Atlantic Canada’s independent voice on economic issues


Halifax, NS

  • Lana AsaffSenior Economist, APEC 
  • Laurie MacKeigan, President, Backman Vidcom
  • Glenn SquiresCEO, Pacrim Hospitality Services
  • David ChaundyPresident & CEO, APEC (moderator)

St. John's, NL 

  • Patrick BrannonSenior Researcher, APEC 
  • Karen WinsorCOO, Atlantic XL Inc. 
  • Gary SmithExecutive Vice President, Operations & Innovation, Fortis Inc. 
  • David ChaundyPresident & CEO, APEC (moderator)

Saint John, NB

  • Fred BergmanSenior Policy Analyst,APEC 
  • Keith ParleeCEO,APEX Industries Inc.
  • Lori WeirCEO & Co-Founder, Four Eyes Financial
  • David ChaundyPresident & CEO, APEC (moderator)

Charlottetown, PE

  • Fred BergmanSenior Policy Analyst, APEC 
  • Mark CoffinCEO, Tronosjet Maintenance Inc.
  • Charmaine NoonanSenior Director, Site Head, Elanco Canada Limited
  • David ChaundyPresident & CEO, APEC (moderator)

About the Speakers

Lana AsaffSenior Economist, APEC [Halifax Event]

Lana is a Senior Economist at APEC. She contributes to regular economic analysis on the region’s economy and is leading APEC’s work on economic implications for Atlantic Canada in the transition to net-zero emissions.

Previously, she held positions with the provincial government at the Nova Scotia Department of Finance and Treasury Board, as well as with the federal government at Finance Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency.

Lana is President of the Atlantic Association of Applied Economists. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Economics from Saint Mary’s University and a Master of Arts in Economics from Queen’s University.

Fred Bergman
Senior Policy Analyst, APEC 
[Saint John & Charlottetown Event]

Fred is a Senior Policy Analyst at APEC. He was previously the Director of the Economics & Statistics Division, Nova Scotia Department of Finance. Mr. Bergman is APEC’s lead on economic impact analysis and Indigenous research.


He recently completed an APEC report on the economic impact of Atlantic Canada's aerospace and defence industry. He also led a research project on the post-COVID recovery in Atlantic Indigenous communities and businesses.

Fred is a Chartered Professional Accountant, has a Master of Business Administration degree from Dalhousie University, a Master of Economics degree from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Francis Xavier University.

Patrick Brannon
Senior Researcher, APEC 
[St. John's Event]

Patrick is a Senior Researcher and the Director of Major Projects for APEC. He's been active in economic and business analysis for over 20 years. Patrick oversees APEC’s annual capital investment forecast for Atlantic Canada and the associated events held in Atlantic Canada. He also plays a lead role in many of APEC’s other research projects and is a writer for APEC’s publications which gives him a strong understanding of the issues currently affecting the economy of Atlantic Canada. He is a frequent speaker on the issues important to Atlantic Canada and is passionate about the continued success of the region.

Mark CoffinCEO, Tronosjet Maintenance Inc. [Charlottetown Event]

Mark Coffin was born in Halifax and is a graduate of Acadia University.  Mark began his aviation career over 25 years ago working in aircraft maintenance, before eventually flying as a commercial pilot and then returning to aircraft maintenance in his current role as CEO of Tronosjet Maintenance Inc. In 2016, Tronos opened one of the most advanced manufacturing facilities in Eastern Canada, including metallic additive manufacturing for aerospace and CNC machining.

Mark has operated and managed several aviation related businesses and personally held multiple Transport Canada operators’ certificates in the course of his time in aviation.  During the past 10 years Mark has overseen 50 plus aircraft sales and acquisitions all around the globe, as well as maintenance and heavy modification work that takes place in Summerside PEI, including the BAE 146 Airtanker program.

Laurie MacKeigan
President, Backman Vidcom
 [Halifax Event]

Laurie MacKeigan is the President of Backman Vidcom, the leading commercial audiovisual integrator in Atlantic Canada. A Cape Bretoner, Laurie graduated from Acadia University with a BBA, concentration in accounting. After obtaining her Chartered Accountant designation with Deloitte in Halifax, Laurie spent 11 years in Bermuda. She worked in the financial services industry as the head of finance to a global investment firm.

She and her husband decided to return home to Nova Scotia to raise their young children and fulfill a dream of being entrepreneurs. In 2014, Laurie purchased Backman Vidcom, a 40 year old audiovisual firm. The challenge was daunting as the company had grown stagnant in a rapidly changing industry. She and her team nicknamed the company Backman 2.0 and set out to be leaders in the industry locally and internationally. The strategy has worked with impressive results and plans for more growth. Backman has been involved in providing audiovisual systems in very high profile projects since Laurie took over the company including the new Halifax Convention Centre.

Charmaine NoonanSenior Director, Site Head, Elanco Canada Limited [Charlottetown Event]

Charmaine is the Site Head, Senior Director for the Elanco PEI facility, which manufactures aquatic vaccines. Elanco is a publicly-traded global animal health company employing over 10,000 people, with a focus on healthier pets and healthier farm animals.

Charmaine holds a MSc in Pharmacology & Toxicology from the Atlantic Veterinary College and a BSc in Biology from the University of New Brunswick. Prior to joining Novartis/Elanco, Charmaine gained several years experience in human health research with the National Research Council of Canada. She has spent the last decade with Elanco in Quality management at the local and global levels, gaining experience in GMP sterile manufacture, lifecycle management, technical development/transfer and people development. Charmaine resides in Rose Valley with her husband and three golden retrievers.

Keith ParleeCEO, APEX Industries Inc. [Saint John Event]

Keith Parlee has over 30 years of progressive and varied executive experience.  From ownership of privately held firms, to leadership roles working for, or with, fortune 500 companies.

In 2010, Keith joined Apex Industries a multi-divisional Atlantic based manufacturer, distributor, and solutions provider.  The company manufactures and ships products globally in various business sectors including Aerospace and Defence, Oil and Gas, Navel, Optical, Construction and Food Processing Products. 

Keith is a graduate of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, holding a Bachelor of Public Relations.  He began his business career in the packaged goods industry, holding posts in Halifax, St. Catharines, and Toronto with General Foods, Kraft and AC Nielsen.

Keith relocated back to Atlantic Canada in 1995, where he spent ten years as the President/co-owner of a privately held industrial products company, which was later divested to a public company.  During the transition, Keith was appointed VP & General Manager responsible for Canada.  Concurrently, he sat on the Board of the parent company, a multi-divisional firm with revenues north of $1 Billion mark. 

Keith was appointed to the Advisory Board for National Research Council-IRAP for a two-year period, where he has served to promote innovation in Atlantic Canada.  He also served several years on the Board for a growing industrious laundry detergent manufacturer – Dizolve Group Corporation.  Additionally, he serves as Board Chair of Harvest House Atlantic, a nonprofit Homeless Shelter/Recovery Mission.


Gary SmithExecutive Vice President, Operations & Innovation, Fortis Inc.  [St. John's Event]

Mr. Smith has held a number of senior leadership positions with the Fortis Group throughout his 35-year tenure. He was previously Executive Vice President, Eastern Canadian and Caribbean Operations, Fortis Inc.; President and Chief Executive Officer of Newfoundland Power; Vice President of Customer Operations and Engineering of Newfoundland Power; and Vice President of Operations and Engineering of FortisAlberta.

Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He has completed the Finance for Senior Executives Program at the Harvard Business School.

Mr. Smith currently serves as a Director on the Boards of Newfoundland Power, Maritime Electric, FortisOntario, Caribbean Utilities, FortisTCI, and Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL), all Fortis utilities. He is also the Chair of the Board of Directors of Wataynikaneyap Power PM, a Fortis subsidiary acting as the project manager for the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project, a partnership with 24 First Nations that is building a transmission line to connect 17 First Nations communities in Northwestern Ontario to the power grid. 

He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement Canada and Chair of its Canadian Business Hall of Fame Governance Committee, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee to the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Mr. Smith is past Chair of the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Newfoundland and Labrador and past member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Electricity Association.

He was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering in 2021, is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland, a member of the Steering Committee on Power Engineering for the Canadian Standards Association.

Glenn SquiresCEO, Pacrim Hospitality Services [Halifax Event]

With over 40 years of hospitality development and management experience, Mr. Squires is an hotelier first and foremost. His never ending and unwavering dedication to guest experience guides him as he collaborates in the development and operation of hotels ensuring all hotels exceed guest expectations. 

In 1997 Mr. Squires co-founded Pacrim Hospitality Services Inc., a hotel development and management company. From November 2004 to December 2011, Mr. Squires was the CEO and co-founder of Holloway Lodging, a hotel real estate investment company. In 1994 Mr. Squires was instrumental in the start-up of a hospitality division within Fortis Properties Inc., a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., (TSX:FTS) a diversified, international electric utility holding company with investments primarily in regulated electric distribution utilities in Canada and the Caribbean region. Glenn’s latest project is the re-development and reimaging of the Digby Pines Golf Resort & Spa, Digby, NS.

Mr. Squires is the Past Chair of the IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) Owners Association and has sat on numerous hotel brand and tourism related boards and committees. He was awarded "Developer of the Year" (Canada) by IHG; "International Development Award" by Wyndham Worldwide and received the "Vision Award" from the Nova Scotia Tourism Industry Association.

Glenn has a passion to give back to his community. In 2002 he set up a Pacrim Scholarship Fund for students at Nova Scotia’s Mount Saint Vincent University’s Tourism and Hospitality Degree Program and is an avid supporter of Give Kids the World (GKTW). Having volunteered for GKTW many times over the years, in 2014 Glenn organized the very successful Golf Tournament with all proceeds going to GKTW.

Lori Weir
CEO & Co-Founder, Four Eyes Financial [Saint John Event]

Lori is passionate about creating shared understanding between people, and taking friction points out of the processes, to produce results. The Four Eyes digital services platform was built from this passion.

As the managing partner of two successful consulting firms, she spent 20 years helping some of Canada’s most profitable companies including JD Irving, Standard Life, and Scotia Wealth, align workflow processes and employee behaviors to drive positive client experiences.

Lori is the past chair of ALS Canada and Marathon by the Sea; her volunteer efforts have also taken her abroad including work in economic development in Latin America.

Karen WinsorCOO, Atlantic XL Inc. [St. John's Event]

Karen has worked over twenty years in the oil and gas industry, focusing on strategic management, business operations, quality and customer delivery.  She is currently responsible for the continued success and growth of Atlantic XL and iEAS XL here in Canada, Caribbean XL in Guyana, and is part of the management team of XL Global Group in Aberdeen, UK. 

Karen graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce at Memorial University in Newfoundland, completed a Strategic Management program in Oslo’s Norwegian School of Management and most recently finished the Directors Education Program at the Institute of Corporate Directors.  This year, she finished her tenure with EnergyNL where she served four years as director and three years on Executive as Vice Chair, Chair and Past Chair.  Karen also sits on the board of Atlantic XL, Tampnet Canada, Nalcor’s Bull Arm Fabrication Facility and the Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Karen has been recognized for her efforts in the industry as Noia’s 2014 first Rising Star, profiled in OGM and Memorial University’s Up and Coming, and several years running has been nominated for the RBC Women of Influence.

APEC's President & CEO, David Chaundy, will host and moderate all sessions.

David Chaundy, President & CEO, APEC

David Chaundy is President and CEO of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC), a role he was appointed to in November 2018. Mr. Chaundy joined APEC as an economist in 1999, taking on increasingly senior roles, including responsibilities for APEC’s research projects, its member-only publications on Atlantic Canada’s economy, and APEC’s annual business Outlook conference.

Mr. Chaundy has over twenty years experience researching Atlantic Canada’s economy, sharing his insights and ideas in numerous publications and presentations to business, government and other stakeholders. As someone who lives and works in the region, he is keen to ensure a healthy, inclusive and sustainable Atlantic Canadian economy. And he is passionate about APEC’s vital role as the source for independent research, insights and ideas to advance these outcomes.

Mr. Chaundy is a member of the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council and the National Stakeholder Advisory Panel for the Labour Market Information Council. He is Vice-President of the Canadian Association for Business Economics, a Director and Past-President of the Atlantic Association of Applied Economists and a Director of the Atlantic Canada Economics Association. He holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Cambridge and a M.Sc. in economics from the University of York, England.

Copyright © 2023 - Atlantic Provinces Economic Council. All rights reserved.Website Design by Cossette