Engineering Entrepreneurship Series: 2009-2010

Have you ever thought of starting your own company, but wondered where to begin?  Do you have a great idea but don’t know how to get funding?  We engineers often make great entrepreneurs and many do well in business — over 25% of all Canadian CEOs are engineers.  One thing missing from the engineering curriculum is a “culture” of entrepreneurism — that making a company happen is just what people do!

The goal of this series is to have real entrepreneurs come in and tell the stories of their companies and share their experiences.  Our goal is to bring in recent graduates as well as a variety of entrepreneurs for you to learn from.  We believe if you hear these stories you may be inspired to start your own company.


Sept. 21, 2009 — Avanindra Utukuri, “The Nytric Story — Engineering & Entrepreneurship”

Avanindra Utukuri founded Nytric in 1999 and as CEO is responsible for the development and execution of the company’s business vision.  His twelve years of extensive business and technology experience include the development and marketing of hig-tech products for commercial and consumer applications.

Sept. 30, 2009 — Tony Lacavera, “The Globalive Communications Story”

Anthony Lacavera, 9T7 is the Chair and CEO of Globalive Communications, a company he founded in 1998 after graduating from Electrical and Computer Engineering at U of T.  Globalive Communications offers a host of innovative applications and delivers first-rate telecom services to a wide range of clients.  By tailoring technology for clients, Globalive is positioned as a leader in a highly competitive global telecommunications market.

Oct. 15, 2009 — Cameron Serles, “I wasn’t smart enough to do a PhD, so… I started a business instead”

Cameron Serles is Founder, President and CEO of Xiris Automation Inc., a manufacturer of “machines that see” defects in manufactured goods for several niche global manufacturing industries such as optical disc (CDs, DVDs), Photovoltaics and metal fabrication.  He founded Xiris Automation in 1989 and was their first (and probably worst) software developer.  Today he is involved in strategic planning, sales develoment and corporate management.  He holds a B.Sc. and MA.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from U of T.

Feb. 3, 2010 — Michael Montano, “Start-up Lessons Learned”

Michael Montano, 0T8 is the co-founder and CTO of BackType, which was founded with roommate Christopher Golda after graduating from ECE in 2008.  At BackType, they are building a new kind of search engine.  They index and connect online conversations from across the web so you can see what people are saying about topics that interest you.  They are changing the way people find news and opinions online.

Mar. 4, 2010 — Sandro Di Pede, “Weathering the storm: Lessons Learned”

Sandro Di Pede is the Founder, President and CEO of SDP Advanced Polymer Products.  Established in 2005, it is a private Canadian corporation which designs, patents, and markets advanced high performance building envelope weatherization products.

Mar. 9, 2010 — Terry Matthews, “Fuelling Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Canada”

Creating the opportunity and fostering the right environment to succeed is essential to any young, entrepreneurial business.  In his talk, Terry Matthews will discuss his vision and the role he is playing in creating sustainable innovation here in Canda. 

Sir Terence Matthews is the Founder and Chairman of Wesley Clover, an investment vehicle and holding company.  Terry has either founded or funded over 80 companies since 1972 including Newbridge Networks, a company he founded in 1986 and which became a leader in the worldwide data networking industry.

Mar. 25, 2010 — Jeff Shell & Connor Dickie, “Technology Entrepreneurship Today:  Optimism despite available evidence”

Two years after demonstrating a semi-functional prototype on CNN and BBC, founders Jeff Shell and Connor Dickie will take you through the rollercoaster that defines the start-up experience in the post-financial crisis environment.  They will discuss how they came together as a team, go over some of the lessons they learned (often the hard way), and provide a basic guideline that they hope you will consider when planning your career path.