An independent think tank dedicated to economic progress in Atlantic Canada.



APEC's economists will provide their annual economic forecast and outlook for 2019 for all four Atlantic provinces. 

Confirmed business speakers include: 

St. John's, NL 
Derek du Preez, Director Digital Transformation, North Atlantic, Vale Canada (keynote)

Derek du Preez is a mining industry professional with a passion for innovation. He is currently leading the Digital Transformation Program for Vale Base Metals North Atlantic.

Derek has more than 24 years’ experience in the mining industry, in a wide variety of commodities in surface and underground mining operations across Canada, Australia and Africa. This includes broad operational and technical roles with accountability for Digital Strategy, Transformation, Business Improvement and Operations Management.

Derek’s academic background includes a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is a current Engineering Technologist Member of the Institution of Engineers Australia. Derek further holds a Mechanical Engineers Certificate of Competency for Mines and Works in South Africa.

Gisle Stjern, VP Digital, Equinor (keynote)

Gisle Stjern is the Vice President for the Business Efficiency group in Oslo supporting Equinors international oil and gas portfolio. Prior to this position Gisle Stjern was the VP Offshore Newfoundland, Equinor Canada, from June 2014 until March 2018, and has more than 25 years’ experience within the global energy industry, including oil & gas and mining. In his current role, Mr. Stjern’s focus is to maximize the value and improve efficiency across Equinor’s International Oil and Gas portfolio. Stjern has a strong operational experience from offshore the Norwegian Continental Shelf, as drilling supervisor, OIM at the Gullfaks Field and as the Operations manager for the Heidrun Field. Before the move to Newfoundland and Labrador Stjern spent five years as a vice president in Statoil’s Technology Projects and Drilling business area.

Mr. Stjern has worked with Equinor for the last 21 years. He has experience around the world in Norway, Spitzbergen, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Tanzania and Canada. Gisle Stjern holds a Master of Science degree in engineering and a Doctorate of Philosophy in rock mechanics from the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology. 

Janne Oddaker, Digital Director, TechnipFMC
Janne Oddaker is Digital Director Subsea Europe in TechnipFMC, a company which is a global leader in oil and gas projects, technologies, systems and services. In her work she leads digital initiatives with the aim of improved efficiency and expanded services in the subsea segment to operators. Prior to moving into digital, Janne headed up QHSE and Engineering in Norway for TechnipFMC. Earlier in her career she spent several years working in transport and infrastructure in the Norwegian public sector, in particular vessel design and low carbon emission initiatives.  Janne Oddaker holds a MSc in Marine Technology from The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). In addition to her work in TechnipFMC, Janne Oddaker also works as an advisor for the Federation of Norwegian Industries, to ensure digital collaboration between operators and suppliers is used as a mean to increase the overall competitiveness in the oil and gas industry.

Warren Giesbrecht, Director of IT, Cooke Aquaculture
Warren was one of the first employees to work in Cooke Aquaculture’s IT Department and has been a valued employee since 2001.  His technical experience and problem-solving skills have been critical to the company’s growth during its many acquisitions and the successful integration of information systems.

As Director of Information Technology, Warren has overseen several projects focused on Enterprise Resources Planning and his team established a Global Network that allows for integrated communications across the Cooke family of companies. His department also played a key role in activating Cooke’s Remote Feeding Systems project in Atlantic Canada, where feeding at remote salmon farming sites is managed from a central office.

As a senior member of the company’s management team, Warren has led the development of IT systems to support Cooke’s global operations in Chile, Spain, Scotland, the USA and Canada.  Warren works closely with the Company’s CEO and VP Finance and directs a growing international IT team as it adapts to new technologies and keeps pace with the company’s growth.

The Cooke family of companies includes global aquaculture divisions under Cooke Inc. and its subsidiary Cooke Aquaculture Inc. -- a vertically integrated, family-owned corporation based in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick. Cooke delivers farmed and wild caught True North Seafood products to customers in 65 countries in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner. Cooke Aquaculture is a Platinum winning company on Canada's Best Managed Companies list. In 2017, Cooke purchased $231 million dollars of goods and services from 1,269 other local businesses across Atlantic Canada. The company is moving forward with growth plans to invest in Newfoundland and Labrador and the region. 

Halifax, NS
Jeff MacLean, PresidentMichelin North America (keynote)
In July 2015, Mr. Jeff MacLean was appointed President of Michelin North America (Canada) Inc.  In this position, he is responsible for coordinating all activities of Michelin in Canada. With more than $30 billion in sales and 3,500 employees across Canada, Michelin is the global leader in the tire industry, manufacturing tires for every type of vehicle including aircraft, automobiles, bicycles, motorcycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, and trucks.

MacLean joined Michelin in 1988 and has served for 30 years in manufacturing and leadership positions in Nova Scotiaand internationally. The first half of his Michelin career was focused on engineering, quality, operational, and change leadership roles for the North American manufacturing sites. Subsequently, he served in an international role, based in France, focused on progress in the world truck tire lines. MacLean returned back to Canada in 2005 as Employee Relations Manager for the Canadian operations and then as the site Manager for Pictou County Facility.


His extensive experience in manufacturing and in leading operations in Canada and Europe gives him a unique perspective on the challenges and the opportunities facing manufacturing today.

MacLean is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University where he earned a B.SC. in Chemistry and Math andalso the Technical University of Nova Scotia (now Dalhousie University), where he completed hisengineering degree.

Robert Orr, CEO and Managing PartnerCuna del Mar LP 

Robert lives in Bedford, Nova Scotia. His primary business activity is serving as the CEO and  Managing Partner of a Cuna del Mar LP; a USA based impact investment fund.  Cuna del Mar is concerned with global food security, healthy oceans and investing in transformational technologies related to the working in ocean environment.

Robert’s executive management career spans over 35 years in the private equity, marine biotechnology, nutritional ingredient, and food retailing industries. In addition to his current responsibilities of investing in, and mentoring, new technology and open ocean aquaculture companies, he has extensive experience in the creation and management of fast growing companies. That experience includes the co-founding and leadership of Nova Scotia based, Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd which grew from an idea to a +500 person company with customers in over 40 countries, before being sold to Royal Dutch DSM in 2012.  

Robert also serves on the boards of several early stage companies; is a co-founder of the Atlantic Region Ocean Technology Supercluster; is the Chair of the Board, of the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia; Chair of the Board, Natural Products Canada, Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research; and serves on the Advisory Boards of the Dalhousie University, School of Management, and Cape Breton University, Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment.

Sandra McKenzie, Management Consultant; Strategy Advisor, Port of Halifax
Sandra is a champion for Nova Scotia ingenuity.  After concluding a rewarding career with the provincial public service, she is very pleased to be working with the Halifax Port Authority where she is busy linking the Port of Halifax digital strategy with broader reaching Pan-Canadian and global initiatives that are transforming containerized shipping in this era of data-driven technology.

Sandra has served as Deputy Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, Deputy Minister for the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Acting Deputy Minister for the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, and staff member for the Policy and Planning Office and Treasury and Policy Board

She lives in Waverley with her husband and many pets.  She is visited regularly by her three children who are out making the world a better place.


Charlottetown, PE

Jean-François Perrault, Senior Vice President & Chief Economist, Scotiabank (keynote)
Jean-François Perrault joined Scotiabank in 2015 as Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist. He leads a team of Economists to support Scotiabank’s domestic and international business lines and clients from retail to capital markets, providing Scotiabank's senior executives, business lines and customers with perspectives, insights and forecasts on economic, financial market and policy developments.  

Prior to joining Scotiabank, Jean-François held prominent roles with the federal government, the Bank of Canada, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.



Jared MacDonald, Sales Manager, Aspin Kemp & Associates
Jared MacDonald, P.Eng. is the sales manager at Aspin Kemp & Associates an engineering company that provides power and propulsion systems to the Marine, Offshore Oil and Gas, and land-based power systems industries.

Jared has worked with global brands such as Transocean and MAN Energy Solutions to provide expertise and consultation on their systems’ needs, and helped these and other clients reduce their emissions and increase safety by utilizing AKA’s Hybrid systems.

Before joining the AKA team as project manager, Jared had been successful in many roles such as Manufacturing Production Manager at Procter and Gamble where he led and coached a multi-discipline team in areas of schedule, technology, risk mitigation, and execution of top tier initiatives. Building on his education as an engineer, Jared has expanded his skills in business and process management among other accomplishments.

Christie Neate, Portfolio Revenue Manager, InterContinental Hotels Group 
Christie Neate was born and raised in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  She was fortunately surrounded by the tourism & hospitality industry at a very young age, as she grew up working for her family in the hotel industry. 

Upon graduating from high school, she moved to Halifax and attended Dalhousie University; in the Bachelor of Commerce Program, she then went on to complete a Hospitality Management Diploma program at the Atlantic Business College in Moncton, NB. 

Upon completion of her education, she began her professional career as a Director of Revenue Management overseeing 11 properties for a multi-brand portfolio of hotels in Atlantic Canada.   A role she enjoyed for over 5 years. 

In her current role; as a partner in the Loyalist Country Inn, Summerside she is responsible for the monitoring, managing and maintaining group and transient inventories.  She determines, develops, monitors and adjusts sales and pricing strategies and recommend strategies based on previous performances, market conditions, city wide activities, and internal & external conditions. 

Christie has also held a seat at the national Hotel Association of Canada, which allowed her to have a seat at the table for important industry discussions and information.  She has her CFDM designation from AHLA and is also a member of SKAL New Brunswick. 

Saint John, NB 
Faisal Kazi, President and CEOSiemens Canada Limited (keynote)
Faisal Kazi serves as President and CEO of Siemens Canada. Mr. Kazi is responsible for leading the overall strategic management, direction
and leadership of all Siemens activities in Canada. In addition to his role as President & CEO, Mr. Kazi remains responsible for the leadership of the Energy Management division in Canada, a role he held as Senior Vice President prior to his appointment as CEO in September 2017.

Mr. Kazi joined Siemens AG, Germany in 1990 and has worked in various areas of the Siemens energy, industry, IT and infrastructure businesses in the Netherlands, Germany, Brazil and the United States. In 2009, M. Kazi joined Siemens Canada as the regional and sales head of the Transformers business in North and South America and also headed the Siemens Transmission division for North America. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of Siemens Transformers Inc. Canada in Quebec and Siemens Transformadores, S.A. de C.V. Guanajuato, Mexico.

Mr. Kazi has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA.

Mr. Kazi is a passionate champion of Siemens Canada’s corporate social responsibility programs, including the annual fundraising campaign for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

He lives in Oakville where he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children.

Jason Killam, Chief Forester, J.D. Irving, Limited

As Chief Forester for J.D. Irving, Limited, Jason leads a team of talented professionals focused on a mission of world class forestry through innovation, collaboration, and long-term thinking.  Jason is a proud New Brunswicker and believes in our potential to sustainably grow and flourish our communities. 

Jason completed a Bachelor of Science in Forest Engineering at the University of New Brunswick in 1999 and an Executive MBA at Ivey Business School in 2012.  He is a member of the Association of Registered Professional Foresters and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick.

Steve Maynard, Partner, Data & Analytics Leader,EY
Steven Maynard is a Senior Partner in EY LLP.  He has worked with businesses and governments across North America, South America, Europe and the Middle East to help them improve performance through the integration of data and analytics, intelligent automation and digital capabilities into their businesses.   He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia where EY has established a global centre of excellence for Intelligent Automation and Data Analytics – serving global clients from Atlantic Canada.  Mr. Maynard’s particular area of client practice focusses on simplifying and modernizing the customer service and corporate functions (Finance, HR, IT and Supply Chain) by leveraging next generation technologies and assisting clients in implementing new business models to help future proof these functions in today’s age of disruption.   Steven also leads EY’s relationship with two of its largest clients in Canada.  Mr. Maynard holds degrees from Mount Alison University, Queens University and the London Business School.


Bryana Ganong, President & CEO, Ganong
Bryana joined Ganong as a Marketing Assistant in 1997. She rose through the ranks and has held numerous management positions at Ganong Bros. Limited, exposing her to many facets of the business. She was also deeply involved in the company’s most recent expansion project, working with both internal and external partners. Bryana is a Board Member of the Food & Consumers Products of Canada and recently participated in the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table as a Table member.


Wes Stauffer, Enterprise Architecture & Infrastructure, Medavie Blue Cross
Throughout my 20+-year career in enterprise IT, I’ve established a reputation for delivering innovative and strategic IT solutions that promote corporate objectives, catalyze efficiencies, and propel profitability. For the past 5 years, I’ve been proud to progress within the Medavie Blue Cross IT team. Currently, as the Director, Enterprise Architecture and Infrastructure, I champion Medavie’s mission to set the industry standard for diversified health services. In this role, I serve as a key member of the leadership team and an advocate for Enterprise Architecture (EA). Notable accomplishments in this role include:

Pioneered organization’s first Reference Architecture within first 6 months.

Set a strategic plan to guide consistent architecture development across the enterprise.

Catalyzed project execution and achievement of key deliverables.

Introduced accountability and championed resolution of critical business challenges.

Additionally, as a leader with Medavie Blue Cross, I’m passionate about advancing our organizational commitment to supporting the health and wellness of our employees and their families. Medavie Blue Cross has consistently been named a Top 100 Employer, one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures, and one of Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers. To support these prestigious designations, I have implemented a “One Team” management philosophy, dedicated myself to mentoring team members, and prioritized professional development planning.

Copyright © 2019 - Atlantic Provinces Economic Council. All rights reserved.Website Design by Cossette