You can’t beat a good conversation…

Given the dynamic nature of Ontario’s advanced manufacturing ecosystem, the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing launched a podcast series called ‘Making it in Ontario’. In it, host Nick Persichilli discusses the opportunities and challenges facing the advanced manufacturing ecosystem in Ontario with the people confronting them every day. Listen here or on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts or Apple Podcasts.

Season 7

Scott M. Fairley — Optimotive Technologies Inc

In this episode, Nick and Brendan drive out to Oldcastle to meet with Scott M. Fairley, founder and CEO of Optimotive Technologies Inc to discuss their IRIS2 Mk1 autonomous ATV. According to Scott, Optimotive focuses on automating data collection in “…muddy, dusty, or otherwise unpredictable environments” (like aggregate piles) replacing the need for a person to do these repetitive and often dangerous tasks. Learn more

Nour Hachem-Fawaz — Build a Dream

In this episode, Nick drives out to Windsor to chat with Nour Hachem-Fawaz, the president and founder of Build a Dream – a national organization helping companies diversify their workforce and their talent pipelines. In recognition of her work in this field, Nour was recently awarded the APMA’s Workforce Leadership Award as well as the Top 100 Women of Canada award. Learn more

Sarah McKenzie-Picot and Diane Burchett — Kepler Communications

In this episode, Nick and Brendan chat with Sarah McKenzie-Picot, Space Systems Designer & Assembly, Integration & Test Lead, and Diane Burchett, the Vice-President, Engineering at Kepler Communications Inc. The company was founded in 2015 by two University of Toronto graduate students. Today, the company works out of a building that was once used to make clothing. Now, it’s used to make satellites. Learn more

Derek Vella — Guelph Food Innovation Centre

On the heels of the Trillium Network’s online map of Ontario Dairy Manufacturers, Nick and Brendan take a drive out to the University of Guelph to speak with Guelph Food Innovation Centre (GFIC) director, Derek Vella. While the centre’s 100-year history focused on the science of dairy production, today they’re working on innovations in almost all types of food production and processing. Learn more

Season 6

Jeff Cowling — Yorkville Sound

In this episode, Nick and Brendan sit down with Jeff Cowling, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Yorkville Sound. The company manufactures PA speakers, Traynor guitar and bass amplifiers, and is the contract speaker manufacturer for Canadian theatre icon, IMAX. Learn more

Steve Cox and Andrew Conway — Dimachem

In this episode, Nick chats with Steve Cox and Andrew Conway, respectively, the president and vice president of Windsor, Ontario’s own, Dimachem, a supplier of industrial blended chemicals. First founded in 1972 and originally called Chemfil Canada Ltd., this year, the company celebrated their 50th year of operation. Learn more

Hussam Haroun — Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

In this episode, Nick chats with Hussam Haroun, Director of Automation at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. According to Haroun, the centre’s goal is to bring modern technology (robotics, vision systems, AI, machine learning, etc.) to the sector and improve productivity in horticulture/agriculture. Learn more

Gerd Grau — York University & Matt Ewertowski — Voltera

In this episode of ‘Making it in Ontario’, Nick chats with Gerd Grau, professor of electrical engineering at York University, and Matt Ewertowski, product manager at Voltera. After 4 years of collaboration, they have found new and innovative applications for additive manufacturing: the 3D printing of electronics and electronic circuits directly into other components. Learn more

Sohrab Haghighat — SpaceRyde

In this episode of ‘Making it in Ontario’, Nick sits down with Sohrab Haghighat, the co-founder and CEO of SpaceRyde – Canada’s first orbital class rocket manufacturer. SpaceRyde’s goal is to build a rocket that will give Canada domestic access to space at a substantially reduced cost. What truly sets them apart is their solution for getting out of the lower atmosphere – traditionally, the most expensive, wasteful, and deadly part of the voyage. Rather than using more power, they simply use a balloon. Learn more

Jay Amer — Ontario East & Chris King — Quinte Economic Development

In this episode, Nick and Brendan are joined by Jay Amer, the Executive Director of the Ontario East Economic Development Commission (of which the Trillium Network is a member) and Chris King, the CEO of the Quinte Economic Development Commission. We discuss the competitive advantages associated with the ‘not Toronto’ parts of Ontario and Jay and Chris share their thoughts on the availability of industrial land in Ontario. Learn more

Season 5

Krystal Darling, Kory Graham & Grant Luszczek Tri-Mach

The tools of the trade must themselves be designed and built. Here’s how Tri-Mach is enabling innovation and improving quality in the food/beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries. Since Tri-Mach’s customers are primarily in the food/beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries, their products have very specific performance requirements. The ability to simply, efficiently, and effectively clean their equipment with a hose was a critical design element. Learn more

John Rawlins & Amar Zaidi BIG-nano

In this episode of ‘Making it in Ontario’, Nick speaks with John Rawlins and Amar Zaidi from the BIG-nano Corporation in Cambridge, Ontario. The company recently expanded their meltblown textile technology operation (thanks to a grant from FedDev Ontario) where they manufacture fibres at the nano-scale. Shrinking the size of individual fibres allows increased functional surface area of their textiles using a much wider range of polymers. This technology also has uses outside of PPE. Learn more

Greg Major & Ed Wisniewski NORCAT

The connection between advanced manufacturing and mining may not be immediately apparent. However, both industries have a lot in common: Both industries are struggling to recruit new talent due to perception challenges. Both are seeing an exodus of veteran workers as they retire. Both are working hard to adopt advanced technology to improve all aspects of their operations. In fact, testing and demonstrating new technology is one of the primary functions of NORCAT’s Underground Centre. But there’s more to it than that. Learn more


Season 4

Greta Cutulenco Acerta Analytics Solutions

In this episode, Nick speaks with Greta Cutulenco. Greta is the co-founder and CEO of Acerta Analytics Solutions Inc., a Kitchener/Waterloo based artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning company. Their focus is providing AI solutions for manufacturing companies looking to improve quality control. In addition to her work with Acerta, Greta is also a sitting member of the Board of Directors for the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA). Learn more

John Komar & Paula Ambra ACE at OntarioTechU

In this episode, Nick speaks with Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) – Climatic Aerodynamic Wind Tunnel’s Executive Director John Komar and ACE’s Project Manager for Project Arrow, Paula Ambra about the facility’s testing capabilities. The ACE is the first climatic testing and research centre of its kind in Canada, and in many respects, the world. It is designed to provide a multitude of industries with world-class testing capabilities to validate prototype products. Learn more

Alex Tsoulis DAIR

This episode focuses on the aerospace industry in Ontario. Nick sits down with Alex Tsoulis, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Canada Aerospace’s Director of Business Development, Advanced Technologies. Alex also serves as the Advisor, Outreach and Membership Engagement for the Downsview Aerospace Innovation and Research (DAIR) Hub. Alex has spent much of his career designing and developing structural components for commercial, military, and business aircraft. Through his work, he has built strong cross-sectoral relationships with government, academic, research, and industry organizations. Learn more

George Irwin & Danielle Cane CAPPEM

In this episode, Nick chats with George Irwin and Danielle Cane from the recently formed Canadian Association of PPE Manufacturers (CAPPEM), an association that represents more than 27 companies across Canada aiming to ensure Canada will never again be vulnerable to shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The episode focuses on both the successes and the challenges faced by Ontario PPE manufacturers. Danielle and George remind us that local and domestic PPE manufacturers do not only create economic benefits, they are also an important source of innovation. Learn more

Christina Mack Kingsway Food

On this episode of ‘Making it in Ontario’, Nick (and Brendan) are joined by Christina Mack, the President and CEO of Mississauga’s Kingsway Food Limited. Kingsway Food Limited produces vitamin premixes, ice cream flavouring, dips and dressings (including Dip-a-Chip brand products), and a new series of plant-based products.

Food manufacturers employ more than 85,000 people in Ontario, and are second only to the automotive industry in terms of their impact on the province’s economy. Learn more

Andrea Johnson & Jeff McIsaac IdeaWORKS at Mohawk

On this week’s episode of ‘Making it in Ontario’, Nick chats with Andrea Johnson, and Jeff McIsaac, from Mohawk College in Hamilton.

Andrea and Jeff are central to the team leading IdeaWORKS, Mohawk’s hub of applied research and innovation. IdeaWORKS includes the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC), Sensor Systems and IOT Lab, Medical Technologies Innovation Centre (MTIC), and Energy and Power Innovation Centre, among other research centres and laboratories. Learn more


Season 3

Moira Harvey the OAC

Between 40 and 50 percent of the world’s commercial landing gear is made in Ontario. Who knew?

On this episode, Nick is joined by Moira Harvey, the Executive Director of the Ontario Aerospace Council (OAC). The OAC is a not-for-profit organization, is comprised of over 200 member companies, representing over 70% of the Ontario aerospace industry employment base and spans all tiers, business activities and sizes. Learn more

69th Annual APMA Conference

Throughout the episode, Nick’s conversations focus on a range of themes related to the automotive industry and advanced manufacturing, including Industry 4.0, cybersecurity, and workforce diversity.

In this episode we also learn about the exciting work happening at Ontario Tech University’s Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE), including their Climatic Aerodynamic Wind Tunnel and role in the APMA’s Project Arrow. Learn more

Ian Howcroft Skills Ontario

The only thing worse than training someone and having them leave is not training someone and having them stay.

On this episode, Skills Ontario CEO and Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing board member Ian Howcroft sits down with Nick to talk about promoting manufacturing careers to younger generations, the importance of investing in training, and how manufacturers can better access Ontario’s skilled and talented workforce. Learn more

Learning about Ontario Economic Development

Ontario’s economic development professionals play a critical role in supporting investments, job creation, and innovation.

In this episode, Nick is joined by three prominent economic developers: Wendy Stark (Director, Business Retention and Expansion – Invest Windsor-Essex), Cephas Panschow (Development Commissioner – Town of Tillsonburg), and Ken Scholtens (Manager, Business Development and Expedited Services – Niagara Economic Development). Learn more


Season 2

Linda Stephenson on cosmetics manufacturing

Linda has over 30 years of experience in the cosmetics industry, including a stint at one of Ontario’s most successful cosmetics companies, Make-up Art Cosmetics (MAC). Founded in 1984, MAC found a market niche by offering products that featured innovative colours and quality not available from their competitors. Thanks to a company culture of professionalism, celebrity endorsements, and a ‘makeup counter experience’ led by makeup artists, the company grew quickly. Learn more

Ed Dawson, Linsey Pecile & Yvonne Pilon Windsor

In this episode of ‘Making it in Ontario’, Nick speaks with Ed Dawson and Linsey Pecile from Invest Windsor Essex, and Yvonne Pilon from WEtech Alliance about the Windsor-Essex’s manufacturing ecosystem. Windsor today is seeing an evolution from ‘automotive’ manufacturing to ‘automobility’. As the evolution continues, the technology used is also evolving. ‘Digital Twins’ is one of those pieces of technology and the focus of Ed and Linsey in the VR Cave. Learn more

Jon Azzopardi Laval Tool & Mould

In this episode of ‘Making it in Ontario’, President and CEO of Laval Tool and Mould Ltd., Jonathon Azzopardi, shares his thoughts about the future of scale manufacturing. As he explains, chasing scale manufacturing contracts is addictive because, if successful, it means a lot of revenue for your company. However, he warns that if you can’t land the next large scale contract (for whatever reason), you need a backup plan. Learn more

David Yeaman Molded Precision Components

Nick speaks with the president and co-founder of Molded Precision Components (MPC), David Yeaman. They talk about MediCA Park, the challenges and opportunities of Industry 4.0, and the importance of company culture. According to David, a company’s ability to adapt is directly linked to its culture. The example he gave was the adoption of lights-out manufacturing, which is only possible with Industry 4.0. Learn more

Paul Madden 3M Canada

What kind of advanced manufacturing ecosystem should we aspire to have in Ontario? Don’t ask us – ask our customers. Paul reminds us not to lose track of this. In this episode of ‘Making it in Ontario’, former Canadian and international 3M executive (and current Trillium Network board member) Paul Madden reminds us that to remain competitive, Ontario manufacturers – and the organizations that support them – must know exactly who their customers are and what it takes to keep them satisfied. Learn more

Eva, Talissa & Shannon Trillium Network

The Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing’s new report, ‘Bridges, not Barriers: Advancing Racialized Women in Ontario Manufacturing‘, provides actionable recommendations for manufacturing companies to advance their workforce diversity efforts. This podcast episode of ‘Making it in Ontario’, features Nick’s interview with three of the report’s authors, Eva Kwan, Shannon Miller, and Talissa Watson, wherein they discuss in detail the six lessons of the report. Learn more

Season 1 Recap with Brendan & Nick

The general mood in the province has certainly changed since we launched ‘Making it in Ontario’, the official podcast of the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing, in April 2021. At that time, less than two percent of the population of Ontario was fully vaccinated – today we are nearing fifty percent. Restaurants, hair salons, and fitness centres are open or are preparing to open. It’s time to enjoy the summer, it’s time to get back to work, and it’s time to identify what the ‘new normal’ will look like. Learn more


Season 1

Sandra Pupatello & Tony Clement Reshoring Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has invigorated debates about the importance of Canadian manufacturing and the challenges associated with international supply chains during crises. Over the last year and a half, these challenges have emerged as a top concern for industry stakeholders, whether they are related to semiconductors, vaccines, PPE, consumer goods, or building materials (in no particular order). Throughout all this, one organization has emerged in an effort to address these challenges: Reshoring Canada. Learn more

John Romano Nickel Brook Brewing Co.

In this episode of ‘Making it in Ontario,’ Nick hands Brendan the mic for a conversation with John Romano, the president and co-owner of the Nickel Brook Brewing Co. John and Brendan’s passion for Ontario’s craft brewing industry is evident throughout the episode. This passion is reflected in their love of Ontario craft beer and their interest in the industry’s explosive growth over the past two decades (the fastest-growing segment of manufacturing), which is documented in a recent Trillium Network report. Learn more

Jayson Myers NGen

Nick and Brendan chat with NGen CEO Jayson Myers. As CEO, Jayson’s task “…is to build world-leading advanced manufacturing capabilities in Canada for the benefit of Canadians. And I think, perhaps over the past year or so, we’ve seen how important it is to make things here in Canada – it helps to save lives.” With over 35 years of industry experience, Jayson has witnessed a lot of change in this sector. Learn more

Aaron Tisdelle Girotti Machine

What’s behind the door? Turns out, not enough people know what’s behind the door of a machine shop. It’s more than just a machine. It’s also a rewarding career. If Ontario hopes to continue competing globally, it needs to attract more people to the jobs available in manufacturing. Aaron shares how he does it with his staff, and gives us his ideas on what he’d like to see done on a broader scale. Learn more

Kim & Simmie Thiara AceTronic Industrial Controls

In this episode, we sat down with Kim and Simmie Thiara to discuss the challenges faced by women in manufacturing and the struggles of doing business in a pandemic. As the second generation owner of the company, Kim has had her share of challenges with gender discrimination. Her daughter Simmie has as well but her generation deals with it a bit differently. Learn more

Max Preston & Robert Graup Axiom & Intex Tooling

Industry 4.0 has been described as the best tool in the belt for manufacturers looking to find production improvements. As our discussion with Max and Robert demonstrate, Industry 4.0 isn’t a tool in the belt, it IS the belt. This belt can contain all the latest tools to help you find efficiencies in your shop floor, or it weigh you down. Powerful tools must be wielded carefully. Learn more

Brendan, Denise, & Nick Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing

You can’t beat a good conversation. And this is the first one we released. In it, host Nick Persichilli chats with Trillium Managing Director Dr. Brendan Sweeney and Operations Manager Denise Deschênes-McKay to discuss why we are podcasting, the reports published thus far, and the lessons learned from the Trillium Network’s research. Learn more