Social Commentator, Editorialist & Distinct Canadian Voice
The one and only Rex Murphy is a trusted face and voice across Canadian media. His intellect and biting humour strike through the heart of profound political and social issues. Currently he writes and reports for CBC’s The National and is a columnist in the National Post.
As a speaker, Rex radiates intelligence and trustworthiness. His endearing style brings forth a sarcastic intellect and deep insight into issues affecting individuals and businesses. Audiences can expect to be simultaneously informed and entertained by Rex’s provocative commentary.
A Rhodes scholar, Rex was born and raised in St. John’s, Nfld., where he graduated from Memorial University. In 1968, he went to Oxford University, along with former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
President, Merit Canada
Terrance Oakey joined Merit Canada in June of 2011 as its first full time president. Prior to this, he worked for the Retail Council of Canada where he served as Vice President of Federal Government Affairs. Terrance brings to Merit a decade of experience in the public and private sectors, providing government relations and strategic communications council to a variety of national and international clients.
Terrance has served as national campaign secretary and advisor to the Hon. Peter MacKay and worked on the issues management team and on health policy in the office of the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper while Leader of the Official Opposition.
Born in Halifax, he has a B.A. (Honours) from the University of New Brunswick.
With more than fifteen years experience as a senior government relations practitioner, Don provides TSA’s clients with an in-depth understanding of the Government of Canada, its policy and legislative procedures, and how to influence them. He has developed and implemented a variety of successful government relations campaigns for many leading companies and industry associations including MasterCard Canada, Salesforce, and Beer Canada, to name a few.
Educated as a lawyer, Don combines policy depth with legal training and political experience to help clients work through complex regulatory and policy issues.
Don has been a regular political commentator on television and radio, providing a Liberal perspective on panel shows on CTV, CBC and CPAC.
Don regularly provides seminars for corporate executives on lobbying and advocacy, including training for Parliamentary Committee appearances. He has been recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Lobbyists by The Hill Times, Canada’s only weekly publication dedicated to political affairs. He received the Brett Yerex Exceptional Advocacy Award in recognition of his initiatives to change public policy for the benefit of people affected by ALS.
Prior to practicing government relations Don worked as a Senior Aide to the Secretary of State for Finance. During this time Don managed a range of financial sector and fiscal issues, including the 1997 review of financial sector legislation and Bill C-15, a Bill to enhance the safety and soundness of the financial sector.
Don holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Queen’s University as well as a Masters of Arts in Economics.
Joel Gervais has worked in the private and public sector in the area of mental health and addictions for over 25 years. His experience includes 15 years with the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) where he worked as a both a Rehabilitation Counsellor and Prevention Education Consultant. Joel’s last ten years of specialization at AFM was in the area of Workplace Services. In that time Joel provided consultation and training to private and public workplaces in the area of substance abuse and workplace intervention. Joel has also worked on several National substance abuse initiatives including 4 years with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) where he provided consultation and support to the Canada’s National Alcohol and Drug Strategy.
Joel is currently the Program Manager with Vital Life Inc.’s Mental Health and Addiction department. The department provides addictions management services, drug testing and substance abuse training to large and small organizations in the province of Manitoba. Joel also works with many First Nations in Canada and is currently the lead Addictions Consultant with the Keeyask and Keewatinook projects in northern Manitoba. Joel is a nationally recognized speaker and a regular presenter at local and national safety and HR conferences. Joel’s education includes a 4 year advanced BA in Psychology as well as graduate work in the are of Family Studies. Joel is also holds the designation of Substance Abuse Expert (SAE).
Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer at the Business Council of British Columbia
Jock Finlayson is Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer at the Business Council of British Columbia, an organization representing 260 large and mid-size BC companies and affiliated industry associations that together account for approximately one-quarter of all jobs in the province. He directs the Business Council’s work on economic, fiscal, tax, environmental, regulatory and human capital issues of interest to the province’s business community. He manages the Council’s policy and research staff and oversees the organization’s publications, presentations and other outputs. Mr. Finlayson previously served as Vice President of Research at Canadian Council of Chief Executives, a leading business association in Ottawa. Prior to that he worked in the market research field and gained experience at two Canadian consulting firms.
Mr. Finlayson holds a master’s degree in business from Yale University, undergraduate and M.A. degrees from UBC, and a post-graduate diploma in economics from the University of London. He received an honorary doctorate of laws from Royal Roads University in 2014. He is the author/co-author of two books and more than 50 published articles, book chapters and monographs. A frequent commentator on economic, business, and public policy issues, Mr. Finlayson writes regularly for the Vancouver Sun, Troy Media, and a number of other media outlets, and for several years he was a regular business panelist on CBC Radio’s “Early Edition” program.
From 2007 to 2013, Mr. Finlayson was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Canada, where he chaired the Corporate Governance Committee and served on the Board’s Human Resources Committee. He is currently a member of the National Statistics Council, the principal advisory body to the Chief Statistician of Canada, and sits on the Boards of the Institute for Research on Public Policy and Genome BC. He is also a member of the C.D. Howe Institute’s prestigious National Council.
Mr. Finlayson is a Fellow of Royal Roads University. He past president of both the Association of Professional Economists of BC and the Ottawa Economics Association. He resides in West Vancouver with his wife Marlene.
Associate, Gall Legge Grant & Munroe LLP
Melanie Vipond focuses her practice on labour and employment law, human rights, privacy and administrative law. She advises both private and public sector employers on issues relating to unionization, collective agreement negotiation, disability and harassment, workers compensation as well as general employment law issues, including wrongful dismissals and employment contract negotiation. She provides training on those issues to the employer community. She has appeared before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as the BC Labour Relations Board, arbitration boards, human rights tribunals, and other administrative tribunals.
Ms. Vipond is an adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of British Columbia (UBC) and teaches in the areas of labour, employment, human rights and privacy law. She has also lectured as a guest speaker in those areas at Stanford Law School and UBC Law School, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars.
Ms. Vipond completed her Master in the Science of Law at Stanford University in 2010 where she conducted empirical research on the B.C. first contract arbitration model and presented her findings across the United States. Her thesis, entitled “First Contract Arbitration: Evidence from British Columbia, Canada of the Significance of Mediator’s Non-Binding Recommendations”, was published in the Fall 2011 edition of the American Labor Law Journal and has been published into a book.
While attending law school, Ms. Vipond won the Ottawa University’s Hicks Morley Labour Law Advocacy Competition in addition to maintaining her involvement with the Community Legal Clinic, Women’s Legal Education Action Fund (LEAF) and the Common Law Student Society (CLSS). She was also admitted to the Golden Key International Honour Society in recognition of her academic achievement.
Ms. Vipond previously worked at two large national law firms and completed a secondment at a large international company as in-house counsel.
Partner, Business Advisory & Aboriginal Business Services
Mr. Terry Brown, B.Comm (Hons) is a proud Aboriginal business leader and the Partner in charge of the Legacy Bowes Group Business Advisory Services. A success driven leader and negotiator, he brings 20 years’ experience working with First Nation and mainstream governments as well as with Fortune 100 and 500 corporations. Terry has an extensive command of Corporate and Indigenous issues, services and subject matter and is known for his talent in connecting main stream and Indigenous business interests. Terry’s personal philosophy of service also carries over to his volunteer work as shown by his commitment to the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce.
Chief, Whitecap Dakota First Nation
Darcy Bear is Chief of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation. He was re-elected as Chief for a seventh consecutive term in November 2012 and has served his Community, located 26 kilometers south of Saskatoon, since 1991.
Chief Bear’s leadership has been focused on financial accountability for Whitecap, self-government, and job creation through partnerships.
Early in his leadership tenure, Chief Bear and Council initiated a program to improve financial accountability. That led to correcting a 40% annual budget deficit on Reserve, a precursor to the financial and economic success the Whitecap First Nation has since earned. Many steps have been taken to achieve and maintain fiscal integrity for Whitecap including:
- 20 consecutive unqualified audits
- The Financial Transfer Agreement with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (1997)
- Consistent surplus operating budgets
Chief Bear is a recipient of the Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan in 2005, and was then named one of the “Ten Most Influential People” by Saskatchewan Business Magazine and awarded the CANDO “Economic Developer of the Year” in 2006. In December 2011, Chief Bear was honoured with the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, the highest recognition given to residents of Saskatchewan and on May 23, 2012, Chief Bear was honoured with the Diamond Jubilee Medal reflecting his commitment to service.
Mark Casaletto, President of Construction Market Data -Canada (CMD) has over 15 years of leadership experience in the industry. He is an active speaker at industry events providing insight and intelligence on the state and economics of the Canadian construction industry, trends and current events impacting the industry as well as how the digital space and technology are transforming and changing the way we work in Construction.
Mark is a Ryerson University graduate completing a Commerce degree with a major in economics. In 2005, he joined Construction Market Data as General Manager, completed the Strategic Leadership Program at Harvard University and has since steered this 100 year old authoritative voice of Canada’s construction industry into the digital age by enhancing their web presence to a respected and popular Canadian source for construction news, project data, and industry analytics.
Mark sits on the Innovation board of CMD which puts him at the forefront of emerging technologies and changing markets and enables him to offer opportunities for new products, new services, and new business models to the industry. In July 2009, Mark accepted a seat on the George Brown Advisory Board for Construction and Engineering Technologies. In 2012, he was appointed as a Director-at-Large of the Canadian Construction Association where he served for a four year term. In 2014, he was asked to sit on the advisory board of the School of Engineering Technology and Environmental Studies at Georgian College. In 2015, he was appointed to the board of the Toronto Construction Association.
Jeff T. Sawyer M.S.
Jeff Sawyer is a researcher and director of strategic engagements for the Performance Based Studies Research Group at Arizona State University. He has over 25 years of experience in the engineering consulting, construction, and capital project management fields. He has a BA in Geology and a MS in Construction Management. Jeff was the co-founder of Fann Environmental, an Arizona design build firm specializing in the water and wastewater industry. He is the former capital improvements project manager and senior environmental service engineer for the City of Prescott, Arizona. As an owner representative and a construction company owner, Jeff has led teams in the design, construction, and management of projects both in horizontal and vertical construction.
Kenneth T. Sullivan, PhD, MBA
Associate Professor, Co-Director PBSRG
Graduate Program Chair, Del E. Webb School of Construction
School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Arizona State University
Dr. Kenneth Sullivan is an associate professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University. He specializes in organizational transformation, best value contracting, performance measurement, risk management, and accountability systems. His research processes have generated over $8 Million in research funding and have been implemented in IT, business services, and construction projects valued at over $4 Billion. In addition to all types of design and construction delivery, he has led outsourcing efforts in networking systems, software, financial management, dining, media rights, travel management, radio systems, furniture, health insurance, document management, facility systems, etc. Prof. Sullivan possesses a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, an MBA in Real Estate and Urban Economics, and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering, all from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He has authored over 160 peer reviewed publications and recently won the 2012 ASCE journal of Leadership and Management in Engineering Best Article Award. He has also created a Masters Degree program in Facility Asset and Project Management, is the secretary of research of the international CIB Working Commission in performance measurement, is the Graduate Program Chair for his department. Dr. Sullivan has won the 2008, 2009, and 2012 Teaching Award for the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU, the 2013 IFMA Educator of the Year Award, and was awarded 2014-2016 Fulton Exemplar status.