Our Team is a collective of talent who share a belief that technology isn’t a threat, but an opportunity to protect our industry as we expand our knowledge and skillsets. We firmly believe the automotive industry has incredible potential for anyone unafraid of innovation and change.

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Founder
Barry Hillier

Barry is a highly respected brand strategist and digital pioneer who has led digital strategies for brands including Hellmann’s, Vaseline, Axe Body Spray, ING Direct, Juicy Fruit, Skittles, Ontario Toyota Dealers and Kraft. Barry founded Dashboard, a digital advertising agency, as well as several technology companies in the automotive industry before founding Catalytic. Collectively, his work has won over 50 global awards for creative and business results. 

 

Barry has continually pushed digital boundaries over the years. He helped build one of the world’s first rich media players for the Vancouver Canucks, led Juicy Fruit to pioneer the use of dynamic interactive ads and directed Hellmann’s to be the first brand to use Facebook Connect. Barry also helped pioneer a stereoscopic 3D website for 3M Filtrate and was recognized as the first in the world to create a dynamic interactive desktop video avatar for Axe Body Spray. 

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Founding Partner
Susan Gubasta

President and CEO of Mississauga Toyota, the first female President of the Trillium Automotive Dealers Association (TADA) and the 2020 President of the Canadian Autoshow, Susan is a respected thought leader throughout the automotive industry. Susan graduated from the National Automobile Dealers Association and is an active investor in technology companies that maintain a focus within the automotive industry.

 

Susan is also a serving board member for the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association where she focuses her efforts toward education on innovation and technology transforming the sector. Susan was responsible for helping develop the first digital dealer conference for the TADA and works diligently to increase awareness and involvement of opportunities for women in the automotive sector, founding Women Driven as a vehicle to increase diversity.

Founding Partner
Mark Fryer

Mark is a lawyer and partner with Loopstra Nixon who has been working with the Trillium Automotive Dealers Association as well as providing advice and guidance for Dealerships across Canada. Mark practices employment, labour (union), human rights, occupational health and safety and OMVIC law by providing both litigation and corporate/commercial advice and representation to small to large size businesses, corporations, and associations. 

 

Mark has advised and represented multiple clients on several mergers/ acquisitions in excess of $100 million. He is a passionate advocate for the automotive industry and speaks regularly about policy and law in the automotive sector. Mark understands how quickly the industry is evolving and has become a respected industry expert that the industry can turn to for advice and direction.

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Founding Partner
Paolo Frescura

Paolo holds a chemistry degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Schulich, which is why he is uniquely qualified as a Venture Investment portfolio manager and Business Strategist who wants to understand the science behind the innovations of the technology companies that he evaluates. He has provided business development and investment services across North America, Columbia, Chile and Argentina. 

 

Paolo has taught graduate courses in Corporate Finance and Strategic Consulting and he has been responsible for evaluating and investing over $30 million for his clients in the past few years alone. His background provides Catalytic with exceptional financial experience to allow our team to source, screen and prioritise deals, conduct due diligence, and negotiate valuation and investments with founders and their companies.

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Founding Partner
Shawn Wells

Shawn brings over twenty years of experience working in the advertising industry, having worked for Saatchi & Saatchi, MacLaren McCann, Dashboard and Due North as a Creative Director and Marketing Director. Shawn has earned multiple international awards for his work on CIBC, Diagio, Heineken, the NFL, H&R Block, Toyota, General Motors, P&G and Sporting Life. 

 

Shawn is a brand and marketing expert who understands how difficult it can be as an entrepreneur, because he's also a partner and investor in several companies that include a distillery and network platform built to help entrepreneurs find capital and human resources. Shawn understands that many entrepreneurs face a marketing and sales gap, which is why he works hard to make a measurable difference in their branding and marketing to help them to scale.

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Founding Partner
Brad Rome

Brad is a seasoned c-suite executive with extensive automotive experience gained during his tenure working in Advertising agencies and during his role as past-President of Canadian Black Book and former Marketing Director for Daewoo Automotive. Brad is an outstanding strategist who is able to deliver superior revenue and profit growth in highly competitive business environments.

 

Brad is an inventive and results driven executive credited with creating strong business plans, providing sales and marketing management, and implementing organizational leadership processes. Highly respected in the automotive industry, Brad brings his extensive experience in scaling technology companies and understanding the needs of all three tiers of automotive to Catalytic.

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Founding Partner
Brady Ferron

Brady Ferron is a well-rounded executive that can see the big picture, understands the supreme value of successful execution, and has consistently delivered positive results to shareholders. He has turned around failing accounts and businesses and is recognized for high customer satisfaction. Brady is a brand experience fanatic that is passionate about connecting effective channels of the evolving modern marketing mix. Brady is focused on the strike point of the brand and the customer and has developed a reputation as a strategic bridge builder that likes to tear down walls.

•Built customer-centric solutions, captured market share, created successful technology innovations, and led cross-functional teams to success.

•Key contributor, creative leader, and strategic planner with over 20 years experience energizing the profitability and performance of companies through expert orchestration of internal and external resources.

•Skillfully target staff talents in cross-functional teams to address the core needs of clients.

•Cultivate dynamic marketing practices and broaden communication solutions, enhancing operations, and the bottom line.

•Visionary ability to expand the client base, build strong B2B partnerships, capture significant revenue, and eliminate barriers.

•Strategic agent that leverages client relationships develops collaborative teams and turns them into competitive corporate advantages.

•Earned reputation for being a trustworthy, results-oriented, transparent leader and a highly effective presenter to external clients and key stakeholders.

Paolo has taught graduate courses in Corporate Finance and Strategic Consulting and he has been responsible for evaluating and investing over $30 million for his clients in the past few years alone. His background provides Catalytic with exceptional financial experience to allow our team to source, screen and prioritise deals, conduct due diligence, and negotiate valuation and investments with founders and their companies.

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Founding Partner
Allan Cooper

Bringing innovation to the way cars are sold didn’t always make Allan Cooper the most popular person in the dealership, but it made him the most successful with the highest PVR. To be clear, customers loved his transparent, one-person sales process, which always included delivery to their home or office; but, in the mid 80s and 90s, industry colleagues and competing dealerships bristled at Cooper’s consumer-centric tactics. Of course, this was long before the industry began adopting digital retailing and home delivery, making like-minded peers in the auto industry a rarity.

 

Cooper’s corporate career kicked off in his native Australia first in the pharmaceutical industry and then with a 5-year stint in auto financing, where he honed his effective sales and marketing techniques. But, upon arriving on US shores, Cooper was ready to re-invent himself and quickly landed a job at a local dealership where he applied structure, organization and discipline sales process, selling sell cars more efficiently and in volume. Partnering with industry-veteran Paul Whitehead, the focus was on creating customers for life, generating not only repeat sales but also consistent fixed ops revenues for the dealership. Over the course of a 35+ year career in the auto industry, Cooper has continued to refine the car-selling process, developing platforms focused on streamlining and improving profitability, while keeping the experience positive and transparent for consumers.

 

Given his commitment to building relationships and his dedication to a pain-free car buying process, it’s no surprise that Cooper’s nearly 15 years in auto sales culminated in establishing one of So. Cal’s first Internet Business Development Centers. He went on to co-manage, alongside industry-veteran Paul Whitehead, a dedicated sales team that generated 2000+ new Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep retail vehicle sales annually. Cooper credits owning the customer relationship and creating his own CRM process (manually with handwritten thank you notes at first) to paving the way for his success. Fittingly, when he left retail auto sales, he became a minority owner in AutoTown, makers of DealerTrak, the first-ever integrated CRM tool for dealerships.

 

From there, Cooper went on to co-found OneCommand, one of the first companies to recognize the importance of targeted messaging for increased consumer engagement and loyalty. While pushing OneCommand into multiple verticals, including entertainment, sports, healthcare and more, Cooper founded a consulting firm that focused on developing strategic partnerships for multiple companies, including CallSource, CDK, LightspeedVT and others.

 

In 2016, Cooper was recruited by Reviver, a tech startup in a new category: digital license plates. Cooper not only established dealership distribution for the company, but he also aligned his global industry network to fund three-quarters of the company’s financing, raising a total of $25+ million through business and personal relationships.

 

Cooper now also leads PiM INTEL, a DaaS (Data as a Service) company that monitors consumer behavior and purchase intent and allows businesses to identify, manage and engage consumers at the inflection points paramount to building and consummating a sales relationship.
 

Cooper’s transformative vision led to an honor by JD Power and Associates as a “Pioneer of Automotive Internet Retailing” in 2005. Cooper is frequently asked to speak on emerging trends in automotive sales, business culture and consumer engagement. He has spoken at the North American International Auto Show, JD Power Marketing Roundtable, DrivingSales Presidents Club, and Digital Dealer, among others.
 

Cooper is also passionately involved with numerous philanthropic activities, including his own Pier2Pier4Kids (www.p2p4kids.com), an annual cycling event that kicks off in 2021 to raise money/ awareness for charities that improve the lives and welfare of children around the globe.

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