Expat US high-tech leader to head Callaghan Innovation
Expat US high-tech leader comes home to head Callaghan Innovation
March 14 (BusinessDesk) - The government's flagship innovation vehicle, Callaghan Innovation, will be led by Mary Quin.
Described by Business, Innovation and Employment Minister Steven Joyce as "an exceptional New Zealander with an impressive track record of working in the US engineering and technology sector," Quin trained as a material scientist, with a doctorate from Northwestern University, Illinois.
A graduate of Canterbury University's engineering school, Quin has most recently seven years as president of a US$200 million Alaskan company, NANA Management Services LLC, where she led a doubling in revenues to US$200 million, in part through spreading the company's services through 16 other states of the US.
NANA, which employs 2,800 people, is ultimately owned by indigenous Inupiat people of Alaska.
“This is the kind of leadership and vision that will propel Callaghan Innovation and its clients forward as we strengthen and grow New Zealand’s science, engineering, design and technology capability and its commercial presence,” said Callaghan Innovation chair Sue Suckling.
"With a background in research and development in materials engineering and over 20 years’ experience working in senior executive roles in NASDAQ-listed companies such as Xerox and Eastman Kodak Company, Dr Quin comes with an impressive profile and experience in technology and engineering industries.," she said in a statement.
Quin's roles have included senior marketing and distribution roles with global name companies.
Quin's task is to "drive substantial commercialisation opportunities for Callaghan Innovation and for New Zealand companies."
She inherits a completely new government entity, made up of parts of the engineering campuses of Canterbury and Auckland universities, the former Crown Research Institute for advanced materials, known as IRL, and bits of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
Its head office is on a shared floor with NZTE in central Wellington and it remains an experiment after four years of upheaval in the science and innovation arm of the public sector, with two successive reform programmes producing Callaghan Innovation.
“Her international experience will also be invaluable as a key goal of the organisation is to grow and scale New Zealand’s innovation and sell it to world markets,” said Suckling.
After gaining her doctorate, Quin stayed in the US, working in research and development for engineering company Raychem for several years. She attended Harvard Business School, where she graduated as a Baker Scholar, the highest distinction given for the top 5% of MBA graduates.
In a quirk of fate, Quin was kidnapped in Yemen in 1998 and went on to write an international bestselling book about the experience.
Quin will relocate from Anchorage, Alaska and divide her time between a base in Wellington and Auckland.