People on the move: Ottawa’s Lixar drafts former pro hockey player Wes Jarvis

Jarvis
Lixar's new director of public sector business development Wes Jarvis. Photo by Mark Holleron

Wes Jarvis has been preparing practically his whole life for the high-pressure world of sales.

After a career playing win-or-go-home games in front of thousands of people, the prospect of competing for lucrative government contracts doesn’t seem quite so daunting for the former pro hockey defenceman-turned-tech exec.

“Dedication, discipline, professionalism ​– all these things that you need to succeed in professional hockey you need in the business world as well,” says the 40-year-old Ottawa native, who joined local big-data analytics firm Lixar as its new director of public sector business development earlier this spring.

“Hockey is one of those quintessential team sports. You have to be a team player. The team has to be full of team players if you’re gonna have success in hockey, and I think this is the same way. If you put in the effort, you put in the work, you see the results at the end of the day in both those types of environments.”

Growing up near the Civic Hospital, Jarvis was a minor hockey star with the West Ottawa Golden Knights before embarking on a path that took him from the Jr. A Gloucester Rangers to the major-junior Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League.

The New York Rangers then picked him in the second round of the 1997 NHL draft. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound blueliner spent a year with the Canadian national team before a five-season stint in the Rangers’ minor-league system.

The young Jarvis attended the Rangers’ training camp for five straight years but never cracked the big club’s lineup. Befitting their home base in the City that Never Sleeps, the Blueshirts of that era were a star-studded group that boasted the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Eric Lindros, Brian Leetch and Adam Graves.

“As a young guy, you’re on a team with all these hall of famers,” he says with a chuckle. “It was quite the fun experience.”

Jarvis then went back to school, winning a national hockey championship in 2004 en route to earning a degree in political science at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S.

He finished his pro career with a four-year run in Europe split between France and the United Kingdom, where he led the top British league’s defencemen in scoring in his final season with the Cardiff Devils.

But he says his European experience provided him with something much more lasting than a cool stat line: a chance to study at the Strasbourg Business School and earn his MBA at Cardiff University in Wales.

“There is a window in everyone’s career to really take it to the next level, and I made the decision to really almost leverage hockey to get more out of it with that higher education that was always in the back of my mind,” Jarvis explains. “It’s been a good transition.”

Since returning to his hometown nearly a decade ago, Jarvis has had stops at tech heavyweights such as Veritaaq and IBM. He says that experience has left him well-equipped to navigate the constantly evolving fields of artificial intelligence and big data analytics.

“Things move so fast,” he notes. “Once again, there are similarities to professional sports, where you constantly have to be training and updating your skill sets to be able to compete.”

Lixar has made a name for itself working with notable private-sector customers such as BlackBerry QNX, NASCAR and Bell, but the 200-person firm is hoping its newest executive team member can win it more government business.

Jarvis says there’s a “huge amount of opportunity” for Lixar to help the feds raise their game when it comes to big data analytics, adding he believes AI technology will ultimately make government more efficient and responsive to the needs of its citizens.

“I’m really excited to help drive that with a local company that has all of this experience in the private sector.”

People on the move

NAV Canada has hired Mark Cooper as senior vice-president of air navigation systems technology. He will head the company’s engineering and technical operations groups and will officially take over the role in September. Currently the lead partner for aviation technology with Deloitte, Cooper has more than 20 years of experience in the aviation industry. Prior to joining Deloitte, he was the managing director of Lockheed Martin’s global air traffic management and airport business.

Cameron Bishop has been named vice-president of public affairs and stakeholder relations (North America) for medical cannabis producer Organigram Holdings and will work out of the firm’s Ottawa office. Bishop previously served as director of government affairs at pot producer Tilray.

Avivagen has named Kym Anthony chief executive officer and Jeffrey Kraws chairman of the board. Prior to being named CEO, Anthony served as interim chief executive and chairman of the board. He will remain on the board.

Tetra Bio-Pharma announced Sabino Di Paola is the firm’s new chief financial officer following the retirement of Bernard Lessard. A founding member of Tetra Bio-Pharma, Di Paola was previously CFO of several companies, including Cornerstone Capital Resources, Vanoil Energy, Majescor Resources and Everton Resources.

The Cannabis Council of Canada has appointed Hexo’s Isabelle Robillard and Jeff Ryan of Canopy Growth to its board of directors. The group is a trade association of Canada’s licensed producers of medical cannabis.

Hats off

A pair of Ottawa animation studios were winners at the Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in early May. Jam Filled captured awards for Outstanding Children’s Animated Series and Outstanding Writing for an Animated Program for the Nickelodeon series The Loud House. The Netflix series Hilda, animated by Mercury Filmworks in partnership with Silvergate Media, won for Outstanding Main Title and Graphic Design for an Animated Program.

March Networks has been designated as a cyber-secure business by Cyber Essentials Canada for a second consecutive year. Cyber Essentials certification is awarded to organizations able to demonstrate good cyber-security practices and an ability to mitigate risks from internet-based threats in areas such as boundary firewalls and internet gateways, network configuration, software management, access control and malware protection.

Kinaxis has been named a leader in Gartner’s 2019 Magic Quadrant for Sales and Operations Planning Systems of Differentiation. Gartner analyzes supply-chain planning software solutions.