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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 and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, will kick off the conference business program by sharing his perspective on the state of Canada’s economy and our competitive standing in the world. A fireside chat will follow that will explore the implications for consulting engineering and permit an in-depth Q&A discussion between Mr. Hyder, the moderator Jeff Lutzak of RSM, and the audience.

Sponsored by:

Goldy Hyder, President & CEO, The Business Council of Canada

Moderator: Jeff Lutzak, Partner, RSM 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.

Session sponsored by: 

Amy Champigny, Senior Product Marketing Specialist, Deltek


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. 

Session sponsored by: 

Simon Kim, President & CEO, COWI North America

Nelson Ogunshakin, Chief Executive Officer, FIDIC (invited)

Marc St-Jacques, VP Sales, Notarius

Anthony Karakatsanis, President & CEO, Morrison Hershfield

Moderator: Caroline Andrewes, President & CEO, ACEC-BC



12:00pm - 1:00pm ACEC Annual General Meeting ACEC Board of Directors and ACEC President & CEO
1:00pm - 2:00pm

Tech Trends: The Challenges and Rewards of Big Data

New technologies and Big Data are changing how our industry does business. Embracing the digital world offers advantages and challenges for a consulting engineering firm. What tech trends will best support your firm? What should you do to best embrace new technology and prepare your team to ensure their success? This session will feature thought leaders from the digital world who will provide insight on how technology and Big Data can impact the success of your business and what you need to do to embrace this new business reality.   

Session sponsored by: 

Brian Furr, Development Director, Strategic Accounts, BST Global

Aaron Kivett, Technical Manager for Strategic Partnerships, Newforma

ModeratorJohn Gamble, President & CEO, ACEC


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.

Session sponsored by:

Sylvia Jungkind, Senior Contracts and Insurance Specialist, WSP Canada Inc.

Andrew Heal, Partner, Heal & Co. LLP

Steve Panciuk, Senior Vice-President, National Engineering Practice Lead, MARSH Canada 

Moderator: David Murray, Vice-President, Building and Industry, CIMA+


3:30pm - 4:30pm

Aligning Risk Management and Business Practices with the Bottom Line
The risk profile for engineering firms fluctuates, often expanding the demands on a firm and impacting the bottom line. Claims experience is often the best tool a firm can possess to better understand where exposures may exist, in turn, empowering engineering firms to improve their practices. Can risk management practices be tied to a firm’s bottom line? If so, how? Our panel of leading legal and insurance specialists will discuss tips that engineering business owners can use to improve and protect the bottom line.

Session sponsored by:

Jennifer Roberts, Counsel, Gibbs & Associates

Carolena Gordon, Partner, Clyde & Co.

Stephane Boucher, Vice-President, ENCON

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. 

Session sponsored by:

John Gamble, President & CEO, ACEC

Ryan Brain, President & CEO, WSP Canada

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

Greg Herasymuik, Principal, President, Canada Region, Golder & Associates

Moderator: Rowley Mossop, Principal, Innovia Partners


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.

Michael Walker, Branch Manager, McElhanney

Jon Watson, Vice-President, Eramosa Engineering 

Lee-Anne McDougall, Director, LRO Staffing

Moderator: Martine Proulx, Vice-President, ACEC

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)

Niilo Edwards, Executive Director, First Nations Major Projects Coalition

Daniel Rubinstein, Director, Policy and Research, FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities)

Moderator: Bruce Matthews, Chief Executive Officer, Consulting Engineers of Ontario

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

Michael Cleland, Senior Fellow, Positive Energy Initiative, University of Ottawa

Moderator: Jérôme Pelletier, Executive Director, Business Development, BBA

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.

Althia Raj, Ottawa Bureau Chief, Huffington Post

Joel-Denis Bellavance, Ottawa Bureau Chief, La Presse

Susan Delacourt, National Columnist and Ottawa Bureau Chief, Toronto Star

Moderator: Rob Leforte, Director, Government Relations and Campaigns, Impact Public Affairs

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Closing Keynote

The business program will close with Trevin Stratton, Chief Economist at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, an important partner to ACEC and the consulting engineering industry. Mr. Stratton will speak to the relationship between the economy and public policy and the role that organizations like the CCC and ACEC need to play in influencing economic policy and the business environment that it sets.

Dr. Trevin Stratton, Chief Economist, Canadian Chamber of Commerce