Meet the Velocity Team
Director of Velocity
As the Director of Velocity, Jay advocates for entrepreneurship and provides guidance to startups to help them build successful businesses. Jay is passionate about enabling all contributors of the Kitchener-Waterloo startup ecosystem to punch above the region’s collective weight.
Jay began his entrepreneurship journey ten years ago at the University of Waterloo while pursuing a degree in Mechatronics Engineering. During his studies, he co-founded BufferBox, which was ultimately acquired by Google, where Jay worked for 3.5 years before joining Velocity.
What Jay finds most interesting about working in the startup world is the lack of a rule book and the fact that early stage companies can do things in a way that larger companies can’t. When he is not mentoring companies, you can find Jay tinkering with hardware, playing squash, or teaching his parrot new tricks.
As our Associate Director, Nancy makes sure everything at Velocity runs smoothly. Immersed in an energetic atmosphere, she finds it inspiring to be around passionate students who are working hard to make their entrepreneurship dreams a reality. To her, success means finding your passion; something Velocity students do every day. Nancy has been part of Waterloo for 20 years, both as a student and a staff member in Development & Alumni Affairs, Communications & Public Affairs and Marketing & Undergraduate Recruitment.
Wes is overseer and uber coach at the Velocity Garage, a startup incubation space focused on building great software companies from concept to commercialization.
His career in tech has spanned a number of sectors, including automotive, financial services, education, government, insurance, social entrepreneurship, and not-for–profits, to name a few. In the category of software and mobile app development, he has built solutions for notables like AutoTrader, Equitable Life, ING Direct, Yellow Pages, the WWE, and a number of startups. He has run several student and youth venture capital programs complete with coaching and training. He has even founded and operated several technology companies of his own in Kitchener-Waterloo, including his latest startup, BitBakery, which he continues to oversee alongside his full-time responsibilities at Velocity.
Crista supports the Velocity team as an advisor to social and service business entrepreneurs who are interested in more socially responsible business models. She has been a part of four startups in the leadership development industry, and has worked with not-for-profit boards to help them navigate the transition to more sustainable revenue and earned income models.
In addition to teaching social and ecopreneurship courses at Conestoga College, she is currently completing her Masters, Peace and Conflict Studies from Conrad Grebel College at the University of Waterloo. She is also a certified mediator who provides help for startups struggling with conflict.
Bradley is a business mentor and advisor to early stage startups at Velocity. These companies come to Velocity with an idea, or product prototype and spend several months focused on validating the market for their idea.
Bradley is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and was a former Federation of Students (Feds) President. He has worked at a number of technology companies at various stages of growth and was the first hire at BufferBox, a startup ultimately acquired by Google. Bradley has worked at Google on an emerging logistics platform and most recently worked at Clearpath Robotics, a growth stage hardware company. He is particularly skilled at go-to-market strategy, product enabling partnerships, sales, and early stage business development. Bradley also owns and operates a 160-acre farm in his spare time.
Scott is a hardware mentor and advisor to startups at Velocity who have a hardware element to their product.
Scott has a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo and has spent the majority of his career in the Waterloo area. He worked at Blackberry for twelve years in Hardware Engineering as the Manager of Conceptual Prototype Development, as well as the Manager of MEMS Motion sensors. Prior to Blackberry, Scott spent ten years developing machine vision cameras and systems at Dalsa, and at the same time ran his own engineering services company. In his free time, Scott is very active in Scouting.
Adrien is the Business Advisor for science-based startups at Velocity and is passionate about moving technology from the lab towards commercial success. He is able to support teams with his skills in product development and market fit, strategic planning and alliances, and IP.
For 10 years, Adrien was a technology portfolio manager at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada, where he managed a number of R&D partnerships and oversaw technology creation, development, and commercialization projects. Prior to Xerox, he was a principal investigator at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. He began his academic career at the University of Waterloo, receiving a B.Sc. in Applied Chemistry, and went on to complete a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Calgary, and a Postdoc at the University of Michigan. Adrien has 25 research publications, holds 46 patents, and recently completed the Executive Masters in Technology Management program at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. When he has free time, he fills it with paddling trips, playing ultimate, and cycling.
As Operations Manager for Velocity, Sarah keeps the ship sailing smoothly with responsibility for facilities, finances and reporting. With this new role, Sarah continues her Velocity career after managing their events and programs.
Sarah has been with the University of Waterloo and its programs for the last decade and embraces the enthusiasm and passion that the Velocity companies and students embody. She is thrilled to work with the companies and be part of the excitement that these entrepreneurs bring to their startups.
One of her favourite ways to spend her off time is helping family and friends plan events, from birthdays to special events to weddings.
As Programs Manager, Nur leads the planning, management, and execution of Velocity events, and programs. She enjoys coming up with new creative ideas for pitch competitions, startup workshops, and community initiatives.
Nur has a demonstrated history in the higher education industry, prior to Velocity working in advancement at Wilfrid Laurier University. Nur has a diploma in Business Administration and Marketing from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology.
Marketing and Communications Manager
Jude manages the marketing and communications strategy for Velocity, and works with startups to help guide their public relations and growth efforts.
Jude has led the marketing and product development of numerous websites, from enterprise platforms to consumer tech. His efforts have resulted in hundreds of articles in the press and driven the growth of websites from launch to millions of monthly visitors. He also has experience as a researcher on emerging technology trends and worked with digital strategist Don Tapscott in the production of the book Macrowikinomics. As an enthusiast designer and coder, Jude is passionate about the startup world. He has a degree in Commerce from Queen’s School of Business.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Alyana is interested in all things creative and enjoys seeing a project from start to finish. She coordinates communication initiatives through Velocity’s email, content marketing, and social media channels. Alyana enjoys sharing the success of Velocity companies with the greater community, recruiting University of Waterloo students to Velocity Start, and strengthening the Velocity brand.
Alyana completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Waterloo in Arts & Business, with a major in Fine Arts, and a specialization in Digital Arts Communication. She has a passion for photography, documentaries and farmers’ markets.
Velocity Science Coordinator, Faculty of Science
Katie oversees the day to day operations of the Velocity Science lab, including ordering materials and equipment, safety compliance, and supporting teams in their research and development. She is a double graduate of the University of Waterloo, holding both a BSc and MSc in Biology, with a focus on environmental toxicology and water resources management.
A Velocity alumnus with a background in research, Katie is passionate about supporting students using science to solve problems. When not in the lab, Katie can be found brewing small batches of questionable beer, gardening, or playing D&D.
As Programs Coordinator, Vanessa has a passion for all things events and encourages everyone to get involved and play an active role in the Velocity community. She brings with her a variety of experience; from zip lining in Whistler to working in mental health, but what she is most interested in are planning and running programs. With a degree in Recreation and Business from the University of Waterloo, she finds her role a perfect fit. In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys drinking tea, listening to music, and going on outdoor adventures.
As the Administrative Assistant, Tori provides administrative support to the Velocity team. She is a graduate of the University of Waterloo’s Therapeutic Recreation program, with a background in administration and event planning. Tori has worked for the University of Waterloo as a staff member with the Housing and Residence department, part-time as a student and for multiple co-op terms. When she is not at work, you can find her baking, participating in outdoor recreational activities or planning events for family and friends.
As the Receptionist, Hillary welcomes all of the visitors to the Velocity Garage and provides administrative support to the Velocity team. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Waterloo in Arts and Business, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Women’s Studies. Hillary’s favourite part about working at Velocity is contributing to and supporting a passionate community while having the opportunity to meet new people. In her spare time, Hillary enjoys cooking, the occasional yoga class, and exploring the outdoors.
Velocity Science Assistant
As the Velocity Science Assistant, Lawrentina assists with ensuring that the Velocity Campus and Garage labs are well stocked, efficient, and organized. She also oversees the Velocity Science email account, represents Velocity Science at University of Waterloo events, and assists with general operations.
Lawrentina is in her third year of Science and Business, Biotechnology at the University of Waterloo with an interest in clinical genetics and neuroscience. Her involvement on campus includes being a Residence Don, Orientation Leader, and Biology/Chemistry TA. When Lawrentina isn’t at school or work, she likes to bake, sketch, and play the piano.
As the Programs Assistant, Kristina helps organize all the awesome events that go on. She is responsible for the details that come along with events like Velocity Start workshops, and the Velocity Fund Finals.
Kristina is going into her third year at the University of Waterloo, studying Environment and Business, with a minor in Geography and Environmental Management. As an aspiring entrepreneur herself, she finds the atmosphere at Velocity inspiring. In her spare time, Kristina enjoys going to yoga, trying out new restaurants, or planning her next adventure!
Madison Van Es
Marketing and Communications Assistant
As the Marketing and Communications Assistant, Madison assists with running Velocity’s social media platforms, writing weekly blog posts and newsletters, updating the Velocity website, and boothing at events for students and entrepreneurs in the Waterloo community.
Madison is in her third year at the University of Waterloo, studying Arts and Business with a major in Women’s Studies and a minor in Legal Studies. Having previous experience in marketing, she finds the work atmosphere at Velocity to be exciting and energetic. Passionate about women’s rights, she has volunteered with the Women’s Centre on campus since her first year and acted as the Women’s Representative for Conrad Grebel University College in her second year. She also loves cats, and when she is older wants to establish her own cat retirement home.