From Humble Beginnings Come Great Things
Some of the most extraordinary people come from humble beginnings.
Tom’s story began when a couple of Italian immigrants chose to call Northern Ontario home. His grandfather was a railroad engineer and by happenstance he was stationed in North Bay; their family was large and was one of the first to establish the city. Tom’s lineage is steeped in engineering, hockey, and beer – all the ingredients for the perfect Canadian male!
Fortunately, hockey and beer didn’t take, but engineering did…
In 1965 an ambitious Tom moved to Southern Ontario seeking enlightenment. He knew he succeeded when he met and married his wife of 46 years, Phyllis. Working as a Butcher to finance his educational endeavours, young Tom dabbled with electrical and mechanical engineering; but eventually completed his education in architectural design at Algonquin College.
With their educations complete, Tom and Phyllis truly became enlightened when they moved back to Northern Ontario. They ultimately settled in Bonfield where they built a home for their three children and started their very “hippy” life in the woods.
Never being a quitter, Tom ironically started his professional career in the electrical field with Ontario Hydro.
But really – who doesn’t want to blow things up?
As expected, when an opportunity arose with DuPont (later ETI), he accepted, and so began his love affair with explosives…lucky for him, his wife was a nurse. After 27 years with DuPont and ETI he worked his way up to Technical Specialist where he quickly realized measuring the blast might be a lucrative niche.
And so, in 1986, Tom’s fourth child, WipFrag, was born. In collaboration with John Franklin and Norbert Marez of Waterloo’s Earth and Computer Sciences divisions, the Waterloo Image Enhancement Process, or WIEP, was created. Recognizing the importance and sales potential of their discovery the trio formed WipWare to further develop and market the technology internationally. A Palangio home addition was built to house WipWare which was soon doing business on a global scale from Bonfield – current population 1,975. But “home-business” is just another term for workaholic and before long 145 Palangio Road also housed Bonfield Mining Group and Topex.
For the next several decades Tom focused on WipWare, while blowing up beaver dams for the locals in his spare time. As a result, WipWare grew and added a host of complimentary machine vision technologies to its roster, and like most children, moved out of the family home.
His work allowed him the opportunity to get paid to travel the world and work on epic projects like the Panama Canal. After visiting every continent and satisfying his wanderlust, Tom turned his attentions to more local pursuits and secured positions on numerous boards and councils supporting mining, business, and future generations in Northern Ontario.
Some of these include: the Blue Sky Mining Cluster, the Ontario Mining Industry Cluster Council, NORCAT, the CIM, Canadore College, Nipissing University, and of course SAMSSA where he met his long-time friend and colleague, Dick DeStefano.
Tom has more than 40 years in the mining and explosives industries and over 22 years as an entrepreneur – 50 if you include his butter making venture. His success has been marked along the way by countless awards, achievements, and recognition – from the OACETT Technical Achievement Award to being a two time Northern Ontario Business Awards recipient for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
He is undoubtedly an expert in his field.
As Chief Technical Officer at WipWare, I’m proud to introduce you to, my extraordinary beginning, my father, Tom Palangio.