Tectorian of the Week: Nikki Lineham

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Nikki Lineham is our Tectorian of the Week.

If you want a job in Tectoria (or any other city where technology powers the economy), science and math education (aka STEM education) is critical to your future success.

The problem? STEM enrolment in universities and college is declining (on top of that fewer women are taking STEM coursework in university), which is contributing to a looming skills shortage in Canada.

Accelerate Tectoria participant Nikki Lineham has a plan to change that.

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Nikki’s startup Educating Now aims to transform math education (Nikki will be presenting at the upcoming Demo Camp):

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“Educational and brain-based research have both consistently reported that teaching mathematics concretely and conceptually is the best way to ensure students really understand the math concepts,” says Nikki. “However, this way of teaching math is completely foreign to many teachers, as they have never been educated in how to understand mathematics conceptually.”

Her goal is to help middle school and intermediate teachers learn how to teach math more effectively – if middle school students do poorly at math, they will likely never be able to progress to STEM programs in college and university, and our brain drain will never be addressed.

“She’s super passionate about children really understanding math,” says Accelerate Tectoria’s Erin Athene. “Her passion and ability to communicate is really inspiring. Nikki’s gift is to empower intermediate and middle school teachers through professional development to teach mandated new curriculum.”

Nikki will be presenting at Demo Camp at Experience Tectoria – we hope you have a chance to learn more about her startup!

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Tectorian of the Week: Greg Gunn

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Hootsuite’s VP of Beards & Business Development Greg Gunn is our Tectorian of the Week.

Why Greg Gunn, and why now?

For one thing, Tectoria veteran Gregg Gunn will be returning home to speak at our brand-new space on Fort Street at the upcoming Experience Tectoria extravaganza on September 11th, 12th and 13th:

The topic of Greg’s speech? “Finding The Next Whale.” Greg will be discussing how Hootsuite is searching for “the next Hootsuite” from within the very walls of their Mount Pleasant offices over in Vancouver.

And what a whale it is: Hootsuite has been speculated to have a value of anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion following its record-breaking $165 millon Series B funding round last year. The company is also looking to fill 100 positions by the end of this year at its new 27,000 sq ft HQ2, an awe-inspiring building located in Mount Pleasant in East Van.

While just a ferry ride away, Hootsuite is a long way from Greg’s beginnings working with early stage, high-growth companies at Vancouver Island Tech Park in Saanich.

A passion for people, technology and data

Now “Chief Harpoonist” and VP of Business Development, Greg Gunn launched the sales team that has made Hootsuite the key tool that major enterprise-level companies such as Coca-Cola, H&M, Tifffany & Co., IBM and more use to manage and measure social media engagement.

It’s all part of what Greg calls his passion: people, technology and data.

“Greg is an energetic and talented leader,” says Anthony Sukow. “He has a great business mind and a pragmatic approach to making money.”

Sukow is well-known in Victoria as one of the founders of Terapeak, like Hootsuite, itself another indispensable software tool used by millions of people all over the world. And Greg Gunn was one of the first employees

“Greg worked with us on developing our business relationships with eBay, growing key enterprise customers, and working on high value projects, services and initiatives,” says Sukow. “We hired Greg right out of UVic and he stuck with us in the early days.”

Today Terapeak has moved to the foot of Fort Street (with offices in the Bay area and Toronto) is the leader in ecommerce market analytics, helping online merchants grow their business and become more profitable.

There’s a bit of Greg Gunn in TeamPages, another technology story that got its start in Tectoria.

And along they way Greg has travelled far himself. He worked for Idea Builders, a Nigerian based NGO focused on poverty alleviation through entrepreneurship and agriculture.

During his time in Nigeria, the UVic Commerce grad forged local and international partnerships to expand programs including micro-credit programs, primary agriculture education, and an award winning “Women Mentoring Women” program.

Coming back to Tectoria

And now Greg Gunn returns to his roots in Tectoria. We’re happy Greg will join us to celebrate the launch of our beautiful new HQ at 777 Fort Street in mid-September.

We hope you come out to welcome Greg back, too!

Tectorian of the Week: AXYS Group

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Our Tectorian of the Week is the AXYS Group, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month.

In many ways, the AXYS Group represents where Greater Victoria’s tech sector has been, and where it’s going. Forty years ago, a tight-knit group of visionaries saw an opportunity and then worked like crazy to take advantage of it.

Along the way, the companies of the AXYS Group have created a whole bunch of new technologies that are helping change the world, have produced a ton of high-paying jobs, and have put Victoria on the map as the location of Canada’s top ocean technology cluster.

Besides attracting talent, the AXYS companies also nurture and produce talent, adding knowledge, wisdom and experience to the Tectoria gene pool.

Privately-held AXYS Group was founded in 1974 and has played a leading role both in the economy of Saanich Peninsula and Greater Victoria.

The founding members of the AXYS Group all had graduate degrees in marine analytical chemistry. Their background and interest in marine science is responsible for the direction the AXYS Group has taken.

Paul Erickson played a key role within the AXYS Group with Seastar Chemicals. Since stepping back from day-to-day operations just over a decade ago, Erickson has turned a personal interest in type 1 diabetes into an active role as a philanthropist involved in funding research to for the hereditary condition. He has been an early stage investor in numerous biotech and technology companies.

David Thomas still serves as the president and chairman of the AXYS Group of companies, while Peter Berrang was the founder and President of Seastar Optics Inc. for 10 years.

Seastar, which manufactured semiconductor laser devices for the telecommunications industry world-wide was sold to SDL Inc. of San Jose, CA., a public company, in Dec. 1995. SDL was subsequently acquired by JDS Uniphase.

AXYS Group company Seastar Chemicals is still a major employer on the Saanich Peninsula, while AXYS Analytical is a world leader in ultra trace analysis of Persistent Organic Pollutants and emerging organic contaminants.

AXYS Technologies, which designs and builds its distinctive yellow marine hardware, is the most recognizable of the companies sharing the local DNA.

The AXYS Technologies legacy began with marine consulting contracts to Environment Canada for wave studies in 1974. This was followed by the design of several marine technology devices in the 1980’s that lead to an opportunity to design, manufacture, install and service Canada’s Marine Weather Buoy Network. Enhancements and improvements to these technologies has been an ongoing mandate in close collaboration with Environment Canada.

In the early 1990’s, AXYS began inventing additional marine technologies in collaboration with the National Research Council (NRC), including the industry-leading TRIAXYS directional wave monitoring buoy. The NRC also assisted financially with development of the next generation WatchMan500™ controller processor.

Over the last twenty years, AXYS Technologies has continued to grow its marine product portfolio and increase market share with major buoy network sales in Italy, Colombia, Spain, Portugal, the United States, and Brazil. AXYS has built and tested over 200 meteorological and oceanographic data buoys of various types.

In the last five years, AXYS Technologies further diversified with the creation of the first commercially-deployed offshore wind resource assessment buoy, as well as hydrological products for freshwater monitoring, and automated weather stations for aviation data.

Other companies in the AXYS Group have also developed a strong reputation for innovation.

In 2005, Atlantic Canada’s Jacques Whitford acquired AXYS Environmental Consulting Ltd. to become one of Canada’s largest environmental and engineering consulting firms. In 2008, engineering services giant Stantec went on to acquire Jacques Whitford – a lot of people all over Canada and the rest of the world are looking at what innovative companies are doing in Tectoria.

With special thanks to ASL’s David Fissel who himself has not only watched the local ocean cluster thrive and grow, but has also played a key role in the process.

Ho Kim: Nominate Yourself or Somebody Else for the VIATeC Board

Don’t miss out! VIATeC’s AGM and board elections are coming up on September 18; the deadline for nominations for board elections is September 5.

Ho Kim, President and CEO of CAMACC Systems and VIATeC board chair explains why participating on the VIATeC board of directors is a great way to give back to your community.

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Ho Kim: I run a successful technology company, which means I’m a lot like you.

Okay, I’m probably taller and more Asian than you, but my point is that if you’re involved in the management of a complicated, demanding technology business, you and I have a lot in common.

We’re busy.

Seriously, relentlessly, balls-to-the-wall busy.

One of the things our shared experience tells me about you is that you’re not really looking for more things to add to your days or evenings.

You Only Get Out of Your Community What You Put Into It

That was me, three years ago, before I was nominated for a seat on the VIATeC board. My company had been a member of VIATeC for years. A quiet member, a not-really-interested-in-more-on-our-plate kind of member.

In truth, I was never satisfied with that kind of membership in the local technology community.

I’ve always played team sports, so I know – I know deep in my bones (the ones that ache today because I’ve always played team sports) – that you only get out what you put in.

Like all busy people, I needed a push to participate, an obligation to do what I knew to be right for me and my company and the community.

So I put on my game face, and made the conscious – and a little bit scary – decision to run for a seat on the VIATeC board. It was a great decision.

Connect With Your Community on the VIATeC Board

Being on the board, and sitting as board chair for the past year, has been a great obligation, in that it has obligated me to participate in a surprisingly wide range of VIATeC activities – participation that has helped me and my staff develop, connect, and serve the wider community.

We’re now plugged into sector roundtables, where leaders share experience and learn from each other; social and networking events; promotional events like the technology awards; community service activities like the FoodBank Challenge…

My company and I have benefitted greatly from all of them.

Nominate yourself, or somebody else, for a position on the VIATeC board

I know that you and your company will benefit in the same way, even though you’re busy. Maybe because of it. Let me encourage you to think of yourself, or somebody you know, in terms of the same obligation to participate in VIATeC.

Nominate yourself, or somebody else, for a position on the VIATeC board.

Do it today!

Ho Kim

President and CEO, CAMACC Systems

VIATeC Board Chair

The nomination deadline is September 5, 2014.