Volker Thomsen assumed his duties as President and CEO of St. Lawrence College on October 1, 2000. In September 2004 St. Lawrence College Board of Governors appointed Volker Thomsen for a second five-year term, from 2005 to 2010.
Thomsen has more than 30 years experience as a successful founder, shareholder and CEO of a group of companies in the food, natural health products, pharmaceutical manufacturing and marketing sectors. He has, furthermore, during the same period been involved in renewable energy, particularly in Denmark and Germany. He participated in planning wind parks in conjunction with biomass reactors, enabling rural communities to combine energy in a meaningful way and be independent of outside supplies.
September 2001, St. Lawrence established its first wind generator at the Cornwall Campus. Presently there are plans for a big wind generator on the Kingston Campus, and the College is engaged in a large-scale community plan for renewable energy. The solar, heat pump and wind fueled SLC Energy House is demonstrator in partnership with the local school boards. Thomsen is one of the visionaries behind the first
$410 million wind park in Ontario that will be launched on Wolfe Island 2008.
In May of 2006, Thomsen spearheaded the foundation of the World Wind Energy Institute; participants from institutes spanning five continents met on St. Lawrence College’s Kingston campus to activate this global network of educational and renewable energy institutes dedicated to student exchange and learning in the field of renewable and sustainable energies.
Thomsen has also been actively engaged in music and in the arts, both in Europe and in Canada. In this capacity he is also the founder of “Festivals on the St. Lawrence.” This international festival in Northern New York and Eastern Ontario is focused on music, art and heritage on both sides of the river.
Volker Thomsen has worked most of his life in his international businesses located in over 20 countries, including Canada. He was also a leading director of a co-operative bank in his hometown Flensburg, an old Danish city on the German/Danish border, and remained on its supervisory board for fifteen years.
Thomsen’s interest in education, adult learning and training began early in his career. Having experienced apprenticeship training first-hand, Thomsen is a strong advocate for apprenticeship programs, vocational programs and community colleges in Canada. He was a member of the Minister’s Action Table and of the Ontario MTCU (Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities) Training Branch Steering Committee for Reforming Apprenticeships, where he has participated in creating a Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship program, an innovative approach that is expanding rapidly. He was also the driving force behind SLC creating its first three bachelor degrees, and initiating the first two CITO funded applied research projects.
Thomsen has received numerous awards. Latest examples:
ü In 2003 the Greater Kingston Area Chamber of Commerce recognized Volker Thomsen as “Business Person of the Year”.
ü In 2006 he received two MTCU (Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities) Apprenticeships awards.
ü In February 2007 He was honoured with the Kingston Technology Council Champion Award.
ü March 2007 he was inducted into the “Klaus Woerner Skilled Trades Hall of Fame“ by Skills Canada in Kitchener.
In the future Volker Thomsen is dedicating his energy to lead the World Wind Energy Conference 2008 in Kingston, chairing Thomsen Foundation for a Sustainable Future with the focus on sustainable energy and supporting students in needs with training and education.
At the whole day retirement celebration for his departure in June 2007, students, staff and friends presented commemorations, music and entertainment including a song that is distinctive for his impact at SLC:
Song for Volker
(For the June 21, 2007 celebration of St. Lawrence College)
(To the tune of My Favorite Things Sound of Music/Trapp Family)
Windmills and biomass and big solar panels
Energy management using renewables
Sustainable lifestyles we all need to bring
These are a few of your favourite things.
Red wine and chocolate and fine veggie dinners
Nothing but whole grain to make us all winners
Plenty of exercise, don’t forget to sing
These are a few of your favourite things.
Seven great years at St. Lawrence now ending
You’ve made us proud and best wishes we’re sending
Plenty of memories we’ll not forget
We don’t think we’ve heard the last of you yet….
When enrolment sags
When expenses sting
When our funding is bad
We simply remember your favourite things
And then we don’t feel so sad!
Life is Beautiful and we are Enroute to a Sustainable Prosperous Future