Paying it Forward

Dunstan Peter, EMBA’15, left Sri Lanka as a teen and moved to Canada, where he has built a group of successful businesses. It’s no coincidence that many members of his workforce are fellow newcomers.
Shelley Pleiter

Dunstan Peter was only 17 when he immigrated to Toronto in 1993 to join his family after a five-year separation. His schooling had stopped at Grade 5 due to the civil war in Sri Lanka at the time. When he arrived in Canada, he was placed into Grade 10, and worked hard to overcome language and financial challenges to pursue his goals of a higher education. “I worked nights and on weekends to help support my family,” Dunstan recalls. 

Fast forward to 2017 and this energetic and determined entrepreneur is the founder and CEO of several companies, including his first enterprise, Trinity Tech Inc., which employs more than 150 people in five offices across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. 

In building his companies, Dunstan has hired many newcomers to Canada, recognizing that a diverse workforce would be an advantage. “It has been extremely gratifying to give internationally trained engineers the opportunity to gain their first Canadian work experience,” says Dunstan. “This is often the first step towards attaining their Canadian professional designation. Roughly 60% of our Canadian employees are immigrants and this has led to Trinity Tech receiving Canadian public and non-profit sector awards for supporting new immigrants to Canada.”

Dunstan made the most of the educational opportunities Canada afforded him, earning an electrical engineering degree from Western University, coupled with an applied degree from Fanshawe College in process control, robotics and electronics. 

His first job, post-graduation, was at one of the Big Three automotive manufacturers in Windsor. During his four years working on the plant floor, Dunstan saw ways of improving processes and quality controls in the handling of electronic components. Armed with this knowledge, in 2009 Dunstan launched Trinity Tech Inc., an engineering firm serving the automotive-manufacturing sector. “We completed a number of projects and our reputation grew as the business expanded,” he says. 

Dunstan, aged 17, shortly after his arrival in Toronto.

Dunstan, aged 17, shortly after his arrival in Toronto.

Dunstan was able to continue to grow the company while completing his Executive MBA at Queen’s. “I also obtained a certificate from the China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS), a Queen’s partner,” says Dunstan. “Both programs helped me to expand my business knowledge and professional network, which further propelled my company’s growth.”

Today the company provides a wide range of engineering and related services to more than 225 automotive companies in North America and Europe. 

Dunstan and his wife Chamila live in the Greater Toronto Area with their twin sons. Teaching by example the importance of giving back is a priority for the couple. “As a family, we support a wide variety of community and charitable organizations through our own Trinity Star Foundation, which funds scholarship programs and other philanthropic activities locally and globally,” Dunstan says. “Our dreams of a peaceful and prosperous life in Canada have come true. We’re privileged to be able to give back to support the dreams of others.”