Hana Zalzal: Professional makeup maven

Hana Zalzal
Hana Zalzal

Hana Zalzal (CivE 8T8) is the founder of Cargo Cosmetics, a Toronto-based professional makeup line used by the industry’s top artists for TV and film.

This story appeared originally on U of T News.

This article is part three of a five-part series on #EngineeringtheUnexpected, in celebration of the firstGlobal Day of the Engineer on February 24, 2016

What do Hollywood stars Courtney Cox, Camryn Manheim, Lindsay Lohan and Debra Messing have in common? They have all designed custom lipstick shades for Cargo Cosmetics, a professional makeup line founded by alumna Hana Zalzal (CivE 8T8).

Zalzal worked as an engineer, marketer and financial analyst prior to founding and operating Cargo Cosmetics in 1995 from her home in North York, Ont. Over the past 20 years, Cargo has grown to become one of the most innovative and sought-after brands among professional makeup artists, celebrities and consumers worldwide.

Today, Cargo is a household name — its products have been featured in Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and a multitude of fashion and beauty publications. Current hit television showsAmerican Horror Story, Girls, The Mindy Project and Modern Family, and films such as Insidious, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and Iron Man 2 have all used Cargo Cosmetics on set. They have also been included in official gift bags for prestigious events such as the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes.

True to its engineering roots, Cargo has even made an impact on the international design community: the company’s foundation pouch won a 2006 DuPont Award for Innovation in Packaging and a 2007 Red Dot Award for Product Design.

Zalzal attributes the key to Cargo’s success as never being satisfied with the status quo.

“For me, it was all about continually asking myself, ‘How can this be better?’” she said. “It was about the innovation, and the innovation that drove [Cargo] to continually seek new ways of presenting product. Sometimes it was in application, sometimes it was in formulation and sometimes it was in packaging.”

Zalzal was included on The Caldwell Partners list of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 in 2004 and received an Arbor Award for her outstanding personal service to the University of Toronto.

Watch this video from Bloomberg TV’s show Venture to learn more about Zalzal and her company.

Parking app takes home top prize at Hatchery Accelerator competition

Recipe for success: coffee, and advice from Joseph Orozco, entrepreneur and executive director of The Entrepreneurship Hatchery (right). Twenty-three student teams worked to turn ideas into viable business plans at Hatchery Accelerator Weekend, Jan. 22 and 23 at the University of Toronto. (credit: Cherry Fan).
Recipe for success: coffee, and advice from Joseph Orozco, entrepreneur and executive director of The Entrepreneurship Hatchery (right). Twenty-three student teams worked to turn ideas into viable business plans at Hatchery Accelerator Weekend, Jan. 22 and 23 at the University of Toronto. (credit: Cherry Fan).

Recipe for success: coffee, and advice from Joseph Orozco, entrepreneur and executive director of The Entrepreneurship Hatchery (right). Twenty-three student teams worked to turn ideas into viable business plans at Hatchery Accelerator Weekend, Jan. 22 and 23 at the University of Toronto. (credit: Cherry Fan).

This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering News.

There is only one rule at Hatchery Accelerator weekend: there are no rules.

Fuelled by coffee, snacks and sage advice, on January 22 and 23, students worked furiously to transform their wildest entrepreneurial ideas into viable business models in just 28 hours. The competition, hosted by The Entrepreneurship Hatchery, was kicked off by a special panel presentation from Silicon Valley seed accelerator Y Combinator, the incubator that has launched companies such as Dropbox, Reddit, and Thalmic.

Students worked in teams of four to create viable business models, judged by a panel of industry experts and entrepreneurs, including Isi Caulder (EngSci 8T9), Richard Helbig (GeoE 7T3), Michael Augustanavicous (ElecE 7T6), Dag Enhorning and Richard Louttet. The top team took home a grand cash prize of $2,000, and the runner up won $1,000.

“Accelerator Weekend 2016 was a huge success. One hundred students, 23 teams, six finalists, and two prizes. The 28-hour journey that participants went through is a true representation of the journey of an entrepreneur that normally takes years,” said Joseph Orozco, executive director of The Entrepreneurship Hatchery. “We are excited to see the student’s entrepreneurial spirit growing year after year. “

U of T Engineering News caught up with the two teams that came out on top:

First prize—$2,000: TouchDown

Team TouchDown with their Hatchery mentor, Naresh Bangia, at centre.

Team TouchDown with their Hatchery mentor, Naresh Bangia, at centre. (courtesy: Sam Fang).

Members: Kyle Bimm (Year 2 MechE), Bryan De Bourbon, Sam Fang (Year 3 IndE), Bowen Wu(Year 3 Civil)

Elevator pitch: TouchDown is a parking management system to streamline parking for customers commuting into large cities. The system uses physical modules with Google Maps integration to help commuters find a registered parking spot before they start driving. After a quick selection, their parking space is booked and paid for, via in-app purchase, so commuters no longer have to worry about their parking situation once they start driving. This eliminates time wasted and money spent looking for parking for commuters as well as eliminates unnecessary parking enforcement for municipalities.

What problem does TouchDown solve?

Bryan: As a student that has to regularly commute between the Misssissauga (UTM) and the St.George Campus (UTSG), I became frustrated in my ability to make it on time to UTSG while still in my car, but still arrive 10 to 20 minutes late to my planned events because of the inability to find parking quickly and easily while driving around campus at saturated times. I thought “what if there was a system to allow me to see readily available parking spots before I even planned my route?” With a few more iterations we arrived at TouchDown!

What challenges did your team overcome during the competition?

Kyle: The team faced several challenges over the course of the competition that required a substantial amount of pivoting. The first obstacle we faced was the discovery of existing competition rather late on the first day. Hours spent scouring the internet for existing solutions to the problem proved little was being done in North America, and almost nothing in Canada in the way of smart parking. Upon research into parking related ideas for the company, after many other teams had already called it a night, we stumbled upon several different services that had flown under the radar up until that point. This forced us to rethink our business model and re-establish ourselves as an innovator in the parking world. We decided to create an all-in-one parking system that could not only link parking spot owners and commuters, but enhance security in commercial facilities and eliminate the need for regular, manned parking enforcement. The second challenge the team encountered was the strict regulations involving parking in private facilities like condos that require key access. This, coupled with the lack of previous information available on partnerships between parking services and commercial organizations, motivated the team to design the product launch with mainly the typical “house and driveway” consumer in mind, as a beta launch of sorts. Once a desire for the service was proven in the market, we would have the necessary backup to approach larger scale operations about joint business ventures with confidence.

What’s next for Touchdown—will you all continue to work on the business?

Team: All of us are considering the practicality of the project in industry given the availability of necessary technology and regulations currently in place. As of now time constraints among the group seem to be the biggest issue to get TouchDown to market, but we all are super excited about trying to do so.

Runner up—$1,000: Aurum

Members: Bonny Khanna (MechE 1T5), Min Lee, Rod Parsa, Lucas Huang

Elevator pitchAurum is a noise-cancelling product that dampens the constant background buzz we all hear while living and working in a city like Toronto.

What problem does Aurum solve?

RodStudies have shown that noise pollution has adverse health effects including higher stress levels, sleep disturbance, hypertension and tinnitus. Most of us go about our days without giving it a second thought, only to wonder why we aren’t working as hard as we’re capable of doing, or wake up groggy in the mornings. Furthermore, noise pollution has been linked to a 10-per cent decrease in housing prices in dense cities. Aurum solves this problem by bringing active noise cancellation to your living room, bedroom or office, creating an aura of tranquility conducive to studying, sleeping or just relaxing. This technology has already been put to use on a large scale in certain commercial aircrafts (where engine noise is a concern), as well as on a small scale in popular noise-cancelling headphones like the Bose QC series. Aurum bridges the size gap and creates a solution that doesn’t necessitate the use of bulky headphones or expensive installations. We came up with the idea when my teammate Bonny mentioned that ever since he had moved closer to a subway line, he’d had trouble sleeping. We did a bit of brainstorming and realized that short of expensive, thick, sound-proof glass windows, there was no real solution out there – we’d all have to suck it up if we wanted to live in the city.

What challenges did your team overcome during the competition?

RodI don’t think there were any major hiccups, maybe just a few minor ones. Our greatest concern was that we couldn’t show the judges any sort of proof of concept. Unlike many other app-based ideas, a product like ours may require millions in R&D before its viability can be ascertained. Nonetheless, we were confident in the value that it offered, should it come to fruition; nearly everyone who heard about our idea wanted one and was willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a working solution. In the short context of the 28-hour marathon, we figured we’d make promises first and apologize later.

What’s next for Aurum—will you all continue to work on the business?

With regard to the future, we’re considering applying for the Hatchery summer incubator program. Our mentor Rob Klein is very supportive of us, and it would allow us to get started on a functional proof of concept in the form of a primitive prototype.

Students from across the University of Toronto can apply to participate in the Hatchery Incubator summer internship program. Deadline to apply to the 2016 cohort is Jan. 31, 2016.

Read more about the Hatchery summer internship program

Three industry professionals leading U of T Engineering courses

Randy Sinukoff, a Senior Associate at Stantec Consulting Ltd., teaching his graduate level course, CHE1431H Environmental Auditing. (Photo by Tyler Irving)
Randy Sinukoff, a Senior Associate at Stantec Consulting Ltd., teaching his graduate level course, CHE1431H Environmental Auditing. (Photo by Tyler Irving)

Randy Sinukoff, a Senior Associate at Stantec Consulting Ltd., teaching his graduate level course, CHE1431H Environmental Auditing. (Photo by Tyler Irving)

 

 

 

This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering News Friends.

For Randy Sinukoff, the best part of being a course instructor is watching new understanding take root. “I love it when the light goes on in someone’s head,” he says. “I love it when they discover something they never thought of before, or realize something that they can apply to their own life and work.”

Sinukoff (ChemE 8T2, MASc 8T4) is a Senior Associate at Stantec Consulting Ltd. and is also the instructor for CHE1431H Environmental Auditing, a Master of Engineering course for full-time and part-time graduate students. He is one of a number of sessional lecturers who work full-time in industry and make time to offer their expertise to students at U of T Engineering.

In addition to his own course, which he has instructed since 2012, Sinukoff delivers guest lectures for students in fourth-year classes and volunteers for an on-campus mentorship program. He offers students first-hand knowledge of what it’s really like to work in industry.

Sinukoff clearly enjoys interacting with students, but he says that there are other benefits to himself and his company. “In my business, we don’t run ads; it’s all about the quality of the people we hire,” he says. “When you’re engaging with 20-plus students in a classroom, you can see who the future employees might be.”

Another advantage is reputational. “To teach, you have to be on top of your game and make sure that you’re current with everything in the field,” he says. “When people find out that I teach a course, they can see I know what I’m doing. That speaks to the credibility and professionalism of me and my company.”

Two more industry professionals who are involved with courses at U of T Engineering are profiled below:

Glen Ehasoo, P.Eng

Glen EhasooAs a new instructor, Ehasoo is eager to share his knowledge with fourth-year Mineral Engineering students and to help introduce them to the industry. “I recently relocated to Toronto and when the opportunity came up to help, it felt like a good way to become engaged in the local mining community,” he says, adding that building links with like-minded individuals is an important part of professional engineering.

Ehasoo is involved with MIN467H Mineral Project Design, a two-part course that focuses on the design of a mining project.  He is sharing his knowledge of the technical details of mine design and the applications of mine design software. “Computer models are only as good as the data you put into them — garbage in, garbage out,” he says. “You need to understand what is going on so that you can verify and understand the output.”

As a Principal Mining Engineer at RPA Inc., Ehasoo has more than 15 years of experience in the industry. He has consulted on project evaluations, due diligence reviews, open pit mine design, resource modelling, and mine scheduling. Ehasoo has worked on gold, silver, base metals, iron ore, coal, diamond, and rare earth projects in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

Kim Iwasa-Madge, P.Eng (IndE 8T1)

Kim Iwasa-MadgeIwasa-Madge sees teaching as a natural extension of her own practice. “In my job, I was often involved in supervising and mentoring young engineers,” she says. “I found that very fulfilling.”

Iwasa-Madge teaches MIE542H Human Factors Integration. She is an expert in human factors engineering, which applies knowledge of human capabilities and limitations to the analysis, design and operation of products, services and systems. Through her own company, iMadgen Human Factors Inc., she provides consulting services, primarily for the nuclear power industry. For example, she might be involved with designing an operator interface in a control room to be more intuitive, minimizing the potential for human error.

Running the course in addition to a full-time job takes a lot of work, but for Iwasa-Madge it is worth the effort. “As a practitioner, we often work with interns or recent graduates, and there are capabilities we want our new hires to have,” she says, adding that through the course, she can help impart that knowledge.

Teaching also helps with other aspects of her job. “The course also makes me think about how to communicate human factors concepts — something that I have to do all the time, and not just with students,” she says. Still, like most lecturers, her favourite part of the job is meeting new people. “U of T has amazingly diverse students because the university is so multi-cultural,” she says. “Learning more about them and their goals is a lot of fun.”