When Dylan Trepanier reflects on his most memorable experience at Fleming College, he recalls the time he took a multi-millionaire to dinner in his 2006 Chevrolet Equinox.
He had been tasked with driving Nicole Verkindt – a young, successful entrepreneur who founded OMX (Offset Market Exchange) and serves as a Dragon on CBC’s “Next Gen Den” – from the Innovation Cluster to St. Veronus restaurant. Nicole was in Peterborough to speak at a FastStart Fleming event and Dylan had won the opportunity to have dinner with her afterward.
“I’ll never forget her racing me to my car and getting in the passenger seat, and all I could think about was the bits of dried paint on the seat and the fact I was about to drive around a Dragon,” said Dylan, who graduated from the Business Administration – Marketing program this year.
“But the moment I remember the most that night is when all the stress melted away, when she asked to listen to my story.”
He shared his business idea with Nicole, a driven and passionate “rock star” business person named Canada’s 2017 Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by StartUp Canada. Nicole enthusiastically asked Dylan questions and gave valuable feedback.
“I’ll never forget the feeling when she told me that she believed in me and my idea. It felt incredible to be acknowledged by someone who understands what it’s like to put everything on the line to follow their dreams,” he said.
Dylan’s business idea is Alexander Optical, a team of on-demand health care service professionals that organize pop-up eye exam clinics. Their teams visit places like schools, long-term care residences, and companies to offer eye health care services, including glasses.
He developed this idea in 2013 and came to Fleming College in September 2015 because of it, working with nearly every professor to tailor assignments, projects and case studies to help understand his business plan. In his last semester, Dylan officially launched Alexander Optical as his Applied Project for the Business Administration – Marketing program and presented it at the Innovation Showcase event, where he earned the Most Innovative Business Award and the Best Presenter Award.
Dylan was also awarded the GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada Award for Outstanding Business Achievements, The Duane Parnham Business Development Award, the Sustainable Peterborough Award, the Student Administrative Council’s President’s Award, and the Valedictorian Award.
“The Fleming College community is generous and supportive. My success here never would have been possible without the relationships built over the last three years. It’s this community that’s helped me to become confident in myself and my career choice,” said Dylan. “I loved my time here in this program, and having the co-curricular hands-on opportunities available to practice what I was learning in class made my time way more valuable.”
Through the Business Administration – Marketing program, Dylan developed communication skills, problem solving, accountability, and more.
“I 11/10 would recommend this diploma to a friend, have recommended it to friends, and I will continue to advocate on behalf of the program because I graduated feeling ready for the industry,” said Dylan. “I know my graduating class is going to do incredible things with the knowledge we’ve learned here.”
Dylan served as Valedictorian at the School of Business convocation ceremony this month and hopes his fellow graduates remember to seize the moment, prioritize their mental and physical health, get out of their comfort zone, learn where to focus their efforts, and remember they have the power to control how others treat them.
“And most importantly, put your heart into it,” he added.
Dylan thanks Student Life Coordinator Leona Folz, and faculty members Raymond Yip Choy and Wendy Morgan for being role models, and the Class of 2018 for helping make amazing memories.
“This class is going down in the history books, you watch,” he said.
Now that Dylan has graduated from Fleming College, he is working on Alexander Optical full-time. Dylan was selected as one of seven youth entrepreneurs for the Innovation Cluster Slingshot Program, which provides him with workspace and access to workshops, resources, specialists and tools throughout the summer culminating in a pitch competition to become a full-time client of the Cluster and win $1000.
“With the skills I’ve learned in class, I’ve been able to create a lean and profitable business model that satisfies the three pillars of sustainability, creates incredible impact, and is continuing to gain momentum with the support of the Innovation Cluster,” said Dylan.