GreenSTEM and GRInSTEM.
Pej held leadership roles at Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) and the University of Lethbridge. He was one of the founding members of the Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta (RINSA) in 2011.
Pej is a graduate of the Westlink Technology Commercialization Internship Program. He has a BSc (Hons.) in Physics and Astronomy as well as a MASc in Computer and Electrical Engineering from UBC.
Stephan Zuberec, Calgary
Stephan has an accomplished background in business development, marketing and sales primarily to upstream and downstream oil and gas, engineering companies and services companies. For nearly 10 years he was General Manager of the Canadian operations of an international professional technical services (technical inspection, process safety and HSE) company.
Prior to joining Alberta Innovates as a TDA he led business development efforts at ACAMP, working with startup and small company electronic hardware innovators by providing engineering technical development support, and guiding them in their product development journey from proof-of-concept to a commercial product.
Matt Cornall, Central Alberta
Matt has a strong background in business, economic and community development, as well as in project management and program implementation. Originally from the UK, Matt worked in the banking sector and public sector in the UK and with the European Union (EU) before emigrating to Alberta in 2008.
In his time in Alberta, Matt has worked in both the public and private sectors, working with engineering companies in Central Alberta to build their respective Economic Development divisions as well as being a lead on their business development efforts. Matt has also worked as the Economic Development Officer for a community of 14,000 people and most recently as the Investment Attraction and Business Retention officer for the Central Alberta region.
In addition, Matt is a long running board member and 2015 President of the Economic Developers of Alberta (EDA) association, and the Alberta representative on the national Economic Development Association of Canada (EDAC) board. Matt is also a past community representative and chair of Red Deer’s Community Housing Advisory Board (2009-2014). He is located at the Red Deer College Centre of Innovation in Manufacturing.
Mike Riou, Edmonton
Mike has technology development and commercialization experience in several industries in Canada and the U.S, and has worked in startup companies as well Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, Mike has worked with entrepreneurs and small entities to create technology development, marketing, and business plans and strategies. Through this work, he understands the challenges these organizations face developing products from inception to market entry.
Mike’s experience in areas such as startup, financing, business strategy, intellectual property, business development and team development enables him to assist Alberta companies during their journey. He believes SMEs are key for Alberta’s continued growth and diversification, and he enjoys the opportunity to work with these organizations to assist in their success.
Jennifer Wood, Edmonton
Jennifer is an accomplished entrepreneur and former C-suite executive who’s founded, operated and exited businesses. She’s experienced in developing, commercializing and scaling technology primarily in the agriculture industry but with experience in the health, environment, food, retail and education sectors.
Her goal as a technology development advisor is to take what she’s learned in business to help others move forward. When meeting and learning about new clients and their business opportunities, she combines her background and experience to coach, mentor and connect them as they move forward on their entrepreneurial journey.
Jennifer is committed to sharing her talents and networks by providing valuable access to coaching, mentoring, and opportunities for capital to a variety of businesses as they start, scale and grow their businesses.
Her thinking is that the future to a strong economy requires collaboration between everyone in the innovation ecosystem. This includes industry, government, post-secondary institutions, and organizations like Alberta Innovates.
Jennifer has a B.Sc in Agriculture Business Management and a Directors ICD.D designation. She is a strong advocate of lifelong learning and always seeking opportunities to increase her skill set to benefit her clients.
Lindsay Spadavecchia, Lethbridge
Lindsay came to the TDA role following 13 years in the EdTech software industry. Very familiar with the challenges businesses face in product development, from the discovery and design stages, through to market launch and beyond, Lindsay’s senior leadership oversight included product management and software engineering, sales and marketing, implementation services, and customer support.
Lindsay has set up and worked with several non-traditional business environments including telecommuting and fully remote workforces. She has consulted on company acquisitions and mentored companies in strategic planning and growth strategies for their operations and market. Lindsay has been an active participant in company and youth business mentoring programs, including leadership workshops and new manager mentoring.
Lindsay believes that change comes rapidly and continually challenges the traditional constructs of business, technology, and communication. She looks forward to being of assistance to SMEs wherever possible and is proud to represent Alberta Innovates as part of a longstanding, collaborative relationship with the Southern Alberta RIN (RINSA).
Kara Johnston, Lloydminster
Kara is a high-energy individual who excels in relationship building. She has vast entrepreneurial experience and expertise in the agriculture, retail, construction and oil and gas sectors.
A former Dean at Lakeland College, Kara built a strong foundation of varied industry relationships and gained valuable insight into the greater Alberta innovation network.
Kara is excited to use her network contacts in conjunction with her coaching and mentoring skills to support businesses and foster the entrepreneurial spirit that is so vibrant in our community and province. She believes that innovation through the collaboration of education, industry and government is the foundation for the future of the Alberta. As such, she looks forward to assisting entrepreneurs make advantageous connections that will sustain them on the path to success.
Kara is a strong advocate of life-long learning and is always seeking opportunities to increase her own skill set to benefit her clients and regional stakeholders. She has a Masters of Business Administration with a focus on Leadership and is working towards becoming an Executive Coach as well as a Certified Management Consultant. Kara’s office is in Lloydminster with Startup Lloydminster, a key partner to the Regional Innovation Network in East Central Alberta.
John Stroh, Medicine Hat
When John arrived at Alberta Innovates in 2011, he came with 27 years of manufacturing experience working primarily in roles of plant and operations management.
John had the privilege to work for companies in three different countries, ranging from startup to being publicly traded. It was during this time that John was exposed to many manufacturing and quality methodologies such as Lean and Six Sigma.
Now that John is with Alberta Innovates, he continues to share that knowledge with business and industry as well as assisting them with their technology development needs, focusing largely on IP and prototype development work.
John is in Medicine Hat but serves the southeast part of the province in his role as a TDA. Working closely with his Regional Innovation Network partners, John continues to support entrepreneurs and small business while working with the many programs and offerings of Alberta Innovates and those within the Alberta Regional Innovation Network.
Lorena Forster, Edmonton
Lorena is well known in the Alberta innovation ecosystem through her work with organizations in the Edmonton and Calgary regions including Innovate Calgary, Kinetica Energy Technology Accelerator, TEC Edmonton, AWE, the Alberta Research Council, and many early-stage technology companies. Areas of experience and strength include energy, cleantech, ICT, operations, technology transfer and licensing, governance and board of directors, and business advisory services.
As an active mentor of the U of A Threshold Impact Venture Mentoring Service, past GrowthX Coach and Futurpreneur mentor, Lorena is passionate about helping entrepreneurs grow companies and become better leaders.