Rogers announces advisory team overseeing proposed Calgary THINKLab

(l-r): Doug Schweitzer, Alberta Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation; Dean Prevost, President of Integration, Rogers; Jyoti Gondek, Calgary Mayor; Jorge Fernandes, Chief Technology and Information Officer, Rogers; Damian Poltz, Senior Vice President, Wireline Technology & Strategy, Shaw; Candice McLeod, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Business Solutions, Shaw; & Zoran Stakic, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Technology Officer, Shaw. (Rogers)

Rogers Communications has introduced the members of the advisory council that will oversee its proposed National Centre of Technology and Engineering Excellence in Calgary, following the anticipated closure of its $26 billion merger with Shaw Communications.

Part of a multi-year, $6.5-billion commitment to invest in Western Canada as the two entities come together, Rogers says THINKLab would convene academia, developers, and research partners to foster made-in-Canada tech solutions and act as a talent pipeline for skilled technology roles focused on engineering and technical delivery across networks, digital and IT, with an emphasis on 5G, DOCSIS & Fibre technology, Digital & Cloud, Data analytics, Multi-edge Compute, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, IoT and Cyber Security.

Through the creation of THINKLab, Rogers says 500 skilled technology roles would join its existing team, following the close of the Shaw transaction.

Unveiled Thursday, the THINKLab advisory council includes Deborah Yedlin, CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce; Bill Rosehart, Dean, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary; Laura Jo Gunter, CEO, NAIT; Kory Wilson, Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships, BCIT; Bala Kathiresan, President & CEO, BCNET; Rhys Andrews, Vice President, Education, Selkirk College; and Robert Rohling, Professor and Director ICICS, UBC.

“We are excited to introduce the first esteemed members of our new advisory board, each an expert and leader in their own field, who will help guide this critical technology and engineering hub,” said Jorge Fernandes, Chief Technology Officer, Rogers Communications, and head of the proposed THINKLab, in a release. “THINKLab will leverage the incredible talent pool in Western Canada, while also bringing together the brightest academic talent across Canada to research, develop and deliver leading technology infrastructure and services to Canadians.”

“As the tech sector grows in Edmonton, Calgary and across Western Canada, we need skilled talent to drive business and our economy. THINKLab’s creation of 500 technology jobs is in perfect alignment with NAIT’s mission to graduate highly skilled talent through a polytechnic education,” added Laura Jo Gunter, NAIT President & CEO.

Rogers says THINKLab builds on its existing investment in 5G research and development, including strategic partnerships with UBCUniversity of Calgary, Communitech,Sheridan College, Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), and the University of Waterloo. It says Shaw’s current relationships with NAIT, SAIT and Mount Royal University would be incorporated into THINKLab following the close of the merger.

In its latest quarterly report, Rogers indicated it still anticipates the closure of the Shaw transaction in Q2. While the CRTC has signed off on the broadcast portion of the deal, subject to conditions, the wireless, internet and home telephone elements are still under review by the Competition Bureau and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.


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