More About Leo Stefanidis
Leo made his entry in the business world in 1981 right after high school where he was given the opportunity to work in a shipping company while he was pursuing his degree in composing and conducting classical and symphonic orchestras. Very quickly he climbed the ladder and became one of the youngest executives ever in the shipping industry. At that time, Greece was ready to fully enter the EU and all of sudden there was a need for people who specialize in International law, economics and shipping regulations. Leo was chosen to drive the company in to the new era by formulating an integration of many years of traditions and knowledge with the new status quo.
While he was working full time with many responsibilities and studying on the same time he managed on his limited free time to give concerts and create classical and modern music, many times with the assistance of computers, something unheard of at those times. Despite the hard criticism of his peers and especially his teachers, in where they thought that involving computers in classical music is sin, he continued conducting and composing in his free time.
Very soon he found out that he had a new passion. He found himself spending more time with computers than actually using them for music creation. Of course do not imagine any sophisticated hardware. We are talking about early 80’s.
Leo took the knowledge he accumulated over the years in shipping and computers and brought the two together. His company was one of the first pioneers in the country that started using computers for their every day business needs. As time progressed, he found that his new passion was taking up all his time.
In 1987, the time had come for Leo to serve his country, where the executive office, company cars and expensive lunches were replaced by washing pots and pans and living at sea for weeks at a time.
This did not last for too long because he was selected to join an elite team of experts that would test and implement new technology. The Navy had just started to use computers on a trial basis for their communications and coding/decoding needs.
Leo spent the next two years consulting, researching, analyzing and integrating solutions.
Despite his natural interest for computers Leo did not think for a moment that this would be a career for him.
In 1989, following his heart, he came to Canada to reunite again with the love of his life Georgina who left Greece 1 ½ years prior, as well as furthering his education, but very soon he was made an offer that he could not refuse. A retail company was looking for young dynamic managers to oversee the operations of their store chains. He felt that this was a challenging and rewarding opportunity and he accepted, especially because he was not only going back to be an executive but also work with people from different ethnic backgrounds with diverse heritage. What better way to understand the country that today he calls home.
He was given full freedom and very soon his business decisions started to pay off.
Again, while Leo was performing his every day duties holding various high management positions, found him self unexpectedly involved in the troubleshooting of computerized cash registers and small 707 terminal type computers. Not long after that he realized that most of his time was consumed by duties that were not in his job description.
Many that know Leo think that he is a very intelligent person. Well…. it took about 5 years in order for this intelligent person to realize that his love and natural interest about technology will win him over, forever over music and business management.
Leo already had at that time had a vast experience and knowledge in computers, but his unsettled spirit was not about ready to let him pursue a new career… at least not yet.
He knew the “how” part of troubleshooting but he did not know the “why” so he was always wondering if the solutions chosen and applied were the best or not.
So his adventure began: A few days before his promotion to Vice President he handed in his resignation. He was not ready for a career change, especially with something that even though was very natural for him to do he was not satisfied that he had mastered it. The one’s that know Leo will tell you that this is a person who says: “Who I am is what I do and what I do is who I am”. Maybe now you can understand a little better his decision for passing a promotion and finding himself couple of years later almost penniless.
With very little money left after the purchase of his house a few months earlier, a young daughter and a wife who was about ready to get laid off, he started attending different courses in order to pursue his dream. To find the missing link, to be able to master the “why” that was missing.
Today if you ask him he will tell you that the pursue of “how” and “why” never ends and this is the reason that he is still attending courses when he can get away from his busy schedule.
For the next few years attended various courses and it was then that he had the opportunity to meet his professor and mentor, Frank Wiseman. Frank, a pioneer in the industry with over 30 years of experience, quickly realized that Leo had a unique combination of rare qualities: Business and management experience, with vast IT knowledge.
As soon as the course finished and Leo graduated top of his class, Frank hired him for the position of Network Engineer. Very soon and for one more time, he climbed the corporate ladder and in few months time he was promoted to the position of the Senior Network Engineer, supervising other engineers with many years of seniority. Not long after he was appointed to the position of Vice President of Operations, while still maintaining his position as Senior Network Engineer. A few years later he was given the opportunity to purchase the shares of his partners and become one of the major shareholders of Diagnostic Network technologies.
Leo has a diverse client base. From Insurance companies, to car dealerships, financial institutions, publishing houses, manufacturing and government. His clients rely to him for Network Architecture design and system engineering that will not only meet their needs but also their budget and you would imagine that he knows a thing or two about the bottom line.
Today he still maintains a controlling interest in the company and since 2003 as the President and CIO oversees all major projects while being in charge for servicing over 500 clients; Leo lends his expertise to other network solution companies. He serves in different capacities from network design and consulting to system integration and web presence implementation.