Speakers

Each year at the Canadian Waterpower Week conference and trade show, WaterPower Canada is privileged and honoured to welcome an incredible roster of distinguished speakers.

We are thrilled to share that the process of finalizing our lineup of speakers is ongoing. Our Program Development team is working diligently to bring you a diverse and inspiring group of experts who will contribute valuable insights and perspectives to make this year’s event truly exceptional. While we’re putting the finishing touches on our 2024 program and continue to add new speakers to our roster, we also invite you to revisit the highlights of last year’s Canadian Waterpower Week. Take a moment to explore the impressive lineup of speakers who have graced our stage and shared their knowledge, experiences, and innovative ideas.

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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.

Speakers

Ahmad Al-Ali

Director, Hydro Business Development | Ontario Power Generation (OPG)

Ahmad Al-Ali is the Director of Hydro Business Development at OPG. Ahmad leads OPG’s efforts in developing untapped hydro potential in Northern Ontario including Greenfields, existing generating stations upgrades, hydro advocacy, and broader system integration. Ahmad has firsthand knowledge of the hydroelectric and the broader utility industry and has worked in engineering, operations, asset, and project management progressive roles. Ahmad has a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McMaster University and holds a Master of Engineering from University of Waterloo.

Paul Burroughs

Vice President of Renewable Generation Major Projects | Ontario Power Generation (OPG)

Paul Burroughs is currently the Vice President of Renewable Generation Major Projects at Ontario Power Generation (OPG). Paul has over 25 years of experience in the energy industry. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering.  Paul has held various positions in OPG in the areas of engineering, project management, energy markets, and hydroelectric development. 

Paul gained major project experience as a part of the management team responsible for the $2.5B for the 500MW Lower Mattagami River Project and, as the Project Director, successfully delivered the $300M Peter Sutherland GS in partnership with Taykwa Tagamou Nation. More recently, he has assumed the role of VP Major Projects, where he oversees a portfolio of major projects with an average capital spend of $400-$500M annually. Paul continues to expand his industry influence as a member of Construction Industry Institute’s (CII) Board of Advisors and Chair of CII’s Executive Committee.

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).

Bob Clarke

Senior Vice President, Research & Development | ASI Group Ltd.

Mr. Clarke has over 30 years of experience in the marine industry, encompassing commercial diving, Atmospheric Diving Suits (ADS) and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) operations on local and international projects. His responsibilities at ASI have included project reviews, operations planning, execution and supervision, preparation of reports, and proprietary equipment design. He has also supervised the design/build modifications and retrofits of ASI’s ROV fleet to enhance their operational capabilities and adapt to new or unexpected conditions.

As Senior Vice President of Research and Development, Bob is leading ASI’s efforts into new innovations to address the unresolved needs of ASI’s customers. Past projects have included extending the range of commercially available ROVs to become the longest-in-class systems available. Other unique systems include crawler dredges, autonomous inspection platforms and specialized sonar systems to provide 3D data acquisition, processing and display.

Lynnell Crone

Vice President, Alternative Contracts & Light Industrial | Bird Construction

Lynnell Crone is the Vice President, Alternative Contracts & Light Industrial at Bird Construction. She has enjoyed a dynamic, over 30-year project management and Professional Engineering career, having worked on several multi-billion-dollar projects in the oil, gas and petrochemicals industries as a Project Manager and Director of a Project Management Office. Much of her career has been spent working for Owner organizations, resulting in a keen insight and understanding of client requirements and expectations.

Over the past several years, she has held executive leadership roles at Bird Construction for collaborative contracts as well as manufacturing and environmental projects such as waste-to-energy, organics processing, water treatment, wastewater treatment, food processing and manufacturing. Lynnell’s success on both the owner and contractor side is rooted in her belief that collaboration is essential to a project’s success, and why her specialty is in collaborative contracting models.

Lynnell has been instrumental in developing Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) projects within Bird Construction and is currently on the Senior Management Team of several IPD projects. In addition to her role at Bird, Lynnell is Past-President of the Integrated Project Delivery Alliance (IPDA) and provides expertise on IPD throughout Canada. She has implemented Lean Construction processes on her projects throughout her career and is passionate about collaborative contracting and the value it brings to owners, consultants and contractors, as well as the job satisfaction it brings to all those who work on these types of projects.

Colleen Burliuk

Research Biologist, Fish Tracking | Innovasea

Colleen is a biologist with over 8 years of experience working in fish research and she specializes in the use of telemetry equipment and more recently, Innovasea’s HydroAI fish-counting system. Previously, Colleen led field-intensive studies on the movements and habitats of American eels and lake sturgeon on the upper St. Lawrence River. At Innovasea, Colleen is a Research Biologist that supports the Consulting, Customer Success, and Sales teams. She serves as team lead on consulting projects and provides advice to researchers on range testing, study design, and data analysis. Colleen has a Master of Science in Biology from Queen’s University (Kingston, Canada).

Travis Penno

Vice President, Field Services | Hydro Tech

Travis Penno is the Vice President of Field Services at Hydro Tech. Travis is a construction and project professional with over 20 years of engineering and project management experience primarily in the hydropower industry. A registered Professional Engineer (P.Eng), Travis offers exceptional technical and business skills in construction work packages and scope of work development, contract negotiations and implementation, change order management, union negotiations, and First Nations consultations. He is a valuable asset to Hydro Tech with his multidisciplinary background in engineering and construction, including managing large civic, mechanical, and electrical scopes of work.

Abe Schneider

Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder | Natel Energy

Abe creates hydraulic designs for Natel’s turbines and works at the intersection of science, R&D, product and project development, and communications. Prior to co-founding Natel Energy in 2009 with his sister, Gia, Abe worked as a mechanical engineer for both large firms such as The Timken Company and innovative startups including Makani Power, which was later acquired by Google.

Abe earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT. Abe enjoys SUP surfing, wing foiling, rock climbing, fly fishing, and building things with his wife and two children in San Francisco.

Sterling Watson

Staff Engineer, Fish Safety | Natel Energy

Sterling Watson leads FishSafe turbine design at Natel Energy. Her technical focus includes turbine performance assessment, fish passage test design and data collection, engagement with the scientific and stakeholder communities, and model development to inform high-performance, fish-safe turbine and hydropower plant designs.

Sterling holds bachelors and masters degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT. Her passion for everything aquatic extends beyond the office and she can be found swimming, surfing, and sea foraging in the waters of San Francisco during her free time.