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Alumni Profiles

Charles Cooper

Charles Cooper

Faculty of Applied Science & Technology
Year of Graduation: 1987
Program: Telecommunications Management

The Power of Giving

One of the most memorable lessons Charles Cooper has ever learned came from a child on a ski hill. A long-time volunteer ski instructor for children with disabilities, Charles was working particularly hard with a student who had been part of the Ontario Track 3 Ski Association for several years.

“The boy was completely frustrated, could barely communicate and had yet to even make it down the bunny hill,” says Charles. “His family were big skiers who took an annual ski trip in the Rockies, and their goal was to include him on the trip.”

Charles spent the first year going over the basics until his student mastered the bunny hills. The next year, they covered more advanced skills, and that same year, the boy was able to join his family in Whistler.

“I learned to focus on the simple things and lead by example, says Charles who has brought this philosophy to his long career in the telecommunications industry. Now Senior Product Manager for Rogers Business Solutions, he is responsible for all Internet, Cloud and Application services.

Charles has worked mainly with start-up organizations, including Atria Networks, which was purchased by Rogers in January 2011. He has held positions with a variety of high tech companies, including Call Net Telecommunications (which became Sprint Canada), Group Telecom and Sandvine. Working for several companies which were acquired by other firms, Charles has learned to expect change and manage response to that change.

Outside of his professional life, Charles is committed to supporting his community. In addition to his work with the Ontario Track 3 Ski Association for the past 15 years, Charles has been Chair of the Board for Peel Senior Link (PSL) since 2006, though he will be stepping down at their Annual General Meeting in June. The non-profit organization provides supportive housing for more than 1000 seniors in the Region of Peel. The agency grew by 100% over the past year alone.

Charles says this growth was tied to multiple initiatives, including achieving recognition with Accreditation Canada. The provincial government’s move to reduce hospital wait times helped PSL grow as well.

“Agencies such as PSL allow seniors to be more closely-monitored and proactively referred to family doctors before an issue escalates to an emergency room visit,” says Charles. “Last year, PSL was able to divert almost 1000 emergency room visits.”

His interest in PSL came through his involvement with the Rotary Club of Oakville. He learned more about the issues facing seniors as a board member at Trafalgar Seniors Home, operated by the Rotary Club.

Although his family is now settled in Oakville, Charles grew up in many communities throughout Ontario. He had been taking the Electronics Engineering Technologist program at George Brown College and discovered an interest in carrier transport systems. He chose Sheridan because it was the only place in Canada that offered what was then a unique program.

“The day I graduated from George Brown, I drove straight to Sheridan and enrolled in the Telecommunications Management program,” says Charles, whose partner, Cynthia Behrens, is a 2005 graduate of Sheridan’s Paralegal program. Together, they have three daughters.