Tyler Whale is a lucky hybrid of agricultural and academic backgrounds and possesses the passion, experience and insight into the agri-food industry that will serve OAFT well.
Tyler was raised on a 7th generation dairy farm in Wellington County. After completing his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at McMaster University in 1999, Tyler went on to obtain a PhD in microbiology/immunology from the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in 2005. In 2007, Tyler completed his MBA at the University of Saskatchewan, on full scholarship from the CIHR’s ‘Science to Business’ program.
Along with two decades of farming experience, Tyler’s work experience includes R&D within the Comparative Medicine division at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; Business analysis at a biotechnology company in San Diego (Favrille Inc., MBA work term); Business Development Manager at the Saskatoon Colostrum Company; and Technology Transfer Manager and Industry Liaison Officer at the University of Guelph’s Catalyst Centre for the past six years. At the University of Guelph, Tyler was responsible for initiating collaborative R&D projects between industry and faculty, with a strong focus on the research priorities set by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Tyler has also been responsible for helping to launch two companies including a household waste recycling company in Saskatoon (Saskatoon Curbside Recycling, 2002-2012) and most recently, a green roofing company based on University of Guelph technology (Smart Green Technologies Inc., 2014).
Dr. Whale maintains an active role in his community and is a strong advocate for Canadian agriculture, the Canadian regulatory system and the opportunities Canada has in a global marketplace.
Tyler is happily married and he and his wife Julia have two wonderful young children, Ethan and Alexa.
Andrea is a capable administrator with decades of experience in the journalism, hospitality, academic and volunteer sectors. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University, with extensive work in editing and proofreading. She is also orally fluent in French.
Andrea has worked across Canada in a variety of office settings, bringing a wide range of skills to OAFT. After working in places like Jasper Alberta, St. Andrews New Brunswick, and Halifax Nova Scotia, Andrea has recently resettled in Guelph with her family. She is pleased to join the OAFT team.
Italo Cerra is a seasoned financial executive with diverse experience in public and private sector companies and brings over 25 years experience in working with technology enterprises. His years in the technology sector have provided particular financial expertise in R&D financing, and operational reporting and controls.
After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, Italo spent 10 years with Deloitte and Touche in their audit practice. He then joined the telecommunications industry, as VP Finance with Teltone Limited, a large North American telecommunications corporation. Since that time Italo has held executive level responsibilities including Controller, VP Finance, Director of Finance and CFO at a variety of technology-based enterprises.
Italo is currently involved in raising investment capital for high-emerging businesses and in providing advice and counsel to high-net-worth investors.