It was described as an opportunity to “build synergy”
and it was a natural fit between two groups looking to spin
talent and enthusiasm into gold.
Soon-to-be graduates of Memorial’s Diploma in Information
and Communications Technologies Program recently met with
a number of the high-tech companies being incubated by Memorial’s
Genesis Centre. The meeting was organized by ICT instructor
Steve Cater and Genesis director Keelin O’Leary.
Mr. Cater and Ms. O’Leary recognized the IT relationship
the companies and the students shared.
“It’s a natural fit,” said Mr. Cater, noting
that Genesis clients had hired as many as eight programmers
recently. He wanted the companies to be aware of the students’
IT skills. He also wanted the students to learn what entrepreneurial,
start-ups look for in employees.
The get-together started with a brief overview of Genesis’
services – provided by business analyst, Michelle Simms
– followed by Mr. Cater’s overview of the ICT
program. Genesis clients in attendance then described their
companies and gave the students some idea of what their companies
look for in IT support. The presentations were followed by
a question-and-answer period and a meet and greet.
In his presentation, Cater stressed the currency of the ICT
program’s curriculum. “When the students ask me
about a work term placement I tell them they should be thinking
about full-time work,” he said. “They’re
For their part, the company reps stressed the importance of
the students having a strong entrepreneurial orientation,
a theme echoed by Tom Chalker, president and chief technology
officer of Pixecur.
“They have to appreciate the risk the company is dealing
with and be willing to accept the fact the company does not
have the stability of the large organization. They also have
to be willing to take on all kinds of new responsibilities,
emerging situations and recognize that in a small company
they’ll be asked to do a lot of extra hours when deadlines
What the company reps were saying resonated with ICT student,
“I think it’s been very helpful finding out what
these small start-up companies are looking for. They’re
not Microsoft but Microsoft had to start somewhere and you
never know when the next big thing is coming along. It could
be from anywhere. And that’s one of the really exciting
things about getting in with one of these companies.
“To be able to start with a company and grow with them,
personally, that experience, you can’t put a dollar
value on that.”
She also was pleased with what she found out about the Genesis
centre; “that it’s there and you can go to them
and say this is what I want to do and they’ll help you
out and provide a support structure.”
When asked if she might be considering something entrepreneurial
of her own — as opposed to taking on a job — she
said that wasn’t in the cards for her at the moment.
But she does think there’s potential for that in her
fellow ICT students.
“These are some of the smartest people I’ve ever
met, and if anybody can pull it off, there are definitely
a couple of them who could be the next Bill Gates. For sure.”