Schulich Connects: Engineering Entrepreneurs

Original Air Date: Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020

There’s something about the problem-solving mindset of an engineer that leads many of our top graduates into designing their own products and launching new businesses.

In this free webinar, you’ll hear from a panel of Schulich School of Engineering alumni about their path to business success, and how entrepreneurial thinking has helped take their research and careers to a new level.

Brought to you by Schulich School of Engineering.

Meet the Speakers

Co-Founder, Phil & Sebastian Coffee

Phil Robertson co-founded Phil & Sebastian Coffee in 2007, and his obsession from the beginning has been improving coffee quality from seed to cup. Leveraging his engineering past, he’s written custom-roasting control software and modified numerous pieces of coffee-making equipment. Among his duties, he manages the roasting operation and travels to Africa to buy green coffee.  

CEO and President, Vizworx

Jeff LaFrenz is a serial entrepreneur with over 30 years’ experience in technology commercialization. He is a multi-disciplinary, multi-industry professional with extensive management, marketing and technical experience. One of this year’s Arch Awards recipients, LaFrenz is not only able to pull together complex technical and business requirements but is able to contextualize them in local and global environments.  

CEO and co-founder of FarCloser Travel  

Natasha Spokes is the founder of FarCloser Travel and manages the Prime Stream at CDL-Rockies. She has a degree in Geomatics Engineering with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development. Prior to founding FarCloser Travel, she spent 10 years working in the construction, energy, and travel industries in Australia and Canada. Her experience as a surveyor, spatial analyst, GIS consultant, fishing lodge manager, travel advisor, and business development manager has provided her with a unique lens through which to identify opportunities and potential solutions. She is passionate about using data to help people make more informed decisions and enjoys working with aspiring entrepreneurs to help them bring their ideas to life.  

Dean, Schulich School of Engineering

For more than 20 years, Dr. Bill Rosehart, PhD, has been a passionate advocate for engineering research and education. First appointed Schulich School of Engineering dean in 2014, Rosehart led the school to launch several new undergraduate, graduate and transfer programs —expanding access to the engineering profession. Rosehart is also a founding member of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA) and has been inducted as a Fellow into the Canadian Academy of Engineering for his commitment to innovation in teaching and learning. He is a well-established researcher in the area of electrical energy engineering and has published over 100 scholarly articles, and supervised or co-supervised 20 graduate students.  

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