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Diverse experience distills choice for beverage centre manager

Okanagan College Media Release

Wes PetersonWes Peterson knows he has a challenging task in front of him.

He has been hired as manager of the recently-announced British Columbia Beverage Technology Access Centre (BCBTAC), which is scheduled to open its doors for service in Penticton this fall.

“The plan for the BCBTAC has been well laid out,” says Peterson, who brings with him experience in owning and operating a successful and growing brewery in Seattle. “The challenge will be in bringing it to life as envisioned, acquiring and setting up the equipment, and developing the processes and policies that will guide the technology access centre.”

The BCBTAC, which will be headquartered in Penticton, is an Okanagan College initiative that is supported by five years of funding, totaling $1.75 million, from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. It is also supported by the College and by industry as well.

Peterson is the centre’s first employee. The BCBTAC’s mission is to provide technical, analytical and business services to small- and medium-sized distilleries, cideries, breweries and wineries, focusing first on the businesses in the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen region. It will draw on expertise resident at Okanagan College and elsewhere to help those businesses grow.

Peterson has significant executive experience, having worked with Expedia in Europe as a vice-president, and with Air Canada as Branch Financial Officer. Since 2011 he has co-owned Odin Brewing Company in Seattle. Peterson was educated as a Cytogenetics Technologist at BCIT, has a Bachelor of Science in Genetics from UBC, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Calgary in Finance and New Venture Development.

“Wes’ management experience with customer-focused enterprises, his background as a technologist, and his approach and leadership with a successful craft brewery in an intensely competitive environment commended him for this role,” explains Dr. Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s Vice President Education.

The BCBTAC is the second technology access centre in British Columbia. The other is in Victoria, at Camosun College. The network of technology access centres across Canada is funded by the federal government, and are focused on addressing the applied research and innovation needs of local companies.

When Okanagan College’s successful application for a TAC was announced in June, there were 19 craft cideries, 219 wineries, 16 craft distilleries and 24 craft breweries within the College’s catchment area, which stretches from Revelstoke to the U.S. border.

For more information on BCBTAC, visit www.bcbtac.ca.