Capitalizing on a ‘SURE’ Thing
Omer Dor, BEng’12, doesn’t shy away from challenges. During the final term of his undergraduate program in chemical engineering, Dor also began toiling in The Next 36, an entrepreneur hothouse for Canadian university students and recent graduates.
As part of The Next 36 program, he founded MobiCare, a company that developed an application helping family members of people with Alzheimer’s disease to manage the complexities of care-giving. He then sold MobiCare to an American buyer and launched Salmatic Technologies, where he has been president since March 2014. Salmatic Technologies, an entrepreneurial investment firm, aims to purchase a company focusing on health care and aging, and then to bring its own financial resources and operational expertise to guide that company’s growth.
As Dor stresses, his experiences at McGill form the foundations of this impressive curriculum vitae.
“In my third year, I joined with another chemical engineering student, David Morris, to enter the 2011 TD Go Green Challenge,” he recalls. “We had to devise a solution to a university sustainability issue and present it in an essay and a short video.”
Dor and Morris, with the support of Chemical Engineering professor Alejandro Rey, hatched a plan to fuel greenhouse gardens on campus rooftops by using emissions from the Ferris power station, which runs campus residences. Their proposal won, beating 131 other projects from university students across Canada; in addition to being awarded $20,000 for themselves, they earned $100,000 for McGill.
“Winning that competition gave me the confidence to try accomplishing bigger things,” he says.
If winning the TD Go Green Challenge bred confidence, his research in the Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) program developed the skills and knowledge to go with it.
“The SURE program gave me my first opportunity to apply what we learned in class to something in the real world,” he says.
Working with Chemical Engineering professor Jeff Gostick, Dor investigated methods for optimizing fuel cell technologies. While fuel cells are a far cry from services for health care management, the abilities he nurtured in SURE have transferred smoothly to the business world.
“SURE opened my eyes to the differences between learning about things theoretically and learning by doing,” he says. “It also allowed me to work alongside some brilliant engineers and professors, people who were always asking whether their work was changing the status quo. I learned a lot from their enthusiasm and the questions they asked of themselves and their work.”
Finally, his SURE project had industry sponsors, and when the industry reps visited McGill to see what had been accomplished, Dor had to show how his research was relevant to their day-to-day operations.
“This meant that we had to think differently about what we were doing,” he recalls. “So I took that into business as well, where we have to think about the customer’s needs.”
These skills continue to shape Dor’s successes. “With Salmatic I’ve learned a lot about some fascinating things with technology,” he says. “This position offers some very exciting opportunities. I’m looking forward to building a company over the long term.”