R. Keith MacLeod, P.Eng. – Advisory Board Chair
Keith MacLeod recently retired as President and Chairman of the Board of Sproule Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries. In this position he was responsible for managing its Canadian, U.S., International, Unconventional and Project Management businesses. His worldwide experience at Sproule has been primarily in the areas of oil and gas reserves/resource evaluations, acquisitions and divestitures, securities commission reports, expert witness testimony and investment advice.
Keith lectured at the University of Calgary for many years and continues to present to industry on oil and gas disclosure related matters. He was one of a numbers of authors involved in the preparation of the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook and National Instrument 51-101.
Andrew is responsible for securing industry support and sponsorship for the Centre’s renewable energy research programs and liaising with industry sponsors and other CBU entities to ensure the programs are developed and meet expectations. Andrew will also have responsibility for program direction at the Verschuren Centre.
He has extensive experience developing and deploying clean energy and sustainability innovations. Andrew was Vice-President (Research and Development) at Phycal Inc., an integrated advanced bio-fuels company, where he led R&D programs in carbon sequestration, bio-fuels, sustainable feeds and wastewater recycling.
Dr. Swanson obtained his M.Sc. in Plant and Environmental Science from the University of Western Ontario, and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. In addition to private industry and government expertise, he has extensive international work experience, including projects in Israel, India, South Korea, Guyana, Brazil and USA.
James D. Irving
James D. (Jim) Irving is President of J.D. Irving, Limited.
Jim Irving has served on Finance Minister Flaherty’s Economic Advisory Council and is active on the Board of the Lahey Clinic Medical Center in Massachusetts in addition to the Ivey Advisory Board, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario. Mr. Irving’s community work includes capital campaign leadership for the regional Nature Conservancy of Canada initiatives as well as the Université de Moncton. He is also actively involved in leading the company’s efforts in wild Atlantic salmon conservation and research, in addition to international award-winning partnerships with elementary and middle schools as well as post-secondary institutions.
George W. MacDonald, Q.C.
George W, MacDonald is Counsel in the Halifax office of McInnes Cooper and Chair of the firm's Business Dispute Resolution Practice Group. George also works extensively as a mediator and arbitrator and he is a professional engineer.
Mr. MacDonald is a member of the Canadian Bar Association, the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society and the Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia. He is a Founding Fellow and past President of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyer and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. George lectured at Dalhousie University on Engineering law and torts and civil procedure. He participates frequently in continuing education programs organized by the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society and the Canadian Bar Association. He has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Royal Nova Scotia
International Tattoo and the Board of Governors of the Technical University of Nova Scotia, and is a former Member of the Board of Governors at Dalhousie University.
Gail Rudderham Chernin, Q.C.
A resident of Sydney, Gail is partner of The Breton Law Group. In 2003, she was named president of the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society, becoming only the third female president the organization’s 178-year history. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel and was the first recipient of the prestigious Constance Glube Spirit Award for initiative and excellence in women in the law in Nova Scotia.
She has received the two highest service awards in the Sydney Rotary Club, served as Campaign Chair of the United Way of Cape Breton and most recently became Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Atlantic Region.
Ms. Rudderham Chernin earned a Bachelor of Commerce from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and then continued her studies at Dalhousie, earning Bachelor of Laws degree.
She continues to serve as a board member of the Cape Breton Family YMCA, the Cape Breton Industrial Board of Trade, Howard House of Cape Breton and Women’s World Finance/Cape Breton Association.
Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Ports Corporation
As CEO, Sydney Ports Corporation, Marlene is working toward developing a guidance structure for the port of Sydney. She will also provide strategic guidance and work to enhance the marketing efforts related to port development. In her former position as Acting Director General, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Marlene oversaw the activities associated with this federal Crown corporation's mandate for economic development. In 2010, the corporation merged with another Crown corporation, the Cape Breton Development Corporation, whose mandate included legacy and remediation responsibilities of the federally owned mining operation on Cape Breton Island. In total, the annual budget is approximately $100 million. This included approximately $14 million for the delivery of services of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (a Federal department with an economic development mandate). Prior to joining ECBC, Marlene was Sr. Manager at KPMG, a chartered accounting firm. She is also a registered nurse and worked in this profession locally and in Northern Ontario.
Marlene is very active in her Cape Breton community. Currently she is a Board Member and Treasurer, Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation; Chair, United Way of Cape Breton; and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Unity House Society.
Marlene received her Registered Nurse designation from St. Rita's School of Nursing. She received a BBA from Cape Breton University, CA designation from the Atlantic School of Chartered Accountancy, and completed French language training through the Centre Linguistique Cantin.
Hector Jacques, O.C., M.Eng. D.Comm. (Hon.), P.Eng. FEIC, D. Law (Hon.)
Mr. Jacques received his general certificate of education from the University of Cambridge, his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, and his Master’s degree in Engineering from the Technical University of Nova Scotia. His post graduate research was in the field of soil mechanics under the able direction of Dr. G.G. Meyerhof. After graduation from the Technical University of Nova Scotia, Mr. Jacques joined Warnock Hersey Int. Ltd. in 1967 in their Halifax office and in 1969 was appointed Manager of the Geotechnical Services Division for the Atlantic Region. In 1972, along with Mr. Michael Whitford, Hector formed Jacques Whitford and Associates Limited to offer services in the earth sciences disciplines in the Atlantic Region. Under Mr Jacques guidance as CEO, the firm grew rapidly to 45 offices across North America and internationally with more than 1,700 highly trained professionals worldwide. The company was sold to Stantec at the retirement of Mr Jacques in 2009. The last position Mr Jacques held at the firm was Chairman of the Board. In 1983, Mr. Jacques was awarded the Engineering Award for Distinctive Achievement in the Practice of Engineering by the Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia. In 1986, the Association of Consulting Engineers bestowed on him the Beaubien Award, again for Distinctive Achievement in the Practice of Engineering. He was also a recipient of the Canada 125 Anniversary Medal (1993) for his significant contributions to compatriots, community and to Canada. In June 1994, the distinction of Fellow was bestowed on Mr. Jacques by the Engineering Institute of Canada. Under Mr. Jacques’ leadership Jacques Whitford was chosen by the Financial Post and Arthur Andersen & Co. as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Private Companies in 1994, the very first year of the program and the only engineering firm to be honoured that year. In the May Convocation of 1995, an Honorary Doctorate of Commerce was conferred upon Mr. Jacques by Saint Mary’s University, Halifax. Mr. Jacques was named Atlantic Canada Entrepreneur of the Year in October, 1996, and The Canadian Academy of Engineering awarded him the distinction of Fellow in June, 1997. In May 2001 Mr. Jacques received an Honorary Doctorate of Law by Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia. An Honorary Doctorate of Law by the University College of Cape Breton, Sydney, Nova Scotia was also conferred upon Mr. Jacques in May 2001 and in 2005 Mr. Jacques received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. On June 5, 2001, Mr. Jacques was inducted into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame. The Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia presented Mr. Jacques the Gold Medal on October 4, 2002. The award is designed to bestow distinction on outstanding engineers in Nova Scotia and to recognize exceptional achievements in their chosen fields. Most recently Mr. Jacques was named Petroleum Pioneer for 2006 by the Offshore Technologies Association of Nova Scotia. The Petroleum Pioneer Award honours individuals that have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the Nova Scotia petroleum industry. In October 2007, Mr. Jacques was made an officer of the Order of Canada. Mr. Jacques currently serves on several boards.
Robert Orr is the CEO and Managing Director of Cuna del Mar; a family office, private equity fund, based in the USA, which specializes in making investments in environmentally sustainable aquaculture.The fund’s primary objective is to invest in technologies and platforms capable of bringing about a paradigm shift in existing aquaculture practices. Cuna del Mar currently has investments in the USA, Canada, Mexico and Panama.
From 1996 to 2011, Robert Orr was the co-founder, CEO and Chairman of Ocean Nutrition Canada Limited (ONC )the world’s largest ingredient supplier of Omega3s, made from fish oil, to the Dietary Supplement and Functional Food Industry. By focusing its efforts on science based products, innovative marketing approaches and developing new technologies ONC produced 9 consecutive years of greater than 35% CAGR and grew from 3 employees to over 500, with customers in over 40 countries. The company received numerous awards, national and international, for its innovations and rapid growth. In 2012, ONC was sold to the Dutch company, Royal DSM N.V., for $540 million.
Orr's management career spans over 30 years at the senior management level in the marine biotech, nutritional ingredient, food retailing, food wholesaling and retail advertising industries. His breadth of experience ranges from creation and management of several startup companies to responsibility for large multi-national corporate division operations with annual revenues in excess of $1 billion.
Robert also serves on the following:
Board of Directors of Genome Canada
Board of Directors of Genome Atlantic
Canadian Government (DFAIT) – Life Science AdvisoryBoard
Board of Directors of Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust. (NSRIT)
Chair of the Board, TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture
Vice-chair, Board of Directors CommunityFoundation of Nova Scotia
Other Notes of Interest:
2006 – Nova Scotia Exporter of the Year
2010 – Life Time AchievementAward, Contributions to the Nutritional Industry 2011 – Business Person of the year– Halifax Chamber of Commerce
Rob was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Emera in January 2013. He previously served as President and CEO of Nova Scotia Power Inc. since June 2008, after holding the position of Executive Vice President of Revenue and Sustainability. Rob has also taken on senior leadership responsibilities on an interim basis for Emera New Brunswick.
Rob began his career with Nova Scotia Power in 1988. Before rejoining Nova Scotia Power in September 2007, Rob served for two years as President and Chief Operating Officer of Bangor Hydro Electric Company in Maine.
Rob serves on the Board of Governors of St. Francis Xavier University and Nova Scotia Community College, and is a Director of the Energy Council of Canada, Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs, and of the Children's Wish Foundation.
Rob is a graduate from St. Francis Xavier University and holds an engineering degree from Dalhousie University (DalTech).
Dr. Sheldon Levy
Sheldon Levy is President and Vice Chancellor of Ryerson University, and has been a respected postsecondary leader and analytical visionary for the past forty years. He previously served as Vice President Finance and Strategy, University of Ontario Institute of Technology; Vice President Government and Institutional Relations, University of Toronto; President, Sheridan College; and Vice President Institutional Affairs, York University. Current appointments include: Council of Ontario Universities Executive Committee and Government & Community Relations Committee; Board of Directors, Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation; Advisory Council, Toronto Region Board of Trade; Board of Governors, Trails Youth Initiatives; and Board of Directors, Pathways to Education Canada.
Sheldon is recognized for championing an entrepreneurial academic model with the international impact of both the Ryerson Digital Media Zone and the Centre for Urban Energy, and is dedicated to student success, distinctive programs and research, and the university’s role as city-builder. He was awarded a BSc, MA, and Doctor of Laws honoris causa by York University, and lectured in computer science and mathematics. He is on the list of “The Power 50 Most Influential in Canadian Business Today” (Canadian Business) and “The 50 Most Influential” (Toronto Life), and was chosen recipient of the 2013 Toronto Region Board of Trade Builder Award.
Dr. Vicky Sharpe
Dr. Sharpe is a long-term champion of integrating the environment and the economy. As the first employee and founding President and CEO of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (STDC), Vicky built an internationally renowned global cleantech fund. She increased public funding from $100M in 2001 to over $1.4B in 2014 and mobilized private sector capital for project funding and commercialization financing of over $4B.
Vicky drives environmentally responsible innovation that has increased productivity, competitiveness and boosted Canadian exports. Vicky is helping to shape the Canadian cleantech landscape through strategic advice and leadership. She is a founding member of the Boards of the Alberta Enterprise Corporation and Carbon Management Canada Inc., a national research network focused on carbon management in the fossil energy sector. Recently Vicky joined the Board of QUEST (Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow) and Temporal Power Ltd. She has applied her governance skills (ICD.D) to many of SDTC's 270+ portfolio companies.
Dr. Sharpe continues to serve on numerous technology, industry association and government committees. As an international advisor on sustainability issues she represented the Canadian energy sector at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Forum and joined EnerTech Capital's and Mercer's Sustainable Opportunities Fund Advisory Boards. As a widely recognized expert and advocate for SD and technology innovation, Vicky has addressed national and international audiences to promote an understanding of the culture shift in values society must make to secure a sustainable future.
Frank B. van Schaayk
Mr. van Schaayk’s career has afforded him successful and diverse experiences, initially in the oil and gas sector, and then as an operating executive and Board Director in large and privately held food businesses, as well as not-for-profit entities. His experience is North American and international in scope. Mr. van Schaayk is passionate about continuous learning and development as an enabler for both personal and organizational performance.
Frank van Schaayk retired, in October 2014, as Regional President, The Americas, McCain Foods Limited, the world’s largest producer of frozen potato products. During his term, he was responsible for providing strategic and operating oversight for all McCain Foods Ltd. activities in North and South America, presenting $3 billion in revenue, 22 plants, and 9,000 employees. Mr. van Schaayk joined McCain Foods Holland B.V. as Managing Director in 1992 and beginning in 1996, held positions of increasing responsibility at McCain foods, including: President and CEO of the US Potato business; CEO of McCain Foods USA, and in 2010, Regional President of the Americas.
Prior to joining McCain Foods, Mr. van Schaayk was President and Chief Operating Officer of Ben’s Limited, a privately held wholesale bakery company in Eastern Canada from 19980 to 1992. Mr. van Schaayk began his career in 1978 with Schell Canada Ltd. as a drilling engineer, also serving in strategic and financial planning rolls at Shell.
Mr. van Schaayk served as a member of the Board of Director of Ben’s Ltd., and from 2006-2010, as a member of the Board of Directors of McCain Foods Ltd. Since 2012 Mr. van Schaayk has served as an independent director of the board of Bay State Milling company, Quincy, Massachusetts. Bay State Milling is the largest privately held, diversified grain miller in the United States and operates both conventional and specialty mills. He also serves, since November 2014, on the Board of High Liner Foods, a large publicly traded North American, value added seafood processor based in Nova Scotia, Canada.
During his tenure with McCain Foods, Mr. van Schaayk was the driving forces behind the formation of the Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE), an organization of North American potato processors and growers dedicated to conducting and publishing research on the nutrition of potatoes and potato-based products. He was elected Chairman of APRE in 2011 and retired from that position in 2014.
Mr. van Schaayk has also served on many not for profit entities and is currently a member of the Board of Governors of Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Mr. van Schaayk holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from St Francis Xavier University and the Nova Scotia Technical College where he graduated with Honours in 1978. Mr. van Schaayk’s continuing education includes completing the executive program and the University of Western Ontario; Ivey School of Business; the IMD. Family Business Program at Insead, Lausanne Switzerland, completion of a Chartered Corporate Director Designation from the Conference Board of Canada and Degroote School of Business; McMaster University in Canada; and completion of the Advanced Management program at Harvard University in 2009.
Mr. van Schaayk holds dual citizenship in the United States and Canada. He has been married to Linda for 26 years and they have one son and one daughter, both currently attending college.
Annette Verschuren, O.C.
Annette Verschuren currently holds the position of Executive Chair of NRStor Inc., a company based in Toronto focusing on commercialization of energy storage technologies. She was formerly president of The Home Depot Canada and Asia and led The Home Depot’s entry into China.
Ms. Verschuren began her career as a development officer with the Cape Breton Development Corporation. She then worked with Canada Development Investment Corporation as executive vice-president, privatizing crown Corporations, before joining Imasco Limited as vice-president, corporate development. Immediately prior to joining The Home Depot, Ms Verschuren was president and co-owner of Michaels of Canada, a chain of arts and crafts stores.
In 2010, Ms. Verschuren was inducted into Canada’s Marketing hall of Legends and the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame. In 2006, Wilfred Laurier University named her Outstanding Business Leader of the Year. And in 2005, Retail Council of Canada names her distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year.
Appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ms. Verschuren served as a member of the North American Competitiveness Council, part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. She was also a member of former finance Minister, the late James Flaherty’s, Economic Advisory Council, a group of 11 Canadian business leaders charged with advising the Government of Canada on the global economic crisis.
Ms. Verschuren is a board member of Liberty Mutual, a Boston Massachusetts-based insurance company, and the Conference Board of Canada. She previously served as vice chair of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.
In 2011, she was appointed chair of the 2012 Governor General’s Leadership Conference, Canada’s premier leadership training event.
A champion of community investment and volunteerism, Ms. Verschuren serves as Chancellor of Cape Breton University and chairs fundraising efforts for the University’s Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment.
Ms. Verschuren holds honorary doctorate degrees from Mount Saint Vincent University and St. Francis Xavier University, where she also earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
Gordon MacInnis, FCA
As Vice-President, Finance & Operations at Cape Breton University (CBU) Gordon MacInnis is responsible for the financial affairs of the University as well as areas of human resources, facilities management, and information technology. He is also a strong contributor to setting the strategic directions of CBU and functions as a key liaison for senior orders of government. He also serves as a Director to CBU’s affiliated company, LearnCorp International.
Mr. MacInnis is a fellow chartered accountant and a member of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada with over two decades of experience in senior public-sector management positions. He has participated on many provincial workgroups and task forces concerning public-sector policy initiatives. In addition to volunteering with several local community groups, Mr. MacInnis serves as a representative for Nova Scotia universities on the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission and is a member of Inter-University Services Incorporated, an inter-provincial organization with a goal of promoting collaboration between universities. He is also a member of the Premier’s panel charged with evaluating candidates for receipt of a Premier’s Award of Excellence to recognize outstanding on-the-job contributions of provincial employees. Mr. MacInnis was also past-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the former Cape Breton Development Corporation, a federal Crown corporation.
Since joining Cape Breton University in 2000, Mr. MacInnis has served in the roles of Chief Financial Officer and Interim President prior to assuming his present duties in 2003. Mr. MacInnis serves on the CBU Senate, various university committees and is a member of the University’s Board of Governors in his role as Treasurer of the Board.
Dale Keefe, Ph.D
C. Dale Keefe is Interim President at Cape Breton University. Dr. Keefe completed his BSc(Hon) in Chemistry and Mathematics from Memorial University and his PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Alberta. After an NSERC post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Ottawa, he joined the faculty at Cape Breton University. His research is on the study of weak interactions in liquids, particularly hydrocarbons, to better understand how the interactions between molecules affect the physical properties of the liquids. He has supervised more than 30 research students and published more than 50 scientific papers. In 2006, Dr. Keefe was awarded the prestigious Canada Research Chair in Molecular Spectroscopy. In 2010, he was appointed Dean of Research at CBU and in 2011 Graduate Studies was added to his portfolio. In 2014, he was appointed Vice-President Academic & Research (Provost) and became Interim President of the University in December 2016.
Dr. Richard MacKinnon
Dr. Richard MacKinnon is from New Waterford, Cape Breton Island and is a former Tier One Canada Research Chair in Intangible Cultural Heritage at Cape Breton University where he teaches Folklore, Community Studies and Music. He has recently been appointed as Interim Vice President Academic and Provost of Cape Breton University.
His B.A. is from Mount Allison University and his M.A. and Ph.D. are in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland. His research interests include all aspects of Atlantic Canada’s culture including oral traditions, music, language, material culture and vernacular architecture. He has authored articles in scholarly journals and books such as Vernacular Architecture in the Codroy, Newfoundland. Ottawa: National Museum of Civilization, 2002), Discovering Cape Breton Folklore (Sydney: CBU Press, 2009) and with Dr. Bill Davey, The Dictionary of Cape Breton English (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016). He has also worked in the multimedia field developing CDROMS and web sites. Some of these include "Time Travel to the Eighteenth Century," "The Peopling of Atlantic Canada," learner'sportal and protestsongs.ca, a web site exploring the historical songs of protest that were once common in Cape Breton Island.
He has been the President of the Folklore Studies Association of Canada and has served on numerous boards including the Nova Scotia Highland Village, Iona, the Cape Breton Music Industry Cooperative and the Sectoral Commission on Communication, Culture and Information for UNESCO, Ottawa, Ontario. He has given presentations at many local, national and international venues. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Lockhaven University, Pennsylvania; Queen’s University, Belfast, Ireland; and an adjunct Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Since the commencement of the Canada Research Chair in July, 2005 Dr. MacKinnon has helped to develop a BA major in Folklore Studies, a minor in Ethnomusicology and a BACS Music degree; established a digitization lab at CBU; formed a relationship with the Rotary Club of Sydney to build a Performance Analysis facility and Music Room at CBU; developed the Centre for Cape Breton Studies; helped establish international exchanges with CBU and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now Royal Scottish Conservatoire), Glasgow, Scotland; Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Skye, Scotland and the 13 campuses of the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland. Dr. MacKinnon is also the Editor and Managing Director of the scholarly journal, Material Culture Review that circulates to more than thirty counties around the world. He continues to conduct research on Folklore, Architecture History and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Atlantic Canada.