MDEI Alumni, 2015

Dan Hawes headshotWhen you’re a twenty-year veteran of the Canadian animation and entertainment industries, you’ve seen a lot. And you know that you need to be agile and equipped for change to stay in the game.

Dan Hawes, co-creator of the classic cartoon Chilly Beach, wanted to re-think his approach to a business whose classic model he felt was no longer working. He closed his March Entertainment studios and went looking for something different—something that represented true innovation. Dan found he had the training he needed, but that the demands of company management meant that had gotten away from the actual creative process he loved. He wanted the chance to think about his industry in new ways and to share ideas.

Enrolling in the Stratford campus MDEI program, Dan found a “sandbox” for driven, intelligent students, and a program that added real theory to application. His courses brought together experienced, sharp people from a variety of backgrounds who were eager to collaborate.

ToonRush, Dan’s company, began working with the Stratford Campus’s Accelerator Centre, and Dan found energetic new hires from among his classmates. The company works with clients as varied as Dreamworks, Givex, and Gwen Stefani—with a new, nimble business model supported and nourished by the Accelerator Centre.

University of Waterloo

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