Mentorship & Advisory Services
Starting or building an innovative business is not easy. Engaging with the right advisors, mentors, and service providers that have “been there, done that” can be easy. To assist our entrepreneurial ventures and small / medium enterprises, the Innovation Mill has engaged an exceptional group of community and business leaders that are committed to supporting you on the nerve-racking, exciting, stressful, and challenging path of building and growing your business.
This is the starting point of engaging with the Innovation Mill – finding and connecting you with the right mentors to work with you to understand your business goals and how best to get there. Once connected with your mentor, we will work with you to determine if you would benefit from connecting with one of the Innovation Mills' preferred service providers, our market research team, or other members in our network.
To embark on your entrepreneurial journey with us, please review the follow terms and conditions and complete the online Discovery Document.
Our NORCAT Mentors
Tom Fortin - Advanced Materials, Manufacturing, and Hardware
Tom is the owner of a Sudbury-based electronics design and manufacturing company, Ontrak Control Systems (www.ontrak.net ). Ontrak specializes in the design and manufacture of serial data acquisition interface devices used in industrial, medical and retail automation applications. Ontrak contains a complete product design center with in-house, PCB and enclosure manufacturing, safety and EMC certification, CNC machining, and injection mold design.
After graduating from Cambrian in 1984 from the Electronics Engineering Technology program, Tom started his career installing process control systems for paper machines in various Northern Ontario communities. He returned to Sudbury in 1985 and with a partner, opened a computer repair and installation business which evolved into Ontrak. He also taught electronics technology at Cambrian College for 12 years, resigning in 1998 to focus solely on Ontrak.
Tom is passionate about manufacturing in Canada and has helped start many technology companies producing medical devices, lasers, and automation products. The Fortin Foundation, created in 2004, promotes efforts by youth in manufacturing through free consultation and sponsorship of events such as the annual Ontrak 2X4 Innovation Design Challenge.
Luc Roy Information and Communications Technology, Online, and Digital Media
Luc is the Chief Information Officer for Laurentian University and co-owner of Old Rock Roastery. As CIO at Laurentian, Luc is responsible for IT, Media and Web services. In 1987, Luc graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Computer Science. Luc worked as the Director of Product Marketing for Bay Networks and many of its subsidiaries for 13 years. He continued to work in the computer networking industry as Vice President - Product Planning for Chantry Networks Inc. (acquired by Siemens), Vice President - Wireless Strategy for Siemens Enterprise Communications, Vice President - Market Management for Siemens Canada, Vice President - Wireless Strategy for Enterasys Networks, Director of Marketing for Greenfield Networks (acquired by Cisco) and Vice President - Product Management and Marketing for BlueCat Networks.
In 2007, Luc opened Old Rock Roastery with his wife Carole in Sudbury. Their coffee house looks to expand their brand, create a corporate headquarters in Sudbury, and open franchise locations. Old Rock has been a recipient of many prizes including 2008 Start-Up of the Year by Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, 2008 Enterprise of the Year (1-15 employees) by Northern Ontario Business Awards, and the 2009 “Entreprise Coup d’coeur” of Ontario by RDÉE Ontario (Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité).
Cathy Nadjiwon Mining, Mineral Exploration and Spatial Information Technology
Cathy is a surveyor and a geomatics professional specializing in the mineral exploration and mining sectors. Currently she is the president of UnderCover Innovations Inc., a product innovation and development company. Until 2007 she co-owned and operated two successive GIS services and spatial application development companies and recently retired as Business Development Manager for CAE Mining Canada. Cathy has also consulted for a company based in Cambridge, Ontario, in the areas of business start-ups, financing, I.T., and strategic business and market planning. She was recognized as their first ever Entrepreneur of the Year (1-50 Employees) by the Greater Sudbury (GS) Chamber of Commerce, as an Influential Women of northern Ontario by NOB, twice recognized as Woman of the Day, and has received a Professional Leadership Award as a Professional Surveyor and Geomatics Specialist from Sudbury Business and Professional Women’s Club (BPW).
Cathy has served on many volunteer boards at both local and provincial level. In June 2011 she completed a term on the Laurentian University Board of Governors, was a member of the LU Senate and was the Vice Chair of the Finance Committee at Laurentian University. She was also appointed as the first ever female Treasurer of the Ontario Trillium Foundation in 2003, overseeing a $100M+ annual budget. She also served for 12 years on the Board of Directors for the Northern Ontario Business Awards and has been a Judge for the Ontario Global Traders Awards program at both regional and provincial levels.
Joet Dhatt Brand Development
Joet is an entrepreneur that loves the concept of developing brands. Joet is currently the Digital Media Manager at Cambrian College, overlooking all digital assets. In this role, Joet manages and directs the College website, is responsible for developing the social media strategy, and introduces innovations from the digital realm into the overall marketing strategy of the organization.
Joet is a graduate of the Laurentian University MBA program, and has been applying his knowledge and passion for business into many ventures over the last 15 years. Introduced to the marketing+design world early in his career, Joet took an extreme interest in developing brands, which had him producing several Applied Arts award-winning projects, and even winning Gold at the Digital Marketing Awards. Joet’s entrepreneurial interests and knowledge of brand building had him venture out on his own, opening retail outlets on the West Coast and then extending his concept back to Ontario.
Joet has extensive experience in positioning brands through market analysis, developing marketing strategy, and understanding how to use marketing mediums most effectively. He’s an investor, entrepreneur and family man. And he’s ready to take his passions in strategy and innovation and help them fuel growth in the North.
Ed Wisniewski Software Development
Ed is the Director of Software Development, Information Technology, and Building Management / Services at NORCAT. With a small team of programmers and information technologists, Ed ensures the success of NORCAT’s training products, training services, and the high-tech infrastructure. He also provides a wealth of skills that the residents of NORCAT tap into to help further develop their technology requirements and needs.
With 17 years of experience at NORCAT, Ed has been involved in the development of all of the products which define NORCAT as a Training and Innovation centre since 1995 and has kept NORCAT in the forefront of software development and information technology. Over the last year, Ed has also undertaken the NORCAT facility as Building Manager.
Ed was the partner / CEO in a successful software development company for approximately 10 years. He has developed a product line of tools for other developers in the world of automation. He sold his company to further his future with NORCAT.
In his spare time, Ed works to further his music career. With skills on the piano, guitar, bass, and drums, he has written music for local charity campaigns and plays in a band who dedicate their time to benefit concerts that raise money for cancer awareness along with food drives during holiday seasons.
When he’s not pretending to be a rock star or computer geek, Ed spends his time with his family actively involved in keeping up with the 6 am hockey games with his two boys in the winter or spending countless hours at camp water skiing, tubing, fishing, and just downright having fun.
Conway Fraser Communication Strategy and Marketing
Conway Fraser is a Gemini Award-winning former CBC journalist and the Managing Director of Fraser Torosay Inc., a strategic communications consultancy. His clients range in sectors such as mining, engineering, telecommunications, education, government, politics, finance, construction and software development. His job is to help them effectively tell their stories to various audiences. Previous to a career in PR, Conway spent 20 years with the CBC in several roles including Investigative Journalist, National Reporter and Senior Producer. He won or was a finalist for 22 journalism awards, has been recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 recipient and was awarded the inaugural Laurentian University Young Leader Award. Conway and his wife, Angie, have four children and are very proud to call Sudbury their hometown.
Our Service Provider Partners
The Innovation Mill has engaged and partnered with an array of service providers that align and support our mandate to help start and accelerate the growth of innovative companies. Each service provider partner provides two to six hours of pro-bono support to our clients to help you resolve challenges or address exciting opportunities. Beyond the allotted pro-bono allocation, our service providers will work with you as appropriate to define the next steps. Should additional support be required, our partners will offer their services at a discounted rate recognizing that starting a business is hard and every dollar spent is important.
Freelandt Caldwell Reilly is a leader in tax, audit, consulting, valuation, SR+ED services, among others.
DiBrina Sure Group offers a list of wealth transfer services for private clients as well as employee benefit plans for businesses.
Norton Rose Fulbright is one of the world's pre-eminent legal firms focusing on intellectual property and corporate law.