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Meet the Board
Peter van der Gracht
Peter van der Gracht is a successful start-up veteran, with over thirty years of experience leading companies through multiple financings, operational build-outs, acquisitions, mergers and buy-outs. Co-founder of Nexus Engineering, a supplier of CATV equipment which grew to the number two market position serving customers in North America, South America, Europe and Asia before selling it to Scientific Atlanta. Throughout his career, Peter has identified funded, designed and launched hundreds of innovative technology products and has been responsible for all aspects of corporate operations. Peter has in the past or is currently, chairman, director, consultant or investor of; QuantoTech Solutions Ltd., an engineering company that supplies energy-efficient and environment-friendly LED lights and lighting services to commercial growers, MineSense Technologies Ltd., a B.C. based technology development and marketing company with a passion for enhancing the sustainability of mining by improving the ore recovery process, Cellula Robotics, a world leading engineering solutions company that specializes in the turnkey design and production of seafloor intervention and subsea robotic systems, Netskope, a leader in cloud based security services, Ocean Floor Geophysics, a deep ocean mineral exploration company, Quick Mobile, a personalized mobile marketing company, WiMatek, a developer of LTE wireless technology, Wurldtech, wireless security supplier sold to General Electric, Counterpath, a supplier of SIP-based products, Tutela Technologies, a wireless service provider with analytic network reporting from the perspective of actual customers, Encepta Corp., a provider of a unique computer-aided outside plant data tracking and assessment service, Mojio, the world’s first open platform so anyone can write an app for a car, OckCorp., the world’s first keyless padlock system, MinAcore Engineering, providing M2M sensors and services for the energy industry and TCM Technologies, manages multi-vendor power infrastructure devices in one online console enabling customers to prevent device downtime, MiniCheckout a supplier of a smartphone based payment system for retailers, Total North Communications, a telecom systems integrator in Canada’s North, GreenMantra Technologies, a clean-tech equipment OEM, Wavefront , Canada’s wireless business accelerator, Entrepreneurship@UBC, a University of British Columbia seed-stage investment fund and program and Alacrity Foundation, a not-for-profit start-up foundation. Peter supports two Federal Government activities, a member of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council and Global Practice Lead for ICT in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. Peter holds a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of British Columbia and is the recipient of multiple awards for entrepreneurship.
Bruce Tattrie, partner, is a member of the Securities and Technology Business Unit and the Technology and Intellectual Property Practice Group at leading law firm Fasken Martineau. He practices corporate / commercial law, with an emphasis on information technology (IT) transactions and other commercial transactions involving technology companies.
Recognized by Best Lawyers as one of Vancouver’s leading IT lawyers, Bruce has worked closely with clients in preparing and negotiating various technology-related transactions, including outsourcing, licensing, distribution, technology transfers, strategic alliance and ecommerce related transactions.
Bruce has represented clients on transactions involving telecommunications infrastructure and capacity, the acquisition, construction and disposition of fiber optic networks, grants of irrevocable rights of use and capacity, the acquisition of underlying rights for telecommunications networks, and structures to achieve compliance with Canadian ownership and control rules.
Bruce is on the steering committee of the firm’s national Technology and Intellectual Property practice group, and is the manager of the Vancouver office’s Securities and Technology Business Unit.
Bruce received his LL.B from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. He received his B.Sc (Honours Mathematics) from the University of British Columbia and was called to the Bar in British Columbia in 1979.
Ed Zacharuk is a Partner at KPMG LLP and the Western Canadian SR&ED Practice Leader. Ed works with a broad range of companies from start-ups to large public and internationals. With his many years of experience in the technology sector he has been involved with companies moving rapidly through their life cycle. From SR&ED claims to expanding beyond Canadian borders, Ed has advised on corporate structure, financing, stock compensation, and shareholder planning. Ed is also the Chair of the BC Export Awards Committee and is involved with the C-100 in Silicon Valley.
Ed holds an Honours degree in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.
Derek Spratt has been an active CEO, founder, investor, advisor and board member with local BC technology firms for the past 33 years. He has also been a contributor to the technology community via his board level involvement in Acetech – the Academy of technology CEOs, and the Vancouver Enterprise Forum.
Derek has a BSc in Electrical Engineering from Queens and started out in his career in 1982, first as a product designer, and later in executive management and leadership positions. Derek is currently VP & GM of App Annie Canada which acquired Mobidia in May 2015 where he was the President & CEO starting in 2008. Prior to that he was Founder and CEO of Intrinsyc Software International Inc (1996-2006). Other local firms Derek has worked for include: Consequent Technologies (co-founder, CEO), PCS Wireless (co-founder, past-President/EVP), Nexus Engineering (VP and business unit manager), Motorola (Product Manager), Integra Systems (Designer/Manager), Canysco Systems (Designer) and DBA Telecom (Designer).
Additionally, Derek has worked to promote science curriculum to local K-12 students via philanthropic engagements with Science World BC and the Vancouver School Foundation, and also takes a keen interest in protecting the environment via his philanthropic and board level engagement with Eco-Justice Canada.
Avvey Peters is the Vice President External Relations for Communitech. She focuses on strategic communications, advocacy, and partnership development to advance the Waterloo Region tech industry, which is home to close to 1,000 technology companies generating $20 billion in annual revenue. Since joining Communitech in 2007, Avvey has helped to frame its $107 million digital media strategy, bringing together public and private sector partners to grow Canada’s tech sector through efforts like the Canadian Digital Media Network and the Communitech Hub. In 2014, she was also appointed Managing Director of CDMN – a network of more than 25 innovation hubs across the country.
Before joining Communitech, Avvey spent seven years working in external relations at the University of Waterloo, where she held various roles, including senior director of government relations, associate director of communications and public affairs, and speechwriter and strategic communications officer for the president of the University. She has also worked as a news writer for CTV Southwestern Ontario. Avvey is a former executive director of the Business & Education Partnership of Waterloo Region, a charitable organization that connects youth to careers, with particular emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. She is a member of the board of directors of the Technology Councils of North America, and the Advisory Council to the Chair of the English Department at the University of Waterloo.
Avvey holds a Master of Journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa, and a degree in Rhetoric and Professional Writing from the University of Waterloo. She has also completed the Ivey Executive Program at the Richard Ivey School of Business.
During Bob Neal‘s 25 years at NBTel/Aliant, he continually looked for ways to monetize the wealth of innovation that was being created by employees. Much of that was done with partnerships and the incubation of several start-ups. Bob was actively involved as a member of the leadership team of companies such as NBTel Mobility, ISM Datacor, Connectivity, Imagic TV, Prexar and Innovatia.
After Bob retired from his Senior VP-Business Development position at Aliant, his desire to mentor and coach young entrepreneurs continued. He is tireless when it comes to guiding startups.
Bob is past President of Junior Achievement and has been a Board Member of more than 15 startups.
Bob’s entrepreneurial spirit, enthusiasm and his ongoing support are great assets to East Valley Ventures and its Innovators.
Joy Romero is the Vice President Technology Development, Horizon Oil Sands at Canadian Natural Resources Limited. With a career spanning more than 30 years, Joy Romero has worked in iron ore, coal and oil sands both operating and consulting. Joy is currently the Vice President Technology Development at Canadian Natural Resources Limited’s Horizon Oil Sands operation.
After graduating from the Technical University of Nova Scotia in 1979 with a B.Eng. in Metallurgical Engineering with Distinction, Joy worked at Wabush Mines in Labrador for several years before taking a six year leave to be with her young children. She returned first part time and then full time to engineering in British Columbia’s coal rich Elk Valley with TECK Corporation. In 1997 she moved from coal to oil sands joining SNC-Lavalin to be a part of the team that built the Suncor Millennium project. In 2001 Joy joined Canadian Natural to steward the development, commissioning and operation of Bitumen Production within the Horizon Oil Sands Project.
Joy also holds an MBA in Project Management with a Specialization in Energy from Athabasca University. In October 2009 she completed a term as Chair of the Governing Council of Athabasca University. She has advised for the NSERC chair for Oil Sands at the University of Alberta, the NSERC Chair for Energy and Imaging at the University of Calgary, was the chair of the Canadian Oilsands Network for Research and Development (CONRAD) Bitumen Production Focus Group and is past Chair of CONRAD overall. Joy is a member of the Shareholder Steering Committee and Chair for the Board of the newly formed Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) and a Board member of PTAC.
Michael Turner is Vice President System Strategies with Wesley Clover International, where he provides support for government relations and strategic technology tracking and review. He also assists with the new Wesley Clover start-ups and with business development activities.
Prior to joining Wesley Clover in 2007, Michael was a senior executive with the Canadian Government, accountable for executive leadership and management of IT & Telecommunications operations within the Canadian Federal Government’s common services agency, Public Works and Government Services (PWGSC). He also served for a time as the Departmental CIO.
During this period, Mr. Turner was a key member of the executive team responsible for implementing over 100 Internet based e-Government services for its citizens. He worked closely with the office of the Federal CIO to provide leadership for government-wide technology initiatives such as the delivery and management of the common infrastructure required to support Canada’s award winning Government On-Line initiative.
As an engineer in the telecommunications & electronics domain, Michael initially worked with the Air Navigation Systems of Canada’s federal government. He then enjoyed a lengthy career in various technology and management positions within the Canadian Coast Guard, culminating in several years as Deputy Commissioner of the Coast Guard. During this period he also represented Canada for several years on the Governing Council of the UN’s International Maritime Organization in London.
Michael currently serves on Canada’s Defence Advisory Board, and the Advisory Board of the National Research Council’s Emerging Technologies Division. He is also a Fellow and life member of the Association of Public Sector Information Professionals and member of the organization’s Advisory Board.
Sophie Forest has more than 20 years of experience in the high-tech venture capital industry. She has been Brightspark’s managing partner since 2003. Brightspark is the leading early stage Internet, media and software venture capital firm in Canada. Prior to joining Brightspark, she was a partner at CDP Capital Technology Ventures, a subsidiary of la Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, a position she held since 1996.
She has led or overseen more than 50 investments in technology companies in Canada and abroad over the past 15 to 20 years. Sophie played a pivotal role in the investment, growth and exit of Radian6, leading to a 23x multiple on capital invested — one of the most successful technology exits in Canadian history. As co-CEO of Brightspark 3.0, Sophie helped develop Internet solutions that led to the creation and growth of Jewlr.com and iStopOver.com.
Sophie sits on the Science, Technology and Innovation Council of Canada. She also sits on the Board of Directors of a number of companies, including Protecode, Hopper, eXludus, Jewlr, Jazinga and others. Sophie is a Managing Partner of Brightspark and is based in Brightspark’s Montreal office.
David Climie is Vice President of Investor Relations at Sierra Wireless, the global leader in machine-to-machine (M2M) devices and cloud services. David has more than 25 years of experience in investor relations, corporate communications, and corporate development for publicly traded companies in both Canada and the U.S. Prior to joining Sierra Wireless, David worked in the semiconductor industry, the biotechnology sector, and the energy industrial equipment industry. He sits on advisory boards for small early stage technology companies and is Board member of the UBC Alumni Association. David was previously a Board member of the BC Technology Institute Association and the BC Business Council. He has an undergraduate business degree from the University of B.C. and a graduate degree in Communications and Journalism from the University of Western Ontario.