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  • Writer's pictureLenora Thomas

35 Years of Innovation: 1994 ASTech Winners

This post is in partnership with Technology Alberta and the ASTech Awards, celebrating the impact of 35 years of innovation in Alberta, tying our past to our present.

In 1994, a pivotal year in technological advancement and innovation, the World Wide Web emerged, reshaping the landscape of technology and business for years to come. It was also the year that Altagas launched, Access Media Group started their learning channel (now CTV2), and CIPS Alberta (part of the Canadian Information Processing Society) was founded to support the certification and recertification of IT professionals.

Meanwhile, the ASTech Awards celebrated outstanding achievements across diverse fields, ranging from journalism to biotechnology and industrial research. Among the notable winners of 1994 were:

Harding Instrument Company Ltd. won an Industrial Research award for their design of an electrostatic imaging sensor for gas transmission, Harding Instrument Co. Ltd., has made significant strides in the field of flow measurement using cutting-edge software and electronics technologies. Founded by Patrick Harding, Professor Emeritus, as a University of Alberta spin-off, the company gained global recognition, with its products being marketed and serviced worldwide. In its continuous pursuit of innovation, Harding Instrument designed products with applications in detecting liquid interfaces and measuring liquid levels, showcasing the company's commitment to solving complex industrial challenges. Harding's HQ, based in Edmonton, continues to manufacture and supply Life Safety equipment for the Fire Alarm Industry.

Dr. D. Robert Weir received the award for Outstanding Contribution To The Alberta Science And Technology Community. As an innovator of advanced metallurgy, Dr. D. Robert Weir has made significant strides in advancing extractive metallurgy throughout his remarkable career. From his tenure at Sherritt Gordon Mines to his time at Sherritt subsidiary Westaim Technologies, Dr. Weir's leadership has led to numerous patents and technical papers and the conception and implementation of innovative testing methodologies like the laboratory scale 'miniplant'. His visionary efforts in forming research and development consortia like Westaim Technologies Inc. have not only brought industry and government together but also paved the way for advanced materials manufacturing in Alberta, creating thousands of high-quality jobs and establishing strong ties with leading universities and research institutions across Canada.

Medical research pioneer Dr. Lionel E. McLeod left an indelible mark on Alberta's research community through his visionary leadership and tireless dedication to biomedical research and education. Serving as the first President of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR), Dr. McLeod transformed the organization into a global leader, facilitating the recruitment of renowned scientists, the training of thousands of investigators, and the establishment of world-class research groups and facilities in Edmonton and Calgary. His exemplary leadership, spanning roles such as Dean of Medicine at the University of Calgary and President of prestigious medical associations, earned him international recognition and cemented Alberta's reputation as a hub for cutting-edge medical research and innovation.

Winner of 1994’s Outstanding Commercial Achievement in Alberta Science and Technology (Sales less than 25 million), Alta Genetics, focused (and continues to focus today) on bovine genetics, as a leading embryo transfer and biotechnology company. Their innovation focuses on enhancing the efficiency of milk and meat production through advanced reproductive technologies. With a global presence bolstered by a team of 110 employees and gross sales of $19.2 million in 1993, Alta Genetics served an international market, solidifying its status as a world leader in bovine genetic research and application. The company has expanded into global markets, improving individual herd profitability by delivering trustworthy genetics and high-quality reproductive and management services.

Other 1994 Winners:

  • Shook, Dr. Clifton for Innovation In Oil Sands Research Sponsored By Syncrude Canada Ltd.

  • Science Alberta Foundation for Excellence In Science And Technology Public Awareness

  • New Era Systems Services Ltd.for Industrial Research

  • Hammond, Ms. Lois for Journalism: Specialized Publications

  • Heller, Mr. Arthur for Journalism: General Public

  • IDACOM Telecom Division, for Outstanding Commercial Achievement in Alberta Science and Technology (>25M)

  • Robinson, Dr. Donald B. for Outstanding Leadership In Alberta Technology

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