Leadership Awards

Announcing the 2016 ORION Leadership Award Winners

(Toronto, ON) – The Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) is pleased to present three exceptional leaders in Ontario’s research, education and innovation (RE&I) industry with the 2016 Leadership Awards at a ceremony today at ORION’s annual diTHINK Conference.

These leaders leveraged ORION’s digital infrastructure to facilitate their cutting-edge projects, which contribute to Ontario’s thriving innovation economy.

Category: Higher Education
Winner: Alla Reznik


Dr. Alla Reznik, a Canada Research Chair and associate professor of physics at Lakehead University, was presented with the Leadership Award in Higher Education for developing a solid-state technology that can significantly improve breast cancer diagnosis.

Download Alla’s photo and bio.

Category: Innovation
Winner: Brock Dubbels

Brock Dubbels, a McMaster University researcher in user experience design and software development, was awarded the Leadership Award in Innovation for creating HammerTown CoderDojo. It is Hamilton’s local branch of CoderDojo, the global, free computer programming network for young people. HammerTown CoderDojo operates through Hamilton Public Library.

Download Brock’s photo and bio.

Category: Kindergarten to Grade 12
Winner: Éric Minoli

eric-minoli-800pxÉric Minoli, chief technology and optimization officer at Groupe Média TFO, was awarded the Kindergarten to Grade 12 Leadership Award. At Groupe Média TFO, he led an innovative multi-platform production and broadcasting model for French-language educational digital content, thus providing school boards across Ontario and internationally with rich educational content and tools.

Download Éric’s photo and bio.

Quick Facts:
  • ORION’s Leadership Awards are an annual recognition of outstanding achievement and innovation using the ORION network and cloud services.
  • The awards are based upon nominations from ORION’s user community across Ontario, and ORION’s Leadership Award committee evaluates nominations.
  • Dedicated to serving Ontario’s research, education and innovation community, ORION currently supports more than two million users in colleges, universities, school boards, hospitals, high performance computing facilities and other centres of innovation and learning.
  • From Thunder Bay to Ottawa to Windsor to Sault Ste. Marie, ORION connects 21 communities across Ontario through 28 connection points, with connections to other national and global RE&I networks through CANARIE. CANARIE designs and delivers digital infrastructure, and drives its adoption for Canada’s research, education and innovation communities.
  • Research-related activities on the ORION network directly contribute $4.4 billion to Ontario’s GDP.
  • ORION was the first in Canada to deploy a 100G network and remains one of the largest and fastest networks in the world.

Alfonso Licata, CEO and president, ORION: “ORION is proud to enable Ontario’s research, education and innovation communities. Today, we applaud the trailblazers in our innovation economy who are tackling some of today’s most complex problems. Their important work depends on ORION’s advanced technology to develop the type of future-looking solutions that help situate Ontario as a leader in innovation.”

Kathryn Anthonisen, vice-president, external relations, CANARIE and award presenter: “As CANARIE is focused on providing infrastructure and tools to fuel innovation, I am delighted to honour and showcase individuals who use advanced digital technologies to make significant contributions to the lives of Ontarians. These Leadership Award winners remind us that, while technology is a critical enabler of innovation, it is the creativity, dedication and determination of people who bring it to fruition.”

Janine Griffore, assistant deputy minister, French-language, Aboriginal learning and research division, Ministry of Education: “Ontario learners today face a new digital matrix of education – one that crosses through and beyond classroom walls, transcends stages of life, and is highly collaborative. We are all lifelong learners, and these Leadership Award winners are role models for us in their fluency of 21st-century competencies, inspiring thousands to have greater access to opportunities.“

Dr. Alla Reznik: “I am delighted to receive the 2016 ORION Higher Education Leadership Award. To me, this is a recognition of my research effort, which has a goal of improving breast cancer diagnosis for the benefit of women in Thunder Bay, Canada and worldwide.”

Brock Dubbels: “It is an honour to be recognized in this way – winning the 2016 ORION Innovation Leadership Award means a lot to me. Many people stepped forward, including Hamilton Public Library, Fluid Media, Mohawk College and the City of Hamilton, offering their time, effort and resources to empower children in the Hamilton community. I hope that this award will raise awareness of the fruitful partnerships between the libraries, McMaster University and the City of
Hamilton, and our commitment to children’s success.”

Éric Minoli: “I wish to thank ORION for this prestigious award, which confirms Groupe Média TFO’s position as innovative media within Canada’s research and education network. With limited financial resources, Groupe Média TFO has proven that there are no limits to innovation.”

About ORION:

As Ontario’s backbone of innovation, the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) is one of the largest research, education and innovation (RE&I) networks in the world. We connect all of Ontario’s universities, most colleges, several teaching hospitals, public research facilities, and a growing number of Ontario’s school boards to one another and to a global network of RE&I connections. In addition to providing one of the world’s fastest broadband connections, we are a research and innovation partner for our members. Through our technology and support, ORION constantly strives to keep Ontario on the leading edge of innovation.

For further information:

Cathy Bogaart
Director, Marketing and Communications
Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION)
Office: 416.507.9860 ext. 250