Ralph Turfus - Investor and Mentor; Founder and (past) CEO of Escom Software
Ralph has spent over four decades in the Infotech sector. He founded Escom Software in 1976 and served as its Chief Executive Officer for 28 years. During that time he founded and was CEO of 8 companies and sold 5, the last one being Class Software in 2004 to San Diego-based The Active Network.
Ralph Turfus (B.A.Sc. M.A.Sc. M.B.A. P.Eng.) trained as an engineer and spent seven years in the Canadian Air Force, three years doing flight testing. Ralph’s passion is developing the marketing and sales capabilities of entrepreneurial technologists. He is a hands-on angel investor (having made direct investments into 22 technology companies and 7 VC technology funds), an executive mentor, and Board member.
Ralph is active in organizations that promote the region’s technology industry. He sits on the Premier’s Technology Council, whose mandate is to advise the Premier of B.C. on technology matters for both government and industry. He developed the ACETECH Growth Strategy Program, one of the core programs of ACETECH today. The Growth Strategy Program includes three modules - Market Validation, Market Penetration, and Market Expansion. Each module provides strategies, tools and mentoring to take companies to the next level. In recognition of his industry contributions, he was named B.C.’s Technology Industry Association’s “Person of the Year” for 2006, an Acetech Fellow in 2010 and a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Ralph currently serves as Executive Chairman of Redlen Technologies Inc., Executive Chairman of Rewardstream Inc., Chairman of Navarik Corp, Chairman of Fintech Inc., Executive Chairman of Endurance Wind Power Inc. and a Director of Mazza Innovation Ltd.
Pankaj Agarwal - Managing Partner, Optimus Information Inc.
Pankaj is an active investor in Canadian, US and Indian startups and private technology companies serving on the boards of a number of companies. Pankaj has over two decades of experience working in the technology outsourcing industry. Before founding Optimus, he was a co-founder and CEO of Momentum Technologies Inc. until they were purchased by the European IT consulting company Sopra Group where he served on the Executive Committee.
Pankaj is active in local community. He is past president and current board member of TiE, Vancouver (The Indus Entrepreneurs), the world’s leading entrepreneurship organization. Pankaj has also served on the Board of BCTIA, BC’s leading technology association. In addition, Pankaj helps TEDxKids@BC and Science World (Future Science Leaders program). He also serves on the Board of Science World. He was awarded “BC’s Top 40 under 40” by Business in Vancouver in 2003.
Pankaj holds a MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore, and an Engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee.
Pankaj is a keen traveller and is working towards his goal of visiting 100 countries before he turns 60. His interests include helping entrepreneurs succeed and encouraging youth to build careers in science.
During the school year we offer day long workshops on Pro-D days.
The day includes exploring tools, brainstorming ideas, storyboarding followed by coding and outdoor play time. We also run weekly afterschool classes.
We run age group based, week long summer camps in July to teach the basic constructs of programming using Scratch, App Inventor, HTML, Java and Python.
We maintain our quality of instruction by continuously improving the curriculum and presenting the content in an age appropriate manner. Our maximum instructor to student ratio for camps is 1:5.
Natasha Shulman - Partner, Seven Sisters Community Development Group, LLC
Natasha specializes in systemic and strategic analysis, curricula development, project management, emerging markets development, and training. She has authored several financial education and training curricula to build skills within Native and ethnic communities.
Natasha has worked actively in the economic development arena for more than a decade. As a principal author for several curricula, Natasha has experience with all aspects of the curriculum development and the project management process. Prior to consulting, Natasha worked for First Nations Development Institute as Associate Director of Training and Development. She has also worked for a non-governmental organization (NGO) as well as in traditional banking. Natasha began her career by studying microfinance in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Chicago. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton College with a focus on urban economic development.