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Meet the Velocity Team

Portrait of Jay

Jay Shah

Director of Startups

As the Director of Velocity, Jay advocates for entrepreneurship every single day. Jay is passionate about helping contributors in the Kitchener-Waterloo startup ecosystem to punch above their collective weight. 

Jay began his entrepreneurship journey twelve years ago at the University of Waterloo while pursuing a degree in Mechatronics Engineering. During his studies, he co-founded BufferBox, an automated, self-serve kiosk startup, which was acquired by Google. After working at BufferBox for 3.5 years, Jay joined the Velocity team in 2016.

What interests Jay:

That the startup world lacks a rule book, and that early-stage companies can do things in a way that larger companies can’t.

Scott Rose

Business Advisor

Scott is a hardware mentor and advisor to Velocity startups that have a hardware element to their product(s). 

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. 

What interests Scott:

Cooking, the outdoors, and strategy board games

Adrien Côté

Business Advisor

Adrien is the Business Advisor for deeptech and science-enabled companies at Velocity. He is VERY passionate about having technologies break out of the lab and into commercial success. He supports companies with his expertise in product development, market positioning and fit, strategic planning, team management, and IP.

For 10 years, Adrien led many initiatives at Xerox ranging from corporate R&D projects, collaborative product development, and creation of new services businesses. In addition, he oversaw a number of technology development-based relationships with government, universities, and small+medium companies and also led an intrapreneruship program for new product and business introduction. Prior to Xerox, he was a principal investigator at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA overseeing a large research group and co-created multiple technologies that were licensed and commercialized. Adrien studied at the University of Waterloo, receiving a BSc in Applied Chemistry, completed a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Calgary, postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan, and Executive Masters in Technology Management program at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. 

Adrien has 25 research publications (with 11,000+ citations), inventor on 50+ patents, and holds a number of awards for business and technical accomplishments.

What interests Adrien:

Unleashing a tidal wave of life- and game-changing technologies and business from inventors’ minds and academic institutions.

Jeff Aramini

Business Advisor

Jeff is a Velocity Business Advisor with a diverse background that includes human and animal health, software development, innovation, and entrepreneurship. With experiences in both the public and private sectors, he helps startups from early customer discovery to product launch.

Jeff started his professional life as a veterinarian after receiving his DVM from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. He worked as a mixed animal practitioner in Alberta and BC, before going back to school to receive a MSc and PhD in public health epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan and Guelph respectively. Jeff held various senior positions with the Public Health Agency of Canada in the areas of infectious disease research and outbreak response, before turning back to the private sector where he founded and built a successful software agency in the Waterloo Region. Jeff received an Executive Masters in Technology Management from the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics before joining Velocity in 2019. With a passion for learning and innovation, Jeff is always keen to engage with others to discuss and explore new ways to deliver superior value to end users.

Alicia Li

Financial Officer

Alicia is the Financial Officer on the Velocity team. With an enthusiasm for data, she is interested in high impact data visualization that charts the growth of entrepreneurship at Velocity and the regional tech ecosystem. She provides government funding management and performs financial analysis for Velocity (as well as making sure everyone gets paid!). 

Alicia completed both her Master of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – Mathematical Economics at the University of Waterloo. She was a graduate admission assistant in the University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department. 

What interests Alicia:

Cooking traditional Chinese food (such as dumplings!). 

Shayne Laity

Facilities Manager

Shayne brings a background of creative arts and building trades to his role at Velocity. He looks out for the well-being of the facility and all the moving parts within the space. You will find him maintaining essential equipment and infrastructure around Velocity.

Shayne started at Velocity by designing and painting the first mural in the Residence entrance. From there, he has become the main person to repair, maintain, troubleshoot, and institute improvements to the growing space. He has painted three additional murals in the time he has been on the team.

What interests Shayne:

Repurposing furniture, kayaking down the Grand River, and enjoying country roads on his motorcycle.

Joe Lee

Marketing & Communication Manager

Joe drives marketing and branding initiatives to support Velocity’s mission  and increase Velocity’s influence across the Kitchener-Waterloo region and beyond.

Joe has held marketing, research, and management roles across multiple industries, including software, education, public opinion, and healthcare. Prior to joining Velocity, he was a program manager at MaRS Discovery District. He holds a Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology degree from the University of Waterloo, a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto (Rotman), and a postgraduate certificate in applied research. He is a also professional market researcher and is working on completing his Certified Management Consultant (CMC). 

What interests Joe:

Learning how the world works. 

Katie McCann

Velocity Lab Manager

Katie brings her love of science and systems to managing the Velocity laboratory. She supports Velocity’s science startups via operational oversight of the lab alongside instrumentation training and management. 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.

What interests Katie:

When not in the lab, Katie can be found canoeing & hiking, cheering for her favourite Overwatch team, or leading a game of Dungeons & Dragons.

Hillary Graham

Executive Assistant

As the Executive Assistant , Hillary 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. 

What interests Hillary:

Cooking, the occasional yoga class, and exploring the outdoors.

Tanis Roach

Administrative Assistant

As the Administrative Assistant, Tanis welcomes all of the visitors to Velocity and provides administrative support to the Velocity team. Her favourite part about working at Velocity is being part of an inspiring community of thinkers and creators. 

Tanis completed an Honours Rhetoric and Professional Writing degree at the University of Waterloo. 

What interests Tanis

Tanis loves playing with her dog, Luna, or attempting to grow her garden.

Briton Burgio

Community Manager

Briton is passionate about building the community at Velocity. As Community Manager, she oversees professional development, social and charitable programming for Velocity founders and
companies. She believes that the best incubators in the world have a strong sense of community.

Briton works with our alumni companies to find new and meaningful ways to keep them connected to Velocity’s network. She also works with Velocity’s partners (tech and non-tech) to find opportunities to bring success to all. After 12 years of working in the events world, Briton joined Velocity in 2018.

What interests Briton:

Coffee. Family. Friends. Wine. Waterloo Region..

Jovana Blagojevic

Marketing and Programs Coordinator

Jovana is a creative at heart. She has a passion for marketing communications and our global community. Before her marketing career, Jovana attended Wilfrid Laurier University, where she specialized in Global Studies and Political Science. She started her career in the finance and insurance sector, before becoming very passionate about the local startup scene. 

At Velocity, Jovana supports both marketing and programs initiatives. She especially enjoys projects that allow creative freedom while strengthening the Velocity brand within the community.

What interests Jovana:

Travelling to new places, doing crafty things, and exploring local hiking trails with friends.