Virox Technologies Inc. president and CEO Randy Pilon was happy to inspire another group of Sheridan College business students as he hosted his fifth annual Virox Future Forum last week.
The lecture hall in which Pilon spoke on Thursday is named after him. Suffice it to say, he is no stranger to giving his time and money to boost Sheridan and its student body.
The entrepreneur and Sheridan alumnus employs 46 people at his company’s Oakville headquarters on Coventry Road, and has contributed more than $700,000 to the school.
“I think any successful entrepreneur owes it to the community they live in to give back and work with the schools or universities because that’s our next generation of entrepreneurs and workers,” said Pilon, who has hired eight Sheridan graduates.
“It always bugged me that college students were treated like second-class citizens to university students,” he told YourMississaugaBiz.com.
In 1998, Pilon founded the germicide company Virox with a patent for accelerated hydrogen peroxide. The company hit it big selling hospital disinfectant when SARS invaded Canada — and orders doubled.
Prior to founding Virox, Pilon worked at eye-care company Bausch & Lomb as vice president of its Canadian division.
During his four years on Sheridan’s board of governors, Pilon became highly conscious of the college’s focus on job and skills training.
“One of the fastest growing sectors of the college and the business school is university grads coming to get trained for the workforce,” he said. “There’s a saying on the street that says ‘Go to university get a degree, go to college get a job.’”
Sheridan students receive a high amount of skills training through co-op programs, capstone projects and business strategy events.
As a Sheridan governor, Pilon focused on the business school, helping to get the Hazel McCallion campus built near Square One. After his term ended, Pilon started making financial contributions – and has no plans to stop.
“I will continue to do so,” he said of his donations. “And I will continue to do the forum as long as people find value in it and find it interesting.”
Pilon says businesses can benefit from college grads and instill loyalty by investing in their education.
“There’s some damn good accountants coming out,” he said. “Bring them on, have them do some bookkeeping and put them through their [Chartered Accountant designation]. You’ll have them forever.”
In terms of Sheridan’s future in Mississauga, Pilon pointed to the upcoming phase two of its expansion, expected to run up to $100 million and raise the school’s status. “In the years ahead you’ll see more and more degree programs,” he said.
As for Virox, Pilon plans to extend its reach beyond the professional sector. “We’ve focused on bringing products to the consumer marketplace,” he said. “You’re going to see in the years ahead — actually late this year — consumer brands coming out with our technology. Companies like S.C. Johnson, Bissell to name a few.”