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 East 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 also one of the visionaries behind the first $460 million wind park in Kingston on Wolfe Island which is now in the grid connect phase.
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. In addition to founding numerous successful international companies, Thomsen has participated on the boards of these companies as a director and as a shareholder. He was also a leading director of a small co-operative bank (Volksbank Flensburg) in his hometown Flensburg, an old 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 Ministers Action Table and of the Ontario MTCU (Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities) Training Branch Steering Committee for Reforming Apprenticeships, where has participated in reforming apprenticeships and in creating Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship programs, an innovative approach which is expanding rapidly. During his 7 years embership of the steering committee the annual funding for Training and Apprenticeships in Ontario was increased from annually $ 500 million to $1.2 billion dollar and the intake was almost doubled to 30.000 apprentices annually. 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 spearheaded many other programs including North America’s first quality Wind Turbine Technician Program at St. Lawrence College and across Canada in five other leading colleges. The professors where sent to Husum where they jointly were trained based on BZEE curriculum and standards in Husum. Presently this will now also be expanded into the USA. Another good example is the ESET Energy Systems Engineering Technician Program the first of its kind in Canada that is annually preparing up to 50 graduates for the management of complex RE projects.
Thomsen has received numerous awards. Latest examples:
- In 2003 the Greater Kingston Area Chamber of Commerce “Business Person of the Year”.
- In 2006 he received two MTCU Apprenticeships awards.
- In February 2007 he was honoured with the Kingston Technology Council Champion Award.
- In March 2007 “Klaus Woerner Skilled Trades Hall of Fame“ by Skills Canada in Kitchener.
- In June 2011 Chamber of Commerce & KEDCO Kingston Economic Development Corporation VISIONARY Kingston Business Hall of Fame Inductee 2011
Over the past year, Volker Thomsen has dedicated his energy to such projects such as the World Wind Energy Conference 2008 in Kingston, and the building of the Thomsen Foundation for a Sustainable Future. The Thomsen Foundation has at it’s focus economic development in clean energy, the environment and supporting students in needs with training and learning.
He is a board member of the World Wind Energy Association, of the World Wind Energy Institute and of the World Council for Renewable Energy and as an advisor for various governments locally and globally in policy preparation and advancement of energy efficiency as well as clean and sustainable energies and the resulting economic development.
His last book “Canada Enroute to Prosperity” an Inspiration for Innovation and Job Creation was a great success and has been used extensively by policy makers across the country. His next book “The One House Revolution” is an outcome of the conversion of his home to a fully selfcontained unit including year round indoor and outdoor vegetable growing. His house also includes a world pilot of converting and storing excess electricity in form of very cost efficient heat and cold. This method will help to bridge the inflexible large Canadian systems and expand Into more renewable energy than presently possible.
“The Winds of Change” a documentary film he has helped to create will soon start its virtual presentation tour in Eastern Ontario School boards via the educational program link hosted by local cable stations and from there continue on to the rest of Canada and USA.
Volker Thomsen is committed to “Quality” and “Equality”. Helping the transformation from the behavior of a disposable to a sustainable society and this way giving access to opportunities for social, cultural and economic development everywhere in the world.