2024 Business Update – Vision 2024

VISION 2024: Business Update
April 11, 2024

We would like to extend a sincere thank you to panelists and attendees whose contributions helped to ensure the success of our VISION 2024: Business Update!  Held on April 11th at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, our Annual Business Update was filled with insightful discussions and engaging interactions!


We we privileged to host 11 panelists, each offering insights on pivotal topics such as Climate Smart Local Government Initiatives, Transitioning Power, and Transformation Industry. As well as a breakfast Keynote from the Atlantic Economic Council and a Luncheon Keynote from Iain Sinclair from Scotland who provided some insight into where their port was 15 years ago and where it is today because of  the emerging offshore wind industry in their region. Each panel session provided a platform to discuss the collective efforts needed to support the transition to green energy in our region.


We look forward to continuing our collaborative endeavors towards realizing a sustainable and prosperous future for our emerging economic landscape.


Check out highlights from the day on our Facebook album


Date:  April 11, 2024

Time:  8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

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

Tickets:  $95 members / $125 non-members (plus tax)

Reserve your tickets today!

Click here for tickets (REGISTRATION CLOSED),
or contact us at 902-625-1588 / membership@straitareachamber.ca to book a table of 8.

Chamber Member Tables of 8 available for $710 (plus tax)
Future Member Tables of 8 available for $950 (plus tax)

Detailed Itinerary:

8:30 a.m. – Registration and Morning Networking

9:10 a.m. – Opening & Welcome

9:30 a.m. – Morning Keynote – Patrick Brannon, Senior Researcher- Atlantic Economic Council

10:00 a.m. – First Panel – Climate Smart Local Government Initiatives

          – Municipality of the District of Guysborough
          – Municipality of the County of Richmond
          – Potlotek First Nation
          – Town of Port Hawkesbury

11:00 a.m. – Morning Break

11:10 a.m. – Second Panel -Transitioning Power

          – The Committee for the Regional Assessment of Offshore Wind Development in Nova Scotia
          – Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources & Renewables
          – Nova Scotia Community College
          – BlueGrid by Rimot

12:10 p.m.-Lunch

12:30 p.m. Lunch Keynote – Iain Sinclair, Executive Director, Global Energy Group, Scotland

2:00 p.m. – Third panel -Transformative Industry

          – Port Hawkesbury Paper
          – Bear Head Energy
          – Melford Group of Companies
          – EverWind Fuels

3:15 p.m. – Wrap up & closing

Panelist Bios Below


Breakfast Keynote

Patrick Brannon, Senior Researcher & Director of Major Projects,
Atlantic Economic Council

Patrick Brannon is the Senior Researcher and Director of Major Projects for the Atlantic Economic Council.  He has been active in economic and business analysis for over 25 years.

He is a leading voice on the issues impacting the economy of Atlantic Canada.  Patrick recently directed a report on the importance of the energy sector in Atlantic Canada and the latest edition of the Council’s Major Projects Inventory which analyses capital investment trends in the region.

He is a frequent speaker on the issues important to Atlantic Canada and is passionate about the continued success of the region.

Lunch Keynote

Iain Sinclair – Executive Director, Global Energy Group

Iain Sinclair is Executive Director at Global Energy Group, leading the development and implementation of the organization’s renewables business growth strategy. This includes large scale capital investment projects, port infrastructure development and floating offshore wind manufacturing opportunities.


With over 20-years renewable energy experience, he is a Board Director at both Scottish Renewables and Renewable UK, sits on the Scottish Government’s Renewables Strategic Leadership Group, is a Deepwind Cluster board member and a member on SOWEC’s Supply Chain Steering Group. Iain participates in various floating offshore wind industry task force & steering groups including OREC’s Floating Offshore Wind, Cost Reduction Pathways and is also a Non-Exec Director leading wave technology provider, Mocean Energy.

Panel 1:  Climate Smart Local Government

Martin Thomsen, Manager of Energy Sector Development
Municipality of the County of Richmond and the Town of Port Hawkesbury

Martin Thomsen is the new Manager of Energy Sector Development with Municipality of the County of Richmond and the Town of Port Hawkesbury having commenced in the job on 1st of April 2024. In this role, Martin will support and lead green energy strategy development for the two Municipalities. Martin comes from a role as the Innovation and Economic Development Officer with the Cape Breton Partnership for Richmond County and Port Hawkesbury and has previously worked for Highlands and Island Enterprise, a public sector economic development organization in Scotland. Originally from Denmark, Martin has spent most of his adult life in Scotland before immigrating to Nova Scotia in January 2023.    

Gordon MacDonald, Director of Economic Development
Municipality of the District of Guysborough

Gordon MacDonald is the Director of Economic Development for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough.  He has worked in Economic Development for almost 30 years and was the founding Executive Director of the Guysborough County Regional Development Authority in 1995. He is the past Chairman / Director of Strait of Canso Superport Corporation.  Has participated in several Nova Scotia foreign investment trade missions and is currently working with developers advancing significant investments in Nova Scotia’s energy transition to renewables. Gordon is also the Manager of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough’s $27 M Sable Wind Farm Development – being the first Municipality in Canada to be the majority owner of a large-scale Wind Farm which became operational in 2014. Driven by passion for improving quality-of-life for future generations.  Gordon is married to Carmel Avery-MacDonald and proud father to Hilary, Olivia, Alexandra and Lowell and grandfather to Wes and Arlo.

Jason MacMillan, CET, Water Resources Development Project Manager for the Landrie Lake Water Utility and the Manager of Engineerig and Public Works,
Town of Port Hawkesbury

Jason MacMillan is the Water Resources Development Project Manager for the Landrie Lake Water Utility, and the Manager of Engineering and Public Works for the Town of Port Hawkesbury.  Jason grew up and lives in Port Hawkesbury and has spent his 22-year career working in Municipal government with the Municipality of the County of Richmond and the Town of Port Hawkesbury.  He is a civil engineering technologist, with a background in project management, Municipal administration, and operations. Jason is a past president of the Municipal Public Works Association of Nova Scotia and has served on the management team for the Landrie Lake Utility since 2019.  In his role with the Landrie Lake Utility Jason works closely with green hydrogen developers, their consultants and provincial government departments to help manage the utilities required expansion needed to meet the new growth.


Darryl McDonald, Corporate Executive Officer at Potlotek First Nation /Development Corporation

Darryl McDonald is a Treaty Eight member of the Fond Du Lac Denesuline First Nation and resides in Unama’ki with his wife Florence and four children. He has an in-depth knowledge of Indigenous governance, resource management, community development and economic development. From 1998 to 2003, Darryl was the Governance Coordinator for Federation of Saskatchewan Indigenous Nations. Since then, he has worked as a CEO for Fond Du Lac Denesuline First Nation, Sheshatshuii/Mushua Innu Nations, Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation as CAO. As part of his work with Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation he helped the Mik’maw Coalition Group to acquire 50% of Clearwater Seafoods, representing the single largest investment in the seafood industry by any Indigenous group in Canada.  is a past Director of First Nations Power Authority, Regina Saskatchewan and a past Manager of WaterfoundLimited Partnership, Northern Resource Trucking-TrimacInc. He obtained his BA from St. Francis Xavier University and his MBA from Cape Breton University. He has published research based on Denesuline Knowledge and Community Economic Development.  Darryl, presently works at Potlotek First Nation as CEO for the nation and economic development corporation.  Potlotek Mi’kmaw Nation is one of the equity partners with Everwind Fuels who are the first green hydrogen ammonia producer in North America on the east coast of Nova Scotia.

Panel 2:  Transitioning Power

Jim Wooder, Co-Chair
Nova Scotia Offshore Wind Regional Assessment Committee

Jim Wooder holds Masters degrees in Maritime Law (Cardiff) and Business Administration (Saint Mary’s). He practiced maritime law in England, Norway and Nova Scotia before joining the operator of Canada’s first offshore oil project, where he became an operations manager and senior executive. Since coming to Cape Breton in 2005, Jim has led major port related development initiatives including multi-year environmental assessments and project management of (then) Canada’s largest dredging and land reclamation initiative. Currently, Jim is working in an offshore wind advisory role with Unama’ki’s First Nations communities (Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources) and as co-chair of the federally appointed Nova Scotia Offshore Wind Regional Assessment Committee.

James Craig, CTO & Co-founder
BlueGrid by Rimot

James Craig is a professional engineer and entrepreneur who started his career as an engineering officer in the Canadian Navy and is now a pioneer in electrifying marine vessels. He has served as the CTO and co-founder of BlueGrid by Rimot, focusing on bi-directional electric marine vessels for energy solutions. BlueGrid lives at the intersection of electric vessels and the electric utility, unlocking the value of marine vessels for owners and grid operators.  His work is key in promoting environmental sustainability in marine electrification.

Amanda Mombourquette, Community Innovation Lead – Green Energy Initiatives

Nova Scotia Community College

From St. Peter’s in Richmond County, Warden Amanda Mombourquette has a degree in business administration with a major in information systems from St. Francis Xavier University.   With experience at international and local initiatives, Amanda’s background includes economic development, strategic planning, business counseling, measurement and evaluation, workshop facilitation, contract negotiation, financial and project management, and adult education. 


Amanda has a passion for the well-being of Nova Scotia and has worked in various economic and business development roles for about 20 years.  She works as a Community Innovation Lead at the Nova Scotia Community College in Cape Breton, focusing on workforce development that will enable Nova Scotia’s energy transition.  Prior to her role at NSCC, she was the Executive Director of the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce, providing a leadership role on all matters related to business advocacy for over 380 businesses. She was elected to municipal council in Richmond County in 2020 and currently serves as Councillor for District 4 and Warden for the County.


Amanda serves on several boards and committees across the province including the Forestry Economic Task Force and the Bras d’Or Lakes Collaborative Environmental Protection Initiative. In December 2021, she co-led a team to bring partners together to establish the Strait of Canso Offshore Wind Task Force with the goal of advocating for and engaging communities to learn about the extraordinary clean energy potential of northeastern Nova Scotia.

David Miller, Executive Lead – Energy Projects

Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources & Renewables

David Miller is the Executive Lead: Electricity Projects at the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Renewables. He has worked for the Nova Scotia government for more than a decade, primarily on renewable energy and electricity related files. In this work, David led a team of professionals to design the Green Choice Program, complete the 2022 Rate Base Procurement process, and initiate major legislative changes to electricity and energy regulation in Nova Scotia. David previously worked in Ontario as a consultant, advising businesses and indigenous communities on Consultation, project development, and partnerships.

Panel 3:  Transformative Industry

Paul MacLean – Managing Director, Bear Head Energy

Paul MacLean is the Managing Director of Bear Head Energy. Paul has more than 20 years of experience in the energy and environmental sectors. Previously, he led the regulatory and community engagement efforts for Bear Head LNG. In 2021, he reacquired the project from its previous owner and returned to the project to lead its transition to becoming a producer of green hydrogen and ammonia.

Paul has held senior advisory roles in the development, financing and acquisition of businesses in the natural gas and liquefied natural gas sectors. He has acted as a Senior Advisor to Access Northeast Energy Incorporated, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and LNG Limited.

From 1990 to 1998 Paul was a consultant to the Federal Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia on investment programs for the development of environmental technology in Atlantic Canada. Paul launched the Technology Partnerships Canada Program which was the predecessor to today’s Strategic Innovation Fund. In addition, Paul worked for 24 years at BMO Nesbitt Burns as a Wealth Advisor.

Adam Langer, Director of Public Affairs

EverWind Fuels

Adam Langer is the Director of Public Affairs at EverWind Fuels. Prior to joining EverWind, Adam was the Director of Public Affairs at NATIONAL Public Relations and a strategic advisor to cabinet ministers in Nova Scotia. A Sydney native, Mr. Langer attended Cape Breton University, where he earned Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Arts degrees. 

Mike Uberoi, Chief Executive Officer, Melford Group of Companies

Mike Uberoi is the Chief Executive Officer of the Melford Group of Companies.  Previously he held senior management positions including CFO with Halterm Container Terminal, which traded on the TSX. He has held the position of Vice President Operations and Chief Financial Officer of the largest Atlantic Canadian privately-owned industrial supply and services company.  Mike was also responsible for the day to day operations and overall direction STI Technologies Limited and held the position of Executive Vice President.

Mike has been an active volunteer; he currently serves as a director of Events East and chairs the Audit and Risk Committee. Some additional Boards that Mike has served include, the Chair of CPA Nova Scotia; Director of CMA Nova Scotia; Social Navigator Inc; the Halifax Chamber of Commerce; and the International Longshoremen Pension and Benefits Committee. For the past 25 years Mike has been active in hockey coaching at all levels and with various associations.  

Geoff M. Clarke, MBA, MF, RPF

Director, Sustainability & Economic Development

Port Hawkesbury Paper LP

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 PHP Eco-Industrial Business Park.


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