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 issues and opportunities facing the advanced manufacturing ecosystem in Ontario with the people confronting them every day. We’ll also be sharing their insights into the challenges they face. Listed below are the episodes. Have a listen here or on Spotify.

Season 5

Krystal Darling, Kory Graham & Grant Luszczek from 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 from The BIG-nano Corporation

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 from 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 from Acerta Analytics Solutions Inc.

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 from Automotive Centre of Excellence

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 from Downsview Aerospace Innovation & Research

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 from Canadian Association of PPE Manufacturers

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 from Kingsway Food Limited

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 from IdeaWORKS

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 from Ontario Aerospace Council

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 from Skills Canada-Ontario

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

On this episode, Skills Canada-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 from Make-up Art Cosmetics

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 from 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 from Laval Tool & Mould Ltd.

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 from 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 from 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 from Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing

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

Nick & Brendan from Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing

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 from 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 from 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 from 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 from 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 from AceTronic Industrial Controls Inc.

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 from Axiom Group Inc. and Intex Tooling Technologies

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 from 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 Trillium’s research. Learn more