Mircom CTO embodies lifelong learning
Western Engineering News | December 3, 2018
The year 1999 was one of innovation in the world of technology – Blackberry released its first smartphone, Microsoft introduced its FrontPage HTML editor, and Napster launched an advanced music file sharing service. It was also a formative year for Jason Falbo, P.Eng, BESc ’04 & PhD ’19 candidate, who came to Western Engineering in 1999 as an undergraduate student.
“My first year at Western was a real eye opener for me,” said Falbo, who is currently the Chief Technology Officer at Mircom Group, a global designer, manufacturer and distributor of intelligent building solutions. “The diversity of the school’s population, the requirement to balance my own schedule, and the opportunities for personal growth were boundless.”
Being immersed in a time of new technological advancements, Falbo quickly focused his studies to software engineering.
“I fell in love with software because, unlike anything else I had learned before, the turnaround cycle from skills development to productivity in projects or the workplace was now at hyper-speed.”
Falbo joked about his popularity on his residence floor in Elgin Hall as a result of his tech-savvy prowess.
“I could show Toronto Maple Leafs hockey games right in my dorm room as I managed to rig up an ATI All-In-Wonder card to receive cable signals right to my custom-built IBM-clone tower PC – for free of course – everything online was free back then!”
As Falbo progressed through his undergraduate career, he made the most of the opportunities available to him at Western Engineering to specialize and align with certain professors and courses, which prepared him for an internship at IBM between his third and fourth years of study.
“Western inspired a lifelong learning bug in me,” said Falbo. “The ample labs and wealth of engineering professors with varied interests whet my appetite for scientific learning. The ability to pick up courses from other faculties such as social sciences, computer science, or the Ivey Business School gave that soft introduction to the topics that would become essential to master for success later in life.”
After graduating from Western Engineering, Falbo started his career in the consulting field, developing applications for major industries such as banking, insurance and health care, working for established organizations including Scotiabank, Enbridge and the Government of Canada.
Once Falbo gained some professional programming and project management experience, he felt the timing was right to upgrade his skillset in finance and management. He was accepted into an MBA program in Milan, Italy, and completed his degree as an international exchange student at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in Los Angeles, California.
While in California, Falbo gained exposure to the building and construction industry, where he worked on projects with Mircom’s local branch office in Orange County. Upon graduating, Falbo returned to Toronto to take on a role at Mircom as Engineering Project Manager/Embedded Developer.
“I quickly realized that while I enjoyed programming, what I really loved was helping others to use the programs and products developed to solve their problems,” said Falbo. “That was the start of my transition over from pure engineering to the business domain, leveraging my technical background to grow into first an Engineering Manager, then a Director of Engineering, a Vice-President of Engineering, and finally my current role today as Chief Technical Officer.”
As CTO of Mircom, Falbo’s responsibilities include the overall technical vision and direction of the company’s product portfolio and support to the rest of the executive team on all technical matters.
“My role as CTO builds upon all the experience I’ve gained through academia and work placements,” said Falbo. “The work is stimulating and motivating as we work to scale our firm globally. We want to make Canadians proud in knowing that Canada’s smart building solutions are on-par or better than the best-in-class offerings from all over the world.”
Mircom’s product portfolio is focused on smart buildings, which Falbo refers to as the molecules of smart cities. The company’s aim is to transmit data over a converged smart building backbone, leveraging tools such as the cloud and mobile devices to better inform people of building conditions and the city and community at-large.
Falbo’s enthusiasm for learning inspired him to return to Western in 2015 as a graduate student, where he is currently working towards his PhD focused on optimizing the behaviour of smart devices in mixed network environments.
“Working together with my faculty advisors Dr. Raveendra Rao and Dr. Ahmed Hussein, I believe we can intelligently provide lower cost access to life safety systems with a higher degree of reliability in emerging and Third World markets.”
Discover how researchers at Western Engineering are implementing information technology into our day-to-day lives to ensure our cities of tomorrow are smarter.