The Manager, Business Development role with Research & Innovation (R&I) is a relatively new role, but the person who holds the position is no stranger to the division.
David DiPietro, a 2012 graduate from NC’s Business Administration co-op program, has several years of history with R&I and is passionate about the future of the growing division. David’s role focuses on the strategic initiatives of the division and managing both internal and external stakeholder relationships.
After graduating, he found out about R&I and started his career with the division in 2012. He worked with what is now the Business & Commercialization Innovation Centre as a Business Research Associate. “For me, that was like a dream come true because I had a lot of desire to stay at the College and that type of learning in the classroom was what I connected most with,” he said. To be able to get paid to do that type of work was a plus for him.
A fond memory he has is with his first industry partner, Niagara Oast House Brewers, when his team project helped launch their social media pages.
When that role was coming to an end, he knew he had to find a way to stay working with R&I. He ended up working supporting course-based research initiatives for three years, before an opportunity elsewhere popped up that he had to pursue.
Six years later, the College was still on his mind. “I always thought there would be a path back to the College, and it was an amazing homecoming for me to return to the department where I got my start. I always stayed in touch with the team and kept on top of the growth and changes within the divisio. It was a no brainer to come back to a place that grew significantly and was doing incredible work with industry,” David said.
Now having been in the role for over a year, David is getting a true sense of the growth and changes within the division with the various large-scale projects he has on the go.
Projects David’s been focusing on include the implementation of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, strategic planning with the four innovation centres, supporting the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre with their Technology Access Centre (TAC) renewal, kicking off the Research Opportunity Fund, managing course-based research supports, and continuing the Innovation Mentorship Program, just to name a few.
“I always thought there would be a path back to the College, and it was an amazing homecoming for me to return to the department where I got my start. I always stayed in touch with the team and kept on top of the growth and changes within the division, it was a no brainer to come back to a place that grew significantly and was doing incredible work with industry.” – David DiPietro, Manager, Business Development
Implementing a CRM has been a long time coming. Even when David was last working with R&I, this was an idea that was being thrown around. “It’s something that we’ve been waiting for, and we know that the need has been there, so it’s great that it’s actually happening now,” he said.
Process mapping a CRM is going to be hugely impactful for the R&I division, as it will help manage all our industry partner relationships and interactions and potential partnerships. The goal is simple with this project – improve industry partner relationships to grow the division.
Research Opportunity Fund
Administered and supported by the Research & Innovation (R&I) division, David is also currently working as a team lead with the Research Opportunity Fund, a new initiative that will deploy funds for internal research. “This will be a great way for faculty and staff outside of our division to be able to work on their own research projects,” he said.
Existing as a stream under the Dream Big Fund, the ROF has been created to nurture and cultivate research and innovation at NC. This fund will therefore provide financial support to its employees who wish to pursue activities that support the research interests of the NC community. The support provided through the ROF will build organizational capacity, contribute to the excellence of the College, and promote employee professional development through the conduct of research.
WAMIC TAC Renewal
For the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC), David sees the opportunities for their growth to be endless. He’s currently supporting them as they submit their application for a renewal of the Technology Access Centre.
In addition to the great work that they do with metrology and process validation, WAMIC’s capabilities in Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and software have huge potential for industry partners.
“We’re looking to bring on more industry partners that need to digitize their processes which is highly impactful work when you think about outcomes,” said David.
Working at Niagara College
No two days are ever the same in David’s role and there’s non-stop possibilities for collaboration.
“I think I’m a very strategic person, so I love thinking about how to spread the word about what we do, both for internal College collaboration and external partnerships,” said David.
Getting to be a key part of initiatives and projects, and seeing them come to fruition, is something David finds rewarding.
Another part of working at Niagara College that David enjoys is the community feel: “Everyone who works here cares deeply about the students, the reputation of the College and doing what’s best for the community, he said. “You get to know people in other departments, whether that’s formally or informally and really everyone just cares a lot about their work, and you can feel that passion in the hallways,” he added.
When he’s not running the Business Development team with R&I, he’s literally running and cycling across Niagara. He also is a proud father and enjoys watching soccer with his son.
Work with R&I
If you have a project idea, reach out to David to start the conversation today. He will work with you to determine how best to meet your needs, whether our team performs a quick turnaround service, or a full innovation project. You can email him at [email protected].