Dr. Tonya Wolfe, Director of the Centres for Manufacturing and Energy Innovation at Red Deer Polytechnic, recently accepted an ASTech Award in Women in Manufacturing. She accepted the award representing the team of colleagues who work within the Polytechnic’s Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing (CIM-TAC) and Energy Innovation Centre.  

The ASTech Awards, which are presented by Technology Alberta, recognize outstanding achievements of individuals and organizations in the Alberta science and technology innovation community.  

“I want to congratulate Tonya and her team and acknowledge their impact supporting women, gender diverse people and under-represented individuals as they grow their competencies in manufacturing and energy innovation,” says Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic. “These Red Deer Polytechnic employees provide expert guidance and state-of-the-art technology for entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to fruition. These collaborative efforts contribute to the economic diversity and prosperity of Alberta.”  

The Women in Manufacturing initiative, which has been piloted at the Polytechnic, assists women, gender diverse people and under-represented individuals in the evaluation and manufacturing of their own products by providing technical expertise and advanced manufacturing equipment in the CIM-TAC and Energy Innovation Centre.  

Red Deer Polytechnic CIM-TAC and Energy Innovation Centre’s employees have connected with organizations such as Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program, Women Entrepreneurs in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) and Business Link Indigenous Services to support companies with owners from under-represented groups.  

Women have been proportionately under-represented in the manufacturing and energy sector. The program at Red Deer Polytechnic helps women and under-represented individuals grow their knowledge, skills and confidence in the manufacturing and energy technology sector. This growth contributes to gender equity in this rapidly advancing field while sparking creativity and innovation across the province. Through this initiative, Red Deer Polytechnic also helps entrepreneurs address talent needs, supply chain, technology and maintenance of equipment.  

“The impact of the Women in Manufacturing initiative is far-reaching and complements our role as a polytechnic institution. The initiative also amplifies our commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization,” says Kylie Thomas, Vice President Academic and Provost. “Our modern facilities provide a variety of partners access to applied research opportunities right here in central Alberta. The CIM-TAC and Energy Innovation Centre are hubs for advancing research, innovation and learning for individuals and small and medium enterprises.”  

The Women in Manufacturing initiative also works toward several of the sustainable development goals as outlined in the United Nations SDG Accord, which was recently signed by Red Deer Polytechnic. These goals include gender equality, economic growth, reduced inequalities, and industry, innovation and infrastructure. ASTech has celebrated Alberta’s excellence in science, technology and innovation for 33 years. During this span, more than 600 individuals, organizations and teams have been recognized at an annual awards event that acknowledges excellence and inspires innovation in the province.  

The ASTech Awards were announced on Friday, November 4 at NAIT’s Productivity and Innovation Centre.