By Scott Taylor
The brainchild of Calgary based entrepreneur Kimberly Van Vliet, ConvergX is aimed at bringing together advanced manufacturing companies from sectors such as energy and mining, defence, security, and aerospace to find common ground in terms of business growth, and resolving common challenges.
Now in its fourth year, ConvergX has successfully carved out niche for itself on the annual Canadian conference circuit. Esprit de Corps was proud to be a media sponsor of this year’s ConvergX, and as a first-time attendee, I was pleasantly surprised at the level of efficiency and effectiveness to which Van Vliet coordinated the event.
The speaker list was a veritable ‘who’s who’ from all the participating industry and public sectors. Chief among them was Lieutenant-General Christopher Coates, the Deputy Commander of NORAD, Claude Rochette the Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence, Jonathan Cristol, Middle East expert, Dr. Tom Keenan author and the ubiquitous Dr. David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.
At the welcoming cocktail party on Tuesday, February 5, the keynote speaker was Tom Morin, co-founder of Work Innovation Partners, who also happens to be a Canadian Forces veteran who fought in the Battle of the Medak Pocket, Croatia, September 1993.
As one would expect, most industry leaders view of the events of the world through the prism of their own profession. By bringing together so many diverse industries into one forum, Van Vliet creates an environment that forces the participants to look beyond their own silo. World events, particularly those of the magnitude to shift the geo-political global balance, are inevitably driven by the quest for resources – such as oil, gas or minerals.
Technical practicalities – such as in the field of drone aviation and artificial intelligence – can benefit all of those sectors represented at ConvergX, and it makes sense that research and development advances would be shared.
Networking is also a key component to the ConvergX format and this was ably achieved through the three cocktail parties – highlighted by the Scotch Tasting and Award Ceremony on the Wednesday evening. Add to this the two buffet breakfasts and two buffet lunches and there was plenty of opportunity for delegates to mix and mingle.
Helping to keep the conference flowing was Louise Mercier, who did an admirable job as the Master of Ceremonies.
Bravo Zulu to Kimberly Van Vliet (who is featured in this issue as one of Canada’s Top 20 Women in the Defence World 2019) and Louise Mercier (former winner of the same honour) for organizing such an incredibly engaging ConvergX this year.
This show will definitely be added to the Esprit de Corps planning calendar for 2020.