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Meet the Velocity Team

Leadership

Adrien Côté

Executive Director

More about Adrien and his role at Velocity

Adrien is Velocity’s Executive Director and leads Velocity’s mission, strategy, and coordinates its two programs: student founders and the Velocity Incubator to maximize experience for students and productivity for founders, respectively.

Prior to being named Executive Director, Adrien served as the Deeptech and Science Advisor from 2017 to 2019 where he supported companies with his expertise in product development, market positioning and fit, strategic planning, team management, and IP creation and management. As Velocity’s ‘voice of the entrepreneur,’ he will bring his passion to ensure that great business ideas and technologies can break out into commercial success.

Before joining Velocity, Adrien led many initiatives at Xerox ranging from corporate R&D projects to creation of new businesses. Previous to his work at Xerox, he was a principal investigator at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA.

Adrien holds a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Calgary and earned his BSc in Applied Chemistry from the University of Waterloo. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan. While working at Velocity, he also completed an Executive Master’s in Technology Management program at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics.

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

What interests Adrien:

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

John Dick

Director of Velocity Campus

More about John and his role at Velocity

John is the Director of Velocity Campus. He oversees the operations of Velocity Campus programming on campus and is in charge of creating inspiring experiences for students who are interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. John also acts as a Business Advisor to startups in deeptech for the Velocity Incubator.
Before joining Velocity, John was a cofounder of Nicoya where he led its R&D efforts for 7 years as CSO. John holds a Masters of Chemical Engineering from McGill University and a PhD in Materials from the Imperial College of London. He recently completed his MBA from Lazaridis School of Business and Economics.

What interests John:

Finding ways to forge great teams and building collaborations with like-minded organizations. In his spare time, John can be found rowing on the Grand River, throwing axes (in a league) or cooking at home.

Sarrah Lal

Director of Velocity Incubator

More about Sarrah and her role at Velocity

Sarrah is Director of the Velocity Incubator. Her goals are to 1) create a diverse and inclusive community in which founders help founders, 2) establish a world-class start-up support system and incubator experience, and 3) raise the profile of Canadian entrepreneurs.

Sarrah works alongside a talented group of business advisors, product development specialists, and operations experts to ensure that start-up founders and their high-performing teams have exactly what they need to build game-changing businesses that are VC-backable and ready to scale. 

Before Velocity, Sarrah spent five years as a faculty member at McMaster University’s medical school. Here, she worked to develop new competency-based training approaches for entrepreneurship education as well as institutional mechanisms to incentivize the commercialization of intellectual property among faculty members. 

Her training combines science, biomedical engineering, law, and business.

What interests Sarrah:

Sarrah enjoys mountaineering and backpacking adventures (with a strong preference for not running into grizzly bears). 

Moazam Khan

Director of Velocity Health

More about Moazam and his role at Velocity

Moazam is the Director of Velocity Health


A staunch believer in the impact of data driven technologies in healthcare, Moazam
found Curiato in 2015, a digital healthcare platform that analysis and predicts hospital acquired conditions directly from the surface of the bed with a smart bed cover. Moazam grew the company from inception (right here at Velocity) to revenue, from raising capital, executing clinical trials, developing international partnerships, receiving regulatory confirmations, and scaling a brilliant team across 3 continents.


Alongside growing Curiato, Moazam helped developed a micro-VC fund in San Jose, where he served as EIR and guided early-stage companies on Go-to-Market strategy, fundraising and scaling. Moazam has also spent some time in consulting in the Pharmaceutical and SaaS industries.


Moazam graduated with distinction from both the Faculty of Science (B.Sc) and
Faculty of Engineering (MBET). During his time at University of Waterloo, Moazam
developed automation software for family physician offices and a portable handheld
vein visualization device. He is the recipient of the Norman Esch Entrepreneurship
Award and most recently an Alumni Achievement Award winner from uWaterloo.

What interests Moazam

Solving big problems! Outside of work, Moazam enjoys time with family,
brainstorming ideas with his friends and catching up on soccer.

Alroy Almeida

Director, Deep Tech

More about Alroy and his role at Velocity

Alroy is a Director of Deep Tech at Velocity

Alroy’s goal is to make Canada the global leader in Deep Tech. Waterloo Region in particular has the talent to build strong businesses underpinned by extremely challenging technologies – materials science, robotics, computer science, photonics. Breakthroughs in these technologies demand more resources and time for development and commercialization compared to other businesses. Alroy is building out programming and partnerships to support and accelerate these companies. He also enjoys calling on his prior experience to advise startups.

Previously, Alroy was CEO and Co-founder of Voltera where he worked with a world class team to revolutionize electronics. They reduced traditional circuit board manufacturing time from weeks to hours and introduced scalable manufacturing processes for circuits that are flexible, stretchable, moldable, biodegradable, and biocompatible – features that will forever change how we all interact with the devices around us. Alroy was a frequent speaker at industry events and continues on the board of directors of Canada’s printed electronics industry association.

Alroy is a Mechatronics Engineering alumnus from the University of Waterloo with co-op work experience focused around industrial electronics and medical devices. He received multiple awards for his dedication to organizing and offering programing for student services and student experiences. He remains involved in the undergraduate engineering student experience as an Alternate Warden for Iron Ring Camp 15.

What interests Alroy

Outside of work, Alroy enjoys cycling, boxing, snowboarding, playing soccer, and much to the detriment of his mental health, cheering for the Leafs.

Business Advisors

Scott Rose

Business Advisor

More about Scott and his role at Velocity

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.

Parisa Hamilton

Product Development and Biosafety Manager

More about Parisa and her role at Velocity

Parisa oversees the product development operations at Velocity which includes management of  laboratory spaces, resources, and workflows within a multi-disciplinary environment. She provides mentorship and support to start-up founders in their product development roadmaps to reach technical milestones that align their business milestones.

Parisa is Velocity’s Biosafety Officer, who is responsible for managing and controlling biological activities. 

Prior to joining Velocity, she worked as a project coordinator at the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology, facilitating a “Needs-first” Biomedical graduate program as well as managing several interdisciplinary collaborative projects between academic and hospital partners. Parisa has led several research projects in collaboration with medtech startups in Biomedical device design and development during her postdoc at the University of Waterloo. Her PhD thesis in Chemical Engineering (Nanotechnology) was on developing peptide-based therapeutic nano-carriers for anticancer drug delivery systems. She strives to provide scientific support to startups with disruptive technologies and to facilitate a collaborative environment for accelerated product development.

What interests Parisa

Staying inspired and curious about people, design, technology and nature. Outside of work she spends the majority of her time with her family, playing board games, practicing Yoga, sketching, and reading.

Program Staff

Temisa’n Odeka

Data Analyst

More about Temisa’n and his role at Velocity

Temisa’n is Velocity’s Data Analyst. He drives data-informed decision making at Velocity by analyzing complex datasets and delivering actionable recommendations that contribute to operational efficiency and Velocity’s strategy implementation.

Temisa’n holds a Master of Science in Geographical Information Systems from the University of Portsmouth. Prior to joining Velocity, he worked as an Information Management Officer in various UN Agencies including IOM, WFP, UNICEF, and UNHCR where he developed and deployed data collection tools, extracted and analyzed data to inform gaps in humanitarian response and improve.

What interests Temisa’n:

Temisa’n enjoys playing football, both on PS5 and live games with friends. He also
loves the radio and listening to music

Hillary Graham

Executive Assistant

More about Hillary and her role at Velocity

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.

Shayne Laity

Facilities Manager

More about Shayne and his role at Velocity

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.

Will Muir

Brand Marketing and Communications Officer

More about Will and his role at Velocity

Will is Velocity’s Brand Marketing and Communications Officer. Fueled by the joy of creation, Will looks forward to creating, collaborating, and connecting with those within the innovation community.

Before joining Velocity, Will directed the marketing/content creation efforts for Centre In The Square, which included over 350 live events/concert tours. He has also produced albums for local and international artists which appear on radio and streaming services today. He once unknowingly became Aretha Franklin’s personal shopper for shampoo and haircare products.

What interests Will:

In his free time, Will enjoys spending time with his family, fly-fishing and is on a seemingly neverending pursuit of scratch golf.

Naomi Grosman

Communications Engagement Specialist

More about Naomi and her role at Velocity

With more than ten years under her belt as journalist, both in editor and freelance roles, Naomi looks forward to applying her writing and critical thinking skills, and collaborative mindset to her role as Communications Engagement Specialist at Velocity. Naomi’s writing career has spanned two continents — from humble beginnings as a student journalist at the University of Iceland to an established career in Toronto, where she lived for 12 years before relocating to Kitchener. She has covered news ranging from business and politics to social justice issues, and has a diverse portfolio of writing including long-form journalistic articles. 

What interests Naomi:

In her free time, Naomi likes to maximize her time outdoors — especially exploring local Kitchener-Waterloo trails, and staying active by cycling, swimming and running. She believes in the importance of giving back to the community and has volunteered with Hospice Toronto, giving support to caregivers living with loved ones in hospice care.

Kristen Robertson

Administrative Assistant

More about Kristen and her role at Velocity

As the Administrative Assistant, Kristen strives to create a welcoming environment for all visitors to the space and is passionate about building connections within the innovation-based community.

She completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Waterloo in Arts, with a major in Liberal Studies, a minor in Jewish Studies, and a minor in International Studies.

What interests Kristen:

Weekly yoga classes, listening to jazz music, and unwinding with a good book.

Karen Laver

Laboratory Technician

More about Karen and her role at Velocity

As the Laboratory Technician, Karen is responsible for the effective operation of Velocity’s laboratory facilities by maintaining safe, organized and efficient laboratories while overseeing the daily operations and overall laboratory functions. Karen graduated from the University of Guelph with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. Prior to joining Velocity, she worked at LANXESS Canada, a chemical intermediates and additives manufacturing plant. During her 8 years at LANXESS Canada, she worked her way up from Quality Assurance Technician to the Senior Laboratory Technician. She was responsible for sourcing and purchasing all laboratory consumables and equipment for the Quality Assurance Laboratory while maintaining a safe and organized work environment.

What interests Karen:

Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering and fostering abandoned dogs for BBB Canine Rescue and Transport as well as reading mystery novels.

Michelle Benevides

Sr. Communications & Marketing Manager

More about Michelle and her role at Velocity

With more than 20 years marketing experience, Michelle is thrilled to be able to create, inform and connect with the innovation community. Prior to joining Velocity she held a marketing leadership position with the Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club and amassed a 14 plus season sports career. With the Rangers she was able to develop and grow the brand and its reputation, produce engaging content and events, and expand fan and community impact through partnerships, programs and sponsorship. Before that she was with The Record and her own graphic design and advertising agency, working with numerous clients in the Waterloo Region and across Ontario. 

What interests Michelle:

Outside of work, you’ll find her enjoying time with her family, exploring new restaurants, trying to master the perfect latte and getting outdoors as much as possible. 

Tina Wilton

Campus Entrepreneurship Experience Manager

More about Tina and her role at Velocity

Tina is a Campus Entrepreneurship Experience Manager at Velocity. She is excited to design inclusive entrepreneurial and innovative programming for students from all programs and backgrounds. As a former Speech Communication and Business Student at the University of Waterloo, she discovered her passion for innovation while taking Business Entrepreneurship Technology (BET) courses, working at a Velocity startup and living in the Velocity Residence on-campus. These experiences made her realize that you do not need to come from a technical background in order to explore a career in tech. After graduation, she worked for Communitech where she was able to develop and lead student programming initiatives in partnership with local tech startups, scale-ups and corporate innovation labs.  

What interests Tina:

When she is not working, you can find her hiking, rollerblading, or exploring with her dogs (Milo and Bolt!). 

Emily Martin

Entrepreneurship Experience Coordinator

More about Emily and her role at Velocity

Emily is an Entrepreneurship Experience Coordinator at Velocity. She plans and facilitates programs for entrepreneurial-minded students, including the 5K competition! She is an alumna of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (also known as Ontario Tech University) where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Digital Media Studies. Before joining the Concept team, she worked at Ontario Tech’s Student Learning Centre, where she gained a passion for creating informative, engaging, and inclusive programming to encourage student success in all aspects of their academic journeys. 

What interests Emily:

Her other interests include baseball, reading, playing trivia games, and trying new recipes!

Suleyman Begenjov

Digital Marketing Specialist

More about Suleyman and his role at Velocity

Suleyman is a digital communications specialist with over 7 years of experience. Prior to joining the Velocity, he has held numerous digital communications and media-related roles in international organizations working with multiple governments and institutions. Over the past years, he has developed and executed multi-channel international campaigns to raise awareness and generate commitment regarding youth policies and social issues. He has also built effective digital communications channels to connect stakeholders with decision-makers, as well as engaging communities to promote inclusion and diversity. 

What interests Suleyman:

Snowboarding, travelling to new places, going to concerts, and occasionally trying out extreme sports. 

Benjamin Graham

Problem Lab Manager

More about Ben and his role at Velocity

Ben is the Problem Lab Manager at Velocity. He is passionate about developing programming and opportunities to support students at the earliest stage of innovation through problem analysis. While completing his Honours Bachelor of Psychology at the University of Waterloo, he had the opportunity to work alongside Professor Larry Smith where he learned about all things entrepreneurship, innovation and the value of fully understanding important problems before building solutions. While at the Problem Lab, he has worked on initiatives and projects with organizations such as Open Data Exchange, Cisco Systems, Maple Leaf Foods, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and Baker McKenzie where he researched commercial problems affecting industry.

What interests Ben:

Outside of the office, you can find Ben playing guitar, hunting for new music gear, skating, and in the kitchen cooking.

Tamer Shahin

Senior Manager, Digital Creator Space

More about Tamer and his role at Velocity

Tamer oversees Velocity Digital, a creator space that supports technology commercialization at the University of Waterloo campus. He provides technical support and mentorship to early-stage student teams that are working on their digital technology ideas, including hardware and software support. Prior to joining Velocity, Tamer worked in multiple roles leading engineering design teams, and in supporting technology entrepreneurship in academic environments. Tamer established a successful product development and design workshop space and training programs that support hundreds of innovators and creators every year. Tamer has worked in technology commercialization within higher-education at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and has held engineering design roles in industry including working for startups and starting his own. He has worked on multiple technology fields ranging from designing lighting systems to solar technology. He holds a MS in Mechanical Engineering from KAUST and BS in Mechatronics Engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology. 

What interests Tamer:

Tamer is interested in supporting highly energetic and creative individuals to achieve amazing things. Tamer enjoys learning new things every day. When he is not learning a new gadget, he enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends, or at the workshop getting his hands dirty.

Krysta Traianovski

Senior Manager, Velocity Science 

More about Krysta and her role at Velocity

Krysta is the Senior Manager of Velocity Science, a creator space and program for science innovation at the University of Waterloo campus. She supports early-stage teams with both their business and technical development in the Velocity Science lab. Krysta believes in making entrepreneurship accessible to everyone, and that the most successful founders can be those who never even considered it as a path. In 2016, she co-founded BrightGuide, a software company working to support persons living with dementia and their family caregivers with activities of daily living. Having three years’ experience as an early-stage startup founder has given Krysta a wealth of experience to draw on when coaching teams. Afterwards, she helped small businesses with their digital marketing and online presence through the pandemic via her consulting company Weave Digital. Her combination of working in software, deeptech and local industries gives her a unique perspective on entrepreneurship. Krysta holds a BSc in Chemistry and an MBET from the University of Waterloo.

What interests Krysta:

Krysta loves getting lost in long Twitter threads and Wikipedia rabbit holes on eclectic topics. When she’s not reading, she loves doing yoga, embroidery, cooking and spending time outdoors.