This year's judging panel consisted of the Telfer School of Management's Terry Kulka, OCRI's Mike Burnatowski, Cellwand's Nick Quain, OBJ publisher Michael Curran and editor Jim Donnelly.
The OBJ Forty Under 40 gala takes place this June 24 at the Hilton Lac-Leamy Hotel.
MIKE ABBOTT, 35
Company profile: Professional services firm.
Education: Chartered Accountant, Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants (1999).
Biggest biz achievement: Becoming a partner in a large accounting and professional services firm at age 33.
Biggest biz obstacle: Finding and keeping good people. We help our people to develop and get great experience, and as a result they are sought after.
Biggest lesson learned in business: Stay balanced. Do not get too excited by the "wins" and don't get too down on the "losses."
Three words that best describe you: Patient, light and calculated.
Charitable or non-profit involvement: Cancer fundraisers (any) - both as a participant and donor.
Biggest influence: My father, as he was in the military for more than 30 years. When I was a kid I learned from him a strong work ethic, an approach to working with others and advice on how to have fun at the same time.
First job: Dishwasher at an officers' mess.
Favourite pastime: Kids and hockey.
Favourite travel destination: New York City.
Favourite book: The Game of our Lives, by Peter Gzowski.
Favourite movie: Goodfellas.
GEORGES ATA, 37
CEO, Intelcan Technosystems Inc.
Company profile: Design and construction of airport infrastructure and manufacturing and supply of ground aviation equipment.
Education: MBA, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Montreal (2000).
Biggest biz achievement: Positioning a medium-sized Canadian company to win against multinational firms.
Biggest biz obstacle: Access to financial resources to achieve our growth strategy.
Biggest lesson learned in business: Strive for excellence and treat your customers as business partners.
Three words that best describe you: Strategist, enthusiasm, accountability.
Charitable or non-profit involvement: La Fondation de la recherche sur les maladies infantiles.
Biggest influence: My dad – he introduced to the business since I was 10. He showed me winning strategies and helped me develop a very good work ethic. His slogan is "even when you're an employee, always think and act as the employer."
First job: Family business – construction.
Favourite pastime: Golf.
Favourite travel destination: Caribbean islands.
Favourite book: The Art of War, by Sun Tzu.
Favourite movie: Schindler's List.
NAZIM AHMED, 34
Co-founder, DNA 11 and CanvasPop
Company profile: DNA 11 creates custom abstract art from our clients' DNA; CanvasPop prints our clients' photos on canvas as works of art.
Education: B.Sc. Honours in molecular genetics, University of Western Ontario (2000).
Biggest biz achievement: Abandoning a solid, well-paying career in the biotechnology industry to pursue a risky, albeit passion-driven idea in DNA 11.
Biggest biz obstacle: Since we were a bootstrap, we did everything in the beginning – we had to realize when it was time to mentally switch gears and start scaling, and bringing on key people in key roles.
Biggest lesson learned in business: Although you need a sound revenue model in any business venture, it cannot only be about money. You need to love what you do and be excited and proud of the product or service you offer.
Three words that best describe you: Ask my fiancée - August 7th is the big day!
Charitable or non-profit involvement: MAC Aids Charity Fund, IBM Aspire Camp, University of Ottawa Entrepreneur's Club.
Biggest Influence: Nobody has the silver bullet. I do, however, get inspired by specific attributes of certain business leaders, including Apple's Steve Jobs for his focus on product quality, Tony Hsieh from Zappos for his focus on customer service and company culture, as well as Richard Branson for his philanthropy and ability to think big.
First job: Paperboy.
Favourite pastime: Hittinga good trail in Gatineau Park.
Favourite travel destination: New York City.
Favourite book: Inside Steve's Brain, by Leander Kahney.
Favourite movie: The Aviator.
SCOTT ANNAN, 34
CEO, Mercury Grove Inc.
Company profile: Mercury Grove develops web-based software for the world's top brands and innovative small businesses.
Education: Post-graduate degree, Information Technology Institute (2001).
Biggest biz achievement: Launching NetworkHippo.com. It's a website that is revolutionizing how people build their professional networks and is a leader in an emerging market.
Biggest biz obstacle: There is no one obstacle to building a technology startup. It is trying to keep a lot of balls in the air while managing focus, talent, sales, administration, and keeping it fun.
Biggest lesson learned in business: It has to be fun and meaningful.
Three words that best describe you: Enthusiastic, adventurous, tenacious
Charitable or non-profit involvement: Ottawa startups, education-based non-profits, micro-lending, and innovative global change organizations.
Biggest influence: My father. He has helped shape my career and has always believed in me.
First job: Fast food – breakfast cook.
Favourite pastime: Reading and adventure travel.
Favourite book: Linchpin, by Seth Godin.
Favourite movie: The Usual Suspects.
JAMIE BARNHARDT, 36
Program Manager, OCM Manufacturing
Company profile: We are a contract manufacturer of electronics striving to help producers of mid-volume products achieve global market leadership.
Biggest biz achievement: Increasing my portfolio by 300 per cent, which has allowed OCM to double its capacity through expansion. This achievement is a direct reflection of the great team at OCM.
Biggest biz obstacle: The manufacturing industry is a very competitive and volatile industry. We face unstable currency exchange rates, global competition from offshore manufacturers, the continuous need to find ways to differentiate yourself from the competition and the need to provide greater value at lower costs. Other than that, it’s a piece of cake.
Biggest lesson learned in business: Never take anything for granted. As soon as you think you have reached your goal, set a new one.
Three words that best describe you: Loyal, resilient, humorous.
Charitable or non-profit involvement: Eastern Ontario Manufacturers Network
Biggest influence: I would have to say that the biggest influences are my two sons. Having my oldest son say to me, “I want to be just like you when I grow up”, let’s just say that’s all the motivation I need to work at becoming the best all-around person I can possibly be.
First job: Little League Baseball umpire in Petawawa.
Favourite pastime: Spending time with my family along with baseball, hockey and (wife permitting) the odd round of golf.
Favourite travel destination: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Favourite book: Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut.
Favourite movie: Scarface.
JEFF BAUDER, 39
President and CEO, Bauder Media Group Inc.
Company profile: Bauder Media Group Inc. is the publishing company of Flagstick Golf Magazine and its specialty publications, providers of consulting, design and photography services to the golf industry as well as producers of flagstick.com.
Education: Advertising & public relations diploma, St. Lawrence College (1991).
Biggest biz achievement: Being able to recognize what the golf industry needed and making necessary adjustments to our business model to ensure long-term growth.
Biggest biz obstacle: In the beginning I had nothing more than an idea and a mock-up – I then had to convince people that had no idea who I was that my concept for a regional golf publication was not only a good idea, but that it would be a great product.
Biggest lesson learned in business: How to manage growth.
Three words that best describe you: Honest, creative & determined.
Charitable or non-profit involvement: The Ottawa Valley Golf Association.
Biggest Influence: A number of people that have helped shape who I am as a businessperson and helped get me to where I am today.
First job: Retail sales clerk and paper route.
Favourite pastime: Winter – hockey; summer – golf.
Favourite travel destination: Pinehurst, N.C.
Favourite book: Olgivy on Advertising, by David Ogilvy.
Favourite movie: Tombstone.
GREG BELL, 39
Vice-president business development and co-founder, Lumenera
Company profile: Designs and manufactures digital cameras for industrial, scientific, and security applications.
Biggest biz achievement: Bootstrapping Lumenera with co-founders into building the company we are today, at 90 employees.
Biggest biz obstacle: David vs. Goliath. Small Canadian company successfully competing with the likes of Sony, Hitachi, and Panasonic. As well as the tether of rapid growth AND solid profitability (yes, it can be done!).
Biggest lesson learned in business: Top notch, talented and passionate people are the first priority in building a business. Building a team and culture to support good product has been key to our success.
Three words that best describe you: Tenacious, highly motivated, capable.
Charitable or non-profit involvement: United Way
Biggest Influence: Joe Connelly. An amazing individual and business mentor. He challenged me to take my game to the next level, helping put in place the building blocks for the next phase of company growth.
First job: Cutting neighbourhood lawns.
Favourite pastime: Auto racing.
Favourite travel destination: An exotic island - far off the grid.
Favourite book: Open, by Andre Agassi.
Favourite movie: Avatar.
HEIDI BONNELL, 37
Director, government relations, Rogers Communications Inc.
Company profile: We are Canada's largest provider of wireless voice and data communications services and one of Canada's leading providers of cable television, high-speed Internet and telephony services. Through Rogers Media we are engaged in radio and television broadcasting, televised shopping, magazines and trade publications, and sports entertainment.
Education: Studies toward Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Acadia University.
Biggest biz achievement: Creating my current role in which I lead federal government relations across all Rogers companies was a significant achievement. Bringing together all the players to present a single point of contact was an important business advancement for Rogers.
Biggest biz obstacle: Learning how to navigate the complex federal regulatory environment.
Biggest lesson learned in business: Always be open and honest in your dealings and never be afraid to speak up to offer an opinion or idea.
Three words that best describe you: Determined, thoughtful, and focused.
Charitable or non-profit involvement: Created an annual charity gala called Hope Live which benefits Fertile Future, a national charity that provides fertility
preservation information and support services to cancer patients.
Biggest influence: Brian Tobin, my first boss. I began my career in politics, which Brian taught me was the art of the possible.
First job: Counter staff at McDonald's.
Favourite pastime: Traveling.
Favourite travel destination: Australia.
Favourite book: The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, by Wayne Johnston.
Favourite movie: Lost in Translation.
NICKI BRIDGLAND, 39
Founder and director, Ottawa/Kingston/Halifax/Moncton Sport & Social Clubs
Company profile: Connecting adults through play via co-ed sports leagues, tournaments and social events in Ottawa, Halifax, Kingston, Moncton (and London as a licensor).
Education: Bachelor of commerce, Queen’s University (1995).
Biggest biz achievement: Making communities better places to live in each city ro which we expand. Currently we provide an outlet for 10,000 adults to play, connect, and live active lifestyles.
Biggest biz obstacle: Building the logistical tools, technology and staff to manage 10,000 weekly players across multiple cities.
Biggest lesson learned in business: Defining a new model for doing business based on intuition, compassion, mindfulness, and genius for my staff and myself.
Three words that best describe you: Adventurous, spiritual, action.
Charitable or non-profit involvement: Jennie James Depression Research Fund (charity) and Women Inspire (business group).
Biggest Influence: Jen Eberts (Eberts Enterprises) has been my life and business role model, since 1990 when she coached me in my first entrepreneurial endeavour. Jen taught me the human side of business: the fun, the motivation, and the person behind each opportunity.
Favourite travel destination: Anywhere adventurous, with a pack on my back and free-form time.
Favourite book: The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks.
Favourite movie: Out of Africa.
SHAWN CADEAU, 39
Senior vice-president, global product marketing, Corel Corp.
Company profile: Corel develops and distributes award-winning software for photo and video editing, DVD playback, graphic design and illustration, and office productivity.
Education: Honours Bachelor of Arts, Wilfrid Laurier University (1994).
Biggest biz achievement: In 2007, when Corel made a $200-million acquisition of InterVideo and Ulead Systems. This was a particularly tough acquisition since this was a company with the majority of its employees based in Taiwan, and that brought with it geographic, cultural and business challenges. In the end, the integration was very successful.
Biggest biz obstacle: Finding the time to get everything done: to balance the tactical things necessary to keep the business running with the strategic thinking and activities necessary to substantially grow the business.
Biggest lesson learned in business: To put trust in my team. I am a natural perfectionist so I have a tendency to want everything done a specific way. Over the years I've learned it’s better to provide some basic coaching and then to give them some room to make their work their own.
Three words that best describe you: Honest, focused, friendly.
Charitable or non-profit involvement: Various local charities over the past years such as HOPE, the United Way, CN Cycle, Tour Nortel and CHEO.
Biggest influence: My father has been my greatest influence. He's been a great role model for teaching me the importance of hard work, honesty and integrity.
First job: Delivering the local newspaper.
Favourite pastime: Doing pretty much anything with my wife Shannon and daughter Avery, but I also enjoy watching movies, driving and playing hockey.
Favourite travel destination: Italy, particularly Tuscany.
Favourite book: Right now I am reading The Black Ice, by Michael Connelly.
Favourite movie: Jerry Maguire.