Although she didn’t realize it at first, Kristine Canniff has spent much of her career making things fit.
Throughout her career, consciously or unconsciously, she has always been about uncovering a need and finding an appropriate solution.
As industry liaison officer with Niagara Research, Kris is the first point of contact for potential industry partners.
“I’m here to promote the services of Niagara Research to local industry partners in a way where multiple stakeholders benefit,” she explains.
“The bottom line is that we are seeking partners and projects with a few goals in mind – to benefit our students, who will gain applied knowledge in their field of study; our faculty, who will stay sharp and leading edge; our industry partners, who can benefit from increased sales, efficiencies or profit; and ultimately, our economy here in Niagara, which has so much to offer.”
Kris notes that there are funding opportunities through many government sources and related agencies, but local businesses might not always be aware of the funding, or how to retrieve it for their betterment.
“We want to make sure our local business owners are aware of the opportunities, and of how we can partner with them to access these resources.”
When Kris meets a potential industry partner, she walks them through the process of application for consideration, by helping them define their industry challenges, and how they might be met by one of NR’s areas of specialization.
The areas of specialization include precision agriculture, horticulture and the environment; digital media and IT solutions; advanced manufacturing; food and beverage innovation; and business and commercialization solutions.
She has been pleased with the response since joining the NR team in late May. She notes that Niagara Research has a great reputation in the region already, so she has been busy scheduling meetings with potential partners pretty much non-stop since she arrived.
Kris comes to Niagara College after several years in business consultation, telecommunications and fundraising. A Niagara native, she returned to the peninsula 10 years ago when she and her husband decided that raising two young boys would be better suited here than in busy downtown Toronto.
“Basically we traded the rumble of the subway underneath our basement on the Danforth for the yelping of coyotes in the country. We wanted our kids to have an ice rink, a pumpkin patch and a tree house in the backyard. The pumpkins didn’t work out so well, but the other two were a big hit.”
Her past employment includes business consultation, work with call centres and fundraising, but she says she has always been on the lookout for a potential position in the education or non-profit sector.
As a result, the role with NR matches her personal and employment goals perfectly.
“I’ve always wanted to be in a position where what I do will benefit the people who need it most,” she explains. But at the same time, she is conscious of keeping a balanced life. She is involved as a board member for the Women’s Place of South Niagara, takes equestrian riding lessons, and has just started a sensory evaluation of wine course here at the college.
Kristine has a BA in Communications from Brock University and has recently pursued post-graduate studies at Niagara College, Ryerson and Brock in the areas of Fundraising Management and Adult Education. She also holds a CPCC (Certified Professional Co-Active Coach) accreditation.
Two months ago, an opportunity presented itself to take on another related role within Niagara Research. With the departure of Lindsay Engel, Kris has taken on the role of interim research project manager for the advanced manufacturing area of specialization.
As a result, her days are filled up right now with more than just meeting clients. There are several new advanced manufacturing projects, assisting industry clients create solutions in the areas of material handling, automation, process improvement and product design, to name a few.
“There is no better feeling than to offer a tailored solution to an industry partner that will benefit everyone involved. When energetic people are brought together with a shared goal, the results far surpass what one person can achieve alone. Our partners, students, faculty and team at Niagara Research are a perfect example of this.”
Kris is based at the Welland campus. She can be reached at [email protected]
Niagara Research, the Research & Innovation Division of Niagara College, provides real-world solutions for business, industry and the community through applied research and knowledge transfer activities. Niagara Research conducts projects that provide innovative solutions, such as producing and testing prototypes, evaluating new technologies, and developing new or improved products or processes for small and medium-sized businesses.
For more information visit www.NiagaraCollege.ca/research.