A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.
Our community is strong and growing with record speed and maintaining connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we’ve got a plan.
Introducing, The Faces of #OKGNtech. A showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement. Follow along (on the blog and on Instagram @OKGNtech) to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.
Meet David. David Kemp is the General Counsel at BlockCAT, a Kelowna-based blockchain company that allows anyone to deploy smart contracts on the Ethereum mainnet – no programming required. When David isn’t answering questions about blockchain (and there are a lot), you can find him getting involved with JCI Kelowna or riding around town on his cherry red Vespa with his corgi puppy, Ollie. [Editor’s note: JCI Kelowna is a chapter of an international organization with over 250,000 members in over 120 countries worldwide. Questions? David’s the VP of the group]. We recently caught up with David to learn more about his role at BlockCAT and his love for everything Okanagan.
What’s your favourite part about your role at BlockCAT?
“Business lawyers are often given tasks in a confined manner – draft this contract, review this lease, run this business purchase, etc. Lawyers are very much technicians in that way – we identify or are given tasks, that need to get done, and we do those tasks. However, my favourite thing about my role as General Counsel at BlockCAT is that I am involved in the strategic discussion as well – I like being one part of a larger project, one voice at the table providing my specific expertise.
“The Blockchain industry is a very interesting, wild, and dynamic industry – it will absolutely change another 10x over the next year in ways we can’t yet fathom. However, I believe that eventually, it will fundamentally change many of the things we do day-to-day.”
What’s your favourite thing about #OKGNtech?
“There are people doing big things here in the Okanagan, but you don’t get a sense of any sort of social stratification. It’s very low key and very approachable.”
What’s your favourite thing about the Okanagan?
“You wind up with a lot of people setting down roots here in the Okanagan who have an appreciation for living life. As opposed to a larger city, where if you looked at the pie chart it would be 90% work and 10% actually enjoying life, here we enjoy far closer to a 50/50 ratio. People come here and build lives here because they value a balanced life, and that’s a really great group of people to be surrounded by. ”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“I helped found the UBCO rugby club and when we were designing the organizational structure of the club itself, I was told by a friend – a giant in the local rugby community, and all-around genius, Doug Manning – that ‘form follows function’. I really love that and it’s always stuck with me. It applies to businesses, not-for-profit organizations, product design…everything. Too often we get a set idea, based on our biases and past experiences, of what an end product should look like, and forget about the purpose it’s supposed to serve.”
How would you describe yourself to someone who doesn’t know you?
“Those close to me would agree (with a roll of their eyes) that I’m definitely “characterized by constant activity”. I really value constantly challenging myself to grow and progress. I have always wanted to learn, experience, and question. I am not a person who likes getting stuck in a place for long if I’m not being challenged to constantly better myself. I think this quality is very important to who I am – that I am constantly challenging myself, pushing myself, learning, and growing.
What do you want to be remembered for?
“I am a big believer that we take our strength from our community. I have already benefited an enormous amount from the community and the connections that I have through JCI Kelowna and through the other parts of the Kelowna community that I inhabit. There is nothing more important to a person’s well being than being surrounded by a strong community of great people.”
What’s something the people don’t know about you?
“My family has been in Kelowna since the 1930s and we’ve actually got a creek named after us. It’s called Wilson Creek and it’s down near Manteo Resort and the Eldorado. Before the Greenway existed, Mission Creek would flood over all the time – one year, the water was so high that it was lapping up to my grandparents’ house, which sat on a large plot of land essentially where Playa Del Sol currently sits. So, my grandma got a bunch of friends and family together and they dug a little tributary to divert the water away from the house. That little tributary eventually became a creek. Or at least that’s the way she tells it. Pretty cool, right?”
Have you seen the rest of the OKGNtech faces?
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