Ivan co-founded Decision Academic Graphics Inc. (DAG) in 1994, a software company today known as Decision Academic. Under his leadership, it grew from a small one-product start-up to what it is today, an innovative and established player in the North American Student Information System (SIS) market. To learn more about the company, visit the Decision Academic website.
Below are excerpts from speeches delivered by Ivan's friends and colleagues at the January 28, 2002 memorial service that touch on his entrepreneurial skills. Click on the links to read the full text of the speeches.
"Ivan wasn't content to focus his seemingly boundless energies and undeniable genius solely on purely scientific pursuits. Blessed with an incisive and inventive mind as well as with an exceptional instinct for practical applications, Ivan was always thinking beyond the laboratory walls and the pages of learned journals. In his mind, discovery should equal innovation and should have practical uses. One such innovation was and is Degree Navigator, a software product he created and developed and which nicely combines art and science for extremely practical purposes."
-- Dr. Gilles Patry, Rector, University of Ottawa [Read full speech]
"For the last three years he was away, running his company, and I remember very much that I thought it was extremely intriguing that somebody who worked in such a highly theoretical area -- so theoretical that most of the people even in his field don't begin to understand what is going on-managed to understand it, to contribute to it and to push the limits of the field of knowledge in that discipline. And to make it even more impressive, he managed to take it into a tool that is so trivially easy to use that you are tempted to not recognize the amount of theory that goes behind it. I always found that to be extremely intriguing."
-- Dr. Tyseer Aboulnasr, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Ottawa
[Read full speech]
"Faced with 10 ideas, we would turn to him for a decision, which one to choose, and then we would keep going. In the end, we had Degree Navigator, a software unique to that day, capable of offering a meaningful visualization of degree rules. Ivan went on. Under his leadership, degree audit capacity was added -- a function that is today still unmatched -- a web version was developed, at that time a complete breakthrough. And today, users all across the world. That wasn't enough! Ivan wanted to integrate web registration, he wanted on-line scheduling ... he made it all happen. The ideas beyond the software, the company to turn the ideas into reality, the vision and leadership, to turn the small, one-product start-up into the company that we enjoy today, it was all thanks to him that it all happened."
-- Dr. Guy-Vincent Jourdan, CTO, Decision Academic Graphics Inc. [Read full speech]
"Dr. Rival was well known for his love for the arts and he surely had good taste. He took pride in the beautiful diagrams he created in lectures and in print -- he spent long hours drawing clean, aesthetically pleasing diagrams. Indeed, the aesthetics of drawing hierarchical structures or diagrams became a major focus in his research work. Still he saw the need to find applications that should reach the public and more specifically the university population at large and where our scientific knowledge is used at maximum."
-- Dr. Nejib Zaguia, Professor, School of Information Technology and Engineering, University of Ottawa [Read full speech]
"Very early in our friendship, maybe even when we were working on that awful play, I happened to say to Ivan that, when creating something, you had to have mud before you could make a sculpture. And the important thing, always, was to just get to work on the mud. He loved that idea. How often I received a first draft of something from him, with a note: 'Here's some mud; let's make a sculpture.' And how often he used it on me, when I was blocked or afraid or just lacked confidence in myself -- whether over an article in years gone by or over a sales proposal or web site at DAG. He had little time for analyzing and even less for psychoanalyzing. He'd simply say, 'Just make some mud.' And because he was Ivan, most times I did just that, and before I knew it we had something that excited him and made me feel good about myself."
-- Merv Henwood, Implementation Manager, DAG Inc.
[Read full speech]