ConvergX Combines Sectors

May 18, 2018

Walking through the conference doors to ConvergX 2018 in Calgary, it was clear this was a unique opportunity. This event brings the global Aerospace, Defence, Security, Energy and Mining sectors together to create investment and growth opportunities. The third annual event had gathered intensely influential panels and recognized the importance of the Q&A for delegates to engage. Leaving only a few minutes panelists presentations and up to 20 minutes for open discussions to the invite-only audience, the host & organizer, Wa–Vv, encouraged a lively exchange of information and ideas. FrontLine had the privilege of participating at the conference to witness spirited discussions on diverse and engaging topics on energy innovation, infrastructure development, cyber security, safety, progress, and visions for Canada, all intertwined with the future of defence and security. 

The emphasis on Oil and Gas was very present at this year’s ConvergX conference hosted by Wa–Vv. Global efforts require global partners which explains the business linkage with the Energy and Mining sectors achieved through ConvergX. Hundreds of executives were drawn to this year’s conference, and Wa–Vv hit it out of the park.

The need to coordinate between the public and and private sectors and to secure innovative solutions while supporting R&D, are indicative of how remarkably similar the sectors are.

Lockheed Martin Canada CEO Charles Bouchard, with Wa–Vv Founder & CEO Kimberley Van Vliet, Rockwell Collins Canada’s President and Managing Director Lee Obst (double-hatted as Chair of the AIAC technology and innovation committee), Dave Muir CEO of Gastops, and FrontLine’s Adrian Obst – connections made this year’s ConvergX a smashing success!

Defence Runs on Oil
Halliburton’s presentation on the economic impact, volume, and access to tidewaters was astounding. And that was just the beginning of an interesting, if somewhat controversial presentation. Ray Smith was in the hot seat over the current U.S. policy on Greenhouse gasses, however, he was able to highlight the future of growth, development, and reduction of spills, and vision of the Texas-based company moving forward. One example is a deep earth sensing technology that should make the processing of oil far more efficient and cost effective. Another is the Halliburton focus on dissolvable materials – metals, plastics, and rubbers in particular. 

Several green solutions came to the fore at this event. Grace Quan from Hydrocarbons in Motion talked about innovation to boost the clean tech energy sector. Oil isn’t going away anytime soon, however, and many companies are working towards a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future. In the world of evolving technology, there seems to be a mutually beneficial relationship developing between the Oil and Gas giants and the smaller, green-energy innovators – a relationship FrontLine will explore further, discussing the energy sector in our next edition.

The Round Table
An all-star line up at the podium was especially necessary this year, given the crowd that had been drawn by the major contributors, and the panel did not disappoint. 

Lee Obst, of Rockwell Collins and AIAC, was one of the attendees at a pre-conference Round Table event. “One of the most rewarding and interesting things about ConvergX was a private round table discussion of about 40 key executives from all three sectors engaging in a lengthy and meaningful discussion, a discussion that wouldn’t be possible in a venue of a few hundred where you can only listen,” he said. Lee also had this to say of the round table: “Gathering executives from the Oil and Gas side into a small room with the heads of Government and Defence industry executives, was the largest draw in attending this conference, well, that and the networking/scotch tasting.”

After the first pre-conference day at the round table, I was given more freedom to make my rounds and interact with the panellists and industry executives, a massive privilege given the intimate nature of discussion and the importance of meeting all decision makers in their respective companies. Some of those relationships are indeed still in contact with me today, supporting Wa–Vv’s theme of conducting real business transactions at this event, not just an exchange of business cards. 

Panellists of Note
The conference itself was both interesting and inspirational. The challenge facing each representative at the podium was the short time to get a message out with clarity, however most managed it very well. That allowed more time for open discussions that often went on longer than the actual presentations, linking the presenter’s message to issues the audience wanted supporting information on. Among some of those FrontLine found extremely interesting were White Whale Analytics’ Head of Machine Intelligence Robert Mereau on A.I. and Cyber Security; Halliburton’s Ray Smith on the access to Tide-waters and other key innovations; Lockheed Martin Canada’s CEO Charles Bouchard spoke about the F-35 Program; and Athena Industrial Services, presented by Mr. Constantine Issakidis, winner of the “most promising pre-commercial award.”

Though there were others of note, these four presentations stirred up the audience with further discussions. The many companies in attendance all believe in progress, innovation, and strengthening Canada’s economy – companies to watch in the future! 

Adrian Obst is FrontLine’s BD correspondent.