Skip to content

Thunder Bay's innovation centre names new lead

Mario Escoto Damas becomes executive director at Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre
Mario Escoto Damas has accepted the role of executive director at the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre.

The Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre (NOIC) has named Mario Escoto Damas as its new executive director.

NOIC, based in Thunder Bay, announced the appointment on Nov. 2.

Escoto Damas replaces Kendall Williams, who left the position in September after more than a decade at the centre, three of which she spent as executive director.

Described as a "global business strategist” with entrepreneurial experience in the international manufacturing and tech sectors, Escoto Damas is a cofounder of multiple businesses.

That includes BeltecHub, which makes timing belts and related equipment, and Inverca SRL, which manufactures, distributes and sells industrial belting products and MRO supplies.

Escoto Damas, who hails originally from Honduras, additionally has extensive experience in business mentorship through his time at TrepCamp, a California-based organization that educates and trains young entrepreneurs; as a board member for the Latin-Canadian Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and as a professional fellow with the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative.

Colin Kelly, NOIC's board chair, welcomed Escoto Damas in a statement:

"Mario is a great match with current regional needs and future opportunities. He is a successful entrepreneur and has a demonstrated passion for business and innovation, having worked with different incubators and economic development offices in various capacities. His experience with manufacturing and supply chain logistics will also help serve local businesses and startups interested in opportunities within the expanding regional mining sector,” Kelly said.

“A successful immigrant entrepreneur, his talents will serve the community development ecosystem well as we all work to attract new talent to Thunder Bay and Region.”

NOIC said Escoto Damas will be in attendance at the RBC Innovation Awards, which will take place on Nov. 3.