U of L students and alumni account for eight of the 32 employees at Calgary-based ICOM Productions Inc.
ICOM President Greg Surbey says the eclectic mix of U of L management, English and new media alumni share some important attributes. “U of L graduates come in ready to work, and they are open to learning and growing as both employees and human beings,” says Surbey.
Knowing how to learn is an important skill at a company using fundamental learning methodologies to develop computer-based corporate learning solutions. ICOM produces courses on everything from staff safety and human resources to product training and compliance issues.
“ICOM is very good at aligning business objectives with learning objectives. Our objective is to ensure that people learn,” says Vice-President of Business Development Devin Harrington (BMgt ’00).
Harrington became the first alumnus on staff when he was hired two years ago, and he was soon sold on his future with the company.
“We have doubled our sales every year since I have been here, and the number of employees has doubled annually for the last four years. My personal objective is to generate new business and maintain ICOM’s growth. It’s an opportunity people my age don’t usually get,” says Harrington.
At 30, Harrington is an elder in the office. “I would estimate that the median employee age is 24,” he says.
The company’s youth appeal is obvious from the pool and foosball tables in its downtown headquarters, but the relaxed office culture permeates more than the decor. ICOM offers flexible hours and a flat management style that empowers staff to take responsibility for their work.
“ICOM hires talented people who really want to be here. ICOM is at the forefront of online learning, and we are doing work that nobody else does,” says Instructional Designer/Project Manager Jen Anderson (BA ’99, PCMT ’01).
Since leaving an associate producer position at CBC Calgary to join ICOM in November 2005, Anderson has worked as a client liaison, course scriptwriter and an occasional voice-over artist. It’s a challenging role that Anderson is uniquely qualified for.
In addition to her bachelor of arts degree in English and professional certificate in multimedia technology from the U of L, she completed a master of arts degree in journalism at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in 2005. Prior to attending UWO, she taught English and communications at Lethbridge Community College and anchored for Shaw Communications Inc.
“My U of L degree was my first step towards becoming an educator. The liberal arts education that the U of L promotes helps students become well-rounded people. I also did independent studies and practicum-style courses where I was teaching other students. Those experiences transfer directly to ICOM,” says Anderson.
Harrington recently hired general management major Mindeep Nagra as a sales associate. Nagra will graduate from the U of L in October. Their mutual alma mater is coincidental to her hiring, but Harrington does know the value of her degree.
“The biggest thing about university is that you learn how to learn. I had some good professors who were able to get me thinking outside the box,” says Harrington.
U of L Communications and Public Relations Contact:
Bob Cooney, Communications and PR Officer (403) 382-7173