3DNext was founded in 2012 by Akram Al-Otumi and Michael Groenendyk, based on their shared interest in makerspaces, 3D scanning, 3D printing and other similar technologies. Since this time they have worked with a number of libraries, schools, small businesses and museums, helping them integrate 3D printing and 3D scanning technologies into their services, as well as organizing and protecting their 3D content.
Akram is a serial entrepreneur having founded Azal Student Agency, an agency that works to support international students and newcomers in their transition to Canada, 3D Next, a 3D printing technology firm and other organizations including the Enactus Nova Scotia Alumni Network. Akram also works as the manager of programs and projects at Dalhousie’s University Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship and manages the Entrepreneurial Skills Program at Dalhousie University.
As a strong believer in mentorship Akram has personally mentored more than 50 entrepreneurs. Akram was named as an Enactus John Dobson Fellow, selected as one of the 21 leaders of the 21st century, is a Gold D award recipient from Dalhousie University and in 2014 he was named one of RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrants.
Akram is as an avid volunteer and is very involved in the community; he sets on diverse professional and volunteer boards such as the board of Fusion Halifax and the Sub-Committee on Population, Immigration and Retention with the OneNS Coalition. As a result of his contributions to the community he was recently awarded a Provincial Representative volunteer award and also received the HRM volunteer award.
Akram received a Bachelor of Commerce from Dalhousie University in 2012 and is currently working towards a master’s degree of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation and a master’s on Interdisciplinary studies focusing on business leadership. He has called Halifax home since moving to Canada from Yemen in 2007.
Michael has extensive experience working with, and providing training for, 3D printing, 3D scanning and virtual reality technology. From 2011-2013 he led the development of an open-access 3D printing and scanning service at the Dalhousie University Libraires. He has previously acted as a 3D digitization consultant for the Nova Scotia Museum, digitizing a number of objects in their collection, as well as for the Dalhousie University Archives. More recently he developed the technology services provided through McGill University's Research Commons, featuring three 3D printers, a 3D scanner, an Oculus Rift and a data visualization wall.
Michael has published a number of research papers on the subjects of 3D printing, 3D scanning and CAD modelling. His paper on library makerspaces was named as a Highly Commendable Paper of 2013 by Emerald Group Publishing. He has presented on the subject of 3D printing and systems for 3D model organization at a number of conferences and events, for organizations such as Columbia University and the law firm Fasken Martineau. His work developing a search engine for 3D models was recently featured in Discover Magazine.
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