VIATEC Receives TECNA Innovation Award for COVID-19 Response and Action Plan

VICTORIA, BC (July 29, 2020) - Last Thursday, VIATEC staff gathered virtually to tune into the 2nd Annual TECNA Innovation Awards to hear from fellow tech associations across North America (an exciting change of pace, as VIATEC is usually giving out their own awards). To their surprise, VIATEC was announced as the recipient of the “Initial COVID Response Plan/Actions” Award. 

The TECNA Innovation Awards recognize tech council’s who have been integral to develop and implement innovative and impactful work on behalf of their tech association. The COVID Response category was added as a special element to recognize and showcase the top initiatives of member councils responding and adapting to the COVID-19 Crisis in Q1 & Q2 2020 – to celebrate the innovative work and share the best practices with TECNA members (including 60 organizations, representing more than 22,000 technology-related companies across North America).

“This is a really big deal for us — we were up against the largest organization of our kind in Canada, Communitech out of Waterloo, and two state-wide organizations that have considerable resources and profile,” said VIATEC’s CEO Dan Gunn. “To be selected from among them was a pleasant surprise.”

When submitting their nomination application, VIATEC highlighted the ways they have responded to COVID-19 and assisted their members including: 

  • Optional deferral of membership dues

  • Waiving of rent for early-stage companies in Fort Tectoria

  • Free job postings for members 

  • Daily updates to a custom COVID-19 Resources Page

  • Creation of a free “Returning to the Office” handbook and checklist 

  • Conducting two local tech sector impact surveys and sharing the findings with tech leaders and policy makers to help guide their efforts

  • Free virtual events with relevant topics:

    • Leading My Organization Through a Crisis, 6-Part Virtual Seminar Series

    • Leading Sales Teams Virtually

    • Performance Optimization

    • CEO Roundtables (with the highest attendance yet)

      • Forward Motion: How to Scale Even in Tricky Times

      • Creating Winning Sales Operations

    • Peer Panel: Returning to the Office

    • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, 4-Part Virtual Seminar Series

In addition to serving its members, VIATEC gave back to the community through the VIATEC Foundation by donating $10,000 to the Victoria Rapid Relief Fund and sponsoring a community garden through My FED Farm.

“It was a hit to revenue, but it was an investment we wanted to make to help our members and companies deal with all the uncertainty they were facing,” said Gunn. “Only a few members actually took us up on the offer to defer membership dues, and we have enjoyed a 95 per cent membership renewal. At a time like this we are honoured and proud to do what we can to invest in and support all the companies that have supported us for the last three decades. We look forward to a return to some semblance of normal but in the meantime, we are committed to finding new and innovative ways to serve our members and the broader community as we all pull together to tackle the many unexpected challenges and opportunities that come with a global pandemic and the resulting economic consequences.”

Initial COVID Response Plans/Action Finalists:

  1. VIATEC (Winner) – Team Members: Dan Gunn, Tessa Bousfield, Georgia Cowell, Michelle Gaetz, Forrester Whitney, Robert Bennett, Paula Parker, Eve Olynyk, Dominc Ohl, Lindsay Richmond

  2. Communitech - Team Members: Saj Jamal, Andy Dedlow, Anthony Ramsay, Candace Beres, Ian McDonald, Janelle Chalouhi, Rob Carey, Sacha Bell, Megan Gallinger, Michele English, Lauren Camara, Brandy Duffield

  3. Technology Association of Oregon – Team Members: Skip Newberry, Cara Snow, Rylee O’Brien, Justin Martinez, Ruthie Ditzler, Elizabeth Allen

  4. TechPoint – Team Members: Mike Langellier, Sharon Tuttle, Lauren Petersen, Jennifer Merrell, Roger Shuman, Jordan Isaacs, Ashlee Fujawa, Jara Rowe, Joshua Hall, Cheryl Reed, Merillat Flowers, Al Carroll, Kat Locascio, Destiny Moore, Joe Perin, Kat Locascio, Ann Kellison, Anna Rauh

For a full category list and more information about the TECNA Innovation Awards, visit 



Dan Gunn


VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), started in 1989. VIATEC's mission is to cultivate the most cohesive tech community in the world by providing resources to tackle shared opportunities and challenges while boosting a sense of belonging and shaping our region. (Victoria's biggest industry is tech!).

We work closely with our members to offer a variety of events, programs and services. In addition, VIATEC serves as the front door of the local tech sector and as its spokesperson. To better support local innovators, we acquired our own building (Fort Tectoria) where we offer flexible and affordable office space to emerging local companies along with a gathering/event space for local entrepreneurs.