Tag Archives: Transforming our globe

TransfORming Our Globe – Ransom Hawley ‘04

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016_0539 - Version 2For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumnus, Ransom Hawley ‘04, who forged
his own path to success with his app, Caddle, that allows users to earn money by engaging with the brands they use on a daily basis.

Ransom began Grade 7 at Ridley in 1998 and quickly involved himself in all of the facets of the school available to the student body. While here, he played football, basketball, and rugby. He credits Ridley with providing him with an excellent network with which he was able to establish himself professionally upon graduating. Additionally, Ransom’s strong work ethic was developed at Ridley, which he says helps tremendously with the long hours and determination his company employs on a daily basis.

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After graduating from Ridley, Ransom initially attended St. Francis Xavier University and studied marine biology. His love for scuba diving and interest in the subject matter led him to believe it would be a good fit. However, after enrolling in several business electives, he quickly realized there was another career path for him. He transferred to the University of Western Ontario and completed the Honors Business Administration program at the Ivey School of Business. Having completed his programme, Ransom began work at SC Johnson (SCJ) in their sales and marketing department.

He worked with several coupon apps while at SCJ and came up with the idea for Caddle when he began to wonder if these apps could incorporate more features – both for the consumer and for the company advertising. After seven years at SC Johnson, during which he had moved back to St. Catharines, Ransom gave himself a deadline. He had been developing his idea for Caddle for two years and while on a flight back from a business trip in April of 2015, a chance encounter with the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, finally tipped the scales. Ransom soon left his job at SC Johnson to pursue Caddle. Not only was Ransom spurred on by Wozniak’s advice, but he also motivated by several other factors, including potentially regretting not seizing this opportunity and ensuring a feeling of pride when looking back on what he’s done.

Caddle has essentially taken coupons and interactive advertising digital and put it at the fingertips of consumers. Caddle allows brands to capture more of the total dollar share they spend on marketing. Meant to fill an unproductive amount of time with a productive action, users can log in to the app and take a survey, watch an ad, leave a review, or simply provide a picture of a receipt – and earn money doing so. Caddle’s clients – among them, giants such as Pepsico and General Mills – are able to engage and educate customers while deriving instant consumer insights that gather real-time feedback; a valuable currency to any brand. Caddle earns money on processing fees, as well as by charging clients every time a user interacts with their specific brand. No half measures either; users have to complete the entire survey or watch the whole video to get their money.

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In addition to recently earning a Canadian Grocer Generation Next Award, Caddle was also on CBC’s popular entrepreneurial TV show Dragons’ Den. This appearance on a national television show provided significant exposure, spurred growth and initiated a spike in users of the app. Ultimately, the ‘Dragons’ thought it was an excellent idea, with Dan Warner, co-founder of a similar couponing platform ‘SnapSaves’, coming on board as a consultant for Caddle.

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Ransom would like to see Caddle become a platform that changes the way customers interact with brands. As an entrepreneur, he enjoys creating and operating something he can call his own. In addition to being a local company (Ransom still lives in St. Catharines) and partnering with many local businesses, Caddle also donates 10 percent of their pre-tax profit to Canadian charities.

Ransom’s advice to Ridleans considering an idea or thinking about taking the leap into entrepreneurship? “If you have an idea, take it to your local innovation hub. They will be an incredible resource and help determine if your idea is feasible.” Ransom used Innovate Niagara a great deal with looking for developers, applying for grants, and gathering constructive feedback regarding Caddle. Ransom reminds us that everyone has ideas and it doesn’t serve you well to just keep thinking about them – act on them. He encourages Ridleans to take calculated risks, “It’s only money. You will make more of it.” Finally, he says “make your future self proud of you.”


TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

 

TransfORming Our Globe – Ted Kirkpatrick ’05 & Adrian Pennachetti ‘05

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For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumni, Ted Kirkpatrick ’05 and Adrian Pennachetti ‘05, who saw a business opportunity that was both environmentally sustainable and prosperous. Read about how these two Ridleians started Tree to Table – a Niagara based company that salvages, mills, cuts and converts reclaimed wood into live-edged tables.

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In 2001, Ted and Adrian first met. Throughout the course of their time as Tigers, both boys were active members of the Ridley community. Ted and Adrian were House Captains during their final year, they could be often found on the field or rink, and were both involved in the arts at Ridley – working on set designs and playing in the Cadet Band.

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After Ridley, Adrian and Ted attended McGill University and Wilfred Laurier University, respectively. It was years later, when both Ridleians had their focus directed elsewhere, that Tree to Table was born. After a wind storm at Adrian’s family farm, Ted and Adrian were cleaning up the fallen trees. A beautiful, black walnut tree had come down and they didn’t want to see it go to waste. They saw the potential to turn it into a piece of furniture, and a business was born. Ted did wood-working as a hobby, and while at Ridley, both Ted and Adrian learned wood-working skills from Mr. Giles Campbell, the Design Technology teacher, who still teaches students today.

When Ted and Adrian graduated high school, they left Ridley with time-management skills and the ability to focus on the task at hand, but they said that their biggest take-away was the connections they made. When their business began to take off, their Ridley connections were the direct cause. Their workshop was rented from a Ridley parent, many of their first customers were Ridleians, and their materials were – and still are – harvested and collected from a Ridley family farm.

Ted and Adrian take great care in ensuring their products are completed with the utmost quality and sustainability. It can take up to eight months for a product to be completed, from the collecting of the dead trees to the sealing of the tables. All of their wood is salvaged from standing dead trees, which would have otherwise been used for firewood.  The wood must then be brought to the sawmill, stacked, and fully dried out, all before they begin to form the reclaimed wood into a usable table. Although it may seem like a long process, it ensures that Tree to Table remains green, and that each customer receives a top of the line product.

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In the last four years, business has been nonstop for Tree to Table and has nearly doubled each year since they began. One of the company’s recent jobs was creating and installing all of the live-edge tables in Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Garrison House. Since both Ted and Adrian have full-time jobs, they work hard to maintain a balance between their other commitments and Tree to Table. While they love their other jobs, Tree to Table gives them a creative outlet and a place to relieve stress. With their recent success, the business partners have begun discussing where to take their company next.

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To Ridleians who are looking to start their own businesses, Ted and Adrian gave some of advice:

“When you see an opportunity, you have to capitalize on it. Don’t wait around. Be mindful of your life. Find a healthy balance between your work and your personal life. Let your business flourish, but not at the expense of your wellbeing”

– Ted Kirkpatrick ‘05

“Be a sponge. Ask questions and surround yourself with strong mentors.”

– Adrian Pennachetti ‘05


TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

 

TransfORming Our Globe – Greg Stremlaw ’90

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For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumnus, Greg Stremlaw ‘90, who has had a record-setting career in public and private sport, and is now the Head of CBC Sports as well as General Manager of the Olympics for Canada and the Chef de Mission for the Rio Olympic Games.

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Greg began his Ridley career in 1987 and graduated in 1990. He excelled in academics – graduating as an Ontario Scholar – and was heavily involved in athletics. For all three years that he spent at Ridley, he was a member of both the First Boys’ soccer and hockey teams. Greg also competed on the track and field team and the golf team. It was clear that he had a special place in his heart for sports. Although athletics were a huge part of his Ridley journey, that wasn’t the only aspect of Ridley life that impacted Greg. He graduated in 1990, with a well-rounded skill set that truly benefitted him in his post-secondary career and beyond.

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“Ridley placed a heavy emphasis and mandate on being well-rounded… Prioritization was critically important for success at Ridley and that skill set has come to serve me very well as an executive in my career.” – Greg Stremlaw ’90

After graduating from Ridley, Greg began his post-secondary career at Western University, completing his undergraduate degree in business. He then attended the University of Maine, where he obtained his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. After achieving his Master’s, many opportunities arose for Greg, but his thirst for knowledge was insatiable. He took a position at the Orange Bowl and enrolled at the University of Miami for a Master’s degree in sports management. It was this decision – combined with the skills he gained from Ridley and his business knowledge – that launched Greg’s career in sport management.

Once he had experience with the Orange Bowl and a new sports management degree from University of Miami, he returned to Canada to step into his role as the Director of Bobsleigh and Luge and Vice President of Sport Services for the Calgary Olympic Development Association – now known as WinSport Canada. After six years in Calgary, Greg became the Chief Executive Officer of Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort in Ontario. In 2007, Greg was named the Chief Executive Officer of Curling Canada. While there, Greg encouraged innovation that led to the organization’s massive financial turnaround. His work with Curling Canada also helped the country become the number one nation in the global rankings for men’s, women’s, and wheelchair curling. In 2015, Greg made his next big move, and joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as the new Head of CBC Sports.

2015, Calgary Ab, 2017 Curling Canada Announcement, Curling Canada C.E.O. Greg Stremlaw, Curling Canada/michael burns photo
2015, Calgary Ab, 2017 Curling Canada Announcement, Curling Canada C.E.O. Greg Stremlaw, Curling Canada/michael burns photo

Greg says his favourite part about working at CBC has been the atmosphere created by the passionate and enthusiastic colleagues he is surrounded by every day.

 “Ultimately, there are some exceptional staff at CBC and the experience and extensive corporate knowledge is impressive. CBC Sports is one of the most iconic brands in Canada and the staff fully appreciate this and want to continue to deliver broadcast and digital excellence. It is a real privilege to come to work and see this enthusiasm and passion each and every day.” – Greg Stremlaw ‘90

Since he began at CBC, Greg’s career has been nothing short of remarkable. In this past year, Greg was also appointed as the General Manager of the Olympics for Canada and the Chef de Mission for the Rio Olympic Games that happened this summer. This year, along with his team in Rio, he set a record for most coverage and most accessibility of the Olympic Games in Canadian history; providing 1,300 hours of televised events, 100 hours of 360-degree coverage and 4,000 hours of live-streaming event coverage. More Canadians tuned into watch the Summer Games than ever before, with a total count of 32.1 million viewers.

“The Olympic Games are the largest sporting event in the world and there is absolutely nothing like the excitement they bring and the stories generated from them. The best athletes from Canada and around the world inspired us day after day in Rio and it was our privilege to share these moments of triumph and heartbreak with so many Canadians. CBC/Radio-Canada is proud to be Canada’s Olympic Network through 2024, and to continue to shine a spotlight on these athletes and their stories at the Games and also year-round through our weekly coverage of high-performance sport.” – Greg Stremlaw ’90

Greg’s accomplishments don’t end there. He was also named to the Globe & Mail’s Power 50 List of Sports Leaders in Canada and recently completed a Harvard Executive Education program at Harvard Law.

Greg’s endless drive, determination and dedication has led him to have a successful and rewarding career. To other Ridleians who are trying to decide which path to take, Greg says this:

“There are an incredible amount of opportunities that exist out there and before you commit to anything, be absolutely sure that you are going to be fully satisfied with your career choice. There is no doubt that Ridley provides you with an incredible advantage over most high school students in Canada. With that, take the time to grow that into something that you will be passionate about in life. It is an amazing feeling to get up every morning and love to come to work to do what you enjoy and feel that you are making a difference.”

TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

TransfORming Our Globe – Marc Seitz ‘08

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For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumnus, Marc Seitz ’08, who discovered the world of computer programming and then made his mark in the industry by founding two software development companies that would change how corporations and programmers connect – Hackevents and Hackerbay.

In 2006, Marc made the trip from Germany to Canada, where he began his Ridley career. Marc made the most of his two years at Ridley; forming strong relationships with friends from around the globe, bonding with his teammates on the soccer field and the golf course, and ensuring his housemates were well taken care of. A Strongman from Merritt South (MSo), Marc was a House Captain and ran the MSo Tuck Shop with a friend. He also excelled in academics, and earned the Academic Tie (awarded to students who’ve earned an average of 85% upon graduating). Although he was only at Ridley for a short while, Marc’s shares that his time at Ridley had a big impact on his life.

“At Ridley, I made some of the most long-lasting relationships of my life. The strong community at Ridley really made it all worth it. I made friends that I now see once or twice a year but we are closer than ever.” – Marc Seitz ‘08

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Upon graduating in 2008, Marc made the decision to travel to Hong Kong to study Economics and Finance at the University of Hong Kong. The challenging and competitive nature of finance and economics during the recession fueled Marc’s passion. After a short time working with exchange-traded funds, he decided he still had more to learn and explore. Marc returned to Germany, where he studied physics at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München – the University of Munich. It was the study of physics that led him to where he is now. Marc says “physics opened my eyes to a new world and convinced me to learn how to program on the side.” Marc then began to take online courses on computer programming.

Since his studies, Marc has successfully founded two computer programming companies; both of which have heavily impacted the computer programming world. Hackevents was founded in 2014 and evolved into the leading search engine for Hackathons – which are collaborative and competitive events for computer programmers. Hackathons allow programmers to network with individuals and companies and demonstrate their programming skills. Hackevents does not only offer a database of hackathons occurring around the world, but also is the largest organizer of hackathons in Germany.

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Marc pictured on the right.

Marc’s second company, Hackerbay was inspired by the success of Hackevents. It was founded in January 2016 to enable computer programmers to connect with large organizations that lack a software development department. Through Hackerbay, programmers can provide their services – such as application, software and prototype design – to top companies. To date, Hackerbay has connected over 1,600 programmers and developers with companies like Twitter and Google.

“Being a founder, you have the unique ability to influence the success of your company… This source of power encourages me to be better and make a difference.”

Both Hackevents and Hackerbay are becoming increasingly popular, and Marc hopes to grow latter into the largest software solutions company. He also desires to return to the study of physics, as space exploration and technology continue to evolve.

Marc’s thirst for knowledge led him to a rewarding career, that continues to grow and evolve.

To past, present and future students of Ridley, Marc says this:

“Challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Test out different subjects and hold on to what does not let your mind rest.”

TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

 

TransfORming Our Globe – Megan Breukelman ’11

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For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of an Old Ridleian, Megan Breukelman ’11, who transformed her passion into a business that connects and inspires people all over the world – Atlas Magazine.

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Megan Breukelman began her Ridley career in Grade 5 and carried out the duration of her secondary school studies here at Ridley. With a passion for visual arts and more specifically, photography, Megan took advantage of every opportunity she had to refine her craft. She was a photographer for the ACTA Ridleiana, could often be found photographing major Ridley events and frequently used the stunning Ridley campus as a backdrop for her personal projects. In addition to her artistic pursuits, Megan ensured her school curriculum aligned with her goals, taking courses such as AP Visual Art and Media Arts.

“I had a leg-up in my career thanks to the Media Arts programme at Ridley, taught by Mr. Reimer – I was comfortable with the Adobe Suite way ahead of time!”

– Megan Breukelman ‘11

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By the time Megan was graduating high school, she was well versed in the world of art, had the experience necessary to jumpstart her career and had the work ethic and time management skills necessary to succeed. It was then that Megan made the move to Florida, where she attended Ringling College of Art and Design. After a few years in the sun, Megan decided that in order to advance her career, New York was where she needed to be. Megan took a year off of school to intern in Toronto, while she prepared for her new life in the Big Apple. In the Fall of 2014, Megan moved to New York to finish her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the School of Visual Arts (SVA).

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SVA gave me a focused education on the business of photography, rather than just the creative and technical aspects. Both sides are essential to a career in the arts.”

– Megan Breukelman ’11

While attending school, Megan met Olivia Bossert, her overseas business partner, on an online photography community. Both had similar goals, and after some discussion, they founded Atlas Magazine. Atlas is a quarterly publication that showcases creative talent from all over the world. “The publication found its focus in fashion while maintaining its roots in fine art, setting it apart from the typical fashion magazine,” says founder, Megan. It began as an online publication, but two years after releasing the first issue, Megan and Olivia launched a crowd funding campaign with Kickstarter that allowed them to begin selling print publications in the United Kingdom. As of today,  Atlas is now available internationally.

Since its inception, Atlas has grown in size and popularity within the art world and now receives thousands of submissions, releases both print and digital issues and maintains a robust website – with lookbooks, articles and editorial sections.

“The best part of creating Atlas is seeing the spectrum of work that is submitted to us every issue. We receive thousands of submissions from artists of all parts of the world, and I am always surprised and delighted at how much pure talent there is out there.” – Megan Breukelman ’11

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Alongside Atlas, Megan has maintained a flourishing career. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at SVA and over the years has gained professional experience at agencies, magazines and even a fashion brand. She intends to continue working in creative production and says, “…as long as I’m doing something I’m passionate about, I’ll be happy.”

For anyone who is trying to discover what they want to do or where they want their path to lead, Megan says this:

“Take your time in figuring out what you want to do. There is a lot of pressure to pick something and stick with it, but I think careers and passions grow and evolve just as we do.”

Megan’s story shows that your passion can evolve into a flourishing career and that art can truly connect people.

TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.