Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Posts Tagged ‘Recruit’

DragonWave signs OEM deal

Posted by sweens on March 2, 2010

Published on February 24th, 2010
Ottawa Business Journal

Shares of DragonWave Inc. (TSX:DWI) soared more than five per cent Wednesday as it announced a major original equipment manufacturer deal for backhaul products that will be used in North America and Japan.

Ottawa-based DragonWave said it’s signed an agreement with an unnamed “world leader” in mobile communications infrastructure that will see the former’s microwave radio system used in the customer’s end-to-end mobile backhaul solutions.

 While few details were disclosed, the markets reacted positively to the news, as the deal could represent a step in DragonWave’s goal of connecting with major carriers such as Alcatel-Lucent and Verizon. It could also allow the company to diversify and lessen its strong dependence on top customer Clearwire.

 The company’s stock, which has already been enjoying blistering growth over the past several months, soared to a fresh high of $13.65 following the news, before settling down slightly at $13.43 at the close of business Wednesday, a 70-cent spike from the previous day’s close.

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R&D employment rises

Posted by sweens on February 16, 2010

Published on February 11th, 2010
Canadian Press

A new study suggests employment in research and development is on the rise in Canada.

Statistics Canada reports there were 228,680 full-time equivalent personnel engaged in research and development (R&D) activities in Canada in 2007, up two per cent from the previous year.

The agency says the business enterprise sector employed the majority of R&D personnel in Canada at 65 per cent.

Higher education employed 26 per cent of the country’s R&D workers, while government accounted for eight per cent and non-profit organizations employed one per cent.

StatsCan says about three-quarters of R&D personnel worked in Ontario (45 per cent) and Quebec (31).

Most of the remaining R&D personnel were working in British Columbia (10 per cent) and Alberta (seven).

Researchers accounted for 63 per cent of total R&D personnel, while technicians comprised 25 per cent and support staff 12.

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Procom – One of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies

Posted by sweens on February 16, 2010

 Toronto, February 16, 2010 Procom is pleased to announce that it has been honoured for the fourth consecutive year as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies.

Established in 1993 by Deloitte & CIBC, Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies is the country’s leading business awards program, recognizing excellence in Canadian-owned and managed companies with revenues over $10 million. Every year, hundreds of entrepreneurial companies compete for this designation in a rigorous process that evaluates the calibre of their management abilities and practices.

“Recognition by the leading firms that sponsor the program is a significant honour and appreciated greatly by myself and the entire team at Procom,” says President & CEO Frank McCrea. “We believe that our consistent application of best practices has created a strong foundation that has enabled us to weather the recent economic downturn and emerge stronger than before.”

In 2009 the IT staffing industry experienced a downturn affecting the demand for Procom’s core services. By reacting to the market and adapting its offerings Procom overcame economic adversity and developed closer relationships with its clients. The award is validation of the strong leadership and vision of Procom’s management team. Procom would like to thank its clients, consultants and employees for their continued support.

About Procom – Procom Consultants Group is Canada’s leading IT staffing firm. Canadian-owned and operated, Procom has 12 office locations, over 2800 consultants on assignment across North America and is responsible for hundreds of permanent placements annually. Procom’s service offerings include contract and permanent IT staffing, payroll administration, vendor management and IT project solutions. Procom is proud to be recognized as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. For more information visit: or

More Information:
Corporate Communications
Procom Consultants Group

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Crazy Busy…

Posted by sweens on February 4, 2010

I just needed to write a quick blog entry to take a mental break from all the recruiting I have on the go right now? Is everyone else as busy as I am right now? The Federal Government is pumping out orders like it is their job in an effort to spend any remaining budget they have before the March 31st fiscal year end. Some of my private sector clients are up and running again and buying professional services. And to top it off my colleague is off on holidays this week.

My overly active hobby as a referee is also ridiculously busy right now which isn’t helping my time to un-wind after work. How is everyone else doing right now?

As busy as it is, I can not help but think of how great it is being a recruiter right now.

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Corel privatization complete

Posted by sweens on January 28, 2010

Published on January 28th, 2010
Krystle Chow

The last step for the privatization of Ottawa-based Corel Corp. has been completed.

Corel shareholders earlier this week approved a stock consolidation that was part of the going-private deal with Corel Holdings LP, a limited partnership controlled by major shareholder Vector Capital.

Stakeholders who were not part of Corel Holdings and its affiliates will receive US$4 in cash for each pre-consolidation share held, the company said in a statement.

Shares of Corel, maker of popular software products such as PaintShop Pro and WordPerfect, have now been delisted from the Nasdaq and the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock was priced at $3.33 on the TSX at its last trade on Jan. 27.

This is the second time Vector Capital has taken Corel private. Vector – a San Francisco-based private equity firm that owned about 68.3 per cent of Corel’s shares before this latest privatization – first bought out Corel in 2003, and in 2006 the software company ventured back into the public markets, with its shares debuting at US$16 at the time.

Vector attempted to buy Corel again in March 2008, offering $11 in a bid criticized by some analysts at the time as being too low, but that deal fell through in August of that year.

Corel continued to seek buyers to recapitalize itself, and announced shortly after the collapse of the Vector bid that it had identified a third-party buyer. However, the buyout talks sputtered a few months later, and Vector announced another bid in 2009, this time for only US$3.50.

The private equity firm then sweetened its bid to $4 in November.

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Posted by sweens on January 28, 2010

I would like to take this blog today and turn it in to more of a question then a rant.  I am wondering if many companies or professional services firms take inequity (differences in pay) into consideration when they look at staffing their projects.  As it is likely in any environment, when multiple people get together they are bound to talk and will likely expose information on their current consulting rates or salary.  As I have blogged before, if these rates are not indicative of the skill set for each person, you can have a serious problem. 

Often when it comes to staffing a large project (large testing environment, call centre, etc) an organization will put out a requirement calling for multiple resources.  As will always be the case, all the resources chosen to staff this project will come in with a varied skill set.  If resources are placed by different firms the rates can vary as each firm can negotiate for a different margin.  But this difference in price can cause problems down the road of people find out the team members are not being paid the same.

This is the same for employees who have the same responsibilities or skill set.  I am a recruiter for example, but I am not the only recruiter.  If I make more then someone else who does relatively the same thing as I do we should be making the same salary?  I know that I would be upset if someone was making more then I was. 

This is not to say that everyone is equal, and to suggest such a thing is simply incorrect.  Every organization is going to have a mix of talent.  Perhaps my suggest is rather that any organization needs to be able to justify or demonstrate why they are paying one person more then the other one in case someone brings it up.

It always helps to have something down so you could explain if need be why you feel such a person is worth the higher price take.  After all, this is a headache no one wants to deal with…

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Judge the Job

Posted by sweens on January 20, 2010

I came across this interesting website today while I was playing catch up on some of my networking and wanted to pass it on.  Judge the Job is an interesting site where employees leave anonymous comments/reviews/feedback on their employer both past and present.  I guess the idea behind the website is for individuals to make informed hiring decisions based on the reviews of current of previous employees. 

The website clearly displays a lot of information on its privacy settings which should protect any individual from being personally revealed.    One of the things I like is the satisfaction rating given to each employer.  Most of them seem to be positive so I’d hope all the reviews you would read on this site would not be all negative.

Check it out using the link above or the following URL –

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Can I submit my application with more then one firm?

Posted by sweens on January 14, 2010

Many of the candidates I deal with for Government contracting are aware that on most Government contract opportunities, they are unable to submit their resumes to multiple firms for the same opportunity.  This means that you have to go with one firm and one firm only.  This is not usually a huge problem but when you have a very specific requirement where there are so few resources located geographically, the competition for those few resources picks up quickly. 

 This is where time of recruitment becomes such a key component of success.  With that being said, candidates need to be aware that they are unable to circumvent this policy.  Candidates that do agree to have their resumes submitted by two different companies for the same opportunity will be ruled non-compliant.

 There are some exceptions to this and from time to time an opportunity can come up where you will be able to submit yourself with more then one firm.  This usually takes places when a company is being asked to bid a project team rather then one individual resource.  Candidates need to be aware if they can or can not bid with more then one firm before they approach numerous firms about the same opportunity.

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Celebrating One Year of Blogging

Posted by sweens on January 14, 2010

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of the people over the last year that have come to this blog. When I started this blog just over a year ago it was something I wanted to try and experiment with. It has since grown to something I enjoy doing and has becoming an integral part of my day.

The last year has seen us share over 150 blog posts while over 7000 of you have travelled to this website to view my blog. It is with a lot of gratitude that I say a sincere THANK YOU to each and everyone of you!

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Happy Holidays

Posted by sweens on December 24, 2009

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy holiday.  I hope it is a safe and happy one for you and your loved ones.  All the best and I look forward to our blogging adventures in 2010.

– Tom

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Nortel wraps up $10M sale of assets to Hitachi, names U.S. bankruptcy monitor

Posted by sweens on December 22, 2009

Published on December 8th, 2009
Krystle Chow
Ottawa Business Journal

Nortel Networks Corp. has completed the US$10-million sale of its next-generation packet core network components business to Hitachi Ltd.

Toronto-based Nortel, which is in the process of selling off most of its assets as part of its insolvency proceedings, said it’s received all approvals and satisfied closing conditions for the sale of the assets to the Japanese firm.

The next-generation packet core assets are part of its carrier networks business, and include technology such as its next-generation serving GPRS support node and other solutions related to the advance telecomputing architecture, or ATCA.

The product line supports the transfer of data over existing wireless networks and the next generation of wireless communications technology.

Nortel said the sale, which was first announced in October, includes relevant non-patent intellectual property, equipment and other related tangible assets, as well as a non-exclusive licence of certain relevant patents and other intellectual property.

The assets do not include legacy packet core components for Nortel’s GSM and UMTS businesses.

Nortel also announced it has identified John Ray as its principal officer of the U.S. debtors, who will work with Nortel management, Canadian bankruptcy monitor Ernst & Young, the joint administrators in the U.K. administration proceedings and various retained advisors to provide oversight for the U.S. side of the bankruptcy proceedings.

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2009: A year of flux in Ottawa tech

Posted by sweens on December 18, 2009

Published on December 15th, 2009

Jim Donnelly
Ottawa Business Journal

Heady startup activity counteracted by liquidation of various headquarters

It’s been a year of soul-searching, self-help and growing foreign influence for Ottawa technology industry, say observers, but they add that doesn’t mean it’s been a bad 2009 – quite the opposite, in fact, depending on with whom you speak.

But what were the main trends we saw this year, according to those in the trenches? Most obvious, says Pat DiPietro of VG Partners, was the conspicuous absence of venture-backed, early-stage companies hatched in the nation’s capital this year. “The lack of capital has created a gap in the sequence of planting crops and then husbanding them along,” he says.

That’s led to a diversification amongst the Ottawa tech scene from traditional telecom and other technology infrastructure markets, into more lithe, media-style software and social media companies not requiring heavy injections of initial capital.

“(OCRI) likes to continue the mantra that we’ve got a lot of companies starting these days, but they’re all two- or three-person operations,” he adds. “And they’re being bootstrapped.”

OCRI chief executive Claude Haw agrees that 2009 was a year of diversification for local firms. He says this past year was a “coming-out” period for digital media in the city, adding that his organization is now tracking around 200 local companies in the space.

“And the other trend was the retooling that’s gone on in the region,” he says, adding that programs such as Lead to Win are indicative of a series of initiatives recently launched to assist budding entrepreneurs.

But 2009 also saw its fair share of formerly Ottawa-headquartered companies bought and sold by foreign interests. The Nortel saga – which by December had seen the company sell off chunks of its former businesses to companies such as Nokia-Siemens, Ericsson and most likely Ciena, as well – needs little explanation. In June, local success story Tundra Semiconductor was bought by Silicon Valley-based IDT, trumping a bid by rival Gennum Corp. In September, it was revealed that Philadelphia-based Versa Capital would take local defence products maker Allen-Vanguard private. And in late November, Corel Holdings announced that Vector Capital’s all-cash offer for all outstanding Corel Corp. shares had been successfully completed.

Mr. DiPietro says the influx of foreign ownership isn’t a good sign for Ottawa, since it means the dissolution of executive office training grounds for nascent management teams.

“One of the problems with foreign owneship is that the decisions aren’t made here, and so we’ve allowed ourselves to fall into a bad situation,” he says. “We’re in the situation where we’re becoming a branch plant again. We were somewhat out of that for a while (in the late 1990s and 2000s).

“It’s really disturbing, because the problem we’ve always had in Ottawa will be reinforced – we’ve never had lots of management teams here who could create world-class companies. And as those functions get centralized, our people won’t be trained to be great managers.”

Mr. Haw takes a somewhat different angle to the foreign ownership question. He says most consolidation has happened in mature sectors, where there’s always been a constant push to become bigger and more market-dominant. “It’s all about the big, broad market opportunities with these sectors,” he says. “And unfortunately Nortel didn’t make it as a consolidator – they became consolidated.

“But if you look at Alcatel compared to Newbridge Networks, that consolidation has worked in our favour. We’ve had more high-paying jobs locate here after that merger, than if Newbridge hadn’t consolidated.”

And as for the effect of the Nortel consolidation, Mr. Haw says locals shouldn’t think of it as a loss of one, large anchor tenant – indeed, he says it’s almost a misnomer to think of Nortel as an Ottawa company, since they haven’t been headquartered here for years. Instead, thanks to the increased presence of world-class firms such as Ericsson and Nokia, Mr. Haw says we should look at the situation as the gaining of three or four new anchor tenants.

“When a company like Nortel is acquired by Ericsson it brings stability,” he says. “Look at Cognos. They’re now bigger and better than they ever were (before being acquired by IBM).”

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DragonWave has its sights set on big U.S. carriers AT&T, Verizon

Posted by sweens on December 15, 2009

Published on December 10th, 2009
Published on December 12th, 2009
Canadian Press

Traffic jams on wireless networks due to iPhone and other smartphone users surfing the Internet and downloading video are an opportunity for DragonWave CEO Peter Allen.

“The pressure on the mobile network is increasing dramatically, and frankly people who have got iPhones consume more of the Internet,” Mr. Allen said from the tech company’s Ottawa headquarters.

“It’s creating more traffic and it’s moving into mobile settings. So that’s where we’re involved.”

DragonWave Inc. (TSX:DWI) makes equipment for telecom companies that are building advanced networks with the goal of making mobile speeds similar or faster than the broadband experience at home and to ease congestion.

The company has already won key U.S. customer Clearwire, which is building a next-generation WiMax network that has started to launch in large U.S. cities.

“They’ve been very aggressive in their buildout and, of course, we’ve benefited from that.”

Clearwire which had been having some funding problems has secured an additional $1.5 billion to further expand its network across the United States.

Mr. Allen said U.S. carrier Sprint is also a DragonWave customer and the company is also looking for wins with AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

But he said DragonWave isn’t alone on that front.

“Most of the world with us is competing for AT&T and Verizon right now. So that’s what we’re after in North America.”

National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson said he expects Clearwire to remain an important customer in the next few years for DragonWave, it could be joined by AT&T and Verizon as they build their new networks.

“Our understanding is that DragonWave has been short-listed as a qualifying vendor into the Verizon Wireless deployment,” Mr. Thompson wrote in a recent note.

“We expect AT&T to be at least several months behind Verizon Wireless in awarding contracts that DragonWave can bid on.”

Mr. Allen said 68 per cent of the companies revenues are from North America.

Pacific Crest Securities analyst James Faucette said the opportunities for DragonWave to bid on contracts with Verizon and AT&T aren’t likely to come until late next year.

“While there has been obvious and understandable concern regarding DragonWave’s customer concentration with Clearwire (77 per cent of revenue in the August 2009 quarter), we now believe that Clearwire will be able to maintain its buildout plans during all of 2010 and 2011 now that it has raised additional capital,” he wrote in a research note.

DragonWave was formed in 2000 and has about 250 employees and also has offices in U.K., France, Dubai and Singapore. Its competitors include Israel’s Ceragon Networks and U.S.-based Harris Stratex.

In October, the company listed on the Nasdaq to increase its profile and raised an additional US$74.5 million in an equity financing.

DragonWave earned $6.3 million or 21 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Aug. 31 compared with a loss of $1.7 million or six cents per share a year ago. Revenue for what was the second quarter of the company’s 2010 financial year more than tripled to $35.5 million, compared with $10.6 million a year ago.

In its outlook, the company has said it expects revenue for its 2010 financial year will reach at $150 million.

National’s Mr. Thompson said the company has potential to reach $200 million in annual revenues in its 2011 financial year and a long-term $20 share valuation.

“Investors should expect this stock to be volatile over the near-term as DragonWave’s Nasdaq IPO is concluded and as ownership in the company migrates from a value investor base to a momentum-driven investor base along with a higher concentration of U.S. investors,” he said.

By LuAnn LaSalle

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Detailed voicemails

Posted by sweens on December 15, 2009

Dear Abby,

I would like to offer a suggestion to candidates who are leaving voicemails for recruiters.  Please make your voicemails more detailed rather then less detailed.  It should be noted the a recruiter is likely working on multiple roles at the same time and are likely working with more then one candidate.  Leaving a message similar to “please call me back in regards to the role we were speaking about…” might not click right away for the recruiter.

 For example, I, at the moment, am working on 3 roles that are what I would call active (I am actively seeking candidates).  One of those roles requires 9 resources.  Because of this, I am speaking to roughly 25 people on a semi-regular basis in regards to filling all the open positions I have.  It is easy from time to time when dealing with so many people all at once to mix the candidates to one of the jobs I have been working on and thus the theme for this post. 

 Please keep your voicemails detailed – helps those of us out who are a little over worked right before the holidays!!!

               Sincerely – Swamped Recruiter

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Working around mandatory requirements….

Posted by sweens on December 10, 2009

I often come across candidates who suggest working around items in my job descriptions that are listed as Mandatory Requirements. I wish to offer some clarification to any individual who is interested in proceeding with a Government of Canada contract opportunity.

When you see a job description for a Government contract and there are mandatory requirements listed, they are exactly as they suggest. Mandatory! Unfortunately there is no way to get around them. Only candidates that meet those mandatory requirements will be deemed compliant. Most Government contracts are NOT like a private sector job description where employers will consider candidates who have most of the qualifications.

We often joke in the recruiting industry that job descriptions are like wish lists and give an idea of what an employer wants to see. Unfortunately with Government opportunities, job descriptions are most like a recipe. If you get away from the instructions, you will not end up with what you wanted.

Where there is some play with Government contracts is in the Rated Requirements. Candidates have to pass a minimum threshold (usually 60% or 70%) to be deemed compliant but they do not need to have exactly what is listed. This is usually used to weigh the skill set of one candidate against the skill set of another candidate who has similar work experiences.

So next time you see the term – mandatory requirements – take them as such! Do not get offended when a recruiter chooses not to work with you on an opportunity where you do not meet the mandatory requirements. We do not mean to challenge your experience, you simply would not be deemed compliant on that particular bid. That is just how Government contracting works.

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