Who We Are

Meet our staff, board, and advisors. We’re passionate about social innovation.

Staff

Jerry Evans

President and CEO

Jerry is an accomplished business development and finance professional with over 30 years of experience. He has organized and managed numerous successful start-up companies, and has taken other companies to higher levels of sales and profitability. Jerry has bought, sold, restructured and merged firms, and has financed various private and public sector companies, both in Canada and abroad. He draws on his legal, accounting, engineering, governance and organizational skills to increase stakeholders’ wealth and protect valuable corporate IP. Jerry holds a MASc in Engineering from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey School of Business.

Matt Ratto

Chief Science Officer

Matt is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and director of the Semaphore Research Cluster on Mobile and Pervasive Computing, an interdisciplinary research group exploring, critiquing, and building capacity around new developments in tangible interfaces, smart objects and digital infrastructures. His main focus is on bridging the divide between critical, humanistic perspectives and technical work. He coined the term ‘critical making’ in 2007 to describe this ongoing research project.

Florian Sperber

UX/UI Designer

Florian is a user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designer. He holds a MA in Information and a BSc in Psychology from the University of Toronto. As a consultant for Nia Technologies, Florian is responsible for running usability testing on Nia’s products and designing interfaces through sketching, wireframing, and prototyping.

Howie K. Safeer

Senior Developer

Howie brings over 17 years of experience in the area of digital media — from designing and coding interactive CD-ROMS in the 1990’s to creating rich 3D user experiences and computer visualization/simulation software today. Before joining Nia, Howie co-founded several startups ranging from an interactive design agency to a software company that develops software for post-op plastic surgery visualization. At Nia, he leads the development of NiaFit and other custom software solutions that bridge hardware and software across a range of platforms.

Jen Marshall

Communications

Jen is a published researcher in the fields of genetics and bioethics. She is currently finishing her PhD at University of Toronto on the use of uncertainty as a discursive strategy in the management of neurodevelopmental disorder genetics. Jen’s role at Nia is to help with various writing tasks, predominantly in the development of reports for funders, research reports, and journal articles.

Joshua Qua Hiansen

Research & Project Manager

Joshua graduated from Western University with a Masters’ degree in human physiology. He has authored several published, peer-reviewed scientific papers and is currently the Biomedical Industrial Designer at The Advanced Perioperative Imaging Lab located in Toronto General Hospital. At Nia Technologies, Josh is the Research and Project Manager. His primary role is to test new 3D printing technologies and materials for use in the fabrication of prosthetic and orthotic devices. Additionally, Josh oversees the organization and development of several Nia projects including NiaNet.

Karina Barker

Marketing & Communications

Karina is a copywriter and strategic communicator with experience in the fields of innovation, health, and the environment. Prior to joining Nia Technologies, she worked as a communications manager and corporate writer for a global renewable energy company. She was also a senior program and policy advisor at the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. She has a degree in international development from the University of Ottawa and runs her own copywriting business. Her role at Nia Technologies is to provide copywriting support and lead the marketing, communications, and digital strategy.

Kaveh Ashourinia

Material Testing

Kaveh’s professional background is in communication design. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, he worked for many years in editorial design, commercial photography, educational films and art direction, and typographical design. During this time, Kaveh discovered his keen interest in the relationship between the spoken and written language, and the typology of scripts. In 2015, Kaveh joined the Masters of Inclusive Design program at OCAD University, where his current research is focused on measuring information loss and miscommunication in written documents caused by the inconsistency between orthography and the spoken form of a language. At Nia Technologies, Kaveh’s role is to test the appropriateness of materials used in 3D printing.

Board

Brenda Ben

cbm Canada

Brenda is a Chartered Professional Accountant, CA, and has spent the majority of her career in the insurance sector in many different capacities. She is currently VP, CRM and Business Solutions at a major Canadian insurer. Brenda lives in Waterloo with her husband, Michael, and they have two adult daughters.

 

Brenda has a passion for service and has served on several charity and non-profit boards. She joined the cbm Canada board in 2014. She and her husband have also developed a personal interest in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where they have visited several times and support local Congolese who run an orphanage, school and health clinic.

Dr. David Williams

Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Dr. David Williams is the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province of Ontario. Dr. Williams returned to this position on July 1, 2015 having been in the position of Medical Officer of Health for the Thunder Bay District Board of Health from October 2011 to June 30, 2015. Prior to that, Dr. Williams had been at the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care from 2005 to 2011 as the Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, Infectious Disease and Environmental Health Branch Director. During this time he was also the Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario from November 2007 to June of 2009. Prior to working at the province Dr. Williams was the Medical Officer of Health and CEO for the Thunder Bay District Health Unit from 1991 to 2005.

 

Dr. Williams is a four time graduate of the University of Toronto receiving his BSc. MD, Masters in Community Health and Epidemiology (MHSc) and Fellowships in Community Medicine/Public Health and Preventive Medicine (FRCPS).

 

Prior to entering public health Dr. Williams practiced hospital based clinical practice as a GP and GP Anaesthetist at the Sioux Lookout Zone Hospital over a three year period and also in International Health at the United Mission to Nepal Mission Hospital, Tansen Nepal over an eight year period.

Ed Epp

cbm Canada

Ed has worked in International Development for over 25 years, beginning with community based development in China, Jordan, and Lebanon; regional based management in the Middle East; global management as Director International Operations, and executive management as Vice President Resource Development and Executive Director. During that time Ed worked in three organizations – Mennonite Central Committee (1984-1998 as community worker, country representative, Middle East Program Director), Mennonite Economic Development Associates (1998-2009 as Director International Operations, Director Strategic Planning, Vice President Resource Development), and currently for cbm Canada (2009 to present as Executive Director).

 

He has been active in partner development, programs with a disability focus, agricultural and economic development including microfinance, and peace and justice. Ed was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Robert E. Evans

Economic Research Associates Limited

Dr. Robert E. “Bob” Evans is a consulting economist who resides in Calgary. Bob’s professional practice focuses on finance, accounting, and regulatory problems of public utilities and pipelines. Bob served for nine years on the Board of cbm Canada and was Board Secretary for five years. He has served for 16 years on the Board of Rundle College Society and was Chairman of the school Board for 12 years. Bob received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin (Madison).

Ted Dueck

Ted Dueck practices law and dispute resolution in Kitchener-Waterloo, as a civil litigator in the Superior Court of Ontario and as a Mediator. He completed his undergraduate studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and his Bachelor of Laws/Juris Doctor degree at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. He was called to the bar of Ontario in 1979. He has subsequently earned a Masters of Law degree from York University and was awarded the Chartered Mediator designation from the ADR Institute in 2001.

 

Ted has been active in church work and charitable boards and committees throughout his career, including lengthy service in various capacities with Mennonite Central Committee (Ontario), and several years on the boards of directors for cbm Canada as well as CBM International in Germany. He has also served as a Trustee and Vice President of the Waterloo Region Law Association.

Advisors

Michiel Steenbeek

cbm

Michiel Steenbeek is a Technical Advisor to Nia Technologies Inc. He is a Physiotherapist and Manual Therapist who lived and worked in Africa from the late 1980s until 2009. Presently he is based in the Netherlands and Germany, working with CBM as the Senior Advisor for Physical Impairment and Rehabilitation Programs.

 

He has 20 years of experience in the rehabilitation of children with physical impairments in Africa and beyond. During his time in Africa he initiated the setting up of several orthopaedic workshops as well as a rehabilitation hospital.

 

He has long-term experience in clubfoot rehabilitation and has been part of international faculty for (national) clubfoot programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He designed the low-cost Steenbeek Foot Abduction Brace for maintaining correction of the treated clubfoot.

Norgrove Penny

University of British Columbia, Branch for International Surgical Care

Dr. Penny is a Technical Advisor to Nia Technologies. He completed his medical degree at the University of Alberta in 1973 and qualified as an orthopaedic specialist in 1977. He then did postgraduate fellowship training in sports medicine at the Wellesley Hospital, University of Toronto; Children’s orthopedics and Sports Medicine at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Harvard University, Boston; and Children’s Orthopedics at the AI du Pont Institute, Thomas Jefferson University, Wilmington Delaware. He has a paediatric orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine practice in Victoria, BC.

 

Dr. Penny has had a long term interest in international orthopedics. Early in his career he did several volunteer assignments in Africa. With his family, he then lived and worked full time for six years in Uganda setting up a country-wide children’s orthopedic rehabilitation program. Using this experience, he now consults in developing countries around the world and has a part-time position as Advisor in Physical Impairment issues for a non-governmental organization, CBM International, concerned with the problems disabled people face in some of the world’s poorest countries. He has been an advisor to the World Health Organization’s Disability and Rehabilitation Team. Among his clinical and research interests are Ponseti treatment for babies and children with clubfoot deformity, structural birth defects, chronic osteomyelitis, and prevention of childhood disability in developing countries. With CBM he has a research collaboration with the International Center for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

 

Dr. Penny is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and is an active member of the Branch for International Surgery and the Canadian Network for International surgery. He is a member of the Order of Canada.

Dan Blocka

International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO)

Dan Blocka is a Technical Advisor to Nia Technologies Inc. and Past President of the ISPO. Currently, he is the Assistant Chair of the ISPO Education Committee. He has been involved in over 30 ISPO evaluations and examination processes at various prosthetic and orthotic educational training programs worldwide, and he has developed education and professional standards and protocols for the ISPO. Dan is a Trustee of the UK-based charity Exceed (formerly Cambodia Trust) and recently served as Vice President of Orthotics Prosthetics Canada.

 

Dan is a Certified Orthotist with over 25 years of experience as a clinician and teacher. He is the founder and President of Boundless Biomechanical Bracing Inc., a large clinical service provider in orthotics in Toronto, as well as a professor and former coordinator of the George Brown College Prosthetic and Orthotic Educational Programs in Toronto, Canada.

Gordon Ruder

Boundless Biomechanical Bracing Inc.

Gordon Ruder is a Technical Advisor to Nia Technologies Inc. and Senior Clinician of Boundless Biomechanical Bracing Inc. He has extensive clinical experience as a practicing Certified Orthotist, with a particularly strong focus around the lower limb orthotic management of pediatric cases with developmental disorders.

 

Gordon is also the Coordinator of the Prosthetic and Orthotic educational programs at George Brown College in Toronto, Canada, and has been a program instructor for the past 25 years.

 

Gordon acquired his Masters of Science, Biomechanics, from the University of Waterloo in 1989, which resulted in several significant publications in the area of human gait and balance control.

Mitch Wilkie

cbm Canada

Mitch Wilkie is an Advisor to Nia Technologies Inc. and is the Director of International Programs at cbm Canada where he strategically leads the selection, support, monitoring and evaluation of a portfolio of projects and programs. He is an experienced leader in functions of international business and development. Mitch’s 35-year career history includes management of: academic, municipal, provincial government and NGO programs and initiatives; engineering design/build power projects; manufacturing/process operations; and building power systems in industrial and institutional environments. He has authored and co-authored 21 publications on business planning, development and finance topics. Mitch is also a recipient of several economic and international development awards. He has lived in China and has worked on projects extensively there as well as in Eastern Europe, Central and South America and Africa. Mitch holds a Master of International Management degree from the University of St. Thomas, has three diplomas in the field of International Business Management and Trade, and is a certified power engineer.

Laurie Lowe

cbm Canada

Laurie Lowe is an Advisor to Nia Technologies Inc. and is the Manager of Partnership Development at cbm Canada. Prior to joining cbm, Laurie worked as a corporate strategic planner for a major Canadian financial institution and also owned and operated a consulting business. Laurie’s consulting and volunteer work has provided her the opportunity to work internationally helping both for-profit and charitable organizations build and execute strategy. Laurie’s team at cbm Canada is responsible for specific fundraising initiatives as well as sourcing medical equipment for cbm‘s Gift-in-Kind program.

 

Laurie has a BTh from the University of Saskatchewan and recently completed a program in community-based rehabilitation/international development at Queen’s University.