Catherine Clark is a nationally respected broadcaster, public speaker, emcee and writer, and the President of Catherine Clark Communications Inc.

Through her work in television and radio, Catherine has interviewed Canada’s most influential people to reveal the personal, human side of public life. She also served as the host and co-producer of The Residences, a television documentary series offering an unprecedented look behind the scenes at the homes of Canada’s leaders at Rideau Hall and 24 Sussex Drive.

Catherine is the Giving Back columnist for Ottawa at Home Magazine, has written for the Toronto Star and The Ottawa Citizen, and been published in The Globe and Mail, Canadian Living and Magazine FORCES.

Catherine is a member of the national board of CARE Canada and of the organizing committee of the Politics and the Pen Gala benefitting The Writers’ Trust.

Welcome Remarks

Ambassador Bruce Heyman is the co-founder of Uncharted, a new venture engaging in creative philanthropy, impact investments, and political activism. There, he combines his political, economic, and charitable experience to create sustained impact among diverse communities. Most recently, he served as the United States Ambassador to Canada under President Barack Obama from 2014 until 2017. He continues his work strengthening the relationship between Canada and the United States by serving as a strategic advisor to Canada 2020, a Canadian progressive think-tank based in Ottawa, as a member of the advisory board to the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center, and as an honorary patron to the Council of the Great Lakes Region. He is also on the advisory board for Uptake in Chicago. Ambassador Heyman is a 33 year veteran of Goldman Sachs, where he served as partner and managing director in the Chicago office. He previously served as a board member for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation. He also served as an advisor to the Fix the Debt CEO Council of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. He has been a member of The Executives’ Club of Chicago and the Facing History and Ourselves Chicago Advisory Board. A magna cum laude graduate with both a BA and an MBA from Vanderbilt University, Ambassador Heyman continues to maintain close ties to his alma mater. He is past president of the Alumni Board and a former member of the Board of Visitors at the university’s Owen Graduate School of Management. He and his wife Vicki live in Chicago, where they celebrate their family and friendships. They have three children and three beautiful grandchildren.

Keynote Speakers

Keynote speakers and moderators include some of the region’s most influential decision makers.

Tony spent over 30 years in the Marketing industry and was CEO of J.Walter Thompson Canada ( JWT) from 1999 to 2014. During his tenure, Tony founded JWT Ethos a social change practice and introduced the practice in the US, UK, India, China, Mexico and Japan.

In 2002, Tony initiated a UN Partnership project between UNESCO, JWT Global and the Canadian Government and led a delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesberg. He also served as Special Advisor to UNESCO Paris on the 2009 Global Report on Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue.

In 2009 Tony co founded BRANDTRADE, a Trade based Development company with a vision to connect small producers/SMEs with markets worldwide. The company has implemented go to market programs in Haiti and Peru with the support of the Governments of Canada and Peru.

Tony now plays a lead role in the development of NexxusTrade, a globally unique business to business E-commerce marketplace. It integrates capacity building solutions with a comprehensive E Commerce system to both simplify and grow SME trade domestically and internationally. The vision for NexxusTrade was first presented at the APEC Trade Minister’s Summit in Peru in 2016.

As Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Premier of Québec, and with a public service career spanning almost 30 years, Jean Charest is one of Canada’s best known political figures.

Jean Charest was first elected to the House of Commons in 1984 and, at age 28, became Canada’s youngest cabinet minister as Minister of State for Youth. In 1991, he was named Minister of the Environment and Minister of Industry and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada in 1993. In 1994, Jean Charest was chosen Leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party. He held that post until 1998 when he became Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. Mr. Charest then broke a 50-year provincial record by winning three consecutive election campaigns in 2003, 2007 and 2008. Furthermore, the Charest government initiated an unprecedented labour mobility agreement between France and Québec and was best known for a major initiative for the sustainable development of Northern Québec called “Plan Nord”. Jean Charest is notably the initiator of the negotiation for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). He is today a Partner at Canadian law firm McCarthy Tétrault, where he provides invaluable expertise to the firm’s clients with his in-depth knowledge and experience with public policy, corporate Canada and international matters. As a strategic advisor with a unique perspective, he supports our clients on complex transactions, projects and international mandates, as they navigate the global business environment.

Douglas George is the Consul General of Canada in Detroit, and is responsible for the States of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. He is a career diplomat with 35 years of experience, and most recently served as Canada’s Ambassador to Kuwait.

Recognized as a trade policy expert, Mr. George has worked in numerous economic posts at Global Affairs Canada, including the Commercial Policy Division, the GATT Division, and the US Trade and Economic Policy Division. He served as Senior Departmental Advisor to Canada’s Minister of International Trade as well as Director of the Softwood Lumber Division, the Intellectual Property Trade Policy Division, and the Tariffs and Goods Market Access Division.

Abroad, Consul General George has directed trade policy issues at the Canadian Mission to the European Union in Brussels as well as serving as a negotiator at the Canadian mission to the GATT/World Trade Organisation in Geneva. He also served in Kingston, Jamaica.

He has a Bachelor of Science Degree (Zoology) from the University of Toronto and his Masters of Business Administration from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Born in Quyon in Outaouais in 1981, married to Marlene Floyd and father of two daughters, this young politician has been representing the Outaouais region since 2014. He has been a member of the ministerial committee in charge of the Economy, Job creation and Sustainable development and has occupied the position of parliamentary assistant for the Minister of Finance. Last October, Premier Philippe Couillard, asked him to take the reins of the Ministry of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification.

Minister Fortin has a Master’s degree in business administration from the University of Ottawa, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree in commercial science, with a major in public administration. He is well accustomed to the political world, having worked as press secretary for the office of the Leader of the Official opposition (2006), media officer for the office of Canada’s Prime Minister (2005-2006) and press secretary for the office of the Transport Minister (2004-2005).

Before getting into politics, Mr. Fortin was Director of public affairs for the Brewers Association of Canada (2007-2013) and Director of governmental affairs for TELUS (2013-2014). He takes the general population’s interests at heart and is dedicated to thoroughly carrying out his projects.

Mark’s work experience includes almost four decades at M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank and BMO Harris Bank. He retired in 2010 as M&I’s executive vice president and chief credit officer before signing on to serve as senior adviser to BMO Harris in 2011. Mark served in this role until being appointed by Governor Scott Walker to his current position in September 2015. A Green Bay native, Mark earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame and received his MBA from Marquette University. Mark currently serves on the boards of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Milwaukee, as well as the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Finance Council. He has also served on the boards of the Children’s Hospital and Health System, the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, the Milwaukee County Historical Society, Marquette University High School and Mount Mary University, among others.

James J. Zehringer was appointed the director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) on November 15, 2011, and he previously served as the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).

Zehringer currently serves as a commissioner on the Lake Erie Commission as well as the Great Lakes Commission. He also sits on the Council of Great Lakes Governors as Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s representative and served as the chair of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council in 2016 during the Waukesha water diversion negotiations. Zehringer was also involved in creating legislation to better improve water quality in Lake Erie, such as Senate Bill 150 in 2014, which requires farmers to be certified to apply fertilizer, and Senate Bill 1 in 2015, which set standards on nutrient applications on frozen or snow-covered ground or applying nutrients when rain is imminent.

As the former owner of Meiring Poultry and Fish Farm in Fort Recovery, Ohio, Zehringer has displayed a commitment to conservation. He raised poultry and tilapia on his farm and received several environmental and conservation awards for his efforts, including the Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award from the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association. He was also honored with the Environmental Stewardship Award from the Ohio Poultry Association.

Prior to becoming director of ODA, Zehringer was elected and served rural western Ohio, representing the 77th House District (specifically Mercer and Preble counties as well as portions of Darke County) in the Ohio House of Representatives as a state representative from 2007-2011. He served as a Mercer County commissioner from 2002-2007.

ODNR focuses on both regulation and recreation, regulating the shale development industry while also overseeing recreational activities such as hunting, fishing and boating. Key priorities for Director Zehringer include regulating shale development responsibly; addressing water quality issues statewide; and promoting, updating and preserving Ohio State Parks.

Emad Rizkalla’s family immigrated to Canada from Egypt when he was seven years old. He grew up mostly in St. John’s, NL and became a serial entrepreneur, starting his first company in 1992 before graduating from Memorial University with a mechanical engineering degree. The innovative companies he has created, and their spin offs, currently employ over 500 people, with the majority still in Atlantic Canada. He is a sought after speaker, business leader and innovator in Canada, the US and around the world.

Today, Emad is the CEO of Bluedrop Performance Learning, based in St. John’s. Bluedrop employs almost 200 people and is a global innovator in workplace e-learning and simulation. The company is transforming the way governments, foundations, unions and companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin deliver, track and manage skills development. Bluedrop appeared in the Profit500 list in 2016 for the third year after posting a 550% growth over a five year period.

Emad received The Globe & Mail’s prestigious “Top 40 Under 40” honours in 2000 when was still under 30. At that time, he was also profiled in a TIME Magazine cover story as one of “8 Young Dynamic Entrepreneurs Who Will Create the 21st Century”. Emad has spoken at conferences around the world and advised several current and former heads of state on how economies can adapt to the current revolution in the nature of work. He has appeared in numerous national and several global media including CBC, CTV, the Globe and Mail, BBC Radio and Bloomberg News. His views on the revolution occurring in the nature of work is often featured in the Huffington Post.

Mr. Alsace is a career Senior Foreign Service Officer with 31 years of service. Prior to assuming his current position in August 2015, Mr. Alsace was an Assistant Professor at the National Defense University (Eisenhower College, 2014-2015). He was previously Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (2012-2014) and Chief of the War Crimes, Democracy and Human Rights Division in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2010-2012). Mr. Alsace returned to Washington service following several years of overseas postings, including in Iraq as Team Leader of an embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team (2009-2010), Economic and Political Counselor in Santiago, Chile (2006-2009), and Consul General in Barcelona, Spain (2003-2006).

Mr. Alsace is a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College (2003). He has also served in Istanbul, Turkey as Deputy Principal Officer (1999-2002) and in several other Washington assignments, including as desk officer for Lebanon and for Kazakhstan, as a staff assistant to the NEA Assistant Secretary, and as Pearson Fellow in the office of Senator Russell Feingold, who was then on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee. Mr. Alsace has also been posted to Karachi, Santo Domingo, and Quito.

Originally from Buffalo, NY, Mr. Alsace is a graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI and obtained his law degree from the University of Minnesota. He practiced law for three years before joining the Foreign Service. Mr. Alsace has received several State Department Awards, including three Superior Honor Awards and four Meritorious Honor Awards. He is married to Nancy, a nurse practitioner, and has two children. He speaks Spanish and remembers a few useful Turkish phrases.

Mr. Gordon Walker of Toronto, Ontario, is a non-practising lawyer who previously directed his own consulting firm in Toronto. A graduate from Western University, receiving a B.A and LLB, Mr. Walker served in the Ontario Legislature as Member of Provincial Parliament for London for twelve years between 1971 and 1985, seven of which were in Cabinet where he served as Minister of Correctional Services, Provincial Secretary for Justice, Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, and Minister of Industry and Trade.

A native of St Thomas, Ontario, Gordon Walker resided in London from 1961-1991 where he practiced law from the time of his call to the Bar in 1969, and was a City Councillor in London, having been elected first in 1966. He moved to Toronto in 1991 where he was counsel to several substantial law firms. From 1992 until 1995 he served the International Joint Commission as a Canadian Commissioner; and nearly 20 years later, on June 6th, 2013, became a Governor In Council appointment to the IJC, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, his second term in that position. In January 2014 Mr. Walker became acting Chair of the IJC Canadian Section. In December 2014, pursuant to the Boundary Waters Treaty, Canadian Commissioners selected Commissioner Walker as the Canadian Chair.

Mr. Walker is married to Harriet Hedley Walker, and they have two grown children, Wynsome and Melanie, who both make their homes, with their families, in Toronto.

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Member of Parliament for Waterloo, was appointed Minister of Small Business and Tourism on November 4, 2015 and became Canada’s first female house leader on August 19, 2016. A natural leader and organizer, Ms. Chagger is devoted to inclusion and community building. From assisting with recreational sports for kids to volunteering with seniors, she is committed to strengthening the bonds of the Waterloo community.

In her role with the Kitchener–Waterloo Multicultural Centre, Ms. Chagger has worked to foster diversity within the community, providing opportunities for social and economic engagement. As the former executive assistant to the Honourable Andrew Telegdi, she gained a deep understanding of the issues that are important to residents of Waterloo, including manufacturing, technology and innovation.

Passionate about community involvement, Ms. Chagger has lent her support to many different causes and organizations, including the Rotary Club of Waterloo, Interfaith Grand River and the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin. She considers herself part of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms generation and has participated in policy conferences on many issues, including the advancement of same-sex marriage rights and the national manufacturing strategy.

The Minister graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Science. In 2012, The Waterloo Region Record recognized her as one of “40 under 40” who would lead the Region of Waterloo into the future.

Edward Stones is Global Business Director, Energy and Climate Change for Dow. He is responsible for delivering Energy Business profitability and power production at the 15 Company-operated power facilities, as well as steam, utilities and energy service to more than 300 manufacturing facilities globally. He leads Dow’s energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction efforts, and actively participates in the Company’s global advocacy efforts for energy sustainability and climate change.

Stones joined Union Carbide Corporation in 1997, now a subsidiary of Dow, as a manufacturing engineer at the St. Charles, Louisiana site. After a number of manufacturing, finance and commercial roles in Hydrocarbons, Specialty Chemicals and Plastics, he was named Director, Energy Risk in 2007. He relocated to Horgen, Switzerland and was named Director, Hydrocarbons Business Development and EMEA Plastics Strategic Development in 2010. In 2012, he was appointed Director, Global Hydrocarbons Business Development and Hydrocarbons Risk Management. In 2014, Stones relocated to Midland and was appointed Senior Director for Investor Relations. He has presented to Dow investors, as well as governmental, NGO and industry stakeholders throughout the world.

Stones served as Chair of the Industrial Efficiency sub-committee in the writing of the National Petroleum Council "Hard Truths" report and has provided testimony to the US Senate Energy Committee on the role of natural gas in climate change. He has served on the European Petrochemical Association Young Executive Think Tank. Stones led the negotiation of Sadara feedstocks agreements with Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco). Sadara is a joint venture between Dow and Saudi Aramco, comprising one of the world’s largest integrated chemical facilities and the largest ever built in a single phase.

Stones holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from Louisiana State University.

As Vice-Chairman at Edelman, Stephen Schmidt is a strategic counselor to chief executive officers and senior decision makers at global corporations, professional sports franchises, non-profit organizations and academic institutions. Recognized as one of the top public affairs and political strategists in the country, he has provided counsel on a wide range of issues, including telecommunications, technology, financial services, energy, health care, entertainment and gaming. He has been described by national media as a “damage control master.” Earlier in his career, Steve served as a top strategist to President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign. As a member of the senior planning group that led the campaign, he was responsible for directing and implementing the campaign's communications operations, including serving as chief spokesperson.

Following the President’s successful re-election, Steve joined the Administration as Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor to the Vice President. As a member of the senior staff, he worked on a wide range of issues at the intersection of communications, policy development, legislative advocacy and political strategy. During his tenure at the White House, Steve played a leading role in the confirmations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court. In 2005, at the behest of the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Steve traveled to Iraq to assess and improve communications in the war zone.

In January 2006, Steve departed the White House to lead the re-election of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger's landslide victory was described by The New York Times as "particularly remarkable given that the Governor appeared to be all but finished just six months ago." The Los Angeles Times commended Steve as having "ran a nearly flawless campaign" and overseen a re-election that "ran against a political tide that swamped other Republicans across the nation.” This victory earned Steve “GOP Campaign Manager of the Year” from the American Association of Political Consultants.

In 2007, Steve served as a senior advisor to John McCain’s presidential bid helping him re-build his campaign and secure the Republican nomination for President of the United States. In the General election, Steve was vested with day-to-day control of operations, which, according to The Washington Post, brought “new life” to the campaign. The New York Times reported that under Steve’s leadership the McCain organization became “a campaign transformed: an elbows-out, risk-taking, disciplined machine.” Steve and his family now reside in Park City, Utah, where they continue to enjoy all mountain sports and activities.

Douglas Porter has over 30 years of experience analyzing global economies and financial markets. As Chief Economist at BMO Financial Group, he oversees the macroeconomic and financial market forecasts and co-authors the firm’s weekly flagship publication, Focus. Mr. Porter manages the team that has won numerous awards including Best Forecaster for Canada by Focus Economics in 2016, top Canadian forecaster by Bloomberg and the prestigious Lawrence Klein award for forecast accuracy of the U.S. economy.

As a respected commentator on economic and financial trends, he is regularly quoted in the national press and often interviewed on radio and television.

Before joining BMO, Mr. Porter held the positions of Economist and Country Risk Analyst with other Canadian financial institutions, and began his career at the Bank of Canada.

Mr. Porter has been a member of C.D. Howe’s Monetary Policy Council since 2008 and serves on the Investment Management Committees of the Bank of Montreal’s Canada Pension Plan and Western’s Endowment Fund. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance.

Mr. Porter, CFA, earned a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario.


Ted Gruetzner is Vice-President, Stakeholder Relations at Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Ontario’s publicly-owned electricity generating company. In his role as Vice-President is responsible for the company’s First Nations and Community relationships across the province. He’s held a variety of positions in the energy industry and is also Chair of the CGLR Board.

Sandrine Rastello is Montreal bureau chief for Bloomberg News. She has written about business, economics and politics for more than 15 years from Paris, Washington and Mumbai. In Montreal, she has been writing about Quebec's leading companies, while chronicling the province's economic renaissance. Sandrine is a native of France and has degrees from Sciences Po and Northwestern University.

David Scanlan is the Bloomberg News Managing Editor for Canada and is responsible for news coverage in the country. Based in Toronto, he oversees news bureaus in Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Scanlan joined Bloomberg in 1996 as the company’s first reporter in Bogota, Colombia. He then worked as bureau chief for Lima, Sao Paulo and Madrid, before returning to his hometown of Toronto in 2003. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Scanlan was a business and features reporter at the Ottawa Citizen. He also worked for the CBC, The Economist, The Financial Times, Miami Herald, Tortonto Star and Maclean's magazine. He has received accolades and scholarships from the Committee to Protect Journalists, Canadian Association of Journalists and the Ottawa Community Group. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa.

Michael Crawford Urban is the Practice Lead for Government Transformation at the Mowat Centre, a public policy think-tank affiliated with the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance. While at Mowat, Michael has focused on a variety of issues ranging from science education, to proposals for a basic income, to Canada’s response to climate change. The majority of his research at Mowat, however, has focused on the impact of disruptive technological developments – such as the sharing economy and autonomous vehicles – on public policy. Michael’s current research on blockchain is a part of this work.

Originally from Winnipeg, Michael holds a doctorate in International Relations from the University of Oxford, as well as degrees from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and Queen’s University. His research and analysis have appeared in both academic publications and major newspapers such as The Toronto Star, The National Post and The Winnipeg Free Press. Michael has also worked with Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa, most recently in the department’s Policy Research Division; as the Returning Officer for the federal riding of Spadina-Fort York in the 2015 federal election; and in the think-tank and NGO sectors in Toronto and Ottawa.

Sarah Goldfeder is a Principal at the Earnscliffe Strategy Group in Ottawa and a fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. She provides high-level insight on the inner workings of the U.S. and Canadian governments, including how they work together on important issues. With 15 years of experience in the U.S. federal government, Sarah most recently served as Special Assistant to two U.S. Ambassadors to Canada, fostering bilateral relationships at the most senior levels. Her understanding of the interplay between state and federal governments complements her service within the U.S. federal bureaucracy. She has expertise in a wide range of policy issues, which has enabled her to provide practical short and long-term advice on managing the economic, cultural and political dynamics in North America.

Prior to her arrival in Ottawa, Sarah spent three years in Mexico as a Foreign Service Officer, cultivating a deep understanding of U.S./Mexico border issues and appreciation for a region revitalizing itself after years of violence and fear. Her experiences have convinced her of the potential for a stronger, more cohesive partnership across the North American continent. In her work, she seeks to maximize the region's ability to advance the movement of people, goods, and services; the supply, production, and use of energy; and balancing the energy and environment equation. Sarah has also served in Southeast Asia, giving her a global perspective on North American policy development and an appreciation of the opportunities available both within and beyond the Western hemisphere.

Sarah is a North American nomad, with a father from Brooklyn, a mother from Chicago, and a life lived in eight states, six countries, and three continents. She calls the American West her home, having studied at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon and Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Dr. Trevor Pitcher is currently an Associate Professor, Director of the Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre (a partnership with the Town of LaSalle) and Executive Director (Acting), for the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER) at the University of Windsor. In his capacity as Executive Director (Acting), Dr. Pitcher oversees the activities of the University of Windsor’s research related to safeguarding healthy Great Lakes, providing leadership and direction with respect to the implementation and promotion of the University’s strategic research mandate. Specializing in aquatic ecology, Dr. Pitcher’s research focuses on the conservation and restoration of Great Lakes fishes (e.g. Lake Sturgeon, Atlantic salmon) fish aquatic contaminant stress, and restoration ecology. As the Founding Director of the University of Windsor’s Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre (FREC) in LaSalle, Ontario, Dr. Pitcher is currently engaged in scientific research aimed at restoring economically important species of fish in the Great Lakes to self-sustaining population levels. He is a frequent invited conference speaker and has published more than 80 scientific papers on these topics. In addition to research, the FREC hosts many public and school groups to educate them about water quality, invasive species and species at risk in the Great Lakes. Dr. Pitcher has received many awards and honours for his success as both a research and a top educator including the 2017 JC Stevenson Award (for top Canadian Aquatic Scientist – national award). a prestigious NSERC Synergy Award, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Research Award, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Award, as well as several University of Windsor Research and Teaching Excellence Awards. To date, he has supervised more than 60 graduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Pitcher is actively involved in committee and board work. He has served on the editorial boards of Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Genetica, Animal Behavior, and Frontiers in Ecology scientific journals. Dr. Pitcher is also frequently called upon as review committee member for various granting agencies, including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Australian Research Council. He has served as Chair of the Animal Care Committee for the Animal Behavior Society (North America) and on the University of Windsor’s Animal Care Committee. At the University of Windsor, Dr. Pitcher has also served as a member of Senate, the Strategic Research Planning Committee, the Environmental Forum Committee, and the Pelee Environmental Research Centre Working Group. Dr. Pitchers holds a PhD in Zoology from the University of Toronto and a BSc and MSc in Biology from York University.

Patrick Whalen is Director of the Niagara Global Tourism Institute (NGTI). He has been a serial entrepreneur who has started over 20 businesses in a variety of industries.

Before joining the NGTI, Pat served as the COO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) for 8 years. In addition to managing the BNMC day-to-day operations Pat was the BNMC’s unofficial “entrepreneur–in-residence.” As such, Pat worked to foster collaboration and job creation on campus and throughout the bi-national region.

Among the businesses Pat has started is Fulfillment Systems International (FSI), a technology driven logistics services provider. FSI grew from a 1-man startup in 1985 to a firm with over 200 employees in 5 locations in Canada, Europe, and the USA before being sold to UPS in 2000. It is now part of UPS Supply Chain Solutions.

He currently sits on the board of directors of: the Association of University Research Parks; World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara; Canadian American Border Trade Alliance; WNY Public Broadcasting WNED | WBFO; Health Science Charter School, and Continental.

He was the secretary of the Direct Marketing Industry Working Group in Washington, DC; and has served on the boards of the Buffalo & Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority; Rotary Club of Buffalo (twice); the American Red Cross Buffalo Chapter; Bi-National Tourism Alliance; the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Alumni Association (twice) and Buffalo Niagara WorldConnect. He was the co-chair of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Logistics Council and conceptualized and co-founded Come-to-America which seeks to utilize the Buffalo Niagara region’s logistics assets to attract international companies. A Rotarian since ’86, he was an organizer of the new Rotary club on the BNMC where he served on its board of directors during the club’s inaugural year.

He is a graduate of the University at Buffalo’s School of Management Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and attended Canisius College.

Chris Smillie, TACTIX Principal, is an experienced government relations and public affairs practitioner with a decade of experience on Parliament Hill in Ottawa negotiating the complex legislative and communications environment for a variety of interests.

Chris is a leader in digital advocacy methods, grassroots organization, coalition building, legislative relationship building and political communication. Over the past decade, he has delivered creative solutions for mandates in energy policy, industrial development policy, workforce and labour issues, immigration, and Canada/US trade. Chris led public affairs and government relations for Canada’s Building Trades Unions which represents more than 500,000 workers from coast to coast.

Chris is a graduate from Western University's Honours Political Science programme and graduated from the McMaster/Syracuse Masters of Communication Management (MCM) programme in 2017. Chris sits on a number of not-for- profit boards, widening his policy interest and advocacy experience.

Professor Malcolm Campbell is Vice-President Research of the University of Guelph. A distinguished scholar and accomplished plant genome biologist, Prof. Campbell has an outstanding academic leadership and research record. Prof. Campbell completed his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1991 at the University of Guelph and the University of British Columbia. Following post-doctoral work in Toulouse, France and Raleigh, North Carolina, he held a tenured faculty position at the University of Oxford from 1996-2004. In 2004, he joined the University of Toronto, where he held simultaneous professorial appointments in the Department of Cell and Systems Biology, the Faculty of Forestry, the Department of Biological Sciences, the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the Graduate Department of Environmental Sciences. Prof. Campbell was vice-principal of research at the University of Toronto Scarborough between 2009 and 2015, a period of extensive growth in the campus’s research activity and intensity, where he oversaw heightened research competitiveness and reputation. Dr. Campbell’s own research is in the area of plant genome biology, in which he leads a productive research team. At University of Guelph, Prof. Campbell is institutional lead of their Canada First Research Excellence Fund initiative, Food from Thought, a big data analytics platform for the agrifood sector. Campbell also serves on journal editorial boards, scientific and non-scientific advisory boards, and advises governmental, non-governmental, private sector, and community organisations.

Christopher Hilkene is an environment and sustainable development professional who has provided public policy and communications advice to public, private and not-for-profit sector clients over 20 years. In addition to his current role as CEO of Pollution Probe, Canada’s oldest environmental charity, Chris is President of the Clean Water Foundation, a Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to engaging individuals in actions that preserve, protect and improve our water. Periodically, he teaches courses on water policy and sustainable development at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. During his public service career, Chris worked in the federal and Ontario governments in numerous political and departmental functions, including: Special Assistant to the federal Minister of the Environment; and, Communications Advisor in the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

In 2014, Chris was appointed to the Great Lakes Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission (IJC) and serves as the Canadian Lead on emerging issues. He also serves on the IJC’s Climate Change Working Group. In 2007, Chris became the youngest person ever appointed to the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, where he served as Chair of the Water Programme.

He is an active volunteer and has served on boards and advisory bodies for numerous organizations including Ryerson University, Pollution Probe, Carleton University’s Global Water Institute, the City of Toronto’s Task Force to Bring Back the Don, Green Living Enterprises and the George and Helen Vari Foundation.

He holds a Master’s of Environmental Studies Degree from York University and an Honours Bachelor Arts Degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Dvorah has a keen interest in system transformation and shaping health policy in Ontario.

In her current role with Roche, she works to shape an environment that ensures the best possible care and outcomes for patients, and supports research and innovation. Her focus for the last two years has been on fostering and leveraging strategic partnerships with officials, decision makers, and subject matter experts at the political and bureaucratic level, to develop and implement solutions that will contribute to a sustainable healthcare system in Ontario.

Dvorah has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry since 1994. Prior to joining Roche in 2013, Dvorah spent many years in various reimbursement and health economic roles at several large pharmaceutical companies including Amgen, Janssen, SmithKline Beecham, Pharmacia, and Pfizer Canada.

Dvorah teaches indoor cycling in her spare time. She hails from St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador and will gladly talk your ear off about her province any time you give her a chance.

David Adams is a 30 year veteran of the Canadian automotive industry.   He brings a unique perspective to the industry being the only individual to have served in executive roles with both of Canada’s leading automotive industry associations.
David was appointed President of the Global Automakers of Canada (formerly the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada) in March 2005.    The GAC is the national industry association representing the interests of 15 global automakers engaged in the manufacture, importation, distribution and servicing of light duty vehicles in Canada.

Prior to his appointment as president of the GAC, he worked for 18 years in increasingly responsible positions with the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA).

David has a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in economics and psychology, from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

He has been involved in the creation of two alternative dispute resolution programs within the automotive industry - the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP) for which he is the immediate past Chair of the Board, and the National Automobile Dealer Arbitration Program (NADAP).

David also serves as a director of the Automotive Business School of Canada, at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario.

Additionally, David is a regular columnist in Canadian Auto Dealer and past contributor to Canadian Autoworld, both monthly trade magazines for the Canadian automotive industry.

David is an avid cyclist and resides in Toronto with his wife Julie.

Dr. Anne Snowdon is a Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Academic Chair of the World Health Innovation Network (WIN), and Scientific Director and CEO of SCAN Health, a Networks of Centres of Excellence International Knowledge Translation Platform, at the University of Windsor, Odette School of Business. SCAN Health is a global network of partners from industry, academia, health systems, and government focused on advancing supply chain infrastructure in health systems to strengthen quality, safety, and system performance. Dr. Snowdon is also leading over 15 innovation research initiatives across seven Canadian provinces that collaborate with government, health professionals, private industry, foundations, and families. She is a member of the Ontario Health Innovation Council, is Vice Chair of the Board of the Directors for Alberta Innovates, a board member of the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and is an Expert Advisor to the Canadian Space Agency focused on Space Health and Innovation: Emerging challenges, new opportunities and benefits to society. Dr. Snowdon holds patents, and has commercialized a highly successful booster seat product for children traveling in vehicles. She holds a PhD in Nursing from the University of Michigan, an MSc from McGill University, and BScN from Western University. She is a Fulbright Scholar, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurses, and received the CIHR Partnership Award for her partnership with the automotive industry focused on injury prevention for children.

Wayne is the founding Chair of the International Inter-Tribal Trade and Investment Organization. He is also Senior Lawyer and Principal Director of Garwill Law Professional Corp. that offers litigation, ADR and corporate commercial services with a particular interest in Aboriginal law, Customs, Excise and International Trade law. Wayne enjoys resolving challenging civil litigation and corporate commercial law problems that have a mix of Aboriginal law and Trade Law concepts. Providing corporate law services to young and growing start-up companies and First Nation business ventures is a passion for Wayne.

Wayne was born on the Moosomin First Nation, Treaty 6 territory in Saskatchewan. He received his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Windsor and his Bachelor of Laws at Queen’s University. He was called to the bar in the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1992 and to the Law Society of British Columbia in 1994. For nine years he was a lawyer practicing in the Litigation Section, Department of Justice, Ottawa and Vancouver Regional Office. As a lawyer Wayne gained litigation and ADR experience in most federal boards and tribunals, the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal as well as the Superior and Appeal Courts of Ontario and British Columbia. In 1999 he accepted the position of Senior Litigation Counsel, Sierra Legal Defence Fund, Eagle Project (Environmental and Aboriginal Guardianship through Law and Education) in Vancouver which litigates aboriginal title/ environmental issues on behalf of First Nations in British Columbia and Alberta. In 2001 Wayne obtained his Certificate in Advanced Alternative Dispute Resolution from the University of Windsor. In the fall of 2008 he received his Masters of specializing in Judicial Administration Management theory and practice at Dalhousie University.

From 2008 to 2011 Wayne was the President of the National Council for Aboriginal Federal Employees (NCAFE). Wayne is currently an active member in the Indigenous Bar Association, the Canadian Bar Association (Aboriginal Law, Corporate Law, Civil Litigation and Administrative Law chapters), the Carleton County Law Association, the Advocates’ Society and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

Wayne held various federal executive legal positions, including: Registrar of the Federal Court of Canada; Director of Service Coordination, Courts Administration Service and Director for Resolutions, Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada and closing out his public-sector career as Deputy Head and Registrar of the Specific Claims Tribunal of Canada. In December 2012, Wayne was appointed Tribunal Chair of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Appeal Tribunal. He and will have completed his Masters of Indigenous Legal Studies in 2018.

Plenary Perspectives

Grace Gallucci is the Executive Director for the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, which is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for greater Cleveland. She is responsible for transportation planning and resource allocation in the five county region. Ms. Gallucci has nearly 30 years of finance and planning experience in the field of transportation, including positions with the Chicago Regional Transportation Authority where she held the titles of Deputy Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, as well as Director of Office of Management & Budget for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and as an management analyst for the Office of Transportation, Broward County, Florida. Ms. Gallucci has also been an adjunct professor/lecturer at Cleveland State University, Kent State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University teaching courses in public finance, economics, public policy and transportation management. Ms. Gallucci holds a Master of Science in Urban Studies from Cleveland State University, and both a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Dayton.

Panel Speakers

Don Jackson is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. As well, he is the Scientific Director of the NSERC Canadian Network for Aquatic Ecosystem Services that involves a dozen universities plus government, industrial and NGO partners. His research broadly encompasses aquatic ecology with issues ranging from how environmental changes, such climate change or invasive species, impact species composition to questions studying environmental contaminants in Great Lakes fishes. He has served as the co-Editor and Editor of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, plus on various national and international committees including advisory committees to both the International Joint Commission and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

For Tony Vernaci, the opportunity to establish the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan (AIAM) is a culmination of more than 30 years of experience and passion for aerospace.

Tony joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in 2014, as Vice President for Global Business Development. He recognized the potential synergies of the automotive and aerospace industries and soon the team discovered there were nearly 600 companies and organizations in Michigan conducting aerospace business. In 2015, Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) concluded their annual aerospace manufacturing attractiveness study and ranked Michigan as #2 in the nation. This generated a great deal of excitement from the Governor’s office and economic development organizations throughout the state, setting off a chain of events over the next 2 years raising global awareness for Michigan’s aerospace industry.

It is because of these great accomplishments, a vision for the future aerospace opportunities and a conversation with Governor Snyder, Tony decided to launch AIAM to advance Michigan’s place in the industry.

Prior to joining the MEDC Tony held executive positions at Global Advantages, Doncasters, and Textron. He held positions as Senior Vice President of International, Director of Global Integrated Supply Chain, Director of Six Sigma, General Manager of Manufacturing, and Regional Director of Distribution. Before joining Textron, Tony spent 10 years in the automotive industry at both an OEM and a Tier-one supplier.

Dan Zilnik is the President of AFARA, a consulting firm that collaborates to build resilient sustainable companies and economies. AFARA's focus is to take an evidence based approach to make distinctive, lasting, and substantial improvements in an organization's sustainability performance, while strengthening the core of the organization.

Dan spent many years in the energy industry in Norway developing and implementing the sustainability strategy for Scandinavia's largest energy company. In Canada Dan was "Leader, Environment and Climate" for Statoil Canada, where he helped the company increase its water recycling and reuse to >90%, lower emissions intensity by over 30%, while increasing production over 25%. Dan is chair of the board of Carbon Management Canada, a board member of Trout Unlimited Canada and a recognized sustainability expert, receiving CSR Daily’s “Best Sustainability” and “Best Report” awards, and the Responsible Canadian Energy Awards for environment. He was one of Calgary’s Top 40 under 40.

Todd Gates is President of the Seneca Nation (Ononda’waga:’) and a member of the turtle clan. Todd was elected as President in 2016 and will serve through 2018. He has proven to be a great asset to the Seneca Nation through his many public service efforts and in tackling the important challenges and opportunities that face the Seneca Nation. He has served as Treasurer of the Seneca Nation (2014-2016) and as a Councilor for two terms (2004-2012). Todd aided in the formation of the Seneca Construction Management Corporation in 2005 and founded the 7Gens construction company, both of which promote the economic strength of the Seneca Nation.

President Gates has been Chairman of the Planning Commission and Co-Chairman of the Culture, Education, and Recreation Committee, as well as serving on numerous local boards and committees. He has been involved in the Seneca Commission for Economic Development, was the Owners Representative for the SNI Capital Improvements Authority, was on the Ganondagan Building committee and has been a member of Friends of Ganondagan. Nationally, he is a member of National Congress of American Indians, United South and Eastern Tribes, and Native American Finance Officers Association.

As part of the community, Todd has earned recognition, respect, and trust of his peers by being involved in various activities and improving the lives of others around him. Todd is an outdoorsman who enjoys hunting and fishing and his passions have led him to become a tireless advocate for the environment. He is on the West Valley Citizen Task Force, is Chairman of the Seneca Nation West Valley Demonstration Project Task Force and a member of the Water Walkerz. The goal of these organizations is to protect our natural resources and to be a defender of Mother Earth.

Todd and his wife, Mary, currently reside on the Cattaraugus Territory of the Seneca Nation. He is the father of Darcy and “Papa” to his grandchildren Clayburn and Ilamay.

Joseph Tokwiro Norton has been a leader in his community of Kahnawà:ke for parts of five decades. First elected to The Mohawk Council in 1978, he served as Grand Chief for an unprecedented 26 consecutive years. Declining to seek re-election in 2004 he entered the world of private business. In May 2015 the urge to return to the political forum was too strong to deny and he decided to run for office once again, successfully attaining a fourteenth term as Grand Chief. He continues to dedicate his energies to improving Kahnawà:ke’s future by promoting educational, cultural and business concerns while defending and promoting Kahnawà:ke’s jurisdiction in all matters that relate to the community’s needs and aspirations. Over the years he has represented his people on countless occasions. He is recognized across Canada as a leader of uncommon influence. He was Grand Chief during the 1990 Oka Crisis, where his leadership skills became known far beyond the bounds of his own community. His style can best be described as direct and straightforward, with a philosophy that acknowledges strong traditional beliefs and a firm commitment to maintaining the Mohawk way of life. Grand Chief Norton’s volunteer activities are too numerous to mention in detail but highlights include his membership as a founder of the Canadian Native Arts Foundation and his membership on the Board of the Canadian Chapter of the Jane Goodall Institute. He engaged in philanthropical work through his Sahenatie Community Fund, which has presented scholarships and bursaries to many Kahnawà:ke artists and athletes over the years. In 2002, he received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the Public Service category in recognition of his efforts to bring improvements to the community in the areas of economic development, health care, education, culture and recreation. He continues to live in Kahnawà:ke and enjoys participating in the lives of his children and grandchildren. He has also been known to play a round or two of golf during the summer months.

Andrée-Lise is the founder and Managing Partner of Cycle Capital Management. She boasts 25 years of experience in venture capital, management and engineering. She has set up CCM, an impact investor and the most important cleantech investment platform in Canada. Today, CCM has more than $350M under management across 4 north-American and Chinese funds.

In addition to serving on portfolio companies’ boards of directors, she is the Founder and Chairperson of the Board of the Ecofuel Accelerator and the Cofounder of the Ecofuel Fund. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), Transition énergétique Québec(TEQ) and Société Québécoise des infrastructures (SQI). She is also a member of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s New Energy Pioneers’ selection committee and a member of the Cleantech Group’s North-American Advisory Committee.

Andrée-Lise cofounded Écotech Québec, a cleantech cluster, SWITCH, the Alliance for a green economy. She is a member of the External Advisory Committee to the Vice-Principal Research and International Relations (VPRIR) at McGill University, is a member of the Private Sector Advisory Board for the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada and sits on the Board of the Institut de cardiologie de Montréal.

She co-chaired a Task Force under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). She has chaired and has been a member of many panels of judges, including the Grand Prix du génie-conseil québécois, the Canadian Consulting Engineers Awards (ACEC) and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Andrée-Lise was recognized as one of Canada’s Clean16, named one of the Top 20 cleantech investors by CleanTechnica and amongst the most influential women in sustainable development and in the cleantech industry by Corporate Knight.

She has a Master’s degree in Science from the Université de Montréal and a Bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering from Université Laval. She also studied atmospheric physics at the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Pascal Drouin has more than ten years of experience in finance and portfolio management. He started working as a Financial Analyst at Multiple Capital where he was involved in numerous investments transactions in high-tech, information technology and biotechnology. He then joined GE Capital, where he was responsible for the development and implementation of commercial credit scoring models for the Canadian portfolio.

Pascal has broad expertise in finance, risk management as well as analysis and financial modeling. Active as a board member of several companies, Pascal was also involved in the Conseil Patronal de l’Environnement du Quebec’s Stakeholders round table on carbon offset protocols for Quebec’s carbon cap and trade system (SPEDE).

Pascal holds a Master’s degree in Administration science (M.Sc.) and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from HEC Montreal.

Mr. Dickert currently serves as the President and CEO of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (Cities Initiative). His responsibilities include working with over 130 U.S. and Canadian mayors from across the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin to advance the protection and restoration of the resource. The Cities Initiative leads many efforts to accelerate the work to become a more sustainable region by integrating the environmental, economic, and social activities to improve the quality of life and well-being of its people.

Mr. Dickert was a three term Mayor of Racine, Wisconsin when he resigned his position in 2017 to take the helm of the Cities Initiative. While Mayor, he served as a Director on the Board of the Cities Initiative for eight years and Chair from 2011-2012. Prior to serving as Mayor, he worked in with First Weber Group focusing on commercial and residential redevelopment. John served on the Government Affairs Team at the law firm of Foley & Lardner from 1999 to 2003and is the former Director of Government Affairs for the Wisconsin Credit Union League.

Mr. Dickert also served as District Director for U.S. Representative Peter Barca (D-WI) and as a DC intern for U.S. Representative Les Aspin (D-WI). Additionally, he worked for both Republicans and Democrats in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1987 to 1993, staffing the State Budget and Ways and Means Committees on taxation.

Mr. Dickert also served as Vice Chair to the United States Conference of Mayors’ Metro Economies Committee and as a member of the US Conference of Mayors’ Water Council. He is the past President of the Urban Alliance of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.

Mr. Dickert graduated from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse with a degree in political science and mass communications in 1986. He lives in Racine, Wisconsin with his wife, Teresa, and two children, Riley and Eleanor.

Stephen Beatty is Vice President and Corporate Secretary of Toyota Canada Inc. He is responsible for Administration, Corporate Strategy and Product Planning, External Affairs, Human Resources, Information Services, and Legal.

Beatty began with Toyota Canada in 1998 as National Manager, Government and Public Relations.

Prior to joining Toyota Canada, Beatty worked for 10 years as Executive Director of the Canadian Apparel Manufacturers Institute and the Canadian Apparel Federation, the Ottawa-based national trade associations for the clothing industry in Canada. In those roles, Beatty led the industry’s efforts to transform into a modern, export-based business. He brought to that task extensive experience in strategic planning, policy development and media relations. He was a senior political advisor in Ottawa, including Chief of Staff to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Beatty has been actively involved with a number of volunteer advisory boards and was most recently Chair of the Board of Directors of AUTO21, a network of centres of excellence focusing on Canadian research expertise to improve the global competitiveness of Canada’s automotive industry.

Beatty holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in political studies (University of Guelph) and sociology (Carleton University), and a Master's degree in public administration (Carleton University).

Veronique Proulx is a leader in the Québec export and manufacturing industry. Ms. Proulx joined the Québec Manufacturers and Exporters (MEQ) in March 2015 as the Director of Communications, Public Affairs and Strategy. She was appointed Vice President Corporate Affairs and Strategy in January 2016 and ultimately assumed the role of President and Chief Executive Officer in September 2017- becoming the first woman to hold this position.

Prior to CME, she held the position of Director of International Affairs at Laval Technopole and was the President of Commerce International Québec. Ms. Proulx is Chair of the Board of Directors of La Dauphinelle and holds an Executive MBA from Paris-Dauphine University and UQAM.

Valentina A. Isakina is the Managing Director, Financial Services and Select HQ Operations.  In this role, she oversees the development and execution of strategies for growing these key Ohio sectors. She is passionate about innovation, out-of- the-box thinking and making a difference.

Immediately prior to joining JobsOhio, Ms. Isakina served as Senior Advisor to the Office of Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, working directly with heads of state and private sector leaders on a number of economic development initiatives around the world.  

Ms. Isakina spent 20 years in Financial Services, most recently as Vice President & Head of Corporate Strategy for Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company.  She honed her strategy skills by spending over a decade in global management consulting at firms that included McKinsey and Bain, focusing on financial services and private equity.  She began her Financial Services career as an actuary.

Ms. Isakina is a CFA Charterholder, has an MBA from Cornell University, and an MS and BBA from Georgia State.  Ms. Isakina is married and has three children.

Paul Krepps represents Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) for business development related to Canada and India. Paul has managed numerous successful FDI attraction opportunities, including Chilean-based Arauco’s new, $400 million particle board manufacturing facility in Grayling and Mahindra Corporation’s new off-road vehicle manufacturing center in Auburn Hills. He formerly represented Michigan for FDI in the U.K. and France, is actively engaged with the British-American Business Council, and serves on the board of directors of the Canada-United States Business Association. Paul previously served as the MEDC’s Director of Communications, promoting Michigan’s business development initiatives and successes to a national and international audience.

Paul has also enjoyed life as a local elected official, serving eight years on the Delhi Charter Township (pop. 26,000) board of trustees. He and Mary Ann have been married 31 years and are blessed with five children.

Edward Seidel is the Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation for the University of Illinois System. The U of I System is the state’s largest and most comprehensive public university system with universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield. The System’s three universities offer over 500 academic programs to more than 80,000 students. The System’s interactions with state, federal and local governments, and the private sector are significant and diverse. It is a $5.6 billion enterprise with an economic impact of almost $14 billion annually, and a sponsored research portfolio of nearly $1 billion.

As Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation, Dr. Seidel works closely with the president of the U of I System to engage potential public and private partners and strengthen the links between higher education, research, and business to drive innovation and stimulate economic development across the state of Illinois. He oversees the System’s commercialization pipeline that helps bring ideas to market, which includes the Offices of Technology Management at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago; the early-stage technology investment firm, IllinoisVENTURES; EnterpriseWorks, the business incubator in Urbana-Champaign; and the U of I Research Park.

Seidel is an award-winning researcher with a long record of leadership experience that includes three years as director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana-Champaign, where he was among the original co-principal investigators for Blue Waters, a federally funded project that brought one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to Urbana-Champaign. He is also a Founder Professor in the Department of Physics and a professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Computer Science, and at the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) at Urbana-Champaign.

Prior to returning to the University of Illinois, Seidel served as the senior vice president for research and innovation for the MIT Skoltech Initiative at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow. Previously, he directed the Office of Cyberinfrastructure and served as assistant director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the U.S. National Science Foundation. He also led the Center for Computation and Technology at Louisiana State University and directed the numerical relativity group at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Germany.

Seidel is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. His research has earned a number of awards, including the 2006 IEEE Sidney Fernbach Award, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Gordon Bell prize, and the Heinz Billing Prize of the Max Planck Society. He received his PhD in relativistic astrophysics from Yale University, earned a master’s degree in physics at the University of Pennsylvania, and received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from the College of William and Mary.

Dr. Jennifer MacLean is the Executive Director for SOSCIP, a unique R&D consortium based in Ontario which uses advanced computing to drive industry innovation. In this role, Dr. MacLean has supported the launch of more than 100 collaborative R&D projects which are delivering meaningful outcomes for Canadians and supporting the growth of Canadian companies. Dr. MacLean first joined SOSCIP in September 2016 as the Operations Manager. Prior to SOSCIP, Jennifer worked with Mitacs for over 5 years, serving on their business development and program management teams. Jennifer has a BSc in Genetics and a PhD in Medical Biophysics, both from Western. She is originally from rural Saskatchewan.

Ron Soreanu is the Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications for Coca- Cola in Canada and a member of the company’s Leadership Team. In his role, Ron oversees internal and external communications, brand PR, government relations and sustainability, including Coca-Cola’s philanthropic efforts in Canada. Ron began his career at the World Health Organization in Switzerland before joining the Public Health Agency of Canada in Ottawa. There, he held various senior policy positions including in the Office of the Minister of Health. Ron later began consulting and did so until joining Coca-Cola in 2014.

Ron sits on the boards of the Canadian Beverage Association, the Canadian American Business Council and the Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation. He also chairs the board of Three to Be, a charity for children with neurological disorders. He has a B.A. from York University and a M.Sc. in Medical Anthropology from Brunel University in the U.K.

In her role as Executive Director, Wisconsin Aerospace Partners, Meridith Jaeger is responsible for the overall development and strategy of the organization. The Wisconsin Aerospace Partners supports organizations engaged with the aerospace industry in the State of Wisconsin by establishing a strong network and support system designed to grow the economic vitality of the State and the aerospace industry. She is a member of the Midwest Innovation Exchange team that is working to identify industry innovation clusters in Cleveland, OH and Milwaukee, WI that offer opportunities for collaboration with NASA.

Jaeger’s work in the aerospace industry began in 2007 when she co-founded AeroInnovate to help aeroinnovators from across the globe start and grow aero-related businesses by bringing related new technologies to the marketplace. AeroInnovate’s goal is to facilitate the alignment of passionate, successful investors and industry leaders with the best aviation-related opportunities in the world to help get deals done. She was Director of AeroInnovate for 7 years and continues to serve on its board of advisors.

Jaeger holds more than twenty years professional experience in communication, marketing, business development, and project/event management including more than 15 years providing service to manufacturers throughout the State of Wisconsin. She has also served as the Executive Director of the Council for Innovation and on the Fund Organizing Team for the Angels on the Water investment fund. She continues to provide resources to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the aerospace industry and is committed to building mutually beneficial partnerships and assisting organizations to meet their success.

A leader in the industry and her community, Jaeger also serves as the Chair of the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation Aviation Committee, and is the President-Elect for the University Economic Development Association Board of Directors.

Jaeger earned her Bachelor of Arts degree (cum laude) in Corporate/Organizational Communication from Northern Illinois University and a Master of Science Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Yves Gilson joined the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) as Communications Advisor in November 2008. Over the past five years, he held the positions of Communications Manager and Marketing Manager. He was appointed Director, Marketing & Cruises, in February 2016.

Prior to joining the MPA, Mr. Gilson worked in the journalism and communications fields: as a freelance journalist in Washington D.C., journalist for Affaires+ magazine in Montreal; Academic Director at the Robert Shuman Institute of Journalism in Brussels; Program Director at the European Journalism Centre in Maastricht; Head of the International Department at the Institut des Hautes Études des Communications Sociales in Brussels; and European Advisor for a EU-funded media program in Algeria.

His responsibilities with the MPA include developing marketing tools and strategies to position the Port of Montreal as a major North American hub in the cargo and cruise sectors.

He holds a Master’s degree in Social Communications.

Very active in several industrial sectors and diverse Canadian and American business associations, Mr. Aubertin has built an excellent network of industrial, governmental and institutional contacts over his 28-year career in both private and public sectors. An excellent communicator, this committed and creative professional drives the development and implementation of a comprehensive vision of challenges and opportunities to create and sustain value for stakeholders and society. His knowledge of innovation systems in several countries, of institutional and business partnerships, and of international affairs and development are key assets. He has notably managed and led more than 150 case studies of private and public organizations in North America, Europe, Russia, Japan and Argentina. He presently directs all activities related to business development and international at the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ) and the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC). Mr. Aubertin has responsibility for the strategic and operational direction of five regional offices (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Central, Pacific).

David Allan is Professor Emeritus in the School for Environment and Sustainability at The University of Michigan. He holds a B.Sc. from the University of British Columbia (1966) and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan (1971). His research and teaching interests are in the ecology of fresh waters, including their conservation, management, and restoration. He is the author of two widely used text books, Stream Ecology (2007, with M.M Castillo) and Streams: Their Ecology & Life (2001, with C.E. Cushing). Dr Allan has researched the influence of flow alterations and changing land use on river ecosystems, the factors affecting success of stream restoration, and nonpoint nutrient runoff. His most recent work in the Laurentian Great Lakes has been directed at human stressors and their relationship to benefits (ecosystem services). Allan has served on the boards of American Rivers and the Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and on various panels and advisory boards concerned with protecting fresh waters. Professor Allan is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the Society for Freshwater Science. He has been recognized by the University of Michigan with the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award and by the Society for Freshwater Science with the Award of Excellence. A complete listing of publications can be found at:

Jean-François Barsoum has 20 years of experience at IBM, and has been working on developing smart city concepts and understanding environmental impacts since 2000. His role is to communicate and popularise innovation, smart city, and climate change concepts, and gives dozen of presentations on those topics every year. In 2008, he was selected by Al Gore's Climate Project to be trained by the Nobel peace laureate and become a climate leader. In 2011, he joined the board of directors of Mr. Gore's "Climate Reality Project Canada". He regularly advises smart city startups for accelerators, during hackathons or pitch competitions, and is collaborating on large research collaborations with several Canadian universities. He is also a director at the Canadian Water Network, a member of the AQTr’s Smart Transportation experts’ committee, on the World Road Associations’ smart transportation working group, advises the Canadian government on cleantech programs, and belongs to the urban affairs advisory committee of the Montreal Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Karen Hand is a leading consultant and researcher in agri-food data science. In her current role of Director, Research Data Strategy at the University of Guelph, Dr. Hand leads the strategic design, development and management of the University of Guelph’s vision for a cross-sectoral online platform for research data and analytics, Agri-food Data Canada, that enables transformative innovation in agriculture and food in Canada and the world. Dr. Hand served three years as Director of CPAF (Canadian Precision Agri-Food), an initiative in which she remains active. She led the team that performed an in-depth cross-commodity user needs analysis for accelerating the adoption of precision agri-food in Ontario and co-developed the vision for Ontario Precision Agri-Food (OPAF) which led to the broader vision of CPAF. As Founder and President of Precision Strategic Solutions, Dr. Hand has been involved in numerous research and industry projects involving the analysis and management of Canadian agri-food data; with particular focus on the statistical and geospatial analysis of animal health and production. Dr. Hand is keenly interested in the establishment of a comprehensive digital transformation strategy for Canadian Agri-Food to ensure our position as leaders in the global marketplace.

Marc Fiume is an entrepreneur, researcher, and thought-leader in genomics committed to developing standards and technologies that accelerate the realization of precision health and medicine. Marc is co-founder and CEO of DNAstack, Toronto-based genomics software company with a mandate of making genomics and clinical information globally accessible and useful. He chairs the development of global standards as part of the Global Alliance for Genomics & Health (GA4GH). He leads the GA4GH Beacon Project and created the Beacon Network, the world’s largest search engine for publicly shared genomic mutations, which has facilitated millions of searches and has led to disease-gene discoveries and clinical translation. Chair of the GA4GH Discovery Work Stream, with the mandate of building technical protocols to power an Internet of Genomics, digital network infrastructure to connect genomics and clinical information systems to accelerate genomics and biomedical research and discovery worldwide.

As IBM Canada’s National Industry Executive for Research, Sanjeev supports research & innovation initiatives across Canada within Higher Education, Healthcare and other Public Sector entities towards sustainable societal and economic benefits for Canada. He works with leading researchers at universities and colleges across the country in coordination with federal & provincial funding agencies to ensure IBM brings strategic contributions by way of technology enablement and research expertise. As an extension of this role, he also supports the growth of new Canadian businesses via the development of incubators for start-ups and technology collaborations between academia, industry and government. Sanjeev has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. He joined IBM’s Technology Group in 1998 to lead the Canadian Microelectronics division where he was responsible for sales, application engineering and ASIC design engineering teams. Sanjeev has served in senior management roles in IBM’s integrated supply chain and led IBM’s global relationships at large Canadian clients including BlackBerry and Bell Canada Sanjeev holds a Degree in Mathematics and Diploma in Engineering from Dalhousie University and Executive development certifications from Harvard Business School and Boston University. Sanjeev is married with two children and enjoys volunteering at Junior Achievement & First Lego League to encourage children and young adults to pursue studies and careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM). Sanjeev currently serves on the following boards : The President’s Advisory Board of OCAD University, Digital Markham Advisory Council, AGE-Well Industry Advisory Board (Canada NCE), York University Markham Campus Planning committee and iCity (University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute).

Sree Ramaswamy is a Partner at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), McKinsey’s business and economics research arm. He leads research on the economics of digitization and the economics of multinational corporations. He is responsible for shaping MGI’s research initiatives, leading research on trends in competition, technology, and global forces influencing multinationals.

Sree is also a co-leader of MGI’s research on North America, and has authored reports and articles on the ongoing digital transformation of the US economy, on new investment opportunities, on opportunities and challenges for the NAFTA region, and the role of US multinational firms in the global economy. Sree is a frequent speaker at conferences, policymaker, business, and media roundtables, and media briefings on topics related to his core research and to MGI’s broader themes around global forces, technology, trade and investment, and the global and US economic outlook. His research is frequently cited in the Economist, Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, and Wall Street Journal among other publications.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Sree spent a decade in the US telecom and aerospace sector. He worked in regulatory affairs and engineering research for broadband satellite networks and holds three patents. He has an MBA and Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in engineering and telecommunications. Sree is based in Washington, DC.

Vance Badawey is Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre, which includes the municipalities Port Colborne, Welland, Thorold, and south St. Catharines. He is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations, the latter being only one of two committees comprised of members from the House of Commons and the Senate.

Vance is the Vice-Chair of the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group. As part of the Canada-United States IPG, Vance founded the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Caucus, which works to protect the economic, environmental, and social aspects of this important resource. Furthermore, Vance is involved in a number of caucuses including the Indigenous Caucus, Golden Horseshoe Caucus, Rural Caucus, and Steel Caucus, working diligently in each of these files in order to bring about the best results for his constituents in Niagara Centre, and for all Canadians.

Prior to his election, Vance began his career in public service as a municipal councillor for the City of Port Colborne in 1994. At the time, he was the youngest member of council in all Niagara. In 1997, the residents of Port Colborne elected him as mayor. In addition to municipal leadership duties, Badawey served as a regional councillor for the Regional Municipality of Niagara. During his tenure, he served on numerous agencies, boards and commissions, including the Niagara Regional Police Services Board.

Since his election to the House of Commons in 2015, Vance has worked tirelessly for the residents of Niagara Centre. He has been host of numerous consultations and town halls on issues such as sustainability, defense, infrastructure, and accessibility. With these public consultations, Vance ensures the voices of Niagara Centre residents are heard in Ottawa. In addition, he has also held numerous information sessions for the public on topics such as Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Vance looks forward to continuing to work with the many dedicated members of the Niagara Centre community.

Rick Ebert has been serving as Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s eighth President since November 2014. As president, Ebert also chairs the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation, a charitable organization supported by Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. Prior to his election as President, Ebert served as Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Vice President for 10 years. Ebert operates a dairy farm in Blairsville, Westmoreland County milking 80 Holsteins and growing alfalfa, corn and soybeans. Ebert is working to bring his three sons into the farm operation. Ebert was elected to the American Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors in January 2016 to represent the Northeast Region. He was also selected to serve on AFBF’s Trade Advisory Committee. Ebert has given years of service to Farm Bureau at the state and local level. Ebert served as on PFB’s State Board of Director for District 16 from 1996 to 2004. He was also president of Westmoreland County Farm Bureau and vice chair of PFB’s Young Farmer and Rancher Committee. Ebert also led PFB’s Dairy Committee, and presented testimony before the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board on behalf of dairy farmers across the state. In 2009, Ebert received the Mid-Atlantic “Master Farmer” Award, in recognition of his farm success and civic engagement. In 2008, Ebert was honored with the Charles E. Cowan Memorial Award, from the Professional Dairy Manager of Pennsylvania. The award is given in recognition to a farmer who has shown superior management on their farm, and outstanding leadership within the dairy industry. Ebert was named 2007 Country Folks Keystone Farm Show "Farmer of the Year.” He was recognized for his involvement and accomplishments in the dairy industry and his involvement in social and agricultural organizations, such as Farm Bureau. The farm’s conservation work was recognized with the Westmoreland County Conservation Award in 1983. His community activities include serving as a Westmoreland County 4-H leader and superintendent for the Westmoreland County Fair Association. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Dairy Science from Penn State. He and his wife, Diane, have four children and four grandchildren. He is a member of the St. James Catholic Church of New Alexandria.

Jason Deglint gradated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering with Distinction from the University of Victoria and was awarded the Andreas Antoniou Medal for Digital Signal Processing. In 2016 he completed his Masters of Applied Science in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo. Currently he is pursuing a PhD in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo where he is building a system to automatically identify and count different types of algae in water. Jason and the SIM Labs team are leveraging his PhD research to develop a solution to actively monitor water for algae with the long term goal to predict harmful algae bloom behavioural trends.

Steve is leading a number of transportation initiatives at Pollution Probe, including the development and implementation of the Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Advancement Partnership (EHVAP) on behalf of the Government of Ontario. He represented Pollution Probe as a member of the Federal ZEV Advisory Group which has supported the development of Canada’s Zero Emission Vehicle Strategy, and led the organization’s participation in the development of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

Prior to joining Probe, Steve led the Government of Canada’s federal and international regulatory actions on greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and chemicals management in transportation, energy and other industrial sectors.

Joseph D. Roman (Joe) is president and chief executive officer of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), one of the nation's largest metropolitan chambers of commerce with more than 8,000 members. The organization is governed by a Board of Directors of more than 70 CEOs and business owners who lead small, mid-sized and the largest companies in Northeast Ohio, as well as the region’s major health care and educational organizations. GCP’s current areas of focus include preserving competitive air service at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport; helping to reform the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and public education in the city; and continuing to support the development of Cleveland’s downtown business district, lakefront and other major projects throughout the region. Other priorities are addressed through GCP’s advocacy platform, one of the most robust efforts by a U.S. metro chamber. In addition, the organization works through its small business program, COSE (the Council of Smaller Enterprises), to support small business growth and the Commission on Economic Inclusion, a GCP program that plays a leadership role in advancing inclusion within the northeastern Ohio employer community. Roman previously served as executive director of Cleveland Tomorrow, an organization that was committed to pursuing projects and initiatives that were fundamental to the long-term economic vitality of the region. During his tenure, Cleveland Tomorrow was recognized by Harvard Business School as one of the most innovative and successful regional business organizations in the country. Roman also helped to found critical economic development organizations in the region such as BioEnterprise, JumpStart and the Cleveland Plus Marketing Alliance. Earlier in his career, Roman worked on Capitol Hill as both a congressional staff person and as a lobbyist for manufacturing trade associations. He has a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York and a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University. His board memberships include the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, MAGNET, BioEnterprise, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Team NEO, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), the Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Development Corporation, and Cleveland Development Advisors, an affiliate real estate investment fund of the GCP. He is also a member of the Cleveland State University Community Board. Joe was born in Cleveland and has spent most of his career in the city.

Jay Dorey is Vice President, Global Government Relations at Visa Inc. Mr. Dorey has worked in both the private and public sector, providing strategic counsel in the government, technology, non-profit and financial services sectors. Prior to joining Visa in 2012, Mr. Dorey was director of public relations at a global NGO, where he was responsible for communications, stakeholder engagement and driving brand and issue awareness through public engagement and sponsorship programs. Mr. Dorey’s career also includes service as a political advisor to the Minister of Justice, the President of the Treasury Board and the Prime Minister of Canada.

Allister Paterson is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of CSL Group’s global operations. He joined CSL in January 2015 and was President of Canada Steamship Lines until December 2016.

Mr. Paterson has over 25 years of experience in the transportation industry, including as Chief Commercial Officer of Finnair, President and CEO of Seaway Marine Transport, and President and CEO of Air Canada Vacations.

He began his career at Pacific Western Airlines (predecessor to Canadian Airlines) before joining Air New Zealand as Chief Commercial Officer in 1998. He subsequently took on acting CEO authorities for 6 months during an external CEO recruitment process.

Mr. Paterson was appointed Chair of the Canadian Shipowners Association in June 2015 and is a Director of the Chamber of Marine Commerce and Green Marine. His previous appointments include Chair of the Chamber of Marine Commerce from 2008 to 2011, Member of the Star Alliance and oneWorld® Management Boards, and Chair of Gymnastics Canada.

Leigh Whelpton leads the Conservation Finance Network’s (CFN) effort to expand the use of innovative funding and financing strategies. By training, convening, and supporting a growing network of public, private, and nonprofit professionals, CFN helps to increase the financial resources deployed for conservation. As Program Director, Leigh has developed a range of strategic initiatives and partnerships to help practitioners achieve new or better-leveraged conservation outcomes. Prior to this role, Leigh managed professional training programs and applied conservation initiatives for the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. Leigh holds an M.E.Sc. from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.S. (Hons.) from the University of California at Berkeley.

Lauren Smith has been involved in water management and advocacy for over a decade and graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2017 with a Masters in Sustainability Management. After competing in the AquaHacking 2017 competition, she founded PolyGone Technologies, a startup working to mitigate microfibre pollution. Microfibres are tiny plastic threads that are shed during the washing of synthetic textiles (e.g. polyester, fleece, spandex, acrylic) and are released into waterways. Here, they collect harmful chemicals before ending up in our food system through seafood, beer, and even tap and bottled water. Lauren's all-female company develops laundry and filtration technologies to capture these fibres both before they enter waterways and before they enter our food. PolyGone's specialized filter material currently captures 95% of microfibres released during washing.

Lauren is returning to UWaterloo this fall for a PhD program, which will build on her research in decision making and behaviour change around water use, informing how social marketing can guide pro-environmental behaviour change. She hopes her research can encourage adoption of green technologies for a more sustainable world.

Hubert Bolduc is the President and CEO of Montréal International, an organization whose mission is to attract foreign investment, international organizations and strategic talent to Greater Montréal.

Mr. Bolduc began his career as a Spokesperson for the CHUM and a Lecturer in communications at the University of Québec in Montréal. From 1998 to 2000 he was an Advisor at NATIONAL Public Relations, and then went on to become the Press Secretary to the Prime Minister of Québec between 2001 and 2003. Later on, from 2004 to 2012, he served as Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs at Cascades, before joining the Québec government as Associate Secretary General for government communications, at the Executive Council where he stayed until 2014. Prior to taking charge of Montréal International, Mr. Bolduc held the position of Director for Benelux at Investissement Québec.

Nicholas Mandrak is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough where he conducts research on the biodiversity, biogeography, and conservation of Canadian freshwater fishes and is the Director of a professional Master’s program in Conservation and Biodiversity. He is a leading authority on endangered and invasive freshwater fishes in Canada and has co-authored over 100 primary publications, over 150 science advisory reports, and five books. Nick is the 2018 recipient of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission Jack Christie/Ken H. Loftus Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions toward Understanding Healthy Great Lakes Ecosystems.

Paul worked for seventeen years, for the City of Columbus, in Ohio, as their first IT Project Manager. He was responsible for facilitating the city being recognized as the 2015 ICF Most Intelligent Community in the World. He worked closely with The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research, Autonomous Vehicle Pilot project, that was sponsored by the NIST Global City Team Challenge and he was part of the core team that responded to the first phase of Columbus ultimately winning the $40M USDOT Smart City Challenge. Paul was also a member of the Mayor’s Green team and helped Columbus become certified as a four STAR sustainable community.

In retirement, Paul is a board member for, a non-profit that focuses on data science for social good and a board member for the non-profit Resurrecting Lives Foundation that helps veterans who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injuries. He is also a member of the research and strategy committees for the Global Institute for the study of intelligent communities, Dublin Ohio.

Paul attended the US Naval Academy (Class of 1973) and received a BA in Political Science in 1976, and an MA in History in 1978, from Youngstown State University.

Dr. John Cranfield is a Professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (FARE) at the University of Guelph. His research focuses on the economics of consumer behaviour and demand analysis at the individual, household and market level (largely in relation to demand for food and food products), innovation in the agri-food and biotechnology sectors, and economic history. John served as President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society in 2012-2013, and has acted as a Guest Editor on two special issues of the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics. A noted expert on the economics of food, John appeared on an episode of TVO’s The Agenda on “Feeding the World 2050”, and has testified before the House of Common’s Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, and the Canadian Senate’s Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.

Jeffrey J. Schott joined the Peterson Institute for International Economics in 1983 and is a senior fellow working on international trade policy and economic sanctions. During his tenure at the Institute, Schott also has taught at Princeton University (1994) and Georgetown University (1986–88). He was formerly a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1982–83) and an official of the US Treasury Department (1974–82) in international trade and energy policy. During the Tokyo Round of multilateral trade negotiations, he was a member of the US delegation that negotiated the GATT Subsidies Code. He is co-chair of the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee of the US Trade Representative’s office and a member of the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy of the US Department of State. He also is a member of the Advisory Council of the Department of Economics of Washington University in St. Louis. Schott is the author, coauthor, or editor of numerous books on trade, including most recently The Trans-Pacific Partnership: An Assessment (2016), From Drift to Deals: Advancing the WTO Agenda (2015), Local Content Requirements: A Global Problem (2013), Understanding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (2013), Payoff from the World Trade Agenda (2013), NAFTA and Climate Change (2011), Figuring Out the Doha Round (2010), Economic Sanctions Reconsidered, 3rd ed. (2007), and NAFTA Revisited: Achievements and Challenges (2005). Schott holds a BA degree magna cum laude from Washington University, St. Louis (1971) and an MA degree with distinction in international relations from the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University (1973).

A successful entrepreneur and business executive, champion fundraiser, and dedicated public servant, Rocco Rossi joined the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) in 2018 as President and CEO. Prior to joining the OCC, Rossi most recently served as President and CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada where he helped to advance the research, advocacy, education and awareness of the most common cancer in men. Mr. Rossi also served as CEO of Heart and Stroke Foundation – one of Canada’s largest non-profit organizations – overseeing consecutive years of record fundraising combining for over $500 million in total and launching many new, life-saving initiatives. His passion for public policy has led him to stand for election both for the position of Mayor of Toronto and for MPP. Mr. Rossi has held senior positions at the Boston Consulting Group, TORSTAR, Labatt/Interbrew and MGI Software. He is a graduate of McGill and Princeton. Rossi currently serves as a member of the Board and Audit Committee of TerraVest Capital. A past board member of United Way of Greater Toronto and other charities, Mr. Rossi has been an active community builder. In fact, in 2012 he was awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal for his Philanthropic and Community service. A dedicated adventurer, Rocco has walked the legendary Camino de Santiago several times, cycled the 1900 km length of Yonge Street from Rainy River to Toronto, kayaked the 500 km from Toronto to Ottawa, and climbed to Everest Base Camp. Mr. Rossi has a BA (Hons) in political science from McGill University and a Masters of Arts in politics from Princeton University. He is married to his wife of 30-years, Rhonnie, and they have a 28-year-old son, Domenic John, who is a teacher.

Dr. Carolyn Lawrence-Dill has devoted the last 20 years to developing computational systems and solutions that support the plant research community. Her work enables the use of existing and emerging knowledge to establish common standards and methods for data collection, integration, and sharing. Such efforts help to eliminate redundancy, improve the efficiency of current and future projects, and increase the availability of data and data analysis tools for plant biologists working in diverse crops across the world. Carolyn coordinated development of the information platform for the US Maize Genomes to Fields Initiative (, and led the USDA’s maize model organism database MaizeGDB ( for a decade. She is an active member of the community working with methods for phenotype data access, analyses, and re-use and is a science advocate with a particular interest in how to use findings from cognitive sciences to enhance science communication. To learn more about her contributions to plant biology and information access, visit

Dr. Helen Hambly is an Associate Professor in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development in the Ontario Agricultural College of the University of Guelph.

Broadly defined Helen’s research interest crosses information, communication and rural society. Her expertise lies in communication for social and environmental change, innovation research methods and data science. She leads the Ontario’s largest public-private partnership (P3) funded research initiative for rural internet. The project conducts geospatial and econometric analysis for evidence-based decision-making for public investment in regional and rural broadband.

Before joining the University of Guelph, Dr. Hambly worked in international R&D programs. She has professional work experience with The World Bank, United Nations and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Her expertise covers topics such as knowledge mobilization and information and communication technologies for agri-food innovation. Helen grew up on a family farm near Guelph, Ontario.

Sébastien Turbot is the Executive Director at the NewCities Foundation where he oversees all aspects of the Foundation’s mission, activities, events and outreach. He has also been the Curator of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), the leading global event on education organized by the Qatar Foundation. Sébastien was also Editor-in- Chief of TEDxParis and curated content on topics that are shaping our world and future. He also held several senior positions in the Middle East and Central Asia. He cofounded and served as the CEO of Sayara Strategies, a top social communication and public information agency operating in Afghanistan. Sébastien has also been a visiting professor at Sciences Po, one of the most prestigious universities in France.

Dr. John Hartig is currently a Fulbright Scholar serving as the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Global Governance at Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ontario. The focus of his Fulbright is multi-disciplinary research on cleanup of the Great Lakes. For the past 14 years he served as Refuge Manager for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. John has received a number of awards for his work, including the 2017 Community Peacemaker Award from Wayne State University’s Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, the 2016 Edward G. Voss Conservation Science Award from Michigan Nature Association, the 2015 Conservationist of the Year Award from the John Muir Association, and the 2013 Conservation Advocate of the Year Award from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. He has authored or co-authored over 100 publications on the environment, including four books: Bringing Conservation to Cities; Burning Rivers; Honoring Our Detroit River, Caring for Our Home; and Under RAPs: Toward Grassroots Ecological Democracy in the Great Lakes Basin. John’s book titled Bringing Conservation to Cities won a Gold Medal from the Nonfiction Authors Association in the "Sustainable Living" category and a bronze medal from the Living Now Book Awards in the "Green Living" category.

Kathryn Kelley serves as executive director of the Ohio Manufacturing Institute at The Ohio State University, devoted to providing action-provoking policies and reports on advanced manufacturing trends, workforce development and disruptive technologies. She collaborates with state and national partners to develop regional and national public policies to support manufacturing innovation, advocate for small- and medium-sized manufacturing needs within the supply chains and remove barriers between academia and industry. She has more than 20 years' experience in program leadership and strategic communications in industry-oriented higher education and statewide technology organizations.

John is a member of Unilever Canada’s board of directors, the Canadian Leadership Team and chair of the company’s Pension Committee.

John is well known for his leadership in corporate sustainability. He is a passionate activator of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever’s strategy to grow the business, reduce its environmental footprint and increase its positive contribution to society. John is Executive Chair of the Board of Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance, Inc., Chair of the Board of Stewardship Ontario and is a director of Evergreen. In addition, John is Co-Chair of the Partners in Project Green steering committee, a major environmental initiative of the Toronto Region Conservation Authority. John has been recognized for his leadership in corporate sustainability by being named a Clean 50 honouree in 2013 and a Clean 16 honouree in 2018. In 2015, John was appointed as a member of the Ontario Government’s Climate Action Group advising the Ontario Minister of the Environment on effective climate change actions that will help Ontario meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals and transition to a prosperous, low-carbon economy.

John also works closely with industry groups and other organizations. He is Chair of the board of Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association Foundation and is director and past Chair of the Association.

Melanee Short is the Director, Environmental Sustainability for Sanofi in North America. Sanofi is a global healthcare leader with operations in over 100 countries and more than 100,000 employees.

Melanee works across multiple business units and sites in North America to develop and facilitate the implementation of projects and programs to reduce the environmental impact of the business. She promotes positive change through the engagement of stakeholders and the establishment of partnerships at various levels of the organization. Melanee combines practical engineering solutions with business methodology to drive projects and achieve measurable results.

Prior to joining Sanofi, Melanee worked in the Environmental consulting industry for a diverse range of industrial and government clients.

Melanee is a Professional Engineer in Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Chemical Engineering) from Queen’s University and a Masters of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business.

Having grown up abroad, and holding a BA and MBA from Columbia University, Bob went to work in a variety of roles for Pan American World Airways. Having learned how to market destinations around the world to North American travelers, the airline initiated its own tour operation, Pan Am Holidays, with Bob at its head.

As Pan Am declined, Bob purchased a well-known tour operator in the early 90’s that had been established right after the war in 1947. Specializing in small group, private and custom travel, Alexander+Roberts has expanded into the growing small ship market around the world during the last 20 years. With culturally diverse destinations like the Galapagos, Yangtze, Nile, Arctic and Great Lakes increasing in popularity among ageing travelers, the opportunities for growth in this market segment are unlimited for companies like A+R.

Ben Stanley leads the development of research and strategy for automotive and mobility in IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV). The IBV provides fact-based research and analysis on emerging industry and cross-industry business issues. Ben has authored multiple industry studies including Driving Digital Destiny – Digital Reinvention in automotive, The cognitive effect on automotive, A new relationship: people and cars, and Automotive 2025: Industry without borders.

From 2009 to 2014, Ben led the China Automotive Center of Excellence. His team provided strategic and business domain consulting for domestic and multinational automotive companies in the China market.

Prior to these roles, Ben was the Global Strategy Lead for the automotive practice in IBM Global Business Services. He was responsible for developing long-term strategic plans based on emerging customer and market trends.

Ben has over forty years’ experience in the automotive Industry. He received his MA in Business Management and his BS in Industrial Education – both from Central Michigan University


  • B.A., History, Siena College, 1976
  • M.S., Public Administration, Russell Sage College, 1980
  • Institute for Organization Management, University of Delaware, 1998


  • President and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce since 1992. The Chamber has become one of the largest business organizations in New York State with more than 4,000 members across five counties. It is respected for its leadership role in Quebec-New York relations and the facilitation of cross border commerce with Canada; regional transportation infrastructure development including border facilities and Plattsburgh International Airport; effective advocacy for the North Country economy in Washington and Albany; the attraction of foreign investment; and development of the region's growing Transportation Equipment and Aerospace Cluster; and regional tourism development through the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau.
  • Co-President, Quebec-New York Corridor Coalition
  • President, North American Center of Excellence for Transportation Equipment, (NAmTrans)
  • Co-Chair, Governor Cuomo's North Country Regional Economic Development Council, since 2011.
  • Executive Assistant, U.S. Congressman Gerald B. Solomon, 1979-1992.

Dani Peters is President of Magnet Strategy Group, a consulting firm that manages public affairs strategies in Canada and the United States. Dani serves as a Principal Advisor to the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies in Canada.

Prior to founding Magnet Strategy Group, Dani held senior roles in public affairs firms in the U.S. and Canada, concentrating on fields that include innovation, health and life sciences. Over the past decade, Dani has worked with groups in the health sector to develop and manage government, public policy, funding, advocacy and stakeholder strategies.

Dani is co-founder of the Cross-Border Health Foundation, an organization that fosters dialogue between Canada and the United States around common health priorities. In addition to operating Magnet Strategy Group, Dani serves on the Industry Advisory Board for Bloom Burton & Co., a healthcare investment advisory firm in Toronto. She is also a Health Leader-in-Residence for the World Health Innovation Network (WIN), within the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business.

Dani earned her undergraduate degree from McGill University and a Master of Arts in International Trade Policy from the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three children.

Abram Benedict a life time resident of Kawehno:ke (Cornwall Island) and is now serving his first term as Grand Chief. His goals for his first term as Grand Chief include providing greater accountability and transparency mechanisms, greater engagement with community through social media to encourage instant community member feedback, meaningful job creation, increased economic development, and relationship building. In position of Grand Chief Abram would like to ensure our youth have a prosperous future, such as his fifteen year-old daughter Havana.

He had previously served three terms as District Chief of Kawehno:ke. Within that capacity, he served as Portfolio Chairman for social services and housing, and was Portfolio Co-Chair for education.

Prior to Grand Chief Abram’s terms on Council, his work experience was in the private business sector and attended Algonquin College. Abram also sit as a Director for the Ontario Association Children’s Aid Societies and a Governor for St. Lawrence College.

Sharon Broude Geva is Director of Advanced Research Computing (ARC) at the University of Michigan (U-M). ARC is a unit of the U-M Office of Research created to inspire and support the growing range of research across disciplines requiring advanced computing capabilities. ARC enables computational research at the university through support of programmatic initiatives, multidisciplinary collaboration, instruction, and research computing resources and services. ARC computing services include a 27,000-core shared HPC cluster, research storage, and a network of training, consultation, and support for the research community provided by the ARC- Technology Services unit (ARC-TS). ARC is also home to a consulting and training unit, Consulting for Statistics, Computing, and Analytics Research (CSCAR), and to two affiliated programmatic institutes: the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE), and the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS).

Sharon serves as Vice-Chair of the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC), co-chairs the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA)‘s Research Computing Group Peer Group, and is on the Executive Committee of the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation (GLCPC), as well as other U-M and external committees and task forces.

She received her PhD in Computational Physical Chemistry and her BSc in Computer Science and in Chemistry from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah.

Terry Harvill is Vice President of International and Merchant Development for ITC Holdings Corp. In this role, Dr. Harvill is responsible for driving the company’s growth and expansion internationally and domestically through merchant and other commercial development opportunities. Previously, he served as Vice President, Grid Development where he was responsible for all transmission development opportunities at ITC, including new projects, strategic business alliances and acquisition opportunities. Dr. Harvill was also responsible for identifying, developing and implementing company positions and strategies on key energy policy issues that impact ITC and its customers as its Vice President of Energy Policy. Prior to joining ITC, Dr. Harvill was Vice President of Energy Policy for Constellation Energy Resources, Inc. where he was responsible for Constellation's regulatory and government affairs in North America. Previously, Dr. Harvill was Director of Regulatory Policy and Operations for DTE Energy Company. He also served as a Commissioner of the Illinois Commerce Commission, the State of Illinois' Public Utility Commission; Illinois Governor Jim Edgar's Assistant for Business and Economic Development; and Senior Policy Advisor to the Chairman and Senior Economist in the Public Utilities Division of the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Dr. Harvill received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his Master of Science Degree and Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from the Illinois State University. Dr. Harvill was recognized with the Crain’s Chicago Business 40-Under-40 Award in 1998, and in 2000, he was selected as one of twenty U.S. participants in the European Union Visitors Program, the International Leader Program of the European Union. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Detroit Zoological Society, the Board of Advisors of the Department of Economics at Illinois State University, the Harvard Electricity Policy Group, and the Renewable Energy Advisory Board at Illinois State University.

Ryan Eickmeier is the Vice President, Government Relations & Public Policy with the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) and is responsible for advocating for favourable public policy to support the franchise business model in Canada.

Before CFA, Ryan was the Senior Director, Public Affairs at GS1 Canada, the world's leading supply chain standards organization. Prior to joining GS1 Canada, Ryan was the Director, Government Relations & Policy at the Real Property Association of Canada (REALpac), where he helped lead the commercial real estate sector through proactive and reactive advocacy campaigns. Ryan was also an Associate at the Washington, DC based consulting firm Greener and Hook, LLC where he worked on both the political and corporate side of the company on messaging, strategy, research, and social media communications.

In the fall of 2007, Ryan accepted a key staff position within United States Senator Fred Thompson's Presidential Campaign. As an advance and field representative for the State of New Hampshire, Ryan was responsible for the planning and execution of campaign events, grassroots advocacy efforts, and ensuring maximum visibility for the candidate at all times.

Academically, Ryan has earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in political science from New England College, a Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) from The American University School of Public Affairs, a Master of Law (LL.M) at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and an Executive Master of Business Administration (e.M.B.A) at the University of Fredericton’s Sandermoen School of Business.

Ryan can be reached at

Jeff Thomson is the acting manager of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. He is a senior intelligence analyst with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and has worked at the CAFC since 2000. Jeff has extensive experience in the area of cross border fraud and has travelled the world to represent Canada at several national and international meetings. The work carried out by the CAFC supports crime prevention and disruption on many fronts including, cybercrime, payment card fraud, mass marketing fraud, identity fraud and the deceptive marketing of counterfeit goods.

Nelson Switzer joined Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) in December 2015 as Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer. In this role, Nelson is responsible for the company’s approach to water stewardship, responsible packaging, community relations and investment and stakeholder engagement. He reports to the company’s Chief Executive Officer and is a member of the Executive Team. Nelson brings nearly 20 years of experience working in the public and private sectors at both the local and international level, specializing in sustainable development, stakeholder engagement and business management.

In his current position at NWNA, Nelson focuses primarily on identifying issues and developing solutions to complex environmental, social and governance challenges by facilitating constructive engagement and fostering innovation. His technical and business expertise coupled with his approach to relationship management supports one of the company’s most important areas of focus – securing and maintaining social license to grow. Before joining NWNA, Nelson was Director and Leader of Sustainable Business Solutions at PwC where he designed and led a premium sustainability and stakeholder engagement management advisory practice.

Prior to that, Nelson was an officer at the consulting firm asherleaf where he designed and managed sustainability programs across a wide range of industries. Nelson also has served as Head of Corporate Responsibility at Centrica plc NA, Senior Manager of Environmental Affairs at the Royal Bank of Canada and has held adjunct positions and executive in residence status at leading universities including the University of Waterloo and Ivey School of Business.

Nelson holds a Master of Engineering from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Brunswick.

Florence Hudson is an inspirational business, technical and not-for-profit senior executive and board member with leadership skills in innovation, strategic planning, marketing, channels, partnerships, business development, sales, diversity, industry, research and academia.

Florence is on the Editorial Board of the journal Blockchain in Healthcare Today. She is also Special Advisor to the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub for Next Generation Internet (NGI) at Columbia University, enabling United States / European Union collaboration. She serves on engineering and technology advisory councils at Princeton University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Union County College. She is sought after as a keynote speaker for the Internet of Things, digitization of smart cities and communities, Blockchain, connected healthcare, information & communications technology trends, innovation, diversity, inclusion, and Women in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. She has presented in many venues worldwide, from Dubai to Japan, including a TED talk focused on sustainability on a smarter planet. She has been published in books on Cognitive Computing, the Internet of Things, and Smarter Cities.

Florence was trained as a mechanical and aerospace engineer, starting her career at Grumman Aerospace Corporation and NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, working on solar power satellites, the space shuttle program, and future missions around Jupiter. She then entered the Information Technology field, first at Hewlett Packard, then at IBM where she had a 33-year career, rising to IBM Vice President in strategy and marketing, growing multi-billion dollar businesses. She was a leader of many growth strategies at IBM, including the Internet of Things, smart buildings, smart water management, Watson cognitive computing, healthcare and life sciences, cloud, hardware, software, financing and services. She played a pivotal role in the development of the Emerging Business Opportunities strategy at IBM as is chronicled in a Harvard Case Study. She was an executive on loan to the Society of Women Engineers, creating their growth strategies.

After IBM, she was Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Internet2, a not-for-profit consortium of 500 research and education organizations in academia, industry and government. She developed a Collaborative Innovation Community of over 400 participants from 170 organizations around the world, focusing on innovations in the Internet of Things, IoT ethics, cybersecurity, distributed big data & analytics, healthcare & life sciences, smart campuses, advanced networking, trust & identity, cloud computing, and researcher engagement. She was an NSF PI on cybersecurity grants including an end to end trust and security for IoT workshop, and cybersecurity research transition to practice (TTP) acceleration.

Ms. Hudson graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and has attended executive education at Harvard Business School and Columbia University.

Marta Bralic is vice president of business development at Flatiron Health, where her team is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and leading special projects that accelerate Flatiron’s growth, enhance the company’s product offerings, and support new product line development.

Marta joined Flatiron from McKinsey & Company, where she advised payers, providers, and life sciences companies across a wide range of strategy and operational challenges. Her experience is primarily in helping state governments and health systems adapt to healthcare reform, and helping pharmaceutical and biotech clients develop commercial strategies.

Marta graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in government and computer science. She was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a Computer Science Teaching Fellow for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard.

I was born in Gander, Newfoundland, and have been privileged to live in many regions of Canada. My career started as an Officer with the Department of National Defense, moved on to senior management in operations with Bank of Montreal, Principal with KPMG and then President of two start-up companies, one in B2B marketing and the other in sports technology.

Since moving to Midland in 2001 I have been involved in the community in many capacities: - Director, Out of the Cold – Chair, Martyrs’ Shrine Board of Trustees - Chair, Huronia Foundation for the Arts – Founder, Zero Waste Simcoe - Chair, St. Margarets Cemetery Board - Founder, Economic Development Association of North Simcoe. My political career started as a municipal Councillor in 2006 and then successive terms as Mayor in 2010 and 2014.

My wife Cathy and I have been married for 43 years and have two adult children. When time permits I pursue personal interests in cosmology, virtual reality development and gardening.

Alexandra Prodromos - Alexandra Prodromos received her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Political Science from Pepperdine University. She also holds a certificate in conflict management from Pepperdine Law School’s number 1 ranked Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution. She is currently a Master of Science in Information Systems candidate at Northwestern University.

She was one of the primary initiators of the Illinois Blockchain Initiative, a state of Illinois consortium dedicated to furthering blockchain development in Illinois, and worked as the only non-government affiliated member of the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology's Blockchain Working Group. In 2016, she joined Bloq, Inc a leading enterprise grade blockchain software and services provider, as a Research and Marketing Strategist.

She was recently appointed as the Executive Director of the new Chicago Blockchain Center, a public-private non-profit partnership that serves as a leading educational resource and startup incubator of blockchain focused companies in the Chicago/Illinois tech ecosystem. She is a regularly invited speaker in Chicago and nationally on the subject of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger technology.

Hassan Jaferi is a commercialization professional who helps researchers and scientists develop their products for commercial markets – through patents, licenses and entrepreneurial ventures. His work is where science and business come together. As CEO of Bitnobi, Inc., Hassan manages all day to day business activities and oversees product development for the privacy-protected, data sharing platform.

William D. Friedman became president and CEO of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority in June, 2010. Under Mr. Friedman’s leadership, the Port of Cleveland has experienced a resurgence in maritime trade and long-sought diversification of cargo types. In 2014, the Port launched the Cleveland-Europe Express service, revitalizing shipping via the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system and solidifying Cleveland’s position as its leading international hub.

Mr. Friedman has more than 25 years experience in port management, real estate development, the international supply chain and multimodal distribution. He served as vice president, ports and logistics for Duke Realty Corp. from 2004 to 2009, helping the company expand to key port and inland logistics hubs including the Port of Savannah and the Rickenbacker Global Logistics Park in Columbus, Ohio. Before joining Duke Realty, Mr. Friedman was CEO of the Ports of Indiana from 2000 to 2004, where he improved financial results, increased cargo volumes, and secured more private investment, resulting in a record $1.5 billion annual economic impact statewide.

Prior to that, Mr. Friedman spent 10 years with the Port of Seattle serving in a variety of management roles including director of seaport strategic planning, general manager of cargo piers and industrial properties, and senior harbor development planner. Mr. Friedman’s work in Seattle enabled a $600 million expansion of one of the nation’s primary container ports.

Mr. Friedman is President of the American Great Lakes Ports Association and serves on numerous industry and civic boards including the Executive Committee of the American Association of Port Authorities, Green Marine, the Northeast Ohio Development Fund, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, and the Cuyahoga County Economic Development Commission.

Mr. Friedman holds two degrees from Indiana University -- a bachelor’s degree in history, and a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in urban and regional planning.

CARA CLAIRMAN is President and CEO of Plug’n Drive, a non-profit that is accelerating the deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) to maximize their environmental and economic benefits.

In just over six years, Cara has taken Plug’n Drive from an idea to a thriving non-profit, recognized as a leader in the EV space.

Cara has more than 20 years of experience working in the environmental and sustainability fields, including 12 years working at Ontario Power Generation, initially as OPG’s environmental lawyer and later in the role Vice President of Sustainable Development. Prior to joining OPG, Cara spent five years practicing environmental law with the Torys law firm.

She holds a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall and a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University, as well as an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from Queen’s University.

Cara is the 2017 recipient of the Women in Renewable Energy’s ‘Woman of the Year’ award. She is currently @CaraClairman driving the 100% electric Chevy Bolt!

Bruce Nierenberg brings 50 years’ experience in travel and tourism industry in the areas of cruise line management, airlines, hotels and resorts, destination management, product development, and over-night ferry operations.

As a senior executive or owner of cruise lines and ferry operations since 1974, he has been responsible for some of the most significant new product development in the cruise industry. He has consulted for governments and tourism development throughout the Caribbean islands. He established the first cruise operations in the Ports of Canaveral, Florida, and Houston, Texas.  He developed year -round operations for ultra-successful ports of call such as Cozumel, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and the Out Islands of the Bahamas. From their first regular, scheduled service in the mid-1970’s to their position today as among the most successful ports operations in the cruise industry, Cozumel in particular has become the #1 port stop in the world in terms of arriving passengers.

The Western Caribbean 7-day cruise route, he created and implemented in 1975 is still the most popular Caribbean itinerary 40+ years after it was initiated.

Bruce Nierenberg began his career in tourism as an airport ticket and operations agent at Eastern Airlines while in college at the University of Miami.  While at Eastern Airlines, he worked as a Senior Passenger and Cargo Sales Representative.  In his first year, he was named salesman of the year for the company.

His first position in the cruise industry was with Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) in 1973 as Regional Sales Director in Chicago. In his first year with NCL he used his airline background to create the first national program of air-sea packages that brought packaged cruise and air vacations nationally for the first time.

While with NCL in 1970’s, he was responsible for the acquisition and conversion of the S.S. France into the S.S. Norway, the largest passenger ship in the word at the time and first “mega” cruise ship to carry over 2000 passengers.  This was the first cruise product that marketed the ship as the destination and proved consumer acceptance of the concept now used successfully on all of today’s mega cruise liners.

In 1977, he started the first cruises to the Out Islands of the Bahamas. These trips featured the first “Private Island Experiences” which have become a mainstream product for all Caribbean operators and the main reason for the growth of cruising in the Bahamas.

In 1982 and as CEO of Scandinavian World Cruises, he helped conceive, design and implement the first “super ferry” to operate in U.S. waters, the M.S. Scandinavia, which ran from New York to the Bahamas.
He started the One Day cruise market from Florida, the “Seascape”, which operated successfully for the next 25 years from several ports in the state. This product brought many passengers to their first cruise in the 1980’s

Beginning in 1983 through 1991, he was a founder and managing partner of Premier Cruise Lines (“The Big Red Boats”), which had its first cruise in March 1983 from Port Canaveral, Florida.

He is credited for bringing American families traveling with children into the cruise market. Premier Cruise Lines (PCL) introduced the first onboard children’s programming including a full staff dedicated to youth activities. PCL also instituted the first full service children’s dining program, the first daily onboard babysitting service and the first children’s onboard recreation centers divided by specific age groups. All These products have become staples of the cruise industry today and the foundation for Disney building their own ships and starting Disney Cruise Lines in themed 1990’s.

While Managing Partner at Premier Cruise Lines he developed the first all out- island cruises to the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas. This required completed development of the destination including channel dredging, and building the port and harbor facilities.

By the mid 1980’s, Premier had become the most successful cruise line in the 3/4 -day cruise market, and the Official Cruise Line of Walt Disney World.

He is responsible for getting the Disney Company into the cruise business.

Using the Disney contract relationship, Premier’s Cruise and Disney Week Package became

  • The most successful tour operation in Florida,
  • The largest individual seller of Disney admissions outside of Disney themselves,
  • The largest individual renter of cars in Florida, and
  • The largest contractor of Central Florida hotel rooms

After selling his interest in Premier Cruise Lines to the Dial Corp in 1991 he became President and CEO of Costa Cruise Lines, prior to the sale of the company to Carnival Corp., where he implemented several new profitable itineraries and introduced two new vessels for the company. In 1996 rejoined NCL and implemented the first- year-round cruises from Houston, Texas to the Western Caribbean.

In 2003, he became President and CEO of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company (DQSC), at that time the only American flag steamboat operation on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. In cooperation with the parent company Delaware North he took DQSC, from an annual $15 million-dollar loss, to a positive result before it was sold in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina caused a cease in operation in late 2005. He successfully arranged for a post hurricane deployment of the steamboats of DQSC via contracts with major oil companies in Texas and Louisiana to use the vessels as accommodation ships for the workers who were rebuilding the refineries destroyed by Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita.
He has served on the Florida Tourism Commission including 2 years as Chairman, Vice Chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the Brevard Community College Foundation’s Board of Governors, and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Board.

During the last 5 years Nierenberg has worked to implement the first system of Super Cruise- Ferry service in the Caribbean Basin. This service will connect major shipping gateways in the US Gulf Coast such as Miami, Tampa, and Houston with The Yucatan peninsula in Mexico and eventually Havana Cuba.

On May 5, 2015 Nierenberg secured the first license form the US Government to operate passenger ships to Cuba.

In winter 2016, he became President and CEO of Victory Cruise Lines, a Miami based deluxe small ship, all-inclusive cruise product to sail to the Great Lakes in the summer. The first cruise onboard Victory I for Victory Cruise Lines took place in July 2016. A second ship, Victory II, will join the fleet on the Great Lakes in July 2018. Victory Cruise Lines will sail to Cuba and Yucatan Mexico from Miami Florida beginning in the winter 2018/2019.
He was appointed Chairman of the Board of Victory Cruise Lines in January 2018.

Todd leads client service delivery for Quantified Ventures, which structures outcomes-based financing transactions across the health, education and environmental sectors. Currently, he’s leading several Environmental Impact Bond projects, working with governments, private companies, and nonprofit organizations to deploy green infrastructure and other resilience investments, improve energy efficiency, address water quality issues through on-farm management practices, and promote sustainable urban wood economies.

Todd joined Quantified Ventures from IBM, where he was a leader in the IBM Smarter Cities Initiative, structuring projects to improve delivery of government programs and infrastructure through predictive data analytics. He led strategy and business development for IBM's entry into the intelligent transportation market, and led a global deal structuring team, providing expertise in development of public-private partnership contracts with government departments in the U.S. and Europe.

Prior to IBM, Todd was a Strategic Change consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, working with Executives of multiple government organizations in design and implementation of performance improvement and organizational restructuring initiatives. He started his career as a Program Evaluator with the Government Accountability Office, completing reviews for Congress recommending improved coordination and targeting of foreign aid programs and strengthening of nuclear-related export controls.

Todd has a Masters in International Development from Columbia University's School of Public and International Affairs and a B.A. in Political Science from UC-Berkeley. He is based in Boulder, Colorado.