2019 CTO of the Year Award Winner Shares How TWU Connections Shaped His Journey

THE DUNFORD CONNECTION

When Owen Ingraham first attended Trinity Western in 2002, he was very excited to study Computer Science. As a self-identified computer nerd, he loved learning as much as he could about the tech world and dove into his studies. But after two and half years, finances became tight, so he decided to take some time off to work with the intention of returning one day.

Fast-forward to 2007, Ingraham was hired at Burnkit, a web-design company founded by alumnus Joshua Dunford (’99). Ingraham had known the Dunford family for years, as he was childhood friends and Trinity roommates with Josh’s brother, Andrew. Additionally, their father was the one who led Ingraham to Christanity when he was only 17.

Ingraham was excited to now be part of Burnkit, as they hit a wave of big projects with major players like Sony, Kodak, and Microsoft.

“There was a lot of exciting work,” says Ingraham. “We were pretty much the only game in town for interactive web projects.”

THE DEVRIES CONNECTION

Ingraham worked at Burnkit for about three and a half years, then reconnected with a former Douglas 7 Lower dormmate, Nathan DeVries (’11), and his brother Joshua DeVries. The two brothers had a lot of connections in the dentistry sector and planned to create a unique patient-communication software to streamline the industry. At the time, nothing like this existed in the marketplace.

“They had major inroads and all this knowledge about the dental industry,” says Ingraham. “They came to me with this project, to start up a comm system—on top of dental software—to communicate with patients.”

Ingraham loved the idea and decided to join the DeVries brothers and Ryan Hogenes to found EasyMarkit in 2010. Now, nearly ten years later, they’ve grown to have a team of 75 employees and an office in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown.

“We took it from a little project to now having almost all of the dental schools in North America use us, not to mention our growing commercial vertical,” says Ingraham.

THE INFLUENCE OF TWU

Although he never returned to complete his studies at Trinity Western, Ingraham says he values what he learned there and highly recommends that everyone study at least the fundamentals of Computing Science.

“The profs were so great,” says Ingraham. “They taught me so much of the philosophy of programming, which is really useful to scale.”

But more than anything, it was the connections he made at Trinity Western that made the biggest impact on his life.

“I guess it’s the friendship that form when you share a belief system,” says Ingraham. “So many of my closest friends are from TWU. There’s such a collaborate atmosphere there that’s pretty unique. I’ve worked with my old roommate, I’m friends with old dormmates, I got introduced to Vancouver, my job, and my church through TWU connections.”

“I think I was even the first alumnus to pay for membership in the Alumni Association,” Ingraham adds with a smile.

A TRAJECTORY OF GROWTH

One of his career highlights came in 2019, when Ingraham received the CTO of the Year Award from Business in Vancouver. As he reflects on this award and on the journey that led him here, he can’t help but be thankful.

“I went from a real scrappy developer, to leveling up, to winning this CTO of the Year Award. It’s been pretty constant growth,” says Ingraham.

As a result of this award, Ingraham’s had a lot of people reaching out to him, inviting him to speak at events or to connect. It’s an exciting time for Ingraham, and he hopes to use this momentum he’s gained to do what he can to be a positive influence in the city.

“I’m trying to be a mature voice in tech,” says Ingraham. “We all committed a couple years ago to continue growing and upgrading, to reach out for mentorship, to get connected to the community. Then to win this award out of the blue—it’s a nice reminder that God is listening.”

As Ingraham continues to level up and grow his influence, he hopes to be able to give back to others the way others gave back to him, and to always remain thankful for the education, friendships, and experiences he gained while a student at Trinity Western.

Interested in learning more about EasyMarkit and how they’re transforming communication in the dentistry sector? Click here to view their webpage.