Kjosness, Dr. Don

2011 Winner: Outstanding Contribution To The Alberta Science And Technology Community

Collaboration Key To Building Long-Lasting Impact On Alberta Technology And Science

A lifelong interest in science has driven Dr. Don Kjosness to be an ambassador for the science and technology sector provincially, nationally and internationally in technology commercialization, education and public awareness.

Since graduating with a PhD in Electrical Engineering 40 years ago, Dr. Kjosness has been motivated by his desire to keep learning and changing, and working with extraordinary people to build buildings and communities.

“I like new challenges,” Dr. Kjosness says. “I enjoy having the opportunity to make things happen that have never happened before. And I like working with smart people.”

He began his career with Saskatchewan-based SED Systems, helping to develop it into one of Canada’s premier space and defence communications firms. Since coming to Alberta in the late 1980s, he has built and developed companies, programs, infrastructure and relationships to promote the science and technology sector in the province.¬†

Building a Science Landmark

Dr. Kjosness played a critical role in the development of TELUS World of Science – Calgary, Canada’s newest and most advanced science centre. During his term as Board Chair, he and his colleagues did critical fundraising and planning that led to the construction of this $160-million landmark in Calgary. The vision is to provide science and technology awareness throughout southern Alberta. Dr. Kjosness continues to support the science centre as a volunteer on the Board and as Chair of the New Science Centre committee, which is responsible for the overall construction of the new science centre.

Dr. Kjosness’s work with the TELUS World of Science and the completion of the new science centre project will be a permanent legacy of the importance of innovation to our culture and provide ongoing education and public awareness of science and technology issues to youth.

“Building means to put in place something that has value to community and has staying power,” he says. “The science centre will help young people of the future be motivated by technology. And people will get an opportunity to work there. It’s lasting in terms of substance and sustainability. I like to feel I’ve contributed to that.”

Other Important Ventures 

Dr. Kjosness’s diligence, leadership and vision have led to the current successes of CapitalRoad, Canada’s leading not-for-profit organizer of internationally important events such as Banff Venture Forum and the Canadian Financing Forum. He has been recognized nationally and internationally for his work in addressing the critical access to capital issue that plagues small- and medium-sized enterprises. And he has facilitated the growth of the Alberta science and technology community by providing the essential infrastructure necessary for the development of technology based businesses.

Through his creative collaborations and vision, Dr. Kjosness has left an indelible mark on science and technology in Canada.

“I believe in being involved in things that are important to the community,” he says. He adds the most rewarding aspect of his long career as an engineer is building teams of people. “These projects are never done by an individual. It is teamwork that accomplishes things. My contribution has been to be part of a good team of people.”