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  • Juergen Schachler, President, CEO ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc.,
  • Senator David Braley
  • David Mondragon, President, CEO, Ford Canada, Oakville
  • Eric Vanderwall, President, CEO, Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, Burlington
  • Angelo Paletta, President, Paletta International Corp., Burlington
  • Richard Koroscil, President & CEO, John C. Munro Hamilton Airport, Hamilton
  • Rob McIsaac, President, Mohawk College, Hamilton
  • Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, President, Sheridan College, Oakville
  • Donald Ziraldo, Founder, Ziraldo Icewine
  • Peter Gilgan, President Mattamy Homes (Oakville)
  • Dan Patterson, President, Niagara College
  • Patrick Deane, President, McMaster University
  • Denis Dyack, Founder, President, Silicon Knights, St. Catharines
  • Vince Molinaro, President, Molinaro Group, Burlington
  • Mark Chamberlain, President, Trivaris Ltd., Hamilton
  • Rick Goldring, Mayor, Burlington
  • Jack Lightstone, President, Brock University, St. Catharines

20 Game Changers


John Dolbec, CEO, Hamilton
Chamber of Commerce

Ron Foxcroft, Founder,
Fox 40, Fluke Transport

Don Fraser, Business
reporter, St. Catharines

Stephen Gallagher,
Managing Editor, Niagara
Falls Review

Keith Hoey, President of the
Burlington Chamber of Commerce

Cam Jackson, Former
Mayor of Burlington

Michael Marini, Marketing
Coordinator, Hamilton
Economic Development
& Real Estate

Ted McIntyre, Editor
BIZ Magazine

Lars Melander, Publisher,
North Oakville News

Hans Niedermair
, Editor,
Business Niagara

Wendy Peters, Freelancer,
former editor/associate
publisher, The Business

Marvin Ryder, Professor
of Marketing and
Entrepreneurship, DeGroote
School of Business, McMaster

John Sawyer, President,
Oakville Chamber of

Angus Scott, Managing
Editor, Welland Tribune
Walter Sendzik, CEO,
St. Catharines-Thorold
Chamber of Commerce

David Young, Editor,
Hamilton Magazine

Some people impact the way their company does business. For a select few, their sphere of influence pervades entire industries and affects the welfare of the very regions they call home. Here are 20 in particular to watch from the Golden Horseshoe in 2011.

Juergen Schachler, President, CEO ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc.,
Hamilton A resident of Burlington, Schachler leads one of ArcelorMittal’s most prized divisions worldwide—one that continues to receive major fi nancial support from the mother ship, its recent investments including a third blast furnace and plans to revitalize its steel fi nishing operations in 2012/2013. “The contrast with its neighbour, U.S. Steel Canada, could not be more stark,” indicates panellist Marvin Ryder. “One is in the fourth month of locking out its employees; the other has been hiring new employees. One sold a portion of its assets to a new entrant; the other has invested in new plant capacity. One is the face of ‘old steel,’ the other the face of ‘new steel.’ If you add in its commitments to the community (St. Joseph’s Hospital, Theatre Aquarius and a huge $600,000 donation to the United Way), this company, and thus its leader, continues to make a huge impact on the region.”

David Mondragon, President, CEO, Ford Canada, Oakville
Since being appointed to the helm at Ford Canada in 2008, Mondragon has helped the company navigate treacherous fi nancial waters in remaining the lone major auto manufacturer not to require a government bailout. He’s also helped steer Ford to the top of the Canadian auto sales chart— overtaking GM for the fi rst time in more than 50 years—after reporting that sales of new cars and trucks jumped 19 percent from the previous year to 267,974 vehicles in 2010. “Sales titles are nice to have,” says Mondragon, “but we remain focused on building long-term, sustainable, profi table growth.”

Senator David Braley
This Burlington billionaire, the owner and president of Hamilton auto parts maker Orlick Industries Ltd., is the passionate backbone of Ontario’s winning Pan Am bid. Apart from an extensive commitment to build sports infrastructure, including maintaining the health of the CFL, Braley has the ear of the Prime Minister. “He is the region’s most heavyweight political infl uence since Sheila Copps served as Deputy P.M.,” suggests Hamilton Magazine editor David Young. “It’s diffi cult to defi ne precisely how his infl uence will be expressed, but it’s a safe bet that his voice will always be heard clearly.”

Eric Vanderwall, President, CEO, Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, Burlington
The young, dynamic Vanderwall has, in short order, demonstrated an ability to lead Joseph Brant—a facility once saddled with a less than stellar reputation—in a new direction. He has made high-level changes, developed new standards of performance and inspired staff to make JBMH one of the highest rated hospitals within the local health integration network. He will, no doubt, play a crucial part in the discussions of expansion and merging programs with the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

Angelo Paletta, President, Paletta International Corp., Burlington
While he’s added Hollywood producer to his resumé, it’s his status as one of the largest landowners of commercial and employment real estate in the city of Burlington that makes Paletta a man to watch. The developer also appears interested in the lucrative sports and entertainment market, and his Aldershot land holdings adjacent to Highway 403 provide arguably the best potential stadium site for a future NHL franchise. Paletta also has deep enough pockets to be a minority shareholder for such a proposal.

Richard Koroscil, President & CEO, John C. Munro Hamilton Airport, Hamilton
Apart from guiding the number one courier and freight airport in Canada, Koroscil is also one of the more visible chairs of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, observes panellist Marvin Ryder, “taking positions on the Pan Am Stadium and shaping the last municipal election debate. He also pushed for City Council’s approval of the Airport Employment Growth District, which, as it develops over the next two decades, will be a signifi cant base of employment and home to many new businesses.” “He brought an explicit mandate of political engagement to the Hamilton Magazine editor David Young, “and while his term there may be concluding, the high-stakes AEGD saga promises to keep him very much in the spotlight.”

Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, President, Sheridan College, Oakville
Dr. Zabudsky previously served as President and CEO of Manitoba’s Red River College, where he was extensively involved in the broader community, serving as the 2009 Chair of the 2009 United Way, a member of both the Premier’s Economic Advisory Council and as Chair of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. Since his arrival at Sheridan, he has become similarly engaged in the region, and is also a member of the Halton Industry Education Council and the Toronto Board of Trade Livability Subcommittee. Zabudsky’s leadership and vision, commitment to student-centred learning, support of applied research and experience in fundraising will prove invaluable to the development of the college’s Creative Campus concept and in reigniting its digital learning environment.

Rob McIsaac, President, Mohawk College, Hamilton
As the first Chair of Metrolinx, the transportation authority responsible for planning and governing transportation in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA), and longtime mayor of Burlington, McIsaac brings a rare progressive political background to the Mohawk podium. Apart from simply revitalizing a moribund brand at the college, he remains an advocate for the local business community and possesses strong ties to that element. A tireless community volunteer, McIsaac has a history of several growth management initiatives in the Golden Horseshoe, as well as chairing a provincial task force that established the founding principles for a permanent greenbelt for the region.

Peter Gilgan, President Mattamy Homes (Oakville)
With the housing market rebounding, Oakville’s Peter Gilgan, the founder and CEO of Mattamy Homes, Canada’s largest home builder, should be a pivotal player in the coming year. His ability to infl uence the region in other ways, though, was exemplifi ed by an astounding $10 million donation towards the development of the town’s new hospital—the largest donation in Oakville history. And he’s not resting on his laurels. Gilgan’s goal is to be “the best home-building brand in North America”—something he’s given his company another 12 years to achieve.

Dino DiCienzo Jr., Owner, Canadian Niagara Hotels and Intertrust Development
A prominent fi gure in Niagara Falls’ massive tourism industry. DeCienzo’s holdings include the 32-storey Sheraton Fallsview, 30-storey Marriott Fallsview, the Crowne Plaza and Sheraton on the Falls, the Skyline and Hampton inns, plus the 20-acre Falls Avenue Waterpark, which includes such attractions as the Hershey Store and Planet Hollywood. His fi rm also leases the Casino Niagara space to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, a deal that goes all the way to 2025. Nearby, the company’s 300-room Marriot Residence Inn is set for completion next year.

Donald Ziraldo, Founder, Ziraldo Icewine
Four years after graduating from the University of Guelph with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture, this St. Catharines resident partnered with Karl Kaiser to found Niagara-onthe- Lake winery Inniskillin, which received the fi rst postprohibition winery license in the region. In 1984, Inniskillin became one of the fi rst Canadian wineries to produce Icewine, thus beginning a tradition of award-winning vintages in that category. The Vintners Quality Alliance’s fi rst chairman, Ziraldo left Inniskillin in 2006 and founded Ziraldo Icewines. An Order of Canada winner, he currently serves as the chairman of the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, an NPO that serves to advance horticultural innovation.

Dan Patterson, President, Niagara College
“Since taking the helm in 1995— during which Niagara College’s enrollment has doubled to more than 8,000—we’ve seen the school become recognized as the home to top culinary and wine-making programs in the country,” says Business Niagara editor Hans Niedermair. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve seen such major growth in the wine industry here during the same period.” “Dan has guided the college to six straight years as the top college in Canada, based on student satisfaction,” adds panel member Walter Sendzik. “This year, the opening of the $40 million Applied Health Institute will usher in a new era for the college as it prepares to meet the health care challenges facing Niagara and Canada over the next 20 years.”

Patrick Deane, President, McMaster University
Given Hamilton’s dependence on the continuing evolution of McMaster’s Health Sciences department and Innovation Park, Deane’s relevance cannot be overstated. “Still in the opening months of his fi veyear term, he stands at the crossroads of some the city’s most powerful institutions,” says Hamilton Magazine Editor David Young. “His leadership style and decision-making will inevitably have an enormous impact on the way the city and region evolve—not least because he has taken care to couch the educational mission in a humanist context and attempt a balance between local obligations and international competitiveness.”

Ken Fowler, CEO, Ken Fowler Enterprises, St. Catharines
Active in all portfolio investments as KFE’s Chairman, Fowler has also been an enthusiastic contributor to his St. Catharines community, having provided funding to Brock University and the Shaw Festival, among others. “Ken has investment in a lot of different venture capital in the region, especially SIR Corp. (the Niagara-on-the-Lake-based fi rm that owns and operates more than 40 restaurant venues, including Jack Astor’s and Alice Fazooli’s),” notes St. Catharines Standard business reporter Don Fraser. “In terms of depth and breadth and scope, I’d say he’s defi nitely one of the most powerful people in the region.”

Denis Dyack, Founder, President, Silicon Knights, St. Catharines
A Brock University graduate, Dyack founded video game developer Silicon Knights in 1992 on the strength of his Risklike strategy game, Steel Empire. After his company produced the well-received Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain in 1997, a string of successes followed with industry giant Nintendo and Japanese legend Hideo Kojima. Dyack and his firm are currently at work on their second game in the Too Human series for Microsoft’s XBOX 360, along with a project for Sega. “In terms of working with some of the international legends in his field, Denis has been there and done that,” says Business Niagara editor Hans Niedermair. Adds St. Catharines- Thorold Chamber of Commerce CEO Walter Sendzik, “Denis is a pioneer in a sector that is a cornerstone of Niagara’s digital media explosion.”

Vince Molinaro, President, Molinaro Group, Burlington
Developer of several projects throughout the Golden Horseshoe, including Burlington’s fi rst LEED-certifi ed high-rise condo, and a skilled political navigator when it comes to getting proposals approved, “Vince is the principal decision-maker for a leading-edge development company,” observes panel member Keith Hoey, President of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “As Burlington gets closer to build-out, the shape of development over the next few years will be a key factor in what the city looks like in the future, and Vince’s approach will have a big impact on that future.”

Rick Goldring, Mayor, Burlington
From hospital expansion to possible NHL interest, to an over-budget and overdue pier, Burlington’s new mayor has a lot on his plate. But the progressive Goldring seems well suited to this city in transition. He wants to make a difference and he is in a position to make a difference, notes Burlington Chamber of Commerce President Keith Hoey. The city has several high profi le items on the agenda and Mayor Goldring is committed to completing these projects. His focus will be on open dialogue with the community and limiting tax increases.

Jennifer Jackman, Director General, CANMET-MTL, Hamilton
Jackman, who has been highly active in the development of automotive materials research in Canada and holds a PhD in Condensed Matter Physics from the University of Guelph, heads up the new Canadian Materials and Testing Laboratory. The linchpin for McMaster University’s Innovation Park, CANMET is moving from Ottawa to Hamilton, bringing with it more than 100 top scientists. The facility is Canada’s principal federal R&D lab for structural metals research, from the automotive sector to materials for energy and bio-energy generation and transportation.

Mark Chamberlain, President, Trivaris Ltd., Hamilton
Whether a startup or an established business, Chamberlain’s company provides the expertise, services and access to a vast innovation network to help fi rms monetize the value of their intellectual property. “Trivaris is working with a small pool of entrepreneurs to launch a series of companies in the Golden Horseshoe,” explains panellist Marvin Ryder. “While each will be small at their start, employing two to fi ve people, they have the potential to grow into signifi cant employers. If I add in Mark’s community involvement in poverty reduction and job creation, he’s a dynamic force.”

Jack Lightstone, President, Brock University, St. Catharines
Born in Ottawa, Lightstone earned a master’s degree and PhD from Brown University on Rhode Island, before spending 30 years at Concordia University in Montreal, leaving as vicepresident in 2004. Brock’s president for the past fi ve years, “Lightstone has been instrumental in the construction plans of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines,” says the area’s Chamber of Commerce CEO, Walter Sendzik. “He also had the vision to build a $100 million health and bioscience complex that is now underway at Brock, featuring a business incubator in the science knowledge-based industries. He’s a true game changer for Niagara.”