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Harpreet Geekee, BEng '92

Computer Engineering | Being in the Wrong Place at the Right Time

What initially appeared to be a wrong turn eventually made all the difference in Harpreet Geekee’s career path.

An aspiring nuclear engineer when he arrived at McMaster in 1988, Geekee accidentally stumbled into Dr. Barna Szabados’ course on control systems. Suddenly semiconductors and compilers piqued his interest.

“I became intrigued and entrenched into the dumb machines called computers,” says Geekee, who earned his degree in Computer Engineering in 1992 and entered the industry just as it was poised to transform the world.

That wrong turn has led him to work for some of the biggest names in the computing industry, and on some of the most innovative technologies.

As he launched his career with Nortel, Geekee was one of the initial team members working on Java. Eventually becoming a member of the Java Executive Committee, he helped define, standardize and review Java specifications.

Moving to Cisco in 2008, he spent five years working in India before returning to Canada as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Cisco Canada Solutions.

In 2015, Geekee joined Juniper Networks as CTO, working with financial services institutions around the globe.

His career journey has seen him develop technology solutions for customers in industries including education, health care and transportation, and work on emerging technologies like cryptocurrencies, eCommerce platforms and the Internet of Things (IoT).

“I firmly believe that, if done properly, technology can have a positive social, economic and cultural impact,” Geekee says. Most recently, Geekee has launched his own venture, Highmark Global, which is focused on helping medical technology companies develop marketplace software solutions.

He also sits on the boards of multiple start-ups, offering advice on technical strategies.

“Over my career, I’ve realized that what I learned at McMaster was not simply theoretical knowledge. I gained the tools to be analytical, critical and observant of various possibilities and options, but also to respect the power of human networking and be able to look at problems from different perspectives.”