Pankaj Agarwal is the Founder of Optimus Information Inc. and a supporter of Science World's Future Science Leaders (FSL) program.
SW: How did you become involved with Science World?
Our family believes that education in general, and science and math in particular, are key to our success as a society. Science World's cause is dear to our hearts. I was exploring various options in the local community to get engaged and give back to society. I knew some board members from Science World and I was inspired by their commitment and receptiveness to ideas. That is when I got engaged.
SW: What inspired you to donate to the Future Science Leaders program?
In terms of donations, we aim to be focused–i.e. pick a few causes and help those causes with time, networking and money. We feel that, as Canadians, we need to strive towards excellence in science and math. We also found that kids make career choices when they are in Grade 9–12. We discussed this with Science World, they found the idea of Future Science Leaders appealing, and we collaborated on the program. In the process, we donated money to launch the program. It has been quite a success! Credit goes to the Science World team for their keenness to evolve this program.
SW: Why is informal science learning important?
My view is that informal science learning is a good supplement to structured learning at school. It helps a youth to apply concepts, work as a member of a larger team, and learn about the possibiliites that science has to offer. It also helps them achieve excellence in their chosen area of interest.
SW: What do you think the FSL program provides to its students and our community?
The FSL program is similar to programs run in sports for selcting the best and making them even better. We pick the best and brightest science and math students and help them achieve excellence. The idea is to motivate them, facilitate their learning, and foster a group where they can learn from each other.
SW: Tell us about Optimus Information Inc.
Optimus Information is a leading IT Consulting firm in Vancouver. We are a BC company with a team of 100+ people with offices in Vancouver and New Delhi. We provide software development, software testing, and mobile application development services. We have significant year after year growth. As we believe in excellence, we help with programs like FSL which center around excellence.
SW: How did a science and technology background help you establish Optimus Information Inc.?
Since Optimus is a technology services organization, it was important for me to relate to science and technology. Also, on a related note, our concern is around the fact that not enough youth are being excited by science and technology. If we aim to make BC a leading technology jurisdiction in the next 20 years, we need to encourage our youth to consider science and technology as a great career choice.
SW: What do you think are some of the most important contributions Science World makes to BC?
Creating awareness of science and technology among K-12 students, helping science teachers, creating infrastructure for BC's communities to benefit from science, and providing a chance for under-privileged to get exposed to science and technology.
SW: Where do you picture Science World in five years?
I see us being one of the leading science centres in North America in terms of size, quality and engagement. I see us able to quantifiably influence youth and show BC as a leader in science excellence among youth.
SW: Where do you picture Optimus Information Inc. in five years?
I want us to be the most trusted technology partner for mid- to large-size companies in Canada. I see us being considered as one of the best places to work at and as a leading contributor to Canada's science and technology community.