The Team

Board of Directors – Startup Phase

  • Nathan Armstrong
    Nathan is a business professional, inventor, engineer and entrepreneur. His first patent was at 12 years old with the design of a wheelchair gear-reduction system.His love of mechanical devices led him to attend school in Southern California for Design Engineering where he was exposed to early 3D CAD programs. Nathan began his Aerospace career in 1994 at Arrowhead Products working as a CAD Engineer on Commercial Aircraft, Delta Rockets and the early Joint Strike Fighter program. In 1996 he moved to the Automotive Sector as VP Engineering at Metalcrafters and then as VP Engineering at Aria Group where he managed the development of hundreds of concept, pre-production and prototype vehicles. Nathan also worked at Boeing as a CAD Design Engineer on the International Space Station. Nathan has founded several initiatives and three successful companies including Motive Industries in 2004. Over a nine-year period, Motive Industries completed over 100 Vehicle and Industrial Design projects from design through to commercialisation. Nathan is a Director for several organisations including The Calgary Makerspace, STEM Alberta and The Canadian Space Society Ab. He is also on the Advisory Board for the Centre for Bioengineering Research and Education at the University of Calgary. Nathan also spent time on the Alberta Fusion Energy Steering Committee and has volunteered with FIRST Robotics. He authored and taught a course at ACAD called ‘Design for Manufacturing’ and taught Automotive Engineering at the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena.

    Nathan has received numerous awards for his business and engineering work. These include; 2012 Top 40 under 40, 2012 Alberta Venture Business Person of the Year, 2011 TechRev award for Technology Innovation, 2010 ASTech Honouree Award in the field of Technology Futures, 2010 ABCTech Entrepreneur of the Month, 2009 Popular Science Innovation Award and 2007 Law Enforcement Award for Best New Vehicle. Nathan currently works as Director of Product Development at Business Instincts Group, a venture creation firm headquartered in Calgary and is VP Engineering for Trace and Draganfly, subsidiaries of BIG.

  • David Bynoe
    A graduate of the Jewellery and Metals department of ACAD, David works as a graphic designer and researcher for Avison Young Commercial Real Estate. He is a kinetic sculptor with works in the collections of the City of Calgary and Telus Spark Science Centre. David is also a member of Calgary Protospace where he teaches classes and workshops. Portfolio Blog
  • Norm Dansereau
    Norm Dansereau, P.Eng, a mechanical engineer with a passion for industrial design, started his career designing and building a large scale, autonomous, articulated, six legged ant vehicle with the Department of National Defense of Canada.  Twenty (20) years experience as an engineer, with international deployments into Australasia and West Africa in the business world of Oil & Gas, complement his time in in Calgary designing and constructing industrial equipment in a shop environment.  Norm is actively involved with industrial design, engineered vehicular design and RC design; he is a member of the SeaSteading Institute and SENS Research Foundation.  His expertise with the Project Management of $100M+ projects, as well as Large Scale Property Development will be instrumental in forging ahead with this MakerSpace during it’s construction, as well as continuing within the future operations of the organization. 
  • Shannon Hoover
    Shannon grew up on a farm in northern Alberta where he learned to build things with his hands and gained an appreciation for the world around him.  His career shifted towards technology and he has worked about 20 years in IT, most recently at WestJet Airlines.  In 2010 Shannon and his wife Maria Elena opened Endeavor Arts gallery with the idea of showcasing the convergence of art and technology – at that point he began his quest to seek out innovation in arts and discovered the Maker community.  He joined Calgary’s local Hackerspace, Protospace in 2011 and in 2012 brought the Maker Faire festival to Calgary for the first time.  Since then he has focused on showcasing and developing Maker Culture by hosting workshops, meetup groups, working with schools and libraries and hosting special events like the Make Fashion wearable technology fashion show.
  • Peter McIntosh
    Peter McIntosh is an electrical engineer who has actively sought out the new and challenging. His first work experience involved lots of hands on lab time designing and debugging circuits, programming and building industrial machines to build frictionless bearings using active magnetic levitation. The later part of his career has been spent optimizing existing technology and some prototypes in the oilfield to maximize returns and reduce risk for petroleum producers. Over Peter’s 17 year career, he has proven his ability to routinely identify, plan, and execute innovative projects that consistently increase corporate value spanning multiple industries. This ability will make him instrumental in creating this sustainable business model as well as grow it organically into a strong long-term cultural institution.
  • Steven Pilz
    Steven was born and raised in the Netherlands. He’s got a degree in computer science and business administration. Most of his career we worked on selling and implementing innovative, customer driven technology solutions. He worked for CMG (currently CGI) as a project manager and later as an equity partner.  In 2001 his team implemented the first fully automated border crossing systems (using Iris scan technology) at Amsterdam Airport. In 2006 he joined IBM and worked in different management roles. In 2008 IBM asked him to join the IBM Calgary team were he led a part business consulting practice. Between 2010 and 2012 he worked for IBM’s head office developing go-to-market strategies for the global Transportation industry team. In 2012 he decided to leave IBM and to start his own consulting company (VillaPilz). Currently he’s coaching Alberta start-ups in the art of Sales and Marketing. In his free time Steven is a long term tinkerer, a radical skier and a strong believer in the Innovation Power of the individual. Steven focuses on Business Development within the Calgary Maker Space team.
  • Sharon Watkins

Sharon was the first female CEO of an IIROC registered firm in Canada. Deeply respected for her financial acumen as well as her visionary leadership, Sharon was introduced to the security industry in Toronto during the 1970s while working with her father. She moved to Calgary in 1984 to work for Merrill Lynch, Dean Witter Reynolds (where she achieved Officer status) and Midland Walwyn.

While at Merrill, Sharon acquired the international investment expertise that she brings to bear with her holistic approach to portfolio management, using the time-tested principles of value investing, applied on a global basis. Sharon’s performance was recognized with a nomination for the Investment Dealers Association Distinction Award.

Sharon left Merrill Lynch to realize her dream of offering her clients informed, independent, unbiased advice, and was one of the original founders as well as Managing Director of each of the Calgary offices of Gordon Private Client service, and McLean & Partners of Calgary. Sharon is a licensed Portfolio Manager.

In 2004, Sharon established a new investment firm with a rigorous practice and strong commitment to nurturing client relationships. SANDSTONE Asset Management has thrived since its inception, and continues to grow and evolve in response to the changing needs of a dynamic community.

Sharon is married, with four grown children and five grandchildren. She is highly active as a volunteer, serving on numerous not-for-profit boards and working with organizations ranging from the Calgary Drop-In Centre to Alberta Ballet. She co-sponsored the establishment of the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management in 2003, and was one of a small group of Canadians invited to meet with the His Highness the Aga Khan on his most recent trip to Canada. Sharon served as a Director on the National Board of the Investment Industry Association of Canada and also recently joined the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada’s (IIROC) Alberta District Council. Sharon is also on the Advisory Board of the Global Business Forum which is held annually in Banff.

  • Michael Whitt
    Michael Whitt is co-leader of the Bennett Jones information technology practice. A Patent Agent (2001) and a Trademark Agent (1986) in addition to being a lawyer, Michael advises technology-based businesses on commercialization and compliance matters, and on the structure, negotiation and documentation of novel business models, strategies and transactions, particularly regarding intellectual property and information and other technologies. Michael has been involved with computer and information technologies for over three decades and advises small, medium and large clients with technology or intellectual property assets and operations. Michael also assists clients with the protection of personal information and privacy law compliance, policy review and advice, contract terms in IT and other information-handling and information-flow transactions and operations, breach mitigation and notification, and response to regulatory inquiries and demands in private sector and health information matters both provincially and federally. Michael became Queen’s Counsel in 2008. He is ranked BV, for very high ethical standards and legal ability, in Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review. A frequent writer and speaker, he informs universities, industry trade groups and other educational and professional groups on, intellectual property, information and other technologies and the law, privacy law, healthcare informatics, and the interaction of technology with ethics and business strategy. His experience includes teaching courses in the MBA and Law programs at the University of Calgary and the Masters of Law programs in Intellectual Property and e-Commerce at Osgoode Hall Law School, and at the Alberta Legal Education Society and numerous other seminars and courses. Michael is a member of ISO-TC215 Domestic Expert Working Group on Safety of Health Software Standards (Canada). He is a member of the Sedona Conference Working Group 7 (Sedona Canada), which works to create forward-looking principles and best practices recommendations for lawyers, courts, businesses and others who regularly confront e-discovery issues in Canada. Michael is a member of the Board of Directors of Calgary Technologies Inc., an innovation centre and technology incubator jointly held by the City of Calgary, the University of Calgary, and the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. He is a Fellow of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, a Director of ITAC Health, and a former member (2006-2012) of the Board of Directors of COACH, Canada’s Health Informatics Association. Michael belongs to both the Canadian and American Bar Associations and their respective Technology, Privacy, Healthcare, Law Practice Management, and Intellectual Property subsections. He is a member of the Licensing Executives Society, ITAC Health, ITLaw Canada, and a Past President of the Elboya Heights Community Association, Calgary, where he has lived since 1986.

Board of Advisors – Startup Phase

  • Jim Akeson – Calgary Protospace
  • Jason Bedard
  • Jeff de Boer – LEXM
  • Andrew Browne – Startup Calgary
  • Gina Cherkowski – STEM Learning Lab & STEM Alberta
  • Jim Ebbels – Kasian
  • Art Froese
  • Devon Hamilton PhD – TELUS Spark Science Centre
  • Jimmy Hazin – Canadian Space Society
  • Cameron Kiddle – Calgary Scientific
  • Dwayne Lehman – Streamline Automation
  • Kevin Loney  – Calgary Protospace
  • Dave MacKillop – Innovate Calgary
  • Janet Mader – Calgary Protospace
  • Dr. Frank Maurer – University of Calgary
  • Ryan McDonald – Uncommon Innovation
  • Karl Miller – NRC
  • Mary Anne Moser – Beakerhead
  • Kara Tersen – ACAD
  • Mark Williams  – Innovate Calgary
  • Robin Winsor – Cybera