Cascadia partnerships formalizing with launch of leadership group

New committee features business leaders from B.C. and Washington state

Business leaders in B.C. and Washington state are taking the next steps to formally link the region’s economies.

The Cascadia Innovation Corridor announced Thursday (September 13) the launch of a bi-national steering committee to bolster business relations between Vancouver and Seattle.

“What we want to do is get the right people in the room that have real knowledge that can bring other people to the table and work collaboratively,” said Greg D’Avignon, CEO of the Business Council of B.C.

“We’re not going to micromanage this. It’s going to be organic.”

D’Avignon has been partnering with Challenge Seattle CEO Christine Gregoire, Washington’s former governor, on the development of the committee.

The Cascadia Innovation Corridor announced 21 members who are experts in four sectors the committee is focusing on: life sciences, technology, fintech and retail, and sustainable agriculture.

Life Sciences BC CEO Lesley Esford is leading the life sciences sector.

Edoardo de Martin, the head of Microsoft Corporation’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Vancouver office, is leading technology.

Mountain Equipment Co-op CEO David Labistour is leading fintech and retail.

And Chad Krueger, director of Washington State University’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resources Sciences, will be joined by B.C. Greenhouse Growers Association executive director Linda Delli Santi on the sustainable agriculture file.

“We’ve got a myriad of different component parts to build this … connective tissue that can really make sure that people that are doing one thing know what somebody else is doing,” D’Avignon said.

“They can work together and collaborate and get something that’s bigger than the sum of their parts,” D’Avignon said.

The Cascadia Innovation Corridor launched its first conference in Vancouver in 2016 before taking the event to Seattle last year.

The conference returns to Vancouver October 9-10.