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Ideas Lab prides itself on the diversity and quality of expertise brought together by its team members from around the globe. Drawing on their backgrounds ranging from multinational industries to technology startups, national laboratories, and non-profits, our team is highly adept at solving challenging problems with creative, tangible solutions. All of our staff, including our researchers, executives, and administrators, are highly accomplished in their respective fields with more than 80% of our staff holding one or more advanced degrees in science, engineering, or business administration.


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Nick Werstiuk

Chief Executive Officer


Nick Werstiuk is the Chief Executive Officer of Quantum Valley Ideas Lab. Prior to joining Ideas Lab in 2020, Mr. Werstiuk was Director of AI Offerings at IBM Cognitive Systems. His career in enterprise technology spans more than 30 years, having spent the first 10 years of his career in telecom network infrastructure, holding a range of Product Management, Marketing, and Engineering positions at Bell Canada. Mr. Werstiuk subsequently drove early-stage product commercialization and customer adoption of new products at several software companies, including Platform Computing, divine Inc, eAssist Global Solutions, and Delano Technology Corp.

As Director of AI Offerings at IBM, following more than eight years in the IBM Platform Computing business unit, Mr. Werstiuk was responsible for developing vision, strategic direction and roadmaps across the IBM Spectrum Computing portfolio of offerings, driving the expansion of the portfolio from Enterprise HPC and Analytics into AI, Deep Learning, and Cloud-based services. His broad expertise includes new product and corporate development, strategy, and identifying growth opportunities, which included supporting the acquisition of Platform Computing by IBM in 2011. Mr. Werstiuk graduated with Honours from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering.

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James P. Shaffer, PhD

Senior Fellow, Project Lead


After spending more than 16 years leading an atomic, molecular, and optical physics academic research group, Dr. James Shaffer joined Quantum Valley Ideas Lab as its first senior fellow to pursue his passion for applying quantum science and engineering to solving real-world problems. James received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and his PhD in optics at the University of Rochester. After a two-year stay at the Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences at the National Research Council in Ottawa following his dissertation, James joined the faculty at the University of Oklahoma where he was appointed the Homer L. Dodge Professor of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics. James’ diverse research interests span quantum sensing, quantum signal transduction, novel light-matter interactions, and highly excited atoms.

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Marc Gibson, PhD MBA

Chief Operating Officer


A life scientist by training, Dr. Gibson has spent the past eight years helping the Canadian research community to translate discoveries into solutions and startups. Marc established the Velocity Science startup incubator with the Faculty of Science and Velocity entrepreneurship program at his alma mater, the University of Waterloo. As a business developer with Mitacs, he connected industry and academia. He holds a PhD from the University of Dundee, Scotland, and an MBA from the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, where as an analyst with the Laurier Startup Fund he conducted early-stage investment due diligence. Prior to joining the Quantum Valley group, Marc was Operations Manager for Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s Canadian startup incubator, JLABS @ Toronto, in the MaRS Discovery District.

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Owen Hulley, MBA CPA



An experienced accounting and finance professional, Owen joined Ideas Lab in November 2020. He brings a wealth of experience in the insurance and banking industry, as well as the consumer goods and expedition travel sectors. His key background experience includes financial reporting, project management, strategic financial planning, risk management, financial modelling and analysis, treasury management and corporate management. He has also lectured on accounting and finance as a partial-load professor at Conestoga College. Owen volunteers as a Director of Finance with the Waterloo-Wellington CPA Ontario Association. He is a graduate of Western University in the Managerial and Organizational Studies program, and the MBA program at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics in the financial management program. He has been a CPA since 2011.