The Kanata Networker Summer 2019

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Summer 2019

Going above and beyond How Kongsberg Geospatial is enabling drones to fly further than ever before Page 12


Kanata’s corporate culture WHERE WE WORK Offices that fuel engagement Page 8

WHERE WE LIVE The growing popularity of Kanata North’s community hub Page 14

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Veronica Farmer Director of Operations Kanata North Business Association


nowing I would be writing an introduction on the hugely important topic of culture for our Kanata North community initially caused me to sweat profusely. I agonized about how little I knew – which then prompted me to engage in my own anecdotal research. I spoke with a handful of tech and business leaders from our community to gather their perspectives on the importance and impact of culture and community. I wanted to validate my hypothesis that culture does play a key role in the overall success of a non-tech business or tech company. From employee to CEO, I got a resounding “YES!” Culture matters. However, culture is not about being cool or even being a “best place to work.” I learned it’s about being successful. Successful companies

directly connect their culture to what drives their success. Check it out – there are multiple studies that indicate culture is strongly tied to financial performance and business results. We intuitively know this. But what’s the secret sauce? Determining what culture was informed my next steps. The description that most resonated with me described corporate culture as the beliefs and behaviours that determine how a company’s employees and management interact. More specifically, your company culture defines for you and for all others how your organization does business, how your organization interacts with one another and how the team interacts with the outside world – specifically your customers, employees, partners, suppliers, media and all other stakeholders. Other experts have said culture is the DNA or the soul of a company that provides guidelines, boundaries and expectations for teams and their stakeholders. Another perspective is that culture is the primary platform to inspire and motivate employees, and that is the most powerful resource we have to attract, recruit, hire and retain the highest level of talent. It makes sense that the best talent wants to work with the best companies, and that the best people are the catalyst for creating ongoing business success. Companies in our Kanata North tech community deal with a variety of pressures, from global competition to rapid tech changes to a persistent need for talent and a means to retain that talent. Companies with strong business models and innovative tech or services often succeed. Those with strong cultures, however, soar. Fostering a unique or robust corporate culture is a vital component to business success. Kanata North business and HR leaders tell me culture starts at the very beginning of the employment cycle, but really gets engaged at the onboarding stage. Talking candidly, they felt that in between the on-the-job training and “meet the CEO and the management team,” there’s a critical knowledge transfer of the company’s history, values, traditions and direction. Companies and businesses need to make culture real, permanent and clear to all. My take? Culture matters, and those companies or business that make culture a priority and invest in it, can make a big difference to productivity, performance and success.

what’s inside

CONTENTS “We’re a little bit ahead of the game.” – Paige Cutland, IRIS program director at Kongsberg Geospatial, on how the company hopes its technology will allow drones to be used in new applications ranging from inspecting remote pipelines to delivering pizzas. Read the full story on page 12.


WHAT’S NEW, WHAT’S NEXT Upcoming events and key dates


AN ‘INSTANT ADDICTION’ KNBA’s Deborah Lovegrove breaks world records, thousands of feet above the ground


WHERE WE WORK Kanata North’s corporate culture

10 SHARING KANATA NORTH’S STORY MPP presents vision for raising tech sector’s profile 14 WHERE WE LIVE Musical performances, lunchtime yoga become summertime staples at Kanata’s community hub 16 BUSINESS BRIEFING News from Canada’s largest tech park 19 GIVING BACK Nokia Ride raises $184,000 for Candlelighters



Summer 2019

Going above and beyond How Kongsberg Geospatial is enabling drones to fly further than ever before Page 12 Plus

Kanata’s corporate culture WHERE WE WORK Offices that fuel engagement Page 8

WHERE WE LIVE The growing popularity of Kanata North’s community hub Page 14

The Kanata Networker is the official publication of the Kanata North Business Association. Learn more at All reporting by Lisa Thibodeau.


How Sens fans, local business and grassroots community activities send kids to camp More than 2,000 children in 2018, including new Canadians and children dealing with health challenges, participated in the SENS Campership Program.


un-soaked days at camp are a summer highlight for countless kids in Ottawa and Gatineau. But for many youth in the region, these programs are simply out of reach. Since 2015, the Ottawa Senators Foundation has been striving to change that through its SENS Campership Program. “We recognized there is a need in the community to assist families in overcoming financial barriers to giving their children summer camp experiences,” says Danielle Robinson, president and CEO at the Ottawa Senators Foundation. The Ottawa Senators Foundation anticipates that once it allocates its 2019 SENS Campership Program funding that it will have invested more than $1.5 million since launching the program. That translates into nearly 250,000 days at camp for 6,800 kids from 36 different communities in eastern Ontario and western Quebec. “We’ve helped thousands of kids in those critical hours when they’re not at school,” says Robinson. “A week in a summer camp can be both life-enriching and life-altering.”


Bell/Ottawa Senators Charity Golf Classic partners with the Lumière Gala Organizers behind two of the most popular events on the fall social calendar are teaming up to create a memorable day of networking, fun and fundraising. The Bell/Ottawa Senators Charity Golf Classic, which offers participants the opportunity to hit the links with members of the local NHL team, was recently merged with the Brookstreet Hotel Lumière Gala. After playing in the afternoon nine-hole tournament at The Marshes, participants will ride shuttles to the Brookstreet Hotel for an intimate evening of food, wine and fireworks at the Lumière Gala. Registration information for the event, which takes place Sept. 10, can be found at



Stephen Pearson, program manager at the Lowertown Community Resource Centre, has experienced the benefits of the SENS Campership Program first-hand. His organization has received funding through the program since 2016. “Without the support of the Ottawa Senators Foundation and the SENS Campership Program, we wouldn’t be able to offer the

summer camp that we do,” he says. With the aid of the SENS Campership Program, Pearson has been able to increase the number of children his camp serves and enhance camp programming. Last year, his campers enjoyed day trips to destinations such as Laflèche Caves, Mont Cascades and Parc Omega as well as experiences with the Ottawa Suzuki Strings

music school. He’s hoping for a similarly funfilled summer this year. “In the neighbourhood that we serve, a high percentage of the families are challenged financially and most live in subsidized housing. It’s important for the kids in this community to have positive activities for the summer; things that keep them active, things that keep them moving and get them out of their apartments,” Pearson says. “The SENS Campership Program is a great opportunity for local business and grassroot community events to partner with the Ottawa Senators Foundation to make an important difference in the lives of children and youth.” Ottawa residents and business leaders can support the initiative in several ways. This includes making a direct donation through the website of the Ottawa Senators Foundation, buying a 50-50 ticket online or at one of the Senators’ home games, by attending one of the signature events of the Foundation or by hosting a community fundraising event of your own to support the Foundation and its SENS Campership Program. “In our community there are thousands of kids who need our help and the Ottawa Senators Foundation is responding to some of those needs in a deep and meaningful way,” Robinson says. “Join us in being Game Changers for Youth.”

what’s new - what’s next?



The Kanata North Business Association has refreshed our brand and introduced a new logo and colour palette. Read more about it in our blog at

Schedules changes often check events calendar for updates.

FOOD TRUCKS MUSIC & GAMES 11:30 am to 1:30 pm

LATIN DAY AT THE COMMUNITY HUB takes place July 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Community Hub and features salsa dance lessons by a certified salsa dance instructor – Jose Sandoval from You.i TV. Enjoy an exciting afternoon outside with Latin fusion food trucks, Latin music and salsa dance lessons! For details, visit

down the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata. All money raised by Make-A-Wish Rope for Hope Ottawa rappellers goes to granting the wishes of children with lifethreatening medical conditions in Eastern Ontario. Participants can take part in a variety of ways: as individuals, in teams or as part of a colleague group. Form a corporate team and GO FOR IT! See our events calendar for details.


400 March rd. across the street from QNX

INNOVATION CANADA ASSISTANCE WEDNESDAY LUNCH PARTIES ARE BACK! Join us every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for a well-deserved afternoon break. Enjoy lunch outdoors on the picnic tables at the Community Hub, listen to live music, play some lawn games and grab a bite from the food trucks. For more details, visit https://


The Kanata North tech park now has its own ride match portal. You and your friends can log in by visiting https:// and find other employees and workers from the area to carpool with. A greener way to travel, it’s also an opportunity to meet others from the area.

Smash-iT Ping-Pong Tournament on Sept. 5 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. to help raise funds and awareness for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. They are inviting all Kanata North business members to sign up for the singles or doubles tournaments. For details, visit

Every Friday at select locations from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm chech for times and locations.

WISE 50 OVER 50 AWARDS Celebrating Canadian entrepreneurs over the age of 50. Nominations are open until June 30. Visit https:// for details.

Every Friday at select locations from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm chech for times and locations.

FROZEN FRIDAYS ICE CREAM PATROL is back every Friday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Our pals at Cool Treats will be rolling through the tech park to deliver the scoop(s). Join us every Friday throughout the summer at select locations for our ever-popular Frozen Fridays. For details and schedule, visit



YOGA AT THE HUB returns this summer from noon to 1 p.m. every Tuesday until the end of September. Thanks to our partner Inner Revolution Yoga and instructor Brenna for providing these sessions. For more details, visit https://

The federal government has launched Innovation Canada to offer a custom list of programs and services that can help you reach short and long-term business goals. There are more than 1,000 supports offered by the federal and provincial governments, including funding, loans, tax credits, interns, wage subsidies, collaboration and expert advice. Visit, answer a few questions and get the tailored list of the programs and services relevant to your business.


July 1 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Canada Day in Kanata is Kanata’s premier Canada Day event and one of the largest community events in the Ottawa region. Admission to this family friendly event – which features activities for all ages – is free. Check our events calendar for more details.


Sept. 27 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Make-A-Wish Rope for Hope is a unique challenge that calls on participants to raise pledges in exchange for a once-in-alifetime exhilarating experience to rappel

NSERC ALLIANCE GRANTS Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Alliance Grants is now open for applications. You could be eligible for funding as NSERC looks to improve its research partnerships programs to encourage greater collaboration in Canada’s R&D system. For details, visit

L-SPARK ACCEPTING APPLICANTS Applications for L-Spark’s 2019 accelerator program are now open. Want to join the best in SaaS? Visit accelerator and apply before Aug. 21.


profile TOP LEFT: In 2009, Lovegrove was one of a record-breaking 181 women skydiving in formation.

Gaining work-life balance at 13,000 feet B

that took Lovegrove to provincial and national championships, winning gold, silver and bronze medals and enshrined her name in the world record books. “It’s a sport where you have to be very sure of yourself, and Deb is that type of person,” says Tom McCarthy, a longtime friend and owner of Skydive Gananoque, where Lovegrove has been a weekend fixture for more than two decades. “She’s very strong willed and a no-nonsense type of woman. I don’t know what Deb would do if she ever stopped.”


One of the highlights of Lovegrove’s skydiving career came in 2009. The Jump for the Cause in California is a skydiving event that raised close to $1 million for breast cancer research. As part of the challenge, 181 women from more than 31 countries joined together in a group formation dive, breaking the

ABOVE: Deborah Lovegrove has competed both provincially and nationally in skydiving, bringing home a bronze, silver and gold medal. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

previous record of 151 participants. They spent nearly an entire week together trying to nail the formation, which required all 181 jumpers to be connected hand-to-hand or hand-to-leg. “We finally got it on the final day just before sunset,” she says. “When we found out we erupted into a cheer … it was a really sentimental moment.” While the adrenaline rush is always exciting, she says it’s the camaraderie of the sport that keeps her coming back. Over the years, she’s met many other skydiving enthusiasts who share her passion for the sport and have become like family, she says. Lovegrove also credits skydiving with keeping her mind and body healthy. Having worked in technology and marketing in the Kanata tech park for more than a decade, she says having an outlet where she can forget all of her stress is extremely beneficial.

“It’s one way to get your mind off work – put yourself into a situation where you have to think of something else, like ‘open your parachute and save your life,’” she says. “I feel an incredible sense of freedom out there.” Former KNBA executive director Jenna Sudds says it was easy to tell when her colleague was returning from a weekend of skydiving. “She works really hard, but then she plays really hard,” jokes Sudds. “She always came back energized and ready to take on whatever that week had in store.” After more than two decades of skydiving, Lovegrove says she has no plans of quitting. “It’s taught me so much about the importance of friendship, staying focused and remaining calm under pressure,” she says. “I’m just not quite ready to pull the final parachute.”


y day, Deborah Lovegrove is typically found inside the Kanata North Business Association’s offices on Legget Drive where she works as the organization’s marketing and events lead. But come the weekend, Lovegrove has a habit of hurling herself out of airplanes 13,000 feet above the ground – a pastime that’s led to a slew of awards and accolades for her skydiving feats. The first of Lovegrove’s more than 2,600 jumps took place approximately 25 years ago following a divorce. Lovegrove’s sister made the out-of-the-blue suggestion that she give skydiving a shot as a way of shaking things up. “I told her that was the craziest thing I had ever heard,” Lovegrove recalls, noting she was already experienced in rock climbing and whitewater rafting and was not in need of a new thrill. But she went along with the idea. Skydiving became an “instant addiction”


where we work

Kanata’s one-of-a-kind workplaces How Kanata North tech companies are creating distinct corporate cultures to engage top talent



s tech firms the world over try to create unique workplace cultures to help attract and retain skilled workers, several Kanata North companies are finding success connecting their staff to something bigger than their day-to-day tasks. Across the tech park, employees are forging closer ties to their community by leading technology classes for seniors, becoming directly invested in their company’s future through ownership stakes and understanding the impact of their work by travelling to the other side of the world. These are just some of the examples of how Kanata North companies are increasing employee engagement by tackling the admittedly abstract challenge of crafting a positive workplace culture. “A lot of people have a hard time

defining (workplace culture), but it’s how it feels to go into work every day,” says Louise Reid, a senior consultant, facilitator and coach at Kanata-based Stratford Managers. “How you get your job done, the vibe, how a company lives their values and what they do to make employees want to show up to work every day – that’s the culture,” she adds.


Addressing tech’s gender imbalance is becoming an increasingly urgent priority for many tech firms. In Kanata North, Trend Micro is among the companies opening its doors to share some of its strategies to tackling the challenge. Some 30 per cent of the firm’s 250 local employees are women, compared to 11 per cent in the global cybersecurity

Trend Micro Canada’s country manager Marcia Sequeira says diversity and inclusion are top priorities for the company. SUBMITTED PHOTO

industry, says Marcia Sequeira, Trend Micro’s Canada country manager. To recognize the importance of women in tech, the Ottawa company hosted its first-ever women’s forum earlier this year, inviting employees to talk about diversity and inclusion at work. The company also promotes community outreach through charity

fundraisers. Having employees connect outside of work is extremely important to ensuring everyone feels like they belong, says Sequeira. On one occasion, she recalls a rather shy employee coming out of their shell after their brownies turned out to be the surprise star of a charitable bake sale. “From then on, believe it or not, I saw such a different, more open attitude,” she says. “It took a brownie to let that person open up … the littlest things can make such an impact.” The company has also made an effort to inject fun into the office to break up the workday. Every Friday, employees are invited to the lunch room for pingpong, video games, specialty coffee and beer on tap.


The idea of working in an inclusive

Qlik employees spent their weekend engaging with local seniors, teaching them computer skills such as email and social media. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Benbria CEO Jordan Parsons says small and mid-sized companies such as his can offer employees greater opportunities to grow in their roles. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

level of the company, and it’s hugely meaningful to people,” he explains. “You want employees to care about every level of business from who the next hire is to client happiness.”


Qlik, a data analytics company, takes a different approach to creating a positive workplace culture. Staff are encouraged to see the direct impact of their products through a slew of community outreach opportunities. The company partners with international not-for-profits to bring its technology to businesses in developing countries. Employees recently traveled to Malawi where they met children at an orphanage run entirely by local women. Qlik instills a sense of purpose by showing its workers the good they are doing by working with the company, explains software engineer Thomas Devisscher. Earlier this year, the company invited

employees to an event to teach seniors computer skills such as email and social media. Attendees were able to interact with the older participants, sparking smiles on the faces of many Qlik staff and bringing coworkers closer together, says Tamimi Ahmad, a developer advocate engineer. Qlik also holds seasonal events for staff such as pie day at Thanksgiving and summer barbecues to give employees from different departments

the chance to catch up and connect with one another. Officials at Qlik say they’ve found a direct connection between creating a positive and supportive workplace and the company’s overall success. “We’re here to build a great product but you can’t do that without people who feel like they have a good support system to rely on,” says R&D manager Jim Reed. “Culture is critical to trust, which is critical to getting people to work together on a common cause.”

f l o ra l d e s i g n s


office that cares about its staff is a way of maintaining employee loyalty, says Reid. “There’s a growing trend of being able to bring your whole self to work,” she explains. “Where we used to talk about work-life balance, I think we’re now looking more at a work-life blend.” Being flexible and giving employees a sense of freedom is one way Benbria tries to maintain an edge over larger companies with which it competes for talent, says Jordan Parsons, CEO of the customer engagement platform company. “We have a lot of bright people who come in here and want autonomy and to grow into their individual roles, whether it’s product management, engineering or whatever else,” he says. The company’s open concept office helps forge strong employee connections and brings a sense of collaboration to the space, says Parsons. Employees also have the option to work from home, and Parsons says it’s important to communicate the trust he has in his team to get their job done from any location. Benbria also offers employees shares in the company, which adds another dimension to their role in shaping the firm’s future while building additional loyalty to the company’s brand. “We hand out ownership at every

Kanata, Fullerton says she wants to see more capital flowing to local early stage startups by attracting more venture capitalists to the area. Part of that mission is working with an Ontario-wide intellectual property panel that will look at how to assist startups, support creativity and create opportunities for jobs and investments. The panel will be led by Jim Balsillie, former co-CEO of Research In Motion (now Blackberry).


Kanata MPP’s plan to help tech firms grow


rowing up, Merrilee Fullerton watched as Kanata North firmly cemented its status as Canada’s largest tech park. After being elected as the MPP for Kanata-Carleton in last fall’s election, her focus quickly turned to ways she could support the business community from Queen’s Park. “It’s critical to understand the importance of tech, both for Ottawa and the province,” the Progressive Conservative politician says. Earlier this year, Fullerton released a report titled Kanata-Carleton’s High Tech and Business Initiative in which she

outlines several ideas to help support and grow the local tech sector:

RAISING KANATA NORTH’S PROFILE As other Canadian cities such as Toronto or Vancouver make waves in the tech industry, Fullerton says she wants a similar buzz around Kanata North. She plans to advocate for the area in government and help strengthen the sense of community within the tech park by meeting with businesses. “Sometimes you can keep putting forward a narrative, but it has to get traction,” Fullerton says. “When we start to expand voices – that’s when we will

Merrilee Fullerton is the MPP for Kanata-Carleton. get traction. It’s about multiple levels of government working together to expand that message.” Fullerton recently hosted Todd Smith, the province’s minister of economic development, job creation and trade, in Kanata North so he could see how the area creates jobs and attracts outside capital first-hand.

ATTRACTING VENTURE CAPITAL As more companies set up shop in


The University of Ottawa recently opened its own facility in Kanata North for students and researchers to better engage with the tech sector. Fullerton says building and maintaining those relationships are key, especially as employers look to local universities and colleges to meet their talent needs. “I see tremendous potential to create a better interface with industry so that we can understand what their needs are and make sure students are receiving experiential learning,” she says.

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what we’re geeking out on

Taking drones to new heights Drones that can fly beyond the operator’s visual line of sight can be used for surveillance in natural disasters, such as this illustrated photo of a forest fire. COMPOSITE IMAGE COURTESY OF KONGSBERG GEOSPATIAL

By letting pilots ‘see’ more of their surroundings, Kongsberg Geospatial looks to help operators capitalize on UAV’s true capabilities



team of Kanata software developers is helping drone pilots fly further than ever before, opening new opportunities ranging from inspecting remote oil pipelines to delivering pizzas through the sky. Canadian and U.S. laws currently require pilots to be able to see their airborne drones at all times, preventing them from flying beyond their visual line of sight. Many argue that this safety regulation is preventing drone technology from

reaching its full potential, limiting the ability to use unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor far-flung infrastructure or assist with search-and-rescue operations, for example. A team of Kanata North software developers is hoping to change that. Kongsberg Geospatial, which specializes in developing mapping engines for air traffic controllers and military missions, recently branched out into the growing field of drone technology. One of its flagship software systems in the

unmanned aerial vehicle sector is dubbed IRIS and equips drone operators with an abundance of information that makes navigating the skies safer. That includes giving operators 2D and 3D terrain maps that highlight hazards such as trees, mountain ranges and restricted airspace such as airport zones. Sensors, cameras and GPS technology can also identify other drones and aircraft in the area and relay all that information back to the operator in a customizable real-time visual display screen. Paige Cutland, IRIS program director at Kongsberg Geospatial, says he hopes the technology leads to regulatory changes for drone operators. Specifically, he’s looking for new rules that allow pilots to fly beyond their

visual line of sight if they use a situational awareness display such as the one developed by his firm. “We’re a little bit ahead of the game in terms of influencing regulation,” he says.


Formerly Gallium Visual Systems Inc., the company opened its doors in Kanata North in 1992 and remained in the tech park following a 2006 acquisition. Although a large portion of its clients are in the U.S., being located in Kanata gives Kongsberg Geospatial a strategic advantage as the area is home to the top talent it needs to work on projects like IRIS. The software was conceived roughly four years ago by repurposing and

Paige Cutland is the IRIS program director at Kongsberg Geospatial. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

“THERE ARE SO MANY SCENARIOS WHERE WE CAN DO USEFUL THINGS WITH DRONES. IRIS IS REALLY THE CENTREPIECE OF THESE CAPABILITIES.” – Mark Espenant, R&D project manager, DRDC Centre for Security Science opportunity for first responders to use drones in emergency situations, says Mark Espenant, R&D project manager at the DRDC Centre for Security Science, a government agency. UAV operators can use the IRIS system to search for missing children or lost hikers, deliver medical supplies to regions cut off by floods or landslides and provide

critical information to police monitoring a crime scene. “Let’s say you have a situation with bad guys and guns and the police want to take a closer look with less risk to them … with IRIS you can,” explains Espenant. “If only we had this technology five years ago during the Moncton shooting where four RCMP officers were killed. Imagine how

different that would have been if they sent a drone in first to determine where the bad guy was.” Kongsberg Geospatial teamed up with the DRDC Centre for Security Science, the RCMP and the County of Renfrew Paramedic Service in a project dubbed the Emergency Operations Airspace Management System. The initiative is testing a variety of technologies, including the ability of IRIS to detect recreational drones that could impair the ability of medical helicopters or firefighting water bombers from responding to an emergency. “There are so many scenarios where we can do useful things with drones,” says Espenant. “IRIS is really the centrepiece of these capabilities.”


adding more GPS capabilities to existing technology used in missile systems that target aircraft. Since then, IRIS has undergone multiple updates to integrate new data sources and drone technology into the display. To help build its case for regulators, Kongsberg Geospatial is working closely with operators in various industries to demonstrate the value of flying beyond the visual line of sight. As users gain permission to experiment with the company’s technology, IRIS has helped energy workers in Nigeria monitor pipelines, hydro workers survey power lines and companies experiment with aerial pizza delivery. More significantly, however, is the

where we live LEFT: Lawn checkers is one of the activities held at the community hub. BELOW: Dave Leroux’s tech career has included stints at Bell Canada and Halogen Software. He has been performing at the Kanata North community hub during lunch hours for roughly four years. SUBMITTED PHOTOS.

A lunch hour like no other


Yoga, live music and plenty of food are summertime staples at Kanata North’s community hub


n the heart of Kanata North’s evergrowing tech community, there’s a unique space for staff, managers and executives alike to press pause on their busy days. Kanata’s community hub is a plot of green space near Legget Drive and Farrar Road that’s become synonymous with lunchtime recreation, networking and fun.

On any given week, weather permitting, Kanata North’s tech community enjoys a variety of attractions and events on different days including live music, food trucks, lawn games and yoga, free of charge. The Kanata North Business Association spearheaded the initiative slightly less than five years ago to help

bring the community closer together and offer individuals working in the tech park an alternative to simply eating inside their own staff lunchrooms. Since launching, the events – which typically attract several dozen attendees – have grown in popularity. “We’ve surveyed our members and the feedback was that the hub needs to

happen, and happen often,” says Alycia Douglass, digital media and community coordinator at the KNBA. “People love it.”


Live music is a staple of the community hub’s programming that frequently reveals the hidden talents of Kanata North’s tech workers. By day, Fred Gillette is a software designer and applications engineer at Nokia. Outside the office, he’s an avid musician and longtime participant at open mic nights in Ottawa who jumped at

“IN TECH, IT’S VERY EASY TO GET STUCK, WHERE YOU’VE GOT A PROBLEM AND YOU CAN’T QUICKLY FIGURE OUT HOW TO WORK AROUND IT. ALL YOU REALLY NEED TO DO IS ... GET OUT AND DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.” – Fred Gillette, Nokia software designer and applications engineer, on one of the benefits of Kanata’s community hub

Leroux was introduced to the hub by a fellow tech park worker around four years ago and has been performing during lunch hours ever since. It’s helped Leroux foster a deeper relationship with the KNBA and build connections with his peers across the park. Seeing employees from different offices come out and meet one another in a relaxed environment, cracking jokes and networking, illustrates the importance of the initiative, he says. “That makes a huge difference in people’s lives, especially in the tech world,” says Leroux. “It’s not my company versus your company, it’s about hanging out and being on common ground.”


Inner Revolution Yoga launched in Kanata North around the same time as the hub, which created an opportunity for the organization to collaborate with the KNBA. The hub hosts yoga sessions every Tuesday, which always draw a large crowd. “It’s a beautiful synergy of connecting tech workers and us, a small local business,” says Brenna Bellhouse, head of Inner Revolution Yoga. Yoga at the community hub gives participants an opportunity to meet other tech workers while improving their mental and physical health. The outdoor lunchtime sessions have proven so popular that Bellhouse says several attendees have launched indoor corporate yoga classes at their offices.

Jungwhan Cho, Loli Morales, Loralie Ness and Kris Lloyd take a break from their work at CENGN to enjoy the sun and food at the hub. SUBMITTED PHOTO. “Yoga is really needed in this environment where (workers) are always sitting at a screen,” she says. “It literally means a connection between the body, mind and spirit. It’s bringing the three parts of what make us whole together in a community where we can connect.” Bellhouse says she loves seeing tech workers walking out of their office buildings over the summer with their yoga mats tucked under their arms. “I know exactly where they’re going (at lunch),” she says, adding that she enjoys

seeing how it helps strengthen community bonds. As the hub opens for another season of fun and food, organizers are looking to the future for more ways to expand and grow the initiative. “It’s amazing to see how much the community gets involved when you tell them you have something going on,” says the KNBA’s Douglass. “It’s very different from any other place I have worked. The spirit of collaboration is definitely alive and well in Kanata North.”


the opportunity roughly four years ago to perform at the community hub. Gillette has become the man behind the music, helping to organize, recruit and run the talent portion of the hub’s programs. “It’s nice to get outside on a sunny day, listen to some live music and eat your lunch at the picnic tables with some friends,” he says. “It’s a great thing.” With some 30 years of experience working in Kanata North’s tech park, Gillette says he’s seen the hub’s impact on the Kanata North community. It’s created an opportunity for tech workers to share their talents with peers, as well as given employees the ability to step away from the office, clear their heads and return ready to work, he says. “When you’re in tech, it’s very easy to get stuck, where you’ve got a problem and you can’t quickly figure out how to work around it,” Gillette says. “All you really need to do is remove yourself from the restrictive environment, get out and do something different.” Gillette is not alone in using the hub as a platform to express his love of music. Dave Leroux started his career at Bell Canada prior to stints at Halogen Software and Shopify as an instructional designer before becoming a freelancer so he could put more focus on his music career. “The joke is most people in tech are reject musicians,” he says with a laugh. “People really do need music as an outlet.”

Kanata North companies among Ottawa’s fastestgrowing firms

Syntronic surpasses growth expectations Syntronic recently marked its fifth anniversary in Kanata North with a reception to celebrate its rapid local growth. The Sweden-based product design house opened its doors in Ottawa in 2014 and has now reached nearly 300 employees, more than double its forecast. Syntronic Canada president Hans Molin shared some of the company’s strategies for managing growth and stressed that successful businesses must look to hire younger employees, rather than relying on the “Nortel generation.”

Two Kanata North firms were recognized by the Ottawa Business Journal as being among Ottawa’s fastest growing companies. Video analytics developer Solink and Newfound Recruiting both cracked the top-10 list, based on their recent revenue growth. Over the past three years, revenues at Solink have climbed 287 per cent, while NewFound Recruiting’s revenues grew 109 per cent. That ranked the firms fifth and ninth, respectively. Both companies have appeared on the fastest growing companies list in previous years and were honoured along with other recipients at an awards reception in May at Head Office Ottawa.



BlackBerry QNX renews L-Spark accelerator partnership BlackBerry QNX says it will be teaming up with L-SPARK to support a second cohort of early stage companies developing autonomous and connected vehicle technologies. The initial round included seven Canadian companies working closely with the tech giant and concluded in May when the companies unveiled their latest innovations. “(BlackBerry) has recognized that there is an ecosystem in Canada that is useful and worthwhile for them to engage with and it shows that they see a benefit in helping this ecosystem integrate their capabilities,” says Leo Lax, L-SPARK’s executive managing director. The new automotive tech software developed by the first cohort was trialed at the L5 test track in Kanata, where the Canadian companies took the stage with BlackBerry QNX. The group had the chance to work one-on-one with BlackBerry and its system for six months to create a product that could build off QNX technology. “We were extremely pleased with the success we were able to help these companies achieve,” Lax

LEO LAX IS L-SPARK’S EXECUTIVE MANAGING DIRECTOR. says. “This was not a make-believe activity – this was real software working in a real operational vehicle. It was truly a testament to the commitment of both QNX to the program as well as the early stage companies themselves.” Three of the seven companies that participated in the first L-SPARK-BlackBerry incubator hailed from Ottawa. That included Kanata North’s Martello, which introduced its proof of concept that focused on maintaining reliable cellular connectivity in selfdriving cars. Applications for the second round will open in the coming months, with the program set to take place next year.

Strengthening the community, one can at a time Staff from several Kanata North tech companies revealed their hidden architectural talents this spring at the second annual Community Build Event, in support of the Kanata Food Cupboard. The fundraiser, which challenges teams to design and build a structure completely out of canned goods, took over the lobby inside 555 Legget Dr., with corporate teams bringing travel-themed food creations to life. Six teams participated in this year’s competition, including staff from Epiphan Video, Crowe BGK, CAE, Magnet Forensics, Brookstreet, The Marshes and Payment Source. “We really want people to be creative and have fun with it because this is a really good team-building event,” says Natasha Plotnikov, marketing and client services manager at KRP. “It is a lot of work to design something...source the food and get everyone on the same page.” Teams must solicit donations of all the food items they use during the build. This year, some 4,600 pounds of food was collected and then donated to the Kanata Food Cupboard, a local charity that serves families in the area. “Events like this bring down the walls a little bit, and (give tech workers) the chance to talk to their neighbours,” says Plotnikov. “The fact that we can do that and support a local charity in the process (is) even better.”

Purecolo University of Ottawa recognized for officially startup success opens doors in Kanata North Kanata North data centre Purecolo was among the recipients at the 2019 Bootstrap Awards, which honours the National Capital Region’s best selffinanced firms. Purecolo – a no-frills, carrier neutral, wholesale-priced colocation facility – made news earlier in the year when it secured a deal with Ottawa-Gatineau Internet Exchange (OGIX) to build an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in the city, which would help boost internet speeds for companies using the service. The company was also previously honoured at the 2018 Best Ottawa Business Awards, recognizing it as one of the best new businesses in Ottawa. All of the firms honoured at the Bootstrap Awards, hosted at the Marshes Golf Club, have been in operation for less than seven years and received less than $500,000 in external funding.

The University of Ottawa formally unveiled its collaborative classroom space in the Kanata North tech park this spring as it works to connect students, researchers and tech firms and make Ottawa an “epicentre of innovation.” Officials hope it will also lead to more talent coming to Kanata North through additional co-op placements and internships. The University of Ottawa is starting with an office and classroom space, but Sylvain Charbonneau, the school’s vicepresident of research, says he hopes to eventually expand the space into a full Kanata North campus.

WannLynx unveils new pay-at-the-pump tech features to create a more personalized experience. Adhering to PA-DSS involves safeguards that prevent the tracking of customers’ personal information as well as the use of safe and reliable support systems. The clearance of this project is timely as payments giant Visa introduces new liability rules for retailers that mandate the use of chip-card readers.

Organizers of Kanata’s autonomous vehicle summit are putting a decidedly national twist on this year’s edition of the annual event, helping to firmly entrench Ottawa’s reputation as a hotbed of AV technology. CAVCanada, previously known as the Ottawa AV Summit, is a twoday event scheduled for Sept. 9-10 at the Brookstreet Hotel featuring an expanded lineup of programming aimed at innovators, companies and organizations that are driving the development, commercialization and deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles. “We are really trying to position this as the premiere national event as opposed to solely an Ottawa focus,” says Veronica Farmer, director of operations at the Kanata North Business Association. “We have such a rich ecosystem here that it is really important to be seen as Canada’s AV capital.” As autonomous vehicle technology continues to mature, organizers broke down the summit’s programming into two distinct streams: AV technology and AV deployment. The technology stream will feature sessions with businesses working on connected and autonomous vehicles as well as how they are testing and piloting those systems, including tours at the new L5 test tracks. For participants who are more

interested in how AV systems are being rolled out, the deployment stream will feature presentations on government policies around AV technology, how it will affect businesses as well as the socioeconomic impacts of the technology on the city. “The tech side is going to be really exciting because it’s one area where Canada is doing very well – a lot of our technology companies are worldclass,” says Barrie Kirk, executive director at Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence, a consultancy. “On the other hand, we need to get Canada ready for the AV era. Governments and businesses need to understand and plan for the AV era, take advantage of the opportunities and minimize the down sides.” For example, representatives from the insurance industry are expected to attend as the sector explores how rules will change to accommodate driverless vehicles, Kirk says. There will also be a notable presence from academia as Ottawa’s major post-secondary institutions showcase programs for students and connect researchers with industry leaders. “We need the post-secondary schools to help bring talent to these companies,” Farmer says. “Talent really is the fuel for the AV industry.” With organizers expecting more than 500 attendees, Kirk says he hopes CAVCanada will bring more jobs to Ottawa and further raise the profile of the city’s AV hub.


WannLynx, a Kanata North payments technology company, says it has received the green light from the PCI Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) on its new gas station system. FuelLynx was designed to protect consumers at the pump by providing a secure card transaction system while also engineering custom tailored ads, surveys and other

Reimagining autonomous tech: CAVCanada conference preview


“THE CAMARADERIE AND THE SPIRIT IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO EXPERIENCE TO BELIEVE.” – Jocelyn Lamont, executive director, Candlelighters Ottawa

LEFT: The Wave Spinners pause for a quick team photo before kicking it into high gear. RIGHT: Team VCL Construction came dressed for the occasion, raising just under $38,000 for Candlelighters. SUBMITTED PHOTOS.

Nokia Ride raises $184K for Candlelighters, builds bonds in Kanata North M

party like atmosphere that includes awards for the best team spirit and top costumes. “It’s really a celebration of the end of a couple of months of hard work raising money,” says Tom Brewer, cocoordinator of the Inside Ride. “It’s really special.” Now in its 12th year of partnership with Coast to Coast Against Cancer, the 2019 edition attracted 64 teams that spent months fundraising prior to the event. With more than 70 childhood cancer diagnosis last year in Ottawa alone, the money will be used for initiatives that support patients, survivors and their families. These include parent support groups,

a suite at the Canadian Tire Centre used for family outings as well as the purchase of iPads that help young patients stay connected with friends and family while they are receiving treatment. “When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it impacts the whole family,” says Jocelyn Lamont, executive director of Candlelighters Ottawa. “This event has really brought our level of programming to the next stage.” With local mascots on hand from the Ottawa Redblacks, Fury and Senators helping to pump up the crowd alongside families that have benefitted from the Candlelighters’ support, it wasn’t just the charity that benefited from the May event.

The atmosphere under the tent is always alive with spirit and friendly competition, says Adam Nadeau, site engagement coordinator at Nokia and co-coordinator of the Inside Ride. Organizers note the event gives employees a chance to get out of the office, exercise and support one another and have a good time, which helps create a more positive work environment. “The event itself is extremely fun and it’s been great to see it evolve over the years and become a more inclusive community event,” says Lamont. “The camaraderie and the spirit is something you have to experience to believe.”


ore than 400 tech workers and their supporters donned workout clothes – and, in some cases, feathered costumes – before climbing aboard stationary bicycles in Nokia’s Kanata North parking lot en route to raising more than $184,000 to support children with cancer. The annual Nokia Powering the Inside Ride is a partnership between the telecom giant and the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation. Teams of six raise money and cheer each other on as each member takes their turn pedaling up a storm. With music blasting and beach balls flying through the air, the event takes on a

Spirits were high as riders pushed through the final minutes of their cycle. SUBMITTED PHOTO.


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