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Optimistic outlook

Uncertainty from the US election and a rise in anti-trade rhetoric were cited as reasons for the slow export growth, reduced business investments and increased inflation we can expect for Canada in 2017, according to Smith School of Business experts.

Evan Dudley (Finance) made his predictions for the 2017 Canadian economy at the annual Queen’s Smith Business Forecast Luncheon held last week in Kingston.

Blair Robertson (Finance) makes a presentation on the local economy during the annual Business Forecast Luncheon hosted by the Smith School of Business. (Supplied Photo)

“It’s not just Donald Trump and the challenges ahead for Canada-US relations that should concern us,” Dr. Dudley says. “The world is shifting towards greater protectionism – in the last six months alone, 145 new trade restrictions were imposed globally.”

Slow export growth, reduced business investments, and trade uncertainty will constrain output for Canada, he says. The coming year may see marginal growth in Canada’s real GDP, up 1.75 per cent from 1.40 per cent in 2016.  As well, persistent low oil prices and the difference in monetary policies between the U.S. and Canada will keep the value of the loonie down, with the Canada/US exchange rate holding at $0.75 USD, Dr. Dudley predicted.

Trade restrictions and expansionary fiscal policy on both sides of the border will push prices higher in the near term, with inflation expected to rise to 1.75 per cent from 1.5 per cent in 2016. The Canadian unemployment rate will remain around 7 per cent due to uncertainty about US economic policies under the Trump administration and low business spending in Canada.

Dr. Dudley’s forecast was not all doom and gloom, however, with strong growth projected for Kingston’s local economy.

The event closed with a panel discussion on “Creating the Conditions for Local Economic Growth,” moderated by the Smith School of Business’ Ken Wong (Marketing). Panel members included Mayor Bryan Paterson and Councillor Laura Turner.

The 2017 Forecast
• Real GDP growth rate of 1.75 per cent
• Inflation rate rise to 1.75 per cent
• Unemployment rate unchanged 7.0 per cent
• Interest rate (prime) unchanged at 2.7 per cent 
• Exchange rate (US/CDN) unchanged at $0.75

Wong emphasized the need to “broaden the tax base, foster more population growth, and, most of all, increase private sector investment.” Ms. Turner spoke to the city’s strengths as a tourist destination, noting the benefits of the low Canadian dollar in attracting US visitors.

Mayor Paterson said “2016 has been a great year” for Kingston, citing recent multi-million dollar investments in the city from Feihe International, a China-based manufacturer of infant formula, and Portuguese food processor Frulact Group. The goal, the mayor explained, is “branding Kingston as a city of entrepreneurship and innovation and working together to grow the city.”

Dr. Dudley shared the mayor’s optimism for Kingston looking forward, citing two expansion projects – Providence Care ($300 million) and the municipal airport ($16 million) – and the new Dunin-Deshpande Innovation Centre at Queen’s, as initiatives that will help spark growth in the city.

In addition to the forecast and panel discussion, attendees were treated to a non-traditional take on investment strategy from Blair Robertson (Finance) and a brief history of the forecast luncheon from the event’s founder Merv Daub, the Smith professor emeritus who established the luncheon 35 years ago to forge a connection between the school and the greater Kingston business community.

Fight for food

  • [Utcha Sawyers with students]
    Utcha Sawyers, a senior manager at FoodShare Toronto, speaks with students during the recent Social Innovation Bootcamp. (Submitted photo)
  • [Mara Shaw]
    Mara Shaw of Loving Spoonful leads students in a discussion of food justice and food insecurity. (Submitted photo)
  • [Utcha Sawyers and Tina Dacin]
    Utcha Sawyers (left), a senior manager at FoodShare Toronto, and Tina Dacin, Director, Smith School of Business Centre for Social Impact. (Submitted photo)

Hacking food justice was the theme at the recent Social Innovation Bootcamp hosted by the Centre for Social Impact at the Smith School of Business

The bi-annual bootcamp convenes Smith MBA and Bachelor of Commerce students who are working towards their Certificate in Responsible Leadership with community organizations and social enterprises who are addressing critical social problems.

Working in small teams, 65 students and representatives from FoodShare Toronto and the Loving Spoonful came together to apply an accelerated one-day design thinking process to three opportunities that FoodShare Canada is grappling with.      

The contributions from Smith students provided FoodShare and the Loving Spoonful with a set of unique ideas and approaches. At the same time, Smith students got a deeper look at how innovative organizations are using market-based approaches and community engagement to improve access to healthy food. 

“It was great to meet and work with people on a real-life problem. Together, we came up with a solution that really inspired me,” says Sophie Labrosse, Com’19.

The certificate program at the Centre for Social Impact offers graduate and undergraduate Smith School of Business students an opportunity to augment their degrees with an exciting experience-based, integrative exposure to the dynamic field of responsible leadership – exploring in depth areas such as business ethics, social innovation, social entrepreneurship, sustainability, and community engagement.

Visit the Centre for Social Impact website for more information about the Certificate in Responsible Leadership program and the Social Innovation Bootcamp, which is supported by Michael Kehoe, Com’78, and Suncor Energy Foundation.

Consultations held on fall term break

Task Force hosts town hall to gather input on fall break.

  • Deputy Provost and Chair of the Fall Term Break Task Force, Teri Shearer, welcomes attendees and explains the role of the task force in examining the implementation of a fall term break.
    Deputy Provost and Chair of the Fall Term Break Task Force, Teri Shearer, welcomes attendees and explains the role of the task force in examining the implementation of a fall term break.
  • Deputy Provost and Chair of the Fall Term Break Task Force, Teri Shearer, responds to an inquiry from a student with regards to the implementation of a fall break.
    Deputy Provost and chair of the Fall Term Break Task Force, Teri Shearer, responds to an inquiry from a student with regards to the implementation of a fall break.
  • Students line up to pose questions and discuss the implementation of a fall term break.
    Students line up to pose questions and discuss the implementation of a fall term break.

The Queen’s Fall Term Break Task Force held a town hall on Nov. 10 to allow students the opportunity to have their say on the implementation of a fall term break.

The meeting, led by Deputy Provost and Chair of the Fall Term Break Task Force, Teri Shearer, examined topics including student priorities, the current pre-exam study break, orientation week and other details. 

The town hall is one part of the consultation process, which has included a survey open to all members of the Queen’s community and various other consultation sessions. The Task Force, formed by Principal Daniel Woolf, has been asked to consider the best way to introduce a fall term break for direct-entry undergraduate students in Arts and Science, Engineering, Commerce, and Nursing. It will deliver a comprehensive recommendation to Principal Woolf in February 2017.

More information about the work of the task force can be found on the University Secretariat’s website.

Smith School of Business, COC announce strategic partnership

 

[Smith-COC]
Arash Madani from Rogers Sportsnet speaks with Olympic athletes, from left, Benoit Huot, Ben Russell, Rosie MacLennan and Nicole Forrester at the Smith-COC partnership launch on Nov. 3. (Supplied Photo)

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Smith School of Business at Queen’s University announced an eight-year strategic partnership on Thursday, Nov. 3, that will provide scholarships for COC athletes, shared coaching synergies and customized leadership training for COC staff and partners.

Smith will be the first business school to become a Team Canada partner and the exclusive provider of business education for the COC.

The announcement was made at Smith’s Toronto campus by COC Chief Executive Officer, Chris Overholt, and David Saunders, Dean of Smith School of Business, with several Olympic athletes in attendance.

“The COC is committed to providing Canada's athletes with the tools they need to be successful on and off the field of play,” says Christopher Overholt, CEO, Canadian Olympic Committee. “Our first ever partnership with an academic institution marks a significant step towards this commitment. We simply cannot ask our athletes to set aside their personal goals and aspirations for sport and for Canada and then not have a plan for them after they are done. We are excited to partner with such a world-class business school.”

Up to 1,200 Game Plan athletes will be eligible for scholarships for a broad range of Smith School of Business programs, such as the Graduate Diploma in Business, the Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Smith’s suite of MBA programs, among others. Programs are offered in a variety of locations across Canada, some with flexible learning options that can accommodate athletes who are still training.

“Smith School of Business students, Olympic and Paralympic athletes have much in common,” says David Saunders, Dean, Smith School of Business. "All are known for their dedication, leadership and performing under pressure, and now they will collaborate and learn from each other in our classrooms. Similarly, we are thrilled to add the best practices of Olympic coaching to the team-based learning experience for all our students.”

Both the COC and Smith share a high-performance coaching culture. By sharing best practices through workshops and networking, Smith will develop “Coaching 2.0” — the next level of coaching to enhance team-based learning and coaching in business education at Smith.

“This partnership will help to solidify the many transferable skills that athletes develop over the course of their competitive careers and open up new career options for Canadian athletes,” says Jennifer Heil, three-time Olympian, two-time Olympic medalist. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to elevate my skills at a world-class institution and to start the EMBA program at Smith.”

The COC will also invest in enhanced leadership training with Smith for COC staff and other sporting community members through customized and open enrollment executive education programs.

Tracking our trash

Queen's University is required each year to conduct a waste audit and thanks to a new partnership, the task this year has been turned into an experiential learning opportunity for students.

Through the audit, a legislated operational activity required by the Ministry of the Environment, the university is able to calculate the annual waste diversion rate. A total of 44 students from ENSC290 and COMM408 courses volunteered to sort waste and write an essay on their experience in exchange for extra credit.

The audit was conducted from Oct. 4-7 and involved 32 buildings on campus. This year the Sustainability Office and Physical Plant Services partnered with Steven Moore, a Continuing Adjunct with the Smith School of Business who has developed and teaches two sustainability courses, to offer students an experiential learning opportunity by taking part in the waste audit.

As Moore explains, this was hands-on work as the students were required to sort the waste into different streams, weigh the material type and record the data.

While the program offered an experiential learning opportunity, it also opened a lot of eyes among the students.

“The word ‘shocked’ appears a number of times in their comments,” Moore says, pointing to the essays submitted by the participants following the audit. “They only took one day’s waste from each building and I think they were really surprised at how much waste there was and how much was not really waste, including gym shoes, pyjama bottoms, tights and phone cords. I think they were also surprised by how much (of the waste) was perfectly good food in unopened packages – and how much of the waste should have been recycled but wasn’t.”

The final report from the waste audit will be released by the end of the year.

While the program provided a new experience for the students it also will help the university track the effectiveness of its waste diversion programs.  Last year the campus achieved a waste diversion rate of 47 per cent.

“This activity allows us to determine the composition of the waste stream, identify contamination issues and understand the level of participation in the recycling program on campus by user groups. The students assisted with these activities under the direction of GFL Environmental and our office,” says Llynwen Osborne, Recycling Coordinator for the Sustainability Office. “The Sustainability Office was really excited to have so many students participate in auditing the campus waste stream.”

Moore says that the majority of the students took some time to get used to handling the materials, but all were very engaged in the activity and walked away with new insights into the amount of waste that is being tossed away.

“I think it will stick with them,” he says. “I don't think any of them will forget it.”

Waste Reduction Week is marked from Oct. 17-21

To learn more about the Sustainability Office and its initiatives and programs, visit the Queen’s Sustainability website.

Summit making an impact

Today’s university students may be the leaders of tomorrow, but they can always use a bit of guidance and support when it comes to making the right choices.

That’s what the Social Impact Summit aims to provide.

[Social Impact Summit]
Harry Kraemer, former CEO of Baxter International and current Kellogg School of Management professor and best-selling author, speaks to delegates at last year's Social Impact Summit. (Supplied Photo) 

Now in its 12th year, the two-day conference, hosted by the Centre for Social Impact at Smith School of Business on Friday, Oct. 14 and Saturday, Oct. 15, brings together leading academics and practitioners to expose students to a wide variety of issues and topics that will empower them to move forward and make a social impact. This year’s theme is ‘Imagine Possibilities.’

“We are delighted to welcome back so many alumni and speakers who inspire, educate, and build community with our students,” says Tina Dacin, Director, Centre for Social Impact, Smith School of Business.

The event begins with a keynote address on Friday by Juno Award-winning musician and Queen’s alumnus Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo. He will be introduced by fellow alumnus Walt Macnee, Vice Chairman of Mastercard and Director of their Centre for Inclusive Growth, who first taught Mr. Cuddy how to play the guitar during their time at Queen’s.

A full day of learning and networking activities follows on Saturday, including morning plenary sessions featuring Mr. Macnee and Jacqueline Prehogan, founder and president of Canada Pooch Ltd. The afternoon offers a series of panel discussions and workshops on topics such as Women in Economic Development, Social Enterprise and Aboriginal Initiatives.

More than 165 delegates are expected to attend the Social Impact Summit, including Queen’s commerce students as well MBA and Master of International Business students, many of whom are enrolled in the Certificate in Responsible Leadership Program.

Visit the Centre for Social Impact for the complete agenda.

The Centre for Social Impact at Smith School of Business was established in 2004 with a mission to educate students and foster outreach, research, and advocacy on issues impacting our local and global communities. Every year, the centre presents and supports a wide range of programming for students, staff, faculty, and members of the Queen’s community to learn more about the processes and practices that drive social impact – including the business practice of responsible leadership and, more recently, social innovation, which refers to an innovative product, process, or program that profoundly and positively changes a social system and is widely recognized as a key driver of solutions to such complex issues. For more information please contact the centre at csi@queensu.ca.

Current issue of For the Record

For the Record provides postings of appointment, committee, grant, award, PhD examination, and other notices set out by collective agreements and university policies and processes. It is the university’s primary vehicle for sharing this information with our community.

The next issue of For the Record will be published Thursday, Oct. 20. The deadline for submitting information is Tuesday, Oct. 18. For the Record is published bi-weekly throughout the academic year and monthly during the summer.

Submit For the Record information for posting to Senior Communications Officer Wanda Praamsma

Appointments

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

New appointments:

  • Julián Ortiz, Associate Professor, Robert M Buchan Department of Mining – Aug 1, 2016

Faculty of Health Sciences

Daniel W. Howes – Head of the Department of Critical Care Medicine

Dean Richard Reznick is pleased to announce that Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) at Queen’s University, has appointed Daniel W. Howes as head of the Department of Critical Care Medicine for a five-year period as of Sept.1, 2016.

Dr. Howes completed his undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Guelph and his medical degree at Dalhousie University in 1994. He completed his residency in emergency medicine at Queen’s in 1999, and received a Critical Care Fellowship at Queen’s in 1998. Dr. Howes attended Harvard University’s Macey Institute Program for Health Science Educators in 2006.

Dr. Howes joined Queen’s as an assistant professor in 2001 and is currently a professor in the departments of Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Medicine. He is the director of the Clinical Simulation Centre for the School of Medicine, as well as the lead for the Kingston General Hospital RACE team, and serves as the medical director for the Regional Trauma Program of Southeastern Ontario.

Dr. Howes has served in several key roles as part of Kingston and southeastern Ontario’s trauma programs and trauma education programs. He has been the recipient of several teaching awards, including the 2016 H.F. Pross Award, the 2011 Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award, and was Critical Care Teacher of the Year in 2005-06 and 2010-11. He also received the Canadian Association of Medical Educators Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Contributions to Medical Education in 2012.

Dr. Howes is an active researcher, with academic interests in resuscitation, medical education and medical simulation. As an active member of several research teams, Dr. Howes has been involved in multiple funded research initiatives and scholarly publications, and has presented widely at national and international conferences.

Dr. Reznick extends his thanks to John Drover for his leadership and service to the Department of Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Drover has been the leader of Queen's Critical Care Medicine Program for 14 years, and it was through Dr. Drover’s vision and his efforts that Critical Care Medicine was established as a department of Queen’s University in September 2015.

Awards

New inductees for Smith Faculty Hall of Fame announced

Established in 2009, the Faculty Hall of Fame recognizes Smith School of Business faculty members who made significant contributions to the school during their tenure. Outstanding research, exceptional mentoring, and excellent teaching are a few of the accomplishments of the 2016 Faculty Hall of Fame inductees.

Recipients are chosen by a selection committee comprised of the dean, senior university leaders, alumni, as well as current faculty and students.This year’s inductees are:

  • R.G.R (Gordon) Cassidy: 1972-1997
  • R.H (Bob) Crandall: 1961-1990
  • R.L (Rick) Jackson: 1974-2014
  • C.A (Carl) Lawrence: 1963-1991
  • J.E (Ev) Smyth: 1946-1961

All inductees will be honoured at a ceremony in Goodes Hall on Oct. 11. Pen and ink portraits of each member will be displayed in Goodes Hall.

To learn more about the contributions of these inspirational professors, visit the Faculty Hall of Fame website.

Committees

Advisory Committee — Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

Queen’s Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Benoit-Antoine Bacon announced that Kimberly Woodhouse’s second five-year term as dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science will end on June 30, 2017, and that Dr. Woodhouse has indicated that she does not wish to be considered for another term. 

Provost Bacon will chair a committee to advise Principal Daniel Woolf on the present state and future prospects of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and on the selection of the next dean. 

The provost’s office invites letters and commentary regarding the faculty and to suggest individuals to serve on the advisory committee via email to lacey.monk@queensu.ca, until Oct. 10, 2016. Respondents are asked to indicate whether they wish to have their letters shown, in confidence, to the members of the advisory committee.

Headship Selection Committee — Department of Chemical Engineering

James McLellan’s term as head of the Department of Chemical Engineering ends June 30, 2017. 

In accordance with the terms of Article 41 of the Collective Agreement between Queen’s University Faculty Association and Queen’s University, a selection committee will be formed to consider the present state and future prospects of the department, and to assist the provost and vice-principal (academic) in the selection of a department head. Members of the bargaining unit will elect five members. Faculty, staff and students are also invited to nominate staff and students from the Department of Chemical Engineering and faculty from cognate disciplines, for membership on the selection committee. Nominations should be sent to Dean Kim Woodhouse (Chair), c/o Dayna Smith (dayna.smith@queensu.ca) Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science by Oct. 20, 2016.  

Human Resources

Successful Candidates

Job Title: Registered Practical Nurse (USW Local 2010)
Department: Student Wellness Services
Competition: 2016-229
Successful Candidate: Jenna McManus

Job Title: Programs Assistant (USW Local 2010)
Department: Department of Philosophy
Competition: 2016-283
Successful Candidate: Susanne Cliff-Jungling

Job Title: Graduate Assistant (USW Local 2010)
Department: Faculty of Education
Competition: 2016-258
Successful Candidate: Cassandra Bryce

Job Title: Departmental Assistant (USW Local 2010)
Department: Emergency Medicine
Competition: 2016-263
Successful Candidate: WITHDRAWN

Job Title: Director, Finance - Facilities
Department: Physical Plant Services
Competition: 2016-202
Successful Candidate: Ginette Denford (Student Affairs)

Job Title: Manager, ITS Finance and Administration
Department: Information Technology Services
Competition: 2016-208
Successful Candidate: Mary Kemp

Job Title: Administrative Assistant Student Services (USW Local 2010)
Department: Office of the Vice-Provost and Dean Services Affairs
Competition: 2016-230
Successful Candidate: Gail Motut-Plata (Disability Services)

Job Title: Manager, Financial Analysis and Reporting
Department: Financial Services
Competition: 2016-218
Successful Candidate: Michelle Perry

Job Title: Business Analyst, Gift Planning
Department: Development, Gift Planning
Competition: 2016-212
Successful Candidate: Lydia Scholle-Cotton

Job Title: Graduate Assistant (USW Local 2010)
Department: Faculty of Education
Competition: 2016-261
Successful Candidate: Janice Tsui

5 things to ease the onQ transition

Queen’s new learning management system, onQ, is now fully implemented across campus. IT Services (ITS) and the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offer numerous supports and encourage instructors to take advantage of the drop-in sessions, workshops, and mobile help unit.

Selina Idlas, onQ Educational Support in the CTL, Margaret Hickling, Solutions Specialist in ITS, and Jacey Carnegie, onQ Transition Lead in ITS, are members of the support team available to help faculty members adjust to the new learning management system.
  1. The new onQ Support website has been developed to support students, instructors, TAs, and support staff in their use of onQ. The site features step-by-step instructions, FAQs, and videos on creating and using onQ courses, as well as links to training workshops and various methods of support.
  1. 24/7 help is available: The university is running a pilot of the End User Support (EUS) feature. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by email, chat, or phone. The EUS is operated by staff familiar with all functionality within the D2L or Desire2Learn “Brightspace” platform on which onQ is built. Full details on the support website
  1. Daily drop-ins – now through Sept. 23: The daily drop-ins are held in B205, Mackintosh-Corry Hall (main floor, across from cafeteria) from 10-11 am. Staff are available to answer your onQ questions. These sessions provide you with one-on-one support.
  1. Weekly workshops: These 1.5-hour training sessions cover the basics of setting up a course in onQ and give you the necessary tools to get started in the system.
  1. The Mobile Unit in the Faculty of Arts and Science: This team of students is available to work one-on-one with Arts and Science instructors in their own offices to assist with various administrative tasks within their onQ courses. The students can help with tasks such as: formatting content, setting up the Grade Book, creating Discussions/Topics, uploading videos and files, creating Groups, posting News Items, and creating Rubrics. For more information on the new onQ Mobile Unit, visit the onQ Support website.

September is here and classes have started. Be sure to sign up for onQ Training or stop by a drop-in for help with your onQ course.

 

 

Flags lowered for David Bonham

Flags on campus have been lowered for Professor David Bonham who passed away at home on Sunday, Sept. 11.

[David Bonham]
David Bonham, a former professor and administrator at Queen's University, died Sunday, Sept. 11 at home. (University Communications) 

Professor Bonham was cross-appointed to the Faculty of Law and the School of Business during his 30 years at the university and also served as Vice-Principal (Finance) from 1971-77 and then Vice-Principal (Resources) from 1984-88.

After his retirement from the university, he became a founding member of the Retirees’ Association of Queen’s and was chair of its Pension Committee.

Professor Bonham was also well known within the Kingston community and from 1978 to 2009 was a partner, then counsel, with Cunningham Swan Carty Little and Bonham. He also devoted much time to charitable and volunteer organizations including as Chair of the Anna and Edward C. Churchill Foundation, Vice-Chair of Hospice Kingston, sat on the Board of Directors of University Hospitals Kingston Foundation, and the Board of Hotel Dieu Hospital.

Professor Bonham received both the Padre Laverty and the John Orr awards from Queen’s and most recently received the Distinguished Service Award in 2015.

Visitation will be held at James Reid Funeral Home on John Counter Boulevard, between 2 and 4 p.m. and 7 and 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16. His funeral will be held at St. George's Cathedral in Kingston at 11 am Saturday, Sept.  17.

More information is available online

Mining venture strikes gold in pitch contest

  • [RockMass team members]
    RockMass Technologies won first prize at the QICSI Venture Pitch Competition on Aug. 18. The company includes Matas Sriubiskis, Matthew Gubasta, Shelby Yee, Nichola Trinh, Boyang Fu and Rigers Rukaj (left to right).
  • OneSpecies team members Elena Routledge and Kenedy Assman make their presentation during the final pitch competition for the Queen's Innovation Connection Summer Initiative (QICSI).
    OneSpecies team members Elena Routledge and Kenedy Assman make their presentation during the final pitch competition for the Queen's Innovation Connection Summer Initiative (QICSI).
  • Nikita Kopotun unveils the Paperweight team's innovative printer during the final pitch competition.
    Nikita Kopotun unveils the Paperweight team's innovative printer during the final pitch competition.
  • [Kerry Readwin with Laura Yu]
    NorthSprout member Kerry Readwin (Com'17), left, explains her product to Laura Yu, Business Development Manager, Academic Entrepreneurship, with Ontario Centres of Excellence.
  • Team members of Amala answer questions from the judges panel regarding their product  – a yoga mat made with algae  –  at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Aug. 18.
    Team members of Amala answer questions from the judges panel regarding their product – a yoga mat made with algae – at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Aug. 18.
  • [Jimmy Hamilton with Neil Longhurst]
    Jimmy Hamilton (Artsci'17), left, a member of OneSpecies, speaks with Neil Longhurst (MBA'77), a QICSI mentor.

Months of hard work and long hours have paid off for the six Queen’s University students who co-founded RockMass Technologies.

The company won the Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative (QICSI) Venture Pitch Competition, beating out seven other teams for the top prize of $30,000 in seed-funding.

RockMass Technologies is working to improve the safety and efficiency of geological mapping in the mining, civil engineering, and exploration industries. According to the company, the device “automatically maps a rock face while the software analyses the data and breaks it down into key information that is used to determine the structural stability of a tunnel, mine shaft and/or rock face.”

The technology is based on research conducted at Queen’s by Professor Joshua Marshall and PhD candidate Marc Gallant. Dr. Marshall and Mr. Gallant patented the technology through PARTEQ and the QICSI students licensed it.

“We are so fortunate to have this great technology to use. It’s really great to be able to commercialize Queen’s research and take it to market,” says Matas Sriubiskis, Chief Executive Officer of RockMass Technologies. 

Mr. Sriubiskis (Artsci’17) and his teammates Shelby Yee (Sc’16), Chief Operating Officer, Matt Gubasta (Artsci’17), Chief Financial Officer, Boyang Fu (Cmp’16), Lead Software Developer, Rigers Rukaj (Sc’17), Chief Technology Officer, and Nichola Trinh (Sc’17), Chief Business Development Officer, were overjoyed to win the pitch competition. While they savoured the moment with friends and the other QICSI participants, they had already started looking ahead.

“This (win) is fantastic, but we have to keep working,” Mr. Sriubiskis says. “We’re heading to clients’ mines and worksites in September, and we are developing new connections with companies. We are also looking at developing different extensions for our technology as well.”

Three other companies received awards following the pitch competition. The judges awarded $20,000 in seed-funding to both NorthSprout – which developed a gel-based germination medium to allow seeds to grow strong and healthy faster and with less water – and Tandem Therapy – a software platform to support the relationship between therapists and their patients. Paperweight Technologies, which is improving the home printing experience, also won $10,000 in seed-funding.  

QICSI, a 17-week paid internship where students collaborate to launch their own ventures, has existed for five years. Greg Bavington, Executive Director of QIC, says the venture pitches keep getting stronger each year.

“Every year we refine the program to better meet the needs of the students,” Mr. Bavington explains. “And as awareness grows of the Summer Initiative, our flagship program, and our other offerings, we continue to attract high-achieving students and direct them to programs that best fit their needs and interests.”

Visit the QIC website to learn more about its programs. 

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