Unquote: Brad Pommen

a photo of a jar of coins topped with a green sprout is overlayed with the word "Unquote" and a logo for "The Block Party"


This post is a part of our Unquote series.

As journalists and content writers, the Writer’s Block Solutions team has the opportunity to speak with tons of incredible people. However, depending on the assignment, sometimes a brief interview is edited down to a single quote in a short article. That’s why we’ve decided to share some of our favourite interview excerpts in an ongoing series called Unquote.

Brad Pommen is the founder and president of SMRT1 Technologies Ltd., a hardware and software interaction and engagement technology startup with a touch vending machine product called the SMRT1 POD. While interviewing Brad about the circular economy in the Lower Columbia region, Val discovered why Brad’s recent efforts to trade an abundance of in-demand plastic for machine time at the Selkirk Technology Access Centre (STAC) feels like a homecoming.

“Thinking back to the early days when I was lab director at MIDAS (now STAC) and Shawn Curran was my apprentice to take over this facility, we had put on a presentation to the LCIC, pitching “What is the circular economy?” We look 3–4 years ahead now, and the circular economy has a life of its own. And the people behind it really embody that community spirit behind education and STAC — learn, create, and launch. That’s what’s going to be embedded in the DNA of this next generation.

We think of all the young businesses that have started within these walls, where someone had access to a one- or two-hour training program—snowboard companies, cheese companies, prototypes that were started here and launched businesses. That continuation and conscious effort is a piece of what’s made this whole region unique. The whole idea of the Metal Tech Alley was to bring consciousness about what’s actually happening at Teck and what’s happening with local businesses and what skills are needed. Now, with government and educational support, it’s transitioned into the creation of several programs under Selkirk that — again, what was just a weekend course or an evening idea that hobbyists could enjoy — is translating into an actual economy scale.”

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