Veteran tech leader Hannah retires after two decades at the helm of software companies Vocantas and Pronexus

A prominent tech executive in Ottawa is stepping down from the industry after two companies he has run for more than 20 years have been sold to a company in Quebec.

Gary Hannah, who served as CEO of software makers Vocantas and Pronexus since 2003, says he has chosen to retire following Montreal-based Valsoft’s acquisition of the companies in mid-October. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The 30-year-old technology veteran is perhaps best known for chairing the Ottawa Center for Research and Innovation, the forerunner of Invest Ottawa, in the early 2000s. Among his other prominent roles was a four-year residency as vice president of the 1990s technology powerhouse JetForm.

Hannah says he plans to travel the world “alphabetically” starting with Africa, Amsterdam and Arizona when COVID-related restrictions are eased, adding that he has already turned down several offers to join corporate boards and take on senior management roles in other companies. .

“I think I’ll give it a year to see if I can get bored,” the Regina native told OBJ with a laugh.

Hannah said more than a dozen potential buyers had kicked Vocantas’ tires over the past few years.

The company, which was launched 18 years ago to create software that helps workers quickly and seamlessly change shifts and report absences to employers, has had an annual revenue growth of more than 30 percent in recent years.

Customers include Ford

Vocantas’ platform uses analytics to ensure that employees who change shifts with their colleagues are properly qualified, have had adequate rest and meet other key criteria such as seniority. Its customers, most of whom are in healthcare and manufacturing, include Ford and Ottawa Hospital.

Founded in 1994, Pronexus specializes in software that supports the Vocantas platform and automatically directs employees to the right supervisor when they call to say they can not work.

After rejecting previous potential suitors, Hannah said he was affected by Valsoft’s promise to keep the companies in Ottawa and retain all 46 employees.

“We did not have to sell the companies and it is a good position to be in,” he said, noting that both Vocantas and Pronexus are profitable. “It was really 100 percent about the right fit as far as the people are concerned and keeping the technology here in Ottawa.”

Valsoft has acquired more than 50 software companies since it was founded in 2015. Hannah says the wide range of organizations under its umbrella will open up new customer verticals and geographic markets for Vocantas and Pronexus.

“Ottawa has a lot of really good technology (talent) in this space, so it’s a little nice to have someone who will keep you here and grow you here,” he explained.

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