Category Archives: Business & Commercialization Solutions

Research & Innovation business group humming with projects


A full house gathered at the NOTL campus recently to hear about applied research projects from Niagara Research’s Business and Commercialization group.

The latest installment in the Niagara Research Speakers’ Series focused on students and grads in applied research who are developing solutions for small- and medium-sized companies to improve business operations in the areas of marketing, operations, human resources and finance.

Projects discussed included a social media plan and sales kit for Niagara Oast House Brewers; a market analysis for Mahtay Café; a profitability analysis for The Organic General Store; and lean manufacturing for W.S. Tyler. Business team presenters included David DiPietro, research associate; and Cameron Kyle and John Feenstra, research assistants. Faculty leads include Malcolm Howe and Terri Champion, while Nigel Corish is the project manager.

The business team also discussed the applied research projects that have been implemented in the classroom to enhance the learning experience for students, including marketing strategy, human resource planning, market research and data analysis.

For in-class projects, Niagara Research matches industry partners to real-world projects based on industry-driven needs and curriculum requirements/student capabilities.

Students or faculty members interested in applied research in the area of business and commercialization are encouraged to contact Niagara Research at [email protected], by calling 905-641-2252, ext. 4272, or by visiting us online at

Niagara Research associate takes business edge into the world


Spending time as a research associate with Niagara Research has put Devin Colston on the path to career success.

The Niagara College graduate was hired to the business team upon graduation from the three-year international business program in the spring of 2012. Within weeks, he was working with clients from small and medium-sized enterprises, contributing to solving their challenges in sales and marketing, commercialization, market research, and related areas.

“I knew there was going to be a bigger emphasis on verbal communication, in meeting with clients face-to-face, which I found challenging at first, but I was prepared because of the in-course work we had done, working on case studies, and meeting with the professors on a regular basis,” he notes.

As a finance graduate from Brock University, Colston found the transition from four years of university to one year of college to be relatively smooth, adjusting from theoretical studies to applied learning (with transfer credits he completed three years in one). Similarly, he adjusted quickly to life as a research associate, because of the course-based project work he completed while a college student.

“I felt more comfortable because it was like course work, so the transition from university to college was a style change in education, and then from college to Niagara Research was an easier transition, like a team coming together in the classroom.”

Before being hired to the Niagara Research business team, the Seagrave, Ont. native made a presentation to the Research Administration Team as part of his in-course work. The project was a gap analysis focused on government involvement in funding post-secondary institutions from an international perspective, comparing Niagara College with institutions in the United Kingdom, Korea and the United States.

Recent work with Niagara Research included a profitability analysis for the Organic General Store, which needed to identify which products were selling in the store’s home delivery program, and which were just taking up space on the shelves.

While Colston has found working with the business team rewarding, his first love is finance, so when the opportunity came to move into a training program to become a financial advisor, he decided to take it. He will spend one year training at the Edward Jones head office in Mississauga before taking up a position with one of their branches across the country. He will ultimately operate his own branch office after building a client base and a book of investments.

“I’m very grateful for the time I have spent at Niagara College. Through the presentations and working with this team I have developed my verbal communication skills – that’s probably one of the biggest things I will take away – which I find very valuable to put on a resume.”

“Client interaction is huge, and I just think it is wonderful that the positions with Niagara Research are being offered to new grads. Edward Jones is all about face-to-face meetings, so for me, being able to communicate what I have done with Niagara Research gave me more to offer.”

During his work with Niagara Research on administrative duties, Colston was also revamped the project budget worksheet to be more functional and user-friendly, as well as visually more pleasing.