People on the Move: Former Syntronic exec moves to Tallysman Wireless, part of Calian Group

Ottawa tech leader Darrell Wellington is returning to his roots in Canadian technology by joining Tallysman Wireless, a division of the Calian Group of Companies, as its new president.

His goal is to continue building the upward trajectory of Tallysman, as well as its subsidiary, Tallymatics.

“I think we have a really big opportunity to take the company to new heights and really grow it,” he said in an interview with OBJ. “Tallysman and Calian have an impressive track record.”

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Tallysman manufactures products and components used for GNSS (global navigation satellite systems), including radio-frequency, high-performance antennas and intelligent location-based wireless infrastructure solutions for tracking systems.

The company is growing quickly with increased global demand for leading-edge applications of precise GNSS timing and location services in agriculture, autonomous vehicles and robotics. Its timing applications support growth for clients in a range of sectors, including renewable energy, financial translation processing and 5G mobility.

Wellington has more than 20 years’ experience, including eight years at Swedish tech firm Syntronic, where he was senior vice-president and general manager for the past four years, based in Ottawa. “Working with the Swedes was great; they have a unique approach to things.”

Wellington boosted Syntronic’s operations in Canada and recruited new talent to its Ottawa office. He hopes to do the same at Tallysman by making an impact on a global scale.

“I really wanted to get back to my roots, which were Canadian tech companies,” said Wellington, who lists Calian CEO Kevin Ford as one of the reasons he joined. “He encouraged me to take the role.”

The company employs 60 people but has “aggressive growth plans” to hire. It’s looking to add designers and developers, along with other positions. 

Wellington takes over from founder, president and CTO Gyles Panther, who describes his successor as a “world-class” leader. “Darrell is an energetic, entrepreneurial technical leader and I am confident he will play a pivotal role in the future growth of Tallysman’s GNSS business,” stated Panther in a release announcing the appointment. 

Wellington’s fascination with computers and technology can be traced back to his childhood in the small southwestern Ontario town of Chatham. “I was always taking things apart, trying to fix them or break them,” said Wellington, who not only played Pac-Man on a Commodore 64 home computer, but also modified the code to his advantage. “When there were no ghosts, you could do quite well.”

Wellington got a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo. It’s where his parents first met and went on to graduate. His two brothers are also UWaterloo alumni.

He moved to the nation’s capital through a co-op program in 1999 and has lived here ever since. “I’m pretty attached to Ottawa and don’t have any plans to leave,” said the married father of two.

Wellington’s first job in Ottawa was at MOSAID Technologies. He later worked his way up in product development at Research In Motion during the height of the BlackBerry craze. That’s when he saw how the technology he was helping to develop improved people’s daily lives. 

“I loved being at an airport or out in the public and seeing people using the phone I had spent a year of my life perfecting.”

Ottawa’s high-tech sector has a bright future, Wellington believes. “I think there are some more challenging times ahead in the short term but, in the long run, it should be very positive.”

Wellington, who’s part of the Invest Ottawa global expansion committee, credited Nortel’s technology boom of the late 1990s with attracting tech-savvy workers from around the world to the region, creating a solid base of talent that still exists today. 

“It’s kind of like Silicon Valley; once you’ve got it, you got it.”

Other People on the Move

Well-known Ottawa lawyer Lorraine Mastersmith has been appointed firm managing partner at Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP and now sits on the national leadership team. She was most recently head of the Ottawa office’s business law department. Mastersmith co-owns KIN Vineyards in Carp with her husband, Shaun McEwan, president of ADGA Group. 

Kelly Santini LLP has welcomed the commercial and construction litigation team of John Melia and Kara Takagi to the firm. As a commercial and construction lawyer, Melia brings more than 20 years’ experience representing Canadian and international clients in the construction industry. Takagi has six years’ experience resolving commercial and construction matters, including liens, bond claims and real estate and leasing disputes.

Former city councillor Catherine McKenney is the new executive director of CitySHAPES, a non-profit organization that aims to build better cities across Canada. McKenney co-founded CitySHAPES with Neil Saravanamutto, a former chief economist of the G20 Global Infrastructure Hub. McKenney was long-time councillor for Somerset Ward and ran for mayor last year.

J.L. Richards & Associates has appointed Jason Ferrigan, former president of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute, as its chief planner. In his new role, Ferrigan leads the company’s team of professional planners, who serve public and private clients on a wide range of projects. JLR also announced the appointment of Correy Collins and Brent Grover as associates to the multidisciplinary engineering, architecture and planning firm.

Stéphanie Montreuil has joined the Ottawa Board of Trade as its senior director of communications and public affairs. Montreuil, who is bilingual and has experience in the private sector and working for member-driven national associations, was most recently senior director of communications and media relations for the Railway Association of Canada.

The social media-savvy Christie Shayler has joined the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation as its new director of marketing and communications. She was part of the team at TRUEdotDESIGN for the past nine years, serving as communications and events manager. “It’s a big move from TRUEdot but I’m really excited,” she said of her new role.

Ottawa business leader Andrew Milne has joined Relish Studios, a multidisciplinary content studio, as its new vice-president of growth. Milne was formerly working for Field Effect as its chief revenue officer and was founder of full-service digital agency bv02. He’s also a former Forty Under 40 recipient.

Patrick Champagne, who worked in the office of former mayor Jim Watson, has accepted a job with IBM as an enterprise strategy senior consultant. Champagne was part of Watson’s team for almost six years, most recently as his press secretary.

Heidi Hauver, one of the recipients of a WBN Businesswoman of the Year Award in 2022, is the new chief people officer for Canadian security workforce management solution provider TrackTik. She was most recently vice-president of people experience for Shinydocs. She also worked at Invest Ottawa for nearly five years, holding the position of vice-president of talent strategy and human resource.

Hats Off

Congratulations to Ottawa home builder Gemstone Construction for winning a 2023 CHBA National Award for Housing Excellence at an awards gala held in Banff on Feb. 16. The family-run local business took home a Canadian Homes Builders’ Association award for best bathroom renovation. Gemstone is led by president Josh Zaret, with father Neil and brother Adam as principals and Stephane Gervais as chief operating officer.

In Memoriam

Donald Blakslee died Feb. 6 at age 92. Blakslee was raised in Sydenham, Ont., graduated from Ryerson University and immediately began a hotelier career. For almost 50 years, Blakslee was general manager of The Lord Elgin Hotel, where he and his family resided in the penthouse, earning him the nickname “Lord Blakslee.” He was a well-known leader in the tourism industry and an advocate for the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club and Kiwanis Club of Ottawa. Blakslee also enjoyed spending time at Kingsmere Lake in the Gatineau Hills. He is survived by his wife of almost 65 years and two sons. 

One of Canada’s greatest cultural leaders, Peter Herrndorf, has died at age 82. Herrndorf was president and CEO of the National Arts Centre from 1999 until he retired in 2018. He also held leadership roles at the CBC, Toronto Life magazine and TVO prior to joining the NAC. The NAC’s flags will fly at half-mast all of February in honour of Herrndorf.

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