Nick Werstiuk – CEO

Nick Werstiuk is the Chief Executive Officer of Quantum Valley Ideas Lab. Prior to joining Ideas Lab in 2020, Mr. Werstiuk was Director of AI Offerings at IBM Cognitive Systems. His career in enterprise technology spans more than 30 years, having spent the first 10 years of his career in telecom network infrastructure, holding a range of Product Management, Marketing, and Engineering positions at Bell Canada. Mr. Werstiuk subsequently drove early-stage product commercialization and customer adoption of new products at several software companies, including Platform Computing, divine Inc, eAssist Global Solutions, and Delano Technology Corp.

As Director of AI Offerings at IBM, following more than eight years in the IBM Platform Computing business unit, Mr. Werstiuk was responsible for developing vision, strategic direction and roadmaps across the IBM Spectrum Computing portfolio of offerings, driving the expansion of the portfolio from Enterprise HPC and Analytics into AI, Deep Learning and Cloud-based services. His broad expertise includes new product development and corporate development, strategy, and identifying growth opportunities, which included supporting the acquisition of Platform Computing by IBM in 2011. Mr. Werstiuk graduated with Honours from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering.

Mark Pecen  – Strategic Advisor / Head of Partnerships

Mark Pecen is a pioneer in wireless technology and inventor on more than 100 fundamental patents in wireless communication, networking and computing. As a recognized thought leader with more than 35 years’ experience in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, Dr. Pecen has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg, Cybersecurity Magazine and others, and is the author and editor of numerous articles, papers and books. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Dr. Pecen has served on more than 20 advisory and governance boards for public and private companies over the years, including the University of Waterloo Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), and Wilfrid Laurier University Lazaridis Institute for Business Studies. He is an investor and advisor to several technology companies and advisor to the Canadian government and European Union in the areas of ICT research and technology standardization. Dr. Pecen also served as chairman and co-founder of the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) working group for Quantum Safe Cryptography (WG QSC) in Sophia Antipolis, France.

Dr. Pecen is a retired senior executive at BlackBerry, Ltd. where he founded the Advanced Technology Research Centre. Previously with Motorola, he was awarded the title of Distinguished Innovator and Science Advisory Board member for his role in developing technology and standards for wireless communication.

James P. Shaffer, PhD – Senior Fellow, Project Lead

After spending more than 16 years leading an atomic, molecular, and optical physics academic research group, Dr. James Shaffer joined Quantum Valley Ideas Lab as its first senior fellow to pursue his passion for applying quantum science and engineering to solving real-world problems. Jim received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and his PhD in optics at the University of Rochester. After a two-year stay at the Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences at the National Research Council in Ottawa following his dissertation, Jim joined the faculty at the University of Oklahoma where he was appointed the Homer L. Dodge Professor of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics. Jim’s diverse research interests span quantum sensing, quantum signal transduction, novel light-matter interactions, and highly excited atoms.

Marc Gibson, PhD MBA – Operations Director

A life scientist by training, Dr. Gibson has spent the past eight years helping the Canadian research community to translate discoveries into solutions and startups. Marc established the Velocity Science start-up incubator with the Faculty of Science and Velocity entrepreneurship program at his alma mater, the University of Waterloo. As a business developer with Mitacs, he connected industry and academia. He holds a PhD from the University of Dundee, Scotland, and an MBA from the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, where as an analyst with the Laurier Startup Fund he conducted early-stage investment due diligence. Prior to joining the Quantum Valley group, Marc was Operations Manager for Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s Canadian start-up incubator, JLABS @ Toronto, in the MaRS Discovery District.

Owen Hulley MBA CPA-CGA – Controller

An experienced accounting and finance professional, Owen joined Ideas Lab in November 2020. He brings a wealth of experience in the insurance and banking industry, as well as the consumer goods and expedition travel sectors.  His key background includes financial reporting, project management, strategic financial planning, risk management, financial modelling and analysis, treasury management and corporate management. He has also lectured on accounting and finance as a partial-load professor at Conestoga College. Owen volunteers as a Director of Finance with the Waterloo-Wellington CPA Ontario Association. He is a graduate of Western University in the Managerial and Organizational Studies program, and the MBA program at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics in the financial management program. He has been a CPA since 2011.

Chang Liu, PhD

Chang is an atomic physicist interested in quantum technologies, particularly with respect to their application and commercialization, and is an experienced member of the Quantum Valley research community. She has built ultra-stable lasers and is passionate about using AI methods for laser control applications. Chang holds a PhD in Physics from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and a BS in Applied Physics from the University of Science and Technology of China.

Jaime Ramirez-Serrano, PhD

Jaime has more than 16 years of applied quantum technology experience and has worked at some of the US’s leading centres, including Sandia, Sparc Labs, and CalTech/JPL, and most recently quantum technology startup ‘ColdQuanta’ where he developed platforms for use on the International Space Station. Jaime holds a PhD and MSc in Chemical Physics from the University of Maryland, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, an MS in Physics from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the National University of Mexico.

James Keaveney, PhD

James has a talent for developing new technologies that extends beyond his working life into his volunteer work teaching children about robotics. His expertise includes alkali metal vapour cell spectroscopy, and he is also an accomplished programmer. James holds a PhD in Experimental Atomic Physics and an MPhys from Durham University, England, where his accomplishments included being recognized for authoring the best thesis in his year.

Geoff Gillett, PhD

Geoff is a computer scientist turned quantum physicist who returned to academia after a career in software development to pursue his passion for quantum technologies. The intersection of his skillsets offers a unique perspective for designing control systems that do not exist commercially. Geoff holds a PhD in Physics, an Honours BSc in Mathematics and Physics, and a BSc in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Queensland, Australia.

Hadi Amarloo, PhD

Hadi is a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo and is highly experienced in clean room work in Waterloo’s world-class QNC facilities. His doctoral experience includes custom fabrication of silicon components relevant to quantum technologies. Hadi holds a PhD and MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Watelroo, and a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tehran.

Jennifer Erskine - Quantum Valley Ideas Lab

Jennifer Erskine, MSc

Jennifer is an engineer by training and has recently completed an MSc in quantum technology at the University of Ottawa. Jennifer has worked with quantum labs at the Canadian National Research Council and is a graduate of Queen’s University and holds a BSc (Eng) in Engineering Physics. Prior to pursuing graduate studies, she worked in engineering consulting with Hatch specializing in non-destructive testing.

“Perimeter Institute is now one of the world’s leading centres in theoretical physics, if not the leading centre.”

– Stephen Hawking, September 2016