KAST Expertise

Expertise. You Can Find That HERE!

HERE Program

Growing and establishing a technology company can be a tough enough proposition in a large, urban market.  The challenges can seem so much more profound in a more isolated, rural, region, no matter how beautiful, with limited access to the necessary professional and technical services.

To better support our entrepreneurial technology Venture Acceleration Program (VAP) clients, KAST has partnered with carefully selected local service providers through the High Value Expertise in a Rural Environment (HERE) program.

HERE Program providers offer their expertise to technology startups using a one-on-one model in legal, accounting, HR, export, engineering and pricing services.  These services were identified as being of particular significance and need in the start-up process, particularly in the rural environment, where specific, skilled expertise can be more challenging to find.

KAST is proud to recognize the valued and expert partners that have signed on to offer their professional and technical services to entrepreneurs and start-ups throughout the West Kootenay.

Jason Taylor, Selkirk College Applied ResearchJason Taylor, of Selkirk College Applied Research, is the Chair of Selkirk College’s School of the Arts and has recently been appointed to conduct applied research in Digital Fabrication and Rapid Prototyping. Jason Taylor has specialized in digital fabrication and rapid prototyping for the past 5 years with extensive research and application in additive and subtractive manufacturing, rapid prototyping and motion control systems. Jason has over 16 years of teaching, managing and program development at Selkirk and continues to push his faculty, students and peers in new and challenging directions.


Mike Konkin, Konkin & AssociatesMike Konkin, of Konkin & Associates, is a Chartered Professional Accountant and MBA with over 15 years of experience assisting high technology and small businesses grow and succeed. Mike is an accounting and management instructor at Selkirk College and owns and operates Konkin & Associates, a tax and business consulting firm.  He has extensive experience working in the advanced metals and semi‐conductor business sector with the former Firebird Technologies as their CFO. Mike has also worked with many other science and research-based organizations on business process improvements and their tax and reporting requirements including getting these companies over $10 million in government scientific research and experimental development tax credits.


Roger Austin & team, Austin Engineering

As Austin Engineering’s owner and principal engineer, Roger has over 15 years of experience managing multi-million dollar projects, with extensive experience in earthworks, bridges, dams, foundations, structures, building envelopes, architectural finishing, process facilities, utilities, large-scale mining operations, provincial and federal government projects and environmental reclamation. At Austin Engineering, he leads a team of engineers and industry specialists on civil and structural designs, planning, project management and technical reviews, specializing in hydro projects, mining and water resources projects. His extensive experience enables him to lead the design process and provide a valuable solution that meets budgets and timelines.


Dr. Lesley Beatson is a Rossland-based professionally trained consultant, leader and coach who delivers high impact results with passion, insight, and experience. A Ph.D. in Leadership Studies, Dr. Beatson graduated the National Coaching Institute at the University of Victoria, BC. She has expertise in organizational behaviour, leadership development, the psychology of motivation and high-performance culture. She is dedicated to empowering individuals and groups to develop their maximum potential, advance their personal leadership abilities and increase their capacity to grow high functioning teams.


Leon Pigott

Leon Pigott, of Pigott & Co., has been a corporate and commercial lawyer for 15 years. He started his practice at Macleod Dixon, an international law firm based in Calgary. Leon practiced in the areas of banking, securities, energy and corporate and commercial transactions. In 2002, he obtained an MBA from the London Business School. In 2004, after a brief time spent with Davis & Company, a large Vancouver law firm, Leon joined Powerex Corp., the power marketing arm of BC Hydro. Leon worked at Powerex Corp. for four years and was the head of the company’s commercial law group. Leon moved to Nelson with his family in 2007 and returned to private practice with a focus on corporate, commercial and finance law including incorporations, corporate and financial structuring, and intellectual property. He loves living and working in the Kootenays and is here to stay.

Bradley Higham of Collabo

Bradley Higham, of Collabo Consulting Inc., says Collabo Consulting Inc.’s primary objective is to help clients grow their business online. Collabo is an all-in-one Internet Marketing company that leverages the Internet through Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Outlets, Pay Per Click, and detailed Web Analytics to bring more visitors to your site and convert these visitors into leads. Led by Bradley Higham, a graduate from the University of Guelph in the Bachelor of Engineering Systems and Computing program with 15+ years experience ranging from Fortune 500 companies (RIM, The CoOperators Insurance Group) to small businesses and start-ups, Collabo employs a small team of highly talented web designers, programmers, and marketing gurus to provide innovative, cost effective solutions that generate higher profits for clients. Collabo specializes in developing internet marketing strategies, professional web designs with efficient content management systems, in addition to providing a variety of web hosting options.

All of our qualified partners are well-versed in the challenges, pitfalls and, of course, victories big and small, that come with entrepreneurship.  We are confident they will be of tremendous value to West Kootenay entrepreneurs and start-ups and they embark upon this remarkable journey.

If you are interested and would like to discuss VAProgram eligibility, please click here.

HERE is available through the gratefully acknowledged support of the Discovery Foundation’s Technology Education Program, launched in 2010 to educate BC innovators on how to move their ideas from conception to commercialization.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *