Nominees in the category of Technology

Loyalist College

Janak Alford

Chief Technology Officer and Enterprise Architect, Government of Canada
Architectural Technician, 2004

In a world where technology outpaces human understanding, Janak Alford is fighting to help us keep up. A highly accomplished and innovative technology leader, Alford’s career spans the public, non-profit and private sectors. He is currently the chief technology officer and enterprise architect for the Government of Canada, serving as the foremost expert assisting the federal government to improve, transform and modernize its IT systems to support a more secure and efficient Canada.

George Brown College

Ramkumar Arunamoorthy

Senior Manager, Site Reliability Engineering and Cloud Operations, Tomson Reuters

Information Systems Business Analysis Program (Post-graduate), 2013

Ramkumar Arunamoorthy devoted his time and career to empowering people through education. He provided technology training for more than 4,000 individuals across Ontario, facilitating the training needed to work in the technology sector. His work has garnered recognition by major tech companies like Google and Amazon and he currently serves as Google's mentor, east Canada region and as women techmaker ambassador. Additionally, he is an AWS community builder for Amazon Web Services and supports not-for-profit organizations pro bono. He was awarded the Michael Cook Leadership Award in 2014 and received the Walk the Talk Leadership Award from the Ontario Trillium Foundation in 2018.

Fanshawe College

Blair Brandon

Senior Vice President, Major Projects, Civil West (retired June 2023), Aecon Group Inc.
Construction Engineering Technology (Management), 1999

During more than four decades working in heavy civil construction, Brandon has been involved in the design, development and delivery of public and private infrastructure projects, including the reconstruction of the iconic Park Bridge in Kicking Horse Canyon, BC. Brandon joined Aecon in 2015 as vice-president of major projects west. Under his leadership, revenue grew from $80 million to $508 million annually. In a memo announcing Brandon's retirement in June 2023, Aecon noted that his generosity as a leader and mentor who invested in the growth and evolution of young workers into construction leaders, "will have far-reaching impact in our industry for generations to come."

Sault College

Kevin Callan

Faculty, Fleming College
Forestry Technician, 1985

Kevin Callan (a.k.a. the Happy Camper) is the author of 19 books, his latest being Another Bend in the River: The Happy Camper’s Memoir. He is an award-winning writer and a keynote speaker at outdoor industry events across North America. A regular educational and informative guest on several television morning shows and CBC Radio, he has won multiple film awards and writes columns for both Paddling Magazine and Explore Magazine. He was named one of the Top 100 Modern Day Explorers by the Canadian Geographical Society, inducted into Milton’s Walk of Fame and named Patron Paddler for Paddle Canada.

St. Lawrence College

Grant Courville

Vice President, Products and Strategy, BlackBerry IoT
Microcomputer Engineering Technology, 1986
Grant Courville’s work is helping to drive the digital transformation in the automotive industry to redefine commuting and travel. Throughout his 30-plus years in the technology sector, Courville has been on the cutting edge. He was an early developer of QNX, a Canadian software development company acquired by BlackBerry in 2010. Following the acquisition, he joined the BlackBerry QNX executive team and is BlackBerry QNX's vice president, products and strategy. His mission is to make car operating systems safe, secure and reliable, keeping drivers connected to their phone and data while travelling without compromising driving ability or safety.

Confederation College

Sean Davies

Co-Owner and Co-Operator, Maintair Aviation Services

Aviation-Flight Management, 2000

Guidance counsellors recommended Sean Davies choose medicine or law. He chose the college’s flight management program instead. But when 9/11 hit, he entered the business side of the airline industry. Davies successfully managed several of Wasaya Airway’s operations until he bought Maintair Aviation Services with a partner in 2014. He avoided disaster during the COVID pandemic and turned it into an opportunity by filling the void when other companies didn’t survive the pandemic. Maintair grew by 10 times and now serves six mostly small-market airports. Davies also purchased another aviation services company and developed cruise ship services in Thunder Bay.

St. Clair College

Fil Grado

Advanced Projects Technical Lead for Next Gen E-Segment SUVs, Stellantis
Mechanical Engineering Technology, 1997

Fil Grado is the advance technical lead at Stellantis, leading the advance development of E-SUVs and managing a large engineering team. A graduate of St. Clair College's mechanical technology program, he has pushed the automotive sector forward as an engineer and leader. He was recognized for his contributions to the profession as a 2010 SAE Foundation Young Manufacturing Leadership Award Winner, one of just two award winners across North America. He was most recently awarded an Alumni of Distinction award at his alma mater college.

Fleming College

Evan Hall

CEO, Wittaya Aqua International Inc.
Environmental Visual Communication, 2012
Evan Hall, the CEO of Wittaya Aqua, is a leading figure in aquaculture technology, renowned for his data-driven solutions in farm and aquafeed management. He guided Wittaya Aqua to global recognition, winning the prestigious Global Aquaculture Challenge against 180 competitors and securing a $120,000 (U.S.) prize. Recently, the company secured an additional $2.5 million (U.S.) from investors worldwide, spanning Asia, the U.K. and the U.S. Hall’s vision includes integrating Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and enhancing forecasting capabilities, revolutionizing farm management through data-driven decision making. His remarkable achievements propel Wittaya Aqua's global success in the aquaculture industry.

Mohawk College

Cheyanne Hammell

Manager, Special Projects, PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
Architectural Technology, 2007

Cheyanne Hammell is a special projects manager with PCL Construction, Canada’s largest construction company. She leads specialized projects in the Toronto area, overseeing a team of 40 people who are undertaking 25 to 30 complex projects at any one time. She has achieved success in a heavily male-dominated field, including winning several awards, while also demonstrating dedication to improving diversity in her industry. She encourages girls and women to consider careers in construction wherever she can. Hammell says she is inspired by her mother, a retired commercial pilot, and never allowed gender biases to stand in her way.

Algonquin College

Niel Harper

Chief Information Security Officer

Business Information Systems, 1995

Niel Harper is deeply committed to digital trust and to ensuring that individuals and organizations consistently benefit from safety, privacy, security, reliability and data ethics when using online platforms. He has spent the last 20 years advising global organizations in the areas of corporate governance, cybersecurity management, privacy program management, digital transformation, enterprise risk management and digital policy. Harper is a frequently sought-after speaker and regular contributor to technical journals, industry publications and expert blogs – addressing the complex issues at the intersection of technology, policy and business. Harper serves on a number of global non-profit and advisory boards.

Centennial College

Tamar Huggins

Founder and CEO, TechSpark
Creative Advertising, 2007

Tamar Huggins is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, author and tech education trailblazer. She created Canada's first tech accelerator for underrepresented founders, which shaped the Black and women-focused tech ecosystem in the country. In 2022, she raised $1 million to build the first ed-tech platform to personalize learning using data, AI and youth culture. Huggins was named one of the 100 Black Women to Watch in 2015 and was featured as one of 150 Black women making history in the CBC’s HERstory in Black.

Conestoga College

Brett McQueen

Director of Innovation, North America, Linamar Corporation

Industrial Engineering, 2009

Basic Quality Assurance, 2008

Mechanical Technician - Tool and Die/Tool Maker (Apprenticeship), 2008

Brett McQueen is challenging the manufacturing status quo and improving lives and our planet. As the North American innovation director for Linamar Corporation and head of its Innovation Hub (iHub), Brett has initiated partnerships with three promising, high-tech start-ups and leveraged Linamar's manufacturing expertise and global supply chain networks to commercialize world-leading technologies in power electronics, water conservation and electric vehicles.

Brett credits his innovative thinking and adaptability to skills gained across three Conestoga programs – a cross-training model he duplicates to mentor the next generation of innovators.

Sheridan College

Helen Papagiannis

Augmented Reality Pioneer, Expert, and Keynote Speaker, Augmented Stories Inc.
Interactive Multimedia, 2002

A pioneer in the world of augmented reality (AR), Helen Papagiannis has dedicated nearly two decades of her life towards this ever-budding technology. As a world-renowned researcher, designer, published author, consultant and keynote speaker, Papagiannis is a trusted authority on immersive technologies. With clients such as Louis Vuitton and Adobe, feature articles in the New York Times and WIRED and speaking engagements with South By Southwest and TED, her far-reaching career aims to bring these new technologies to a human level and make them digestible to advance a collective societal future.

Georgian College

Steve Priestley

Co-Owner and Chief Operating Officer, AltoMaxx Technologies
Environmental Engineering Technology, 1999
With a 24-year career in innovation and the environmental sector, Steve Priestley has built two multi-million dollar international companies. He's currently chief operating officer and co-owner of AltoMaxx Technologies, a world leader in drone services, certification and training. In five years, AltoMaxx has grown to six locations across North America and the United Arab Emirates. Its innovations have helped reduce natural gas carbon emissions, limit dangerous work in enclosed spaces and even look for gold on TV programs. AltoMaxx is the only accredited drone certification body worldwide and Priestley is committed to advancing the entire industry through safety and compliance.

Humber College

Anna Simone

Founder and Principal, Cecconi Simone Inc.
Interior Design, 1977
As founding partner and principal, Anna Simone and her business partner are behind the interior design practice Cecconi Simone, built with a philosophy to inspire with ground-breaking work that is experiential, has a unique sense of purpose, is culturally relevant and positively impacts the world. For decades, Simone has led projects in retail, corporate, hospitality and residential sectors worldwide, including Anguilla, Italy, United Arab Emirates, India and China. These range from large-scale condominiums to spa resorts and from boutique hotels to private residences for distinguished luminaries. In the GTA, Cecconi Simone has completed over 100 towers, with an average of 600 homes in each.

Northern College

Quinn Truong

Road Construction Senior Inspector-Contract Administration, LEA Consulting Ltd.
Civil Engineering Technology, 2020

In just eight years in Canada, Quinn Truong mastered a new language and completed a three-year civil engineering technology advanced diploma in a condensed two years – graduating at age 50 with a 4.0 GPA. Truong is employed at a consulting firm working on road and bridge construction projects while teaching at Northern College. She became a Canadian citizen in 2022 and is reinvesting in the success of female engineering students with the Quinn Truong Woman in Technology Bursary. She immigrated from Vietnam with an architectural degree and 20 years of infrastructure project management experience.

Seneca Polytechnic

Jude Vethanayagam

Senior Director, Global Quality Services, Apotex Inc.
Pharmaceutical Chemical Technology, 1995

Jude Vethanayagam’s career in the pharmaceutical industry in Canada had a humble beginning – getting a co-op placement with Apotex through Seneca’s pharmaceutical chemical technology program. He credits this program for propelling his career in the pharmaceutical sector. Vethanayagam started as a quality control chemist and has held many progressive positions over the years. In his current role as senior director of global quality services, he is responsible for global chemistry, global microbiology and quality and compliance surveillance of third-party suppliers.

Niagara College

John Zambakkides

President and CEO, Z3 Controls Inc.
Power Engineering (Diploma), 1972
John Zambakkides is a high-tech veteran who after joining one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies in Silicon Valley, became its first field application engineer in Canada. By 31, he was managing two companies, bringing in $70 million of business. His career has included innovative startups – such as V3 Semiconductors, a leader in memory controllers – and his current venture, Z3 Controls Inc. As president and CEO, he oversees production of affordable, user-friendly energy monitors that enable industrial and commercial energy users (who comprise more than 70 per cent of the market share) to reduce energy consumption, related costs and their overall carbon footprint.