Kithio Mwanzia is the Network Manager for the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), a Niagara College-led network of seven academic institutions that pool its resources to provide innovation and technology to smaller manufacturers. In his role, Kithio is responsible for the overall recruitment and outreach activities of the network, as well as the recruitment of three new academic institutions to the network during the next five years.
Kithio has spent a number of years in Niagara working on governance issues with the Thorold Chamber of Commerce and later the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC). He was also interim CEO at GNCC for a few months before taking the role of President & CEO of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce. He holds a Bachelor and a Master of Arts in Political Science from Brock University, and he has earned his Certificate in Public Governance from the Institute on Governance.
Sarah Dimick is the Project Manager for the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), a Niagara College-led consortium of seven academic institutions supporting manufacturers’ research and development needs through applied research projects. In her role, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the network, including the management of a range of projects and related activities.
Sarah has extensive experience in innovation, information services and public policy areas. She spent 10 years at the Conference Board of Canada, an Ottawa-based think tank, as a researcher in their Technology and Innovation group. Most recently, she served as the Director of Research at an innovative data-analytics start-up rel8ed.to Analytics. She holds a Bachelor’s degree (Law and Political Science) and a Master’s degree in Legal Studies, both from Carleton University in Ottawa and has earned her designation as Project Management Professional.
Elina Ojanen is the Communications Lead for the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), a Niagara College-led network of higher education institutions that pool their resources to provide innovation and technology to small-and medium-sized companies. Elina heads a full range of communications services to the SONAMI Network, within the Research & Innovation division at Niagara College, and implements communication plans to support projects, events, publications, and media relations.
Elina brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in communications, marketing, project management, and event planning to the role. Most recently, Elina has worked at McMaster University as a Communication Manager promoting programs and events aimed at entrepreneurs and innovators.
She spent over seven years working within higher education institutions and innovative companies in Canada and the United States. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Communication Studies from The College of Wooster and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Cleveland State University, both located in Ohio.
Business Development Lead
Mitchell Lutz is the Business Development Lead for the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), a Niagara College-led consortium of post-secondary institutions supporting manufacturers’ research and development needs through applied research projects. In his role, Mitchell is responsible for researching, planning, and implementing new target market initiatives and supporting the recruitment and outreach activities of the network.
Mitchell brings an array of experience in project management, marketing, and business development to the SONAMI team. After spending time growing his business at Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, Mitchell spent the last 5 years as a Training Resource at Canadian Tire Financial Services, helping design and develop blended learning solutions using data and insights aimed towards meeting business objectives.
A proud alumnus, Mitchell holds a Post-Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – International Commerce & Global Development, and a Diploma in International Business, from Niagara College.
Jim Prendergast, PEng, is a seasoned Commercialization Specialist at the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI). With 16 years at manufacturing companies like DeHavilland Aircraft, Bristol Aerospace, and New Flyer Industries; and 20 years of experience supporting innovative small- and medium-sized companies across numerous industries as an Industrial Technology Advisor at the National Research Council. Jim has broad experience in product development, manufacturing, commercialization, intellectual property strategy, and manufacturing. Jim’s in-depth understanding of Canada’s Innovation Infrastructure makes him an invaluable resource for companies looking to monetize their innovations.