As the Pan Am Games torch winds through the streets of Toronto leading up to the opening ceremonies, Sheridan’s John Helliker had the opportunity to carry it on part of its journey through his own neighbourhood in the west end. For the avid runner, the opportunity was a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Director of Strategic Partnerships and the Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT) at Sheridan, Helliker’s role is focused on enriching the student experience through fostering collaboration with community partners. “I work to mobilize Sheridan’s institutional strengths to support applied research, innovation, and economic development of the cultural and creative industries in the GTA and the province as a whole,” he explains.
Helliker was nominated to carry the torch by Chris Amendola, President of Beanfield Metroconnect, the official waterfront communications supplier for the Pan Am Games. They met in 2013 as supporters of Waterfront Toronto’s bid towards the selection of Toronto as the Intelligent Community of the Year; a bid that was declared successful in 2014.
Since then, Amendola and Helliker have been leading a joint project with their organizations. The project is aimed at providing Ontario’s screen industries with a global competitive advantage through establishing a network for remote collaboration using dedicated fibre-optic connectivity. Beanfield has been the primary industry partner for this initiative, and the catalyst to making the project a reality. The network launched in early 2014.
“Participating as a torchbearer for the Pan Am Games is an extraordinary honour that ties all of these efforts together” – John Helliker
As someone who has been actively involved in putting Ontario on the map as a hub for innovation in the screen industries, it seems fitting that Helliker participated in setting the stage for the largest multi-sport event in Canada’s history. Helliker says: “Participating as a torchbearer for the Pan Am Games is an extraordinary honour that ties all of these efforts together.”
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Written by: Carolina Salcedo, Internal Communications Officer at Sheridan.