Leadership’s Roots Run Deep at the Faculty of Engineering

Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014

Three inspiring alumni of the Faculty of Engineering stand among 40 young leaders selected by Forty Under 40. Charles A. (Chuck) Rifici, Matthew Rinfret, and Pascal St-Jean equally receive commendation for their accomplishments as young leaders.

Let’s meet the recipients

Charles A. (Chuck) Rifici is cofounder of Tweed, a company specializing in the fabrication of marijuana for medical purposes. This accomplished alumni gathered experience in entrepreneurship, finance, and operation, which led him to work as Chief Financial Officer for several companies. Rifici explained that he had sold his first company and became CFO of the same company, which was successfully merged to Distributel.  

 ‘’Since leaving uOttawa Engineering, I worked a decade on my own business (providing Internet services) in a financial and accounting capacity as my partner at the time was far more technical.  We sold this company in 2003’’, evoked Rifici.

 Afterwards, Rifici explored several avenues from 2003 to 2012, serving as CFO of a few companies, and offering consulting services. Rifici recalled that he ‘’felt the call to start a new company from the ground up and this entrepreneurial interest coincided with Health Canada's release of the new draft regulations on medical marijuana in December 2012’’. This was how Tweed came to life, taking Rifici’s professional journey to a whole new level.

When asked about the reason he is attracted to marijuana, this budding leader often replies in the same way.

‘’It’s the rare combination of participating in the creation of a brand new regulated industry, for a product that already has immense demand while leveraging my skills as a business person and online commerce’’, said Rifici.

Rifici is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Ottawa as well as an MBA from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada.

Matthew Rinfret, project manager at PCL Constructors Canada Inc. is a young leader in infrastructure. Through his leadership, PCL has undertaken several impressive constructions, including the new Quinte Consolidated Courthouse located in the heart of Belleville, Ontario. Rinfret received his Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering in 1999. This promising young leader is also a prominent speaker who participates in debates involving current engineering issues.

Pascal St-Jean, a native of Ottawa, currently holds the position of Chief Innovation Officer at Synergiq Solutions, a company that offers branding, marketing, communications, HR, and digital solutions to keep business connected. St-Jean earned a Bachelor of Computer Engineering, and is specialized in innovation and technology ventures, reshaping businesses from various sectors. Prior to his current position, St-Jean has founded and managed several companies.

 “The amazing world we live in today has, and continues to be possible thanks to the power of the human will to innovate. This is why I've dedicated my career to try and develop the proper skills to turn ideas into reality”,this is how Pascal St-Jean, pictures today’s world. This is also a priority at the Faculty where innovation is at the heart of the learning process.

 St-Jean admitted that his Forty Under 40 Awards is the results of all these efforts.

The Forty Under 40 Awards program, which bears a 20 year-old history, highlights the accomplishments of leaders under 40 years old who give back to their community. This year forty outstanding leaders were chosen among a pool of 250 applicants.

The select group includes 9 uOttawa alumni including the three alumni of the Faculty of Engineering. A gala was organized on June 19 at the Hilton Lac-Leamy to celebrate the recipients.

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