ORION is a not-for-profit organization committed to actively supporting Ontario’s researchers, educators and innovators. Since 2001, we’ve facilitated new discoveries and learning by connecting institutions and regions, enabling collaboration, forging partnerships, and providing our community with the digital tools they need to make the world a better place.
ORION is Ontario’s only provincial research and education network. Covering 6,000 kilometres, it connects institutions and regions all over the province, including more than a hundred universities, colleges, hospitals and research institutions, as well as the majority of Ontario’s school boards. More than two million researchers, educators and innovators rely on ORION to share and communicate with each other and to connect to a global grid of similar networks across Canada and around the world.
Our long history of providing advanced network solutions has given us the expertise we need to fulfil the digital requirements of Ontario’s innovation community.
As a trusted partner in the innovation community, ORION takes a proactive role in enabling collaboration and change. Thanks to our central role in connecting institutions and regions across the province, we’re in a unique position to advance the partnerships that empower our community to solve problems, cooperate on projects, and create value. We build relationships and host informative events, ensuring that we’re in tune with Ontario’s researchers, educators and innovators. Understanding their needs and desires allows us to effectively advocate on their behalf.
Our ability to organize services that can be shared by our community allows them to do more for less, accessing the vital digital tools they need. Our Nebula program offers a range of cloud services run over the ORION network — including disaster recovery, storage, co-location and voice services — which enhance our community’s power to educate, research, and innovate in the 21st century.
ORION was originally created with the support of the Ontario Government. We were founded in 2001 (known then as The Optical Regional Advanced Network of Ontario, or ORANO) and our first connection — between Laurentian University and York University — was completed and tested in 2003. Following that initial success, ORION and the Ontario Government invested $5.5 million to connect additional institutions, leveraging $8 million in additional local investment. Since then, we’ve been a self-sustaining, not-for-profit organization.
At ORION, innovation comes first. As a not-for-profit organization, we’re focused on outcomes, not just the bottom line. Whether it’s ground-breaking researchers sharing huge amounts of data or students in a classroom using technology to learn, it’s all about making Ontario — and the world — a better place.
President, George Brown College
A native of Toronto, Anne Sado has been President of George Brown College since 2004. Her impact on the vision, direction and culture of the college has resulted in significant growth and has activated a critical public discussion on the value of college education in Ontario’s economic development. Anne was named Chair of Polytechnics Canada in February 2013. Polytechnics Canada is the voice of Canada’s leading degree-granting, research-intensive, colleges, institutes of technology and polytechnics that are dedicated practical technological education and high-quality job creation.
Adrienne Down Coulson
General Manager of Canada and Russia, Ebates Inc.
Adrienne Coulson is passionate about technology and has an excellent track record of driving growth for tech-based businesses. She is a Digital Advisory Board Member for Women in Communications and Technology (WCT/FCT), a past Assistant Director and Board member for a non-profit organization for women in new media called Toronto Webgrrls, and is a regular speaker and panelist about issues relating to new media.
Dr. Sara Diamond
President, OCAD University
Dr. Sara Diamond is an appointee of the Order of Ontario and the Royal Canadian Society of Artists. While retaining OCAD University’s traditional strengths in art and design, Diamond has guided the university in becoming a leader in digital media, design research and curriculum through the Digital Futures Initiative, new research in inclusive Design, health and design, as well as in sustainable technologies and design.
General Manager, Global Technology Services, IBM Canada Limited
David Drury leads the country’s technology solutions business to deliver an exceptional client experience. His focus on emerging technologies, emphasis on execution and collaborative leadership approach aid clients in elevating the role of IT in their own organizations – effectively moving technology solutions and planning out of the “back office” and into the boardroom.
Office of Advancement and Strategy, Upper Canada College
Jim Garner joined UCC as Special Advisor to the Principal, where he supports senior management on advancement and strategic planning of the college. Most previously, he was appointed Executive Vice-President, Corporate Services, Hospital for Sick Children and held executive leadership responsibility in Information Services and Technology, Health Records, Medical Engineering, Facilities, Business Services & Development, Research Operations and International Affairs.
President and CEO, Alcatel-Lucent Canada
Since the formation of Alcatel-Lucent in 2006 Alex Giosa has led the Canadian business; prior to the merger he was President of Lucent Technologies Canada from 2002 and was a member of the executive team since 1999. Previously, he was Vice President, Network Operations at Stentor Canadian Network Management, where he was responsible for the operations of Stentor’s national services infrastructure. Prior to Stentor, he held a number of senior management and executive roles at Bell Canada.
Innately a consensus-building individual, Jeff is a proven community leader with more than 30 years experience in information technology and higher education. At Western University, he was responsible for developing, delivering and supporting critical and strategic campus IT infrastructure services, including collaborating on bridging technology initiatives with Fanshawe College, London Health Services Centre and research hospitals. His involvement with LARG*net and the City of London explores opportunities to advance London’s connected communities objectives, which also integrates business interests with LARG*net’s skills and relationships. Previously, Jeff served in senior IT roles at TD Canada Trust. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Western Ontario and is an alumni of the Executive Development program at the Ivey Business School.
Vice President, Digital Learning, TVO
A passionate advocate for instructional leadership, technology-enabled learning, creativity and equity, Karen guides the organization in the collaborative development of innovative, evidence-based content, product and services to support improving outcomes for all ages of learners across the province of Ontario. Karen brings 26 years of educational experience to her current role. She began her career as a teacher, and held progressively senior positions in the Toronto District School Board including Principal, School Superintendent, the district’s K-12 Teaching and Learning Superintendent, and Coordinating Superintendent of Strategy and Program Planning. Karen is an avid writer and speaker of issues pertaining to teaching, learning and leadership.
CEO and President, Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION)
Alfonso has a strong track record in the design and launch of new and disruptive enterprises in the technology space and across multiple market segments. At ORION, Alfonso helps drive the organization’s strategy forward in a highly collaborative and strategic manner.
He brings his unique blend of experience in user-first service, teamwork, and strategic alliance-building to bear on solving the complex problems faced by Ontario’s research, education and innovation community.
Alfonso sits on the board of OCAD University’s Digital Futures Advisory Board, ensuring its relevance by identifying future trends and shifts in skills and knowledge that graduates need. He is also a Volunteer Mentor and Entrepreneur in Residence, supporting teams and companies at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), Communitech and MaRS. He previously held a similar role at Deloitte, after co-founding several technology-based companies over the last 15 years.