The Council consists of a Chair, Vice-Chair and 17 members (at full complement). STIC members are appointed by the government to serve for three-year, renewable terms. Members include leaders from the private sector and academia with representation from across Canada. The Chair of STIC is appointed through an Order-in-Council to provide leadership and guidance on STIC's ongoing work.
In addition to being Chair of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Council (STIC), Kenneth Knox is the CEO of Knox-Vannest Inc., providing strategic advice and advisory services to non-profit and public sector organizations managing complex issues. Dedicated to public service, Mr. Knox served in numerous positions in the Government of Ontario from 1972 until leaving in 2000 after serving as Deputy Minister, Energy, Science and Technology. On the science and technology file, Mr. Knox established and led a 'virtual ministry' charged with the mandate to foster a "culture of innovation" in Ontario, through investment in scientific research and the application of new technologies. Under his leadership, the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, the Ontario Innovation Trust, and the Premier's Research Excellence Awards were established.
After leaving the Ontario government, Mr. Knox served in leadership positions in a number of science and innovation related organizations. He was the founding CEO of the Ontario Genomics Institute; the President and CEO of the Innovation Institute of Ontario; the President and CEO of the Ontario Innovation Trust; a Founding Director of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute; and the first General Manager of MaRS Discovery District. He also played a crucial role in the formation of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies and, more recently, the creation of the Ontario Brain Institute, and he assisted in structuring the Ontario BioAuto Council. Mr. Knox has also served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Ontario Bio Council, the Ontario Science and Innovation Council, the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, the Leaders' Forum on Innovation of The Conference Board of Canada, Ontario Hydro, the Ontario Jobs and Investment Board, and the Special Advisory Panel on Creating an Innovation Culture.
Mr. Knox has provided strategic advice to federal ministers and deputy ministers, including completing reviews for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, as well as two assignments for the president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Most recently, Mr. Knox was the chairman of the CFIA's audit committee.
Mr. Knox graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College of the University of Guelph in 1972. In 2011, he was inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame and given an Honorary Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, by the University of Guelph. In 2006, he received the Toronto Biotechnology Initiative Community Recognition Award and, in 2008, he received the Ontario Amethyst Award (Public Service): Sandra D. Lang Lifetime Achievement.
Suzanne Fortier was appointed Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University in September 2013 after serving for seven years as President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Previously, Dr. Fortier held the posts of Vice-Principal (Research) from 1995 to 2000 and Vice-Principal (Academic) from 2000 to 2005 at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where she was a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and in the School of Computing.
Dr. Fortier is a crystallographer by training, specializing in the development of mathematical and artificial intelligence methodologies for protein structure determination. She has made contributions to the development of novel techniques in crystallographic data mining to gain new insights from the large structural databases. She was a member of the Protein Engineering Network of Centres of Excellence (PENCE), the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS), and Communications and Information Technology Ontario (CITO). She has authored or co-authored over 80 scientific publications and had made numerous invited scientific presentations.
Professor Fortier is currently a member of: the Strategic Committee of Investissements d'Excellence Bordeaux; the International Jury of France's Investissements d'Avenir IDEX/I-SITE 2014; and, the Canadian Business-Higher Education Roundtable. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Montreal International, the Conference Board of Canada, and Universities Canada.
Professor Fortier graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Science (1972) and a Ph.D. in Crystallography (1976). She has received the Clara Benson Award for distinguished contributions to chemistry by a woman (1997), the Entrepreneurship Award from Communications and Information Technology Ontario (1997), the Queen's University Distinguished Service Award (2005), and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an officer of France's National Order of Merit.
Elizabeth Cannon is the eighth President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calgary. Prior to her appointment as President, Dr. Cannon was Dean of the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary.
Dr. Cannon currently chairs the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, and she is Vice-Chair of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada Board of Directors and the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities. She has served on numerous public- and private-sector boards and with national advisory groups and community committees, including director of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. From 1997 to 2002, she held the NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, encouraging young women to consider science and engineering careers.
Dr. Cannon holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in mathematics from Acadia University and a BSc, MSc and PhD in geomatics engineering from the University of Calgary. Dr. Cannon's research has been on the forefront of global positioning systems since 1984, and she has commercialized technology to over 200 agencies worldwide.
Dr. Cannon is the recipient of many honours and awards, including the Johannes Kepler Award from the U.S. Institute of Navigation, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship (2002 – 2004). She is a Professional Engineer, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, as well as an elected foreign associate of the National Academy of Engineering In 2012, Dr. Cannon was recognized with a Centennial Leadership Award from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA); and, was honoured with a Gold Medal Award from Engineers Canada in 2013.
Amit Chakma is the 10th President and Vice-Chancellor of Western University. Dr. Chakma arrived at Western in July 2009, after serving the University of Waterloo since 2001 as Vice-President, Academic and Provost, and as a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Prior to that, Dr. Chakma served as Dean of Engineering and then Vice-President (Research) and International Liaison Officer at the University of Regina. He began his academic career as a professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Calgary.
In addition to his roles at Western, Dr. Chakma currently serves as Chair of the World University Service of Canada and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Ontario Centres of Excellence. He also served as Chair of the Government of Canada's Advisory Panel on Canada's International Education Strategy.
Dr. Chakma is a graduate of the Algerian Petroleum Institute (Dip. Ing., 1982) and holds graduate and doctoral degrees in Applied Science (chemical engineering) from the University of British Columbia. The author of more than 100 articles, he is an expert in areas related to petroleum research and energy management.
In 1998, Dr. Chakma was recognized with Canada's Top 40 Under 40 Award. He is also a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Sophie Forest has more than 18 years of experience in the high-tech venture capital industry. Prior to joining Brightspark, she was a partner at CDP Capital Technology Ventures, a subsidiary of la Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec.
Ms. Forest has led or overseen more than 50 investments in technology companies in Canada and abroad over the past 15 to 20 years. She has played a pivotal role in the investment, growth and exit of Radian6, leading to a twenty-three times return on capital invested, one of the most successful technology exits in Canadian history. As co-CEO of Brightspark 3.0, Ms. Forest helped develop Internet solutions that led to the creation and growth of Jewlr.com and iStopOver.com.
Ms. Forest is a member of the Advisory Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship for the Government of Canada, as well as a member of the Canadian Digital Media Network advisory board. She also sits on the Board of Directors of a number of companies, such as Protecode, Hopper, eXludus, b5media, and Jazinga.
Donna Garbutt is the Chief Executive Officer of Maxxam Analytics Inc. Maxxam provides analytical services and solutions to the energy, environmental, food and DNA industries. In most recent years, she held senior and executive management positions at Schlumberger, an oilfield services company, including President of Schlumberger Canada. Prior to joining Schlumberger, Ms. Garbutt worked in the information technology field, including in the oil and gas industry, with Gartner Group Inc, DSL Digital Scanning Ltd. (President and Founding Partner), Northwest Digital, and Control Data Canada Ltd. She has lived and worked throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Ms. Garbutt recently completed terms on the Boards and Audit Committees of the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (including serving as Vice Chair of the Board) and the Petroleum Services Association of Canada.
Ms. Garbutt holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Athabasca University, and has completed her ICD.D (Institute of Corporate Directors) certification. She was a Blackberry Women in Technology Finalist (2006) and a US Energy Woman of the Year Finalist (2003), and she received a Woman of Achievement Award – Alaska in 2001. In 2013, she was selected as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People.
Arvind Gupta was most recently President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia. From 2000 to 2014, Dr. Gupta was CEO and Scientific Director of Mitacs, a Canadian not-for-profit research organization dedicated to developing the next generation of innovators with scientific and business skills in partnership with companies, government and academia. He is also a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia.
In 2010, Dr. Gupta sat on the Expert Panel to review Federal Support to Research and Development. He has sat on a number of boards, including the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, the Banff International Research Station, the Canadian Mining Innovation Council, the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute, Mitacs Inc. and Mprime Network, and is a member of the International Scientific Advisory Committee of the GRAND Network of Centres of Excellence. He is the editor of two book series on industrial mathematics and is author of more than 80 peer-reviewed publications.Dr. Gupta obtained a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Toronto in 1991.
Monique Haakensen is a scientist who successfully bridges the business and scientific worlds to address environmental challenges. She began her career as a university research associate with the University of Saskatchewan and then as a government scientist, examining the way microbiology and biogeochemistry could be applied in the natural resources sector. Recognizing the large and growing need for applied microbiology research to help companies with bioconversion and biorestoration (processes that use microbes to remediate contaminated water and soil, such as seepage, effluents and spill sites), Dr. Haakensen founded Contango Strategies, which opened its laboratories in Saskatoon in 2011. Specializing in the development, piloting and implementation of low-cost and sustainable technologies for water treatment and soil remediation, as well as complementary microbial profiling (metagenomic and RNAseq) next-generation DNA sequencing technologies, Contango has since won contracts from local and multinational mining, oil and gas, and waste-management firms, and it has expanded its services across North America and overseas.
At the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Haakensen continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability and on graduate student advisory committees in the Departments of Food and Bioproduct Sciences and Computer Sciences (Bioinformatics). She also formerly served with the University of the Arctic as an Academic Lead and member of its Core Course Revision Team. She currently serves on the board of the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership. Dr. Haakensen is the author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, and presents scientific research at conferences, working groups, and technical and public hearings.
Dr. Haakensen received her PhD in microbiology, genomics and bioinformatics from the University of Saskatchewan in 2009. In 2011, she was named as a winner of Profit Magazine's Future Entrepreneurial Leader's awards, recognizing Canada's top 20 entrepreneurs under the age of 30. Contango Strategies was awarded a 2012 Saskatchewan Award for Business Excellence in the new business venture category and, in 2013, Dr. Haakensen was featured in a book on entrepreneurship titled The In-credibility Factor by Teresa Kruze and Terry Beach.
As a molecular virologist, Chil-Yong Kang has been a Professor of Virology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, since 1992. During this time, from 1992 to 1999, he served as Dean of Science. Prior to joining Western, Dr. Kang was Professor of Virology in the Department of Microbiology at Southwestern Medical School, University of Texas (1974-1982) and served as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa (1982-1992).
Dr. Kang's research in molecular virology includes the development of viral-specific antiviral therapeutic agents and efficacious vaccines against various human viral diseases including AIDS, hepatitis and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. Recently, his Phase I human clinical trial of an HIV vaccine, based on a genetically modified killed whole virus, was successfully completed, and the next phase is currently underway. This HIV vaccine is the only one developed in Canada, and one of only a few in the world, that is currently in clinical trials.
Dr. Kang serves as a grant selection committee member for various federal granting agencies in Canada and the United States. He is a member of the boards of directors of numerous research institutions and foundations. He also serves as a reviewer for various research and professional journals, including: the Journal of Virology; Journal of Infectious Diseases; Virus Research; Virology; Journal of Biological Chemistry; Journal of Human Virology and Retrovirology; and Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Dr. Kang carried out his postgraduate studies at McMaster University, where he received a Ph.D. in virology (1968-1971), and his postdoctoral training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1971-1974). He has received numerous prizes, such as the Ho-Am Prize in Medicine (1999), a Lifetime Achievement Award from Western University (2009), a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), and the Scientist of the Year Award from the Korean Federation of Science and Technology (2013). Dr. Kang is an elected Lifetime Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada Academy of Science and the Korean Academy of Science and Technology.
Maureen Kempston Darkes was President and General Manager of General Motors of Canada Limited (GMCL) and Vice President of General Motors Corporation from 1994 to 2001. In 2002, she was appointed General Motors Corporation Group Vice President and President, GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East (LAAM) and a member of the General Motors Automotive Strategy Board, positions which she held until her retirement from General Motors in December 2009.
Ms. Kempston Darkes currently serves on the boards of Canadian National Railway, Brookfield Asset Management, Irving Oil, Enbridge Inc., and Balfour Beatty plc, and she is a Director of Bridgepoint Health Foundation. Ms. Kempston Darkes was appointed by the Government of Canada to the Free Trade Agreement Automotive Select Panel in 1989 and, in 1994, to the Transportation Equipment Sectoral Advisory Group on International Trade.
Ms. Kempston Darkes holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from Victoria College, University of Toronto. She also holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Toronto Law School and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1975. In 1997, Ms. Kempston Darkes received The Order of Ontario, and she was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000. The American Bar Association in 1998 recognized her with the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. In 1999, she received the Distinguished Service Citation from the Automotive Hall of Fame. In 2006, she received the Government of Canada's Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. In 2011, she was honoured with the Global Athena Leadership Award and the Alice B. Ramsey Award from the Automotive Hall of Fame and the Women's Automobile Association International.
Simon Kennedy was named Deputy Minister of Health effective January 21, 2015.
Previously, he served as the Deputy Minister of International Trade and Canada's G-20 Sherpa. Mr. Kennedy has also served as the Senior Associate Deputy Minister at Industry Canada. He began his career with the public service in 1990 with Transport Canada and subsequently the Canadian Coast Guard. In 1997, he joined the Privy Council Office and, in 2001, he moved to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to serve first as Director General for Policy, Planning and Integration and then as Director General of the International Markets Bureau. In 2004, he returned to the Privy Council Office, where he served first as Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Economic and Regional Development Policy), and then as Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations) and as Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Plans and Consultation) until 2010.
Mr. Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University and a Masters of Science in Communications Management from Syracuse University. He is a graduate of INSEAD's Advanced Management Programme. Mr. Kennedy also holds an ICD.D designation from the Institute for Corporate Directors.
John Knubley was appointed Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (previously named Industry Canada) on September 17, 2012. Previously, he served as Deputy Minister at Agriculture and and Agri-Food Canada and as Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Privy Council Office. Prior to this, he was Associate Deputy Minister at Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, as well as Associate Deputy Minister at Natural Resources Canada.
Mr. Knubley has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and a Masters degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford. He also obtained a post-graduate diploma from the Institut Européen des Hautes Études Internationales in Nice, France, as well as a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
In 2002, working with Blackberry creator Mike Lazaridis and His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston (then president of the University of Waterloo), Raymond (Ray) Laflamme co-founded the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo. IQC, which focuses on harnessing the quantum laws of nature to develop new information technologies, has grown to approximately 150 researchers. Dr. Laflamme continues as its Director and as an Associate Researcher at the university's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, which he joined as a founding member in 2001.
Dr. Laflamme also holds the Canada Research Chair in Quantum Information and directs the Quantum Information Program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. From 2006 to 2011, he served as Scientific Director for QuantumWorks, a national network linking Canadian quantum information researchers with industrial and government partners. In 2010, he co-founded Universal Quantum Devices, a startup that commercializes spinoffs of quantum information research.
Dr. Laflamme received his B.Sc. in Physics from Université Laval in 1983. He earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University in England, under the direction of Stephen Hawking. Along with Don Page, he is credited with changing Dr. Hawking's mind on the direction of time in a contracting universe (as described in Dr. Hawking's A Brief History of Time). After his PhD, Dr. Laflamme became a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia and, in 1990, a Research Fellow at Peterhouse College, Cambridge University. He then accepted a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1992 and became an Oppenheimer Fellow there in 1994. He stayed at Los Alamos until 2001.
Dr. Laflamme is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2011), the American Physical Society (2011) and the Royal Society of Canada (2008). His other honours include the Premier's Research Award in 2002 and the Premier's Discovery Award in 2008 from the Government of Ontario. In 2013, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Award.
Joy Romero is Vice President, Technology and Innovation, Canadian Natural Resources Limited. CNRL is one of the largest independent crude oil and natural gas producers in the world and, in 2012, was the largest research and development investor in the oil and gas sector in Canada and among the top 10 across all industries in the country. Ms. Romero joined the company in 2001 and held a succession of positions related to stewarding the development, commissioning and operation of bitumen production within the Horizon Oil Sands Project before assuming her current position in 2015. An engineer, Ms. Romero's career has spanned more than 30 years, focusing on oil sands innovation and development and on the iron ore and coal industries with companies such as SNC-Lavalin Inc. (where she was part of the team that built the Suncor Millennium project), Elkview Coal Corporation, and Westar Mining Limited.
Ms. Romero is Chair of the Board and a member of the Shareholder Steering Committee of Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (a new alliance of oil sands producers focused on accelerating the pace of environmental performance improvements in Canada's oil sands through collaborative action and innovation). She is a board member of the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada and the past Chair of the Canadian Oilsands Network for Research and Development (CONRAD), as well as CONRAD's Bitumen Production Focus Group. Ms. Romero also sat on the Governing Council of Athabasca University for six years, including serving as its Chair from 2006 to 2009.
Ms. Romero holds a Bachelors degree in Metallurgical Engineering with Distinction from the Technical University of Nova Scotia/St. FX and a Masters of Business Administration in Project Management, with a specialization in energy, from Athabasca University.
Jacquelyn Thayer Scott is Professor of Organizational Management and Strategy, and Past President of Cape Breton University (CBU), in Sydney, Nova Scotia. She was President and Vice-Chancellor of CBU (then known as University College of Cape Breton), an undergraduate and graduate postsecondary institution offering degrees, diplomas, and certificates in a range of liberal arts, scientific, and technical topics and competencies, from 1993 to 2002. Dr. Scott has also operated her own public relations and management consulting firm and been employed as a journalist. She remains active in the management of two family-owned small businesses.
Dr. Scott has served on a number of governing boards and advisory committees. She is currently, among other things, Chair of the Board of Directors of Innovacorp and Vice-Chair and Member of the Board of Directors of the MacDonald-Laurier Institute. She is also a member of the board for Yorkville University, HIPPY Canada, Eco-Vision Environmental Consulting Services, Caribbean Social Innovation Exchange (C-SIX), and was a member of the Council of Canadian Academies' Expert Panel on the State of Science and Technology in Canada. From 1995 to 2006, she served on the Prime Minister's Advisory Council on Science and Technology (Canada) and was its Deputy Chair (Operating Head) from 2003 to 2006.
Dr. Scott has been awarded a number of honours, including the Nova Scotia Gzowski Award for Literacy, the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education Lifetime Honourary Membership Award, and the first Canadian Alliance of Education and Training Organizations' Honourary Membership Award. She is the author of numerous scholarly and popular articles and works. She was recognized by the Government of Canada with a Canada 125th Medal, and by the University of Waterloo with an honourary degree of Doctor of Laws. In 2001, she was awarded the Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Excellence in Public Administration and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2002, she was awarded the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2012, she received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Ilse Treurnicht is the CEO of MaRS Discovery District (MaRS), an innovation centre located in Toronto. She oversees both the development and operations of MaRS and its suite of entrepreneurship and innovation programs. She joined MaRS in early 2005 from her role as President and CEO of Primaxis Technology Ventures, a startup-stage venture capital fund focused on the advanced technologies sector. Prior to Primaxis, Dr. Treurnicht was an entrepreneur with senior management roles in a number of emerging technology companies.
Dr. Treurnicht is an active member of Canada's innovation community. She currently serves on the boards of two private companies created by the MaRS community, Triphase Accelerator (Chair) and Cognicity, as well as on the boards of MaRS Discovery District, MaRS Innovation, The Next 36, and the Public Policy Forum. She also serves on the advisory boards for a number of research organizations. She was Chair of the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance in 2010, and continues as Chair of Canada's National Advisory Board to the G8 Social Impact Investment Task Force. Currently, Dr. Treurnicht is a member of the Council of Canadian Academies' Expert Panel on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Skills.
Dr. Treurnicht holds a doctoral degree in chemistry from Oxford University, which she attended as a Rhodes Scholar. Dr. Treurnicht is a four-time recipient of the Women's Executive Network's (WXN) Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards, in recognition of her longstanding contribution to Canadian innovation. She has been inducted into WXN's Top 100 Hall of Fame.
Peter van der Gracht is Chairman of Wavefront, a business accelerator for the mobile industry, connecting wireless companies with resources and partners. Mr. van der Gracht has over 30 years' experiences as a corporate executive and serial entrepreneur, as a founder, CEO, investor and director of technology companies in a broad range of industries, including cable television, telecommunications, broadcasting, information technology and automotive. He has bought over a dozen companies and successfully launched five technology companies, and he has operated businesses in North America, Europe and Asia. He co-founded Nexus Engineering while still in graduate school, a firm that grew to seven companies with over 300 employees with operations around the world, before being sold to Scientific Atlanta in 1993. The first company in the group, Nexus Engineering, became the second largest manufacturer of cable television headends in the world, with installations in over 100 countries. Other firsts for Mr. van der Gracht's companies include the development of the world's first video statistical re-multiplexer for cable television and broadcasting (Imedia), introduction of the first product able to change the channel lineup of compressed digital video streams allowing cable companies to match content to customers (Imedia), development of the world's first noise reduction technology used to improve the performance of hands-free calling for the automotive market (Wavemakers), and development and patenting of a vertical inlaid fibre optic cable deployment system (Teraspan).
Mr. van der Gracht is currently Chairman of Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc and, in the past, served as Chairman of QuickMobile (2007–2011), Light-based Technologies (2007–2011), Fatport (where he was also CEO) (2002–2007), and Teraspan (where he was also CEO) (2001–2007). He is a Founding Board Member of Entrepreneurship@UBC, a University of British Columbia seed-stage investment fund and program, and a board member of the Alacrity Foundation, a not-for-profit start-up foundation.
Mr. van der Gracht holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Applied Science from the University of British Columbia and is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of British Columbia. He is the recipient of numerous awards for entrepreneurship and innovation, including several Canada Awards for Business Excellence.
Nancy Venneman founded Altitude Aerospace in 2005. Altitude Aerospace is an aerospace engineering firm specializing in conceptual design, structural analysis and certification for the development of new aircraft programs and the support of existing aircraft fleet. Ms. Venneman is also co-owner and Executive Vice-President of DICI Industries Inc., a business specializing in precision machining and assemblies which provides services to the aerospace, telecommunications, defence and medical industries. Prior to founding Altitude Aerospace, Ms. Venneman held key engineering positions in the aerospace industry, ranging from aircraft structural modifications and certification programs to project planning and in-service customer support for the commercial aircraft division of a leading aerospace manufacturer.
Ms. Venneman currently serves on the boards of STIQ (Sous-Traitance Industrielle Québec) and Aero Montreal. She is also involved in Women in Aerospace – Quebec and the Order of Engineers of Quebec.
Ms. Venneman holds a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from the École Polytechnique de Montréal. In 2010, she won the RFAQ (Réseau des Femmes d'Affaires du Québec) Quebec Business Woman of the Year award in the category International Entrepreneur. In the same year, Altitude Aerospace was granted the Excellence Award in the Service Category at the Alpha Gala held by the Chamber of Commerce of Ville St-Laurent. In 2011, Ms. Venneman was nominated for the Ernst & Young Quebec Entrepreneur of the Year award and, most recently, she was a recipient of the Women's Executive Network's (WXN) 2013 Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards.
Annette Verschuren became the CEO of NRStor Inc. in March 2012. NRStor develops and commercializes energy storage technologies. Formerly the President of The Home Depot in Canada and Asia, Ms. Verschuren oversaw the Canadian operations' growth from 19 stores in 1996 to 180 in 2011, as well as leading The Home Depot's entry into China.
Ms. Verschuren began her career as a development officer with a coal-mining operation in Sydney, Nova Scotia, called the Cape Breton Development Corporation. She then worked with the Canada Development Investment Corporation, as the executive vice-president, where she privatized crown corporations. Ms. Verschuren later joined Imasco Ltd., one of Canada's largest holding companies in financial services, retail, and food services, where she was the vice-president of corporate development. She then became co-founder of Michaels the Arts and Crafts store and opened 17 stores in 26 months before she joined The Home Depot.
Ms. Verschuren was recently asked to lead the Government of Ontario's Clean Energy Task Force. She also serves as the Chancellor of Cape Breton University, and chairs fundraising efforts for the university's new Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment. Ms. Verschuren has served as the vice chair of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. Her board memberships include Air Canada, Liberty Mutual, the North West Company, Icynene, CAMH Foundation, and the Conference Board of Canada.