Eduardo Guendelman

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Grad Year:             1974                                                                                                                                                           
    Electrical Engineering                                                                                                                               
Current Location:
Toronto, Canada

Professional Highlights:   My career has been incredibly diverse and exciting. After completing engineering studies at the Technion and a nine-year-long service as an officer with the Israeli Air Force, I become a serial entrepreneur. As such, I built more than a dozen tech companies. In 1984 I pioneered the speech recognition industry, which brought me to Canada to serve as an Executive VP of Magna International.  Later, in 1999, I built a company that I took public in Nasdaq that invented and produced the world's first hand-held GPS navigation systems. Later, a company that developed and patented a tele-health technology used by the US military and the Veterans Administration.

Q & A

I made Aliyah from Chile in 1970 and went straight to Technion. At that time, the Israeli tech industry was at its early development stage, so I was lucky to live through the transformation from an agricultural driven economy into a Start-Up Nation with a rich tech ecosystem.

Technion provides excellent education, not only by teaching you technical knowledge but also by stimulating students to be creative and to think out of the box. This factor, plus the typical Jewish Chutzpah, molded me into an engineer/entrepreneur. In 1974, shortly after the Yom Kippur War, I joined the IAF, where I earned enormous responsibility and authority. With that in hand, I was able to develop ideas and deliver inventions that possibly saved lives.

When I was sent along with other engineers and pilots to the US in 1980 as part of the F16 project, I still remember how surprised our counterparts were when they saw that Israel sent young people for this project of significant magnitude and strategic importance. But that's the secret of Israel. At the military service, soldiers and officers get tasks and responsibilities requiring leadership and creativity at a very young age. As a result, these same people gain confidence that they incorporate and use throughout their lives.

Thanks to the Technion, I have been inspired to create technologies in multiple disciplines, including healthcare, life science, and others. The Jewish genes, the Chutzpah, plus the formal Technion education, and, in my case, the IAF formation helped me to become innovative and to participate in the buildup of the tech industry in Israel that nowadays drives the economy.

What is your message to anyone giving back to Technion or considering doing so?

Technion is not just another university. It’s a part of a tech ecosystem of the kind few countries have. It is an institution that forges engineers who are creative and productive, and entrepreneurs who shape the future. In summary -- Contributing to Technion can have a tremendous impact.

Frieda Granot

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Grad Year: 1969 and 1971

Faculty/Degree: BSc Mathematics and MSc Computer Science

Current Location: Advisory Council Chair Professor in Management Science; Sauder School of Business at UBC, Vancouver

Professional Highlights: A member of the Order of Canada, Dr. Frieda Granot is an award-winning mathematician and computer scientist who is a pioneer in the field of Operations Research. When she was appointed at UBC Sauder in 1976, she was the only female tenure track faculty member, and remained so for close to 10 years. She was also the first female Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Interdisciplinary Research. She is still the only female faculty member in the UBC Sauder’s Operations and Logistics Division, and often participates in workshops, panel discussions and other events to encourage young women to study the sciences and engineering. Dr. Granot is a champion of the under-represented and has helped to raise millions of dollars to support UBC students with disabilities, Indigenous students and women in science. Dr. Granot also was honored as one of Top 100- Canada’s Most Powerful Women award in the Trailblazers and Trendsetters category for promoting women in science and engineering.

A proud Technion alumna, Dr. Granot reflects on the benefits of her Technion education.

Q & A

I enjoyed the interaction with my classmates, all very smart and ambitious. All my professors were excellent and although I worked hard, I always felt that I was getting an exceptional education.  I met my husband of 51 years at the Technion and we are still happily married. In our family, we have 13 Technion degrees!

The courses I took and the professors I had at the Technion were all outstanding. Although it was a male dominated environment, I saw it as an opportunity to excel and I was always treated as an equal.

After obtaining our Master’s degrees at the Technion, both my husband and I were accepted with scholarships to all the universities in the US we applied to, no doubt due in part to the fact that we were both Technion graduates. During our PhD studies, we felt that we had a big advantage over other students due to the level of education we received at the Technion.

The education I got and the amazing achievements of Technion alumni, both nationally and internationally. I encourage others to support the Technion - you will be helping the next generation of top scientists and engineers who will transform the world.

Michael Schwartz

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Grad Year: 1976

Faculty/Degree: MsC, Faculty of Chemical Engineering

Current Location: Vancouver, BC

Professional Highlights: Vice President, International Sales & Marketing for Nova Chemicals in Switzerland

Q & A

I received my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering in Romania.  When I immigrated to Israel, I chose to attend the Technion both because it was in line with my background and because I knew that it offered a very high level of education.

I came to Technion for my Master’s degree, and it was an amazing experience - especially for a newcomer to the country. After a year my Hebrew improved a lot and I enjoyed the life of a student in Israel at Technion – both the learning opportunities and the vibrant campus life. The education and the professors were incredible, one of my professors later became the President of the Technion. I also greatly enjoyed working with students in the polymer science lab as a teaching assistant.

Graduating from the Technion gave me connections, and confidence in myself. I knew so much of the industry because so many of Israel’s engineers were educated at the Technion. Many kibbutzim had plastics factory, I knew the entire network, and visited almost every plastics factory in Israel. I had many job opportunities and when I worked internationally, the Technion’s reputation and my own level of knowledge gave me confidence that I was an expert in my field.

Technion is one of the best contributors to Israel’s success in every possible industry – the contribution to start up nation is huge. As a graduate, you have a sense of pride and confidence that you carry with you for life.

Anyone who has benefitted from the Technion should consider it a top priority to give back. When you give to Technion you help further the success of the state of Israel. When I meet a young person, I always tell them about the Technion. I am proud to be a Technion Canada Board Member and I am working out West to raise awareness and meet alumni.

Sam Spanglet

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Grad Year: 1973

Faculty/Degree: Faculty of Chemical Engineering

Current Location: Toronto, Ontario

Professional Highlights: After the Yom Kippur war, I started in the petro-chemical industry in Israel and then emigrated to Canada in 1977. I spent over 25 years with Shell Canada, serving in a number of senior management positions, including Vice President, Operations and President, Albian Sands Energy.

Q & A

The level of education at the Technion is extremely high, and chemical engineering is a very difficult and demanding program. We were challenged to achieve at the highest levels. We were fortunate to learn from world renowned faculty; the professors and assistants were very committed and helpful to the students. I also made many good friends during my time in university.

If I can name one thing that I learned at the Technion, beyond of course the technical knowledge, it’s that they teach you how to think…think outside the box, think about issues, and to persevere when you are facing a challenge.

In the world of academia, the Technion is on an elite level, there is a huge amount of recognition and respect for the school. To have a university in a small country reaching this level of success in such a short period is incredible. The story of the Technion is the story of Israel, and we must be proud and support it.

My message to alumni is: You graduated from one of the top schools in the world and it is important to give back to support the school so that others can benefit from the education and the opportunity. It can be through volunteering or donating at any level. I am proud to go back to Technion each year as a guest professor to teach management and leadership to chemical engineering students, a course I designed based on my professional experience.

Dr. Ilan Nachim

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Grad Year: 2009

Faculty/Degree: Medical Doctor / Masters of Science

Current Location: Toronto, Canada

Professional Highlights: Medical Director, Bellwood Health Services; Board certified in Family Medicine;  Member of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine.

Q & A

At Technion I was able to pursue an American medical degree at a world class institution. The quality of the medical education is exceptional - it is a small program that provides a great base of learning, preparation and practice.

I am originally from Brazil and pursued my undergraduate education in Canada, so it was wonderful to be part of an international cohort and to meet people from around the world, including teachers, mentors and researchers.

It was also humbling to study at an institution that houses some of the best scientific minds in the world, including 3 Nobel Laureate professors.

While studying at Technion, I was very involved in campus life, and had such a positive personal experience at the school. During my time there, I lived in the family dorms and it was a fantastic environment.

Being a Technion graduate has been a real asset in my professional career. The training I received provided a strong foundation of skills and knowledge, which enabled me to excel on my medical exams and opened up professional opportunities. The international connections and the alumni network are also truly valuable and unique.

I am so grateful for the opportunities my Technion education has afforded me and I am proud to be a Technion supporter. When you support Technion, you are strengthening an institution that maintains the best minds the in world and works to improve society with a focus on health, innovation and the betterment of humanity.