Waterloo Engineering graduates were recognized for their involvement and leadership in the community by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce at its annual Business Excellence Awards Gala.

Alumni received awards in three categories for the contributions made through innovative companies they founded or co-founded.  

Young Professional award 

Armen Bakirtzian (BASc ’08, mechatronics engineering) won in the Young Professional category as co-founder of the Medical Innovation Xchange, an industry-led hub dedicated to helping medical technology startups scale successfully in Canada.

Its focus includes developing, sustaining and retaining domestic medical technology companies to establish Waterloo Region as a leaderArmen Bakirtzian in medical innovation. 

Armen Bakirtzian is co-founder of Medical Innovation Xchange and Intellijoint Surgical Inc. 

Bakirtzian is also co-founder and CEO of Intellijoint Surgical Inc., which develops technology to improve hip and knee replacement surgeries. Intelllijoint Surgical Inc. is part of the Medical Innovation Xchange located in Kitchener. 

New Business award 

Friendlier, a company founded by Kayli Dale and Jacquie Hutchings to keep food packaging from ending up in landfill, captured top honours in the New Business category.

Former classmates Dale and Hutchings (both BASc ’20, chemical engineering) started the company about 18 months ago after seeing recycling boxes and garbage cans overflowing with restaurant and fast-food containers while walking to and from Waterloo’s campus.

Friendlier co-founders

Kayli Dale, left, and Jacquie Hutchings are co-founders of Friendlier.

Based in Guelph, Friendlier sells reusable takeout containers to restaurants and prepared meal suppliers throughout Ontario.

Small Business of the Year award 

Ajoa Mintah, founder and chief ice cream maker of Four All Ice Cream, took home this year’s Small Business of the Year award.Ajoah Mintah

Ajoa Mintah is the founder and chief ice cream maker of Four All Ice Cream.

Mintah (BASc ’01, chemical engineering) worked in the automotive sector designing car interiors for six years and as a consultant for nine years before starting her business five years ago.

Her handcrafted ice cream, made from all-natural, locally sourced ingredients at the company’s Kitchener facility, which at 400 square feet is the smallest dairy plant in Ontario, is sold in numerous locations throughout the province.

Banner photo: Kayli Dale, left, and Jacquie Hutchings, co-founders of Friendlier.

Take a look at this year's Business Excellence Awards Gala on YouTube.