Laurier Grads Soar is a multi-part series that has returned for the 2017-18 year. The segment features former Wilfrid Laurier University athletes and student-leaders in the Athletics and Recreation Department, and the success they have enjoyed since leaving Laurier. Written by award-winning journalist David Grossman, different features will be released throughout the year that will emphasize the role Athletics and Recreation played in helping them achieve success.Jeremy Hedges: Founder and President, Inksmith
There was a time when a very young Jeremy Hedges had aspirations of working at the United Nations in international development.
To get a detailed explanation of what that entails, would take a variety of conversations with Hedges – an individual who, these days, is fascinated with world technology and the environment.
Since those early grade school days at Cedarbrae Public in Cambridge, where he recalled his fascination for assembling, designing and had a true feeling for performance, Hedges has capitalized on dreaming of big things.
His success in global studies and business is one thing. Then, tack on a passion for excellence in creativity, which has paved the way for this young entrepreneur to excel in a dynamic printing company that incorporates bio-plastics in technology.
“As a kid, I liked building things and was very fortunate to have travelled all over and saw world technology,” said Hedges. “I saw things that have had a profound impact on me - and I wanted to be someone who would find ways to change people’s lives in a positive way.”
One year after graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor of Arts degree specializing in Global Studies, an energetic, and talented, Hedges started up Inksmith, a company that prints three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file.
A month after opening his business, Hedges said his company sold out of printers. Just as impressive, Inksmith is already internationally known for its leading-edge work in incorporating bio-plastics in its technology. Now, more than 200 schools, across Canada, benefit from his products.
“We work with school boards and library systems to bring 3D printing, robotics and design thinking to the classroom,” he said. “There's a revolution going on in learning technologies.
“The point is not to teach the technology but, to teach with the technology. The 3D printer is just a new medium for allowing kids to express their imagination and ingenuity. Students are designing everything from catapults to gliders to C02 cars and wind mills as young as age six.”
Success kept coming for Hedges and in 2016, his company was selected to be one of five teams in the Google for Entrepreneurs program. As a result, his staff benefits from marketing and engineering access to the massive multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products.
“My time at Laurier helped me in many ways – from getting a great education to having time to build a dream into a reality,” he said. “But, there was so much more at Laurier that was beneficial to me whether it was sports or doing things that would help me become a community builder.”
A flanker on Laurier’s rugby team for three years, Hedges enjoyed the physicality of the contact sport – even though he suffered a severe tear in his shoulder in a pre-season game and still, somehow, managed to play the entire season.
But there was something else.
Hedges had a huge responsibility with the Laurier Lettermen Club comprised of students using varsity sport to educate and support the community-at-large. In his final year, he was appointed President of the Club, responsible for a team of 150 people, and continued to offer positive changes to the organization.
“Those days of volunteering and participating in events at the Grand River Hospital or with Big Brothers – you remember them, the involvement and the unstoppable feeling of charity work and helping others,” he said.
Among the many highlights, Hedges recalls the women’s flag football tournaments to raise money for Breast Cancer Prevention, a “Holiday with the Hawks” program that helped families in need throughout the community, a youth outreach series of twice-a-week events that had varsity athletes participate in a variety of educational and fitness events at elementary schools.
His impressive work, and influence on others, did not go un-noticed and Hedges was recognized and given the Fred Nichols Community Service Leadership Award for his influence, guidance, fund-raising and commitment to various outreach programs.
-END-David Grossman is a veteran award-winning Journalist and Broadcaster with some of Canada’s major media, including the Toronto Star and SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN, and a Public Relations professional for 40+ years in Canadian sports and Government relations.Previous FeaturesSteve Griggs - Chief Executive Officer and President, Tampa Bay LightningSophie Kotsopoulos - Senior Director of Integrated Marketing, National Hockey LeagueMike McKenna - Former Director, Telecom, Media and Technology Investment BankingNicole Lee - Director of Integrated Marketing, National Hockey LeagueMike Bartlett - Executive Director, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment FoundationRebecca Watts - Manager, 2017 World Junior Hockey ChampionshipHugh Lawson - Director of Business Development, Staples Promotional ProductsCheryl Pounder - Former Canadian National Women's Hockey Team MemberJohn Morris - 2010 Olympic Men's Curling Gold MedalistBill Burke - Chief Executive Officer and Owner, Niagara Ice DogsTania Pedron - Manager of Administration and Operations, Maple Leafs Sport and EntertainmentWayne Kemick - BMO Wealth AdvisorDenise Burke - President, Niagara Ice DogsKevin McDonald - Vice President of Football Operations and Player Safety, CFLDr. Megan Yaraskavitch - NeurologistAndrew Agro - Director of Corporate Sponsorship and Business Development, New York JetsMarcia Powers-Dunlop - Senior Manager of Professional Support Services, Toronto District School BoardJoe Vernon - Lawyer, Miller CanfieldEmily Rudow - Founder, Oneiric HockeyTodd Cooney - Vice President and Broker, CBRE LimitedJennifer Elliott - Sports Information Officer, uOttawa Gee-GeesRohan Thompson - Social Worker and Professor, Conestoga CollegeDr. Fiona Aiston - Family Doctor