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 Strategic Initiatives
Sam believes that variety is the spice of life – and a key ingredient in developing divergent solutions. He’s on his fourth career, currently serving as Director of Strategic initiatives with a focus on connected and autonomous vehicles, and other advanced technologies, at Hamilton’s Innovation Factory (iF) – a startup accelerator located in Ontario. Prior to working at iF Sam spent three years as a United Nations Electoral Officer building capacity and democratic institutions in East-Timor, Nepal and Afghanistan. After his time abroad, he returned to Ontario to work as a health promotion researcher focusing on food security, mental health and cancer prevention. Sam then switched gears and went deep into teaching and pedagogy, delivering co-curricular programming at UofT’s Hart House, before becoming the inaugural Learning and Development Manager for MaRS’ Studio Y – Ontario’s premiere leadership and innovation academy for system change leaders. Following the launch of Studio Y, Sam became a Program Manager at the Ontario Centre of Excellence, managing an automotive focused innovation portfolio totalling over $200M. In 2012 he launched his first company, JustAccess, a crowdfunding platform for the justice system
Director of Operations
Manager, Marketing & Events
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.
Client Services Manager
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.
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 & competiting in Powerlifting, as well as indulging in her love for seeing new places.
Marketing & Communications Associate
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.
Office Administrative Assistant
Shawna was born and raised in Hamilton, ON. A true Hamiltonian, Shawna is graduate of McMaster University with a degree in Communications and a graduate from Mohawk College with a certificate in Human Resources Management. Shawna has experience working with diverse groups of people, and is eager to participate and engage with this type of diversity at iF. Shawna has held positions in Human Resources, Property Management, and Maintenance Administration – all of which will contribute to supporting the team in multiple capacities. Outside of iF, Shawna loves to write, do yoga and run, and is interested in healthy eating through vegetarianism.
Innovation Factory’s Executives-In-Residence
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.
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.
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.
CAMPUS-LINKED ACCELeRATOR: THE FORGE
Director, Student & Youth Entrepreneurship
Incubator Manager, The Forge
Program Coordinator, The Forge
Office Coordinator, The Forge
Manager of Student Entrepreneurship, The Forge
Marketing Operations Lead, The Forge