14, 2000, Gazette)
Chair helps student startup
Intrignia members Lloyd Smith, Jamie King, Brad Suter and Mike
Wrinch standing in a load haul dump machine at the MINExpo 2000
in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Just a year ago, Intrignia Solutions was a mere concept. Four
Memorial students had an idea take one of the group members
engineering research projects and develop it as a commercial
opportunity. The research project chosen involved the technology
required for robotics and more particularly multi-robotic systems.
They were convinced that the application of the technology could
have a huge market potential in harsh environments such as underground
mining where there is a need to make operations safer and more
It seemed like a bit of a dream for PhD engineering student Jamie
King, M.Eng. students Lloyd Smith and Mike Wrinch, and MBA student
Brad Suter. The dream quickly became reality when Dr. Ray Gosine,
director of intelligent systems with C-CORE, suggested that they
contact the Hubert W. Kelly Memorial Chair in Youth-focused Technological
Entrepreneurship in the Faculty of Business Administration.
Well in advance of its formal announcement in April, the business
research chair was actively working and meeting with Memorial
students interested in beginning new technology ventures. When
Dr. Bob Richards, chairholder, met with members of Intrignia
Solutions in January 2000, he was so convinced of their success
potential that he immediately began to work with them. By mid-February,
Intrignia Solutions was incorporated and had established a board
of advisers consisting of Dr. Gosine, Dr. Richards, and Dr. Siu
OYoung, director of the Centre for Instrumentation and
Control Automation (INCA).
Incorporation was very important for this new business
venture, said Dr. Richards. It helped to formalize
loose relationships and build a cohesive group.
Part of the chairs mandate is to act as a catalyst for
burgeoning business ideas by connecting business-minded youth
with business, technology, and research resources on campus.
C-CORE, the Genesis Group, the Faculties of Business Administration,
Engineering and Applied Science, Medicine and Science represent
just a few of the resources available to support entrepreneurship
and innovation on campus.
One important role of the chair is navigational in nature,
explained Dr. Richards. We provide direction and advice
for fledgling technologically-able entrepreneurs, by effectively
connecting them with the right resources at the right time, with
the preparation required to articulate their idea effectively.
For Intrignia Solutions, their needs were simple. They required
continuing technical advice and support for their technologies
as well as support for business development.
The company has come a long way since its early beginnings. A
recent visit to MINExpo, the premier technology showcase for
the international mining industry in Las Vegas provided extra
incentive for the young entrepreneurs. While there, they learned
their hunches were right there is a huge demand for their
technology. Currently no other company in the world is developing
technology to service high harsh environments. In essence, Intrignia
Solutions is sitting on the proverbial goldmine.
Bobs energy and passion as an entrepreneur is unmatched,
said Mr. Suter, vice-president of marketing for Intrignia Solutions.
Not only is he a major motivation and inspiration for Intrignia,
but he provides us with good advice, and most importantly, he
takes time to help us become successful entrepreneurs.
While Newfoundland may not appear to be the hub of robotics,
dont let appearances deceive. Memorial University and
C-CORE are fertile feeding grounds for Intrignia Solutions and
its leading-edge technology. While the technology behind the
movement of a single robot is relatively simple, the complexity
increases exponentially as a second, third or even fourth robot
is used. In fact, Intrignia Solutions has developed technology
for the interaction of six robots. With all this technology behind
them, Intrignia is now at the point of establishing industry
partners that will help them further their research and development.
Taking this technology to the market place is where Dr. Richards
role fits in.
Dr. Richards has proven an indispensable addition to the
Intrignia team, added Mr. Suter. From seemingly simple
questions to issues regarding Intrignias strategic direction,
the guidance of the chair and advisory board is honest, unbiased
Intrignia Solutions is poised to make its mark in international
business and the chair is behind them all the way. Furthermore,
Dr. Richards sees Intrignia as representative of an impending
wave of start-up companies arising from the university environment;
a wave that, in the very early formative stages, requires structures
to energize and sustain it.
Intrignia is an excellent example of the innovative thinking
and the entrepreneurial energy resident in a university environment,
said Dr. Richards. A research university is a cauldron
of ideas. On any day of the week untold numbers of commercially
viable technologies and innovations are on the laboratory tables,
or in the inventive heads of students and faculty. The challenge
is to provide the navigational devices that connect potential
entrepreneurs, at the very early stages of invention, with the
many human, material, technical and financial resources available
to help them.
Intrignias work with intelligent mediation systems
is leading that exciting robotics field. The supporting role
is to see to it that Intrignia has the very best opportunity
to succeed. Remember the name. Intrigina is one brilliant tip
of a very large and multi-faceted star.