Past Speakers

WaterPower Canada is privileged and honoured to welcome many distinguished speakers to the 2023 Canadian Waterpower Week conference and trade show.

Please get to know some of our confirmed speakers by browsing below, and make sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive program updates and special announcements!  

Conference Host

Jane Taber

Senior Vice President | NATIONAL Public Relations, Atlantic

Jane Taber is a former Globe and Mail political journalist who spent more than 25 years covering Parliament Hill and Queen’s Park.

During her tenure on Parliament Hill with the Globe, Jane was also co-host of CTV’s Question Period – and she has spent more hours than she can count on campaign buses and planes following the leaders during federal election campaigns. She’s interviewed the country’s main political players, covered leadership contests, trade deals, international summits and the important issues of the day.

She also worked as communications director to the former Premier of Nova Scotia.

Jane specializes in media training, having coached CEOs of major Canadian companies, the heads of national law firms and senior cabinet ministers and MPs.

In addition to media training and coaching, Jane is also focused on moderating panels and conferences, media relations and speech writing, crisis communications and post-secondary labour issues. Jane is a graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program and was appointed to the Carleton University Board of Governors in June 2019 and re-appointed to another three-year term in 2022. Jane also served as a mentor to the Public Policy Forum’s Action Canada leadership fellows.

Plenary Moderators

David Cochrane


David Cochrane is host of POWER & POLITICS, Canada’s premier daily political show, that airs from 5 to 7 p.m. ET weekdays on CBC News Network.

David joined the parliamentary bureau as a senior reporter in 2016. Since then, he has reported from 11 countries across four continents. David played a lead role in CBC’s 2019 and 2021 federal election coverage. He was also central to CBC’s coverage of the federal government response to COVID-19 and the trucker convoy that occupied downtown Ottawa in the winter of 2022.  

Before Ottawa, David spent nearly two decades covering politics in his beloved Newfoundland and Labrador where he hosted the RTDNA award winning political show On Point with David Cochrane. 

David has also been awarded a Canadian Screen Award for television reporting and RTDNAs for best radio feature and digital analysis.

David is a proud graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland where he got his start in journalism as the news editor of the student newspaper The Muse.

David will be moderating the Opening Plenary, “Industry Leaders in Conversation”, sponsored by Kiewit on Monday, November 27 from 8:30 am to 10:30 am (EDT).

Michelle Branigan

CEO | Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC)

Michelle Branigan is the Chief Executive Officer of Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC). She is a subject matter expert when it comes to the industry and works closely with employers and industry stakeholders to address their specific labour market and HR challenges.

Originally from Ireland, Michelle holds a master’s degree in Training and Performance Management from the University of Leicester, U.K., and is a certified Project Management Professional.

Understanding the impacts of innovation and technology, Michelle is committed to developing forward thinking and cutting-edge tools, resources, and research to meet current and future workforce needs. As a champion of diversity and inclusion, she is passionate about leading real change for the advancement of women and minorities and has spearheaded many instrumental programs which have sparked a national movement for organization to become agents of change. Among these initiatives is the Leadership Accord for Diversity Equity and Inclusion- a public commitment by employers, educators, unions, and governments to build a workforce that is truly representative of Canada’s people.

She is currently an active Board Member with the Energy Council of Canada, the Irish Film Festival Ottawa, and a recipient of Women in Renewable Energy’s (WiRE) 2015 Woman of the Year award, which recognizes and celebrates professional women working in the energy sector who go above and beyond business as usual.

Michelle will be moderating the Plenary Luncheon, “Getting the Job Done”, sponsored by TurbinePROs on Monday, November 27 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm (EDT).

Jacques Bénard

Owner | Jacques Bénard Mediation + Facilitation

Jacques Bénard, an independent mediator and facilitator, specializes in preventing and resolving environmental and land use conflicts. With a background in civil engineering, accreditation as a mediator, and further education including a master’s degree in planning and a graduate diploma in mediation, he is well equipped for this role.

Jacques has over 35 years of experience in leading public participation and mediation processes in various domains, such as urban development, energy, transportation infrastructure projects, and the preservation of heritage and natural environments. He has also served for many years as Senior Vice President at Hill+Knowlton, where he led the Canadian public participation practice.

In addition to his primary consulting work, Jacques plays several key roles in the environmental sector. He is a part-time member of Quebec’s Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement and is on the roster of commissioners for the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.

He also imparts his knowledge as a lecturer at Sherbrooke University and the University of Montreal, teaching graduate courses in environmental mediation and stakeholder management in land-use planning. In 2013, his contributions were acknowledged when he received the Blanche-Lemco-Van-Ginkel award from the Ordre des urbanistes du Québec, recognizing his significant impact in the urban planning sector in Quebec.

Jacques will be moderating the Morning Luncheon, “Planning for a Net-Zero Future”, sponsored by Hydro-Québec on Tuesday, November 28 from 8:00 am to 9:30 am (EDT).

Francis Bradley

President and CEO | Electricity Canada

Francis Bradley is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Electricity Canada. Electricity Canada is the National Voice of Electricity and serves its electricity industry members through the work of expert professionals led by Francis and directed by a Board of Directors made up of member CEOs.  Francis is the co-chair of the National Cross-Sector Forum, overseeing Canada’s Action Plan for Critical Infrastructure. He also sits on the Steering Committee for the Electricity Sub-Sector Coordinating Council (ESCC), the Board for the Energy Council of Canada (ECC), the Positive Energy Advisory Council, and is a founding Board member of the Canadian Transportation Alliance.  At the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) Member Representatives Committee and Board of Trustees’ meetings, Francis represents Electricity Canada and advocates strongly for its members in their activities related to the Electric Reliability Organization Enterprise, and its role in ensuring the reliability and security of the North American bulk power system. 

Prior to being named CEO in June 2019, Francis managed Electricity Canada’s day-to-day activities as Chief Operating Officer since 2014. During that time, he also acted as a member of the National Advisory Committee of Canada’s Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and was a co-chair with the Standards Council of Canada of the Smart Grid Standards Advisory Committee.   

In 2019 Francis created and continues to host “The Flux Capacitor” podcast, featuring discussions about the future of electricity with CEOs, regulators, political figures, and leaders from civil society. 

Francis will be moderating the Closing Plenary Luncheon, “Powering Through a Changing World”, sponsored by Manitoba Hydro on Tuesday, November 28 from 12:00 pm to 1:45 pm (EDT).


Serge Abergel

Chief Operating Officer | Hydro-Québec Energy Services (U.S.) Inc.

Serge took office as Chief Operating Officer of Hydro-Québec Energy Services in December 2021. This subsidiary of Hydro-Québec is responsible for hydro power export initiatives to the New York and New England markets. 

Serge Abergel is presently Interim-Chair, WaterPower Canada Board of Directors.

Serge Abergel took office as Chief Operating Officer of Hydro-Québec Energy Services (U.S.) Inc. in December 2021. This Hydro-Québec subsidiary is responsible for clean hydropower export initiatives to the New York and New England markets.

Since joining Hydro-Québec in 2014, Serge has held various positions in media and stakeholder relations and government affairs. He has also led information campaigns on the company’s export initiatives. Prior to his most recent appointment, he served as Director – Communications. He is a frequent public speaker on Hydro-Québec’s clean energy generating fleet and transmission system.

He has considerable previous experience working as a public affairs officer in the Canadian Armed Forces and the federal correctional system. Serge holds a bachelor’s degree in operations management from HEC Montréal.

Jordan Adilman

Consultant, Indigenous Relations, Corporate & Regulatory Affairs | SaskPower

Jordan Adilman is Métis from Chitek Lake, Saskatchewan. He is a Consultant within the Indigenous Relations Branch in SaskPower. Jordan has previously completed both his undergraduate and graduate degree specializing in Indigenous education and leadership. He has previously worked with the Aboriginal Consultation Unit with the Government of Saskatchewan which provides advice on the Duty to Consult and early engagement.

Jonathan Atkinson

Director of Business Development and Regional Manager (Ontario) for the Hydropower and Dams Business Unit | Hatch

Jonathan is the Director of Business Development and Regional Manager (Ontario) for the Hydropower and Dams Business Unit at Hatch.  He is also a Project Manager and Senior Mechanical Engineer with experience in the management and design of projects ranging from concept to commissioning. 

Jonathan has worked on a variety of projects including due diligence and independent engineer assessments, hydro turbine and generator rehabilitation, penstock condition assessments and replacements, intake and spillway gate replacements, and balance of plant mechanical system design.

Ramy Azar

Vice President of Engineering and Chief Technology Officer for Power Grids | AtkinsRéalis

Ramy is a dynamic and innovation-focused power grids executive, helping pave the way towards Net Zero power infrastructure. Ramy takes great pride in leading multidisciplinary and multicultural teams to solve complex problems in a way that takes into account not only technical and environmental requirements, but also meets the needs of the communities and stakeholders.

Being a power industry leader has provided Ramy numerous opportunities to help his clients worldwide with their power challenges – whether electrifying small rural areas or interconnecting large regional grids. It also provided him the opportunity to contribute to international technical committees as a member of CIGRÉ and Senior Member of IEEE, for many years. Ramy’s areas of focus have included HVDC/FACTs, energy storage, and grid resiliency, as well as planning the next-generation grid to enable a larger penetration of green and renewable energy in our everyday lives, something which he is very passionate about.

Leading AtkinsRéalis’ power grid market, Ramy continues to foster work environments within the organization that promote collaborative problem solving and team work, and this has enabled teams to thrive in a field where no two problems are the same, and where the same problem has many solutions. Ramy strongly believes in prioritizing engineering excellence as the focal point for all of our technology offerings, on our journey to build a greener tomorrow.

Gilbert Bennett

President | WaterPower Canada

Gilbert Bennett is a recognized leader and expert in renewable electricity, energy transition and the broader energy sector, with two decades of experience in the sector. As President of WaterPower Canada, Gilbert serves as the spokesperson for the hydropower sector at the national level, and advances the contribution that hydroelectricity makes to our economy and energy security.

Gilbert worked with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro from 2005 to 2022, and as Vice President of Power Development, was responsible for the development of the Muskrat Falls project. Previously, he served in senior engineering and operations roles in the telecommunications sector.

Gilbert served on the Board of Directors of WaterPower Canada from 2010 through 2022. He has a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) from Memorial University and is registered as a Professional Engineer in Newfoundland and Labrador.  He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

André Bernier

Director General, Electricity Systems Branch (ESB) | Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)

André Bernier has served as an executive with the Electricity Systems Branch, at Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) since October 2016 and Director General of the Branch since August 2021. His team leads on the development and implementation of programs and policies related to the electricity sector.

André previously served at Canada’s Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) where he was the Senior Director responsible for aerospace industrial policy. Prior to working at ISED, André was the analyst responsible for domestic climate change policy at the Privy Council office and worked at NRCan in the Deputy Minister’s Office.

André holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics (University of Waterloo) and a Master’s degree in Public Affairs (Princeton University).

Dave Bowen

Vice-President of Operations | Manitoba Hydro

Dave joined Manitoba Hydro in 2005. Prior to joining Manitoba Hydro he held various roles working with a local consulting engineering firm focused on infrastructure. He was appointed Vice-President of Operations in 2023. Since joining Manitoba Hydro, he has held various leadership and senior leadership roles in the design and construction of world class infrastructure projects.

His experience includes design, construction, contract administration, project management, engagement with external partners and stakeholders and implementation of ongoing business efficiencies. Prior to this role, he was the Director of Integrated Resource Planning Division which included development of Manitoba Hydro’s 2023 integrated resource plan.

Dave is responsible to provide executive oversight to ensure the safe, reliable and efficient operation of the electric (includes generation, transmission and distribution) and natural gas systems in an environmentally sustainable manner.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and a Master of Science in structural engineering from the University of Manitoba. He is a registered professional engineer in Manitoba. He is a member of the Waterpower Canada Board.

Jim Burpee

Jim Burpee has over 40 years’ experience in the electricity and climate change field. He currently is chair of the Board of Directors of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.

Much of Jim’s career was with Ontario Hydro and its successor Ontario Power Generation. During his over 31 years there he has managed a nuclear site (Bruce), a major refurbishment project (Pickering A Return to Service), and over 17,000 MW of non-nuclear generation (hydro, coal, gas, oil). He also oversaw OPG’s Energy Markets operations for several years, interfacing with the Ontario market and interconnected markets (New York, MISO). As EVP – Corporate Development, he initiated several hydroelectric redevelopments, as well the Portlands Energy Centre (combined cycle gas turbine) in partnership with TransCanada Energy.

While with OPG, Jim also worked on international environment, energy and sustainable development issues with the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, and the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership.

Jim spent three years as President and CEO of Electricity Canada, the voice of the Canadian electricity industry. During that time, he was involved in issues at the federal, provincial and North American level. In this role, Jim also carried out a review of the Trottier Energy Futures Project, focusing on electricity issues and impacts.

Shane Chegahno

Shane Chegahno is the Vice President and co-founder of Makwa Development Inc, a 100% indigenous owned company based in the Saugeen Ojibway Nation Traditional Territory at Neyaashiinigmiing on the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. Makwa Development is currently executing on a number of projects within the Nawash community and energy projects within the SON traditional territory. As a successful entrepreneur Shane has accumulated an extensive background in the Forestry and Construction industries. Shane has been nationally recognized for his innovative work in Indigenous housing for the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. He continues to support his passion of affordable housing for families through ongoing volunteer work. Shane has also received numerous awards for his dedication to his community, volunteer work, and involvement with minor sports.

Rob Collett

VP Engineering & NLSO, Newfoundland & Labrador Hydro

Rob is the Vice President of Engineering and System Operator for NL Hydro. He is responsible for engineering, project delivery, asset planning and system planning. In this role he provides strategic direction to ensure the safe and reliable operation of interconnected and rural electricity systems throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

Andrew Czornohalan

Director – Energy & Watershed Partnerships | Rio Tinto Aluminum BC

Prior to joining Rio Tinto, Andrew held various leadership roles in iron ore, copper and gold sectors of mining as well as technical roles in power generation and automotive manufacturing. In 2008 Andrew joined Rio Tinto first in an operational readiness role at the Boyne smelter in Queensland, Australia. He was then appointed as Project Director of the ISAL Production Upgrade project in Iceland. In 2014 he and his family moved to Kitimat as the Site Manager for the Kitimat Modernization Project.

In his current role at BC Works, Andrew touches on every element of the operations and oversees activities at the aluminum smelter, in the power generation at Kemano and the environmental and economic management of the Nechako watershed, as well as establishing and strengthening relationships with First Nations, community partners and federal and provincial regulators.

In addition to his role with Rio Tinto Andrew sits on a number of volunteer boards, notably Nechako Fisheries Conservation Program and BC Chamber of Commerce, where he Is an enthusiastic advocate for ESG enhancement and de-carbonization, whilst simultaneously growing economic opportunities.

Building sustainable and respectable partnerships with Rio Tinto host communities, stakeholders, governments, First Nations and employees to deliver high value enhancements to the environment,  health and safety of its employees and optimum business performance, is the top priority for Andrew in all his endeavors.   Andrew, his wife and two children have embraced his move to Kitimat and has rapidly become an active member of the community. He is an avid outdoorsman, enjoys spending weekends, and vacations at his family ski cabin on Hudson Bay Mountain in Smithers BC. What started as a 2-year expat assignment has turned into a 10 year love affair Canada which resulted Andrew and his family becoming Canadian citizens in early 2023.

André Dagenais

Manager – Power System Evolution | Hydro-Québec

André Dagenais is an electrical engineer at Hydro-Québec since 2011, where he specializes in transmission network planning. He now leads a team focused on the evolution of power system planning in the changing context. He graduated from McGill University, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering in 2010 and 2019, respectively.At Hydro-Québec, he has the privilege of working on issues that require interdisciplinary analyses on the sustainability of new power transmission assets, including social acceptability and long-term profitability. He testified before the Régie de l’Énergie and the Bureau d’Audiences Publiques sur l’Environnement to justify the construction of new major power transmission assets.

Martin Dodge

Regional Manager (Québec and French Africa) and Global Turbine-Generator Lead for the Hydropower and Dams Business Unit | Hatch

Martin has worked on a wide variety of Canadian and international electromechanical projects (Asia, Africa, Europe) while working for manufacturers in various engineering and leadership management roles. Martin is currently working on a range of projects including hydropower turbine and generator assessments and rehabilitations. He is also member of IEC TC4 workgroup.

Matt Elgin

Head of Business Development | Wegaw

Heather Ferguson

Senior Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Affairs | Ontario Power Generation

As Senior Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Affairs, Heather’s focus includes ensuring progress on the company’s Reconciliation Action Plan, and advancing hydroelectric generation development across the province in partnership with local Indigenous communities. She is also responsible for all stakeholder, public and media outreach, government relations, Indigenous relations, and branding activities in support of OPG’s business goals.

Heather has more than twenty-five years’ experience in the resource development, energy and electricity sectors. This includes roles as OPG’s VP of New Business Ventures & Electrification, VP of Environment, and Director of the Hydro Business Development Group. In these roles, she was instrumental in starting OPG’s electrification business as well as assembling the OPG team working to advance small modular nuclear reactors. As the hydro business development lead, Heather and her team successfully built northern power projects in partnership with Indigenous communities. She also previously worked in the Calgary office of Golder Associates supporting clients from the mining and oil & gas sectors.

Heather currently serves as a Director on the Boards of Atura Power and Electricity Canada, and is Vice Chair of Electricity Canada’s Generation Council. She holds an undergraduate and Master’s degree in Science from Queen’s University, as well as an MBA from the Rotman School of Management.

Steve Fitzgerald

Senior Manager Business Development | Ontario Power Generation

Steve Fitzgerald is a Senior Manager of Business Development at Ontario Power Generation, one of North America’s largest, most diverse electricity generators.

Steve has more than 20 years experience in project management and project development; and has over 10 years’ experience within the Ontario Electricity Sector.

In his current role, Steve and his team are focused on greenfield hydroelectric and pumped-hydro storage projects, aligned with supporting the growth of non-emitting renewable energy to power the demands of Ontario’s growing clean economy for decades to come. Steve holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, PEng, PMP and MBA.

Mike Fuller

Vice President & Operations Manager | Barnard Constructors of Canada, LP.

Mike joined Barnard in 1989 and understands every level of field work, having worked as a laborer, foreman, and heavy equipment operator. His breadth of experience as a superintendent includes ECI, design-assist, CMAR, and design-build processes. Over the last two decades, Mike has emerged as a leader on alternative delivery projects, including the Keeyask Generating Station, Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Redevelopment, EAA A-1 Reservoir and Test Cells, and Tampa Bay Regional Reservoir. As Vice President & Operations Manager,

Mike now oversees heavy civil projects at the executive level, working with owners, engineers, and stakeholders in a partnering atmosphere. Currently, Mike is overseeing a dam spillway modification project for the United States Army Corps of Engineers that will modify the existing 3,100-ft.-long, 1,500-ft.-wide emergency spillway for the Pipestem Dam in Jamestown, North Dakota.

Jean-Pierre Gauthier

Senior Vice President and District Manager | Kiewit

Jean-Pierre Gauthier has more than 20 years of Canada-wide Kiewit experience. As a Senior Vice President, he oversees all of Kiewit’s construction operations in Eastern Canada.

Preceding his Eastern Canada leadership positions, Jean-Pierre was Construction Manager for the Turcot Interchange. Prior to this role, he was Project Director of the Lower Mattagami River Project in Northern Ontario, worked at the Cloudworks Hydroelectric Project in British Columbia, the White Rose Topsides Project in Newfoundland, the Grand-Mère Powerhouse Project and the Diavik Diamond Mine in Northwest Territories.

Jean-Pierre graduated from Université du Québec in Chicoutimi with a degree in geological engineering and has courses from the master’s degree program in Geomatics from University Laval.

Warren Gendzelevich

Project Manager | Hatch Ltd.

Warren is a Project Manager in the Hatch Hydropower and Dams Group. He has over 35 years of experience in the planning, development, and execution of hydroelectric and water resource projects. Warren was the Project Manager for the final design and construction of the Keeyask Generation Station, located on the Nelson River in northern Manitoba.  His involvement on the Keeyask project extends back to the early 1990s, in the early planning and siting studies. 

Warren has been participated in water resource projects throughout Canada and globally.  He is currently a Project Advisor for the design and construction of the Lake Manitoba Outlet Flood Protection project, located in central Manitoba.

Dan Gibson

Senior Environmental Specialist, Environment, Renewable Generation | Ontario Power Generation

Dan Gibson is a Sr. Environmental Specialist with Ontario Power Generation specializing in fisheries management policy as well as Provincial and Federal Species at Risk legislation.  For the past 14 years he’s worked exclusively within the Canadian hydroelectric industry serving on numerous WPC lead initiatives as well as chairing the longstanding Fisheries Working Group (now the Fisheries and Regulatory Affairs Committee).  In addition to supporting OPG’s ongoing operations, Dan supports the companies ambitious hydroelectric development plans over the next decade including the Little Long Dam Safety Project and the Frederickhouse Lake Dam Project, as well as numerous redevelopment projects.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science from the University of Toronto and in October 2022 was re-elected for a third term to the City of Guelph’s Municipal Council. These days, when not in the office, you can almost always find Dan on a baseball diamond where he coaches both of his boys travel baseball teams. 

Louis Gibson


Louis Gibson is a transmission planning engineer at Hydro-Québec, Montreal, Canada. He received his B.Eng. degree in Physics Engineering from Laval University, Québec, Canada, in 1991. He has been with Hydro-Québec planning division for the last 15 years, and currently analyzes the impact of energy variable resources on power system reliability.

Rodrigue Gilbert

Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Procurement Practices | Canadian Construction Association

Rod Gilbert is the Senior Vice-President, Public Affairs and Procurement Practices at the Canadian Construction Association (CCA). Since his appointment in February 2018, he has led the CCA’s internal and external communications, government relations and membership management, and more recently the industry practices group. His mandate is to continue to work with CCA stakeholders, specifically in the public sector, to inspire a progressive, innovative and sustainable construction industry that consistently acts with integrity.

Prior to CCA, Mr. Gilbert worked for over 21 years both with and for the Federal Government. During this time, he worked for 10 years as a political advisor to several federal ministers including President of the Treasury Board and Ministers of Heritage, Human Resources and Skills Development and Industry. After leaving government, he spent four years working for a Crown corporation investment fund in Montreal. He later founded RGGR, a government relations firm specialized in developing and executing strategic public affairs plans tailored to small and medium sized businesses.

Mr. Gilbert holds a degree in Political Science (BAH) from Laval University and is fluently bilingual.

Jean Habel

Director for Quebec and Atlantic Canada | Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA)

As CanREA’s Director for Quebec and Atlantic Canada, Jean Habel serves as CanREA’s bilingual key representative and spokesperson in these regions. He leads the Quebec Network and the Nova Scotia Network, working closely with CanREA members.

Prior to joining CanREA, he was Senior Advisor, Public & Government Affairs at the Association québécoise des pharmaciens propriétaires for two years, and the MNA for Sainte-Rose (Laval) for four years before that. Jean holds a BBA from HEC Montréal and an Executive Certificate in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, and has studied at Aarhus School of Business in Denmark. Jean is also a CPA. In his spare time, he enjoys sports and outdoor activities. Jean is based in the Montreal area.

Terence Hubbard

President | Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC)

Terence Hubbard was appointed President of the Impact Assessment Agency (IAAC) on November 28, 2021. In his role, he is responsible for leading all reviews of major projects under the Impact Assessment Act, in cooperation with other Government of Canada regulatory agencies, as well as provinces and territories and Indigenous groups.

Prior to joining IAAC in 2018, Terence was Director General of the Petroleum Resources Branch with Natural Resources Canada. In this role, he had responsibility for Canada’s oil and gas policy, including overseeing the development and implementation of Canada’s pipeline safety and offshore oil and gas regulatory regimes as well as serving as Canada’s representative on the Governing Board of the International Energy Agency.

He is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan where he obtained both his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in economics and now lives in Ottawa.

Svetlana Helc

Director of the Ontario Pumped Storage Project | TC Energy

Svetlana Helc is a Director of the Ontario Pumped Storage Project at TC Energy, currently developing a 1000 MW energy storage facility near Meaford, Ontario. She has over 22 years of experience in the energy sector with a wealth of knowledge in hydro development, engineering, construction contracting, finance, Indigenous and community relations and environmental assessment.

Since 2014 her main effort has been on leading and developing complex capital renewable projects, including solar, biomass, and hydroelectric.  She has a degree in mathematics and an MBA with financial engineering specialization.

Kate Ladell

Director General of Ecosystems Management, Aquatic Ecosystems Sector | Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) 

Kate Ladell is the Director General of Ecosystems Management within the Aquatic Ecosystems Sector of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), where she is responsible for the Fish and Fish Habitat Protection Program.  Kate joined DFO in 2009 and has held a number of roles in both the Pacific and National Capital Regions. From 2009 – 2015, Kate was the Senior Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Program Manager responsible for establishment and management of Oceans Act MPAs, based out of Vancouver.  In 2015, Kate relocated with her family to Ottawa, working for the Science & Policy Integration Sector of Natural Resources Canada.  Since returning to DFO, Kate has worked in the Aquatic Ecosystems Sector, first as the Manager of Marine Conservation in the Marine Planning & Conservation division, and then as Director, Species at Risk Operations, where she was responsible for recovery planning and protection for aquatic species at risk, implementation of the Nature Legacy Initiative, and the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk.  More recently, Kate worked as Director General, Biodiversity Management responsible for Aquatic Invasive Species and Aquatic Species at Risk programs.  She has been in her current role as Director General, Ecosystems Management, since June of 2023.  Kate holds a Master of Science Degree in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

Caitlyn Lefebvre

Advisor, Indigenous Relations, Corporate Affairs | Ontario Power Generation

Caitlyn Lefebvre has been with Ontario Power Generation for just under a year as an Advisor in Indigenous Relations, supporting operations in Northeastern Ontario. Caitlyn’s prior work experience has allowed her to develop strong professional relationships with Indigenous families, organizations, and communities. As a proud member of Mattagami First Nation, Caitlyn is happy to be a part of Ontario Power Generation working to advance reconciliation with Indigenous communities.

Guy Lonechild

President and CEO | First Nations Power Authority

Guy Lonechild is a well-known advocate for enabling growth and leading energy transformation pathway opportunities for First Nation communities in Canada and serves as President and CEO of First Nations Power Authority.

Mr. Lonechild serves as chair of the Indigenous Advisory Council on Small Modular Reactors Action Plan, served as co-chair of Natural Resource Canada’s SMR Leadership Table, and advisor on OPG’s New Nuclear Review Board.  His area of interest is Indigenous rightsholder, public and stakeholder engagement, innovations for development in nuclear, renewables, project finance, and Indigenous-led power procurement initiatives in the Canadian electricity sector. 

Recognized as a solution-oriented leader, Mr. Lonechild advocates for economic and environmental reconciliation as a path forward for stakeholders to harness the potential in alternative energy and supply chain opportunities that generate lasting benefits for Indigenous communities.  He currently serves as board member of the Energy Council of Canada (ECC), Clean Energy Association of British Columbia (CEBC), and holds a Master of Business Administration from Cape Breton University and is a former leader of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

John Loubier

President & CEO | TurbinePROs

Spanning more than 40 years and hundreds of planned and emergent outages for hydro, gas, steam, and nuclear power plants across North America and over 25 countries around the globe, John’s experience, and expertise in the power generation industry gives him a deep understanding of what it takes to get the job done.

Starting as a nuclear maintenance supervisor and progressing to project management and executive leadership, John was part of the ground up team that started TurbinePROs in 2009. He knows what it’s like to be on the management and labor sides while balancing logistics and ensuring utilities and owners’ schedules and budget are met that impact their bottom line.

He has been part of major industry projects including Forrest Kerr in British Columbia which received Clean Energy BCs Project Excellence Award. The 195 MW Hydro project was the largest run-of-the-river power plant in North America at the time. Set in a remote area 1,000 km north of Vancouver at the edge of the Iskut River, TurbinePROs installed 9 Andritz turbines almost 1 kilometer below ground with 70 millwrights working together. Chosen for their expertise in developing procedures for installation, workforce management, and their specialized turbine tools, they worked closely with B.C. business agents to develop the millwright workforce within three 3 weeks of award notice. Over 50 millwrights were brought in from across Canada.

Dr. Aaron Mair

Adirondack Wilderness Campaign Director | Adirondack Council

Dr. (Hon) Aaron Mair is a retired New York State public health epidemiological-spatial analyst, environmentalist, and 57th national president of the Sierra Club with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his international climate work from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Dr. Mair is the Adirondack Council’s “Wilderness Campaign Director” responsible for connecting all New Yorkers to the nation’s largest environmental treasure. As a national environmental justice movement pioneer, founder, and activist of the Arbor Hill, NY community in Albany, he was responsible for the creation of the W. Haywood Burns Environmental Education Center and the Arbor Hill Environmental Justice Corporation. He currently lives in Schenectady, New York and works for the Adirondack Council.

Strategic leader with a record of success directing programs and campaigns for social change. Background includes strategy, external affairs, brand development, and movement building. Strong operations and management experience. Experienced in working with diverse groups with differing agendas. Accomplished advisor, and coach. Recognized for project management, facilitation, initiative, collaboration, and inclusive leadership. Critical thinker with dedication to ongoing learning and development.

Mair was elected president of the Sierra Club on May 16, 2015, and was the organization’s first African-American president. Mair has been a life member of the Sierra Club since 1999. Since that time, he has held many leadership positions with the Sierra Club: National Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships Chair 2010–present; National Diversity Council 2008-2010. Atlantic Chapter: Environmental Justice 2003-2004; Chapter Chair 2002-2003. Hudson Mohawk Group: International Human Rights/Environment 2003–present; Environmental Justice 2002-2008; Wilderness, Water Quality/Habitats 2006-2011.

He is a graduate of Binghamton University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Sociology and a certificate in Southwest Asia and North Africa Studies. Mair also trained at Rhode Island’s Naval Education and Training Center and attended The American University in Cairo. He participated in Binghamton University’s Political Science Doctoral Program, but left the program to begin State service in 1988. In 1995, Mair founded the Arbor Hill Environmental Justice Corporation, which was a member of the White House Council on Environmental Quality from 1998 to 2000. He also founded, served as board member, and lectured at the W. Haywood Burns Environmental Education Center in the Albany Capital region of New York. In 1999, Mair was a member of Friends of Clean Hudson. In 2000, Mair received an EPA Environmental Quality Award for cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the Hudson River. Mair also served as a board member at the New York League of Conservation Voters in 2000.

Christian Matossian

TC Energy

Christian Matossian leads TC Energy’s Indigenous Relations team for power and natural gas pipeline projects and operations in eastern Canada. He led Indigenous engagement and economic participation for the company’s proposed 1000 MW hydroelectric pumped storage project in Saugeen Ojibway Nation territory near Meaford, Ontario. Christian is currently focused on the company’s approach to reconciling its relationships with Indigenous groups across TC Energy’s Canadian Mainline and the TQM System.  Christian has negotiated many high-profile Indigenous relationship and equity partnership agreements and has represented the company in Canada Energy Regulator and Senate hearings. Prior to joining TCE, he worked across Canada and internationally on Indigenous and community relations for major projects in the oil & gas, mining, electricity, transportation, water supply and tourism sectors at companies like Barrick Gold, Glencore, and Rio Tinto. Christian holds a master’s degree in urban planning and an undergraduate honours degree in human geography, and is an accredited cross-sector partnership broker and certified professional facilitator.

Joanna Osawe

President & CEO, Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE)

Joanna Osawe is the Sr. Business Development Manager at Burns & McDonnell and the President & CEO of WiRE – Women in Renewable Energy. Joanna attended Western University studying Languages, graduating with an Honours BA. Joanna has used her language skills in a focused, 15+ year management career at leading renewable and energy sector companies in Canada and the United States. By carrying complex projects through many stages she has seen firsthand the vital role renewable energy and emerging technologies serve in moving the Canadian, American and global energy mix forward.

Joanna has been appointed to the Federal Sustainable Development Advisory Council, led by Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault. She looks forward to continuing to engage and contribute to the Council’s success. The Council is made up of the Canadian public that represent the views of different provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples, as well as environmental non-governmental organizations and business and labour organizations.

Ion Padilla

Co-founder and CEO | Wegaw

Romain Pellegrino

President & CEO | GE Hydro North America

Romain Pellegrino is the President & CEO of GE Hydro North America and a member of the GE Global Hydropower executive committee. Romain is a Hydro turbine designer and brings with him over 15 years of experience in the Hydro industry, working with clients from across the world.  He has held various Global leadership positions in engineering, technology and project management out of France, Brazil and Switzerland.  He holds a Master’s degree in engineering from the Grenoble Institute of Technology – Physics department.  His interests include politics, soccer, cooking and video-games. He is happily married to a nuclear scientist and is blessed with two wonderful sons! Being a true Nature Lover, he is convinced of the importance of advancing the energy transition and is determined at securing the role of Hydropower in it!

Dr. Christian Roy

Head Management Unit, Migratory Birds Management Unit | Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)

Christian joined the Canadian Wildlife Service in 2015 as a quantitative ecologist. He has been working out as the head of the management unit for the last five years and his team work on migratory birds policy and regulations, migratory gamebirds management, and indigenous engagement. Christian enjoys birding, hunting, gardening and cooking in his free time.

Selim Sayah


Selim is a civil engineer with a Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Lausanne, Switzerland). He has more than twenty years experience as hydropower expert and project manager. Selim’s expertise covers hydraulic, dams and tunnels design aspects, he was involved in the design and construction supervision of several large hydropower projects in Latin America, Middle East and Asia.

Selim was involved as project manager and hydraulic/tunnel expert for Snowy 2.0 pumped storage project in Australia. He has worked in all areas of over 30 hydropower projects, including feasibility studies to engineering to construction supervision.

Ivor Shaw

Senior Engineer, Hydropower and Dams | Stantec

Ivor is happy to apply his full energies to his clients’ power projects worldwide. He is a power, hydroelectric power, and wind specialist with skills in management, design, evaluation, procurement, construction management, and commissioning. For these complex projects, he develops innovative and reliable solutions for renewable power.

He is proud that the power projects he has worked on support communities and industries enabling both growth and sustainability.

Typically, his projects are multi-stakeholder, often involving public and private investment. He values doing work with transparency and says it’s important to do it right consistently, considering safety, efficiency, and sustainability.

Oskar Sigvaldason

Oskar Sigvaldason’s primary career was with Acres International (now part of Hatch), including nine years as President. His career included engineering and management services for several major power projects; 5,500 Mw. Churchill Falls Project (Newfoundland and Labrador), 355 Mw. Alto Anchicaya Project (Colombia), 2,730 Mw. Schrumm Project (British Columbia), 22,500 Mw. Three Gorges Project (China; Advisory Board), and Project Manager for 10,800 Mw. Karnali (Chisapani) Multipurpose Project in Nepal, for dedicated electricity export to India.

He has also managed national planning studies for electricity and energy supply for Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Bangladesh and Indonesia, as well as water management projects in Canada, United States, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Peru, and South Africa. He was a Member of the World Energy Council’s Studies Committee for six years and continues as Director of the Energy Council of Canada.  He managed the Trottier Energy Futures Project, using formal optimization methodology, for defining minimum cost strategies for meeting both economic growth and GHG mitigation targets for all of Canada, for the cumulative period to 2050. He is Chair of the Future of Engineering Committee for the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Lynn St-Laurent

Senior Communications Advisor | Hydro-Québec

In her role as Senior Communications Advisor for Hydro-Québec’s activities outside Québec, Lynn St-Laurent specializes in media relations and stakeholder engagement on the company’s cross-border projects. Lynn also handles external relations on matters central to Hydro-Québec and the hydropower industry generally: GHG emissions, environmental stewardship, and social acceptability. Lynn represents Hydro-Québec on the Board of Directors of the International Hydropower Association and led strategic communications on Hydro-Québec’s recent Gold-level certification under the Hydropower Sustainability Standard.

Sean Strickland

Executive Director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU)

As Executive Director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions, an association of 14 international unions representing over 600,000 members, Sean Strickland is responsible for overseeing the operations of the CBTU office, including advocating for progressive public policies that benefit our membership, and securing work opportunities for unionized construction.

Before joining CBTU, Sean worked in business development for a large general contractor and prior to that was CEO of a joint labour management organization in Ontario, the Ontario Construction Secretariat. Growing up in a construction union household, Sean was able to experience the rewards and challenges of being a construction worker and union leader.

Sean sits on numerous boards and advisory committees including Helmets to Hardhats, SKILLPLAN, the Canadian Development corporation, (CDEV) and is Chair of Buildforce Canada.

Sean has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Waterloo, is a graduate of the Executive Management Program at Wilfrid Laurier University, and the Leadership Development program from Harvard University. He is the proud recipient of the Canada 125 Medal for Community Service.

Tom Tonner

Manager of the System Control Department | Manitoba Hydro

Tom Tonner graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering.  Tom has 30 years of experience with Manitoba Hydro and has worked on hydraulic generation operations maintenance, capital asset programs, major unit overhauls and turbine and generator procurement and design support for the Wuskwatim Generating Station. 

Tom worked on Keeyask Generating Station for ten years as the Project Engineer and subsequently as the Keeyask Engineering Department Manager, responsible for delivering all the engineering and procurement for the Keeyask G.S.   Since January 2021 Tom has been the Manager of the System Control Department, responsible for leading the group managing the Manitoba Hydro Bulk Electrical System (BES).

Christian Turpin


Christian holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a graduate diploma in Sustainability management. He joined Hydro-Québec in 2010. He coordinated various research projects in Energy Life Cycle Analysis. He actively participates in valuing the environmental attributes of Hydro-Québec’s renewable energy. He is responsible for publishing the residual mix label of electricity distributed in Quebec. He was responsible for the certification process of the Eastmain-1 development under the Hydropower Sustainability Standard.

Dr. Kathleen Vaillancourt

President | ESMIA Consultants

Kathleen Vaillancourt is a professional entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in 3E (energy-economy-environment) system modelling. She is the founder of ESMIA Consultants and the main instigator of the North American TIMES Energy Model (NATEM) that is used to support stakeholders from prestigious organizations across North America on cost optimal energy and climate strategies. She leads numerous projects involving energy system model development and their applications for studying complex challenges such energy transition and decarbonisation pathways.

She is an internationally recognized expert in energy system optimization and involved in the activities of the International Energy Agency’s ETSAP program alongside the world’s best-in-class MARKAL/TIMES modellers, the most advanced optimisation modelling platform. In Canada, she is on the board of the Energy Modelling Hub (EMH), a large initiative funded by the federal government to establish a pan-Canadian open-source electricity modelling platform.

Prior to creating ESMIA, she has participated in the development of energy models for major international organizations, including the European Commission, the International Energy Agency, the United States Department of Energy, the Quebec Ministry of Finance and multinational oil companies. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from the Université du Québec à Montréal and an MBA from HEC Montréal.


François Vitez

BBA inc.

Mr. Vitez is a Hydropower expert with a vast experience in the development, engineering and construction management in North America and internationally.  With technical background in hydraulics and geotechnical, Francois has managed and directed all phases of hydro project developments and rehabilitation from studies, engineering, to construction, commissioning, and operations. Within BBA, he develops an integrated team dedicated to supporting the decarbonization of our economy.  For over 12 years, Mr. Vitez has supported the development of numerous Pumped Hydro projects in North America and actively advocated for new market rules for the energy transformation.  Francois’ most significant value add in hydro pumped storage developments is bridging the gap between creative conceptual design and of market rules, thus setting the basis for best value optimization.

Chris Waite

Director of Construction Management | Site C, BC Hydro

Chris Waite is the Director of Construction Management on the BC Hydro Site C Clean Energy Project, in Fort St. John, British Columbia.  He leads the team responsible for the delivery of all dam site construction work including commissioning of the six-unit 1100MW Powerhouse. 

He has extensive experience successfully delivering large complex infrastructure projects with demanding governance processes, spanning multiple business lines, and involving First Nations and stakeholders to build relationships and meet obligations and expectations. 

Chris has been the governance procedure lead for BC Hydro’s Project and Portfolio Management systems, a former President and Vice President of a Vancouver Toastmasters club and developed and managed internal mentoring programs. Chris is a PMI certified Project Management Professional and is passionate about personal development, good management and working with teams to achieve great results.

Ashby Ward

General Manager – Hydro Technical | TurbinePROs

Ashby works closely with power generation owners, OEMs, contractors, and engineers to provide solutions that keep hydro plant equipment running at optimal efficiency. His specialty and field service expertise covers all types of hydroelectric projects across North America. Backed by his experience as a mechanical engineer and project manager, Ashby manages technical operations for maintenance, new installations, repairs, modernizations, inspections, and consultations for TurbinePROs.

Recently, when a run-of-the-river hydro plant sought an alternate solution to achieve optimal condition of a deteriorated and degraded OEM unit, Ashby and TurbinePROs provided full refurbishment with engineering of a new head cover and manufacturing of new wicket gates. These modifications achieved greater output and enhanced operation post refurbishment compared to the original unit. Ashby developed a streamlined process with hydro field services that included technical direction, project management, field supervision, and a skilled millwright craft workforce.

Brent Ward

Voith Hydro North America

Brent Ward is the Digitalization/Industry4.0/IIoT Solutions Expert for Digital Hydro in the Americas. Brent has worked with the full spectrum of edge to enterprise integration and the evolution of modernizing, digitalizing, and distributed computing elements for 20+ years. Brent has a Bachelors and Masters in Electrical Engineering from Duke University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Fredericton University.

Mike Westgate

Vice President – Business Development, Canada | Barnard Constructors of Canada, LP.

Mike has over 20 years of experience managing, pursuing, and delivering large-scale civil projects across Canada. Mike joined Barnard’s business development team in 2019 after serving as Vice President of Major Projects for EllisDon’s civil division. He has great insight into the Canadian heavy civil market, having held leading roles on many successful civil and transportation projects at EllisDon. He provides management, strategy, and negotiation expertise on design-build and public-private partnership civil projects to promote project delivery efficiencies, value creation, and risk mitigation for his clients and partners.  Mike served as a board member for BBE Hydro Constructors on the Keeyask Generating Station project throughout procurement and construction from 2012 to 2019.

Mike White

Generator Engineering | ANDRITZ Hydro Canada Inc.

Mike White is a lead mechanical engineer (hydrogenerators) for Andritz Hydro Canada Inc.  He has 28 years experience in the industry with roles in generator design, research and development and new product introduction.  Mike has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

Geoff Wright

Senior Vice President (SVP), Head of Development, Canada | Brookfield Renewable

Geoff is the Head of Development at Brookfield Renewable where he leads the business team that is responsible for all renewable and transition development investments in Canada. Prior to this role, Geoff helped to coordinate global commercial and business development strategies across a portfolio of decarbonization solutions in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.  

Geoff is keenly focused on understanding how a business can transition its operations in an increasingly carbon constrained world and drive value for all parties to a transaction. Geoff has been with Brookfield since 2013 in progressively senior roles in research, business development and management and has helped to deploy multiple billions of dollars across Renewable, Infrastructure and Private Equity transactions. With both public and private sector experience, Geoff brings a pragmatic, systems perspective to the challenges and opportunities associated with the energy transition.   Geoff is a volunteer director with QUEST, a national non-profit that supports communities in Canada on their pathway to net-zero and holds a Masters Degree in Economics from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and a BA from the University of Manitoba. 

Brady Yauch

Senior Manager, Markets and Regulatory Affairs | Power Advisory LLC

Brady is an energy economist that specializes in market design and regulatory issues. He leads price forecasting at Power Advisory for a range of markets and jurisdictions, including Ontario, Atlantic Canada, NYISO and ISO-NE, among others. He has appeared as an expert witness in both regulatory hearings and private arbitration. He has also participated in dozens of regulatory hearings at the Ontario Energy Board. His research and commentary on the electricity sector and other regulated sectors has been published and quoted extensively in the media and the legislature.

Prior to coming to Power Advisory, Brady worked as a Senior Analyst within the Market Assessment and Compliance Division at the Independent Electricity System Operator. He was also an economist and Executive Director of the Consumer Policy Institute, a public advocacy group that regularly participated in regulatory proceedings. Brady holds an MA in Economics from York University and a Masters in Writing and Cultural Politics from the University of Edinburgh.