2023 State of the Strait Business Update

State of the Strait Business Update:  March 22, 2023

Thank you to our panelists and attendees who helped make our Business Update a success!  On March 22nd we enjoyed a wonderful day of networking and learning at our State of the Strait Business Update at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre! We welcomed 9 panelists to speak on Pathways to Economic Reconciliation, Labour Challenges & Opportunities, and learned about New Upcoming Projects in the region. Great conversations took place highlighting many of the challenges and successes we have in this region – many new connections were made!  


Have a peek at our Facebook album to see some highlights from the day!


Date:  March 22, 2023

Time:  8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Location:  Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre (606 Reeves St., Port Hawkesbury)

Tickets:  $85 members / $95 non-members (plus tax)
Chamber Member Tables of 8 available for $650 (plus tax)
Future Member Tables of 8 available for $730 (plus tax)

Detailed Itinerary:

8:00 a.m. – Light Breakfast Buffet Opens

8:50 a.m. – Welcome

9:15 a.m. – Pathways to Economic Reconciliation Panel

10:00 a.m. – Labour Challenges & Opportunities Panel

10:45 a.m. – Morning Break

11:00 a.m. – New Projects Panel

11:45 a.m. – Lunch Served

12:15 a.m. – Lunch Keynote 

12:40 p.m. – Closing Remarks


LUNCH KEYNOTE – Sponsorsed by the Cape Breton Partnership

Jupia Consultants Inc.

David Campbell, President of Jupia Consultants Inc., will summarize the key themes and opportunities from the new Cape Breton-Unama’ki Economic & Population Growth Plan. Population growth in our region will be key to long term economic prosperity and this framework will guide the region’s economic development over the next five years. David will share his insights and solicit feedback from the audience on how we can build a strong and sustainable economy across the region.


David is the President of Jupia Consultants Inc., an economic development consulting and research firm based in New Brunswick. He has more than 25 years’ experience as a consultant working with industry, not-for-profit organizations and governments across Canada on economic development strategy, industrial development, people attraction and other topics. Previously, he was Chief Economist with the Government of New Brunswick. In that role, he worked with the Premier and Cabinet on the development of economic policy, economic development and people attraction strategy. He is a long-time newspaper columnist, author of the It’s the Economy, Stupid! newsletter and co-host of the weekly Insights podcast with Don Mills.

Pathways to Economic Reconciliation

Panel Facilitator



Indigenous Guide Consulting Services

Since 1997, Mr. Robert Bernard has been a successful business owner of a number of Indigenous owned companies that have focused on creating sustainable and “mutually beneficial” relationships with the mainstream world. Most recently his newest business, “Indigenous Guide Consulting Services”, has brought together all of his expertise under one company, one focus, one vision… and that is to help create capacity building opportunities for Indigenous people, businesses and communities across Canada and around the world.


Over the past 30 years, Mr. Bernard has always supported Indigenous communities, organizations, businesses and individuals across Canada in such areas as business, tourism, cultural development, environmental services, sports and recreation, recruitment & retention, employment training as well as diversity & inclusion for multiple industry sectors trying to connect with contract/procurement opportunities.


His focus has always been community oriented and works to help provide updated, specific and pertinent knowledge to all his clients with a focus on a grassroots and inclusive processes that target all age groups, genders and social status. This model has been very successful in building awareness, support for project development and the ongoing sustainability of initiatives focused on positive community and organizational growth. A fluent M’kmaw speaker, Mr. Bernard has delivered dozens of workshops, presentations and has facilitated sessions from the community level to national levels involving grassroots, governments, multiple industry and political levels.


He truly believes that in order to achieve any level of true Reconciliation in Canada and around the world for Indigenous people, Indigenous people need to be front and centre in the development of a strategic plan that focuses on Reconcili-ACTION based initiatives from the grassroots up.


Mr. Bernard lives in his home community of We’koq’ma’q (Weh-go-km-ahg) Mi’kmaw Nation along with his beautiful wife Kelly and four daughters Jordynn, Kaylyn, Kassidy & Karmin and one grand-son Rory. He continues to operate his businesses on a full time basis and continues efforts to educate mainstream society on cross cultural awareness. 

For more information please visit our website at: www.TheIndigenousGuide.com.

Director of Marketing & Strategic Initiatives

Storm Gould is the Director of Marketing and Strategic Initiatives at We’koqma’q. In 2021 Storm returned home to We’koqma’q and joined the team there after spending multiple years working in various roles at Mi’kmaw organizations. In addition to experience working in the areas of Mi’kmaw governance and community development, he recently completed the Master of Business Administration program at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. Storm leverages this blend of experience in his role to Increase brand awareness, tackle community issues, and think about growth opportunities through a social and economic lens. Outside of work, Storm spends much of his time with his wife and 3 daughters, and if he has any spare time, you will find him on a golf course trying to squeeze in a quick 18.

Labour Challenges & Opportunities


Project Manager

Cape Breton Island Tourism Training Network

Eleanor L. Anderson is the Project Lead for the Cape Breton Island Tourism Training Network, a training and research project funded by the Government of Canada. The tourism training network uses a collaborative model to address specific workforce needs in support of post-pandemic recovery for tourism and related sectors including arts and culture. Eleanor is also adjunct faculty in the Shannon School of Business at Cape Breton University, teaching in both the Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality Administration program and the post-baccalaureate business program. Eleanor holds a Masters of Tourism from George Washington University and is currently a Tourism PhD candidate at Leeds Beckett, UK.

Labour Market & Immigration Advisor
Cape Breton Partnership

Kelly MacKinnon is the Cape Breton Partnership’s Labour Market & Immigration Advisor. As a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, she provides immigration advice to employers in Cape Breton-Unama’ki. She will speak on the importance of immigration in sustaining Cape Breton’s population, immigration options for businesses, and services offered by the Cape Breton Partnership.

Executive Director
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council

Trent Soholt is the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council-ICI (NSCSC) – a not-for-profit organization that collaborates with industry partners to provide human resource solutions and labour market information for Nova Scotia’s industrial, commercial and institutional construction sector. The NSCSC is also the home of the Trades Exhibition Hall – a one-of-a-kind career awareness facility, and the Mobile Construction Experience – a road-going showcase of construction occupations that visits Junior High Schools throughout Nova Scotia.

Working with contractors, labour organizations, training providers, government and industry partners, Trent fosters collaboration, supports innovative approaches to training, career awareness, industry research, strategic planning and encourages advances in technology adoption.

Trent is an internationally certified Project Management Professional through the Project Management Institute. He has over 20 years of Project Management experience ranging from construction and urban planning to human resources, business development, information technology, and arts and entertainment. He is a strong advocate for trades and technology. As an instructor of supervisory and management skills; Chair of the Association of Industry Sector Councils; Vice-Chair for the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, Director for the Design & Construction Institute of Nova Scotia, Treasurer for the Apprenticeship Award Trust, Skills Canada Nova Scotia and Techsploration and the Chair of the Atlantic Labour Market Information Committee; Trent believes the construction sector has a fundamental role in the prosperity of Nova Scotia and Canada.

New Project Updates

Colindale Business Solutions

Damian MacInnis is a graduate of NSCC, StFX and University of Waterloo (Ec.D) and has been advocating for development and growth throughout the Strait Region for over 10 years following his return from Nunavut where he worked as an Economic Development Officer and VP Business Development. Upon his return, he worked as the Executive Director of the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Officer for the Cape Breton Regional Enterprise Network, Vice President and Co-Founder of Celtic Air Services and is currently owner of Colindale Business Solutions, a consulting agency focused on strategic planning, public/community relations, real estate development, business development and management. Recently, he has expanded into International business development where he has been helping businesses expand operations internationally into the US and Nigeria through the various strategic partnerships that he has developed. His experience, passion and drive has helped numerous companies/organizations expand and grow throughout Nunavut, Nova Scotia and abroad. 


Director of Sustainability & Economic Development
Port Hawkesbury Paper

Geoff Clarke is the Director of Sustainability and Economic Development at Port Hawkesbury Paper. Geoff is a Registered Professional Forester who has a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management from UNB and also holds Masters Degrees in both Business and Forestry from the University of Alberta. This is complemented with decades of industrial experience in the natural resources sector across various technical and senior management positions.

At Port Hawkesbury Paper, Geoff is involved in the sustainable management of forests, wind, water, and other resources. He is also looking to build onto their core business and create new opportunities within the Port Hawkesbury Paper Eco-Industrial Business Park.


Maritime Launch Services

Harvey Doane is the Chief Operating Officer of Maritime Launch Services. With a wealth of experience in organizational leadership, operations, and international business development, Harvey is a valuable asset to the senior management team at Maritime Launch Services. Having worked many years in foreign direct investment, Harvey brings a unique perspective and a broad international network to the table. He is committed to shaping the future of the company and driving its success on a global scale. 


At Maritime Launch Services, Harvey, as part of the senior leadership team, is instrumental in the development of Canada’s first commercial launch facility. This innovative project has huge implications for the Canadian space sector and is a reflective of Harvey’s forward-thinking and innovative approach to leadership. He is dedicated to ensuring that the project is completed on time and on budget, while also meeting the highest standards of operational efficiency.


As Chief Operating Officer, he is responsible for safeguarding that the facility design and construction meets the highest standards of safety and quality, as well as ensuring compliance with all environmental regulations. Harvey is committed to making sure that Maritime Launch Services is a leading player in the global space industry.




Your Success is Our Success.