A dive into Ovivo’s AquaHacking experience with Glenn Cattani & Alex Neamtiu

By Laurence
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Ovivo is one of the national sponsors and an important program partner of the AquaHacking Challenge. Over the years, many employees have been engaged in various AquaHacking Challenges. Some have served as pitch competition judges and others as mentors.

To highlight their significant engagement in AquaHacking’s programming, we recently met with Glenn Cattani, Engineering Manager for Silicon Carbide (SiC) Systems, and Alex Neamtiu Senior Analyst, Corporate Finance & Treasury, who acted respectively as semi-final judge and mentor for the Atlantic Canada 2020 AquaHacking Challenge. Continue reading to learn more about Glenn’s and Alex’s experiences with the AquaHacking Challenge!

  • Tell us more about yourself.

Alex Neamtiu: My name is Alex Neamtiu and I have been with Ovivo for just over 3 years now. I joined the company`s treasury department in 2017 and have participated in various corporate finance initiatives such as liquidity and risk management, financing, and planning. Most recently, my role has transitioned to helping in the company`s mergers and acquisitions endeavours, keeping abreast of industry trends and developments, sourcing investment opportunities, and assessing the merits of potential target companies and their strategic fit within Ovivo`s broader portfolio.

I was involved in the Atlantic Canada AquaHacking Challenge as a mentor.

Glenn Cattani: I have been working with Ovivo since 2018, and for 19 years in the water treatment industry.

Right out of university, I worked as a field service commissioning representative for Zenon Env for 4 years. I began working for FilterBoxx in 2005 as a Project Engineer. In this small organization, I took on many roles at FilterBoxx including PM, Sales/BD, Technical Services, and Field Engineer.

I am now the Engineering Team Lead at Ovivo. I was involved in Atlantic Canada Challenge Semi-Final event as a technical judge.

  • In your view, what are the best elements of the AquaHacking Challenge?

Alex Neamtiu: The world is facing significant problems related to water. Unfortunately, similar to climate change, these issues unfold slowly which gives the false impression that as a collective we have ample time to respond. What makes AquaHacking interesting is that it raises awareness of some of these pressing problems in the minds of the younger generations while at the same time providing a platform that offers feedback, coaching, and the support required to further develop winning solutions.

Glenn Cattani: The AquaHacking Challenge is a place where we can support the growth of groups of independent innovators in areas that we typically do not venture in, and therefore rarely attract our interest and technical development.  This kind of solution-generating mission forces us to stay on our toes, to look beyond our day-to-day, and explore outside of our comfort zone and is one that we should undertake every year.

  • What is your best experience with the Challenge so far? 

Alex Neamtiu: The team that I mentored won the Atlantic Canada 2020 AquaHacking Challenge: Clean Catch Baits. This was a very satisfying moment, particularly since I believed their solution was very innovative and had great potential.

Glenn Cattani: The highlight for me is seeing the excitement, the energy, and watching the sparks fly per se when the presenters are showing off their innovations.

  • Why is water management important in North America and around the world?

Alex Neamtiu: By and large, North America is fortunate with respect to the availability of water, the cost of obtaining it as well as the resources necessary for managing it. This may cause this part of the world to act complacent and take this privilege for granted which can have dire long-term consequences. I would opine that North America should be in the position to lead by example with respect to water management and strive to provide a model as well as assistance to the rest of the world; especially in the areas that are less fortunate in this regard.

  • How can innovation help with water preservation?  

Alex Neamtiu: I believe that innovation is one of the important pillars that can help address the current water issues. Working in the industry for a company whose products are on the cutting edge of technology provides many reasons to be optimistic about the merits of innovation but also gives insight into its limitations.

Changing the way we utilize water in industrial, commercial and individual activities, may have a more immediate and enduring impact than technological advances alone. As an example, airbags (innovation) do not compensate for bad driving (behaviour) but can help mitigate the damage.

Glenn Cattani: As much as water is a renewable resource, the cost of “maintaining” it as fresh and clean water will continue to increase as its usage grows year over year.  Its management, treatment and distribution must be diligent, and its innovators must rise to the challenge at every occasion, as it could become a costly commodity that is only available to the “haves” and not the “have nots”.

  • If you had one piece of advice for young innovators, what would it be?

Alex Neamtiu: To be as engaged as they can be with their ideas and explore all the venues to improve them and to turn their solutions into reality.

Glenn Cattani: Have the courage to venture out into the unknown and known. Everything around us can benefit from innovation.

Read our interview with Christopher Lewis, judge at the B.C AquaHacking Challenge 2020.

About Ovivo.

Ovivo is a manufacturer and global provider of water management equipment. With offices in 13 countries around the world, including one in Montreal, QC, Ovivo delivers both conventional and highly technologically advanced water treatment solutions for the industrial and municipal markets. It leverages its large network around the world to offer parts and services to its customers.