Category Archives: Research & Innovation

Research & Innovation featured on CKTB Newstalk Radio

The Marotta Family Innovation Complex was a hub of activity in the early hours of October 11, as Niagara College welcomed Newstalk 610 to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

Students, staff and faculty who passed by the main lobby of the Complex from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., were welcomed by the sight of headset-clad radio hosts Tim Denis and Shelby Knox and the morning show’s guests of the day – many from Niagara College –  speaking into Newstalk 610 microphones addressing listeners tuning in from across the region and beyond.

The excitement was part of Niagara College’s participation in the station’s Business Trip, sponsored by Niagara Economic Development, which has been taking the Niagara in the Morning show on the road this fall highlighting different businesses in Niagara and discussing important issues. The October 11 segment focused on food and beverage manufacturing in Niagara.

President Dan Patterson joined a 30-minute roundtable discussion with Town of Lincoln CAO Mike Kirkopoulis. They spoke about the Marotta Family Innovation Centre, the important role of agribusiness in Niagara, the emerging cannabis industry. The discussion also focused on the vital role that Niagara College plays in the region and across the province – helping industries innovate, developing a highly-skilled workforce to meet demands of growing industries, and how NC’s Research & Innovation division is creating opportunities for students, for businesses and the economy.

“Food and beverage is going through an incredible revolution looking at the technology, and we’re focusing on food for the future; how do we ensure students get equipped with the right skills and knowledge how do we attract more business to Niagara, so it’s a pretty exciting time for the College,” said Patterson.

“Agrifood is so important to Niagara and all the research is suggesting that we are underperforming in that area. In other words, we should be doing a lot better at generating wealth. Hence the importance of a highly skilled workforce – that’s where Niagara College comes in.”

Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre manager Lyndon Ashton, and research assistant Shannon Sidney Wood, who is a student in the Culinary Food Innovation program, participated in the 30-minute roundtable, discussing research projects they have conducted for various industry partners, including Ravine Estate Vineyard, Reinhardt’s, Royal Canadian Mead and more.

Listen to the segment featuring Ashton and Wood (7:30 a.m.) here:

The show also welcomed Matt Bonanno, president and CEO of Iron Will Raw. The St. Catharines-based company became the first the first premium raw pet food manufacturer in Ontario and Eastern Canada to achieve Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point certification, with help from Niagara College’s Research & Innovation Division.

Listen to the segment featuring Iron Will Raw (7:20 a.m.) here:

~ Julie Greco

For more Niagara College staff interviews visit InsideNC:


POSITION AVAILABLE: Senior Applications Specialist with our Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre team

Senior Applications Specialist

Working in collaboration with the Centre Manager and the Research Laboratory Technologist, the successful candidate will provide the technical service lead in all advanced manufacturing technical service activities, including but not limited to: disseminating pre-sales technical expertise to industry partners; developing sales leads; executing customer visits; qualifying prospects; recommending solutions; preparing quotations; monitoring payments; following up with potential customers; closing sales; scheduling projects; and achieving deadlines/completion of deliverables.

The Senior Applications Specialist is responsible for providing front-line external technical sales, as well as internal technical lead, for all 3D printing, 3D design activities, 3D scanning, and other technical services and/or applied research activities, as assigned. The candidate must have an acute understanding of current capabilities of our industry partners, the products/services they offer, and the value-added capabilities that WAMIC can complement, as part of their manufacturing process.

Click HERE to see the full job posting. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, October 16th, 2019.


We thank all applicants; however, only those qualifying for an interview will be contacted.

Behind the scenes at the Marotta Family Innovation Complex opening

~ All photographs by Luke Gillett 


It was a big day for the Niagara College community and the agri-food industry when the Marotta Family Innovation Complex at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus officially opened on September 3. R&I’s Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre has expanded three beverage research areas into the new four-story complex and students and staff had the opportunity to showcase some of the innovative projects.

For more information about the Marotta Family Innovation Centre Complex, click here.

SONAMI joining the national stage for manufacturing technologies

The Niagara College-led SONAMI (Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation) will have a strong presence at the upcoming Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show (CMTS) later this month.

SONAMI is a network of six colleges and one university: (Niagara College, Mohawk College, Sheridan College, Conestoga College, Fanshawe College, Lambton College and McMaster University). The purpose of the network is to pool its resources and expertise of the members and match to the needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of Southern Ontario. The academic institutions leverage their faculty, students, equipment and facilities to regional manufacturers, helping SMEs innovate through the creation of new products and new processes.

Through specialized expertise, resources, and equipment, and research and development capabilities, they provide effective innovation and technology transfer in areas of automation, additive manufacturing, product testing & validation, Industry 4.0, process optimization and simulation & modelling, and digitally-enabled and intelligent manufacturing

 “We are proud to share with a national audience at this year’s CMT Show the work SONAMI has achieved in driving research and innovation in the Southern Ontario advanced manufacturing sector,” said Kithio Mwanzia, Network Manager for SONAMI. “R&D is a critical factor to the success of most manufacturers because it helps new or improved product development and to remain competitive and prepare for the future.”

Representing Niagara College will be the research team from the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC), part of the Research & Innovation division.

The CMTS event is held Sept. 30 – Oct. 3 at The International Centre in Mississauga. It’s a chance for the community to meet 9,000+ manufacturing professionals in the advanced manufacturing, metalworking and machine tools/tooling have come together to share knowledge of Canada’s leading industries.

Come join us at the SONAMI booth to learn more.

To find out how SONAMI can help your company develop new products or services – click HERE (

Research & Innovation is growing!

There are two new faces at the Research & Innovation division: Kithio Mwanzia (left) is the Network Manager for the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) and Jordan Charron (right) is the Course-Based Project Manager.

The Research & Innovation division is proud to welcome two new members to its team at Niagara College. Kithio Mwanzia takes on the role of Network Manager for the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) and Jordan Charron is the new Course-Based Project Manager.

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.

As the Network Manager for SONAMI, 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 can be reached by email at

Jordan is no stranger to Niagara College, having worked in several roles on both campuses, since 2011. He has taught in the School of Business and the School of Community Services, and has most recently been the Academic Business Manager with the Community and Health Studies Division. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Bishop’s University; a Master of Business from Deakin University; a Post-Graduate certificate in Strategic Management from Harvard University Extension School and is currently working on completing his Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Western Ontario.

In the role of Course-Based Project Manager, Jordan will act as a liaison between faculty, business, and industry and encourage experiential education in its many facets. He will also provide support for faculty, Deans and Associate Deans to help students acquire applied experiences in the classroom while engaging in knowledge transfer. Jordan can be reached by email at

Web developer with eye for design gets start at NC

Brontë Bean is a 2016 graduate of Niagara College’s New Media Web Design program and was a Web Design/Developer Research Assistant for the Research & Innovation division for eight months. Brontë is employed with design agency Redstamp as an Intermediate Front End Developer.

Tell us about where you work:

My current employer is Redstamp. They are a full-service agency based in Port Moody, British Columbia specializing in creative design, technical development, and digital marketing, and emphasize automation and innovation to help drive growth.

Describe your role and what you like about it:

My role is Intermediate Front End Developer. I started in October of 2017 just after I moved to British Columbia. In May of 2018, I moved back to Ontario and have continued to work with Redstamp as a full-time remote employee.

My job is primarily developing websites using WordPress as a CMS [Content Management System]. I work with a team of developers and together we provide clients with different web solutions, ranging from marketing emails, and microsites, to web apps. We have a lot of great clients; many coming from tech backgrounds which makes projects innovative and fun to work on.  Our team is currently in the middle of creating a dynamic design system in Gutenberg, Germany.

How has your experience with Research & Innovation helped prepare you for your current role?

R&I helped accelerate my career. Before graduating, I was offered a job in my field and I credit a lot of that to the skills I learned at Research & Innovation. It gave me a taste of the industry and what typical processes may be like. I was meeting with clients, creating mockups and developing websites. I use those same core skills today at my current job.

A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?

I was able to work on a project with Niagara Sustainability while at R&I. They were a great team and it was interesting to learn all about what they do for the area. I started with creating designs, which turned into a fully functional WordPress site. It appears that they are still using much of what I worked on with R&I.

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

I liked the idea of being at a smaller school. I toured several colleges in the area but felt I would have just been another number. I wanted to be a big fish in a small pond. Niagara College offered small class sizes with hands-on learning. Niagara also offered several opportunities to get involved in the community and work with local professionals in the same field. Through those connections and experiences, I was able to get a job upon graduating.

“Before graduating, I was offered a job in my field and I credit a lot of that to the skills I learned at Research & Innovation. It gave me a taste of the industry and what typical processes may be like.”

Most memorable experience at NC?

There are too many memorable experiences to choose just one. I met many great people at NC with whom I made many amazing memories.

A faculty member who influenced you?

I was very lucky to work with some amazing faculty. I learned a lot from my teacher and R&I mentor Mark Hardwick. He would take the time to sit one-on-one with me to work out any design or development question I had. Looking back, a lot of the core knowledge I have about the industry comes from Mark.

A mentor at R&I?

Neil Wilkinson [Project Manager] was also a great mentor. He approached all projects with a positive attitude and made sure we had what we needed to succeed. Even recently, I have seen him engage with past R&I employees on platforms like LinkedIn for potential job opportunities.

What advice would you impart on current research students or future alumni?

Have fun. Although this is work, be sure you truly like what you’re doing. Take your time learning the basics as these will be essential to your career and future learning. I started making WordPress sites while at R&I and I am still using those same skills today.

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

The last few years have been a whirlwind of knowledge and learning. My advice would be to take things one step at a time. Learn the basics before getting into more advanced topics. I have also learned the importance of a team – everyone brings something different to the table so try to use that to your advantage to widen your skillset.

Proudest achievement since graduating?

I am very proud of how far I have progressed in my career and the work I have produced in the last few years. I have gained a wide range of knowledge and skills throughout my experience working in an agency environment.

Interests outside of work?

I spend most days on the computer so outside of work I like to enjoy the outdoors – activities include hiking with my two dogs, kayaking at a nearby lake, or spending the weekend away camping. I also enjoy arts and crafts and going to flea markets or thrift stores to add to my multiple collections of things.

If you could have a billboard message seen by many, what would it say?

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!” ~ Wayne Gretzky

Anything else you want to say?

Thanks to both R&I and Niagara College for all the amazing opportunities I was given. I learned many valuable lessons and continue to use them in my everyday life.