Trent Experience Still Serving Lifelong Leading-Edge Entrepreneur Well

Stuart Butts’ leadership skills, drive to be “part of something new” honed at Trent  

Stuart Butts

 A lifelong desire to be “part of something new” has led Trent University alumnus Stuart Butts to a role as leader with GrackleDocs Inc, a pioneering enterprise that builds accessibility add-ons that are fully compatible with Google’s G Suite offerings.

A political science and economics graduate during Trent’s foundational years in the 1960s, Mr. Butts says that experience “created a base for lifelong learning” and set the course for all that followed, including a lengthy tenure as co-founding chairman of mainframe software company Xenos Group Inc. and, more recently, with GrackleDocs.

GrackleDocs is a free Google Docs add-on that outlines changes that need to be made in order to make a document both accessible and compliant with accessibility requirements and regulations. The add-on helps generate documents that can be read by a screen reader while making better-structured documents overall. In addition to checking a Google Doc’s accessibility, the add-on also offers a step-by-step process that teaches accessibility rules and best practices.

“We’re a disruptor for people with consulting businesses…people earning a lot of money by manually rectifying documents,” says Mr. Butts, noting the firm’s technology has brought it school district, college, and university clients in more than 20 countries.

At Trent, as president of the Champlain College cabinet and editor of The Sword, Mr. Butts says he had the opportunity to demonstrate and hone the leadership skills that still serve him very well.

“I’m a start-up guy,” he notes. “I enjoy pursuing new ideas and bringing resources together, both people and, to some extent, capital,” he says.

“I think my greatest asset is my curiosity and my ability at, and comfort with, being a pioneer. I like to say I’ve made my living doing things I know nothing about. The integrated learning system (at Trent), with interdisciplinary courses, is terribly important. It’s amazing how many people I’ve run into who only know their own topic and aren’t prepared to speculate outside what they know. I have no shame in that regard.”

The owner of a 94-acre farm property near Whitby, Mr. Butts focus has again recently shifted, this time towards a proposed Trent-led effort to create a holistic and integrated food sovereignty/food security movement in Peterborough, Durham, and surrounding areas. He anticipates news on that front being released in the coming months.