Meet Our Team
iF’s team of experts hail from a diverse range of professional roles and industries, but all share a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, and Hamilton!
innovation factory Staff
Prior to joining iF, David was CTO and Co-founder of Awareness Inc. His company raised 20 million in venture capital and worked with brands like New York Times, Major League Baseball, Sony Pictures and McDonalds. David will tell you his sweet spot is where technology, sales, and marketing intersect. He is quick to warn that technology alone does not ever solve the problem. During the 90s David worked for Microsoft and saw the arrival of graphical computing, smart phones, tablets and the Internet. He left Microsoft in 2001 to begin his first start-up.
Director of Operations
Director, Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility
Richard has spent more than 30 years in the software and communications/media industries. More recently, Richard has been immersed in and working with Canada’s start-up, scale-up, and growth companies as an executive, advisor, consultant, mentor, and certified coach. Richard now joins Innovation Factory as the Director at the Centre for Integrated Transportation & Mobility (CITM).
Over the course of his career, Richard held a series of engaging and foundational roles – stretching from his beginnings in the PC industry running an start-up in the late ’80s, to 20+ years at Microsoft in a series of roles in North America, to 5 years at Rogers Communications’ as Director of Strategic Partnerships team, and, most recently as President & COO of a technology start-up. Richard credits these roles and, more importantly the people and mentors, with his development of a unique combination of skills, experience, and expertise.
Client Services Manager
Shannon comes from a diverse background with a degree in Political Science and French from Wilfrid Laurier University, to then working with students at the College and University level, as well as in the culture and tourism sector. Shannon has spent the last few years back home in #HamOnt helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses with the tools and resources available at IF, as well as volunteering in a number of roles trying to make the city a better place. In her spare time, Shannon teaches fitness classes, stays active by being outdoors & competing in Powerlifting, as well as indulging in her love for seeing new places.
Client Services Manager
Riley is a filmmaker turned design/business strategist originally from Regina, Saskatchewan. Riley has an entrepreneurial background having owned and operated a film and video production company for 8+ years while living in Saskatchewan. Riley thrives in leadership roles – having produced/directed television for ESPN, CBC, ABC, as well as commercial clients such as DuPont and Farm Credit Canada.
Prior to starting his MBA in design strategy at the California College of the Arts, Riley started a Saskatchewan-based, solar energy company capitalizing on the Canadian government’s sustainability strategy and the unique climate of Saskatchewan. Riley is incredibly excited to offer support to fledgling startups in the Hamilton business ecosystem and to utilize his design thinking skills in the process.
In his spare time, Riley enjoys cooking, documentaries, and spending time with friends and family.
Business Development Manager
Brigitte holds a Humanities Degree in Fine Arts from McMaster University and a post-graduate diploma from the Dundas Valley School of Art. She grew up in Quebec, moved to Burlington in her teens and quickly made Hamilton her stomping grounds. Having worked as an artist, community educator and public programmer for 15+ years, Brigitte loves helping entrepreneurs access the resources they need to grow their businesses and make meaningful connections.She has worked for Design Exchange (TO), the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Art Gallery of Burlington, the Grimsby Public Art Gallery, developing and implementing programs for schools and community organizations in the Hamilton- Wentworth and Niagara regions, as well as the GTA. In her spare time, Brigitte likes to hit the flea markets with her husband Chris and their Italian Greyhound, Gelato.
Program Manager (CITM)
Bram Maharaj is an engineering Specialist with over 20 years experience in the Telecommunications industry, both in Wire-line and Wireless networks. The vast majority of his work at AT&T, Bell Canada and Blackberry was in the Technology development and New Technology Introduction departments of these organizations. Working with various departments and stakeholders to streamline the processes to introduce New Technology within the network, for new services or service enhancements.
Smart City Network Manager (CITM)
Zachary Jerome is a computer systems technology graduate from Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology. Prior to joining Innovation Factory, Zachary worked as a software developer for a Hamilton-based start-up. As the Smart Mobility Network administrator, and the newest member to the Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility (CITM), Zachary is interested in helping clients get the most out of their technology investments.
Born and raised in Hamilton, Zachary is an active member of the community. He is a member of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, Hamilton’s oldest reserve regiment, and frequently volunteers with community outreach programs. Outside of work, Zachary likes to stay physically active and spend time with friends and family.
Office Administrative Assistant
A true student of Hamilton, Greta holds an honours degree in English and cultural anthropology from McMaster University, and an advertising diploma from Mohawk College. She previously worked in the marketing field as an account executive in event management for Walmart Canada. Alongside her husband, Greta is an entrepreneur herself. She owns two businesses: a hard asset investment company and a bespoke jewellery shop. Greta is well-versed in the entrepreneurial experience and is very glad to be a part of Innovation Factory, supporting all the amazing innovators who are truly putting Hamilton on the map. On weekends you can find Greta with her family, exploring all the amazing trails and waterfalls that make Hamilton the ‘Waterfall Capital of the World’.
Manager, Marketing & Events
Marketing & Communications Coordinator (Maternity Leave)
Annie was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario and is a champion of all things #HamOnt, entrepreneurial and small business. Eager to participate in the rapid growth of the city, Annie opened up her own business on the trendy James St. North called Pretty Grit. She left the business in 2016 to pick up where she left off before opening the shop, in a career in Marketing, Communications and Events. From 2016 – 2018 Annie held contracts with The City of Hamilton, Habitat for Humanity and Jan Kelley working with clients such as Canadian Tire, Revera Retirement Living and Terrapure Environmental. Outside of the office, Annie coordinates The Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton’s (SACHA) Annual Fundraiser Chocolate Fest and enjoys exploring the city’s new and old spots with her family and friends.
Innovation Factory’s ExPERT ADVISORS
Bernard founded a medical device company which he grew and led to a highly successful acquisition by a global pharmaceutical. As CEO, Board Chair and Director, he has led the growth of both start-ups and corporate multinationals spanning diverse industry sectors including biotechnology, diagnostics, medical devices, electronics and high technology across US, Canada and Europe. Bernard is a mentor to multiple university spin-out companies and is our resident Health and Life Sciences EIR.
Julie Ellis has 15 years of experience in the financial services industry and was most recently the Chief Operating Officer for a privately held omni channel retailer in Canada, responsible for driving the company’s growth toward operational excellence, team integration and market expansion. She is also the co-founder of the successful Canadian small business Mabel’s Labels, and has been involved in the business and startup communities for many years. She is the current Board Chair at Angel One Investor Network, one of the most active angel groups in Canada. Julie has extensive experience mentoring and coaching executives and entrepreneurs interested in leadership growth. She completed the Professional Coach Training Program through the Co-Active Training Institute.
Prior to establishing Plutus Consulting Group (www.plutuscg.com), John spent over 25 years as a senior executive and CEO in the multinational Food and CPG industries. He successfully launched many recognized new products on three continents, achieving their branding and sales goals. He now guides businesses in monetization of product innovation, business strategy, change management, organizational effectiveness, brand/product positioning, and retail customer development.
Tom Turchet is currently consulting technology companies on Business Strategy, Sales Execution and Routes to Market Structure. His 35-year knowledge of the technology marketplace in North America includes working knowledge of the hardware, software and services environment. He was previously IBM Vice President, Software for the General Business marketplace in North America, and before that Vice President, General Business for IBM Canada. As well, Tom is a sessional lecturer at McMaster’s School of Engineering, working with students in the Masters of Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Innovation program.
Rick is an expert in the areas of Sales Productivity and CRM. He has been involved with the technology industry since 1991 as a Company Founder, Senior Executive, Board Member, Educator, Consultant and Professional Speaker. He currently leads a Sales and CRM Consultancy Practice, speaks at industry events and writes for the Microsoft Dynamics Community Website.
Corinne Sharp has been working in the IT sector for over 20 years leading sales, marketing and channel teams both at Fortune 100 companies as well as start-up and re-imagined software companies. As President of Sharp Perspective, she works with organizations from start-ups through to large global organizations on their sales, channel and management strategies. Corinne has held leadership roles with Microsoft and General Electric in both Enterprise and SMB organizations. At Microsoft, Corinne built and managed the largest Canadian partner ecosystem and was accountable for the health and results across resellers, solution integrators, distributors and cloud partners with world-class partner satisfaction.
Over the course of career, Richard has held a series of engaging and foundation roles, stretching from his own PC industry start-up in the late 80’s, to 20+ years at Microsoft in both Canada and the United States and most recently 5 years to Rogers Communications. These roles, in a variety of capacities and responsibilities, have provided Richard a unique combination of skills and experience, enabling him to bring both an extensive network and a unique perspective to businesses of all sizes and today’s generation of entrepreneurs.
Sanjay provided financial stewardship in building and managing entrepreneurial companies providing SaaS and software/data related services to their global clients and operating out of multiple countries. He also has vast experiences in many other industries in addition to technology. He developed and implemented business specific financial tools, accounting and finance structures, policies, process and procedures as the startup companies were going through hyper growth. He has been a trusted advisor to the senior leadership teams.
Ian is a technology professional with over 25 years of experience creating, managing, and supporting IT and software solutions. He is an accomplished people manager with a proven track record of building highly-effective teams that are motivated to execute and deliver with excellence. Ian has had a lifelong passion for the magic of software and its ability to translate imaginative ideas into solutions that help people be more productive.
Bruce is currently consulting technology companies on commercialization and successful go-to-market activities such as business strategy, investor relations, product management, product launch, market research, demand generation, partnering and business development. He has over 25 years of business management expertise in software and hardware companies specialized in the mobility, healthcare and transportation industry. He previously worked as Senior Director, Business Marketing at BlackBerry and is currently involved in consulting with Ontario start-ups in the intelligent transportation software and autonomous vehicle segment.
As a consultant, Ing Goping established “IngVentions Ltd” as a vehicle to help others “Turning IDEAS into ACTION” because in the results matter as much as the process to getting there. Ing’s own professional journey started 34+ years ago when he graduated as an EE at Waterloo and commenced his career in a start up medical device idea that turned into a very successful global business today. The experiences of technology in medical devices, product development, regulatory affairs, process mapping, real-time software development, business unit management, mergers and acquisitions and participating in two successful exits is still very relevant today.
Inge Christensen has 40 years experience in the creative communications realm. She made her mark as Creative Director at international PR firm, Hill & Knowlton and subsequently launched her own consulting/coaching business. For 25 years, she worked with clients such as Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, AstraZeneca and CIBC, helping their teams to apply creativity to communications challenges. This included teaching them to pitch their solutions to decision-makers in a clear, concise and compelling way. Inge is also Communications Coach for The Forge at McMaster.