50 Grads, 50 Years

In honour of Champlain College Saint-Lambert’s 50th anniversary, we followed up with 50 of our graduates to highlight their achievements.


In honour of the Champlain Saint-Lambert’s 50th anniversary, the college has followed up with 50 of its alumni to see where their paths have led after their time in Cegep. These 50 former students have gone on to accomplish amazing things and their paths show just how much is possible for a Champlain grad.

Justin Hunt

Former Champlain Student Association president now runs his own AI-based startup.

Justin Hunt (Pure and Applied Science, 2013) is the CEO of Blaise Transit, a tech startup he co-founded in 2018.

Blaise uses artificial intelligence to optimize public transit systems and enable operators to use public buses to respond to user demand.

“We built a software that allows transit agencies and cities to implement on-demand transit services,” he explained.

“My two criteria for a business was that it had to be something that had a positive social and environmental impact – if I was going to work hard for something, I wanted to make sure it was to accomplish something positive in the world,” he said.

Hunt took on leadership positions from an early age, serving as president of the Champlain Student Association during his time in Cegep.

“I learned people management skills, negotiation skills and fine tuned my public speaking skills. My experiences in student life at Champlain served me in various roles in the years after CEGEP,” he said.

“Not to mention that being involved was also a ton of fun – we brought in therapy dogs to relieve student stress, set up bouncy castles during orientation week, organized a flash mob, set up a food bank for students in need and created a new scholarship fund to support student leaders,” he added.

Hunt also has fond memories of his time as a member of the Cavaliers Cross-Country team.

“Champlain is incredibly supportive of their student athletes and the team spirit was a highlight for me,” he said.

Hunt was the second generation in his family to attend Champlain, after his father who did a three-year program in computer science in the 1970s.

In 2017 Hunt and his family created a scholarship award for Champlain Saint-Lambert graduates in honor of his late grandmother, Mary Hunt, who was a pioneer for women in engineering and technology in Canada.

The $1,000 award is given out each year to an outstanding female graduate continuing her university studies in male-dominated STEM fields.

“Not only was my grandmother the first to study mechanical engineering at her university in England, but when she came to Canada she worked her way up to the Chief of Computing at Pratt and Whitney Canada,” Hunt said.

“She was the first and only woman at the leadership table and fought hard to give women employees the same pay and rights as male employees.”

Hunt said that this scholarship award was a way for him to stay involved in the Champlain community after graduation.

After Cegep, Hunt went to University of Waterloo to study systems design engineering and then completed a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering at McGill.

It was at this time that he started thinking seriously about developing his own startup.

“Throughout university, I did a total of six internships, mostly at large companies. The majority of these experiences showed me the kind of environment that I didn’t want to work in,” he said.

“One of my last internships was at a startup and this was the most motivating experience. This is when it became very clear that I should try to start my own business.”

Hunt said he had developed an interest in entrepreneurship in Cegep, where he had the freedom to execute his own ideas and take responsibility for managing student projects.

In 2018, he was selected as a Participant of The Next 36 program, an entrepreneurial leadership organization whose goal is to develop Canada’s next generation of high impact entrepreneurs.

Hunt said that paving his own way with a small team has its challenges, but he is proud of how far Blaise Transit has come in four years.

“I had been shut down hundreds of times, told that my idea wasn’t going to work by more people than I could count but I continued to work, persevered, learn from each ‘no’ and eventually found a way forward.”

Hunt’s advice for current students and recent grads: “Take as many risks at the beginning of your career when you don’t have much to lose – switch fields if you’re unhappy, go back to school, start a business, or even move to another country. In the worst case if it doesn’t work out, you will have likely learned a lot but can easily start over in another path and the impact on your overall career will be minimal. Too many people wait until the stakes are much higher before doing anything that society deems as being a little bit risky. If you want something, don’t wait until mid-career before going after it. The other thing I would say is to be patient – when you figure out what you want, work hard for it, even if it takes longer than planned.”

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