Adam Chowaniec was a Director of ITAC from 2001 until his death last Friday. He served as ITAC’s Chair in 2003/2004 and even briefly served as our President and CEO.
Adam played an immense role in the creation of Canada’s ICT industry. First and foremost a scientist, he had an acute grasp of the alchemy that converts knowledge into innovation, enterprise and wealth. He founded Tundra Semiconductor Corporation, one of the most successful companies in our microelectronics sector and one of the foundational companies in Ottawa’s technology cluster.
Adam was a particularly successful serial entrepreneur. He was widely sought as a director and business mentor for dozens of ICT firms in microelectronics and other dimensions of technology. But one of his truly unique qualities was his deep understanding of the role public policy can play in the formation of businesses and whole industries. This made him a particularly effective advocate for our industry. It also made him invaluable to the ITAC team as a counsellor and mentor.
He was profoundly generous. We called upon him frequently to speak or to play a role in our work and he never turned us down. For example, he appeared at our last Executive Forum on Microsystems in October on a panel of industry builders to celebrate the 20th anniversary of microelectronics in Canada. He extended the same generosity to other organizations from EDC to Startup Canada to DFATD to the Ontario Government (where he chaired the Ontario Research and Innovation Council). If an organization had the ability, or even the promise, to improve Canada’s capacity for innovation it could attract Adam’s support. He held a fierce belief that Canada could and should effectively transition from a resource based economy to a knowledge based economy and lead globally. He was tireless in his pursuit of this vision.
There is an unfortunate cliché in business that no one is irreplaceable. Our loss of Adam soundly refutes this. ITAC is grateful – and proud – of our long a fruitful association with Adam Chowaniec. We will miss him terribly.
Lynda Leonard is a Senior Vice President with ITAC