Please stay tuned for further details about the 2018 Speakers as we post their photos and biographies as we receive them.
Confirmed speakers to-date
Iain Black, President & CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
Iain has lead the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade since October 2011. Over these five years, the iconic 129-year-old organization has experienced a modern renaissance, with dramatic membership growth and a rediscovered relevancy for 21st-century business, government and thought leaders. Iain came to the Board of Trade directly from the ranks of government, where he was elected twice to the provincial legislature and served as a cabinet minister in three different cabinet posts.
Mark Bartkoski, President, Conuma Coal Resources
Mark, a registered Profesional Engineer, is a 37 year veteran of the mining industry. He began his career with a couple of engineering degrees from Virginia Tech and then spent the next 10 years working his way up the operation ranks from an underground equipment operator, to all phases of production support. During next 20 years Mark has started-up two new mining companies, and lead the rebuild of numerous others. His style is known to be aggressive, process-oriented, value-driven, and very employee-empowering. At that point in his career, he wrote a book called Building Integrity, taught its fundamentals in numerous universities, and started international consulting work helping companies through the reorganization process. In 2015, he syndicated with four other mining executives to purchase a number of distressed metallurgical coal companies. Walters Canada was one of those purchases.
Walter Coles, Jr., President & CEO, Skeena Resources Ltd.
Mr. Coles has served as CEO and President for several Toronto Venture Stock Exchange listed junior mining exploration and development companies, throughout the past seven years. Mr. Coles entered the mining business as part of an effort to develop a mineral resource discovered on family farmland in Virginia. He was previously an analyst for Cadence Investment Partners, from 2005 through to 2007. Prior to that Mr. Coles worked for UBS Investment Bank in New York as a Senior Research Analyst in the bank’s High Yield Group. Mr. Coles started at UBS Investment Bank in 1999 as an Associate reporting to the bank’s Global Head of Fixed Income Strategy. Mr. Coles holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Richmond.
Hon. Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Government of BC
Prior to becoming an MLA, Doug worked for Storytellers’ Foundation, a non-profit organization focusing on community economic development in the region, including local food action initiatives. His previous work in Stikine included jobs in forestry, tourism, education, communications and journalism. He has worked as a biologist with a forestry consulting business, as a reporter and columnist with a weekly newspaper, and communications director with the Gitxsan Treaty Office.
Mark Feldinger, Senior Vice President, Energy, Environment, Transportation and Sourcing, Canfor
Mark was appointed Senior Vice President, Energy, Environment, Transportation and Sourcing on May 6, 2011. Mark began his career at Canfor in 1984, a year after obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Forestry from the University of British Columbia. Throughout his 30 years with the company, he has held a variety of roles in woodlands and manufacturing divisions of the Company.
Byng Giraud, Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Country Manager, Woodfibre LNG
Byng joined Woodfibre Natural Gas Limited (part of the Pacific Oil & Gas group) in April 2013. Immediately prior he was with Imperial Metals, a Canadian copper/gold mining company. Byng is responsible for corporate affairs including regulatory affairs, government relations, community relations, aboriginal affairs and communications. He is also currently Chairman of Ridley Terminals Inc. a Canadian government owned coal export terminal in Prince Rupert, BC.
Lyn Hall, Mayor of Prince George
Mayor Lyn Hall has been an active member of the Prince George community for over 30 years. Lyn first entered local politics in 2001 when he won a seat as a school trustee on the Prince George School Board. He spent 10 years on the board holding various positions, including chair and vice-chair. In 2011, Lyn ran and successfully won a seat on Prince George City Council. As a Councillor, Lyn was a member of several committees and community groups. In 2014, he was successful in his campaign for Mayor of Prince George. Lyn and his wife Lorrelle are the parents of twin daughters, both of whom graduated from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and played soccer for the UNBC Timberwolves.
Dan Jepsen, President & Chief Executive Officer, C3 Alliance Corporation
Dan Jepsen is co-founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of C3 Alliance Corporation, with over 30 years’ experience in the resource sector. Dan has extensive experience in business development, aboriginal, government and community relations, communications and media relations. As the former President and CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration BC and Manager, Aboriginal Affairs and Environment of one of BC’s largest forest companies, Dan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience linked to the resource sector, aboriginal and government relations.
John Leech, Chief Executive Officer, Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of BC
The ASTTBC, with 10,0000 members, is BC’s 8th largest professional association. John has championed the role of technology professionals as they help develop and sustain BC’s economy and the environment. He has also traveled in Asia and Africa where he worked in support of technology careers. During his career John has initiated leading-edge programs that enable British Columbians: First Nations Careers Council that supports technology careers; BC Women in Technology to enhance awareness of technology careers; for new immigrants as they seek credential recognition and build careers; and, many programs that promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Val Litwin, President & CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce
Val has a substantial business and social enterprise background as well as strong Chamber of Commerce leadership experience. In 2007, Litwin co-founded Blo Blow Dry Bar, which has since grown to more than 50 locations worldwide. In 2011, as vice-president of Franchise Operations at Nurse Next Door, he helped drive the franchise system’s fast growth into the U.S. market.
Gareth Manderson, General Manager BC Works, Primary Metal, Rio Tinto
Gareth leads Rio Tinto Aluminium’s business in BC, incorporating the operations of the Kitimat Smelter, Kemano Power Generation Facility and the Nechako Watershed. Prior to this he led the Weipa Bauxite Business in Australia comprising two mining operations, a port and the local town of Weipa. Gareth has lived and worked in Australia, Canada, the USA and Italy, and completed assignments in several other countries.
Tim McMillan, President & CEO, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
Tim McMillan was appointed President and incoming CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) on October 1, 2014. The Saskatchewan native is responsible for leading activities in education and communications as well as policy and regulatory advocacy on behalf of CAPP member companies, which represent over 90 per cent of Canada’s upstream oil and gas production.
David Miller, President & CEO, World Wildlife Fund Canada
David was Mayor of Toronto from 2003 to 2010 and Chair of the influential C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group from 2008-2010. Under his leadership, Toronto became widely admired internationally for its environmental leadership, economic strength and social integration. He is a leading advocate for the creation of sustainable urban economies, and a strong and forceful champion for the next generation of jobs through sustainability.
Nalaine Morin, Principal, ArrowBlade Consulting Services
Nalaine is nationally recognized for her work in environmental assessment. She provides services in technical review, regulatory support, negotiations, community consultation and environmental resource management. Nalaine has led and managed the environmental reviews of several large resource development projects on behalf of First Nations.
Stewart Muir, Executive Director, Resource Works
Through the growing Resource Works movement, Stewart Muir is helping to educate British Columbians about the importance of the natural resource industries – forestry, energy, and mining – as well as supporting infrastructure and businesses. Citizens need to understand that the ability to preserve their prosperity over the long term depends on responsible development of resources. Using his many years of experience as a journalist and commentator, Stewart takes a unique and innovative approach that has been recognized and adopted nationally and internationally.
Hon. Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Government of BC
Michelle was first elected MLA for Nelson-Creston in 2009, and re-elected in 2013 and 2017. In 2002, Michelle was the youngest person ever elected to Nelson city council, and seven years later, at age 31, Michelle became the first woman elected as MLA in Nelson-Creston. Michelle served as the Official Opposition Opposition spokesperson for social development. She also served as the Caucus Deputy House Leader. As a passionate speaker and volunteer, Michelle is a strong voice for the Kootenays.
Chris O’Riley, President & Chief Operating Officer, BC Hydro
Chris was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of BC Hydro in July 2017. Chris leads BC’s largest Crown corporation, a clean energy utility serving 4 million customers with 98% renewable and clean electricity generation, and $5.5 billion in annual revenues. BC Hydro is currently investing in an unprecedented capital program of refurbishment and expansion of its electricity assets, spending approximately $2 billion per year over the next 10 years.
Derek Orr, Business Development Manager, Carrier Lumber Ltd.
Derek received his college diploma in Business Management in 2007 and after working for the McLeod Lake Indian Band since 2002, was elected Chief in 2008. He achieved successful re-elections in 2011 and 2014. While Derek was Band Chief, McLeod Lake Indian Band was able to eliminate $18 million of debt. One of Derek’s primary goals as Chief of McLeod Lake Indian Band was to reach a stable economic platform.
Hon. Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, Government of BC
Bruce was first elected MLA for Surrey-Whalley in 2005. He was re-elected in 2009, 2013 and 2017. Bruce served as the Official Opposition spokesperson for Natural Gas Development, Trade, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, and also served as Opposition critic for finance, agriculture, international trade, the Asia Pacific strategy, and intergovernmental relations.
TJ Rosengarth, President & CEO, Northwest Hardwoods
Northwest Hardwoods, based in Tacoma, Washington, is the largest producer of North American hardwood lumber with 31 operating locations in the U.S. (Washington, Oregon, California, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Alabama). A graduate of Portland State University with a degree in Business Administration, Mr. Rosengarth has over 30 years of wood products manufacturing experience with Northwest Hardwoods, Flakeboard, Weyerhaeuser and Willamette industries.
Edie Thome, President & CEO, Association for Mineral Exploration
Edie brings a wealth of experience in government relations, permitting and public affairs as well as on-the-ground experience working with stakeholders, First Nations, elected officials and land owners on projects in the resource sector. Through her work, she is familiar with advocacy efforts at both the provincial and federal levels and, specifically, how the legislative and regulatory framework can support or hinder productive, responsible resource development within British Columbia and Canada.
Dr. John F. H. Thompson, Consultant, PetraScience Consultants Inc. and Professor, Cornell University
John has a BA from Oxford University and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Toronto. In 1982, he joined the BP Minerals group (Rio Tinto) initially in Australia, followed by positions in the UK and Salt Lake. In 1991, John became Director of the Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) at the University of British Columbia. He returned to industry in 1998 as Chief Geoscientist for Teck, and then Vice President Technology and Development.
Susan Yurkovich, President & CEO, BC Council of Forest Industries
Susan was appointed President and CEO of the BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI) in June 2015. COFI advances the strategic interests of the BC interior forest industry, Canada’s largest lumber producing region. Susan also serves as President of the BC Lumber Trade Council representing the interests of the BC forest industry on trade matters, including the Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement.