Honorary Co-Chairs and Hosts

Governor JB Pritzker was sworn in as the 43rd governor of the state of Illinois on January 14, 2019 and won election with the largest margin of victory over a sitting governor in more than a century.

After taking the oath of office, Governor Pritzker immediately began working with Democrats and Republicans to accomplish one of the most ambitious and consequential legislative agendas in state history. During his first session, the governor passed a balanced budget with a bipartisan majority, making historic investments in education and human services, while restoring fiscal stability to Illinois. The governor also won bipartisan passage for legalization of adult-use recreational cannabis and for Rebuild Illinois, the largest investment in state history to upgrade roads, bridges, rail, broadband, and universities in every corner of the state.

The governor took bold action, putting state government back on the side of working families by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, making college more affordable for nearly 10,000 additional students, and advancing equal pay for women.

A national leader in early childhood education for over 20 years and having organized President Obama’s White House Summit on Early Childhood Education, Governor Pritzker this year made childcare and preschool more affordable in Illinois for tens of thousands more families. He also partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Share our Strength to fight child poverty by expanding school breakfast programs in low income school districts across our state.

Before becoming governor, Pritzker founded 1871, the non-profit small business incubator in Chicago that has helped entrepreneurs create more than 11,000 jobs and more than 1,000 new companies. Since the creation of 1871, Chicago has been named one of the top ten technology startup hubs in the world, and 1871 was named the best incubator in the world. As governor, he has expanded support for new business incubators and cut taxes for hundreds of thousands of small businesses while incentivizing job creation and innovation. He also extended research and development tax credits to help manufacturing workers and businesses thrive, and he worked with the business community to create apprenticeship tax credits to promote job training.

The descendant of refugees, Governor Pritzker believes our state and our nation should welcome and protect its immigrant families and that we must fight against the wave of intolerance that has risen in recent years. Before becoming governor, he led the creation of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, a nationally recognized institution where hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, police officers and others learn to fight bigotry and hatred. As governor, he has built the most diverse cabinet and governor’s office in Illinois history.

Governor Pritzker and First Lady MK Pritzker have been married for more than a quarter century, and they are the proud parents of two children.

Lori E. Lightfoot is the 56th Mayor of Chicago.

Since assuming office on May 20th following her historic election, Mayor Lightfoot has undertaken an ambitious agenda of expanding opportunity and inclusive economic growth across Chicago’s neighborhoods and communities, with early accomplishments including historic ethics and good governance reforms, worker protection legislation, and closing a record $838 million budget gap, as well as key investments in education, public safety and financial stability. Mayor Lightfoot also placed Chicago on the path to a $15 minimum wage by 2021.

Prior to her election, Mayor Lightfoot most recently served as a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown. Previously, she served as President of the Chicago Police Board, as well as the Chair of the Police Accountability Task Force.

Mayor Lightfoot also served as Chief of Staff and General Counsel of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, interim First Deputy of the Chicago Department of Procurement Services, Chief Administrator of the Office of Professional Standards, and as Assistant United States Attorney.

A native of Massillon, Ohio, Mayor Lightfoot has been a resident of Chicago since 1986 and lives on the Near Northwest Side with her wife Amy Eshleman and their daughter.

Master of Ceremonies

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.

Keynote Speakers

Megan Leslie began as President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada in December of 2017 after nearly two years at the organization, first as a consultant on ocean governance, then as head of ocean conservation. Before joining WWF, Megan was a Member of Parliament representing Halifax for two terms during which she was deputy leader of the Official Opposition, environment critic and vice-chair of the government committee on environment and sustainable development. In Parliament, Megan introduced a motion to ban plastic microbeads; this motion passed unanimously, leading to a ban on the Canadian manufacture, sale and importation of these products. She also expedited the creation of Sable Island National Park Reserve. Megan is the proud recipient of an Honourary Degree from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax and is a Senior Policy Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

Steven A. Altman is a Senior Research Scholar at the New York University Stern School of Business and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in NYU Stern’s Department of Management and Organizations. Mr. Altman is also Director of the DHL Initiative on Globalization at NYU Stern’s Center for the Future of Management. His research focuses on globalization and its implications for business strategy and public policy. Mr. Altman holds a PhD from the University of Reading, an MBA from the Harvard Business School, an MPA from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Gregory is Deputy Chief Economist and Head of U.S. Economics for BMO Capital Markets. He is part of the team responsible for forecasting and analyzing the North American economy and financial markets.

Michael began his career in economics with Royal Bank of Canada in Montreal in the mid-1980s, before moving to Toronto to work in RBC’s foreign exchange and money market research group. He eventually moved further along the yield curve and across the border, joining the fixed income strategy group at Lehman Brothers in New York City in the mid-1990s. Returning to Canada at the end of 2001, Michael headed up the Financial Services Analysis team at Bank of Montreal, focusing on regulatory and industry restructuring issues, before shifting to BMO Capital Markets Economics in 2004. He moved to Chicago in 2013, providing research support for the U.S. and Canadian fixed income business, before returning to Toronto in 2016.

Michael is a graduate of Concordia University in Montreal and Western University in London, Ontario; did doctoral studies at Fordham University in New York City; and, holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

With more than 33 years of experience in the private sector, Sisson was appointed Executive Director of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) - North America in January 2019. The Geneva, Switzerland-based nonprofit is a collaborative global platform for innovative and scalable business solutions aimed at addressing our most pressing social and environmental challenges.

As WBCSD’s executive director for North America, Sisson represents the pro-sustainability interests, voices, and values of corporations in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. WBCSD-NA is headquartered in Manhattan in New York City.

Sisson directs WBCSD’s activities throughout North America, helping corporations transform to battle the interconnected challenges of climate change, the loss of nature, and social inequality.

WBCSD also helps its more than 200 members – including nearly 60 in North America -- to adopt business practices that address the world’s most challenging societal issues, enabling them to benefit the public good and achieve their company goals.

Before joining WBCSD, Sisson served as Senior Executive Director of Sustainability at United Technologies Corporation (UTC), an American precision manufacturing conglomerate whose brands include Collins Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, Carrier Corporation, and Otis Elevator.

Debra Shore is the regional administrator for U.S. EPA Region 5. Her responsibilities include overseeing environmental protection efforts in the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as 35 federally recognized tribal nations. One of her roles is manager of EPA’s Great Lakes National Program, in which she leads restoration and protection of the largest freshwater system in the world.

Prior to joining EPA, Shore was an elected member of the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, a $1 billion agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management for more than five million people. She is a strong advocate for cleaning up the Chicago waterways and for resource recovery, including the reuse of treated water and the generation of renewable energy. Shore is a past chair and board member of the Great Lakes Protection Fund and served as board member and chair of the LGBTQ Victory Institute.

An award-winning author, Shore founded Chicago Wilderness magazine, was a leader in the regional conservation consortium Chicago Wilderness and founded Friends of the Forest Preserves. Shore has been an active habitat restoration volunteer in oak woods and savannas, prairies and wetlands of local forest preserves for more than 25 years.

An award-winning author, Shore founded Chicago Wilderness magazine, was a leader in the regional conservation consortium Chicago Wilderness and founded Friends of the Forest Preserves. Shore has been an active habitat restoration volunteer in oak woods and savannas, prairies and wetlands of local forest preserves for more than 25 years.

Ambassador (ret) Bruce Heyman is the co-founder of Uncharted LLC, an organization that convenes and connects diverse groups of Americans and Canadians for impact. There, he works on projects involving philanthropy, storytelling, and political activism. He is also the co-author of The Art of Diplomacy, which highlights the extraordinary country of Canada and takes an in-depth look at why diplomacy matters now more than ever.

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 co-chair 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. In addition to these roles, Ambassador Heyman also serves on the board of Chicago Public Media, the parent company of WBEZ, and the Chicago Sun Times.

Ambassador Heyman is a 33-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, where he served as partner and managing director in the Chicago office. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Vicki, where he dotes on his three grandchildren.

Aaron Annable began his assignment at the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago in September 2021. He has extensive experience in U.S. relations. From 2016 to 2021 he served as Energy Counsellor at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C. In 2014 he served as Acting Consul General of Canada to New England, before which he was Head of Foreign Policy and Diplomacy at the Consulate General in Boston for four years. He has previously held several positions within Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa, where he worked on numerous Canada-U.S., energy, environment and trade policy files. Prior to joining the Department in 2003, he worked for both the Privy Council Office and Service Canada. He graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor’s degree in political science (international relations) and is from Montreal, Quebec.


John Wilkinson is the CEO of Wilkinson Insight Incorporated. He serves on the Board of Greenfield Global, the Council of the Great Lakes Region, and the Advisory Board of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy. From 2003 – 2011, he was elected to the Ontario Legislature and during his tenure served as Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation, Minister of Revenue, and Minister of the Environment. During that time he saw to the passage of Bill 72, the Ontario Water Opportunities and Water Conservation Act, 2010.

Dr. Neil C. Hawkins is President of the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, a innovative and collaborative foundation dedicated to nurturing environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant communities in metro Detroit and supporting the Great Lakes. Hawkins is also a Board trustee of the Foundation. He is a recognized thought leader in sustainable development and public policy and their interface to business.

Hawkins was a 31-year employee of Dow Chemical, where he served in the C-Suite as the Chief Sustainability Officer and Corporate Vice President for Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S). He led Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals and was the architect of several groundbreaking collaborations, including the Dow/Nature Conservancy collaboration on valuing nature in business decisions, which won the Harvard University Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnership, as well as the innovative Dow Sustainability Graduate Fellows Program at the University of Michigan.

Hawkins is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); a board director for Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc.; advisor to the Apollo Impact Fund; a former member of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) Sustainability and Legacy Commission; former member of the CEO Sustainability Advisory Board for Procter and Gamble; and member of the Committee on Policy and Global Affairs of the National Academies of the USA (NAS). Through NAS, he also co-authored Sustainability and the U.S. EPA commonly known as the Green Book. Hawkins served at the request of Michael Bloomberg and Mark Carney as one of the few industry executives on the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (FSB-TCFD). Hawkins also teaches graduate students sustainability at the Harvard University Extension School (MS) and the Illitch School of Business at Wayne State University (MBA).

Hawkins was awarded the Corporate EcoForum’s 2012 C.K. Prahalad Award for sustainability leadership by an individual, and he was named one of the top 30 most influential sustainability voices on social media by The Guardian. He remains a social media thought leader and influencer. He holds doctoral and master’s degrees from the Harvard University School of Public Health, as well as an undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech. He and his family are very active in advocacy for individuals with disabilities and are enthusiastic supporters of community and professional theatre. Hawkins is a former member of the board of The Arc of the United States, a leading disability advocacy NGO in Washington. Hawkins has two wonderful adult daughters.

Dean Amhaus has served as the founding president and CEO of The Water Council since March 2010. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, The Water Council is a global hub dedicated to solving critical water challenges by driving innovation in freshwater technology and advancing water stewardship. With a strong, shared commitment to finding innovative solutions to critical global water challenges, The Water Council convenes global water leaders and supports businesses, utilities, government agencies, education programs, and non-profits, with services, programming, and networking opportunities.

Under Mr. Amhaus’ leadership, The Water Council has received numerous international and national economic development and leadership awards. In 2018, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program proclaimed that The Water Council was one of five organizations in the United States that it considers a successful industry cluster initiative.

His diverse, forty-year background in multiple sectors encapsulates a wide-range of expertise in government relations, branding, fundraising, economic development, and non-profit management in Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wisconsin.

Stephen J. Petras, Jr., is Director of the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center of Case Western Reserve University School of Law where he is an Adjunct Professor teaching in the International LL.M. program. He is the United States National Director of the Canada – United States Law Institute. The Canada – United States Law Institute is an organization focused on researching, analyzing, and explaining legal issues of significance to Canada and United States. Started in 1976, its principals are Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Law. He serves on the Board of the Council of the Great Lakes Region and is its Immediate Past Chair. The Council of the Great Lakes Region is a bi-national council that was established in 2013, dedicated to the economic development and sustainability of the Great Lakes region.

Mr. Petras retired from the law firm of Baker & Hostetler LLP at the end of 2018 where he was a partner in the Business Practice Group and where he had led its International Industry Team. He has been actively engaged in international legal, business and relations matters having served as the President of the Greater Cleveland International Lawyers Group, Chair of the International Section of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Chair of the Board of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs, Vice Chair of the Board of the World Affairs Councils of America, and President of the Cleveland World Trade Association. He is a member of the Northern Ohio District Export Council and continues to serve on the boards of several private companies and nonprofits.

Mr. Petras obtained his Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1979, and he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Physics from Wittenberg University in 1976.

Debra Kahn is Politico’s deputy sustainability editor. She previously served as California bureau chief and as California environment and transportation reporter, where she covered climate, water, air pollution, electric vehicles, fuel economy, high-speed rail and wildfires. She came to Politico in January 2019 after 13 years at E&E News, 10 of those in California. She hails from Maryland and is a proud Terp.

Shia Kapos is a reporter for POLITICO and author of POLITICO's Illinois Playbook, a daily newsletter about government and politics in Illinois. Prior to joining POLITICO, she wrote the popular Taking Names scoops and personality column for the Chicago Sun-Times (and before that Crain’s Business). Shia’s career has been built on breaking news and landing sit-down interviews with notable names and personalities. Along with team of reporters, her reporting on race and diversity was nominated for two Headline Club of Chicago journalism awards this year. Shia is originally from Utah, where she was political editor for the Salt Lake Tribune, overseeing government and environment coverage.

Mark Fisher became the President and CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) in 2014, which comprises CGLR Canada, CGLR USA and the CGLR Foundation.

Immediately prior to joining CGLR, he served as a foreign policy advisor in the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister of Canada and the federal Cabinet, where he focused on advancing Canada’s interests in North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Mark has extensive experience advising senior government, corporate, academic and NGO leaders on a range of pressing socioeconomic and environmental issues facing their sector, as well as the pathways and dynamic collaborations required to address them.

In addition to CGLR, he is an elected school board trustee with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, is a member of the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board, and is a director on the board of Easter Seals Ontario.

Mark is also a recipient of the Royal Canadian Legion Cadet Medal of Excellence.

Gavin Bade is a reporter on the Pro Trade team covering the administration and Congress’ approach to industrial policy and other trade issues. He previously was on the Pro Energy team covering the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, electricity markets and state policy.

He was previously senior reporter and editor at Utility Dive, an energy trade publication. Gavin is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he edited the campus alt-weekly, the Voice.

Juan Perez covers education for Politico and Politico Pro. He’s a native Midwesterner who last reported on government, politics, and education for the Chicago Tribune.

Nick Taylor-Vaisey is a POLITICO reporter who writes the Ottawa Playbook morning newsletter. He worked for Maclean’s magazine for more than eight years, mostly writing features and keeping the website humming. He also spent two years at OpenFile, a community news start-up.

Zi-Ann Lum covers Canadian federal politics and energy and environmental policy for POLITICO and POLITICO Pro Canada. She also writes for the Ottawa Playbook morning newsletter.

Prior to joining POLITICO, Zi-Ann was a reporter and editor with HuffPost Canada for nine years. Previously based in Vancouver and Toronto, she now lives in Ottawa and has been covering federal politics and policy on Parliament Hill since 2017.

Panel Speakers

Bernard Swiecki serves as Director of Research at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), as well as Director of the Automotive Communities Partnership (ACP). He joined CAR in 1994.

Mr. Swiecki manages research projects studying a wide breadth of automotive industry structure and technology topics. He manages CAR’s analysis of vehicle market and production data. He has also led trade missions to China, Italy, India, and Russia. Mr. Swiecki has authored numerous articles for print publications, as well as a monthly column, on the automotive industry. He regularly presents at conferences and industry events around the world, as well as providing interviews to local, national, and global media.

Mr. Swiecki is a member of the Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA). He has served on the U.S. Department of Commerce Eastern Michigan District Export Council. He received his BA from the University of Michigan in 1998 and his MS from Eastern Michigan University in 2003.

Jon W. Allan joined the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan in 2019. His work focuses on the enterprise of sustainability across Michigan and the Great Lakes region related to the intersection of ecological, economic, social, and cultural value. He seeks to understand and influence the rate at which the region is adopting and implementing the principles of a sustainable and just society.

Jon was previously the President and Founder of the Jon W. Allan Group, a private consultancy specializing in strategic insight for freshwater and the Great Lakes, energy and environmental policy, and natural resource governance.

He retired as the Director of the Office of the Great Lakes contributing his considerable experience in science and policy to the office’s mission to protect, restore, and sustain the Great Lakes. Prior to that, he served in a number of corporate executive positions in environmental and energy management, government and regulatory affairs, and strategy development. He has also worked in the non-profit sector and in arts management. He has taught courses in biology, marine zoology and island ecology, and environmental impact assessment. He holds a BS degree in Fisheries and Wildlife, and a Masters in Zoology/Aquatic Ecology from Michigan State University and completed considerable additional graduate work in Environmental Policy and Law also at MSU.

Jon’s research on wetlands, stream ecology, and water policy has been published in Canada and the U.S. Organizations and individuals rely on his expertise to lead or advise on strategy, environmental planning, governance, and policy across the region.

Jon advised during the Great Lakes Compact negotiations and co-chaired the State’s Advisory Council tasked with the state's strategy and implementation of the Great Lakes Compact. He’s contributed his expertise in a range of roles with the State of Michigan, including the Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council, the Michigan Climate Action Council, and the Environmental Advisory Council for Michigan DEQ, and co-chaired the Blue-Ribbon Panel on Parks.

He is currently the U.S. Co-chair of the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board, is a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Science Advisory Board, chairs MSU’s Institute for Water Research Advisory Board, is on the Board of Governors at Cranbrook Institute of Science and chairs its Freshwater Forum, serves on the board Audubon Great Lakes, and advises many projects and organizations. Previously Jon has chaired the Board for the Great Lakes Commission and the Executive Committee of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers organization.

Jon grew up in northern Ohio close to Lake Erie during a time when many of our lakes and rivers were very unhealthy. He has retained a keen interest in addressing a host of freshwater, governance, and sustainability challenges. He devotes time to his family, travels extensively, is a lifelong birder, an iffy photographer, a poor substitute for a fly fisherman, a passable cabinetmaker, and an occasional poet and musician. Though full of challenges, Jon believes our future is bright and that we will rise to the tasks ahead.

Bruce Burrows has been President and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce since December 2016. He draws on strong advocacy skills and over 35 years of experience in the transportation and industrial sectors, having held progressively senior positions at Canadian Pacific in Canada and Europe, the Railway Association of Canada in Ottawa, and TACTIX Government Relations and Public Affairs - where he led their ‘Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy’ practice.

Mr. Burrows has attained a distinguished list of achievements for the organizations he has represented, including commercial client account expansion, asset acquisitions, regulatory approval for network rationalization, passage of major legislation, tax freezes, capital cost allowance improvements, and federal government funding for capital projects.

Mr. Burrows is active in his community and recently served on the board of The Vimy Foundation. In 2012, he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work to raise awareness of the national importance of Canada’s victory at Vimy Ridge during the First World War. He was also made a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.

A graduate of Upper Canada College and Queen's University with a business degree, he is also a credited member of the Institute of Logistics and Transport.

Ian Hamilton is President & CEO of HOPA Ports (Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority). He assumed this role in 2017, after serving as the Port Authority’s Vice President of Business Development and Real Estate since 2008. Ian has been instrumental in developing working waterfronts in Hamilton, Oshawa, and Niagara by attracting new business and private investments and creating an integrated marine network across Southern Ontario.

Ian possesses more than 25 years of experience in international transportation and logistics in Europe and North America and has held progressively senior positions in the liner shipping industry, including Transatlantic Trade Director (Europe) for CP Ships and Business Development Manager for Hapag-Lloyd. Ian is Vice Chair of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities Board of Directors and holds positions on other boards, including the Chamber of Marine Commerce, The Hamilton Club, and Brigs Youth Sail Training.

Ian holds an MBA from Aston University (UK) and a BSc in business administration and economics from the College of Charleston, South Carolina.

As Executive Director for Current, Chicago’s water innovation hub, Alaina Harkness leads a team working to grow the blue economy, accelerate innovation, and solve pressing water challenges.

She most recently served as managing director for the economic development firm RW Ventures, where she helped launch and lead the New Growth Innovation Network and developed inclusive growth strategies for cities and metropolitan regions. Prior, she held a research fellowship in urban governance at the Brookings Institution, led urban development strategy for the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and staffed civic collaboratives: The Partnership for New Communities and 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods.

Alaina is a nonresident fellow in the Global Cities program at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and has published research and commentary for the Brookings Institution, Crain’s Chicago Business, the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, and CityLab. She holds a B.A. in political science and art history from the University of Rochester, and Masters degrees in Public Policy and Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago.

Alaina is a longtime resident of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood and serves on the boards of Urban Initiatives and Margaret’s Village. She is a 2014 fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago.

Jocelyn Brown Hall is Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Liaison Office for North America based in Washington, DC. She joined the office on 14 June 2021. Prior to this role she served as the Deputy Regional Representative for the FAO Regional Office for Africa, where she oversaw 47 FAO country offices in Africa and guides their strategy and communications around food security. She also serves as the FAO Representative for Ghana, where she worked with ministries of agriculture, fisheries, social protection and trade.

In 2015, Brown Hall was appointed Deputy Administrator in the Foreign Agricultural Service where she led the USDA’s USD $2 billion food and technical assistance programs in low- and middle-income countries. In this position, she oversaw USDA’s international food and technical assistance programs, including the McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, the Food for Progress Program, the Cochran and Borlaug Fellowship Programs, and numerous technical assistance projects that promote U.S. government food security and trade capacity building goals.  Prior to this role, she spent years on agriculture trade policy and development, specifically in Afghanistan, Central America, China, Haiti, Malawi and Laos.

Brown Hall began her career teaching English at an agricultural university in Peshawar, Pakistan, while serving in the Peace Corps. She then ran the largest income generation program for Afghan women refugees in Pakistan for Save the Children. 

Brown Hall holds a master’s degree in Business Administration in International Business and Development from the George Washington University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in American Literature.

Jeff Weiss spent more than 15 years in senior legal, policy, diplomatic, negotiation, and political roles in the US government across three administrations – including at the White House, Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), and the Office of the Secretary of Commerce – and now co-chairs Steptoe’s internationally recognized International Trade Policy practice and leads the firm's Supply Chain team.

Drawing on the insights he gained while in government, Jeff helps clients effectively navigate complex global trade issues at the intersection of international trade, regulation, and standards, and develop and execute cross-cutting policy strategies. He advises and advocates for clients before the US congress and the administration, on a broad spectrum of matters related to international trade and investment. He provides counsel to clients, including governments, on issues arising under free trade agreements and in other international fora, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and under US trade and customs law.

As leader of the Steptoe Supply Chain team, Jeff works with companies, trade associations, and coalitions to craft and implement advocacy plans to strengthen, build, or rebuild US supply chains. He also counsels companies looking to establish new, or shift existing, supply chains. His trade advocacy efforts have involved the full panoply of legal and policy tools, including: border measures, tax credits, changes to procurement policy, climate measures, patent protection, standards, and creation of new structures within government.

Jeff received his B.A. from Duke University, his M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Patrick Schultz was appointed Executive Vice President of Development, Strategy and Innovation, and Chief Growth Officer of Veolia North America (VNA) in February 2022. In this role, he is the voice of growth on the Executive Committee, and he and his team work closely with business leaders and sales teams to set and execute VNA’s growth strategy. More specifically, Patrick’s team is responsible for sales operations and commercial excellence, key account management and corporate sales, strategic planning, corporate development (mergers and acquisitions), competitive intelligence, digital marketing, and the creation of an innovation ecosystem with VNA’s customers and other external stakeholders.

Patrick joined VNA in 2011 and has since held various operational, commercial and corporate roles. He most recently served as Transformation Leader for the merger with Suez North America, preparing the integration of over $1 billion in municipal water activity and over 3,000 employees into VNA’s portfolio.

Prior to joining the company, Patrick worked at McKinsey & Co. where he supported a wide range of clients on performance transformation and strategy projects across various industry sectors, including water utilities, chemicals, oil and gas, and semiconductor manufacturing.

Patrick received a PhD in geosciences from Princeton University for his research on the impact of climate change on ocean ecosystems. He also holds an MSc in environmental engineering from Michigan Technological University and a Diplom-Ingenieur in environmental engineering from the Universität Stuttgart in his native country of Germany.

David Adams has more than 30 years of experience in 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.

He has been at the forefront of the association’s thought leadership on the disruption and evolution of both the automobile and the automotive industry in Canada, including zero-emission vehicles and their adoption as well as the regulatory environment necessary to support the adoption of automated and connected vehicles.

David serves on a number of industry-related boards and is the current Chair of the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP), a national consumer dispute resolution program, and was involved in the creation of the National Automobile Dealer Arbitration Program (NADAP) for disputes arising between dealers and manufacturers. His is also serves on the boards of the Automotive Business School of Canada and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation.

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

He is an avid cyclist and resides in Toronto.

Heather C. Briccetti, Esq. is the president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. Ms. Briccetti joined The Business Council in 2007, as vice president of government affairs, overseeing the organization’s legislative and pro-growth agendas. She holds a Juris Doctor from Albany Law School.

Prior to The Business Council, Ms. Briccetti was a consultant and lobbyist for Powers and Company, working on issues including the Javits Center expansion and the new Yankee Stadium. She has also served as assistant counsel to the New York State Senate majority; legislative aide and counsel to the New York State Assembly majority committee on Racing and Wagering; and special counsel in the New York State Attorney General’s office.

Suzanne Goldberg is the Director of Public Policy for ChargePoint in Canada, the world’s leading electric vehicle (EV) charging network, which provides access to hundreds-of-thousands of places to charge in North America and Europe. In this role, she covers federal, provincial, and municipal affairs, managing engagement on electric vehicle policy across Canada. Prior to ChargePoint, Suzanne was the Director of Research and outreach for START at Simon Fraser University and a founding partner of the consulting firm Navius Research.

Wade Kapszukiewicz was elected mayor of Toledo, Ohio on November 7, 2017 and took the oath of office on January 2, 2018, becoming the 58th mayor of the city. He was re-elected on November 2, 2021.

In his first term as mayor, Mr. Kapszukiewicz achieved all of his administration’s top goals including, creating a regional water system, ensuring long-term affordable water rates while sharing decision-making authority with suburban partners, increasing the size of the police force, restoring discipline to the city’s budget, turning a $3 million dollar deficit into a more than $40 million surplus, even in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and much more.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz was Lucas County Treasurer from 2005 until 2018. While treasurer, he worked to change state law in 2010 to allow for the creation of county land banks, and founded the Lucas County Land Bank.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz served one term on the Lucas County Board of Education and was later a Toledo city councilman for nearly seven years. He was first elected to the city council in 1999 and then re-elected in 2001 and 2003. When he began his service on Toledo City Council, at age 26, Mr. Kapszukiewicz had the distinction of being the youngest person to serve on the legislative body in 25 years.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz was recognized in 2006 as a “20 Under 40” community leader, and in 2010 ESOP gave him its “Above and Beyond” award. In 2012, the mayor was again honored by ESOP, this time earning its “Rooted in ESOP” award. The Toledo City Paper named him one of its “Big Idea Toledoans” in 2014 for his work creating and leading the Lucas County Land Bank, and again in 2018 for his commitment to pursue an ambitious agenda as mayor.

Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, is a successful entrepreneur and business executive, champion fundraiser, and dedicated public servant. Rocco joined the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) in 2018 as President and CEO. Prior to joining the OCC, Rocco 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 of over $500 million in total and launching many new, life-saving initiatives. 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.

Jason McMann is Head of Geopolitical Risk Analysis for Morning Consult, leveraging the company’s high-frequency intelligence with analysis to advise companies and governments on how politics and regional developments impact strategy and operational management.

Prior to joining Morning Consult, Jason served as Head of Analytics at GeoQuant, where he led efforts to systematically model the impact of political risk on markets as well as the analysis of global trade and investment policy risks; he also led country risk analysis for South and Southeast Asia.

Jason has worked with a range of nonprofit and development organizations on regulatory benchmarking projects in emerging markets, including the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the Natural Resource Governance Institute. Jason earned his PhD from Princeton University’s Politics Department with a specialization in International Political Economy. He holds a M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from New York University.

Madelyn Koester is a Senior Product Manager and Soil Health Lead for John Deere's Sustainability Solutions team. She leads sustainability pilot programs and associated John Deere Operations Center feature development, as well as digital Soil Health efforts that help farmers be more sustainable and profitable. Madelyn earned her Bachelor's in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from University of Illinois, and is currently working on her Master's in Business Administration from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Prior to Deere, Madelyn spent time in agtech software product management at Syngenta, AGCO, and Granular. She grew up on a grain farm in northern Illinois that her family still operates today.

Dr. John Sankovic is the President and CEO of the Ohio Aerospace Institute, leading the organization’s Aerospace Industry Association, public-private industry consortia, federal research support, technology-based economic development, and STEM education programs. The Ohio Aerospace Institute is a, Private, not-for-profit 501(c)3, founded in 1989, with support from the State of Ohio and Ohio Astronaut and Senator John Glenn.  It is the first NASA associated collaborative Institute chartered to foster relationships between universities, aerospace industries, and government organizations. 

Prior to OAI, Dr. Sankovic was a member of the Federal Senior Executive Service.  He had a distinguished 31-year career at NASA, where he most recently served as Glenn Research Center Chief Technologist and Director of the Office of Technology Incubation and Innovation, setting a record for technology transfer and licensing.

He has received numerous awards, including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, six Agency Honor Group Achievement Awards and an R&D100 technology innovation award. An industrious academic, Dr. Sankovic earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from The University of Akron, his MBA degree from Cleveland State University and his master’s and doctorate degrees in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Ohio with unique distinction by the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers for highest achievement on both licensure examinations. He holds three U.S. patents.

Inclined to share his knowledge and passion with future generations of innovators, Dr. Sankovic has taught numerous university courses over the past 15 years and authored or co-authored more than 70 technical publications on topics ranging from space propulsion and power to fluid mechanics and biomedical sciences.

Claude Griffin is the Executive Director for the US Business Council for Sustainable Development. He has more than 40 years of program and project experience in commercial and government sectors, focused on energy, environmental restoration, conservation, and social investment. Before retiring from Shell, he served as External Relations Advisor for Social Investment Environmental Programs in the US. Claude holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University.

A serial entrepreneur who has started over 20 businesses in a variety of industries, Patrick Whalen is Director of the Niagara Global Tourism Institute (NGTI), as well as the interim President & CEO of the Canadian American Border Trade Alliance.

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

Among the businesses Pat started is Fulfillment Systems International (FSI), a technology-driven international logistics services provider. FSI grew from a 1-person startup in '85 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 sits on the board of directors of Buffalo Toronto Public Media; Council of the Great Lakes Region; and the Richardson Olmsted Campus.

He has served on the boards of the Canadian American Border Trade Alliance; Buffalo & Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (aka Peace Bridge); Rotary Club of Buffalo (twice); the American Red Cross Buffalo Chapter; Health Science Charter School; Bi-National Tourism Alliance; the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Alumni Association (twice); Continental 1; Assn of University Research Parks; World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara; and Kaleida Health Foundation. 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 Rotary club on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus where he served on its board during the club's inaugural year.

He is a grad of the U at Buffalo School of Management's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and attended Canisius College.

As FBCL’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Warren Askew is responsible for the leadership of the Operations Branch, which includes revenue generation, traffic movement, asset management, and maintenance. Warren joined the corporation in June 2019. Mr. Askew led the organization through the recent blockade activity where all four of FBCL’s crossings were affected and is engaged in strategy and planning for the “post-pandemic” recovery of the business.

Prior to joining FBCL, Mr. Askew spent 23 years in aviation, last serving his communities through the operation of the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, and prior to that, with Toronto Pearson International Airport. With a strong background in Operations, Mr. Askew has specialized in Safety Management Systems, operational continuity, and operational risk management, and resource allocation. He led the Hamilton International Airport through a period of unprecedented growth, overseeing the safe, secure, and efficient operations of North America’s fastest growing airport in 2018, while simultaneously planning and orchestrating major construction works, and championing a significant increase in capital investment. Mr. Askew also served as the Chair of the Operations, Safety, and Technical Affairs Committee of the Canadian Airports Council. Through his experience and involvement in Safety Management Systems, Mr. Askew helped create a national peer review program between Canadian Airports in order to build best practices, and develop the future leaders in the industry.

Charlene Bearhead is a mother, grandmother, educator, Indigenous education advocate, and author with over 30 years of regional, national and international experience. Charlene is the Director of Reconciliation at Canadian Geographic and a member of the Indigenous Education Advisory Circle for the National Film Board. Previously Charlene served as education coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, education coordinator for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, education advisor for the Canadian Geographic Indigenous People’s Atlas of Canada and member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Indigenous Education working group, the first education lead for both the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC.

Professor Mihailidis is the Associate Vice-President for International Partnerships at the University of Toronto, and the Scientific Director of the AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence, which focuses on the development of new technologies and services for older adults. He is a Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy (U of T) and in Biomedical Engineering (U of T), with a cross appointment in the Department of Computer Science (U of T). 

Professor Mihailidis has been conducting research in the field of technology to support older adults for the past 17 years, having published over 200 journal papers, conference papers, and abstracts in this field. Dr. Mihailidis is also very active in the rehabilitation engineering profession, currently as the Past-President for RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America). He was also named a Fellow of RESNA in 2014, which is one of the highest honours within this field of research and practice, and a Fellow in the Canadian Academy of Health Science (CAHS) in 2021 for his contributions to the health and well-being of older Canadians.

Professor Mihailidis received a B.A.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Toronto in 1996, a M.A.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering in 1998 from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in Bioengineering (Rehabilitation Engineering) in 2002 from the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland).

In her five years at Engel Tool and Forge, Diane has worked on a wide array of projects including AWS Certification. She has also managed a new ERP system implementation, ISO 9001:2015 Certification, and several other strategic growth and planning initiatives. Diane has worked in metal manufacturing for nine years after having spent 20+ years as an educator.

Susan McGeachie is head of the BMO Climate Institute, a centre of excellence that bridges climate policy and science with business strategy and finance to unlock solutions for both clients and the bank. She brings to this role over 20 years of experience identifying, evaluating, and managing climate change-related risks and strategic positioning opportunities. Following her years in ESG research and analytics, she held leadership positions in management and engineering consulting firms. Susan is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto where she teaches a graduate course in climate finance, and a member of the Canadian Climate Governance Experts panel. In 2021 Susan was named one of twenty-six Canadian Climate Champions by the Canada Climate Law Initiative and the British High Commission ahead of COP26. In 2014 she was named to the Clean50 and Clean 16 lists of practitioners, which recognize contributions to advancing sustainable capitalism.

Ed Verhamme is a principal, senior engineer at LimnoTech and was recently named president of Freeboard Technology, a new water technology start-up he co-founded as a subsidiary of LimnoTech. Ed is well known for his work across the Great Lakes region to design, build, and maintain a next generation sensing network that supports hundreds of thousands of boaters, key water managers, and critical infrastructure owners. Drinking water treatment plants, coastal communities, and the research community rely on his expertise to monitor hazardous weather, toxic and harmful algal blooms, hypoxic waters, and critical shoreline and wetland habitats. He has also served as a principal investigator on several prominent federally funded research projects and has contributed to nearly twenty peer reviewed journal articles concerning water quality issues. In 2021, Ed served as president of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, and supports ongoing work to build robust public-private partnerships to tackle tough social justice and environmental issues.

As Director of Corporate & External Affairs, Scott MacKenzie is responsible for all External Affairs functions for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) and Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI), as well as several corporate functions specific to Toyota’s Canadian manufacturing operations, including Strategic Planning and Corporate Governance.

Prior to assuming this position, Scott has held various technical and administrative roles across both companies.

Scott joined TMMC in 1999, working in Manufacturing Operations before moving to a position in Quality Control. Since then, he has held roles in Technical Purchasing (Supply Chain Development), Corporate Strategy and Planning, and Government Affairs.

Today, he is responsible for all External Affairs functions for both TMMC and TCI, including Government Affairs, Corporate Communications, Public Relations and Major Events.

His role in Government Affairs has seen him at the front line of several key policy negotiations, most notably as a trusted advisor to the Federal government on its successful negotiation of several international trade agreements. In his Strategic Planning role, Scott has helped secure several new product lines for TMMC, including the introduction of RAV4 and Lexus NX to TMMC’s North Plant.

Scott was born and raised in Kitchener, educated at the University of Waterloo, and now resides in Waterloo with his wife and two children.

Johannes Britz is the newly appointed interim Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs for the UW System. Britz was currently Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UW–Milwaukee, where he is also a professor in the School of Information Studies. Prior to becoming UW-Milwaukee’s interim Provost (2010) and permanent Provost (2012), he served as Dean of the School of Information Studies from 2005 to 2010. Britz also had the duty of 'double dean' by being appointed as the interim Dean of the College of Health Sciences in 2008-2009, while serving as the Dean of the School of Information Studies.

Dr. Britz holds two doctoral degrees from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He serves on the editorial board of a number of academic journals. He is a member of national and international committees in Higher Education. He is also a member of the South African Academy for Science and Art.

Dr. Britz has broad international experience both as a researcher and consultant. Dr. Britz has a very specific interest in social justice and information poverty and works primarily in Africa on these topics. He is the author and co-author of more than 100 scholarly publications. He played a key role in the development of Information Ethics in Africa. In recognition of his work he was acknowledged as a finalist for the Ethics award by the World Technology Forum.

Jisu Hong assumed the role of Associate Vice President in May 2019. Jisu is responsible for corporate partnerships and international engagements that drive economic development and innovation. She also leads key strategic initiatives for the University of Illinois System.

Jisu joined the University of Illinois from Johnson Controls, a globally diversified technology and multi-industrial company, where she was responsible for developing global aftermarket strategy and leading major organic and inorganic initiatives globally, as Director Global Aftermarket Strategy. Also at Johnson Controls, she served as Director, Corporate Development, helping with several multi-billion-dollar transactions from deal structuring, valuation, negotiation and due diligence. Her experiences included sell-side and buy-side mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, equity investment and license agreement. She received the Chairman’s Award and Merit Award for her contribution. Prior to Johnson Controls, Jisu worked as a management consultant at Baker Tilly, McKinsey, and Accenture, and advised senior executives of Fortune 500 companies and government entities on strategic and operational transformation projects.

Jisu is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder. She received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with a merit-based scholarship and dean’s honor and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree from Seoul National University.

Bryan Gilvesy has led the development of the ALUS program since 2006. He is a champion for progressive, sustainable farming and ranching, having embraced these methods on his own farm, Y U Ranch, producing grass-fed beef in Ontario’s Norfolk County since 1979. Bryan holds a degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University, where he is Executive in Residence for Agriculture and Sustainability. Among his many awards are the Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Award, the Canadian Agri-Food Award of Excellence for Environmental Stewardship, the Beef Farmers of Ontario Environmental Stewardship Award, the Premier’s Award for Agricultural Innovation, and the Ontario Environment Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence. His appointments have included the Ministers Species at Risk Advisory Council and the Ontario Bobolink Roundtable. He is also a past Chair of the Norfolk ALUS PAC and the Sustain Ontario Advisory Committee.

Howard A. Learner is an experienced public interest environmental and energy litigation attorney serving as Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center – the Midwest's leading environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization.  Mr. Learner is responsible for the overall organizational strategic leadership, financial platform, and program direction for ELPC's successful work to promote clean energy development solutions to climate change challenges, advance innovative transportation policies, protect the Great Lakes, and preserve the Midwest’s natural resources and heritage.   One of ELPC’s core premises is that environmental progress and economic development can be achieved together.  ELPC’s advocacy programs put that sustainable development policy principle into action.

Mr. Learner is also a Professor (Adjunct) at the University of Michigan Law School teaching advanced seminars on energy law and climate change policy, environmental constitutionalism, and sustainable development law.   He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, and his B.A. (Honors) from the University of Michigan.

Jay Walsh became the University of Illinois’ Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation in May 2020, after spending more than 30 years as a faculty member and administrator at Northwestern University. He is a professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and at the University of Illinois Chicago.

Dr. Walsh leads the Illinois Innovation Network, a collaboration among the state’s 12 public universities that drives inclusive and integrated research, innovation, and economic development across Illinois, and serves on the executive committee of the Great Lakes Higher Education Consortium, a collaboration among 6 universities in the US and Canada that promotes academic excellence, innovation, research, and education to inclusively enhance the public good for all people and areas of the Great Lakes.

Dr. Walsh currently serves on the Board of Directors at MxD, the Board of Governors at Argonne National Laboratory, the Board of Directors for Current, the Board of Visitors for Vanderbilt’s Engineering School, and he chairs the Board of the Chicago Council on Science and Technology. Previously, Dr. Walsh was chair of the University Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP) Board and he served on the Board of Directors at Fermi National Laboratory, the Illinois Governor’s Innovation Council, the Naval Research Advisory Committee, and the U.S. Secretary of Navy Advisory Panel.

He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and his Ph.D. in medical engineering from a joint Harvard Medical School – MIT program.

Debra Kahn is Politico’s deputy sustainability editor. She previously served as California bureau chief and as California environment and transportation reporter, where she covered climate, water, air pollution, electric vehicles, fuel economy, high-speed rail and wildfires. She came to Politico in January 2019 after 13 years at E&E News, 10 of those in California. She hails from Maryland and is a proud Terp.

Dave is a northeast Ohio native and has more than 30 years of experience in transportation and logistics, including senior level operations and business development positions in trucking, intermodal, and third-party logistics. He joined the Port as Vice-President of Maritime & Logistics in 2010 and was promoted to Chief Commercial Officer in 2018. His responsibilities include strategic management of all aspects of the maritime functions at the Port, including business development and operations. He sits on various maritime and logistics committees and boards focusing on marketing and business development in the cargo industry. He graduated from Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH with a BA in Economics.

Brian joined McGill as the Director of Global Engagement in 2020. Brian leads the unit and is responsible for the strategic vision for McGill’s global engagement and for clearly communicating that vision to McGill’s internal and external stakeholders, supporting the international components of McGill’s Strategic Academic Plan 2017-2022. The unit facilitates international agreements with partner institutions that have a university-wide benefit, encouraging research collaboration, revenue-generating opportunities, and international mobility. Support provided by the unit also contributes to advancing social accountability and social justice programs in a global context, including development programs and programs tied to sustainable development goals. Additionally, the global engagement unit capitalizes on the geographic expertise of its team to identify potential opportunities for expanded engagement and shares those opportunities with relevant Faculties and internal stakeholders.

Prior to working for McGill, Brian served as a diplomat, working in overseas missions for thirteen years. His first tour was in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, working in the Consular Section. After finishing his tour in Dubai, Brian completed an assignment in Geneva, Switzerland, working as a Political Officer at the Mission to the United Nations. After that assignment, he learned Albanian and then completed a two-year tour in Skopje, Macedonia, as the Cultural and Education Attaché. After learning Portuguese, he was posted in Brazil as the Consul and head of the Diplomatic Office in Belo Horizonte. Most recently, he served as the Cultural and Education Attaché at the embassy in Paris, France.

Brian graduated from McGill University, in Montreal, Canada, with a joint degree in International Management and French. In addition, he holds a degree in French studies (D.E.U.F.) from the Université Lyon III in Lyon, France. After graduating, he pursued a career in advertising, working as an Account Manager for Cossette Communications, the largest advertising firm in Canada. Brian’s client list was vast, including McDonald’s, General Motors, Coca Cola, Banque de Montreal, the Canadian Federal Government, and the Municipality of Halifax, and his work won numerous awards.

Matt oversees The Water Council’s sustainability and stewardship initiatives, which initially focused on establishing the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) System globally with specific oversight of North America. He created the world’s first professional credentialing program for water stewardship professionals and made the business case for use of the International Water Stewardship Standard (“AWS Standard”) in the North American marketplace. Matt also oversees The Water Council’s corporate water stewardship programs and advisory services. He has over 15 years in sustainability program development and management, including five years as Milwaukee’s sustainability director. Matt came to Milwaukee from Washington, D.C., where he worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce and as a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has an MA from George Washington University and a BA from Valparaiso University. He is AWS and Lean Six Sigma accredited and serves on the WELL Water Advisory and the Wisconsin Governor’s Wetlands Study Council. He served on the U.S. EPA’s National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology from 2014-2019.

Eric Oberhart is a Senior Consultant with CPCS, a consulting firm serving public and private clients in the transportation and power infrastructure space. Prior to working for CPCS, Eric worked for the Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Over the past 8 years, Eric has led and contributed to many maritime projects on the Great Lakes, including: the development of business development strategies and policy analyses for the Conference of Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, the creation of binational maritime performance metrics for the Great Lakes Commission, and Maritime transportation plans for Ohio DOT, Illinois DOT, and the Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association. Eric is based in Duluth, Minnesota, and when he is not hard at work on transportation projects he can often be found sea kayaking on Lake Superior.

Isabelle Des Chênes joined CIAC in November 2017 and leads the Association’s strategic communications and government and stakeholder relations initiatives. Prior to joining CIAC, Isabelle was Director of Communications for the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA). She spent eleven years in the natural resources sector in a number of progressive positions including as VP, Market Relations and International Trade with the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and VP, Market Relations for British Columbia’s Forestry Innovation Investment, Inc. Isabelle holds a BA, Communications from the University of Ottawa.

Walter Willis has been the Executive Director of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County since 2007 and is responsible for overseeing the Agency’s solid waste and resource management programs and implementing the Lake County Solid Waste Management Plan. Mr. Willis is a board member of the Illinois Chapter of SWANA, the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition and an honorary board member of the Product Stewardship Institute.

Prior to joining SWALCO, Mr. Willis worked in the waste industry as a consultant for approximately 20 years developing solid waste management plans and assisting with solid waste facility development projects throughout the United States. He began his solid waste career with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in 1987 after receiving his Master’s in Public Administration from Southern Illinois University.

As Intel’s lead for supply chain security policy, Tom brings a deep understanding of software and hardware product lifecycles and supply chains to his work. Tom joined Intel Corporation in 1998 as a product manager for Intel’s motherboard manufacturing operation. As technology supply chains became global, Tom led collaboration efforts with suppliers and integrators worldwide to balance innovation, trust, and business continuity. Focused on how to increase trust in digital technologies, Tom led Intel’s planning efforts for security capabilities in Intel products. Tom joined the CTO Office at McAfee, working with IT leaders to measure and drive targeted security outcomes. Tom earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Martha King is the Vice President of Programs and Projects at Farm Foundation, a national non-profit focused on creating practical solutions for agriculture by building trust and understanding at the intersections of agriculture and society.

While working in academia for more than a decade, Martha led several initiatives for provosts and deans that streamlined processes and brought enhanced reporting and technology to administrative areas. Now in agriculture, Martha projects that bring together and accelerate both people and ideas. Martha’s connection to agriculture runs deep, as she currently serves as co-owner of her family’s Illinois farm. Martha holds an MBA with a focus on Information Systems Management from Loyola University Chicago and a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from Saint Louis University, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in German and Political Science from Purdue University.

Wolfgang Moessinger is Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Midwest, based in Chicago. After school and military service he studied German, French and History at the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg. He joined the Federal Foreign Office in 1987. His first postings abroad were Dakar, Helsinki and Moscow. From 2008 to 2012 he was Consul General in Edinburgh, from 2012 to 2015 Deputy Ambassador in Baku, from 2015 to 2019 Consul General in Dnipro (Eastern Ukraine). On July 1, 2019 he joined the Consulate General in Chicago.

Consul General Moessinger is married to Mairéad Winters-Moessinger, an Irish citizen. The couple has two adult daughters.

The International Bridge Administration (IBA) Bridge Director, Peter Petäinen is a member of the bi-national leadership team with overall responsibility for the management and operation of the International Bridge located in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario and Michigan. Peter is responsible to the Sault Ste Marie Bridge Authority (SSMBA) Board of Directors for the overall bi-national strategic direction, operations, financial, security and capital management of the bridge and its related assets. As an integrated border operator, the Bridge Director is also accountable to both The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited (FBCL) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for the safety, security, financial results, approach to customer service and its stakeholder relations in both Canada and the United States.

Mr. Petäinen has been an employee of the IBA and MDOT for 20 years and his expertise is a cross-section of more than 32 years of financial and operational oversight focused on asset management for stakeholder agencies in both Canada and the United States. This experience is supplemented by 16 years as a Commissioned Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces (Air Reserve). He is a highly motivated individual, having financially managed over his career multiple contracted bridge paint and rehabilitation projects, a toll plaza reconstruction project, and two separate multi-agency toll software projects with bi-national bridge partners in a multi-discipline setting. Mr. Petäinen is also the current President of the Bridge and Tunnel Operators Association representing the international border operators in the Great Lakes region between Michigan and Ontario and Ontario and New York.

Ashish Sharma is the Illinois Research Climatologist at the Illinois State Water Survey. He has a graduate faculty appointment in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and as an NCSA affiliate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition, he holds a joint appointment with the Environmental Science Division of the Argonne National Laboratory. The focus of his research is on atmospheric sciences and land-atmosphere interactions at a variety of spatial scales (regional through local). He performs targeted climate dynamical downscaling experiments with the overall goal of creating "bridges" between spatial scales. Another aspect of his research involves collaborating across science, engineering, social sciences, and policy to perform collaborative, applied, and translational research focused on reducing vulnerabilities and increasing preparedness in urban environments. He collaborates with cities and institutions to conduct research on environmental issues related to heat, fog, air quality, high-impact weather, and environmental justice topics.

Dr. Sharma holds a Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering from Arizona State University (2012). He is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and has published more than 30 articles. He has co-authored an assessment on the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes region (2019) and a special assessment of the impacts of climate change on the State of Illinois (2021). He briefed the US Senate and House members on urban and climate issues in the Great Lakes region. He also co-authored the 2019 NOAA report on Climate Research to Enhance Resilience to Extreme Heat — Aligning research priorities with stakeholder needs. He is one of the authors of the first climate action plan for the Chicago metro region (2021), which has been recognized nationally.

Scott is the Director of Corporate Sustainability at Charter Next Generation (CNG). Joining Charter Next Generation in 2015, Scott initially supported the CNG converter customer base with new film developments and improvements. Today, his focus is on leading all the company’s Sustainability initiatives, which include the technical and customer support of the Charter Next Generation GreenArrow™ family of films, the Zero Waste to Landfill objective for all nine of CNG’s manufacturing sites, as well as climate strategy and all corporate social responsibility related aspects.

Prior to joining Charter Next Generation, Scott spent 29 years in the converting world, most recently as the Vice President of Technology & Sustainability at C-P Flexible Packaging. There, for 16 years, he was responsible for various business areas including Quality, Product Development, Process Improvements and Sustainability.

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Scott received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Scott has been married to his wife Penny for 37 years, and they have two children, Zachary and Brittany. An avid sports fan, Scott enjoys golf and coaching softball.

Peter Hirthe is the International Trade Specialist & Great Lakes Regional Representative for the Great Lakes Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation. In this role, he partners with ports, terminal operators, carriers, and shippers, acting as a catalyst to spur growth in maritime trade throughout the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System. He has worked collaboratively with Great Lakes stakeholders under the HWY H2O marketing umbrella since his time as the Trade Development Representative for the Port of Milwaukee.

This experience has given Mr. Hirthe a thorough understanding of the Great Lakes bi-national maritime system which he utilizes when promoting the unique combination of cargo handling capabilities and multimodal connectivity that each port within the system offers to shippers. Frequently his role is one of an educational resource and information conduit, helping shippers to fully realize the potential benefits of utilizing the St. Lawrence Seaway, a reliable, safe, efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable maritime supply chain serving the heartland of North America.

Mr. Hirthe also brings practical and applicable experience to his Seaway role from his decades working to support the Midwest construction and manufacturing sectors in project management and process improvement. His work in these sectors helped shape his strong advocacy for increased maritime commerce through the St Lawrence Seaway in support not only of these sectors, but of sustainable energy projects and agricultural exports throughout the Great Lakes Region. Mr. Hirthe grew up in the Great Lakes port city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Marquette University.

Jonathan Quinn is the Director of Market Development and Sustainability at Pregis, where he leads the market segmentation strategy development and execution along with all facets of flexible packaging sustainability focused on providing innovative products and services that Protect, Preserve, & Inspyre. Jonathan joined Pregis in June of 2021. Jonathan is recognized as an expert in the areas of Packaging Sustainability, consumer insight and voice of consumer associated with packaging. He has conducted extensive consumer research on the e-Commerce and consumer packaged goods sectors. Prior to joining Pregis, Jonathan most recently held Marketing leadership roles at NOVA Chemicals. Additionally, he has held sales leadership and business development roles at Illinois Tool Works Zip-Pak division, the COESIA Group, and Multisorb Technologies.

Quinn holds a Bachelor of Science in Packaging Science and Business Management from Clemson University. Currently, Jonathan is the founder and Chairman of the Emerging Leadership Council at the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) along with the Chairman’s Advisory Council, and is on the Global Board of Directors of the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA). In June of 2021, Jonathan was appointed to the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Advisory Board for Diversity and Inclusion. Jonathan was designated a “Rising Star under 35” by Plastics News in 2018 and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) Young Leader of the Year in 2019. In February of 2021 Jonathan was recognized by Plastics News as a top Social Media influencer in Plastics and Packaging. In January of 2022 Jonathan received the designation of 40 under 40 by Waste360 for his contributions to waste, recycling, and sustainability. He can be found on all social media channels under the handle @JQUINNPACKAGED.

Dr. Sandra M. den Otter leads international strategy at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. As the Vice-Provost International, she identifies strategic partnerships and works with partners locally, nationally and internationally to develop research and innovation collaborations and academic programs, and to catalyze international capacity building programs.

Sandra den Otter is co-lead of Queen’s action to advance the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Queen’s ranked for the second consecutive year in the top 10 world-wide in the Times Higher Education Impact rankings, in 2nd worldwide for SDG 1: No Poverty, 3rd worldwide for SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and 2nd worldwide for SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

As a scholar, she researches and teaches the history of Britain and the world in the 18th to 20th centuries, with particular expertise in social welfare and inequality, and law and empire. Following doctoral studies in the Faculty of Modern History at the University of Oxford, Dr. den Otter held a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University and a research fellowship at Clare Hall, Cambridge. In addition to her investigation of legal cultures in colonial South Asia, a new research project explores humanitarianism in the nineteenth century world. She is the co-editor of the Journal of British Studies (Cambridge University Press), the premier journal for scholars of British history in North America.

Dr. Mike Moffatt is the Senior Director of Policy and Innovation at the Smart Prosperity Institute and an Assistant Professor in the Business, Economics and Public Policy group at Ivey Business School, Western University. Mike’s research at SPI focuses on the intersection of regional economic development, building child-friendly, climate-friendly housing and communities, and clean innovation. In 2017, Mike was the Chief Innovation Fellow for the Government of Canada, advising Deputy Ministers on innovation policy and emerging trends. He has also previously held the titles of Director (Interim) of the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management, Directory of Policy at Canada 2020, and Chief Economist for the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto. Mike has worked with politicians and policymakers of all political stripes in several countries to craft more effective public policy. From 2013 to 2015, Mike served as an economic advisor to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. Outside of his clean economy work at SPI, Mike is a disability-rights activist.

Jonah joined Kraft Heinz in 2020 and is the Global Head of Environmental Social Governance & President of the Kraft Heinz Foundation. At Kraft Heinz Jonah leads and collaborates on the company’s ESG strategy across all respective areas most material to the business (such as operational footprint, sustainable packaging, responsible sourcing, carbon neutrality and water sustainability goals, and product health). He collaborates across business units and functions, setting, monitoring and delivering commitments as set forth by the strategy, as well as internal and external engagement on the ESG pillars across stakeholders, such as suppliers, customers, investors, regulatory, NGOs and employees. Likewise, Jonah leads the Kraft Heinz Foundation towards its charter to alleviate hunger globally, as the Foundation has set out to accomplish this objective through strategic partnerships revolving around sustainable food security, climate resilience and self-sufficiency worldwide.

Prior to Kraft Heinz Jonah held similar roles at Grainger and MillerCoors, has done stints in socially responsible investing, teaching sustainability at the university level, and served as the Sustainable Business Director (along with stints wearing many other hats) in the non-profit sector with the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Jonah holds a MBA in Sustainable Business from Pinchot University and a MS in Conservation Biology & Ecosystem Management from University of Michigan, where his Master’s opus researched proper valuation of water resources and sustainability in Brazil.

Jonah is passionate about sustainability. In his spare time he enjoys various activities such as soccer, guitar, windsurfing and as much nature as he can breathe in.

A seasoned marketing leader with more than 25 years of experience, Michael works alongside the Mayor’s office as the Chief Marketing Officer to ensure that all marketing, branding, and business development activities for the city are aligned with Mayor Lightfoot’s economic growth plan focused on inclusive growth across Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. In December 2020, Michael stepped in as interim President and CEO of World Business Chicago to ensure a smooth transition to a new leader while intensifying World Business Chicago’s efforts to attract new companies to Chicago. It became clear very quickly that Michael was the right person to lead WBC into the next chapter and he graciously accepted the full time position in May of 2021.

Michael Fassnacht has been a recurring figure in Chicago’s civic community and has led critical pro-bono work for the rebranding of the Chicago Public Library and its foundation, the city’s Amazon HQ2 pitch, the city’s Census 2020 activities and most recently “Boards of Change”, an award-winning initiative to encourage residents to register to vote. Additionally, he has been involved as a board member with: Marwen, World Business Chicago, and the Civic Consulting Alliance; while providing counsel to P33, the Joyce Foundation and the Chicago Prize by the Pritzker/Traubert Foundation.

Prior to his role as CMO, Michael served for more than 10 years as CEO at one of the city’s oldest and most successful advertising agencies, Foote Cone & Belding (FCB). He led his agency to unprecedented international creative recognition and strong above-industry topline growth over his tenure. Before then, recognized as a global expert in building and marketing brands.

Michael was born in Germany and made his way stateside in college where he met his wife, Dr. Rhonda Duffaut. They currently reside in Chicago and have two teenage children, Maya and Ryan.

John Austin, 59, recently completed 16 years of elected service on the Michigan State Board of Education, serving six years as President. Austin directs the Michigan Economic Center - a center for ideas and network-building to advance Michigan’s economic transformation. He also serves as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the Upjohn Institute where he leads these organization's efforts to support economic transformation in the American Midwest. Mr. Austin also Lectures on the Economy at the University of Michigan. Austin received his Masters in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and a Bachelors from Swarthmore College in Economics & Political Science, with High Honors and Phi Beta Kappa.

Susan Brehm serves as the Regional Director of EDA’s Chicago Regional Office. She leads a team of economic development professionals in developing and managing the agency’s investments to support the creation of higher-skill, higher-wage jobs and to encourage private investment, innovation, entrepreneurship, and global competitiveness throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, as well as Muscatine and Scott Counties in Iowa.

Susan joined EDA in 2013 as Regional Counsel. Prior to her federal service, she was an associate with Sidley Austin LLP, where she advised local governments and institutional nonprofits on land use and other real property matters and litigated complex class actions. She also had a robust pro bono practice, successfully representing asylees, veterans, and incarcerated individuals.

She earned a law degree at the University of California – Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in English literature at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. In the years between earning her degrees, Susan launched a small business providing editorial services to publishers.

Susan grew up on a small, diversified family farm in northeastern Iowa and currently lives in the heart of Chicago. These divergent life experiences give her a balanced perspective and keen insights into the unique economic development challenges facing the Midwest’s urban and rural communities.

Jarrod Morley is the Director for Innovation, Competitiveness & Productivity for Aero Montreal, Québec’s aerospace strategic think tank and cluster manager. In this role, he leads initiatives on international collaborations, and those which promote the acceleration of the commercialisation of innovative technologies geared towards advanced air mobility, decarbonisation, and digitalization of the aerospace sector.

Before joining Aero Montreal, Jarrod held management positions in business development, strategic sourcing, procurement, quality, and operational continuous improvement roles primarily in the aerospace, mining, and automotive sectors.

MSc Aerospace Engineering, 1980, Liège, Belgium; MSc Air Transport Engineering, 1981, Cranfield Institute of Technology, UK; PhD Mechanical Engineering, Aerodynamics, 1994, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Canada.

Aerodynamicist at Bombardier since 1982. Since 1996, Manager, Advanced Aerodynamics, responsible for aerodynamic design and wind tunnel testing for CRJ700/900/1000, Challenger 300, Global 5000/6000 and CSeries (Now Airbus A220).

Since 2007, Director Strategic Technology. Since 2015, member of the Product Development Engineering Leadership Team and Senior Director for Advanced Aerodynamics, Technology Innovation, and Eco-design. Technologies certified on the Cseries and Global 7500: Fly-By-Wire, Electric Brakes, Smart Probes, Composite Wing and Composite Fuselage. From 2018 to 2020, Head of Innovation, Advanced Technology Office, addressing digitalization, artificial intelligence, autonomy and electrification for both planes and trains.

He is now Fellow, Research, Innovation and Collaborations for Bombardier. He is currently on assignment at Aero Montréal to lead efforts to set up the ZIAQ, the Montreal Aerospace Innovation Zone.

F. Kafyeke is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Canadian Association of Professional Engineers, a member of the boards of the research consortia SA2GE and AERO21, and chairman of the “Chantier Innovation” of the Aero Montreal aerospace cluster. He is a co-author of the book « Computational Fluid Dynamics for Engineers » and of several course notes for lectures in Aerodynamics.

Grand Council Chief Patrick “Wedaseh” Madahbee has recently completed his third consecutive term as Grand Council Chief. Retiring from politics in June of 2018; he is now focusing on using his life experiences to share his knowledge with organizations as an independent contractor. He also served one term as Grand Council Chief in 1980, the youngest Grand Council Chief ever at 27 years of age. He is also the President of the Union of Ontario Indians and the Anishinabek Nation 7thGeneration Charity.

Mr. Madahbee’s prior roles on a regional level include Lake Huron Regional Grand Chief, Lake Huron representative on the Anishinabek Nation Leadership Council, Ontario Regional Chief, and the Tribal Chair of the United Chiefs and Council of Mnidoo Mnising. His dedication to the Anishinabek Nation has included active leadership positions such as chairperson for the Robinson-Huron Treaty Claim Legal Strategy Team and the Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre. He is the past Vice President of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and has held numerous other board positions.

He was the Health portfolio holder for the Chiefs of Ontario, member of the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs Committee of Health, and Co-chair of the joint Non-insured health benefits review.

Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee is an inspiration and a role model to our youth and is committed to improving both the health of our children and their future! He’s been an active member of the Little NHL for 49 years since its inception, Lake Huron Regional Tournament Organizer, involved in many sports as a participant, coached and managed hockey and fastball, and former Recreation Director for the Union Of Ontario Indians. Also served as Chair of the Ontario Indian Sports Council and the Chair of the National Indian Sports Council.

Michael Jacobson was named President and CEO of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA) in October of 2018. In his role, he is proud to represent the 1,500 hotels and other hospitality stakeholders throughout the state. Michael’s priorities for the organization include bolstering the industry’s advocacy capacity in Springfield and municipalities throughout the state while enhancing IHLA’s educational programs to serve as a resource for its members.

Prior to joining IHLA, Michael spent eight years at the U.S. Travel Association where he led the organization’s grassroots advocacy and political engagement initiatives. He grew U.S. Travel’s political action committee to become one of the nation’s largest travel industry PACs and spearheaded campaigns like the Vote Travel nationwide bus tour and the successful effort to reauthorize Brand USA in 2014.

Michael has more than fifteen years of experience in grassroots advocacy and nonprofit fundraising. In his free time, he volunteers with the American Cancer Society, helping lead their Global Relay For Life movement throughout the world. A proud alumnus of Seton Hall University, Michael lives in Elgin, Illinois with his wife, Sarah, and their two children, where they enjoy cheering on the Chicago Cubs.

Venkat Venkatakrishnan is the Director of Research for the Discovery Partners Institute. In his role as lead scientist at DPI, Venkat works with faculty and leadership across the University of Illinois System campuses and partners in building DPI’s research and development portfolio. Over the past two years, Venkat has led the development of an R&D community at DPI that consists of 21 faculty teams from across the U of I System and DPI partners, that are addressing grand challenges in various industrial sectors and contributing to the DPI mission of economic development for Illinois.

Venkat’s primary research interests are in cybersecurity, and he is well known for his work in the security analysis of software applications, cyber-attack detection, and security policy enforcement. His research has won four best-paper awards in top cybersecurity venues. Venkat has received over $20 million of grants including the National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Office of Naval Research, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Energy, U.S. Economic Development Administration as well as industrial sponsorship from IBM, Lucent, UL, Kohler and CACI. He led the creation of an interdisciplinary Ph.D. training program in cybersecurity with colleagues from five different colleges at UIC.

Venkat has been a professor in the University of Illinois System before his current role at DPI, and continues to hold a tenured full professorship in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Venkat received the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award in 2009, UIC’s award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015, and the University Scholar award in 2017.

Laura Kliewer (pronounced KLEE-vuhr) is the director of the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC), an eight-state compact commission of state legislators, governors and their designees working to preserve and expand passenger rail throughout the Midwest. Current member states include Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin. The states of Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota are also eligible to join the compact.

Established in 2000, the purposes of MIPRC are to promote, coordinate and support regional improvements to passenger rail service. Laura has served as MIPRC’s director since its inception. She has worked with MIPRC’s commissioners, partners and allies to ensure that the federal government develops an enduring collaboration with the states for passenger rail development similar to other modes of transportation, and that Midwestern states have the support and interstate coordination they need to move forward with the region’s passenger rail improvement plans.

The Midwestern Office of The Council of State Governments (CSG) serves as secretariat to MIPRC; Laura has been with CSG since 1988. She holds an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of California-LA and a master’s degree in communications from Wheaton College.

Earl Provost was appointed as Ontario's first Agent General in Chicago in 2019. He serves as Ontario's representative in Illinois, Indiana, lowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Prior to this appointment, he served as Senior Policy Advisor, Intergovernmental Affairs, in the Office of the Premier, Government of Ontario. In this role, he provided strategic guidance to the Government of Ontario on various issues including interprovincial trade.

Earl has been an active leader in politics and government for many years. He has worked on numerous political campaigns and projects, including the election of Paul Martin as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and subsequently Prime Minister of Canada.

Earl also served as Deputy Campaign Manager for Mayor Rob Ford's successful election as Mayor of Toronto in 2010. After this election, Earl served in the Office of Mayor Rob Ford in senior roles including as Chief of Staff. He would later serve as Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly during an unprecedented time in Toronto politics.

While at Toronto City Hall, Earl established relationships with members of Toronto City Council, the business community and other important stakeholder groups. He worked tirelessly to move forward City of Toronto Budgets that reduced taxes, reduced spending and provided important investments in infrastructure for roads, transit and housing. Earl also organized successful trade missions to Chicago, Illinois and Austin, Texas. These resulted in the renewal of the Chicago-Toronto Sister City Agreement and the signing of the Music Alliance Agreement between Austin and Toronto. Most recently, Earl Provost served as Executive Director of the Ontario Liberal Party in Canada.

Earl earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Glendon College, York University in Toronto and a Master's in Political Management from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Tyler Hamilton is Director of Cleantech at MaRS Discovery District, responsible for building a network of investors, innovation organizations and government agencies that can help Canadian cleantech ventures raise capital and scale globally. He leads the newly launched Mission from MaRS: Climate Impact Challenge program and co-founded the RBC Women In Cleantech Accelerator program, powered by MaRS. Previously, Tyler spent two decades as a business and technology journalist (Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, MIT Technology Review) and wrote extensively about Canada’s clean technology sector and global climate tech trends. He was also Editor-In-Chief of business and sustainability magazine Corporate Knights. In 2011, Tyler authored Mad Like Tesla, a book that examined the various barriers to clean energy innovation and surveyed the landscape of some potentially world-changing clean technologies. A recipient of the Cleantech Group’s “Pioneer” award for his early writings on the sector, Tyler was also recognized in 2016 on Canada’s “Clean50” list for his thought leadership on clean energy and climate issues.

Chris has been an environment and sustainable development professional for over 25 years and joined the Pollution Probe team in August 2018. Chris has worked in government, consulting, academic and not-for-profit settings and has had an association with Pollution Probe for much of his career.

Known more generally for his public policy and communications experience, Chris is recognized as a leader in freshwater policy and Great Lakes issues. In 2014 he was appointed to the Great Lakes Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission (IJC), where he had served as the Canadian Lead on emerging issues for 6 years. In 2007, Chris was 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 Toronto Metropolitan University, Pollution Probe, WaterAid Canada, Carleton University’s Global Water Institute, the City of Toronto’s Task Force to Bring Back the Don, Green Living Enterprises, the Vimy Foundation and the George and Helen Vari Foundation.

Eric M. Lee has over three decades of experience in the automotive and utility industries focused on developing and commercializing new technologies that create an economically and environmentally sustainable decarbonization pathway to mobility. Mr. Lee has recently retired from Stellantis where he was responsible for global electrification strategy and planning. During his tenure at Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) Mr. Lee led CNG, H2 and EV infrastructure initiatives to support low carbon and zero carbon transportation launches.

Currently, Mr. Lee is the CEO of Copper Country Capital where he is advising technology companies and private equity/venture capital groups on xEV ecosystems. Additionally, he serves on the Board of the Council of the Great Lakes Region as an advisor on eMobility, EV infrastructure and decarbonization. The Council of the Great Lakes Region is a bi-national council that was established in 2013, dedicated to the economic development and sustainability of the Great Lakes region.

Mr. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Michigan Technological University and a Master of Science degree from Wayne State University. He has also been awarded multiple patents and is a registered professional engineer in the State of Michigan.

Pat Dalzell is the Head of Corporate Affairs at Bruce Power, a role primarily focused on the development and growth of the corporate identity through government and stakeholder engagement; corporate and community communications; and promoting areas of energy innovation and the use of nuclear isotopes in the fight against cancer. Previous to this, he held the role of Director of Government and Stakeholder relations coordinating partnerships with all levels of government along with key member associations, economic development groups, the electricity system operator and labour representatives.

Pat started his career at Bruce Power in 2011 as a Senior Financial Trader where he worked on the Geographic Diversification Initiative to develop new trading strategies and optimize regional diversification. In 2015, he embarked on a new position with Bruce Power working alongside the Chief Investment Officer helping to oversee the investment and risk management of Bruce Power’s defined benefit pension plan. Prior to working for Bruce Power, Patrick worked as a hedge fund derivatives trader at Aquilon Power.

Pat holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Finance from Concordia University. He is a charter holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program and completed the Leading the Business Program at the IVEY Academy at Western University.

Brad's two-plus decades of professional experience started as a communications consultant working with a diverse client base, including those in the consumer goods, telecommunications and transportation industries.

He joined Porter Airlines during the company's start-up phase, where he has been able to influence the company’s brand from the outset. His team is responsible for every aspect of internal and external communications, working closely with executives to promote initiatives, manage issues and engage team members.

As Porter emerges from the pandemic, the communications team is playing a crucial role in re-establishing its core business. It is also working to introduce an exciting growth plan that will see the airline begin flying across North America using a new fleet of aircraft.