Paul Swinwood is the president of the Information and Communications Technology Council, a not-for-profit agency aimed at developing Canada’s high-tech workforce. Over forty years in the technology industry, he’s held a succession of technical and managerial positions, and started nine organizations before landing at the Software Human Resources Development Council, predecessor of the ICTC.

Career précis

After graduating from the Eastern Ontario Institute of Technology, Swinwood took a technical position with “a little outfit called Northern Electric Research and Development Labs,” which would become Nortel Networks Corp. He’s held positions as hardware technician, software systems developer, programmer, development manager, president and owner of a number of Canadian IT companies. That list includes Nortel, Univac, Digital Equipment of Canada, Learning Tree International, Sage Data and AutoSkill International Inc. He’s been a private consultant since 1988.

Early leadership exposure

Swinwood names the legendary Denzil Doyle as an example of someone whose leadership he encountered firsthand early in his career. Doyle, who became Digital Equipment of Canada’s first employee in 1963, was a leader of the movement to grow a focus on the technology industry in Canada.

“I saw a man with vision, who could impart that vision and lead people to create a Canadian industry,” Swinwood says. “I was impressed with his leadership.”

Leadership philosophy

Swinwood’s leadership philosophy is about surrounding yourself with quality people. “Set the vision and let them run with it,” he says. “You go amazing places.”

Nominate someone you know for ComputerWorld Canada’s IT Leadership Awards today. The deadline for nominations is Aug. 11.