September 30, 2011 10:59 ET

OCRI Hires New President to Execute on Ottawa's Vision for High-Impact Economic Development

Bruce Lazenby Commits to Inclusive, Collaborative Approach to Make Ottawa the Number One City in Canada to Start and Grow a Knowledge-Based Business

OTTAWA--(Marketwire - Sep 30, 2011) - The Ottawa Centre for Regional Innovation (OCRI) has hired former software executive and military veteran Bruce Lazenby as its new President and CEO to lead a new, more inclusive and collaborative economic development organization. Lazenby's mandate includes introducing cultural change at OCRI so it can respond faster to business needs and opportunities.

After serving 20 years in the military, Lazenby went on to senior technology executive positions including six years as CEO with Ottawa's FreeBalance Inc. He has been Chairman of the Ottawa Software Cluster for the past six years. Most recently he was Vice President in Canada for Corum Group Ltd., the world's largest software M&A advisory firm. He was also a Chair and executive coach with The Executive Committee, a global network of 15,000 chief executives in 16 countries. Lazenby's military service covered the Royal Canadian Navy and Air Force, including tours on UN peacekeeping missions. He graduated from the Royal Military College and the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College.

"OCRI's Board of Directors has endorsed a strategy for the organization taking on a broader role in keeping with the City of Ottawa's Partnerships for Prosperity economic development plan," said Jeff Westeinde Chair of the OCRI Board of Directors "We're also looking forward to a revitalized organization."

The City's five-year plan calls for partnership between a wide range of groups and associations that collectively have a major impact on municipal economic development.

"We want to send a strong signal to our regional stakeholders that economic development is taking a front seat at City Hall as we compete on a world stage for jobs, growth and opportunity," said Mayor Watson.

OCRI has contracted with the City for the next three years to carry out economic development programs for investment attraction, business retention, expansion and trade development under Invest Ottawa. OCRI will also conduct entrepreneurial development and business incubation services that include programs such as the Entrepreneurship Centre and The Regional Innovation Centre for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario.

"I'm thrilled to have been asked by OCRI's Board of Directors to take on this challenge, and to help transform a 27-year tradition," said Lazenby. "The bottom line on my mandate is to make Ottawa the number one city in Canada to start and grow high potential businesses. To do that we need to listen hard to what entrepreneurs need to succeed, then collaborate and partner inside the City like never before -- and we need to do it quickly."

Ottawa's knowledge-based industry strength has been widely recognized across the country. Professor Richard Florida, the award-winning author of Who's Your City?, rates Ottawa as the "Best Overall" city in Canada on a "Creative Class Index" based on the 3Ts of economic development -- Technology, Talent and Tolerance. For the second year in a row, Money Magazine has ranked Ottawa-Gatineau takes the top spot in "Canada's Best Places to Live 2011".

About OCRI:

Leading the way for Ottawa, OCRI is the city's economic development agency. OCRI is the rallying point to bring business, education, research and talent together to create the winning economic conditions that allow Ottawa's knowledge-based companies to thrive locally and compete globally. At OCRI we promote sustainable economic development to maintain our high quality of life. For more information on OCRI visit our Web site at and for more information on the Ottawa Region please visit In 2010, Ottawa was named one of the world's top seven intelligent communities by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).

Contact Information

  • For more information please contact:

    Paul Brent
    Senior Communications Strategist
    market2world communications Inc.
    P: 1.613.256.3939
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