Web & Internet Strategy + Solutions

Rob Wilson – President / Lead Strategist

1992: Hand-Coded HTML & Bitmapped Images

Rob Wilson’s career in web communications began in 1992, while he was studying Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. For $2 a month, the university provided students with some FTP / web space.

“I’d stay up late after finishing up my classwork learning HTML,” says Rob. “My first website had various college and university papers I’d written, and my bio / resume.” The graphics were simple bitmapped images done in Microsoft Paint. “The site was probably 10 pages altogether – not much of a site, really, but it probably took me several hundred hours to ‘design’ and code it.”

Rob quickly came to the realization that he’d found a passion. “I found it incredible that I could publish something from my little dorm room that was immediately accessible by people around the world,” says Rob.

1994: Icons & Text

In 1994, while still a student, Rob started iContext Internet, building small websites for local Vancouver businesses. “I came up with the name from what the web was at the time, icons and text,” he says. “I also thought it was a great play on words – that I could provide clients with context around how they could leverage the Internet to achieve their business goals.”

Rob also ended up winning a small contest for the university’s ‘best web page’ in 1996. “The prize was a $100 UBC Bookstore gift certificate, which I spent on a copy of Microsoft FrontPage, one of the first WYSIWYG web page editors,” says Rob. The contest led to the offer of a summer job helping to create UBC IT‘s first website. “I learned CGI scripting so that we could implement a dynamic Javascript menu, generated on the fly,” he says. “It was pretty advanced stuff at the time.”

Rob completed his B. Ed. that summer, but the same day that Rob was offered a substitute teaching position in Abbotsford, he received a call from the Manager of a new unit with UBC IT. “They were looking at starting up an enterpise solutions group, and one of the areas of focus was going to be this whole new “web” thing that was really beginning to take off,” says Rob. “I decided that I had to see where this path might lead.”

2000: Leading the Web at Western Canada’s Most Prestigious University

Rob went on to work at UBC for several years, eventually becoming the university’s chief web strategist, working out of the UBC Public Affairs unit. “My time there was amazing,” he says. “I learned so much about public relations, marketing and communications in general. I built a great team of web professionals and we really tried to bring UBC along in having a cohesive, professional web presence, not an easy task with 600+ independent sites.” Along the way, Rob also got to meet and shake hands with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. “It’s not every job that has unique perks like that!” he says with a grin.

Into the Future

Rob continued to grow iContext while working at UBC, gaining such diverse clients as General Paint, Conair Aerospace, and the Vancouver Golf Club. “Eventually it came time to leave UBC and focus on iContext full time,” says Rob.

Since then, iContext has grown to include several team members and partners and a large, stable base of active clients. The company has expanded services over the years to include web hosting, web application development, and content / social media marketing. “Several of our clients have been with iContext for more than 10 years, something I’m very proud of,” says Rob.