AutoTech Symposium 2018 Opening Keynote: 

Nikolas Badminton, Futurist

AutoTech Symposium 2018 Speakers:


Petrina resized

Petrina GentileAutomotive Journalist, The Globe and Mail



Award-winning automotive journalist, Petrina Gentile, has been writing in the Drive section of The Globe and Mail since 2004 — one of the few women who covers cars in Canada.

Besides auto reviews, she also interviews celebrities about their cars.  Petrina covers the automotive beat for CTV NewsChannel on her bi-weekly segment called “Up to Speed” and reports regularly on CP24 and BNN Bloomberg. She produced 18 seasons of the national weekly TV show Car/Business with Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan.

A published author of several non-fiction works for children, Petrina holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English Rhetoric and Professional Writing, and a Masters degree in Journalism.



Arianne WalkerHead Evangelist for Alexa Auto, Amazon



Arianne Walker is the Head Evangelist for Alexa Auto at Amazon, where she helps educate automotive and device makers about voice.   Prior to that, she was head of automotive industry strategy at Oracle Data Cloud where she helped automotive marketers discover and implement the best possible audience strategies for their marketing efforts.

Her automotive background began at JD Power, where she spent a dozen years providing direction on automotive marketing industry trends.  Before getting into the automotive space, she did research for colleges and universities to help support administrative planning and decision-making.

Arianne has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and an MA and PhD in Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA.


Nikolas Badminton Headshot crop

Nikolas BadmintonWorld-Renowned Futurist

Check out Keynote slides here


Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected researcher, futurist, author, and teacher with over 20 years of writing, speaking, and technology implementation experience. Nikolas thinks about how society adopts exponential technologies and changes, how we operate in the world and presents insightful, challenging articles that aim to open people’s minds to the opportunities that lay in front of us.

Vehicles are hot news these days; from self-driving to electric vehicles that upgrade automatically without recall, from the Internet of Cars to the challenges of changing city infrastructures, we are seeing innovation disrupt one of the world’s stalwart industries.

Nik’s keynote presentation will offer some refreshing opinions and kick-start AutoTech’s opening discussion on where we’re headed (no pun intended!).

Moderator: Connectivity through ADAS


Colin DhillonChief Technology Officer, APMA



Colin Singh Dhillon is the Chief Technology Officer at the Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association (APMA), where he will lead the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) Demonstration Zone project.


Born and educated in the United Kingdom, Colin graduated with a bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design and he also holds a post-graduate certificate in Education. He is a passionate innovator who comes with former experience in the medical, home & garden and the consumer product industries, prior to dedicating his vocational life to the automotive industry (19 years with Canadian Tier 1, ABC Group Inc.) His diverse background provides valuable insights when challenged with solving new problems. In addition to his position as CTO, Colin also continues to spread his passion for innovation through lectures and speaking engagements at Colleges and Universities (since 1999).

Panelist: Connectivity through ADAS

Todd Scheider

Todd SchneiderChief Technology Officer, Dejero



Todd is an entrepreneurial business and technical leader with extensive experience defining and launching new products and businesses. He joined Dejero in June 2012 as COO and moved to the CTO role in April 2017. As CTO, Todd is responsible for product/technology strategy and development, IP creation, technology partnerships, IT operations, and regulatory activities. He loves solving thorny technology and product challenges.

Prior to Dejero, Todd co-founded Dspfactory, an innovator in digital signal processing technology. As part of the leadership team, he led the company through the successful acquisition by AMI Semiconductor and integration into ON Semiconductor, where he held various technical and product line leadership roles. Todd holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree and a Master of Applied Science degree in Electrical Engineering both from the University of Waterloo, located in Waterloo, Ontario.

Moderator: Driver Health Monitoring


Elliot FungExecutive Lead, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships



Elliot Fung doesn’t want you to innovate, in fact he wants you to disrupt.  It is with this philosophy combined with a passion for the power that effective community leadership can accomplish, that Elliot has followed through his career in the private and public sectors around Waterloo Region.

Currently, Elliot is the Executive Lead, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network, where he brokers relationships between health service providers and the robust tech and social innovation communities in Waterloo, evangelizing new health technologies, processes and social innovations and helping health service providers adopt and pilot new innovations.

Elliot studied Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University and lives in Baden, Ontario with his four young children. You can follow Elliot at www.technicallysocial.ca and @elliotgfung on Twitter.

Panelist: Driver Health Monitoring

Joel Adams Headshot EHG Innovation 2018 High Res

Joel AdamsDirector of Engineering & Innovation, Erwin Hymer Group North America



Joel Adams is the Director of Engineering & Innovation at Erwin Hymer Group North America, one of the world’s largest Recreational Vehicles companies. Joel and his team (based in the Waterloo Region) led the development of the world’s first autonomous motorhome, and have launched some of the industry’s best selling vehicles and accessory technologies, including proprietary lithium batteries and solar systems designed to enable off-the-grid adventures.

Joel is also an experienced entrepreneur and the Founding Partner of Hacker Studios, a private startup incubator in London, Ontario, Canada, and was previously the Executive Director of Western University’s award winning Research Parks, the founder of Canada’s first large scale clean-tech incubator, and an Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Western University, where he has taught entrepreneurship & innovation to hundreds of students over the past 15 years.

Panelist: Driver Health Monitoring

Alex Wong

Alex WongAssistant Professor, University of Waterloo



Alexander Wong is an Assistant Professor in the Systems Design Engineering department and Co-Director of the Vision and Image Processing (VIP) Research Group at the University of Waterloo. He is also the Canada Research Chair in Medical Imaging Systems.

His research interests revolve around imaging, image processing, computer vision, pattern recognition, and cognitive radio networks, with a focus on the hardware-software design of integrative medical imaging systems, and biomedical and remote sensing image processing and analysis. He is also interested in multimedia management systems and 3D graphics and game development.

One of Professor Wong’s key research interests is medical image processing and analysis with applications to prostate, breast, lung and dermatological cancer analysis. He is developing an improved Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system that recognizes cancer indicators such as tissue characteristics, size and shape. This will allow for enhancements to early stage cancer detection and the capturing of data in a more efficient manner.

Panelist: Disruption Through Innovation


Greta CutulencoCo-founder and CEO, Acerta



Greta Cutulenco is the CEO and co-founder of Acerta, a company that developed a machine learning platform that analyzes vehicle data during manufacturing and general operation to detect defects and predict failure.

In the past, Greta has worked with automotive OEMs and Tier-1 manufacturers like Bombardier and Magna.

She did her MASc at the University of Waterloo with research focused on automatic analysis of data for testing and anomaly detection.

Panelist: Disruption Through Innovation


Valerie Zelko ByrdElectronics Supervisor, Calsonic Kansei



Valerie is part of the automotive electronics new business development team at Calsonic Kansei specializing in controls development.  She is actively involved in supporting strategy development and execution, new technology development and R&D functions.

Prior to Calsonic, Valerie worked at General Motors for the Electrification team at the Milford Proving Grounds.  During this time she had various roles in controls development and validation as well as EV transmission calibration.

Valerie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Western Ontario and a MBA from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.