Lakehead University Alumni Magazine

Student Profile: A Man on a Mission

Tracey Skehan
Published October 24, 2011

Above: Chris Lusty, MBA student and president of the Mariposa Folk Festival Foundation

Chris Lusty is known for throwing himself into his projects and being unafraid to try new things. This is evident from the many hats he currently wears including software engineer, part-time Lakehead MBA student, and president of the Mariposa Folk Festival Foundation. Despite the sometimes daunting workload this creates, having clear objectives allows Chris to excel in all of these roles. He credits his MBA studies, of which he has one year left, with helping him to think more strategically. "I'm a hands-off president," he says, "my approach is to find good people and let them do their thing."

After completing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at the University of Guelph and working in the Guelph area for several years, Chris relocated to Gravenhurst to be close to family. For the past 20 years he has made Orillia and area his home. Along the way, Chris developed automated titrator software that calculates the concentrations of solutions in potable water and wastewater. His company, Hinterland Software, is now the third largest supplier of this technology in the world.

Chris Lusty inducts longtime Mariposa volunteer, Jim Carnrite, into the Mariposa Folk Festival Hall of Fame

Chris's capacity for invention has been apparent during his time as Mariposa's president. He remarks that "I'm drawn to the Festival because I'm good at it and it's my major community contribution – I want Orillia to grow culturally and economically." Approximately 20,000 people attended the Mariposa Folk Festival this past July and many also took the opportunity to attend the ArtsU programming (see Campus News: Mariposa ArtsU).

"One of the more exciting things has been our partnership with Lakehead," says Chris, "ArtsU is something we hadn't done before. It helps extend the reach of the Festival and it's something that people want." Chris hopes to safeguard the Mariposa Folk Festival's future and reveals that "My main focus is to build a sustainability fund. Over the next year or so we will be looking for donations and bequests so that the Festival will be able to weather a rainy weekend."

Chris is also contemplating what the future holds for him. "I still have the business but in the next two or three years, I plan to sell it and do something different. I'll take it as it comes but I would like to get involved in the startup of another company or maybe do some overseas work." Whatever Chris chooses to do next, it's guaranteed to be an intriguing and successful venture.

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