Farzana Crocco and Brock LINC have two big things in common: each are relatively new to Niagara; and both are brimming with the energy and excitement of possibilities.
As Brock LINC’s inaugural Executive Director, Crocco is gearing up to lead the University’s new centre for innovation, research and entrepreneurship.
The Brock LINC — which stands for Learning, Innovation, Networking, and Collaboration — is housed in the newly-constructed $19 million Rankin Family Pavilion at the base of Schmon Tower.
“This is going to be a big year with the opening of the Brock LINC,” says Crocco. “And the beauty of a new facility is the opportunity to create the experiences, resources and programs we want. There are no written rules yet, and we aren’t confined to any boxes. We have the flexibility to explore what we want the Brock LINC to be for students, researchers and the entrepreneurial community.”
Crocco has been in Brock’s neighbourhood since 2018, where she was Manager of Strategic Marketing in Niagara Region’s Economic Development Department. Before that, she was Director of Marketing and Enrolment Management at York University in Toronto, and held strategic marketing positions at TD Bank Financial Group.
She has also been a business coach and consultant to small businesses and social enterprises in Toronto. Most recently, Crocco has been involved in the Niagara community as a part-time business instructor at Niagara College, and as a new mentor for the Niagara Workforce Planning Board’s Immigrant Mentorship Program.
Brock Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon says Crocco is a perfect fit for Brock’s trailblazing facility.
“The combination of working at a large university and getting to know the Niagara entrepreneurial community through her time at Niagara Region gives Farzana insights into both worlds, seamlessly bringing the two together to create exciting new programs and services,” he says.
The Rankin Family Pavilion is an impressive 41,000-square-foot facility that contains a range of offices and labs in which research, teaching and networking activities are already taking place.
Examples of state-of-the-art equipment and research currently being done, or about to start, at the Brock LINC include the Brock-Niagara Validating, Prototyping and Manufacturing facility and the world’s first AR/VR consumer lab with Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute.
Crocco says these and other Brock LINC facilities and programs are “great assets and resources,” that will yield impactful results.
“One of the key strengths at Brock is the commitment to cutting-edge, innovative programs and research. I’m only just discovering the incredible things that are happening here, and it means that it’s exactly the right time for a centre like Brock LINC to open on campus,” she says. “This is a phenomenal opportunity to do something great for the University and for the Niagara community. I’m excited to meet people and get started.”
Crocco started her new role on Monday, Jan. 20.