As the Vanguard team is finalizing the 7th annual ShipTech Forum and putting the final touches on the agenda, we would like to share with you some of the speakers who will be delivering presentations at this year’s event.

Taking place on February 25 at The Westin in Ottawa, the one-day conference will focus on technological advancement to speed up the pace of next-generation marine capabilities, challenges in the design and construction of future Arctic ships, the future of innovation for marine-based industries and climate change and its impact in the polar region.

This event will bring together members of industry, government, and military to share knowledge and lessons learned from a technological perspective to showcase successful investments in cutting-edge technologies.

Keynote Speakers

Mario Pelletier
Commissioner, Canadian Coast Guard

Mr. Pelletier began working for the Canadian Coast Guard in 1989 as an engineer officer in the Quebec Region. In 1998, he joined headquarters, where he held positions with increasing responsibilities. In 2011, he was appointed Director General, Fleet, a position which he held until the new organizational structure of the CCG took effect on October 1, 2012, when he became the Assistant Commissioner, Central and Arctic Region.

On June 1, 2015, he was appointed the Deputy Commissioner of Operations and received a Commissioner’s Commendation in recognition of his strong leadership, commitment and high level of expertise and professionalism. Mr. Pelletier was appointed Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard on December 9, 2019. He brings to his new role a vast experience and well-established reputation for meeting challenges and obtaining desired results.

Ravi Kumar
Senior Naval Architect and Sales Manager, Lloyd’s Register Applied Technology Group

Ravi has over 30 years of experience in the marine industry with a focus on ships and offshore platform structural analysis using finite element methods. He offers technical support to public and commercial clients ranging from performing strength assessment of the different types of ships including the Arctic Ships, as well as, conducting studies of in-service structural problems, failure, and unsatisfactory conditions. He has also had significant involvement in the review of Design Standards for the purposes of interpretation during analysis or for technical input during the revision process. He has performed numerous projects for Canadian and international clients resulting in the successful life extension of various vessels.

Ravi is also responsible for delivering and growing Lloyd’s Register’s consultancy-based Ship Inspection and Assessment Services business in the Americas.


Capt(N) Jacques P. Olivier
Director Naval Platform Systems, DND

Capt(N) Jacques P. Olivier joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1986 and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1991. After completing initial training in Victoria, BC and Plymouth, England, he moved to Halifax, NS, where he served in various engineering ashore establishments and operational ships until 2001. He subsequently gained experience in complex procurement and program management while serving at the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa and while on exchange with the Royal Navy in England.

Capt(N) Olivier is currently the Director of Naval Platform Systems with Naval Materiel Regulatory Authority responsibilities for current and future surface ships. He is also the responsible Director for the Naval Technical Innovation Program.

Matthew Douglass
Technology Transfer Officer, University of New Brunswick

As a Technology Transfer Officer with the University of New Brunswick, Matthew works with incorporated entities of all sizes to engage with the research activity occurring at UNB. With degrees in Military History and Business/Entrepreneurship, he is tasked with supporting the Aerospace and Defence, Cybersecurity, Entrepreneurship, Oceans, and Social Science and Humanities research activities to find broad commercial partners through partnered funding and technology licensing opportunities.

As a Springboard Atlantic Network member, he is also able to connect with the other Atlantic Canadian post-secondary research institutions to more widely support industry R&D initiatives.

Tyson Johnson
Chief Operating Officer, CyberNB

Tyson has worked in both the public and private sectors throughout his career. Starting in the federal civil service, Tyson developed hands-on experience across the entire spectrum of issues facing Canada’s foreign and domestic threats. He worked closely with government agencies in Canada and abroad to collaborate and achieve successful outcomes.

After departing the Government of Canada, he spent the next number of years building and supporting enterprise risk management programs for multinational organizations in both financial services and electronics manufacturing. During this time, Tyson worked globally to understand and integrate regional nuances into a corporate framework to support business success. Most recently, Tyson led BrightPlanet, a US-based ‘big data’ pioneer, as its VP Business Development & Strategy.

Cathy O’Carroll
Global Campaign Director – Integrated Test & Evaluation, QinetiQ

Working for QinetiQ and its predecessors since 1985. Cathy’s technical career started in the air weapons domain within the Royal Aircraft Establishment researching the design of warheads to defeat hard target structures. On the formation of QinetiQ in 2001, Cathy became Business Group manager for the Airspace Weapon Systems Group with operational responsibility. In 2004, she became Business Development Manager for the Weapons Division with responsibility for growing the business.

Since 2014, Cathy has led the reshaping of the 25 year, £300m p.a. Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA) contract to deliver T&E and Training Support Services capability to the UK MOD. Now as Global Campaign Director for Integrated Test & Evaluation (T&E), Cathy has responsibility for defining, shaping and delivering QinetiQ’s global strategy for T&E including designing and enabling integrated environments for complex experimentation, T&E, training and tactical development.

Abigail Fyfe
Senior Research Development Officer, Marine RD&D Innovation Centre, Transport Canada

Abby studied at the Marine Institute in St. John’s and the University of Southampton and is a career public servant. She spent about 13 years with Transport Canada as a Safety Inspector and about the same amount of time with the Transportation Safety Board as an Accident Investigator.

In May 2018, ‎Abby joined the Transport Canada Innovation Centre as a Senior Research Development Officer. In this role, she is part of the team working on the development, implementation, and management of the RD&D plan for the department, focusing on marine mammal protection issues, specifically the mitigation of vessel underwater radiated noise.

Serge Carignan
Superintendent, Quality Engineering Test Establishment, DND

Serge Carignan joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1979 and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1984. After completing initial training in Borden, he served in various maintenance organizations in Canada and Germany. In 1991, he completed his masters in Military Vehicle Technology at the Royal Military College of Shrivenham and was subsequently posted to the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, where he gained experience in procurement and program management.

He attended the Inter American Defence College at Fort McNair in Washington DC, following which he was appointed as the Commanding Officer of 5 Service Battalion and deployed to Afghanistan in 2004. Serge Carignan has been the Superintendent of the Quality Engineering Test Establishment since 2012, responsible for failure investigations, and specialized test and evaluation for the Canadian Armed Forces.

George A. ‘Sandy’ Thomson
Innovator, Thordon Bearings Inc.

In 1965, Sandy joined the family business Thomson-Gordon Ltd., in Hamilton, Ontario. At the time, the company was primarily a distributor of Engineers Supplies. Looking for a niche where engineered mechanical products made from rubber and plastic components could be designed, they developed the Thordon polymer in the late 1960’s. Sandy’s focus on innovation and developing export markets has been the key to Thordon’s success. In 1990, he bought the Russian deep sea salvage tug, Rudokop, and converted it to a “floating showcase” of Thordon marine bearing and seal products, then captained this ship visiting more than 200 ports in Europe.

With Sandy at the helm, Thordon has become a global leader in seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearings and seals, as well as, offering a complete range of non-metallic sleeve bearing solutions for marine, clean power generation, pump, offshore, and other industrial markets.

Eric Fournier
Director General Innovation for the Assistant Deputy Minister (Science & Technology)

In his current position, Eric is a scientific advisor to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces to ensure that they have access to the most cutting-edge solutions for their challenges from Canadian innovators. Eric started his career in August 1992 with Defence Research & Development Canada (DRDC) as a Defence Scientist in the Flight Mechanics Group of the Precision Weapons Section at the Valcartier laboratory. Here he held several positions in the weapons field of study.

In May 2006, he was appointed Director, Science & Technology Air, in Ottawa, where he managed the Air Force S&T Program portfolio. He was later appointed Director of Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Operational Research and Analysis (CORA). In 2014, he took up the position of Defence R&D Counsellor at CDLS in London. Upon returning to Canada in July 2017, he was appointed to his current position and selected to develop and lead the implementation of the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) initiative.

Mark Keneford
General Manager – Marine Solutions, Wärtsilä Canada

Mark Keneford spent 27 years in the Canadian Navy as a marine systems engineering officer and project manager. He sailed in RCN ships and had operating tickets (Navy equivalent) for steam, diesel and gas turbines.

Since 2008 he has been employed in Wartsila in Services as Canadian Government service support and then as Wartsila Canada Marine Solutions sales responsible across Canada to represent Wartsila solutions to shipowners, ship design companies and shipyards, in all vessel segments. Mark is a member of CIMARE (St. Lawrence branch) and also SNAME (eastern Canada section).

Jim Hanlon
Chief Executive Officer, COVE

Jim is a 40-year veteran of the Canadian tech industry, having worked in design, marketing and management for companies in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and New England. His career has spanned the aerospace and defence sectors as well as the marine environmental monitoring field. Over the years, Jim has worked in senior management positions with several large publicly traded multinationals. He has also sampled the waters of the entrepreneurial well as an owner in two separate high-tech companies that have successfully grown and been purchased by multinationals.

Until February of 2012, Jim was the President of Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems in Halifax, NS. He and his partners sold their company to Ultra Electronics Inc. in May of 2008.

Register today to attend the ShipTech Forum 2020 event taking place on February 25 at The Westin in Ottawa.