Chairs

Tom Astle

Tom Astle

Chair

Tom has worked in the Capital Markets and Technology sectors for over 30 years with a front row seat at some of the major economic and technology cycles of the 20th and 21st centuries.  He sits on several boards of technology and media companies that range from early stage start-ups to publicly listed ones.

For the last five years, he has helped manage the Difference Capital VC/PE portfolio focused on late stage private technology and media investments as well as act as the CFO and Chief Investment Officer of this publically listed asset manager.

Prior to this, he gained over 20 years’ experience as a top ranked Wall Street and Bay Street equity analyst, covering some of the largest technology companies for some of the largest investment banks in the world.  During this time he worked for Merrill Lynch, but also National Bank Financial and other Canadian firms. This work culminated in several years’ experience as head of large equity research departments which covered all major sectors.

Tom holds his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and ICD.D designation and has an Engineering Physics degree from Queen’s University and is a Professional Engineer (P.Eng).

Stephanie Ratza

Stephanie Ratza

Vice Chair

Ms. Ratza brings more than 20 years of finance experience with public and private technology companies. From August 2016 to May 2017, Ms. Ratza served as CFO of BlueCat Networks Inc., a private enterprise DNS company which was sold to MDP Private Equity in March 2017. From June 2015 to June 2016 Ms. Ratza served as CFO of Resolver Inc., a private Governance Risk and Compliance software company. From April 2007 to May 2014, Ms. Ratza had served as CFO of The Descartes Systems Group.  During her tenure, she demonstrated the ability to streamline financial operations and leverage technology to drive growth, increase visibility and efficiency and ultimately bottom-line performance. M&A activity has been a significant part of the growth strategy where culture is combined with technology to build a unique value proposition in the market.  From November 2005 to April 2007, Ms. Ratza had served as CFO of IPICO Inc., a Burlington, Ontario-based company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions. Her other public company finance experience includes over 6 years at Waterloo, Ontario-based MKS Inc., serving as Vice-President, Finance for 5 years and as Director of Finance for 1 year, and as Controller for more than 3 years at Open Text Corporation where she lead the IPO process. Ms. Ratza is currently advising and sitting on the board of directors of Good Life Network Inc. Ms. Ratza has volunteered as an active participant on the Audit & Compliance Committee of the Laurier Board of Governors in 2014-2015 and since 2015 has been the Chair of the Audit & Compliance Committee. Since 2017 she is also a member of the compensation committee. Ms. Ratza had volunteers with Waterloo Minor Hockey, Soccer and Baseball, and with St. Mary’s Hospital on the Mission and Governance Committee and is currently on the Resource Planning and Utilization Committee of St/ Mary’s Hospital. A Laurier alumna with a BSc (’89), she has served on the Laurier Dean of Science Advisory Committee from 2007 to 2014. Ms. Ratza is a Chartered Professional Accountant of Ontario and in June 2016, she achieved her Institute of Corporate Directorship Designation (ICD.D).

Directors

Chris Bachalo

Chris Bachalo

Juniper Networks

Global Director, Cloud Solutions, Juniper Networks

Chris Bachalo has accumulated 25 years of experience in the telecom industry. He joined Juniper in 2010 as CTO for Juniper Canada, from Alcatel-Lucent (and former Newbridge Networks) where he was VP of Systems Engineering for 17 years. Chris is focused on building advanced telecommunications solutions for service providers and large enterprise. He is also heavily engaged in academic telecommunications research and participates in multiple industry advisory boards including: CENGN (Center of Excellence for Next Generation Networking) Industry/Commercial Advisory Boards and Board of Directors, Algonquin College Photonics and Laser Technology Advisory Board, BRIC/University of Regina (Bridging Research and Interoperability Center) Public Safety Communications Advisory Board, SAVI/University of Toronto/York University (Smart Applications on Virtual Infrastructure) Industry Advisory Board, Invest Ottawa ICT Industry Sector Advisor, BCNet Industry Advisor, Enermotion Inc co-founder/co-author of primary patent, and University of Toronto Masters of Engineering in Telecommunications Advisory Board. Chris has a BASc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Windsor and studied at the University of Toronto toward an MEng in Electrical Engineering.

Sam Bucci

Sam Bucci

Nokia

Vice-President and GM of IP Transport Division, Nokia

Prior to joining Alcatel-Lucent, Sam spent over 20 years at Nortel, working in Optical, Enterprise, Professional Services, and both Video and Radio networking. He has held Global leadership positions in R&D, Supply Chain, System Engineering, Product Line Management, and Business Development.

Over the course of his career, Sam has developed expertise in Optical, Data, and Datacenter Networking solutions for both service providers and enterprise customers.

Tom Bursey

Tom Bursey

Council of Canadian Academies

CFO & Vice President, Council of Canadian Academies

Tom is Board Chair of Ontario’s Public Service Health & Safety Association and Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information. He served as Director of private company CODE Inc., C. CORE and LOOKNorth, a National Centre of Excellence.

Tom is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario and holds the designation of Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA). He is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors, and is an Institute-Certified Director (ICD.D).

Tom received the designation of Chartered Director (C.Dir.) from the Directors College and two specialized governance certifications: Audit Committee Certified (ACC) and Human Resources and Compensation Committee Certified (HRCC). He also co-led the creation and launch of the Human Resources Compensation Committee Certified Program at the Directors College.

Tom is an Honorary Life Member and past Board Director of the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) and is a two-time recipient of the Vision Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Human Resources Profession.

Tom received his Honours Bachelor of Commerce (B. Comm. Hons.) and his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees from Memorial University. He is the Founder and past Chair of the Affinity Newfoundland and Labrador Ottawa Dinner and received the J.D. Eaton Alumni Award in recognition of his outstanding service to Memorial University.

Prior to joining the Council of Canadian Academies, Tom was Vice President with Right Management and Managing Director with Alan Davis & Associates. He has held several senior leadership positions within the ATCO Group. Prior to his work with the ATCO Group, he worked at Bell Aliant (NewTel Enterprises). Tom was also a Senior Fellow with the Centre on Governance, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa.

Code Cubitt

Code Cubitt

Mistral Ventures

Managing Director, Mistral Ventures

Code Cubitt is a Managing Director at Mistral Venture Partners. He has more than 20 years of experience as a company founder, operating executive and investor. Code has been involved with more than 50 early stage companies as an investor or founder. Prior to Mistral, Code was the Chief Operating Officer at Zephyr Technology- a VC backed startup based in Annapolis MD, focused on Remote Physiological Monitoring.

Before joining Zephyr, Code was a partner at Motorola Ventures where he led investments in mFoundry (acquired by First Data), Dilithium Networks (acquired by OnMobile) Zephyr Technology (acquired by Covidien) Intelleflex, Apprion, and Dart Devices. Previously Code was a Principal at Gabriel Venture Partners where he was involved in a number of investments including CrossMedia (acquired by Gannett, Knight Ridder, and Tribune) Encentuate (acquired by IBM) and LVL7 Networks (acquired by Broadcom) and Kajeet. Code also built out Gabriel’s disruptive technology practice which included numerous investments including Iridigm Display (acquired by Qualcomm) NextG Wireless (acquired by Crown Castle), SkyCross, and Boston Power.

Prior to his investing career, Code was a radio frequency (RF) design engineer at IBM Corporation and CIENA, specializing in high speed communications circuits.

Sacha Gera

Sacha Gera

Kandy.io

SVP, Cloud Products, Kandy.io (part of Ribbon Communications)

Sacha is responsible for leading Product Management and Engineering for the growth engine of the recently merged GENBAND/Sonus company called Ribbon Communications. Mr. Gera holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business and a Bachelor of Computer-Systems Engineering from Carleton University. He has held a variety of leadership and technology roles ranging from Software Developer to Management Consultant to General Manager at Kandy.io, GENBAND, IBM, Nortel and CGI.

Rafik Goubran

Rafik Goubran

Carleton University

VP & Chancellor’s Professor, Carleton University

Rafik Goubran received the B.Sc. degree in electronics and communications engineering and the M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Cairo University, Egypt, in 1978 and 1981, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada, in 1987.

Dr. Goubran is now Vice-President (Research and International) and a Chancellor’s Professor at Carleton University. He was involved in several research projects with industry and government organizations in the areas of sensors, data analytics, signal processing, biomedical engineering and the design of smart homes for the independent living of seniors. Dr. Goubran co-supervised 89 Master’s and PhD students at Carleton, and co-authored over 320 international publications and 10 patents.

Dr. Goubran served as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Design at Carleton from 2006 to 2016 and as Chair of the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering from 1997 to 2006. He was the Founding Director of the Ottawa-Carleton Institute for Biomedical Engineering from 2006 to 2009. Dr. Goubran is a fellow of the IEEE, a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, and an affiliate investigator with the Bruyère Research Institute.

Joe Hickey

Joe Hickey

Rock Networks Inc.

Founder & CEO, Rock Networks Inc.

Joe Hickey is the founder and majority shareholder of Rock Networks Inc., a solutions company based in Ottawa, Ontario with a focus on supporting government clients in the defence and public safety markets. A leading partner with Harris Corporation and Tait Communications, Joe has positioned Rock Networks to provide solutions for wireless voice and data integration infrastructures to enable business development on a national and international level.

Earlier this year, Rock Networks announced the acquisition of Nova Communications (Nova), the largest communications systems integrator in eastern Canada. With over 25 years of experience, Joe has been appointed the new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nova, now a division of Rock Networks, working to establish the company as a national leader in the telecommunications industry.

Prior to this, Joe gained industry-wide recognition for his role as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Christie Walther Communications. Joe was responsible for leading the turnaround and new growth strategy for the company. This resulted in a return to profitability and receiving multiple industry awards including the Motorola Partner Empower Aware for Customer Excellence in 2015, the highest recognition a channel partner can obtain.

Prior to Christie Walther, Joe was Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Ultra Electronics TCS, a Montreal based subsidiary of defense contractor Ultra Electronics PLC. In this role, Joe led the repositioning of the company from a focus on a single niche product into a systems engineering multi-product portfolio organization.

Prior to Ultra, Joe worked in India as Executive Vice President and Head of Customer Relations for ACME Tele Power Limited. In this role, Joe led ACME’s key account customer-facing initiatives. These include engaging the customer in new solutions that promote ACME’s vision of a clean and sustainable environment through innovative solutions designed to improve customer profitability.

Prior to ACME, Joe was CEO of TenXc Wireless Inc., a Canadian based VC funded startup in the area of smart antennas. As CEO, Joe raised over $20M US in financing and was instrumental in bringing the company’s flagship product the TenXc Bi-Sector Array to both the North American and India markets.

Prior to TenXc, Joe was CEO of TeraBlaze Inc., a Silicon Valley based VC funded fabless semiconductor startup. Joe was instrumental in refocusing the business plan of the company to transition from switch fabric chips to gigabit ethernet switch-on chip solutions resulting in the acquisition by Agere Systems.

Prior to TeraBlaze, Joe held a variety of senior management positions with Nortel Networks in the areas of marketing and business development. His most recent position was Vice President and General Manager of Nortel’s Shasta IP Services Business Unit which he grew into a $150M global business unit with over 300 customers, 21 of the Top 50 service providers in the world and a greater than 60% market share.

Joe also has served on the Technical Advisory Board of Sandvine Inc. an IP Services TSX listed company. Sandvine Inc. enables service providers of internet access to build more profitable subscriber relationships and better manage the growing burden of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing traffic. Joe was also a volunteer board member from 2004-2008 for the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre, a leader in providing bilingual specialized care for those with multiple physical, developmental, and associated behavioural needs, focusing on the eastern Ontario region’s children and youth.

Joe has a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Memorial University of Newfoundland and an Executive MBA from the University of Toronto.

Al Hurren

Al Hurren

Mitel

VP, Research and Development, Mitel

As Vice-President of Research and Development, Al provides leadership, vision and operational discipline for Mitel’s R&D strategy and investment across the company’s global product portfolio. With over two decades of leadership in the R&D function, Al brings a wealth of experience to the Mitel team.

Since joining Mitel, Al has led the Mitel technology team through multiple acquisitions and product introductions that have firmly established Mitel as a global market leader in helping businesses connect and collaborate.

Prior to joining Mitel, Al enjoyed over a decade at Nortel Networks where he held various leadership positions within product development and the CTO organization.

Al graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Management.

Rob Keates

Rob Keates

TELUS

Manager of IP/Optical Standards, TELUS

Rob Keates is the Manager of IP/Optical Standards at TELUS. In this role, Rob is responsible for defining the development roadmap for the TELUS core network that connects all consumer and business wireline and wireless customers to content and applications. Rob has over 20 years of industry experience in both equipment vendor and service provider spaces across a variety of roles including Product Management, Architecture, Network and System Design. He holds a degree in Mathematics and Engineering from Queen’s University.

Matt Pearson

Matt Pearson

Ernst & Young

Technology Sector Lead, SE&ED, and Business Incentives, Ernst & Young

Matt is the Technology Sector Leader for Ernst & Young’s SR&ED and Business Incentives practice. His team assists a wide range of technology-based companies find new financing for their R&D activities in Canada. Prior to EY, Matt was Vice President, Technology at Enablence Technologies, a semiconductor photonics company that he co-founded and helped to bring public on the TSX-V exchange. Dr. Pearson has extensive experience in the design, characterization, manufacturing, and marketing of highly-integrated components for next-generation networks. He has small company and large corporate experience, having served as Director of Technology Development at a VC-backed start-up, and as Senior Optoelectronics Engineer in the Photonic Technology Operations at Intel Corporation in California. He holds a B.Sc. in Honours Physics & Mathematics from the Royal Military College of Canada, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics from McMaster University.

Mike Scott

Mike Scott

Independent Director

Independent Director

Mike Scott was educated in Cambridge UK and holds a bachelors and PhD in Materials Engineering. After 7 years in academia he had a long career in the optical telecommunications industry in the UK and Canada. He held senior executive positions with Nortel, as VP product Development and Technology for the Optical Components business unit, and later as Chief Technology Officer and President Canada for Bookham Inc.

Mike is now an independent consultant. He has advised a number of companies and government agencies in Canada, US and UK on technology selection, intellectual property, R&D management and investment and has held non-executive directorships with two SMEs. He is Adjunct Professorship at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.

Among the voluntary positions he has held are Executive Director of the Canadian Photonics Consortium, Chair Ottawa Photonics Cluster and a member of the Nano-electronics Advisory Board of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Mike was a key member of the team that successfully bid for an NCE – CECR in Next Generation Communications (CENGN).

Peter Wilenius

Peter Wilenius

CANARIE

VP, Business Development, CANARIE

Peter brings to CANARIE more than 25 years of executive responsibility for strategic planning, global marketing, business development, investor relations, and mergers and acquisitions. Peter has extensive experience in guiding emerging technology companies in business planning, channel development and marketing strategies. He has launched a number of new products and managed large strategic relationships for public companies such as March Networks Corporation and for bio-medical start-ups such as Biopeak Corp and XiTec Inc.

Peter holds a B.A. Honours (Economics) from Carleton University and a M.B.A from Queen’s University.

Steve Wood

Steve Wood

Cisco

Principal Engineer, Enterprise Architecture and Software-Defined WAN, Cisco

Steven Wood is a Principal Engineer in Cisco’s Enterprise Architecture and Software-defined WAN Group. A 17-year veteran of Cisco, his expertise spans custom ASIC and Systems Design ASR1000, 3G/4G and Wifi Mobility as well as Enterprise Architecture. He is active in helping the largest Fortune 500 companies worldwide deploy Cisco products and solutions to solve business problems, through deep knowledge of platform technology and network design. He is currently the Solution Architect for Cisco Enterprise WAN solutions and is developing Cisco’s IWAN solution architecture.  He was previously architect of Cisco’s Intelligent WiFi Access Gateway and has worked on mobile network architecture and service delivery for both RAN and Mobile Core networks. Steven was also Vice Chair and Technical Editor of the IEEE 802.17 Resilient Packet Ring working group.  He holds an MASc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ontario, Canada.