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SUBJECT: SWGC: Grenfell College welcomes Centre of Environmental Excellence staff
DATE: Feb. 27, 2006

Grenfell College is pleased to welcome to campus the new staff of the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Education, Research, Technology and Development (CEE).

Mr. Kevin Clarke, CEE project manager, and Dr. Doreen Churchill, CEE project officer, have now moved into their new offices on the main floor of the Forest Centre.

Mr. Clarke, who holds a bachelor of science in biology and a master of business administration from Memorial University, is seconded to the CEE from the Marine Institute where he is director of Corporate Services and External Affairs. Dr. Churchill holds a bachelor of science (hon.) in environmental science (chemistry stream) from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and a master of science and PhD in physical organic chemistry from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. In addition to working with the CEE, Dr. Churchill is a sessional instructor in chemistry at the college. Both hail from the west coast — Mr. Clarke from Norris Point and Dr. Churchill from Corner Brook.

“Mr. Clarke has extensive experience in strategic planning and institution building, including the preparation and implementation of the initial strategic plan for the Marine Institute after it was formed from the College of Fisheries,” said Dr. John Ashton, principal of Grenfell College. “He was also the founding director of the Centre for Institutional Analysis and Planning (CIAP) at Memorial University and, most recently, in 2005, initiated and managed the preparation of the Marine Institute's Vision 2020.”

“I'm very pleased to be back on the west coast and to have the opportunity to contribute to development of the region through a leadership role in CEE,” said Mr. Clarke. “The CEE is an exciting initiative, which has the potential to mobilize industry, institutions, government agencies and the general public towards building a new and sustainable industry sector for the province focused here in the western region.”

Dr. Churchill had first heard about the CEE when she was a student at Grenfell and has been waiting for this initiative to begin. She said she’s very pleased to be involved with the project, and to be working in Corner Brook.

Mr. Clarke said “the first challenge will be to establish the Secretariat for the CEE and work with the consultants who have been engaged to prepare an assessment of our current capacity and to identify market opportunities and potential approaches for development.

“This will lead into the preparation of a strategic plan and mobilization for implementation of a suite of programs to build our research capacity and to facilitate growth of the industrial base in the environmental sector,” he added.

And the CEE will become more active and visible to the community over the coming months. Earlier this week, it sponsored a full-day workshop to explore what economic clusters are, how they are formed and the steps required to establish an environment related cluster in the western region. A cluster is a concentration of companies and institutions in a region which, by working together, enhance overall economic activity.

The workshop on Feb. 22 was led by noted experts from the United States, Dr. Stuart Rosenfeld and Mr. Wayne Fawbush, and attended by representatives from industry, government agencies and institutions from the region and from St. John's.

“The workshop was very successful in identifying key strengths in this region as well as the challenges related to establishing a strong economic cluster related to the environment sector,” he said.

BACKGROUNDER:

The City of Corner Brook, Newfoundland and surrounding area has an emerging environmental base that broadly encompasses five key activity pillars related to natural resources most notably forestry, freshwater ecosystems, environmental tourism, information/ geospatial technology and environmental industries. There is also a strong core offering of environmental educational programs through the two public post-secondary institutions, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and the College of the North Atlantic.

The initiative envisions establishing Corner Brook and the western region as a major provincial Centre of Environmental Excellence (CEE). The CEE will revolve around expanded undergraduate and graduate programming and dedicated, applied research and development facilities adapted to the environmental sub-sectors described above.

The CEE is based on a simple but proven principle: an expanded research and development base within a specific jurisdiction translates into enhanced economic and industrialization opportunities. The concept calls for a stronger research role by the two public educational institutions, expanded facilities, new partnerships and the development of environmental industrial capacity and diversification of the local economy.

Early in 2005, the provincial government positioned the CEE initiative as an industrial strategy, consistent with the province’s recently announced economic policy, the Regional Sectoral Diversification Strategy. This resulted in it being assumed under the Department of Innovations, Trade and Rural Development’s jurisdiction.

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