The Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) was created in July 2001 and was originally known as The Optical Regional Advanced Network of Ontario, or ORANO. ORION’s first connection was completed and tested in February 2003 between Laurentian University and York University. Then, in April 2003, ORION and the Ontario Government invested $5.5 million to connect additional institutions, leveraging $8 million in additional local investment. Since this original investment, ORION has been a self-sustaining, fully operational non-profit organization.
ORION is dedicated exclusively to supporting research, education and innovation (RE&I) in Ontario. ORION provides high-speed connectivity to its connected institutions, linking them to each other and to a global grid of research and education networks.
Stretching 6,000 kilometres, with connection points in 28 communities throughout Ontario, more than 2 million researchers, scientists, faculty, teachers, students, and other users rely on ORION as their dedicated ultra-fast research and innovation network. We act as a gateway to new and exciting resources and next-generation technologies, as well as a collaborative link between researchers, educators, and students across Ontario, throughout Canada, and around the world.
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 of 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 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.