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Don Duval - NORCAT. Toronto, ON, CA

Don Duval

Chief Executive Officer | NORCAT

Toronto, ON, CANADA

Experienced, dynamic, and engaging speaker on an array of topics related to innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship




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Don has spent more than two decades leading, growing and transforming organizations and businesses. A career innovator, he consistently identifies opportunities and addresses challenges to achieve meaningful and tangible results. Among Canada’s foremost thinkers on innovation, work and learning, and entrepreneurship, he works with multinational companies, tech start-ups, academic/research institutions governments and clients the world over.

Currently, Don defines the strategy and directs operations of NORCAT, a global, multi-faceted enterprise dedicated to advancing the dynamic and evolving needs of the new world of work and the innovation economy. In his role, he has transformed NORCAT to become a global leader for training and development, transformed NORCAT’s underground operating mine into the global one-stop shop for all that is the future of mining technology and innovation, pioneered the “Platform Effect” business model to support sustainable innovation in small to mid-sized cities, and continues to define the future of learning with NORCAT’s integrated experiential and simulation learning technologies. These achievements have generated community engagement and business partnerships, accelerated start-up tech firms and improved the operations of major clients across a myriad of industries.

Previously, Don served as VP of Strategy/Operations for the MaRS Discovery District, the world’s pre-eminent urban innovation hub that supports the growth of tech ventures in Canada. Prior to that, he was Senior Manager, Strategy & Operations Consulting, at Deloitte.

A former tech entrepreneur and engineering adjunct professor, Don is an active angel investor, serves on the board of several organizations and is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization. He was a Top 40 under 40 recipient, two-time TEDx speaker, and founding member of a non-profit theatre company in Toronto.

He holds an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Queen’s University and a Master of Applied Science and Engineering from the University of Toronto.

Industry Expertise (9)

VC and Private Equity



Health Care - Services

Construction - Commercial

Management Consulting

Mining and Metals

Information Technology and Services

Training and Development

Areas of Expertise (15)

Regional Competitiveness and Economic Development





Turnaround Strategies






Innovation Strategy and Policy



Economic Development

Accomplishments (1)

Governor General of Canada's Young Innovator Award (professional)


The Young Innovator Awards Program was established by the National Centres of Excellence in 2004 to celebrate outstanding work by scientists who, while still in the early days of their careers, are already making waves. Award recipients are selected by a panel of judges on the basis of the overall excellence, leadership and vision of the nominee.

Education (2)

University of Toronto: MASc, Civil Engineering 2005

Queen's University: BScH, Chemistry 1998

Affiliations (3)

  • Young Presidents Organization
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • Queen's University Alumni Association

Testimonials (1)

Don Li, Conference Producer | Strategy Institute, Cultivating and Sustaining Your Creative Economy Summit 2012

Don Duval spoke at our Cultivating and Sustaining Your Creative Economy Summit that took place on Feb 28-29 in Toronto. His presentation was insightful, lively, and clearly delivered. Don’s depth of industry knowledge provided extensive value to the conference and directly contributed to the success of the event.

Event Appearances (15)

Becoming the World's Leading Urban Innovation Centre - The MaRS Discovery District Experiment

MIT Conference - Innovation Centre Mentorship Strategy  Cambridge, Massachusetts


Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Greater Toronto Area

Civic Action and Emerging Leaders Network - Toronto Homecoming  Toronto, Ontario


Driving Commercial Outcomes from Research and Academic Institutions

BIOConnect Mexico - International Conference in Life Sciences and IT  Mexico City, Mexico


Leveraging the Community to Expedite Job and Wealth Creation

AURP International Conference (Association of University Research Parks)  New Orleans, Louisana


Accelerator Models for Digital Media, Online, and Mobile Ventures

BIOConnect Mexico - International Conference in Life Sciences and IT  Mexico City, Mexico


MaRS - Building One of the World's Pre-eminent Urban Innovation Centres

Enable U - Communitech Conference  Waterloo, Ontario


Why is Innovation so Profitable? Because it's Hard to do!

OIPMAC 11th Annual Conference - Supply Chain: The Core of Innovation  Toronto, Ontario


Driving Innovation and Prosperity through Community Engagement

Rotary International  Toronto, Ontario


Almost There -The Last Hurdle in Innovation

Queen's University Innovation Summit  Kingston, Ontario


Human Resources and Policy Levers to Encourage and Incentivize Employees to Contribute in the Innovation Process

Gearing Up For Growth  London, Ontario


Innovation, Immigration, and Engineering - Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Canada

Conference for Interational Engineers -  Toronto, Ontario


Business Mentorship in the Creative Industries

Careers in the Cultural Sector - Work in Culture Canada  Toronto, ON


NORCAT - The Path Forward

Sudbury Chamber of Commerce - President's Luncheon Speech  Sudbury, Ontario


The Value of Mentorship in Entrepreneurship

TEDx Sudbury  Sudbury, Ontario


The Future of Advanced Manufacturing

TEDx  Chatham Kent, Ontario


Sample Talks (4)

Community Innovation - Leveraging your Regional Assets to Drive Economic Growth

As the keynote speaker, this presentation highlighted the importance of understanding and engaging your regional assets, from both the public and private sectors, to drive regional competitiveness and economic growth.

Leveraging the Community to Expedite Job and Wealth Creation

This presentation and workshop focused on the importance of place in supporting and driving the growth of entrepreneurial communities and commercial outcomes from research and academic institutions. In this interactive session, we explored how place, company culture and values, and community engagement are integral components to get aligned and integrated to be maximize success.

Why is Innovation So Profitable? Because it's Hard to Do!

This keynote presentation at the OIPMAC Conference focused on creative strategies that companies can deploy to create a culture of innovation and intra-preneurship. A handful of examples were provided to demonstrate new models in collaboration and how technology can be leveraged as a platform to share ideas more quickly, engage a broader audience, and ultimately expedite the process to translate interesting ideas into practice while gathering continuous feedback to make incremental improvements.

Driving Commercial Outcomes from Research and Academic Institutions

As the keynote speaker, this presentation focused on new strategies and innovative models to address the cultural challenges and limited incentive mechanisms that often limit researchers motivation to translate their basic and applied research into commercial opportunities. The development of MaRS Innovation, the MaRS EXCITE program, and the MaRS Life Sciences and Healthcare practice were collectively examined as leading practices globally.



  • Keynote
  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader
  • Host/MC


500 to 5000 *Will consider certain engagements for no fee