Amber Hayes, MIDAS Program Director

Amber is a serial entrepreneur and avid technology lifestyler and expert. Amber has founded several technology businesses including Adventure Engine (an early cloud software company), has been an international consultant for a broadband technology adoption and education company, a longtime technology entrepreneurship and commercialization coach for KAST, and manager of the Basin Business Advisors program. Amber believes that new technology, a growing culture of online community, open source culture and bright young minds do and will continue to change our world daily and will bring that philosophy to life in her new role as our the MIDAS Project Director for the Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration & Studies (MIDAS) R&D, commercialization program and the FabLab facility in Trail, BC.

Erin Handy

Erin Handy, Executive Director KAST

Erin Handy has 13 years’ experience in technical public policy development, stakeholder management and public relations; regional communication; non-profit finance, fundraising and program management; and regional economic project development & implementation. Highlights include development of multi-year government funding contracts with the BC Innovation Council, NRC-IRAP and Western Economic Diversification (2011-2019); design/funding of the $2m MIDAS applied research, commercialization & training centre for the metallurgical sector surrounding Trail, B.C. (2015); the launch of Canada’s first carbon tax via the B.C. Ministry of Finance (2008); launch of KAST’s first paid technology business coaching program (2013); and co-founding of the Kootenay RoboGames with the Nelson Tech Club (2012). Erin joined KAST in 2011 as Program Coordinator. Another urban refugee, she relocated to Rossland in 2008, worked at the Trail Daily Times as a reporter, and fell in love with the West Kootenay lifestyle. Erin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Carleton University.

Brad Pommen

Brad Pommen, MIDAS Lab Director

Brad is President of the Nelson Tech Club Hackerspace, since 2010 has have taught hundreds of people, of all ages, how to code, design and adopt emerging technologies in the local community. For the past 4 years he has organized a successful robotic educational event called “RoboGames” for local youth which has attracted over 80 participants in 2016 and entertained hundreds of spectators. Brad regularly lecture for community groups on multiple technology subjects and coordinate the successful weekly, all-ages “Hackerspace”, partnered with Selkirk College. Brad has a record for successful project management, client-care satisfaction and quality adherence in dynamic software and technology environments. He is a Kootenay-wide technology network liaison, providing professional representation, influence in technology funding and STEM education leadership and maintain strong networking relationships with local technology supporters and businesses. Brad is a hacker, a maker, a technology enthusiast and a leader in STEM initiatives, a passion he will bring to MIDAS. He is Mr. Technology.

Sharon Thompson

Sharon Thompson, MIDAS Administration

Sharon has performed in the roles of Office Manager, Operations Manager, Administrative & Accounting Assistant, Shipping & Receiving Coordinator, Purchaser and Receptionist. Although she has spent the majority of her time working in Administration, the companies she has worked within for the past 10 years have been Science & Technology based. Firstly with Firebird Technologies Ltd. (Pure Metals refining and Semi-Conductor manufacturing), moving on to 5N Plus Inc. once they aquired Firebird Tech and currently with Fenix Advanced Materials Inc. and MIDAS. She has gained irreplaceable experience and training through her employment with these companies, assisting her in becoming a knowledgeable team member within the Metallurgy, Science & Technology business.

Jason Taylor, Instructor

Jason Taylor is the Chair of Selkirk College’s School of the Arts and has recently been appointed to conduct applied research in Digital Fabrication and Rapid Prototyping. Jason Taylor has specialized in digital fabrication and rapid prototyping for the past 5 years with extensive research and application in additive and subtractive manufacturing, rapid prototyping and motion control systems. Jason has over 16 years of teaching, managing and program development at Selkirk and continues to push his faculty, students and peers in new and challenging directions. Jason will be one of several instructors offering courses at MIDAS.

Don Freschi, Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR)

Don has been KAST’s lead business coach or Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) for our Venture Acceleration business coaching program (VAP) since that program’s introduction in 2013. As co-founder/CEO of Firebird Technologies, Don helped bring millions of R&D dollars to the region, manage a shareholder exit, develop a new product for international markets, and increase sales from $3-9 million over 2 years. Don has 20+ years experience in high tech manufacturing, operations, P&L management, sales/marketing, technology development and strategic planning and recently co-founded a new venture, Fenix Advanced Materials, which will be the anchor tenant at KAST’s new Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration & Studies (MIDAS) facility in Trail. Don owns and stars in Sport Fishing on the Fly, and is the General Manager of CFDC Greater Trail.