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Today’s Date

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022


Nathan Ashcroft, Strategic Business Developer, Stantec Consulting Ltd.

Nathan has approaching 25 years of experience in a wide range of leadership roles. His career has spanned the development of a range of energy, chemical and infrastructure studies and projects across different parts of the globe. In recent years, Nathan has strategically formed initiatives and become a leader within energy transition and clean technology as it applies to the changing energy world. Nathan has expertise in forming specialist teams to tackle major multi-faceted challenges to deliver clear and comprehensive results. Nathans leads the Stantec global low GHG solutions group, involving work related to Hydrogen, Carbon Capture  and other GHG solutions.

Nathan was recognized and selected to be a distinguished lecturer for ‘Energy Transition’ for the Canadian Institute of Mining and Petroleum in 2020 and 2021.

Mark Berman, High Commissioner of Canada to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana

His Excellency Mark Kevin Berman is accredited as High Commissioner of Canada to The Co-operative Republic of Guyana, as well as being Ambassador of Canada to the Republic of Suriname and Ambassador of Canada to CARICOM. He presented his Credentials to the President of Guyana on 1 February 2021. 

Mr. Berman, a lawyer by training, joined the Government of Canada in 1989 as a Staff Advisor to the Minister of the Environment, followed by various positions including the United Nations Environment Program in Nairobi as a legal officer. After 6 years in Nairobi and Geneva he returned to Canada as a Director in the Office of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. He then joined the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in 2000 as Deputy Director for Human Security/Peacebuilding.  Mr. Berman returned to Environment Canada as Director for Climate Change Negotiations in the lead up to Canada’s hosting the UNFCCC’s CoP 11 held in Montreal. In 2008 he was seconded to CIDA’s Multilateral Branch as Acting Director General for Environmental Sustainability and Economic Growth. 

In 2009, Mark joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now known as Global Affairs Canada) as Executive Director for Climate and Energy and was Canada’s representative on the Kyoto Protocol’s Compliance Committee.  In 2012, he served as Executive Director for International Crime and Terrorism and in 2017 was appointed Director General for Consular Policy where he has most recently overseen the development of a new consular strategy. 

Mr. Berman is joined by his spouse Allison. They have two sons, one of whom is a Trade Commissioner with Global Affairs Canada, the other continuing his university studies, both living in Ottawa. Mark’s interests include film, food and music, as well as most sports and outdoor activities, including scuba diving and kayaking. 


Jonathan Brown, Senior Vice-President Atlantic Region, Cenovus Energy 

As Senior Vice-President Atlantic Region, Jonathan is responsible for the day-to-day operation and longer-term development of Cenovus’s assets offshore Atlantic Canada. 

Jonathan has been involved in the oil and gas industry for more than 30 years, holding various frontline and leadership roles domestically and internationally. Jonathan started his career with Shell in 1988 and worked internationally in drilling and production operations, including time as Offshore Installation Manager at the Brent field in the North Sea. He later focused on strategy and performance improvement and subsequently worked with BG Group in Trinidad and Talisman Energy (later Repsol) in a variety of leadership roles in Canada, the United Kingdom and Norway.  

Prior to joining Cenovus in 2021, Jonathan was Husky Energy’s Senior Vice-President Atlantic Region, based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Engineering from Imperial College in London and a Master’s of Science in Management from the London Business School (Sloan Fellow). 

Capt. Kristopher Drodge, Project Manager, Net Zero Project

Kris is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland with a Bachelor or Maritime Studies degree coupled with a Diploma of Technology in Nautical Science and is licensed Master Mariner and Offshore Installation Manager.    

He has over 20 years of experience in the offshore energy industry both in Newfoundland and Labrador and internationally; dealing in harsh environment operations, newbuild assurance and company integration.  

Kris has held leadership roles throughout his career in the areas of onboard operations, onshore marine operations, regulatory intake, training and qualifications, and now emission reduction pathways as Project Manager for the Net Zero Project. In this position he leads a strong team of individuals with experience in regulatory, economic, technical, and strategic partnership areas towards identifying specific pathways that can help stakeholders achieve Net Zero goals in a sustainable energy industry.  

Torstein Hole, President, Equinor Canada Ltd. 

Torstein Hole has been Country President, Equinor Canada, Exploration and Production International, since September 2019. Hole most recently lead Corporate Safety and Security for Equinor and since joining the company in 1985, has held various senior leadership positions. Hole has held roles as Senior Vice President of US onshore, SVP of Operations West, Operations South and Operational development in Norway, SVP of Strategy and finance in Development and Production Norway, and various controller/business development positions in earlier years. 

Hole holds a master’s degree in finance from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration. 

David G. Hutchens, President & CEO, Fortis Inc.

Mr. Hutchens’ career in the energy sector spans more than 25 years, having held a variety of positions at the Corporation’s electric and gas utilities in Arizona as well as with Fortis. Mr. Hutchens was most recently Chief Operating Officer of Fortis as well as Chief Executive Officer of UNS Energy in Arizona. Prior to that, he was Executive Vice President of Western Utility Operations of Fortis while also maintaining his responsibilities as President and CEO of UNS Energy.

Mr. Hutchens earned a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Arizona and is a former nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy.

He serves on the Boards of ITC Holdings, FortisBC and FortisAlberta, all Fortis utilities. He is a member of the Edison Electric Institute’s Board of Directors and several other charitable and civic organizations.

Lesley James, PhD, P.Eng. , Memorial University of Newfoundland

Lesley James is professor in the Department of Process Engineering at Memorial University. Dr. James’ research focuses on sustainable offshore oil production by increasing oil recovery rates through enhanced oil recovery and production optimization; and carbon utilization, storage, and sequestration. Efficient and sustainable oil production comes from optimizing the integrated process and creating a circular economy by re-injecting natural gas and generated CO2 – both greenhouse gases and useful solvents for oil recovery. Dr. James is interested in creating a viable and sustainable energy industry in the region.  

Dr. James was awarded the 2021 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Academic Service, the 2018 Dean’s Award for Research Excellence along with awards for her volunteering efforts.  

Dr. James is a professional engineer with PEGNL, a member, technical committee member, and past president of the Society of Core Analysts (SCA); committee member and faculty advisor for the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE); and members of the Canadian Society of Chemical Engineers (CSChE) and European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE).  

Jim Keating, CEO, Oil and Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador

As CEO of the Oil and Gas Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador, Jim Keating is responsible for the development of the province’s offshore oil and gas resources and is the executive lead for Bull Arm Fabrication.

Jim leads the small but mighty OilCo team who is focused on exploring for and developing the province’s oil and gas resources for the benefit or our province, while embracing the need to transition to a lower-carbon economy into its business model.

Prior to assuming this role, Jim was Executive Vice President at Nalcor Energy. During his 15 year tenure with Nalcor, he led the development of the province’s offshore interests. He was also the executive responsible for Churchill Falls Labrador Corporation, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro’s Projects and Engineering Division, and Energy Marketing.

Jim’s early career with Nalcor was focued on business development. And Jim led the team that established the province’s first large-scale wind energy projects in St. Lawrence and Fermeuse.

Pam Keenan, head of country, Canada & President of BP Canada Energy Group ULC

Pam Keenan is bp’s head of country, Canada and represents bp’s interests as chairman and president of BP Canada Energy Group ULC. She has been with the company for 20 years holding a variety of roles, primarily in the finance field.

Pam is an active leader in the community, including serving as the executive sponsor for the bp Gives campaign in Canada. She also is a director of the ALS Society of Alberta, a local non-profit.

She obtained a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance, a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and an MBA specializing in Global Energy Management and Sustainable Development, all from the University of Calgary.

Pam and her late husband Chad have two teenaged daughters.

Rachel McCormick, Consul General of Canada in Dallas

Rachel McCormick is currently the Consul General of Canada to the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. 

She was head of the Energy and Environment Section at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC from 2014 to 2019. 

She joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2004. In Ottawa she worked in divisions responsible for sustainable development, energy, climate change and circumpolar affairs. She represented the Government of Canada in a range of international forums, including the Arctic Council, the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation and the United Nations. 

Previously, she held positions within the Canadian energy sector and at the World Trade Organization in Geneva. 

She has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics for Land Use and Environmental Studies from the University of Saskatchewan and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Calgary. 

Stephen Penton, P. Eng. , Senior Advisor, Aker Solutions 

Steve is a graduate of Memorial University with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree and is a licensed professional engineer with PEGNL. 

He has 20 years of experience in the energy industry gained from complex project developments in both Newfoundland & Labrador as well as internationally. 

He has held leadership roles with owner project management teams as well as with EPC contractors in the areas of engineering, construction, and commissioning for both topsides and subsea developments. 

Steve is a Senior Advisor with Aker Solutions Canada. In this position he provides oversight of large, multi-discipline studies and holds responsibility for leading Aker Solutions low carbon and energy transition strategy in their Canadian operations. 

Karen Perry, Mechanical Engineer, Hatch Limited.

Karen Perry is a mechanical engineer working in the Energy practice of Hatch Consulting. 

Karen started her career in the oil and gas sector in Newfoundland and Labrador as a surveillance and optimization engineer. She has worked offshore ensuring reliability of operations and was an interface between the offshore and onshore teams. 

Since joining Hatch she has been involved in decarbonization initiatives working on projects for oil and gas clients, mining, and emerging industries such as hydrogen. She has experience in GHG emission reporting and creation of emission reduction measurement tools and net zero roadmaps.  

As part of her work on these projects she has analyzed key emission and technology data as well as acted as a project manager. She has experience in market studies, stakeholder engagement and has created tools for clients to continue to monitor and update emission reduction plans. 

Karen is passionate about the growing focus on energy transition and is excited for the potential Newfoundland has in this field! 

Dr. Rob Shea, Vice-President of Memorial University for the Fisheries and Marine Institute

Dr. Rob Shea is the vice-president of Memorial University for the Fisheries and Marine Institute, and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University. His research and teaching has embraced career development, experiential learning, higher education leadership and adult education.  

His most recent publication is entitled – Supporting Students Globally in Higher Education (2016). His most recent research project was a five-year study of Career Integrated Learning which investigates the importance of reflecting on student competencies through curriculum reform which has been identified in the publication Reclaiming the Value of the Liberal Arts for the 21st Century as a most promising practices in North America by the Education Advisory Board in Washington. He is a prolific presenter nationally and internationally.  

His university service includes leadership roles as president of national and international associations, including: The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), The Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education (CSSHE), the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) and the International Association of Student Affairs and Services Association (IASAS).  

John R. Steele, CEO, Long Play Capital Corporation 

John R. Steele is CEO of Steele Hotels which operates 7 locations throughout Newfoundland & Labrador.  He has held this position since 1991. 

Mr. Steele is also CEO of Long Play Capital Corporation and is President of Brigus Production Company Inc. which produces the Iceberg Alley Performance Tent in St. John’s, NL.   

In 2018, Iceberg Alley Performance Tent was awarded The Best Event of the Year by the City of St. John’s. 

Mr. Steele was with Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited and its subsidiary, Newcap Inc. from March 1988 to October 2018 and held several positions within the Company, lastly holding the title of President of its Newfoundland and Labrador operations until Newfoundland Capital Corporation was sold for over $500 million in 2018. 

Mr. Steele is a past member of the “In This Together” Capital Campaign Committee of the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation.  He is a past Board member of Newfoundland Capital Corporation, Stingray and the past President of the Board of Directors of the VOCM Cares Foundation.   

In 2018, the Canadian Red Cross awarded Mr. Steele as Humanitarian of the Year. 

Jim Stump, President of Refining, Braya Renewable Fuels 

Jim earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.  Most of his career has been spent with HollyFrontier Refining Inc, with 32 years of refining experience across operational and leadership roles, most recently as Senior Vice President of Refining for HollyFrontier, where he oversaw operations, EHS and capital projects, including the development of HollyFrontier’s Artesia, NM renewable diesel project.  In 2020, he pioneered the conversion of HollyFrontier’s Cheyenne refinery to renewable diesel operations and led the conversion effort into 2021.  He joined the Braya team as President of Refining in October 2021.  

Scott Tessier, CEO of Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB)

Scott Tessier has served as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) since 2013, and also as Board Chair until February 2019.

Scott was born and raised in St. John’s and holds an Engineering degree from Memorial University. Before joining the C-NLOPB, Scott was an advisor in the petroleum industry on legislative and regulatory matters in Alberta. Prior to that, Scott served in senior positions with several government departments with regulatory mandates during a federal public service career that spanned twelve years at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and three years in the Health portfolio. Earlier in his career, Scott worked with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and he started his career with the St. John’s Harbour Atlantic Coastal Action Program.

Since 2019, Scott has been a member of Eastern Health’s Board of Trustees and Quality Assurance, Improvement and Safety Committee. In his capacity as CEO of the C-NLOPB, he is an observer on the Board of One Ocean. He also served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network from 2014-2020.

Scott has also volunteered from time to time as an elementary school basketball coach, and he and his wife have three young children.

Jennifer Williams, President & CEO, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro

Jennifer was appointed CEO in June 2021, having served as President of Hydro since February 2019.  Jennifer had served as Hydro’s Vice President, Production, since August 2016 and held earlier positions including General Manager, Hydro Production, as well as Manager, Regulatory Engineering. Jennifer joined our team in 2014, having previously worked with both Newfoundland Power and the St. John’s International Airport Authority. A Memorial University graduate, Jennifer has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and is a member and former member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL). Jennifer was awarded the Fellow of Engineers Canada in 2016 and was elected as a Fellow to the Canadian Academy of Engineering in 2020.