March 23, 2012

McMaster student earns national recognition for entrepreneurship

By Wade Hemsworth

    Andrew Forde, a master's student in engineering entrepreneurship and innovation, has been named the recipient of a prestigious Harry Jerome Award. The award recognizes Forde's entrepreneurial spirit and the the success he has had with his start-up, Sommerfeld Solutions.
Andrew Forde, master's student in engineering entrepreneurship and innovation, has
been named the recipient of a prestigious Harry Jerome Award, an honour he is to
receive in April.

Forde has been recognized as the Young Entrepreneur of the year in the awards, which
are presented by the Black Business and Professional Association, a non-profit
charitable organization that works for equity and opportunity for Canada's black
community in business, employment, education and economic development.

The Young Entrepreneur category recognizes a distinguished professional between the
ages of 18 to 35 who embodies entrepreneurial spirit and success, the proven ability to
turn business vision into reality, and possesses personal integrity as well as the ability
to influence others to action.

Forde, who is planning to complete his studies this year, is already a successful
entrepreneur. His first start-up, Sommerfeld Solutions, operates in three broad areas:
mining, information technology, and health care.

One of Sommerfeld Solutions' initiatives is The Electronic Chart (TEC), a product
designed to streamline charting, logistics, and patient care in the health care industry.

TEC is currently being prototyped with support of a fund with more than $750,000 from
the Canadian government to further expand this technology. Forde has also established
The Forde Institute, a non-profit global centre for research, focusing on technological
innovations and promoting responsible innovation, research, and entrepreneurship.

"Being honoured with such an award is a testament to the value of believing in the
impossible," Forde said. "It only motivates me to push the boundaries of my abilities
further. This is what Harry Jerome was able to capture through life and it continues as
his legacy."

Jerome was a record-setting sprinter who represented Canada at the Pan American
Games, the Commonwealth Games and at three Olympics, overcoming the setback of a
severe injury. After earning a graduate degree in physical education, he went on to a
distinguished career in government service, helping to establish the federal Ministry of
Sport. He died in 1982.

Forde said his experience at McMaster has given him the tools to succeed in
engineering and business.

"The Xerox Centre here at McMaster's School of Engineering Practice has enriched my
capacity as an entrepreneur on so many levels. Mainly, it has equipped me with an
ability to conceptualize big ideas in manageable daily tasks," he said. "I know I am
becoming a better human-centred engineer."