Meet your SONAMI Project Manager – Part One

The Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) is a network of eight academic institutions, all with specific capabilities, expertise and state-of-the-market equipment to bring your innovation to market.

The projects at our network of institutions are run by a dynamic group of Project Managers. This is one of a two-part series designed to introduce you to our SONAMI Project Management Team. Are you a small- or medium-sized company wanting to find out how you can collaborate with SONAMI?

Meet the experts you can connect with to discuss your idea and possible funding.



Simon Coulson is the General Manager of the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) at Mohawk College, and supports the staff, students and industry partners on the delivery of applied research projects. Typical projects at AMIC involve product design and development, prototyping and exploration of additive manufacturing.

Q. If you ran an SME, why would you want to work with SONAMI?
A. De-risking new ideas! Leveraging federal grants significantly reduces the cost of trying new things, as does access to technology and skills you currently do not have in-house i.e. metal 3D printing, etc..

Q. Where do you find your ‘zone’ at work?
A. I enjoy working closely with the students and teaching them about subjects they do not learn or only touch on briefly in school. I also enjoy getting hands-on with the equipment and troubleshooting errors.

Q. Describe your favourite type of project to run for SONAMI.
A. Anything new! When a partner comes in with a type of project we’ve never undertaken, this brings a lot of new energy to the group, as we all need to work collaboratively to come up with a solution.


Connect with Simon: [email protected]
Visit IDEAWORKS at Mohawk College HERE


Steve Remilli is a Program Manager at the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI) at McMaster University. His primary roles are to engage with industry partners, develop project goals, provide design support and facilitate successful project completion.

Q. If you ran an SME, why would you want to work with SONAMI?
A. SONAMI provides quick and easy access to a wide range of services or expertise in a relatively close geographical area. When you engage with SONAMI as a network, you effectively gain access to all of the academic partner institutions which can help expedite project development and execution.

Q. Describe your favourite type of SONAMI project:
A. Ones where the industry partner has a clear goal and is looking to design, build or fabricate a discrete part or assembly. This typically ensures we will be working toward a tangible prototype, and although success is not always guaranteed, the R&D that arises is often very valuable to future work.

Q. What kind of projects are you doing while the pandemic continues?
At McMaster, we shifted a lot of resources into design project – or research over development. We still have limited access to our facilities, so producing parts and prototypes is still possible, but at a slower pace. We have had some very successful design projects that have been a big help to several of our industry partners.

Connect with Steve: [email protected]
Visit the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute HERE


Amal Driouch is the Project Manager at Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC), where she manages advanced manufacturing research projects in collaboration with SMEs mainly located in Southern Ontario.

Q. If you ran an SME, why would you want to work with SONAMI?
A. I would use SONAMI to enhance my market offerings and to position my business for growth.

Q. What kind of projects are you doing while the pandemic continues?
A. In addition to technology-related COVID-19 partnerships and other COVID-19 projects focused on support of frontline workers, we are running projects in advanced manufacturing areas.

Q. What are you most proud of?
A. I am most proud of being part of the wonderful Niagara College Research & Innovation team, who is the initiator and the leader of SONAMI.

Connect with Amal: [email protected]
Visit Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre HERE


Dushyant Puri is a Research Project Manager with Conestoga’s SMART Centre. He’s had the opportunity to work with OEMs and Tier 2 automotive companies; managing and developing first-to-market products; IoT implementation and data analytics. His focus is on SONAMI projects that combine software and manufacturing.

Q. What are you learning through the pandemic?
A. COVID has brough us to a necessary pause. I have had the ability to reflect on the importance of work/life balance.

Q. If you ran an SME, why would you want to work with SONAMI?
A. For the cost benefit and the ability connect and utilize resources in the SONAMI group.

Q. What excites you about working with SONAMI?
A. Being a part of first-to-market technologies.

Connect with Dushyant: [email protected]
Visit Conestoga’s SMART Centre for Research and Innovation HERE


Saleh Jiddawi is the Manager for Sheridan College’s Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT). Within SONAMI, he is passionate about partnering CAMDT with organizations interested in exploring cutting-edge technologies to develop new products or increase the efficiency of their manufacturing.

Q. Where do you find your ‘zone’ at work?
A. I tend to do some of my best work in the CAMDT lab, connecting and working with incredible Sheridan students, faculty and staff. We have an amazing 10,000 sq. ft. facility in the heart of Brampton. The space is normally a hive of activity where one cannot help but be inspired by the people and technology around them.

Q. What’s your favourite type of SONAMI project?
A. Ones that push the boundary of what is possible through interdisciplinary collaboration. The out-of-the-box thinking that grows from an unconventional mix of designers, engineers and cybersecurity experts never fails to produce novel results for our partners.

Q. How has the pandemic impacted how you do your job?
A. The disruption in global supply chains and the need for social distancing has completely transformed everything about how we carry out applied research projects. The pandemic has also allowed us to take a step back, adopt tools and platforms that have ultimately made us more efficient collaborators and communicators.

Connect with Saleh: [email protected]
Visit Sheridan Research HERE