R&I is pleased to welcome back to the team Neil Wilkinson as the Research Program Manager for the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC).
Neil rejoins Niagara College with 8 years in leadership roles in college applied research offices. In that time, he developed and managed applied research teams and projects that provided innovative new products and solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses in the agriculture; food and beverage; advanced manufacturing; and digital health sectors. Working collaboratively with key stakeholders, Neil has written proposals for many research grants that have resulted in millions of dollars in funds being awarded.
When this opportunity arose, Neil knew it was time to come back to the College. “Niagara is my home; I missed the region and working out of it, not to mention the great team at R&I,” said Neil.
And as the saying goes, some things never change. “I’m back at the desk I left in 2018 and it feels like I never left. But there have been significant changes since then. We have a new President leading the College, the R&I team is much bigger and we have the addition of GTN and the growth of SONAMI,” said Neil. “But the fun remains!”
“Getting to work with students and recent graduates to develop their skills and help them grow as professionals is something unique to the position.”
An eclectic career with experiences in laboratories, entrepreneurship, marketing research, and software programming means Neil brings a breadth of experience as a product developer, service provider, and end customer to his work. Neil’s passions are supporting small- and medium-sized business on their innovation journeys to commercial success and working with early career professionals and watching them grow into well-rounded leaders.
As he looks to the future and where WAMIC is heading, he had this to say about where he wants to see things progress: “I look forward to building on the success of the past 10 years of WAMIC, and I want to position the centre for the next 10 years supporting manufacturers in the Niagara region and beyond,” he said.
Another part of the job he loves is working with the students. “Getting to work with students and recent graduates to develop their skills and help them grow as professionals is something unique to the position,” said Neil.
Neil holds an MBA in Innovation Leadership from the Sandermoen School of Business at the University of Fredericton, an Ontario Graduate Certificate in Research Analysis from Georgian College, and a BSc in Applied Biochemistry from Liverpool John Moores University in the UK.
In his personal time, Neil said, “I enjoy being outdoors either in the woods or on the beach, craft beer, travelling the world with my backpack and spending time with my wife and two teenage children.” Neil’s most recent travels over the holidays brought him to Nicaragua, and his next destination will be a trip to Hilton Head for March Break.