2014 Durham Economic Prosperity Conference Speakers

The Emcee for 2014 DEPC

Don PitmanDon Pitman

Host of Talk Durham, Rogers TV

Don Pitman is the host of Talk Durham, connecting viewers with the stories making news from across Durham Region each week.

It doesn’t matter if the issue is municipal, provincial or federal, Don’s unique style and investigative skills probes the issues and decisions that affect the way we live, work and play in Durham. He asks the tough questions and opens up the discussion to the residents of Durham Region.

Don is retired from the Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation where he held several positions including Manager Energy Conservation Services, Manager Facilities and Corporate Communications and Manager of Customer Services.

Don is a past president of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce and currently sits as a director on its board. His community work includes chairing the Safe City Oshawa Partnership (SCOP) Committee and helping other community organizations including the Durham Distress Center.

He has owned several businesses serving the needs of Durham residents and currently operates Guardian Residential Services - a home inspection, general home repair and maintenance service.

In his spare time he enjoys motorcycle riding, alpine skiing, aviation and learning about historical events. Don lives with his wife Lynn in Oshawa and has two grown children, Jason and Candice.



Dave HareDave Hare

President, Petley-Hare Insurance
Chair, Durham Economic Prosperity Conference


Dave Hare began his insurance career working part time in the family-owned brokerage while a high school student and joined the family firm of Petley-Hare Limited in 1971. In 1976 he completed his associateship studies and became President of Petley-Hare Limited that same year.

In 2004/2005, Dave was the President of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) tackling the delicate task of rebuilding consumer confidence in the insurance industry after two years of extremely difficult market conditions.

Dave is active in his community and was founding chairman of the Rotary TV Auction and served as President of the Rotary Club of Oshawa. He has served on various boards and fundraising organizations including the Oshawa General Hospital ‘Setting The Pace’ Campaign, the Heart & Stroke Foundation, the Downtown Oshawa Business Improvement Area, United Way, The Parkwood Foundation, Chair of the 2010 and 2012 Durham Economic Prosperity Conferences, as Past President of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce (GOCC) and is currently serving as Treasurer on the GOCC Board of Directors, and a director of the Whitby Dunlops Senior A Hockey Club.


Opening Remarks:

Dr. Tim McTiernanTim McTiernan

President, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)


Tim McTiernan became the third President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in July 2011.

During a career spanning more than 30 years, two provinces, one territory and 5 cities, McTiernan has held, among other senior leadership roles, the positions of Cabinet Secretary and Chief Yukon Government Negotiator for Land Claims, Self Government and Devolution with the Yukon Government; President of Canadore College in North Bay, Ontario; Acting Deputy Minister during the establishment of the Ontario Government’s Ministry of Research and Innovation; and Assistant Vice-President Research and Interim Vice-President Research at the University of Toronto.

Tim. McTiernan serves on the boards of Atlantic Corridor – Ireland, and The Ireland Fund of Canada. He is a member of the Global Irish Network established as a diaspora advisory body to the Irish Government. He previously served on the boards of the Yves Landry Foundation, Science Rendezvous, MaRS Discovery District (Toronto), MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund Inc., the founding board of MaRS Innovation, and the board of BioDiscovery Toronto. He also served as a trustee of the Ontario Innovation Trust, as a member of the Council of Canadian Academies' Expert Panel on Science Performance and Research Funding, and on the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) Advisory Board for Canada’s National Research Council.

From Kilkenny, Ireland, McTiernan earned his Bachelor of Arts (Mod) in Psychology and Philosophy from Trinity College in Dublin, and his MA and PhD in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. His research interests have centred on “psychological borders and boundaries”, particularly related to stereotyping, interpersonal judgments and attitudes.


Keynote Address:

The Honourable Chris AlexanderThe Honourable Chris Alexander

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and MP Ajax-Pickering

Video part 1 | Video part 2 | Video Q&A

Chris Alexander, his wife Hedvig and their daughters Selma and Elisabeth are proud to call Ajax-Pickering home.

Chris Alexander worked for 18 years as a member of the Canadian Foreign Service. His first posting was at the Canadian Embassy in Russia, and by 2003, he became Canada’s first resident Ambassador in Kabul, Afghanistan. Between 2005 and 2009, he served as a Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

From Afghanistan, he and his family returned home to Canada in 2009. On May 2nd, 2011 the people of Ajax-Pickering elected Chris as their Member of Parliament. On May 25, 2011, Chris was named Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence. On July 15, 2013, Chris became the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Chris has also recently published his first book entitled, A Long Way Back: Afghanistan’s Quest for Peace. It explores what has become of Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 and the challenges that are presented in a country that has not experienced real peace since the late 1970s. The complexity of Afghanistan and its history are analyzed with an overarching hope for a future of reconciliation and prosperity for the people of Afghanistan. It is argued, that this hope, can only come to fruition if neighbouring Pakistan can control its borders and be reassured of its own place in Afghanistan’s future.


Conference Speakers:

Michael AngemeerMichael Angemeer

President and CEO of Veridian Corporation

Video | PowerPoint

Michael Angemeer is the President and CEO of Veridian Corporation, one of the fastest growing electricity distribution utilities in Ontario with a history of safe, reliable, and cost effective performance. Veridian Connections is responsible for distributing electricity to more than 108,000 customers in an area north and east of Toronto including the Cities of Pickering and Belleville, the Towns of Ajax and Port Hope, and the communities of Uxbridge, Bowmanville, Newcastle, Orono, Beaverton, Sunderland, Cannington, Scugog and most recently Gravenhurst. The Corporation also owns Veridian Energy Inc., a Pickering, Ontario based company that provides business-to-business and fibre optic communications services. Veridian is quickly becoming an environmental leader in sustainable energy distribution to the communities it serves and Michael's corporate vehicle is the first Plug-in Solar Electric Hybrid Vehicle in Canada.

Michael is a leader in the energy industry, advocating positive change for the electricity system, utilities, customers and shareholders. He developed experience and leadership in over 21 years of business improvement in electrical distribution and transmission operations at Enersource Hydro Mississauga and Ontario Hydro before moving on to lead Veridian Corporation. Michael is the Past Chair of the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) Board and has served on a number of Government boards, Ontario Energy Board and EDA Task Forces and Committees. He was also the founding President and Chair of the Durham Strategic Energy Alliance, a non-profit organization comprised of business, government and educational institutions working together for the advancement of energy initiatives, located in Durham region. He remains on the Board as a Director. Michael is also presently a member of the Board of the Ontario Centres of Excellence—Centre for Energy and sits on the Board of Governors for UOIT.

Michael has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering with Management Science from the University of Waterloo and became a Professional Engineer in 1988. He has authored a number of publications and given a number of presentations to industry groups.

Jean Aubry-MorinJean Aubry-Morin

Vice President, External Relations, The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation

Video | PowerPoint

Mr. Jean Aubry-Morin became Vice President External Relations in January 2013 after occupying the position of Vice President, Corporate Sustainability, for The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation since October 2009. In his present role, he oversees the Seaway’s Operations and Marines Services, and serves as executive leader for the corporation’s stakeholder relations, including government, trade, media and community relations.

Mr. Aubry-Morin joined the Seaway as Corporate Sustainability and Environmental Officer in May 2008. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed Acting Vice President of the Seaway’s Niagara Region.

Prior to joining the Seaway, Mr. Aubry-Morin served as Executive Director of Operations for a firm within the industrial energy sector for four years and had more than 20 years’ experience in the transportation sector in senior posts in North America, Europe, and Asia, including as Managing Director of Transportation and Distribution of Industrial Containerized Goods in the United Kingdom. With a background in business administration, his academic credentials include a BSc in Physics.

Carlos GomesCarlos Gomes

Senior Economist, Scotia Capital

Video part 1 | Video part 2 | PowerPoint

Carlos Gomes is a Senior Economist with Scotiabank.  Carlos manages the Industry Research Group at Scotia Economics, and is responsible for covering the transportation sector, as well as providing in-depth analysis on several other industries.  He works closely with Global Risk Management to assess the outlook for industries key to Scotiabank’s loan portfolio.

Carlos joined Scotiabank after receiving a Master’s degree from York University, and has been with Scotiabank for more than two decades. During his tenure at Scotiabank, Carlos obtained a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

George HanusGeorge Hanus

President and CEO, Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA)

Video | pdf

Mr. Hanus joined the GTMA in 2010. Prior to joining, George worked for 2½ years as Director, ICT and Advanced Manufacturing in Investment Attraction at TRRA-Toronto Region Research Alliance. Before TRRA he had spent over 25 years in economic development and investment attraction for Ontario's Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. Most recently, he was posted to Munich, Germany from 2002-2006 where he opened the Ontario International Marketing Centre as Consul (Economic Affairs-Ontario). He was previously posted to Frankfurt, Germany for Ontario from 1990-1993.

George has extensive experience with companies in auto parts, traditional and advanced manufacturing, plastics, ICT, energy and environment/green-tech, and life science sectors. He has advised hundreds of companies, mainly from Europe, about the advantages of Ontario, and more recently the Toronto Region, as an investment location. His efforts, in collaboration with numerous partner organizations, have resulted in several tens of millions of dollars in investments and hundreds new jobs coming to Ontario.

George holds an MBA in international business and marketing and a B.Eng. (Mechanical) both from McGill University. After completing his engineering degree, he worked in cargo operations and Arctic projects for a Montreal-based private international ship-owning and operating company. After his MBA, he worked in management consulting and international banking before joining the Ontario Government. George speaks French, German, Czech, and some Spanish.

George has travelled extensively on business and holidays and has visited over sixty countries. He had also published several travel articles in the late eighties. In earlier years George was on the Boards of the McGill University Graduate Society in Toronto, the King-Bay Chaplaincy and Operation Bootstrap. He was also Vice-President and President of the Toronto Bicycling Network and was active on a committee of the High Park Ski Club.

Jim LittleJim Little

Chairman of the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster (CNC)

Video part 1 | Video part 2 | PowerPoint

Jim Little is the Chairman of the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster (CNC), an industrial trade organization of over 50 companies based in the Carolinas serving the U.S. nuclear industry.

A forty year veteran of the nuclear industry, Mr. Little served as senior vice president of nuclear energy programs and services for URS Corporation with responsibility for both domestic and international clients.

In previous assignments, Mr. Little served as president of two subsidiary companies providing regulatory, safety, security and risk management services to both federal and commercial clients as well as the West Valley Demonstration Project, a nuclear waste treatment project under contract to the U.S. Department of Energy, the first ever successfully completed project for the solidification of high level nuclear waste in the United States.

Mr. Little previously held a number of senior management positions in systems engineering and nuclear safety licensing in nuclear energy businesses of the former Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

Mr. Little is a founding board member of Energy Production Infrastructure Center located at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. This center is focused on development of engineering talent for the energy production industry. He is also a founding board member of E4Carolinas, an industrial trade organization serving the energy production industry and serves on the South Carolina Governor’s Nuclear Advisory Council.

Mr. Little holds degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Rhode Island and in nuclear engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Allan O’DetteAllan O’Dette

President, Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Video | PowerPoint

Allan O’Dette is the President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), the voice of 60,000 businesses from across Ontario which collectively employ over two million people and produce nearly 17 percent of Ontario’s GDP.

Prior to joining the OCC, Allan was a senior executive in the biopharmaceutical industry with over 25 years of experience.

Allan serves on the CivicAction Steering Committee, and is a mentor to a DiverseCity Fellow through CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network. He is also active on the boards of Life Sciences Ontario and the Markham Stouffville Hospital.

Allan has served on numerous public and not-for-profit boards and committees. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to his community and his philanthropic and volunteer activities.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trent University and an MBA from the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Ron OberthDr. Ron Oberth

President, Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCI)

Video 1 | Video 2 | PowerPoint

Ron Oberth has served the Canadian nuclear industry for more than 30 years in increasing senior positions at Ontario Hydro, Ontario Hydro International, Ontario Power Generation and AECL before joining OCI. His experience spans nuclear reactor safety, generation planning, used fuel management, nuclear isotope marketing and sales, intellectual property management, and marketing of CANDU reactor both domestically and internationally.

Most recently, Ron played a lead role in AECL's reactor marketing initiatives in Western Canada and Eastern Europe. Dr. Oberth has been a strong advocate of nuclear power and specifically CANDU through speeches and presentations to a variety of public audiences including service clubs, universities and international conferences. He has worked with a variety stakeholder groups at both local and regional levels in explaining the benefit of new build CANDU projects. Ron is well-known in all sectors of the Canadian nuclear industry including utilities, suppliers, engineering companies and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

He is a graduate of the University of Manitoba, Princeton University and the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. He lives in Toronto with his wife Flip Oberth. They have two daughters pursuing advanced degrees in Cape Town and New York City.

Kathy WeissKathy Weiss

Region of Durham Economic Development & Tourism

Video part 1 | Video part 2 | pdf

Kathy joined the Region of Durham in June 2011 as the Director Economic Development and Tourism, coming from the Municipality of Chatham-Kent as Director of Economic Services since 2009, which included economic development, small business and tourism.

Prior to this new role, Kathy was Director of Business Development with the City of Kitchener where she managed the Business Development team and during this time she developed a business visitation program that was recognized by the Leontif Center in St. Petersburg, Russia (in partnership with the University of Waterloo) which has since implemented the program in their community. As well, Kathy managed the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre and the Kitchener Market.

Prior to joining the City of Kitchener, Kathy was the General Manager of the St. Catharines Chamber of Commerce for 5 years where she also participated on the Board of Directors for the Association of Managers representing the Ontario Canadian Chamber of Commerce, where she was responsible for re-writing and compiling the policies and procedures for the body.

Kathy currently sits on the Economic Development Council of Ontario Board of Directors and is the President of the organization.

Kathy has earned a Masters in Municipal Leadership from York University, a diploma is Business Administration from Niagara College and a certificate in Economic Development from the University of Waterloo, and has completed an international Business Retention and Expansion Certification Program.

Panel #1

Ron Oberth, Jim Little, Michael Angemeer

Video part 1 | Video part 2

Panel #2

Allan O’Dette, George Hanus, Carlos Gomes, Jean Aubry-Morin

Video part 1 | Video part 2


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