About Us

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The Mitchell Odyssey Foundation (MOF) was established by Ross Mitchell, a high-tech entrepreneur who was inspired by a science school trip at age 13 to engage in a life-long path of discovery into the physical sciences and create innovative communication technologies that have enhanced the world around him. The objective of the Foundation was to give adolescents the same opportunity by engaging, stimulating and mentoring them in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). MOF invested to catalyze adolescent STEM exploration and learning by using the Odyssey Schools program to re-engage youth in STEM and inspire them to explore STEM career options. These investments also reignited a passion for STEM learning in educators – who created new ways of teaching to engage students in hands-on activities with new equipment, technology and field trip explorations to connect with industry and the local community.

During its journey to address the challenge of declining enrollment in STEM, the Mitchell Odyssey Foundation leveraged diverse expertise across academia, government, industry, business and tech entrepreneurship with strategic insights in life-long learning and innovation.

Ross Mitchell, Founder and Chairman

Ross Mitchell was the founder/CEO of HotHaus Technologies, a pioneer in the development of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. HotHaus was acquired by Broadcom in August 1999 in one of the largest private company purchases in Canadian history.

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Prior to starting HotHaus in 1994, Ross held various marketing and engineering positions at Spectrum Signal Processing, MacDonald Dettwiler, Seastar Instruments, and Raytheon. Currently, Ross is President of LightHaus Networks Inc., President and Chairman of Kineteks Corporation, Chairman of LightHaus Logic Inc., and President and CEO of Boulevard Auto Inc., all of which are companies affiliated with LightHaus Networks.

Ross graduated on the Dean’s List from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering in 1984. Industry recognition for his business achievements include: Finalist – Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Pacific Region in 2000; Canada’s “Top 40 under 40” in 2000.

Ross is a founding member and Chair of Mitchell Odyssey Foundation, which is committed to providing opportunities in science, technology and mathematics to adolescents. Ross is also a governor of Science World, a world renowned Science Institution in Vancouver, BC.

Tim Collings, Director

Tim Collings earned his B.A.Sc. and M.A.Sc. (Electrical Engineering) from the University of Waterloo in 1984 and 1986 respectively. From 1989-1998 he conducted research at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in analog, digital & microprocessor systems design, communication systems, and digital signal processing (DSP).

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From 1998-2002 he was Professor at the Technical University of BC (TechBC) and conducted program, curriculum and course design as well as advanced applied research in embedded systems and communications. He is currently the president of Canadian V-Chip Design Inc.

Tim developed the V-chip at SFU in 1990. In 1996 he was awarded the APEBC Meritorious Achievement Award, the BC Science Council Young Innovator Gold Medal, and the Ernest C. Manning Principal Award in recognition of his V-chip technology. He was invited to address the G7 regarding V-chip technology in 1995 and again in 1996 and he was invited to the White House in 1997 to demonstrate the V-chip at a press conference with Al Gore and Bill Clinton. In 1998 he was recognized as one of Canada's "Top 40 Under 40". In 2000 he was acknowledged as one of BC’s “Top 50 Thinkers.” Tim continues to advocate content search and filtering technologies to governments, industry and organizations around the world.

Tim serves on several technology standards-setting committees and continues to license V-chip technology to consumer electronics companies as the Director of R&D for Tri-Vision Electronics in Toronto, Canada. He is also a founder of Kineteks Corporation which is developing a wireless pressure-sensing insole for recreational, sports training, medical and gaming markets. He continues to assist local companies in the design, development, manufacturing and marketing of technology products and services, and provides technical risk analysis, technology assessment, intellectual property development, business formation, financing, and strategic planning services.

Garry S. Shearer, Director

Garry has spent the past 22 years in marketing and sales roles with hi-tech companies in Vancouver including: Marketing Manager – EMail Products for Microsoft Corp., Director of Marketing Dees Communications/Nice Systems, Director of Marketing HotHaus Technologies/Broadcom Canada and Vice President Sales & Marketing with ResponseTek Networks.

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In addition to his hi-tech successes, Garry has been active with several non-profit organizations: previously serving as VP External Relations – Science World British Columbia, President - Delta Hospice Society; and Past President - Rotary Club of Tsawwassen. As a Director of the Mitchell Odyssey Foundation, Garry will provide strategic direction to the marketing and fund development activities.

Jim Charlton, Director

Jim Charlton is Senior Vice President, Investments BC for GrowthWorks Capital. Jim has been involved in the venture capital industry for over 22 years and joined the GrowthWorks team in 1996.

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Jim brings extensive board member expertise and currently serves as a board member to various technology companies. Jim began his career with Discovery Enterprises, an early stage venture capital firm, and after eight years joined Ventures West Management. Jim has a BSC in Astronomy from UBC and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario.

Morgan Sturdy, Director

Morgan Sturdy is a high-tech entrepreneur and executive with an impressive 20 year track record. Morgan was the President of Dees Communications Engineering, a market leader in call center solutions, from 1985 until its acquisition by NICE Systems in 1997.

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He joined Dees Communications when it was a 10 person company supplying telecom peripheral equipment to BC Tel and over the next 10 years, Dees was transformed from a regional micro processor based hardware supplier to Digital Signal Processing platform developer and a prominent player in Call Center Telecom solutions market. In 1997, NICE Systems, an Israeli based NASDAQ traded company, purchased Dees Communications to take advantage of its technology and strong presence in the USA Call Center markets.

From 1997 – 1998 he served at President of Nice Systems Canada and from 1998 - 2000, he served as the Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Nice systems North America.. NICE is the market leader in providing the enterprise with solutions for the capture, quality monitoring, and analysis of customer interactions. During this period under Morgan’s leadership the revenue of the North American operation went up 300%.

Morgan Sturdy has been very active in the BC Technology community for the last 20 years serving as a board member of 15 technology companies. This included CREO Inc. which was sold to Kodak for $1 Billion and also as founding Chairman of Hothaus Technologies from 1993 to 1998 when it was acquired by Broadcom for one of the highest amounts ever paid for a private BC technology company.

Morgan currently serves as a director, chairman and board member, of a variety of larger and smaller local private and public technology companies including, Voice Mobility International, Ignition Point, Idelix Software, UB Video, ResponseTek and TIR Systems.

Rick Warner, Director

Rick has over 23 years experience managing science and technology-based projects and initiatives in British Columbia in industry, post-secondary institutes and government.

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He holds a B.Sc. (1980) from McMaster University and is a graduate of the Management Skills in Advanced Technology (MSAT) Program (1996) at Simon Fraser University.

Rick was employed at the Science Council of BC, now the BC Innovation Council, from 1984 until 2000 and was Director of Programs when he left. In this capacity he was responsible for financial assistance programs available to technology based companies, post-secondary researchers and post-secondary students. At their peak, these programs totaled over $40M and were administered by 20 staff and a network of several hundred volunteers.

Since 2006 Rick has been the Manager of the Pacific Region office of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada(NSERC). NSERC is the national instrument for making strategic investments in Canada's capability in science and technology. NSERC supports both basic university research through discovery grants and project research through partnerships among universities, governments and the private sector, as well as the advanced training of highly qualified people.

Over the past several years Rick has been engaged in a variety of contract and consulting positions including Director of Technology Transfer at Malaspina University College; curriculum development and research management at Simon Fraser University; review of the science and technology investments of the provincial government resulting in the merger of the Science Council of BC and the Advanced Systems Institute and, more recently, as Director for the Mitchell Odyssey Foundation.

Rick is a past Chairman of the Vancouver Enterprise Forum (VEF) and past Chair of the VEF Operations Committee.

Dr. Bruce Beairsto, Director

Bruce has been an educator for over 35 years and is the recently retired Superintendent of the Richmond School District. He holds an MSc in Physics from UBC, an MA in Curriculum Development from UBC and a PhD in Educational Leadership from the University of Tampere in Finland.

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Bruce began his teaching career in Junior Secondary Science and subsequently taught Physics, Math, Chemistry and Computer Science from Grades 8 to 12. His classroom career is now far behind him, but he is an adjunct professor at SFU and continues to occasionally teach in both the Masters and EdD programs in the Faculty of Education as well as supervise doctoral students. He also works with The Critical Thinking Consortium and speaks to educational audiences on the subject of leadership and learning.

Bruce is also a member of the Board of Governors of Science World.

Cheryl Kristiansen, Managing Director

As an accomplished and results-driven business development manager, Cheryl has successfully led professional sales teams, managed leading-edge engineering projects and created innovative marketing strategies that increased sales, improved market share and exceeded financial objectives.

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A degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Manitoba is supplemented by diverse professional training – from project management, team leader and sales coaching to total quality management, problem resolution and “managing moments of truth”.

Cheryl started her career in Winnipeg in the research sector developing and testing alternate fueled engine technology. She joined ICG Propane (now Superior Propane) to introduce alternate fuels technology into the diesel engine market, while collaborating with international research organizations, major North American OEM’s and various levels of government. A demonstration project at two major mines brought her to British Columbia, where sales and marketing became her focus. While developing business in the energy industry, top clients included PetroCanada, Shell Canada, B.C. government agencies and major forestry, mining and industrial companies.

In the past few years, Cheryl has provided sales and marketing expertise through her company K-Cycle Consulting with clients in aerospace engineering, ISO quality management systems, forestry research and financial services.

Extensive volunteer work as PAC President at her children’s school has also given Cheryl a unique perspective on opportunities to enhance educational initiatives. As Managing Director of the Mitchell Odyssey Foundation, Cheryl will utilize her 23 years of business expertise to help position the Foundation for continued success.

The Mitchell Odyssey Foundation has leveraged teacher enthusiasm and expertise by providing resources that encourage and connections that inspire, which all benefits our students.
— Dr. Bruce Beairsto - Previous Superintendent, Richmond School District & Director of Mitchell Odyssey Foundation

The Mitchell Odyssey Foundation gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Education to expand Mitchell Odyssey School programs in remote and rural communities.

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The Mitchell Odyssey Foundation is proud to be a founding member of the Science Charter of BC to create a vibrant province where active pursuit of scientific knowledge and technological innovation enables a healthy, prosperous and sustainable society.

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