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Paul Okrutny, BEng Scty '08, MASc '11

Materials Engineering & Society, Materials Engineering | A technological route to safer homes

Over almost a decade working as a forensic engineer, Paul Okrutny investigated the how and why behind failures and damages that destroyed property and launched insurance claims.

Now, as founder of technology start-up Mitigateway, he’s combining his knowledge of homeowner risk with the latest technological advances to keep people and property safer.

“I realized that instead of being there after disaster strikes, I had enough knowledge, experience, and ingenuity to prevent the disaster,” he explains.

The company allows homeowners to perform property inspections via their mobile phones. By identifying risks, those inspections can keep homeowners safe and result in lower insurance premiums.

As company founder, Okrutny shoulders corporate roles ranging from engineering and design, to finance, marketing, and human resources.

“When it comes to technology, there is always a better way. Solutions are evolving as technology advances and I’m excited to know that I’m part of that story,” he says.

After earning his bachelor's and master’s degrees in materials engineering – a specialty inspired by the recognition that his study cubicle at Thode library was made of atoms and their specific interactions produced the macroscopic properties that made it a cubicle – Okrutny began working for a forensic engineering company.

“Shortly after I started, I was entrusted with a case that involved hundreds of millions of dollars,” he says. “Being given that project so early in my career was an amazing confidence boost, and reinforced my inclination to take on practically anything. It was a great springboard.”

He also celebrates the career opportunities that have allowed him to work with people.

“There is always a human element driving both a problem and the solution,” says Okrutny. “I love that throughout my career I’ve been able to collaborate with some extremely bright individuals, learn from some, mentor others and watch them make their own impact on the world.”