Stephen Robinson

CEO and chair, ClearVision Technologies Inc., Age 31

Stephen Robinson co-founded ClearVision during university, grew the venture and then sold it to U.S. multinational Valco Melton in a multimillion-dollar transaction in 2011.

He remains the CEO and chair of the 25-employee company that he built from two employees in 2004, and the company continues to more than double in revenue each year.

"A huge part of what contributed to growth at ClearVision is that we've had a crazy customer focus," Robinson said. "We talk to customers all the time and are not scared to get on a plane and meet them. I've been to all U.S. states except for four."

Robinson's high-school grades were stellar enough for him to gain unconditional admittance to the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2000. His electro-mechanical program within UBC's engineering department accepts only 10 students each year, and he graduated with honours in the top 10% of his class.

He worked at Papertech on a four-month co-operative education program internship. By the end of that four-month term, he was promoted to head of the company's research and development.

ClearVision was originally conceived as a competitor to Papertech, which creates optical technologies for paper-making machinery.

Instead, Robinson pivoted and steered the company into developing intelligent camera systems that are used to ensure high-quality production on packaging machinery. He then landed clients such as Norampac, Georgia-Pacific and International Paper.

Along the way he earned the right to call himself an inventor, given that one of his innovations has been awarded a U.S. patent.

He has been a board member of Toastmasters International, a judge and mentor at New Ventures BC and the chair of a division of the Trade Association for Pulp and Paper Industry.

He also started a mastermind business group in Vancouver in 2010. The organization includes business executives and entrepreneurs who meet monthly to discuss personal and business challenges and accomplishments.

Outside work, he spends time with wife Melissa and enjoys going on hunting trips.