We are designers, engineers, machinists, developers, researchers, daydreamers, writers, parents, motorcycle mechanics, sailors, cooks, travellers, builders...

...so far.

Overview

Join us!

We founded Cortex Design with a simple motto: People Deserve Better Experiences. This ethos manifests in the work we do for our clients and their users. It also guides our approach to creating a working culture.

Creative collaboration shouldn’t be governed by ego, or whoever has the loudest voice in the room. We believe curiosity, empathy, discovery, and a sense of play are the way to solve real problems and build things worth building. 

At Cortex, we work with global clients to create medical and consumer products that simplify and enrich people’s lives. These projects are complex. They haven’t been done before. The team is growing as we advance in our mission.

Our work requires high performers who can deliver exceptional creative and technical work in collaboration with others. More than that, it requires people who come from a wide variety of lived experiences. People who are deeply invested in building things, and building relationships. People who believe in the value of all cultures, who have a keen passion for solving problems, and are comfortable making mistakes. 

If you’re one of those people, reach out to us.

View current positions

Dylan Horvath, Founder & Chief Product Officer

Dylan holds a degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo, class of 1997.  He founded Cortex to be the firm that fosters human connection, improves health outcomes, and allows people to do things that they couldn’t do before. 

In his time growing Cortex into a leading product development firm within Canada, Dylan has worn almost every hat in the organization — from industrial designer to firmware and PCB developer to international production liaison on dozens of trips to China. 

Today, Dylan provides leadership and coaching to the team, sets strategic objectives, and provides a positive work culture within which the staff can succeed. Through coaching, mentorship and guidance, Dylan holds the final accountability to deliver great project outcomes to our clients. 

Dylan is a co-inventor on 11 utility patents (and counting) and has won numerous awards including the Bold Epic Innovator X-Prize for Cloud DX’s VITALITI Tricorder. His work has appeared in Popular Science, The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, Forbes, and Canadian Business’s Fastest Growing Companies. 

In addition to leading Cortex, Dylan is a board member and Director of Industrial Relations for the Association for Industrial Designers of Ontario (ACIDO) and a regular speaker at events where he advocates for the power of design to expand human capability.

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James Chalmers, Partner & Chief Executive Officer

An internationally experienced strategist and executive specializing in physical products, James invests, advises and mentors ventures and their founders from early-stage development through to commercialization. He focuses on medical devices and consumer health technology — recognizing that sometimes, the best way to democratize and provide universal access to health and wellness is to minimize the burdens of successful commercialization.

James’ focus on ‘differentiation’ as a long-term value proposition has been a crucial element of his success over the years. He credits many of the awards he and the companies he has led with success in doing things differently rather than chasing the ‘doing better’. These awards and accolades include; Forbes and Inc’s Fastest Growing Companies, X Prize Award and B Corporation’s – Best for The World.

As Partner & Chief Strategist at Cortex Design, James is leading the scale up efforts of this now 22 year old firm. In addition to growing our presence in North America, James has now successfully positioned Cortex as a gateway partner for European firms looking to enter the US market.

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Garry Lee, Director

Garry became a shareholder of Cortex Design in April, 2020. He is the Founder and Partner of EMTS Labs, an ISO 17025 Accredited engineering and independent environmental testing firm. He is the past President and founder of Global Advantage Int & Global EMC Inc. (2002 to 2016), which grew to be one of the largest companies in Canada for product safety certification in the medical equipment, telecom & IT industries — with over 25 full time engineers and revenue in the excess of $10M+ sales annually. Both organizations were acquired in 2016 by one of the largest certification bodies in the world, TÜV SÜD Inc.

Garry specializes in assisting clients through the regulatory and testing process, ensuring their products are ready for the international market. As an advisor and Partner of Cortex Design, Garry brings value in ensuring our clients’ products meet all international regulations to access the global market. Garry also provides operational oversight to both Dylan and James.

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Andrew Lowe, Design Director

Andrew Lowe holds a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Carleton University — but most of the knowledge he uses every day comes from getting his hands dirty on the job. He has worked with a variety of product design consultancies to develop a huge breadth of knowledge across a variety of industries and product types. He uses this knowledge of the entire product development process to deliver truly compelling medical and consumer products.

Within Cortex, Andrew provides leadership and direction to the product team on a variety of projects, working hands-on to perform design research and human factors investigation, concept ideation, prototype development, and production engineering. He also supports the sales team by identifying clients’ thorniest challenges, and building engagements to meet their product objectives.

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Kevin Armour, Creative Director

A graduate of Carleton University’s Industrial Design program in 2009, Kevin Armour has collaborated with top international brands including Google, Scott Sports, Canadian Tire, University Health Network, and Procter & Gamble. 

As Creative Director at Cortex Design, Kevin provides design leadership to the team, enabling them to produce their best work while partnering with clients to build strategic project roadmaps and deliver unique and lasting experiences.

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Parth Jain, Embedded Systems Lead

Parth’s love for electrical engineering came near the end of his undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, where he completed a MASc. degree specializing in power electronics. Prior to Cortex, he worked in wearable technologies at Myant, building cutting-edge products from the ground up. 

Parth’s primary role is embedded hardware and firmware systems design for our client projects. Beyond design, Parth is responsible for communicating with CMs to ensure a smooth transition from engineering prototypes into high-volume automated production. He also provides subject matter expertise for embedded systems within the team, identifying constraints and opportunities that affect the overall product design.  

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Selena Chau, Industrial Designer

After graduating from Carleton University with a degree in Industrial Design, Selena began her career designing vocal and audio equipment within the music industry. Before joining Cortex, she worked in a consultancy focusing on home medical equipment and electronics, and freelancing.

As an Industrial Designer at Cortex, Selena collaborates in the Design and Engineering teams to build-out research, develop product concepts, build and test prototypes, and assist in design for manufacture. If it’s being made, she’ll have her hands on it—from conception, to testing, to building, to shipping.

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Calvin Kwok, Design Engineer

Complementing his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Waterloo, Calvin began pursuing his passion for product design by taking on design and manufacturing roles in as many fields as possible. Having worked in the consumer, medical, automotive, and industrial spaces in companies small and large, he understands the full development lifecycle — and how to accelerate getting a quality product to market.

As part of the Design Engineering team, Calvin contributes to prototyping, detailed design, and manufacturing support. When a technical hurdle arises, Calvin is ready to reframe the problem with a fresh perspective to find a unique solution.

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Paul Needler, Regulatory & Quality Manager

Paul Needler has a multi-decade background that spans technical services, customer service, team management, entrepreneurship and medical device development. This has afforded him the opportunity to work with and learn from an eclectic group of employers over the years. At Cortex, Paul puts this diverse experience together to partner with our clients and internal teams to support all Regulatory and Quality requirements of bringing cutting edge products to market.

As Cortex’s in-house regulatory guru, Paul guides our clients’ regulatory success from strategy development through to market introduction. This involves exploring the best pathways to market, de-risking the product from an early stage, representing clients to Nationally Recognized Testing Labs (NRTLs), working to develop Quality Management Systems (QMS), submitting applications to regulatory bodies, and ongoing audit and compliance support for our clients after product commercialization — among a host of other tasks.

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Kirstie Dyment, Office Manager

As Office Manager — or, as she likes to say, the wizard behind the Cortex curtain — Kirstie works to make sure that operations run smoothly and that people have what they need to be successful. She manages administration, accounting, purchasing, HR, and a variety of other roles within the organization to support the human and operational factors behind our success.

Prior to joining Cortex, Kirstie worked within the luxury travel industry for four years, where she honed her skills for project management and operations by collaborating with a wide variety of vendors, venues and guests to create great travel experiences. 

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Kirsten (Kirty) Scholte, Strategy Manager

As Strategy Manager at Cortex, Kirty’s focus is on networking, connecting, and collaborating. Her goal is to develop authentic relationships with clients and industry partners, facilitate introductions to Cortex’s technical directors, and ensure a smooth transition from initial conversations to project and partnership kickoffs and beyond.

Prior to her role at Cortex, Kirty worked for almost a decade in the community and social service sector; assisting people with disabilities in gaining meaningful employment and connecting them with training, housing, and mental health support services within Toronto. Kirty now has a keen interest in using this experience to better support innovation related to longevity, mental health & assistive technology for people with disabilities, and healthtech / medical devices.

Fun fact: Kirty has a BA in Contemporary Music from Humber College and has spent the last 12 years working as a songwriter and touring musician and travelling across the globe.

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Abdul Wahab Mir, Assembly Technician

Abdul is a solution problem-solver on the lookout to innovate and streamline assembly processes. From a young age, his technical understanding and engineering fundamentals came from a curiosity to open up devices like hard drives and figure out how they work. 

This curiosity took two different paths: Abdul worked as a Sr. Front-end Developer creating microsites and campaign websites for blue chip clients, and after five years of development, he decided to follow his passion by pivoting to manufacturing automotive components and installing automotive accessories. At Cortex, Abdul applies this technical background to undertake mechanical and electrical assembly of prototypes and final products, while inspecting them in accordance with the company’s Quality Management System (QMS).

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Akshay Bhurke, Industrial Designer

Akshay found himself driven to pursue a career in Industrial Design to combine his passions for science and art. In his several years of industry experience, he has worked in a broad spectrum of product industries, with a particular interest in consumer electronics and lifestyle products. After working in both independent design studios as well as corporate in-house design teams, he found himself adoring the tightly-knit, hands-on, and ever-changing environment that presents itself in a Design Studio.

At Cortex, Akshay complements the Industrial Design team by conceptualizing, creating, iterating, and visualizing (his favorite part!) to support our clients’ success in bringing their products to life.

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Derek Grozinger, Mechanical Engineer

Derek channeled his passion for design into a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at Dalhousie University. Throughout his undergrad, he developed an avid interest in pursuing product design. Prior to Cortex, Derek worked for several years as a mechanical designer developing a range of electromechanical products in the defence industry, and has held positions in various industries including consulting, automotive, and nanotechnology.

Now, Derek’s role at Cortex with the Design Engineering team is to explore, research, design, prototype and ultimately take the innovative ideas that the clients of Cortex envision to full scale production. Derek is passionate about solving challenging problems and delivering creative solutions to reliably design quality products.

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Yasmine “Yaz” Riachi, Industrial Designer

Yasmine graduated from Carleton University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Industrial Design. After graduating, she worked with multiple startups as a UX designer to create style guides, develop information architecture, research customer needs, and develop product features and apps. She also worked in the film and television industry designing one-off products for props, and worked as a 3D artist in the video games industry.  

As part of the design team at Cortex, Yasmine spends her time researching users’ needs and competitor landscapes, developing and prototyping concepts, and working closely with other departments to design thoughtful, human-centric products that suit our clients’ goals. 

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Gabriel St-Pierre, Design Researcher

Originally from Quebec, Gabriel studied physics before moving to Toronto to perfect his English. Since then, he acquired additional academic credentials via a System Biology program from John Hopkins University. Prior to joining Cortex, Gabriel worked as a freelance R&D Design Engineer designing laboratory equipment in collaboration with HackLab Toronto to make science more accessible to the public. 

As a Design Researcher with Cortex, Gabriel collaborates with the design, engineering and regulatory teams to efficiently define project requirements. Combining systematic literature review and prototype testing, he works to clarify technical unknowns to inform and de-risk the product development process—while synthesizing research findings into actionable project road-maps for stakeholders. 

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Esme Bonnell, Engineering Intern

Originally hailing from Montreal, Esme is a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering student at U of T, specializing in Biomed and Mechatronics. Esme has always had a love for making things with her hands, from origami to knit attire. Her passion for Graphic Design in high school led her to develop her skills with Adobe Suite, leading to various UI/UX design roles. Her coexistent interest in math and sciences led her to Engineering, which she hopes will allow her to build out designs into the 3D world. 

As Cortex’s Engineering Intern, Esme assists with prototyping and design verification to support a variety of projects. She is working to understand how mechanical engineering and industrial design work together symbiotically, applying her user experience background to projects while developing new skills as part of the team.  

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Overview

Join us!

Think we might speak the same language?

Join us on our mission to develop radically new technologies and push the limits of what products can do for the people who use them.

View current positions

© 2022 Cortex Design Inc.