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
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 a 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 at UOIT/Durham College with students, as well as in the culture and tourism sector. Having spent the last 5 years back at home #HamOnt helping entrepreneurs starts and grow their businesses with the tools and resources available IF, as well as her connections in the broader ecosystem, Shannon has found joy in helping our clients be successful. She spends most of her spare time volunteering in a number of roles to make the city a better place, as well as teaching fitness classes at MIP. She loves exploring Hamiltons outdoor space, supporting local restaurants, and competing at the International level in Powerlifting.
Client Care Coordinator
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’.
Business Development Manager
Program Manager, Life Sciences
Michael was born on the east coast in Prince Edward Island, where he completed his BSc (Hons.) in Chemistry at the University of Prince Edward Island. He then ventured across the country to Vancouver where he completed his PhD at Simon Fraser University focused on developing and testing drug candidates to treat Alzheimer’s disease. This was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary where his research focused on developing a blood-based diagnostic assay for Alzheimer’s disease. In 2018, he moved to Toronto to work at the Weston Brain Institute managing 15-20 research grants totalling just under $10m in funding focused in the area of translational research for neurodegenerative diseases of aging. Outside of work, Michael is a Canadian national panel rugby referee and has refereed all across North and South Americas.
Marketing & Communications
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. In addition to working for Innovation Factory, Annie works part-time with Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice supporting with social media and bereavement programming and events.
Manager, Marketing & Events
Smart Mobility R&D Network Engineering Manager, CITM
Bram Maharaj is an engineering specialist with over 20 years of 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 Mobility R&D Network and Client Specialist, 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.
Marketing Manager, CITM
As a graduate of Health Studies, Bhavisha never expected her professional career to begin at Microsoft as a marketing manager with product, program, and small business segment responsibility. She eventually completed her MBA part-time and launched her own company offering a range of services including business development, market research and analytics, advertising, marketing, and communications support. Initially focused on corporate clients (Hewlett-Packard and Dell) she shifted to services and support aimed at smaller clients within the education, health care, and not for profit sectors. For the past 20+ years, Bhavisha has also remained an active volunteer for multiple sport, community, and charity organizations.
Ecosystem and Business Development Director, CITM
Vincent has 20 years of automotive industry experience, overseeing supply chain, operations, marketing, and stakeholder engagement, as well as extensive involvement in the evolution of Canada’s automotive industry. As CITM’s Director of Ecosystem and Partner Development, Vincent collaborates and builds upon an extensive network of industry, government, and partner contacts.
Program Manager, Academy
Ryan Moran is an award-winning marketing strategist, brand builder, and entrepreneur. Ryan holds a BA in Political Science and Theatre & Film from McMaster University, an MBA in Strategic Market Leadership from McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business, and a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from Queen’s University. Ryan is the co-founder of CoMotion Coworking & Event Spaces, founder of Canadian timepiece brand Locke & King and And Then What Inc. consulting, and has been the Senior Manager of Marketing with Niagara Parks and Marketing Strategist with Factor[e] Design Initiative. Ryan is thrilled to be working back in the Hamilton community.
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 is a notable executive and business coach. She provides her unique experience and expertise, gained through 25 years of working first in the corporate world, and then as a leading Canadian entrepreneur. She is a co-founder of award-winning Mabel’s Labels, one of Canada’s greatest small business success stories. As a professionally certified coach with the International Coaching Federation (2020), Julie works directly with bold leaders propelling them to unlock their capacity, leading to accelerated success. She is also Chair of the Board at Angel One Investment Network, one of the most active angel investor groups in Canada. A sought-after speaker and trainer, Julie has developed keynotes and workshops for private companies, corporations and associations, with titles such as “Ignite, Scale and Exit”, “Success Secrets of Wonder Women!” and “Why We All Need to Think Big!”.
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 has been working in the technology industry for over 35 years. He currently advises technology companies of all sizes in Business Strategy, Sales Execution, and Routes to Market Structure. Prior to establishing his practice, Tom spent 30 years as a senior executive at IBM, leading teams in their software and services division. He successfully grew these businesses through strong sales execution and effective channel management. Tom now spends most of his time advising startups to medium-sized tech organizations. He has successfully taken his clients through significant growth stages. He brings a unique combination of large company experience and entrepreneurial knowledge to any organization.
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.
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.
With Nearly 35 years of experience in Quality Management and Regulatory Affairs, Gord Wehner brings extensive experience in guiding innovative medical organizations toward the implementation of an effective quality management systems and navigating international medical device regulatory requirements. Gord continually demonstrates cross-disciplined talents in problem-solving for complex issues in both mature and start-up organizations in the medical device industry. Most recently, Gord’s dedication and energy have resulted in successful quality and regulatory outcomes for organizations and the development of their leadership toward sustained compliance.
With over 20 years experience leading large cross functional teams, Oren brings a structured and analytics driven approach to complex business problems. Coupled with a passionate, and relentless spirit that has seen him through several startup leadership positions, as well as 2 exits. Oren is passionate about win-win strategic partnerships that drive growth, innovation and long term value. With special focus on marrying innovative technologies with strategic multi-national partners, Oren has successfully delivered various partnership models with Tier 1 brands such as Cathay Pacific, Google, UBER, LG, TELUS and more.
David W. Wright
David W. Wright, ICD.D, has spent his career supporting technology-enhanced high-growth companies as an equity research analyst, investment banker and corporate advisor. Through Cassio Capital Advisors Inc. (www.cassiocapital.com), David provides Capital Markets, Corporate Finance and Transaction Advisory and Valuation services. Additionally, as Executive Director of Angel One Network, a member-based, not-for-profit organization of accredited investors operating in the Halton region, David curates the investment deal flow and supports members in due diligence. David has analyzed hundreds of public technology companies, including conducting due diligence of private China-based corporations. As an investment banker, David raised capital, provided Fairness Opinions, M&A advice, as well as authored valuation assessments providing insight into companies’ value drivers.