A lifelong member of the Aviation community, Mr. Skermer was born into the Pacific Western Airlines family and the HercRats. His pursuit of following his father’s footsteps into piloting was cut short by a bout with cancer that claimed his left leg above the knee. This experience left Richard with a strong desire to understand what radical change does to people and communities and to pass on this knowledge to both young and old.
With the medical reality in the 1980’s that flying professionally was no longer an option, Mr. Skermer enrolled in the UofA’s B.Ed program. It was during this experience that he discovered his ability to affect change on students and companies. It was also noticed by the TransAlta SAP deployment team, and he was brought onto that team after engagements as a summer student. He soon found alignment with the Logistics, Manufacturing, Production Planning, and Project Management systems within SAP as they reflected his aviation experiences. SAP also brought forth radical changes in any organizations, where is cancer experiences allowed him to develop transition programs that both matched the corporate objectives while respecting individual needs and concerns. His expertise helped transition companies such as T-Mobile USA, StorageTek, TELUS, TransAlta, ATB, Coors, Compaq (HP), Kraft Foods, and many others. He has since garnered ProSci certification in Organizational Change Management.
Richard designed the Edmonton Airshow, Air Race, and Exposition first and foremost as an agent for change. Being aspirational rather than inspirational, all aspects are meant to encourage economic diversification utilizing aviation as a backstop. It is intentionally aimed at a younger demographic and to reflect the changes in the Aviation industry. While still respecting the past, the entire footprint gives current and future companies, employees, and students goals and aspirations to bring a diverse set of economic benefits to Alberta and Canada. Racing will attract future-focused companies into a Centre of Excellence in Alberta – designing future fuels, construction techniques, propulsion, and efficiencies.