Page 1

networker the kanata

FEB 2016

There’s more to ottawa than a great job

K anata north - the cornerstone of our automated future

Startup Open House Spotlights Ottawa’s Cool Workplaces.

L-spark acceler ator: filefacets

Women in technology


inside 1


W h at ’ s N e w / W h at ’ s N e x t


K a n ata’ s n e w Co l l a b o r at i v e S pace fo r S m a l l B u s i n e s s e s & S ta r t u p s


S ta r t u p O p en H o u s e S p ot li g h t s Ot tawa’ s Co o l Wo r k p l ace s


T h e K a n ata n o r t h b u s i n e s s a s s o ci at i o n : CELEBRATI N G OUR SU CC ESSES I N 2 016


k a n ata n o r t h , t h e co r n er s to n e o f o u r au to m at ed f u t u r e


t h er e ’ s m o r e to ot tawa t h a n a g r e at j o b


t ech co m pa n i e s s u pp o r t t h e c a r l e to n h ack at h o n


L-s pa r k accel er ato r : fi l efac e t s

23 25 29

Cover Photo from #AVSummit provided by Unmanned Systems Canada

Wo m en i n Co m m u n i c at i o n s a n d T ec h n o lo g y ( WC T ) at d i s cov er t ec h n ata L e s R ech a n i s a co o l g u y # h a lo g en li fe

En t r epr en eu r S p ot li g h t: PAPA SAM

Message from the Executive Director of the Kanata North Business Association Jenna Sudds As we look back on a successful and busy 2016, we can’t help but also get

The Future of Automation in Canada

excited about the possibilities of the

We held an Autonomous Vehicle

coming year.

Summit in January 2017. With over 200 attendees, and some fascinating

2016: A Year of Growth The Kanata North Technology Park has a long history of innovation

discussions, the excitement in the air was palpable. You can read more in this issue of The Networker.

like to be included! If you’d like to see your logo on the next Kanata North

but this latest wave is like no other.

calendar please reach out to

Currently over 21,000 people make

5G on Fire

their way here to work every day

To say there’s been a lot of

at over 500 companies. Within the

anticipation building in the tech

last year technology giants Apple

community around 5G would be an

and Amazon both set up shop, and

understatement. Everyone is abuzz

prospects continue to grow.

about the capabilities of the network

Jenna Sudds

and the resulting possibilities. 5G

Executive Director,

Prime Minister’s Visit to QNX 2017 has started in the right direction, being kicked off with a visit from our Prime Minister in December and the exciting announcement that QNX will be opening an Autonomous

development is hot and there is A LOT



of it happening here, especially with Kanata-based companies Ericsson, Nokia, Mitel, Ranzure Networks, and Dragonwave. I invite you to read the article in this issue.

Vehicle Innovation Center. The other opportunities that will come

Kanata North Map

out of this announcement in the

Lastly we are overwhelmed by the

tech ecosystem will be vast and full

response and excitement about the

of variety. The investment of $100

release of our new Kanata North Map

million dollars is projected to create

and calendar. Thank you to everyone

and maintain 650 jobs.

who has reached out. Copies are still available in our office and we are accepting logos for version 2.0 for any technology companies that would

Design and layout by Communicarium

new w h at ’ s

uOt tawa Innovates – T he Voice E xperience! W ednesday, February 22 , 2017 5:3 0 pm  -  8: 0 0 pm

HTML15 0 S at urday, M arch 4 , 2017 9:3 0 AM - 5: 0 0 PM

Dis cov er t echn ata t uesday, M arch 28 , 2017 1 1 :0 0 am - 6:0 0 p m

Are you interested in learning how

the discover techNata website is live!

Come and learn more about the future

to Code for FREE? Invest Ottawa has

you can now reserve exhibitor space,

of living with spoken dialogue systems

partnered with Lighthouse Labs to bring

sign up for sponsorship packages, and

like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and

HTML150 to Ottawa. For a full day, 150

register your attendance at Kanata’s

Google Home. It’s free to attend and is

attendees will get a crash course in HTML

largest Career and tech expo. discover

being held at the Big Rig Brewery’s Tap

and CSS and learn how to create their

techNata attracts over 50 exhibitors and

Room, 103 Schneider Road in Kanata.

own landing page. Taking place at the

1300 visitors, including students, and

Space is limited, so register now! See

Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards, 7

business professionals searching for their

our events calendar.

Bayview Road, Ottawa. For registration

next career opportunity. space is limited,

and details click here.

register early for the best spot and take advantage of our early bird rates! the event will take place at the brookstreet hotel at 525 legget drive, in Kanata.



next w h at ’ s

2017 Bootstrap Awards  Tuesday, March 7, 2017 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm Hosted by The Ottawa Network and Wesley Clover, The Bootstrap Awards celebrate enterprises that

the winner of the SET DESIGN

T he Nokia Inside Ride Wine & Cheese Thur sday, M arch 9t h 2017

CONTEST for TEDxKanata this

Want to participate in a fun and exciting event that

Capital Region, Eastern Ontario and


brings together teams from your company to raise

Western Quebec. Winners will be

to IROIRO Creative a new

funds for a worthy cause? Contact Adam Nadeau

announced on February 21st, 2017.

Marketing Studio in Kanata

at Nokia to get the

The event of free to attend and will

North. We’re looking forward to

inside scoop about the wine and cheese party and

take place at Marshes Golf Club 320

We are excited to announce

see their creative vision come to information about the upcoming 10th annual Nokia life on stage!

Inside Ride. See the full page ad in the magazine for

are self-capitalized and honour Entrepreneurs from the National

Terry Fox Drive. To register visit the Ottawa Bootstrap Awards 2017.

more details.

TEDxK a n ata 2017 M arch 9th , 2017 3:3 0 pm - 9: 0 0 pm   Only a few weeks left before our third annual TEDxKanata on March 9th, 2017! An incredible evening of inspiring talks and ideas worth sharing. The TEDxKanata 2017 theme this year “The Next 150: Driving Change” is in support of Canada celebrating its 150th birthday. Together with the speakers we will explore what the next 150 years will bring. Visit the TEDxKanata Blog to read the Speaker Profiles.



Kanata 3


experience brookstreet 276 four-diamond guestrooms Modern conference & business meeting facilities Inspired cuisine at Perspectives Restaurant Options Jazz Lounge with live jazz every evening Au Natural Spa Flex Fitness Studio Indoor and outdoor saltwater pools Zone 525 interactive games room B CafĂŠ serving Starbucks coffee

Five Twenty Five Legget Drive | Ottawa Ontario K2K 2W2 613.271.1800 |


@ BrookstreetOtt

experience the marshes The Marshes 18-hole championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. & Sr. European PGA approved 9-hole short course, Marchwood Modern meeting facilities Eclectic dining at Ironstone Grill Jones Lounge for social gatherings Enjoy Thirsty Thursdays with the Dueling Pianos

Three Twenty Terry Fox Drive | Ottawa Ontario K2K 3L1 613.271.3370 | /MarshesGolfClub @MarshesGolfClubt




anata’s new Collaborative Space for Small Businesses & Startups

Starting a business properly, and having it succeed, is difficult. Collab Space attempts to make things easier for you by providing an environment that fosters entrepreneurship in a community atmosphere by offering education sessions, networking events, and mentors on site to answer questions. Collab Space opened its primary location, 70 Bongard Avenue in Nepean, during the summer of 2015, and subsequently opened its second location within the Tech Corridor of Kanata which encompasses the fourth floor of 300 March Road in January 2016. Both locations include private and communal office spaces, as well as boardrooms, and smaller meeting rooms which are available to members as well as the general public. Collab Space hosts a free monthly networking event which typically has between 150-250 people in attendance. Collab Members are able to set up a Trade Show Booth in order to showcase their business. For the past two years, Collab Space has assisted Ottawa in keeping the title of the Most Entrepreneurial City in Canada by



hosting the highest number of events during Global Entrepreneurship Week. The owners, Blair Kilrea and Emile Salem, have been a part of the local business ecosystem in Ottawa for many years, and enjoy helping start-ups and small business owners succeed. On March 24th Collab Space will be hosting the Ottawa stop for the Fundica Roadshow, which will see entrepreneurs pitch their businesses in front of a panel of investors, with a grand prize of a $1,000,000 investment to the national winner. For more information on Collab Space, please go to


tartup Open House Spotlights Ottawa’s Cool Workplaces



On November 29th 2016, Ottawa held its first ever Startup Open House. There were eight different companies in the city that opened their doors to the public offering a perfect setting for Ottawa startups to showcase their products, meet top talent and network with investors.

The Kanata North Business Association partnered with Invest Ottawa, and L-Spark in organizing the startup Open house puts a spotlight event. It was exciting to see just how the vibrant startup community by diverse and full of life Ottawa’s bringing together startups with startup ecosystem really is. entrepreneurship enthusiasts eager Four of the companies that opened to discover and contribute to the startup ecosystem. Professionals and their doors last year were from Kanata North, Prontoforms, The young talent network for career Participants had the chance to peek opportunities, corporations interact Better Software Company, Martello inside some of the fun and inspiring with startups, investors reconnect Technologies and You.i TV. The other workplaces of our city’s most with the companies they support and four were Shopify, Klipfolio, innovative startups and get a feel Pagecloud, and Survey Monkey. curious people get a peek at the for the startup’s culture and vibe. vibrant startup culture. We would like to thank all the They were treated to a bevy of companies that participated last year For startups, it is a chance to meet munchies and refreshments from top talent right within their workplace and look forward to spotlighting donuts to popcorn to craft beer. and gain exposure among the general more startups in our city! Visitors had a chance to tour public, while demonstrating their workspaces, meet with team innovative products and services. members, and even watch a live music performances by You.i TV’s



in house band! Offering a true experience of startup life.


he kanata north business association: CELEBRATING OUR SUCCESSES IN 2016



To celebrate the success of the past year, Kanata North Business Association’s Deborah Lovegrove created beautiful infographics highlighting some of the organization’s achievements in 2016.








anata north

the corner s tone of our au tomated fu t ure #avsummi t

There’s a lot happening with AV in Kanata North, and the excitement about it is well-founded. Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) are putting Ottawa’s tech scene back in the fast lane. 13


In January 2017, speakers from global tech giants came together at the Automated Vehicles Summit to talk about the future of automation and the impact that the Kanata Tech Park can have in its public debut. A number of local tech companies were on-hand to participate, interested in what they can do to make the most of this rapidly growing trend that will touch everything from transportation to healthcare. Speakers from Nokia, QNX (Blackberry), Neptec Technologies, and a moderator from Unmanned Systems Canada, spoke about the development of AV technology and its applications. Representatives from Zipcar, the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE), and BDC Venture Capital shared their predictions and forecasts about the future of AV markets during the second session, moderated by the Conference Board of Canada’s Public Policy Vice-President. There’s a lot happening with AV in Kanata North, and the excitement about it is well-founded. Autonomous Vehicles are putting Ottawa’s tech scene back in the fast lane. With funding from the Canadian government and self-driving cars now approved for test driving on Ontario roads, this landmark support is poised to slingshot development in the tech sector. The permission to test automated vehicles in Ontario removes a major barrier that has been complicating self-driving car development, and allows companies to get more accurate data on how their car works and performs. Roadpermitted driverless car testing is currently only allowed in Ontario,



Automation will start to touch every aspect of our lives from shipping, to healthcare, to military applications and space exploration, creating infinite opportunities for tech companies of all sizes. making Kanata North uniquely poised to take advantage of the opportunity. Although there is a lot of public interest in self-driving cars, it will still be some time before we see a major public rollout of self-driving vehicles, with estimates ranging from anywhere between five to 25 years for privately owned cars. Automated vehicles still have many difficult barriers to overcome, both technologically and legally, leading to a slow public launch. Fortunately, the automation technology being developed here applies to industrial applications as well, with companies such as Neptec Technologies working on marine, mining, and aerospace solutions. Laura Dierker of Neptec underlined the importance of the business case for applications for industry stating, “In industrial applications, it is important to have systems that are efficient and work in extremely harsh conditions. When you implement autonomous systems in industrial environments, users experience competitive advantage from an increased return on assets through increased production and lower costs. This makes it easier to adopt the technologies. Eventually the systems developed in these controlled environments will help guide the development of more consumer-oriented systems.” Processors, sensors, algorithms, navigation and more are all vital for automated systems, and will be

used in every piece of self-acting technology we can hope to see in the future. Automation will start to touch every aspect of our lives from shipping, to healthcare, to military applications and space exploration, creating infinite opportunities for tech companies of all sizes. The rise of automation marks the start of major tech sector growth that has over 40 companies looking for talent in Kanata. With the support from the Canadian government, we anticipate a multitude of opportunities and substantial growth for the Kanata North tech sector. The event was organized by the Kanata North Business Association and the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence with support from Unmanned Systems Canada, the Conference Board of Canada, Invest Ottawa, and QNX. The presentations from the AV Summit on January 19 are now available for download. Each presentation is a separate pdf file and in a zip folder. The Neptec video was uploaded as a separate file. You can view it here. Our thanks to the speakers who kindly gave us permission to share their presentations. If you have any questions or problems with accessing the files, please contact Barrie Kirk at




here’s More to Ottawa Than a Great Job

But there are plenty of those too!

Invest Ottawa and Go North have launched two full scale campaigns addressing popular myths that got people thinking there’s nowhere in Canada to make good money applying their skills. The campaigns aim to prove that not only is there room enough, but the jobs and quality of life here are better than anywhere else. When they talked with local tech companies in the midst of hiring, Invest Ottawa and Go North were shocked to find companies weren’t just seeking a handful of professionals. Each and every tech company is looking for a multitude of skilled workers, especially for experienced and senior positions. With such a demand for talent, Go North is looking to the United States to fill positions, especially by ex-pats. By targeting both Americans and Canadians working in



cities such as San Francisco and Seattle, Go North is enticing people to come up to work in Canadian tech. There is common perception that Ottawa companies can’t compete in terms of pay, but when weighed against Ottawa’s lower cost of living, high demand for senior positions, and a better quality of life, it’s hard to deny that the city has appeal. With the support of invest ottawa and go North, we can expect to see Kanata North attract more skilled professionals to ease the demand of our local companies. if you are a skilled tech professional or want to post an opportunity, check out and for more information on opportunities for the taking in the great White North!


ech Companies support the carLetOn hacKatHOn

Sponsors from Kanata North’s tech sector have pulled together to help put on the Carleton hackathon in support of Ottawa’s local talent.

As tech companies struggle to find the right talent, many are realizing that they need to become part of the solution. One of the steps they are taking is engaging in partnerships with the universities and sponsoring hackathons and tech competitions.



With a student population larger than a small city, the 137,754 talented young professionals that live and study in Ottawa are a strong and vibrant force. Students from Carleton University, University of Ottawa, Algonquin and others are a major source of talent for local companies, especially in the tech sector where the demand is high. As tech companies struggle to find the right talent, many are realizing that they need to become part of the solution. One of the steps some of them are taking is engaging in partnerships with the universities and sponsoring hackathons and tech competitions. These partnerships provide companies with the opportunity to network with students, showcase their



products, and promote their company brand. Companies can also design challenges for students and run workshops using their software and hardware tools to teach participants new technologies and assist them in creating innovative projects. On March 4-5 2017, Carleton University will be hosting CUHacking – Canada’s Capital Hackathon and the University’s first large-scale hackathon, and largest in Ottawa. It will take place over 24 hours through the weekend and around 300 students are expected to participate. Participation is free and food will be provided! The objective of this hackathon is for groups of students to create their own software or hardware project in 24 hours. It’s

also a chance for students to learn something new and enhance their skills. Prizes will be awarded to the best hacks as well as for challenges run by tech companies. Sponsors for CUHacking include March Networks, Real Decoy, GitHub, Indico, Martello Technologies, IEEE Ottawa, Bloomberg, and carleton university’s Dept of Computer Science. Sponsors will be able to meet with the best engineering students and have a chance to recruit top talent. If your business is interested in sponsorship opportunities, take a look at their sponsorship package and visit for more information.


-SPARK accelorator: fileFacets



W ith the help of the talented L-Spark team , FileFacet s developed an e f fec tive pro duc t launch strateg y for their sof t ware .

FileFacets, founded by information governance consultant Chris Perram, is a SaaS company that allows businesses to efficiently maintain their files, purge unnecessary documents and structure data. The tool, which is unique to the market, pulls all organizational elements together in one sophisticated solution. last year filefacets was welcomed into the l-spark business accelerator program, and since then the previously service-based company has flourished as a software producer. being accepted into the accelerator program was a major highlight for the company, and created a great deal of excitement for perram. although file facets had great success from the start, it was starting to plateau in terms of growth. With the goal of scaling the company, l-spark mentor tyler Nelson helped develop an effective strategy to bring the product to market, while marketing expert andrew jackson helped capture and utilize the positioning of the software. In a matter of nine short months FileFacets was able to grow their revenue from $7K MRR to over $100K MRR thanks to an optimized channel strategy and hours upon hours of strategic planning. Their success story didn’t end at L-Spark’s Accelerator either. After graduating from the program, FileFacets was able to close a Series A round of $4 million in financing. FileFacets plans to use the funds to expand sales and marketing efforts to continue to grow their channel sales strategy.



Chris Perram, FileFacets Perram is pleased to be based in Kanata, stating, “Kanata has a lively tech sector with some of the best talent in Canada. We have a tight-knit community thanks to the great quality of life and incredible people here. The amount of tech innovation happening in the region undoubtedly serves as a source of inspiration and encouragement as we enter a promising new year.” The support received by L-Spark was also a factor in the decision, giving File Facets continued access to talented strategists and planners that will undoubtedly shape a busy and successful 2017.




2 The Parkway, Beaverbrook in Old Kanata | 613.903.7209





orley Hoppner’s latest development in Beaverbrook presents a rare opportunity to adopt a modern condo lifestyle in one of Ottawa’s most established neighbourhoods. This Hobin designed midrise condo typifies low maintenance, contemporary living. Situated in a forested suburb adjacent to the Kanata North business park, it’s perfect for those who want more time for the things they love—like biking to the office or arriving home in time for an afternoon barbeque on the terrace.



FINISHES & FEATURES • 9’ and 10‘ ceilings • 5 ½” contemporary baseboards • 3 ½“ door and window casings

• Granite or quartz countertops in kitchen and bathrooms

• Solid maple hardwood flooring in living, dining, kitchen, bedrooms, den and halls

• Ensuite master bath with glass shower

• Ceramic in laundry/storage room and bathrooms; option at no cost in entry and kitchen • Under cabinet lighting in kitchen

Presentation Centre 2 The Parkway, Kanata, Ontario Saturday-Wednesday: 12pm - 5pm Thursday and Friday: Available for private appointment.

• Stainless steel fridge, stove, dishwasher and microwave/hood fan

• Gas barbecue hook up on balconies • Gas fireplaces in all units except 1 beds • Floor to ceiling double glazed low-E argon windows

TRANSFORMING YOUR ORGANIZATION THROUGH INFORMATION GOVERNANCE This session will discuss the steps needed to establish an information governance program

Presenter, School of Information Management

in an organization: · Definition of Information governance · Value of Information governance · Principles of Information governance · Information governance models


· Information governance council · Best practices

Thursday, March 30, 2017 | 8:00 – 9:00 am Brookstreet Hotel, 525 Legget Drive, Kanata RSVP to


omen in Communications and Technology (WCT)

at Discover TECHNATA, March 28

Navigating the Job Search in Today’s Gig Economy: Key Lessons from Kanata’s Leading Women in Tech. Presented by WCT National Capital Region and Kanata North Business Association.



join WCt National Capital region and the Kanata North business association for a panel discussion with leading female professionals in ottawa’s technology landscape. hosted as part of the second annual discover teChNata Career and tech Expo, this panel discussion will provide invaluable insights and advice from human resources executives in the tech sector on navigating the job search in today’s gig economy. Panelists will include some of the top women in executive HR roles in technology in Kanata, including Heather Tyrie of You.i TV and more. What is the “Gig Economy”? Since about 2012, there has been a rise in what is referred to as the “gig” or “on demand” economy. This new model sees more and more companies using contingent, freelance or independent contractors as part of their operations structure, shaped



by business models like that of Airbnb and Uber. In fact, a study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40% of American workers would be independent contractors – a trend expected to impact Canada’s employment landscape as well. Many professionals around the world, including in Ottawa’s tech community, sustain themselves by using these online conduits to secure employment and build their careers. This event will provide insights and direction for job-seeking professionals in Ottawa’s tech community, offering creative and innovative strategies for pursuing and securing new roles. About Discover TECHNATA As Canada’s largest Technology Park and a vibrant tech hub, Kanata North has long been recognized as a hotbed of technology innovation. The Kanata North Business Association

When: Tuesday, March 28th, 8am-10am Where: Shakers Room, Brookstreet Hotel, 525 Legget Drive Kanata, ON K2K 2W2 Cost: $25 for WCT Members, $35 for Guests (Non-members). Register: visit WCT at TECHNATA for more details. proudly presents the second annual discover teChNata tech expo and Career hunt, one of the largest career and technology expos in the city. the exposition offers local businesses the opportunities to exhibit their products and services and recruit talent.


es Rechan is a cool guy #halogenlife

Les Rechan is a cool guy. Let me just throw that out there before I get started. Now let me show you where that bold statement came from. In my current edition of Kanata north’s top talent, I set out to meet with Les Rechan, CEO of halogen software on march Road. It was a chilly, fresh afternoon with not a cloud in sight. I was excited to meet with Les. If the rumors were true, I was about to meet a “Legend” as my kids would say. As I wait in reception, I can’t help but notice the energy at Halogen. They don’t just sell strategic talent management solutions and services, they live it. The office has a good vibe. The receptionist is decorating the front desk to celebrate an employee’s new Canadian citizenship. She is happy, smiling and everyone that walks by is



the same. Happy people, lots of laughter. Deliberate attempts to funk up the place are evident. Walls are decorated with art by employees and customers, and covered with the company’s value statements such as “We are serious about fun. Seriously!”, “We have a passion to be the best.” and “We’re here for our customers and each other”. #Halogenlife is contagious and you can’t help but have a spring in your step as you head towards Les’ office. Then you notice the music. It’s just loud enough with a unique funky beat. Really? It’s two o’clock on a Tuesday and Grateful Dead tunes are emanating from the CEO’s office. Les stands at a raised desk catching up on e-mails, surrounded by family pictures, and sculptures made by preschoolers. A picture of a cigar smoking French bulldog with

multi-colored glasses hangs in his office. A Grateful Dead flag and inspirational quotes adorn the walls. There’s a cushion on his chair with skulls on it. The man’s office screams family matters, people matter and let’s have serious fun, seriously. He is wearing jeans with funky blue boots. His powerful voice fills the room and he carries himself with a unique, eclectic style. Yup, this has cool written all over it. When Les speaks, you catch a slight American accent. He was born into a family of 5 kids in Niagara Falls, Ontario then was raised in Buffalo, New York. With first generation immigrant grandparents from Hungary, as a boy he learned that hard work and discipline were the ways to accomplish what you want in life. With a passion for academics, music and athletics, good grades and a Buffalo Jr Sabres hockey career, he got into Brown

University, the seventh-oldest Ivy League College in the United States. At Brown Les completed his Bachelor of Science in Electrical/ Computer Engineering as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Behavior and Management. He remains a big believer in multi-functional education that enables you to see things from different perspectives. Hockey was always a major part of daily life in high school and in university but he speaks of being a “studentathlete” rather than an “athlete-student”. While some teammates went on to hockey careers, Les turned his diverse education into a golden ticket in the business world. He spent his summers in the IBM labs working on PC-DOS lovable luggables, UNIX workstations and Assembler in a mainframe environment. Upon graduation, Les moved to Chicago to work as a System Engineer at IBM, then into customer facing roles in sales, solutions engineering and management. He fondly calls this first stage of his career as Part 1: Getting Grounded. Those first 10 years were a time to diversify his skill set, prepare him for future roles and build relationships with mentors who could point him in the right direction. Les beams when he talks about the incredible mentors that guided him through his career. At the time, IBM was going through a significant transformation and Les was there to see the rise, fall and rise again. At night he continued to sharpen his business skills at Northwestern’s Kellogg School



of Management, earning a Masters in Management with a specialty in Finance. Working with IBM’s incredible people, customers and business leaders while studying advanced business management at night, provided him with a deeper appreciation of what it takes to truly transform a business during tumultuous times.

“Seriously, you can’t take things for granted… If you try to live in the moment, be present, then you can actually have some sort of work life balance, which is so important.” - Les Rechan Les refers to the next stage of his career as Part 2: Going Global. With a solid foundation in engineering and sales under his belt, Les was ready to take it on the road and gain international experience. By this time he had met his future wife in Chicago and they were both ready for a big move to London. After a year in Europe and getting married, they were off to Singapore for an Asia Pacific assignment. For IBM, AsiaPacific was experiencing explosive growth as new travel and transportation and communications infrastructure was being built, so the region was definitely the place to be. “Going Global was a smart move and I have my Australian wife Meredithe to thank for that. I could have kept my head down doing 80 hour work weeks in the US but physically moving to the European and Asia Pacific regions, and learning that diversity is beauty, was a step-change for my career”,

remembers Les. And for more than just his career. His five children were born in three years while in Singapore and, if you’re doing the math, that’s two sets of twins! As he remembers those intense times he pauses and looks me in the eye. “Seriously, you can’t take things for granted. When things are going ridiculously fast, you need to make sure you appreciate each moment, and that has always been a huge challenge for me. If you try to live in the moment, be present, then you can actually have some sort of work life balance, which is so important. If you let the lines blur, it can be too much.” Les was traveling a lot at this stage so time with his spouse and children were precious. “You have to learn to slow down while going full speed. To come home and be surrounded by my family was so special and always helped keep me grounded.” Les describes transforming not just as a career professional but as a human being. He talks about becoming a better parent, a better partner and a better employee. “Be nice and join in” are words he learned to appreciate and still tries to live by as much as he can. He explains that “being nice” is taking the time to notice those around you and being empathetic so that you can relate in ways that really impact them. “Joining in” means being emotionally connected, walking in the team’s shoes, and being mindful of the people around you. It has allowed him to have richer conversations and maximize his fun and motivation at the same time, feeding off

Every day Halogen competes with the big players. Moving fast and punching above their weight is a necessity. Halogen is all about helping people bring their best to work, and enabling their best at work. And Les is no exception. He talks about finding his place at Halogen and being so excited about playing his role on an awesome and very special team.

others. And this guy likes to have fun. Wanting to move his family back to North America, Les left IBM and spent the next 10 years in corporate officer roles and as an investor, board member or leader of small to medium to large sized software companies. This is Part 3: The Transformation Stage of his career. Transforming companies, globally scaling go to market capabilities, acquisitions, partnerships, and winning multi-million dollar deals gave him the same thrills those first summers in the IBM lab gave him. He was in learning mode with a passion to compete and win in the globally competitive software business. He moved to Seattle and then Silicon Valley. Working next to the world’s top tech companies was a transformative experience for this ex-IBMer. He became focused on how the plumbing of the software world works and how to differentiate in a crowded, fast-paced market space. Get it done now! Close the deal today! Innovate faster! Yet there was also a new shift toward taking care of people and winning with talent happening at many companies. The groundswell towards treating employees with respect and really taking care of them, was enlightening. It planted the seeds for Les’ future at Halogen, still many years in the future. Then came the opportunity to move to Canada and join Cognos as COO. His family were thrilled, bought skis and signed up for ski lessons. It was another career game changer working with mentors Rob Ashe and Ron Zambonini, two tech giants with unbelievable business minds. When IBM bought Cognos in 2008,



So what makes this guy tick? The painting of a bulldog wearing funky glasses and holding a cigar was a given to Les as a gift by his daughter. The painting was picked up at a charity auction in London, Ontario. Les was back where he started, but now with an IBM that was completely different from what he had known. During the next six years he worked on eight acquisitions, continuing to hone his corporate strategy, merger integration and business analytics chops. When Les left IBM a second time, he settled into an active retirement, working with venture funds and corporate boards. But when the opportunity came to join Halogen as a board member, and then CEO, he jumped in with both feet and Part 4 of his career, as yet unnamed but is bound to be a good story, began. With the incoming wave of millennial employees and the push for a more strategic role for HR, Halogen is at the centre of helping the HR world modernize. The company’s products apply to every mid-market enterprise in an unsaturated market space, so it’s a race against time in a highly competitive space. Les likens it to his early days in Asia Pacific when infrastructure was first being installed and the market was transforming rapidly.

It’s no surprise that Les is hard-driving and resilient. If he misses an e-mail, there is the moment of panic when he is worried that maybe a competitor didn’t miss that email. But he is working to better monitor himself to try to find a balance that works, which is a constant challenge for him. He used to go the whole day without eating, but now his health is more important to him and he takes it a lot more seriously (hence, the banana resting on his desk). Mental well-being is just as important. Hot yoga is a favourite stress reliever. Work hard and play hard. This guy means it and tells me that you can’t be at the top of your game unless you are truly happy, energized and passionate about what you do. This also means giving back to the community, something that’s very important to Les and to the team at Halogen. All of Halogen’s CSR activities are led by employees, a group affectionately called Halogen Helps. “I’m very proud of the work H-Crew does to support so many great causes in the communities where we live and work. Whether it’s through our support for CHEO, the Royal Foundation for Mental Health, Centraide in Quebec City, or the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, everyone rallies

together and brings a lot of energy to support so many great causes. The activities we host, such as Halopalooza, the Halloween costume auction, or the Chili Cook-Off, really help bring out the very best in people, and that’s just to constantly give to those who need some support.” Les’ personality truly shines through in his colourful taste in clothes. At a recent Stratford Managers Executive Forum on Achieving Scale Les impressed the audience with his wisdom while his cool purple shoes had them spellbound. The story goes that when he first joined Halogen, many people in the company honoured him on his birthday with a “dress like Les day”. At first he didn’t even notice and just thought that everyone looked particularly snazzy that day! He loves his iPhone and his Google calendar. He tries to keep his family and work appointments in view at all times. Remember he has 5 kids so it’s a jam-packed schedule. He also loves Feedly. It’s a great news aggregator app that compiles feeds from a variety of online sources. Given his love of music, it’s also no surprise that Spotify and XM Radio are his other favourites. But like a true member of “Team HALO” Les’ true favourite app is Halogen Talentspace. “Have you seen it?” he enthuses. “It’s Halogen’s award-winning talent management solution. We are all about unlocking happiness, passion and success at work. Everybody is top talent in their own way and this solution helps



managers and professionals to not only bring out their best, but to unleash and nurture it. This is where the world is going…to on-going conversations and next generation performance management!” Les takes me on a tour of the Halogen offices. The H-crew staff are smiling and call him by his first name. You can see his influence everywhere. The walls have been painted to make the space more colourful. Art work by employees hangs on the walls. Inspirational quotes and funky breakout rooms are also employee-designed. You can tell he loves this place and can see his pride in the team. Fridays at Halogen are GSD days – Get Sh%&@#t Done days. That means no meetings. It’s casual on purpose which forces people to get up, go for a walk and connect. There are beer fridges in the team lounges, with actual beer in them. In a conference room a group of

people play euchre – a 15-year tradition I am told. As I get up to leave Les’ office, I take a final look at the colourful bulldog with the cigar clutched in its paw and smile. There are good things happening at Halogen and Les is passionate about being in the moment, “right here, right now”. But among the smiles, the colour and the energy, what really sticks with me is the music. I exit the building, jump into my car and crank some tunes, resolving to wear something colourful to work the next day. He has that effect on people. Yup, Les Rechan is a cool guy. Amanda Gordon is Vice President Human Resources Consulting with Stratford Managers and can be reached at amanda.gordon@ With experts in strategy, human resources, finance, sales, marketing, operations, intellectual property and information technology, Stratford Managers helps companies achieve their business potential.

Les sharing his welcoming comments during at Halogen Software’s customer conference in 2015, which was part of the company’s 10th anniversary celebration of the event.


ntrepreneur Spotlight: PAPA SAM Papa Sam believes very strongly in three things for his business: good food, good people, and good prices. Holding true to this mantra has had people coming back for decades.

Papa Sam As someone who has been helping shape the community of Kanata for over 40 years, Papa Sam is undoubtedly a hidden gem in Kanata. If you are a newcomer to Kanata, it won’t take long for you to be introduced to his restaurant. Papa Sam has had restaurants in Kanata since he moved here in 1977, and has watched the area grow from 4,000 people to the over 100,000 that live and work here now. Back when Kanata was largely a farming town, he saw the opportunity to become a part of the community and started the Kanata Tavern as his first entrepreneurial venture. Even back then, there was a small tech park that was growing and showing promise. Over the years, Papa Sam saw that as the tech industry grew, Kanata did as well, attracting lots of young and talented people to the area that would later become Canada’s largest tech park. Papa Sam was right about Kanata being a place where he could be part of the community, and his business



practices have allowed his restaurant to flourish. He treats his customers like his own family, and genuinely wants to get to know the members of the community. His welcoming nature and dedication to the business is consistent and genuine, and because of it he’s had customers who have been coming there for generations. On any given evening, there will be regulars gathered at Papa Sam’s. For instance, last Thursday a group of women who had been coming to Papa Sam’s for three generations were gathered around a table, sharing food and laughter for their weekly girl’s night out. They said going to Papa Sam’s is like stepping into his living room, and being there feels as comfortable as home. They know they will always be welcomed with a smile and a delicious homemade meal. Papa Sam believes very strongly in three things for his business: good food, good people, and good prices. Holding true to this mantra has had people coming back for decades.

His advice for the young entrepreneurs of Kanata is a distillation of his simple time-tested method: 1. Know your business before you start. If you don’t know it, learn it. 2. Make a good product and stand behind it. 3. Have good work ethics as they mean a lot to your customers. 4. Owning a business is a 24 hour job, and it’s hard work, but if you stick to it, it pays off in the end. If you have yet to meet the legend, pop by and visit. You may want to try the pizza he’s famous for, but his shawarma, shish kebab, steak, salads, and other tasty treats are all worth the trip. papa sam’s is located at 700 march road in Kanata, right in the heart of the Kanata technology park.

The Kanata Networker February 2017  

The Kanata Networker is an electronic publication which highlights news and events from the Kanata North business community.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you