With a background in research and development in materials engineering and over 20 years experience working in senior executive roles n NASDAQ-listed companies such as Xerox and Eastman Kodak Company, Dr Quin comes with an impressive profile and experience in technology and engineering industries.
“We are delighted to have a person of Mary Quin’s calibre to lead Callaghan Innovation,” says chair Sue Suckling. “With her knowledge of industry and her business acumen, we believe she can drive substantial commercialisation opportunities for Callaghan Innovation and for New Zealand companies.”
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has welcomed the appointment which he sees as a key step in the development of the Callaghan Innovation, the “one-stop shop for business innovation support”.
“Dr Quin’s international experience will be invaluable as Callaghan Innovation continues to establish itself as an organisation that can translate smart ideas into high-tech products and services that we can sell to world markets,” he says.
Meanwhile, ExportNZ has called for the new crown entity to ensure that it remains focused on business needs.
“While investment in fundamental research remains important, we also need to focus on innovation and have a valuable point of difference,” says executive director Catherine Beard.
She believes the proof of success will be increased investment in R&D from the private and public sectors (currently low by international standards), leading to increasingly high-value exports and increased collaboration between New Zealand’s science and business talent.
Dr Quin will take up her new role on 3 May, after relocating from Anchorage in Alaska, where she has been employed with support services company NANA Management Services as president. She will be based in Wellington. Her main responsibilities will include ensuring that Callaghan Innovation accelerates the commercialisation of innovation of New Zealand firms in order to strengthen export capability and grow New Zealand’s economy.
Palmerston-North born Dr Quin has a distinguished academic background. After graduating from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor in Science (Honours) with first class honours in phsyics, she completed a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University in Illinois. After working in research and development for engineering company Raychem for several years, she attended Harvard Business School, where she graduated as a Baker Scholar, the highest distinction given to the top three percent of graduates.
Dr Quin is also a best-selling author. Her book Kidnapped in Yemen, draws on her personal experience of being kidnapped as part of a small tour group in 1998 in Yemen.
Callaghn Innovation brings together the former crown research institute IRL, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)’s business investments team, the Auckland Foodbowl and NZTE’s Lean Manufacturing programme.