Celebrating 35 Years in Alberta Innovation: 1990

In 1990, innovation included the expansion of landline telephone networks, improvements in infrastructure for mobile telecommunications, and the early stages of transitioning towards digital communication technologies, setting the stage for future years. Notably, the world standard for broadband wireless was set, which would be key in future developments.

ASTech Awards – 1990 Winners: Then and Now

Mr. Eric A. Geddes the 1990 Winner for Outstanding Contribution To The Alberta Science And Technology Community. Mr. Geddes a distinguished alumni of the University of Alberta was a key figure in Alberta’s economic development, and significantly contributed to various community roles. As Chairman of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (1980-1990), he oversaw a substantial increase in funding, elevating Alberta’s status in medical research. As well, under his leadership, the Edmonton Research Park flourished into a thriving technology community. Mr Geddes was awarded the Order of Canada.

Today the Edmonton Research Park continues to support innovation through the presence and collaboration of community builders and entrepreneurs such as Innotech Alberta(formerly Alberta Research Council) , C-FERSyncrude Research,ERPBCIntellimediaClinisysFrontechBiostreamQuantiam TechnologiesATC, and more. ASTech Award winning companies from the research park have included: API,NanopreciseNTwistNanospeed DiagnosticsMicrolyne, and Zedi.

Established in 1986, B & W Technologies (founded by Cody Slater) pioneered gas monitoring devices for the oil industry, revolutionizing safety standards. In 1990, B & W Technologies, won the award for Commercial Achievement in reaching a Global Market. 

Acquired by Honeywell in 2006, now known as BW Technologies, they lead the global market in gas detection technology, ensuring safety across industries worldwide. Their innovative range of products remains compact, user-friendly, and cost-effective, setting the standard for hazardous environment safety. 

Today Mr. Slater is CEO of Calgary’s Blackline Safety.

Dr. Ronald G. Micetich, recipient of the 1990 Award for Alberta Science and Technology, spearheaded groundbreaking International Pharmaceutical Collaboration. With a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Saskatchewan, Micetich initiated a career in Pharmaceutical Research, cultivating partnerships with industry leaders like Taiho Pharmaceutical Company in Japan. This collaboration led to the establishment of Taiho Pharmaceuticals and Synphar Laboratories in Alberta.

In 1999, Micetich founded NAEJA Pharmaceutical, Edmonton, focused on combating drug-resistant bacteria. Alongside his innovative research, Dr. Micetich served as an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta, sharing his expertise with aspiring scientists.

ASTech Spotlight: Community Builder – NABI

ASTech Community Builder, NABI (Northern Alberta Business Incubator), was established by the City of St. Albert in 1989 and, like the ASTech Awards, is marking 35 years of innovation! It provides vital support, education, and mentorship to early-stage businesses, fostering their launch, growth, and long-term success.

Notably, NABI has nurtured two past ASTech winners: Wilson Analytical Services Inc. and Sarcomere Dynamics.

Having played a pivotal role in fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, NABI has graduated over 650 member businesses and assisted more than 3,000 entrepreneurs, with 80% of its alumni companies sustaining operations for over 5 years. This success has injected over $500 million into the local economy.

Currently supporting 90 active member companies, NABI aims for further expansion to nurture more budding entrepreneurs. Through its programs and services, early-stage businesses can thrive in an environment conducive to growth and innovation.

1989: Founding of the ASTech Awards

By the late 1980s, provincial and federal governments had made many significant investments in Alberta post-secondaries – to attract and support researchers that would further discovery, and collaborate with industry to enable innovation through technology commercialization – resulting in economic diversification. Advancements were made throughout the fields of energy, life and health sciences, agriculture, geoscience, digital innovation and more – but these individual achievements often did not make front-page news on their own.


Driven Albertan professionals saw an opportunity to create momentum – and formed a supportive innovation community comprised of industry, government, academia, entrepreneurs, and champions. Edmonton had just held an inspiring science and technology gala in 1988 – seeding an opportunity to support the growth of the tech sector through the visibility that celebration can bring. This motivated the creation of the ASTech Awards in 1989 by community members including Martin Kratz, KC, a prominent Calgary lawyer, and KPMG representatives like Peter Kinash.

Today, 35 years later, the ASTech Awards continues to bring together the innovation community to celebrate the impact made possible through the collaboration of industry, government, academia, entrepreneurs, and community champions. The momentum that this and other initiatives have created, has helped develop Alberta’s thriving tech sector and innovation-fueled economy. Shared Success, Best of All Worlds.