Guelph Grads on the Go – Think Outside the Cloud

R & D director developed tech skills at U of G


Joel Varty, left, and Jon Voigt

When Joel Varty, BA ’99, started his undergraduate degree at Guelph in 1995, the Internet was just beginning to gain momentum. In fact, he says one of the first times he used the Internet was during his first day on campus. Today, he’s director of research and development at Agility Inc., a content-management provider that helps other businesses manage their online content.

He says his clients don’t need to be tech-savvy to manage their websites because cloud computing makes the content management system (CMS) user-friendly and accessible. “That’s the power of CMS when it’s done right,” says Varty. “The whole idea is to give them all the power of control for managing their own websites.”

Agility Inc. spares users the expense of buying their own server or content management software. “You don’t need to have a server in your own office,” he says. “For a low upfront cost, you can get in on some very sophisticated software solutions.” When software upgrades become available, you don’t need to do anything, he adds, because the software is automatically updated.

Based in Toronto, Agility Inc. was co-founded by another Guelph grad, Jon Voigt, B.Sc.(Eng.) ’00, and Michael Assad. The company celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2012 by launching an expanded magazine publishing suite for digital magazines, blogs and custom publications.

Varty says he and Voigt didn’t know each other at Guelph but worked together briefly after graduation. “The Guelph connection was totally there,” says Varty, of his decision to join the company. “One of the things I always liked about Guelph was that it was more people oriented, and that was one of the things that struck me about Jon. He was always very people focused.”

Building trust is especially important in the IT industry, adds Varty, because those who work in the field often work with each other.

Although he majored in English at U of G, Varty took enough computer courses in his second and third year to earn a minor. “Everyone said I would hate it because it would be too hard, but I loved it,” he says.

How much does he love his work? Watch a video of Varty describing his most recent projects.