Kanata North businesses support Kanata Food Cupboard KRP Properties and the Kanata Food Cupboard joined forces in May for the first annual youCANhelp
event. Teams formed by several of KRP’s tenants from the Kanata Research Park and Kanata North
Technology Park – Embotics, Iceberg Networks, Investors Group, IQVIA, Technology Integration Group, Payment Source as well as Syntronic Research and Development – produced seven sculptures of non-perishable food items, which resulted in a donation of around 5,400 lbs. of food. The three-day event was held at a time of year when food bank donations are generally slower, after the holiday donation rush. KRP representative Natasha
Plotnikov said the event was also valuable for those who participated, combining team building, community building, and a good cause. Plotnikov said KRP is always interested in initiatives that not only give back to the community, but that also help strengthen community bonds within the technology park. KRP plans to make youCANhelp an annual event, aiming for an even higher donation goal in 2019.
Thusha Agampodi is the manager at Magnet Forensics in Kanata. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON
where we work
Magnet Forensics’ growing Kanata team helps law enforcement fight crime in the cloud Tech firm builds unique workplace culture with the right people in the right place
sk any of the people who work in Magnet Forensics’ Kanata office why they are there, and they will give you one of two reasons. For Ian McGillen, it’s the work itself. McGillen, who once worked at BlackBerry, now works as a software test specialist in Kanata North – the Waterloo company’s first separate R&D office. The local office houses the team dedicated to developing and testing the
10 KANATA NETWORKER SUMMER 2018
cloud component of software used daily around the world to prosecute criminals, including for such notable cases as the Boston Marathon bombing. “It’s very rewarding,” says McGillen. “What you directly work on is being used by law enforcement to capture those people … it’s pretty awesome.” For Craig Hodge, also in software testing, it’s even simpler than that: “The people.”
People and passion – these are the two words that manager Thusha Agampodi had in mind when she set to work creating the Ottawa team. A former manager at BlackBerry, Agampodi used her connections to start Magnet Forensics’ Kanata location in the heart of the technology park, building a team that has continued to grow ever since. When hiring, she says the person is just as important as their resume. She’s looking for that passion, a belief in what Magnet Forensics does, and she’s carefully crafted a team that not only embodies those values, but also functions as more than just an office of employees. “We care about each other even outside of work,” says Agampodi. “I feel valued.” As software developer Daniel VanderVeen puts it, “We’re kind of like a family here.” That comfort is clear in the way the team interacts and jokes with each other. On Thursdays they like to wear matching shirts – on the day the Networker visited, six were wearing “Sky Pirates” team shirts designed by one of their colleagues – and at 3 p.m., a group huddled near the windows to play HQ, a daily live trivia game. As with many families, food is a big part of the culture at Magnet Forensics. They have catered lunches together every Friday, and Agampodi sometimes likes to surprise her employees with breakfast before their daily morning meetings – usually waffles. “I like to bake a lot, and they’re my guinea pigs,” she laughs. What unites the Kanata Magnet team
the most, however, is the work they are doing and the people they are doing it for.
Magnet Forensics founder Jad Saliba is a former police officer in the tech crimes unit who found himself working on a lot of cases involving Facebook messages, especially child exploitation cases, and wanted to be able to access the information left behind on devices such as laptop computers and cell phones. Saliba found the process of scrubbing hardware for data used to investigate child exploitation, terrorism and other cases to be time consuming, and wanted to speed up the process with a digital tool. In the evenings, he began developing what would eventually become Magnet’s flagship product, Internet Evidence Finder (IEF). “I was giving (the software) away for free because I was passionate about helping others who were working similar cases,” says Saliba. However, he soon realized demand for the software was much higher than he could handle, and he decided to found Magnet Forensics. Now, IEF is used by thousands of agencies worldwide. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, they have also developed a product called AXIOM, which helps investigators comb through data faster. Version 2.0 of AXIOM was released earlier this year, which Saliba called a big milestone for Magnet. The Kanata office’s mandate was to create the cloud component of the IEF software, allowing access to data stored