Kristie is responsible for the design of creative collateral. With a strong background in marketing design, Kristie supports Spark Centre and its’ clients by developing their brand identity through print and web platforms.
She was educated at Durham College in Oshawa and holds a three year Ontario College Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design.
President & CEO
Dennis brings over twenty years of high tech experience to Spark Centre, including tenures with well-known Canadian success stories such as Open Text, Desire2Learn and SHL Systemhouse. He has had direct participation in key innovation initiatives such as CDMN’s Canada 3.0, Communitech’s Tannery Hub, OCE Discovery and the Province of Ontario’s Next Generation of Jobs Fund grant program.
With over two years of tenure at Spark Centre as both a volunteer mentor and Director of Client Services, Dennis has developed a strong tie with Spark’s clients, employees, and partner community, and he was a significant driver behind the Ignite Durham 2013 flagship program.
Dennis lives in Brooklin and is an avid hockey player, trainer, Jeep restorer and online computer gamer.
Director, Client Services
Braden leads Spark Centre’s Startup Services Organization – working closely with a team of advisors to assist entrepreneurs in areas such as product development, legal, sales, marketing, corporate structure, international trade and more. His personal areas of specialization include business model design, raising angel & venture capital, and strategic & financial planning.
Previously, Braden worked as a Business Analyst at Bioenterprise Corporation Canada, a Sectoral Innovation Centre in Guelph focused on commercializing innovations in the Agricultural Technology Industry. In this role he developed his passion for being part of the start-up ecosystem, and talent for creating innovative business models.
Braden is an avid fisherman, and fan of anything with an engine. He was born and raised in Durham Region, and now enjoys living and working in that same community.
Client Services Associate
Ashlin is the newest member of the Spark Centre team and is quickly adapting to the exciting entrepreneurial culture in The Loft. In her role as Cilent Services Associate, she ensures all client operations run smoothly and efficiently. She works closely with new and potential clients to facilitate a match between innovative ideas and the expertise of our advisory team.
Ashlin was Educated at University of Ottawa in a bilingual environment and holds an honors degree in Sociology and Gender Studies. She also continues to advance her skills in translation and language studies. She has a strong background in office management while excelling in customer service. Ashlin has worked in several community outreach programs across Ontario and continues to volunteer part time in the Durham Region.
Away from work, Ashlin enjoys furniture restoration projects, gardening and anything baseball.
Prior to joining Spark, Amanda worked at various organizations including Universal Music Canada in Toronto and McGraw-Hill Ryerson in Whitby. She brings over nine years of product marketing, advertising, business to consumer projects, business to business projects, media and press management, and brand exposure experience to Spark Centre.
Amanda also works as a part-time faculty member at Durham College’s School of Media,
Art & Design.
Amanda is a fan of tennis and baseball and lives with her family in Ajax.
Michelle manages funder, Client Services, and Head Quarter reports, system and information management, and contract and document management. She steers operational progress for Client Services programs and processes and manages HR administrative duties. Michelle also assists the Client Services Director in areas of budget and program targets.
Her talent has been developed from delivering programs in another not-for-profit organization and through procurement roles at corporations. She is passionate about processes and operation management.
Michelle enjoys salsa dancing, gardening, and entertaining. She values living and working in Durham.
Kristina leads the marketing organization and the execution of the overall marketing strategy for Spark Centre. She is responsible for brand identity, corporate events, social media, creative collateral as well as Spark Centre’s news and promotion. Kristina manages and oversees flagship events such as Ignite, Spark Centre’s involvement in OCE Discovery and planned events such as Spark’s annual Innovation Conference. Kristina is also directly responsible for marketing staff and the annual marketing budget.
Kristina has a strong background in marketing, events, and graphic design and with her team supports Spark Centre clients in the development of brand identity and strategic marketing campaigns. She is a graduate of Sheridan College in Oakville & Seneca College in Vaughn.
In her spare time, Kristina organizes the Durham Region chapter of Startup Drinks – a monthly networking meetup for entrepreneurs in the community.
Manufacturing & International Trade
Tom has an extensive background in business development, manufacturing partnerships, procurement, outsourcing, sales, international trade and export, supply chain and customs.
He has over 10 years of enterprise experience, working for Adidas where he gained much of his corporate knowledge. Tom embarked on numerous entrepreneurial ventures including a successful invention exit to Rappala and now manages a very successful industrial automation and mechatronics business.
Tom also teaches Supply Chain and Logistics at the College level, and upholds a P.Log designation and holds a diploma is Business – International Trade from Fleming College.
Leon is an entrepreneurial minded lawyer with over 20 years of experience. Leon is known as a problem solver who provides common sense advice to business owners, founders and angel investors. His expertise includes an emphasis on corporate finance, commercial law, business startup, intellectual property, investment law, and corporate organizational design.
He has worked with companies of various sizes and at all stages of their business development and is now active in working with start-up technology companies in the information technology, health sciences/medical technology, cleantech, and high tech manufacturing industries.
Leon advises public and private issuers in all sectors including real estate, technology, manufacturing, marketing and resources. Leon’s clients include; investment firms, angel investment organizations, federally and provincially funded investment funds, large real estate brokerages and property management firms.
Leon has his Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from the University of Calgary and is a Partner at Thomas, Efraim LLP.
Accounting & Finance
Brion has over eleven years experience in a managerial role which includes audits of Canadian and US publicly listed companies primarily within the technology, real estate and financial service sectors, including credit unions. Brion has worked extensively with many large and complex clients, and he is experienced with reporting issuers, public offerings and regulatory filing requirements.
Brion created the BDO STARTSMART program which provides a cost efficient compliance and advisory program for startup entities.
Brand & Marketing Strategy
Andrea Kennedy is a Marketing Strategist, Educator and Speaker. She is the Founder and Chief Strategist at Spread Your Word, a marketing strategy and services agency based in the Durham Region. She is also an Instructor at the Management Development Centre at UOIT.
As a Spark Centre Advisor, Andrea supports clients in designing and developing marketing strategies and execution plans that make efficient use of valuable – and often scarce resources. Andrea combines her small business experience with her enterprise industry experience by providing corporate marketing, editorial, sales and product marketing and brand building.
Andrea has a passion for supporting the success of local businesses, to further her mission of elevating small and startup business communities.
Andrea chose to put down roots in the Durham Region in 2000, and has committed to building her own business in this community. She is president of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce, and is the Chair of the Board of Directors.
Andrea holds a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University in Ottawa.
Accounting & Finance
Craig Loverock is a Chartered Professional Accountant with over 20 years’ experience in accounting and finance roles in Canada, the United States, and England. From October 2014 until May 2015, he served as the CFO of VoiceTrust Inc. From November 2012 until October 2014, Craig served as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of Quartz Capital Group Ltd., a private equity firm. From January 2010 until November 2012, he provided CFO consulting services to a number of high growth businesses. Craig served as the Senior Financial Advisor to the Chairman at Magna International from August 2007 to January 2010. He received his B.Comm (Hons) from Carleton University in 1994 and received his Chartered Accountant’s designation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ontario in 1997.
Founder Corette Miller has over 15 years’ experience as a human resources professional. A committed, goal-driven performer with the ability to champion projects, Corette is versatile and can adjust to any workplace situation. She builds strong, cohesive and well-functioning teams to increase productivity and company success.
Corette has worked for corporations throughout North America, fitting human resource management to different cultures, languages and legislation. Her clients include public and private sector, from manufacturing and food services, to health-care technology.
Sales, Marketing & Public Speaking
Robert J. Weese is an author, award winning speaker, business coach, entrepreneur and the founder of B2B Sales Connections. His sales and marketing skills have been successful helping entrepreneurs and small business owners realize double digit sales growth. Talk is cheap its results that count.
Bob has over 30 years of experience in manufacturing, business technology, professional services and broadcast media industries. He is a student of professional development and works with his clients help them generate leads, close more sales and become stronger in their sales and marketing programs.
Some of his career highlights include:
- • 39% annual growth over 5 years managing a National Sales division
- • 6 consecutive years as a 100% Sales Club member with a Fortune 500
- • Created & delivered business training programs throughout North America
- • Business training facilitator at one of Canada’s major banks
- • Founder and head coach for one of Canada’s largest sport fencing clubs, the Ajax Fencing Club
Bob is committed to community service and dedicates much of his time in an effort to make a difference in other people’s lives.