Shaping the Future: Mike Checkley Chats Economic Impact Study

Blog June 17, 2024

Posted by Sara Scott

Shaping the Future: Mike Checkley Chats Economic Impact Study Featured Image
The Okanagan Tech Economic Impact Study is underway.

This week we caught up with Kelowna local and President of QHR Technologies, Mike Checkley, to chat about the new Economic Impact Study and why QHR Technologies is getting involved. Read on to see Mike’s thoughts and learn about more QHR. 

Why is it important for local tech companies to participate in the Okanagan Tech Economic Impact Study and what are you looking forward to seeing in the results?

QHR was born in the Okanagan and our head office is still here, located in Kelowna’s Landmark District. We’ve stayed because this area has a thriving technology industry with access to exciting talent through programs at UBCO and Okanagan College, and participating in this study is a great way to highlight those benefits. My hope is that the survey results can be used to make strategic growth decisions that help expand our talent base locally and our markets globally, both of which will also support municipal and regional prosperity.

Why is it important for local tech companies to participate in the Okanagan Tech Economic Impact Study?

To be successful, local investments and initiatives need to take into account the real-life challenges and opportunities for businesses in this region. That can only happen with involvement and participation from today’s industry leaders. Providing honest feedback will paint a true picture of the current environment, which can help inform business decisions for everyone.

Why does QHR support regional initiatives, like this study?

For those of us leading tech companies, reporting in with surveys like this is an easy way to contribute to the development of this sector in the Okanagan. The more we share our experiences building and sustaining successful business here, the stronger that infrastructure becomes and the more appealing it is for owners, investors, and prospective employees.

What strengths do you see in the Okanagan tech sector?

One incredible strength we have is the place itself. Everyone loves the Okanagan! Our location is renowned for the lifestyle it offers, but we also have a number of impressive success stories that prove a city of our size can produce large and globally recognized businesses. We’re not just a tech community; we’re helping to shape the future.

How has QHR been able to attract more women in the workplace, specifically in technical and leadership roles?

Like many other technology organizations, we see women withhold their applications if they don’t meet all the criteria in a job posting, and that, along with a more male-dominated tech industry in general, means we see fewer women applicants overall. We are, proudly, a well-balanced organization. From diverse hiring committees to removing biased language from job descriptions, we’re striving to provide an equitable recruitment and onboarding process for female-identifying employees. We spotlight the women in our organization and support their growth into leadership roles, including through mentorship programs and coaching opportunities to help them self-promote. As an organization, we know this isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor, so we work with employees on their individual goals and look to support them where we can.

What are you hoping to attract to the region with the results of the study?

I’d like to see more mid- to large-sized businesses come here. Those would allow us to then build a larger talent pool, resulting in further economic growth for the Okanagan region. With the lake and mountains, our golf courses, and an always-growing selection of wineries, food, and culture, the Okanagan offers an outstanding lifestyle with something for everyone—at a lower cost than Vancouver or Toronto. Larger businesses might think they have to be in those huge centres to thrive, but we believe Kelowna has what it takes.

What are you looking forward to learning about in the final report? 

As an organization that calls Kelowna home, we look forward to hearing what kinds of opportunities and challenges other organizations are facing and how the industry has changed in recent years since the last study. Knowing how we’re similar and how we’re different can inform our planning and help us identify areas for growth.

Participate In The Economic Impact Study

Surveys Due June 30

Tech companies located in the Okanagan from Osoyoos to Salmon Arm are asked to complete the 20 minute survey. All data submitted will be de-identified and only shared in aggregate form.

You can learn about the study by visiting our webpage.


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