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Conference at a glance Business Program Speakers


Sunday, October 27, 2019


Session Time Session Title & Overview Speakers and Moderators
5:30pm - 6:30pm ACEC YPN Cross-country Update

This roundtable discussion for the ACEC Young Professionals Network (YPN)  will inform participants about YP activities across the country and provide an open forum for general discussion.
Various YP Provincial Representatives


Monday, October 28, 2019


Session Time Session Title & Overview Speakers, Panelists and Moderators
8:00am - 8:15am Conference Opening
Welcome remarks from the ACEC Chair will kick-off the business program
Michael Snow, ACEC Chair
8:15am - 9:00am Opening Keynote Goldy Hyder, President & CEO, The Business Council of Canada
9:00am - 10:00am The State of our Industry: Today and Tomorrow
Looking at trends in the marketplace, engineering firms will gain insights into new and evolving opportunities. Where is the market for consulting engineering heading? How is it changing? What types of services, innovation and vision will clients expect from engineering firms? This session offers predictions for public, private and international markets. Gain unique perspectives on opportunities and challenges for engineers as both implementers and trusted advisors.
To be confirmed
10:30am - 11:30am Organizational Strategies for Dealing with Major Disruptions Impacting the Consulting Engineering Sector
Leaders of consulting engineering firms are grappling with challenges and threats that are on the horizon. They need to ensure their teams and organizations are ready to address an array of disruptions, whether digital or other. This session will include a group discussion of how leaders can best prepare their organizations to not only respond to these changes, but “get out in front” of industry-wide disruptions. The panel will also discuss disruptive forces impacting our clients. 
Simon Kim, President & CEO, COWI
12:00pm - 1:00pm ACEC Annual General Meeting ACEC Board of Directors and ACEC President & CEO
1:00pm - 2:00pm Tech Trends and New Risks
While AI and other new technologies offer advances to our industry, they also act as a threat if incorporated deeply into engineering processes that were once done by highly skilled people. Cyber security also remains an issue, especially on multi-partner, integrated projects where all connected and linked organizations are only as protected as the weakest link, which may ultimately expose our “work product” to increased liability. How to best embrace these changes, and also defend against them? 
To be confirmed
2:00pm - 3:00pm The Evolution of Project Delivery, Contracts and Risk
With the increasing number of project delivery models available, the relationship between consulting engineering firms, constructors and owners is changing. Understanding how this impacts risk and reward for each of the partners is essential for success. What are the risks and rewards you should be willing to accept? What contracts and tools are available to ensure a proportioned sharing of risk? Our insurance, legal, and industry experts will explore these questions and share their expertise on the evolution of contracts and risk in the delivery of projects.
To be confirmed
3:30pm - 4:30pm Panel discussion to be confirmed To be confirmed
4:30pm - 5:30pm Eluding the Threat of Commoditization
With capital budgets shrinking, clients are focusing on price more than ever, resulting in downward pressure on fees and margins for consulting engineering firms. How can our industry tackle this never-ending spiral?  What business strategies can leaders implement in their organizations to address this threat?  Our panel of CEOs discuss the various approaches and options available to counter the ongoing commoditization of the services offered by the industry. 

Ryan Brain, President & CEO, WSP Canada

Guy Cormier, President & CEO, J.L. Richards & Associates Ltd.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019


Session Time Session Title & Overview Speakers, Panelists and Moderators
8:00am - 9:00am How to Make your Firm a “Best Place to Work”
The shortage of top talent is becoming more acute and it has become a constant struggle to hire and retain qualified talent. How do consulting engineering firms ensure they keep their teams in place?  What does a workplace do to be considered the “best place to work” by its current and future employees?  Join our panelists as they discuss what attracts them to a potential employer and tactics their firms have implemented to be viewed as one of the top employers in the industry.
To be confirmed
9:00am - 10:00am New Frameworks for the Financing of Major Projects
The financing of major projects, especially in the natural resource sector, has been severely tested over the last 2 to 3 years in Canada due to the regulatory frameworks in place for project approval.  The challenges faced by the Trans Mountain and LNG projects are just two examples that highlight the financial risks investors take on when proposing a major project in Canada.  What needs to change to make the financing of major projects more attractive?  Are there frameworks that could be implemented to pave the road to lower risk investment opportunities?  This panel will discuss the current status of major resource project investment in Canada and explore alternatives to the existing frameworks.

Mark Romoff, President & CEO, CCPPP (The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships)

Monica Gattinger, Director, Institute for Science, Society and Policy, University of Ottawa

Niilo Edwards, Executive Director, First Nations Major Projects Coalition

10:30am - 11:30am Moving Canada’s Energy and Natural Resource Sectors Forward
The oil & gas, mining, and natural resource sectors have stalled in Canada. Attracting investors and moving resources to market are among the many challenges these industries face. Yet this is an area where Canada could be at its most competitive. What can be done to effect positive change?  During this panel discussion, senior industry representatives will discuss the challenges faced by these sectors and what changes to regulation and legislation could and should be made to make Canada a viable market for private investors.

Bob Larocque, Senior Vice-President, Forest Products Association of Canada

Tim McMillan, President & CEO, CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers)

Brendan Marshall, Vice-President, Economic and Northern Affairs, The Mining Association of Canada

11:30am - 12:30pm Results 2019 – What the Election Results Mean for Canada and our Industry
This panel will see leading journalists discuss the results of the federal election and have them speculate on the new and emerging issues that Parliament may face in the years ahead. The panelists will also be asked to speculate on the impact of the election results on major infrastructure and resource projects, as well as business and investment climates in Canada.
To be confirmed
1:00pm - 2:00pm Closing Keynote To be confirmed