Sylvain Laporte was appointed President of the Canadian Space Agency in March 2015.
Prior to this appointment, he was Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), Commissioner of Patents, Registrar of Trade-Marks since 2011.Mr. Laporte gained extensive experience as an Aerospace Engineer over the course of his 20-year career with the Canadian Forces. He held various positions in such fields as engineering, maintenance and human resources management.
Mr. Laporte earned a Bachelors degree in computer science from Collège Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean, and a Masters degree in computer engineering from the Royal Military College in Kingston.
Dr. Marie Lucy Stojak his the Chair of the Space Advisory Board. The Board advises the government on the country’s long-term objectives for the space sector and engages with Canadians to develop a new vision for Canada’s space sector.
Dr. Stojak has over 15 years’ experience in developing international, interdisciplinary and intercultural educational programs. She has directed the summer session of the International Space University (ISU), a nine-week professional space studies program.
She is a space law expert, with a special interest in space and security issues, along with space commercialization. She has several times been a member of Canadian delegations to such international organizations as the United Nations and the European Union.
Nicole Verkindt is the Founder & CEO of Canadian technology company, OMX (theomx.com). OMX is an online marketplace to help companies attract investment and increase their exports from foreign government contractors whom have to spend locally as a result of government contracts (offsets). Previously, she led a high tech manufacturing business selling to Governments around the world.
Nicole is on the Board of the Canadian Crown Corporation, CCC (Canadian Commercial Corporation) that performs government to government contracts between Canada and other countries around the world. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Peter Munk School of Global Affairs, known for their Munk Debates. Further, she is a commentator on CBC and columnist for Vanguard magazine focusing on technology and business news and is a “Dragon” on Next Gen Dragon’s Den, which is dedicated to early stage technology businesses.
Mike Gold, — Vice President of Washington Operations and Business Development for SSL, America’s most prolific commercial satellite manufacturer and a global leader in space systems and robotics. At SSL, Mr. Gold is responsible for interactions with Congress and Executive Branch agencies as well as business development for emerging space technologies.
In 2008, Mr. Gold was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to serve on the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (“COMSTAC”), and was appointed to serve as Chair of the organization in 2012. The COMSTAC is a federal advisory committee comprised of leading commercial space industry executives that provides advice to the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation. Additionally, Mr. Gold was appointed by the National Research Council to serve on the Space Technology Industry-Government-University roundtable which supports NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.
Francois Chopard, Founder and CEO, Starburst Accelerator, the 1st incubator/accelerator dedicated to aerospace start-ups.
François has over 20 years of experience in strategy consulting, entrepreneurship and business development. He specializes in the Aviation Aerospace and Defense industries featuring high stakes technology and has developed a wide experience of innovation-related issues. He works now on topics like future trends, product strategy, open innovation for companies mainly from the aerospace industry as well as investment funds.
Previously to joining Impulse Partners, François was a Paris-based partner at Oliver Wyman. He was also founder and CEO of Arendi Consulting.
François received his MS in Electrical Engineering from the Ecole Supérieur d’Electricité (Supélec) in Paris, France.
Dr. Kazuya Yoshida, Chief Technology Officer of ispace inc. to lead the rover technology of team HAKUTO for the challenge to Google Lunar XPRIZE. Professor Kazuya Yoshida received B. Eng., M. Eng. and Dr. Eng, degrees in Mechanical Engineering Science from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, in 1984, 1986, and 1990, respectively. He served as Research Associate of Tokyo Institute of Technology from 1986 to 1994, and Visiting Scientist of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A. in 1994. From 1995 to 2003 he was appointed as Associate Professor, and since 2003 he is Full Professor in Department of Aerospace Engineering, Tohoku University, Japan. He also served as Director of Center of Robotics for Extreme and Uncertain Environments in Tohoku University from 2011 to 2017.In addition, he has been contributing to space robotics education for international students at International Space University in Strasbourg, France (for Master of Space Studies) and various locations in the world (for Summer Study Programs).
Peter Mabson, President, exactEarth Ltd.
The exactEarth team is led by Peter Mabson, who brings over 30 years of experience in the space sector and product businesses. In particular, Mr. Mabson has held various executive positions within COM DEV related to the creation and development of new businesses and new business opportunities.
Since 2002, Mr. Mabson held the position of Vice President of Corporate Development within COM DEV where he was responsible for Corporate Strategic Planning and for Mergers and Acquisitions. He was appointed President of exactEarth Ltd. in 2009 with proven expertise in product design, business management, sales and marketing, and new business development. He has written many technical papers related to satellite communications systems and has extensive experience in international business dealings having been involved in more than 20 international programs across the globe. Mr. Mabson graduated from McMaster University with Degrees in Engineering Physics and Business Management in 1981. He also served on the technology advisory board at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario.
Michelle Mendes, Executive Director and President of the Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA). The CSCA is a launch pad for its members by fueling innovation, investment and best practices throughout the Canadian space sector. She is a Member of the Canadian SpaceAdvisory Board, sits on the Boards of MaxQ Canada, Women in Aerospace and SpaceApps Canada and serves on Committees of the International Astronautical Federation. Michelle holds an MBA in Space Commerce, a Bachelor from Simon Fraser University and holds several other professional designations.
Al Scott, has a PhD in laboratory astrophysics from the University of Waterloo. He received an adjunct professorship from York University’s Centre for Research in Earth and Space Sciences for his technical leadership on the SWIFT instrument and Chinook mission. As an industrial remote sensing scientist for the last 20 years with CAL, EMS, COM DEV, and now Honeywell, he has spent his career supporting Canadian scientists in more than a dozen innovative science mission and instrument studies for the CSA. Over the past 15 years he has supported multiple CSA-led exploration workshops to help define Canada’s role in space exploration, and is a founding member of the Space Technology Consultation Committee. His lifelong quest to find a path to flight for Canadian space science missions parallels his optimism that this will be the year for the Leafs. He has been the technical lead on the CASTOR space observatory mission concept since its inception in 2011.
James Costa is the founder and CEO of Phuse, a digital user experience agency through which he has helped teams at NASA, AT&T, Amazon, Facebook, and international financial institutions build the future of web and mobile. Combining his love for technology and civic innovation, James began organizing NASA’s Space Apps Toronto in 2012 and has since used his experience to advise other international events as well as build Space Apps Canada. James co-founded Positive Gear, an organization that speaks and works with youth to empower them towards positive change, and is on the Board of Directors for the Trek for Teens Foundation, an organization that raises funds and awareness for youth homelessness across Canada. In his spare time, James organizes the Toronto Agency Owner Meetup and imagines Neil DeGrasse Tyson reading him factually-accurate bedtime stories.
Isabel Deslauriers, Manager, Let’s Talk Science Outreach – Isabel Deslauriers works for Let’s Talk Science, an award-winning, national, charitable organization that creates and delivers unique learning programs and services that engage children, youth and educators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). She leads the Let’s Talk Science Outreach program, which trains and supports over 3500 volunteers (STEM students and professionals) who create and deliver free, hands-on activities to children and youth across Canada.
Prior to joining Let’s Talk Science as a full-time staff member in 2008, Isabel studied electrical engineering. She conducted research on cryptography and data compression and worked on control systems in an industrial setting. Isabel decided to pursue engineering as a direct result of an early experience with a science outreach program, which is part of the reason she is so passionate about the impact that Let’s Talk Science Outreach can have on children and youth.
Chris Kitzan, Director General of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Chris Kitzan has a wealth of policy and program experience in the Public Service, including most recently as Chief of Staff at Library and Archives Canada. The majority of his career, however, has been spent developing programs, exhibitions and publications for cultural organizations such as the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now the Canadian Museum of History) and the Diefenbaker Canada Centre.
Larissa Beach, Consultant and Co-founder of Neptec Design Group
As VP Space Systems & International Business Development (retired) she was responsible for expanding Neptec products globally. Through her active participation on its executive team and board of directors, she helped build Neptec into an award-winning company doing business world-wide and helped develop the successful commercialization strategy to spin off Neptec’s space technology into terrestrial markets.
As Program Manager for the NASA Space Vision System and OBSS Laser Camera System, she won NASA’s Space Flight Awareness and GEM Awards and led Neptec to win NASA’s George M. Low Award and Group Achievement awards.
Previously, at SPAR and Leigh Instruments, her defense projects included Tactical Navigation System (TACAN) and Deployable Flight Incident Recorder (DFIRS)
Taryn Tomlinson, Senior Engineer, Chief of Staff, Canadian Space Agency
Taryn Tomlinson has always had a passion for the cosmos, and technology that enables space exploration. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill University and a Master’s Degree in Space Science from the University of California, San Diego.
Ms.Tomlinson has spent her career in various tech companies in California and Germany. She contributed to the European Space Agency’s Columbus module, and co-founded a space startup in 2003. She arrived at the CSA in 2008 and has been involved on various robotics-related projects for the International Space Station, including the Canadarm2 and Dextre.
In her current role working as the Chief of Staff at the Canadian Space Agency, Ms.Tomlinson’s favourite files include developing Canadian companies and technology for the future of space exploration, as well as initiatives to encourage our youth to choose STEM fields.
Andrej Litvinjenko, Canadian Space Commerce Association, Vice President, Public Policy and Global Affairs
Andrej develops the CSCA’s advocacy strategy and products, including position papers, budget consultations, and updates on the health of Canada’s commercial outer space sector. He works closely with Members to identify and understand the policy and regulatory challenges and opportunities they encounter, allowing him to better represent their interests before Parliamentary Committees, in consultation documents, and at industry conferences. His research has been published in multiple academic journals, including with Princeton and San Diego Universities. He brings to the CSCA nearly a decade of government and industry experience. He previously served as Adviser to the Parliamentary Chair of the Aerospace, Space, and Cleantech Caucuses and most recently served Industry Canada as an Innovation Analyst. He holds graduate degrees in Economic Policy and Political Science from the Norman Paterson School and Carleton University, respectively. He recently earned his law degree cum laude from the University of Ottawa and is completing his Articles of Clerkship with Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP.
Dr. Odette Laneuville , Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Ottawa & Co-Investigator, MARROW Project
She obtained her PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Toronto in 1992. Dr. Laneuville started her independent research activities in 1995. In collaborations with clinicians, she has contributed greatly to the understanding of the biological basis of physical rehabilitation.
She is a co-investigator for MARROW; a research currently studying astronauts travelling to the International Space Station (ISS). Dr. Laneuville is the director of Biomedical Science program in the Faculty of Science. First thing in the morning, she watches NASA tv . The liftoff of a cargo travelling to the ISS with on board material to conduct MARROW or the “splashdown” of a capsule with inside her precious samples collected by astronauts is always an exciting even if taking place at 5am. To watch astronauts participating in MARROW when they board a rocket and on their way to the ISS is her favorite.
Elise Harrington, University of Western Ontario
Elise is an M.Sc. candidate in Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. Combining her love of rocks and space, she has imaged Mars, studied the mountains and channels on Venus, determined the compositions of meteorites, and used satellite-borne radar for mapping in the Canadian Arctic. She is passionate about all aspects of planetary geology, and is a supporter of public outreach programs for STEM fields.
Gabriella Gref Innes, Canadian Government (Retired)
Originally from Romania, Gabriella immigrated to Canada in 1974. Following studies in international commerce at Carleton University, she opened her own company in this field. The experience gained and the network developed fostered her understanding and appreciation of applying the “win-win” concept in the world of international commerce as well as the importance of strong partnerships of diverse cultures.
Gabriela subsequently worked in several departments of the Government of Canada for 35 years providing expertise in project management and export contracting, strategic marketing analysis, and development, risk analysis, and development of trade policy. She worked closely with foreign governments and their departments, such as NASA, and with international institutions, such as WHO, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNDP, FAO, and the World Bank. Space programs have been her lasting contribution as it affected the execution, continuation and winning of space contracts by Canadian companies for international space programs since 1992.
Monsi Roman, Centennial Challenges Program Manager, NASA
Program Manager of the NASA Centennial Challenges Program in June 2015. In this role Roman manages the day-to-day operations of the Agency Flagship Prizes and Competition program that currently includes 4 active challenge competitions and several challenges in formulation for a total Prize Purse of over $12 M. The program supports technology developments under the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C..
Prior to joining the NASA STMD team, Ms. Roman held several positions at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where she started working in September 1989. From 1989 to 2013 she served as the International Space Station (ISS) Life Support Chief Microbiologist, as part of a small team of scientists and engineers that developed and tested the water and air systems currently keeping the crew alive in the ISS. In 2010 she was named the Project Manager for the development of the next generation of life support systems, including sensors, that could be used during a mission to Mars. In that capacity, she was responsible for leading and coordinating the technology development work of 6 NASA Centers and over 30 NASA civil servants. In 2014 she was assigned to NASA Headquarters for a Professional Development Detail, supporting the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate Divisions of Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) and International Space Station where she supported the Agency in the areas related to the Journey to Mars.
Paul Harrison, Magellan Aerospace
as been active in Canada’s space industry for nearly 20 years, including almost 15 years at Magellan Aerospace. As a specialist in attitude determination and control subsystems, he has worked on four satellite missions – MOST, SCISAT, CASSIOPE, and the soon-to-be-launched Radarsat Constellation Mission (RCM) – while also supporting and leading numerous studies on future Canadian programs. His most recent role has been as the technical lead for attitude determination and control on RCM, helping enable the accurate pointing necessary for the three satellites to provide high-quality radar imagery. Originally from the West Coast, Paul lives in Ottawa where he enjoys hiking and cycling.
Steve Bellingham, Manager, Navigation Systems Engineering, NAV CANADA
Steve and his team are responsible for the acquisition and life cycle management of radio navigation aids and flight test systems.Steve has a degree in Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and 35 years of work experience with radio navigation aids and aviation applications of GPS, initially with Transport Canada and subsequently with the privatized air navigation service provider NAV CANADA.
Since 2012, Steve has also served as NAV CANADA’s engineering representative on the Aireon space-based ADS‑B program for air traffic control surveillance of aircraft, in which NAV CANADA is both an investor and a customer.
Larry Reeves, President, Canadian Satellite Design Challenge Management Society
Larry has a BSc and MSc in Computer Science, and a Master of Space Studies degree from the International Space University. Since ISU, Larry has worked in Canadian space industry in Vancouver for more years than he cares to mention, on programmes like RADARSAT-2, RapidEye, and NEOSSat. He is now a Senior Non-Engineer in an Engineering Role at UrtheCast.
Larry is an avid golfer, and is a full-fledged cycling MAMIL (Middle-Aged Man In Lycra). He was also a Director of the Artificial Reef Society of B.C. for 13 years, helping to sink two ships and one 737 in the waters around B.C.’s coast.
Dr. Zoe Szajnfarber, Associate Professor of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering and of Space Policy, the George Washington University
Dr. Zoe Szajnfarber is an Associate Professor of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering and of Space Policy at the George Washington University. Her research seeks to understand the fundamental dynamics of innovation in technology-intensive governmental organization, as a basis for decision-making. She received her bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto and conducted her graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning dual masters’ degrees in Aeronautics & Astronautics and Technology Policy and a doctorate in Engineering Systems. Outside of academia, Dr. Szajnfarber has worked as a systems engineer at MDA Space Missions and Dynacon Inc and as a researcher at the European Space Agency (Advanced Concepts Team) and with multiple NASA centers.
Dr. Marianne Mader is a Planetary Scientist, Science Communicator, and Idea Wrangler!
She’s dedicated her career to sharing her love for science and space exploration through planetary science research, innovative public engagement, participatory education, and science communication. Currently, the Managing Director of Earth & Space/Fossils & Evolution at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Marianne leads multidisciplinary initiatives to help people understand the Earth, our solar system and how life evolved over time. With over 13 years of field experience, Marianne has studied some of the oldest rocks on Earth in Greenland, explored impact craters across the globe, and collected meteorites in Antarctica. She has collaborated with UWO’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration, CSA, NASA, and MDA to plan and execute simulated lunar and planetary exploration missions. Along with Andy Forest, Marianne is the co-founder of STEAMLabs, an all-ages community makerspace in downtown Toronto.
Nicole Mortillaro, Science reporter with CBC News in Toronto and the editor of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
Nicole credits her passion for the Universe to the first images of Saturn sent back by the Voyager spacecraft when she was just eight years old. Instead of becoming an astrophysicist, however, she chose a math-free career as an author, editor and writer where she enjoys spreading the wonders of science.
Elizabeth Howell – Freelance journalist
Elizabeth Howell is a freelance space journalist based in Ottawa. Some of her clients include Space.com, Discovery News, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and Air&Space Smithsonian. She is also a Ph.D. candidate (distance) at the University of North Dakota in aerospace studies.
Marc Boucher, Founder, SpaceQ
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceRef Canada Interactive Inc, CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef U.S., advisor and co-founder of the Canadian Space Commerce Association, and director and co-founder of MaxQ Accelerator Inc. Previously he was the founder of Maple Square, Canada’s first internet directory and search engine which he sold.
Dave McCabe, Senior Customer Business Manager, Space Systems, Honeywell Aerospace
Dave has 30 years of experience in the defence and space sectors having held a broad range of engineering, program management, business development and general management positions. Dave began his career at Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg (now part of Magellan Aerospace) developing military and suborbital rocket systems and later manned space science payloads and small satellite missions including the SCISAT-1 launched in 2003. For a period in the late 1990’s, Dave was seconded by Bristol to work in the Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Program Office as a program manager and then as manager of the ISS Robotics Ground Segment at CSA.
In 2010, Dave joined COM DEV as the General Manager of the Mission Development Group based in Cambridge Ontario and was involved in the development of several elements of the initial space and ground infrastructure for exactEarth as well as the development of new mission concepts in numerous application areas. In 2014 Dave became the Senior Director of Mission Development at COM DEV and since the acquisition of COM DEV by Honeywell in 2016 Dave has taken on the role of Senior Customer Business Manager in the space division of Honeywell Aerospace.
Dave has a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Manitoba and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario Ivey Business School.
BGen K.G. WHALE
Originally from Wallaceburg, Ontario, BGen Whale enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1986 under the Regular Officer Training Plan. Achieving his pilot’s wings in 1990, he has achieved operational qualifications on Kiowa, Twin Huey, AH-64A/C Apache and Griffon helicopters providing a comprehensive background in tactical aviation mobility, reconnaissance, and aerial firepower operations.
His staff experience includes Training and Concept Development within 1 Wing Headquarters, Kingston, Chief of Staff at the Canadian Defence Academy, Kingston, and various strategic level positions at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa including the Canadian Forces Transformation Team, the Directorate of Air Strategic Plans, Acting Director General Air Readiness and Special Advisor to the Minister of National Defence.
BGen Whale’s command and leadership roles have included those of a US Army Aviation Attack Platoon Leader and Aviation Battalion Battle Captain, Squadron Deputy Commanding Officer (400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, Borden), Squadron Commanding Officer (427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron, Petawawa) and Wing Commander (1 Wing HQ, Kingston).
His international experience includes an assignment with 444 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, Germany, an exchange posting with the US Army, 1st Battalion/4th Aviation Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas, a flying tour on OP PALLADIUM in Bosnia, integration of Special Operations Aviation Detachments in Afghanistan and as Chief of Current Operations on OP MOBILE (Libya) in NATO’s Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters, Naples, Italy.
His professional development and education include a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Western Ontario, a M.Sc. in Organizational Leadership from Norwich University, Vermont, the Land Forces Transition Command and Staff Course, Kingston, and both the Joint Command and Staff Program and the National Security Program at the Canadian Forces College, Toronto.
BGen Whale’s recognized achievements include a US Army Commendation for contribution to the US Army Task Force XXI program, a Commander 1 Canadian Air Division Commendation for aviation project development, a Chief of the Air Staff Commendation for Air Force strategy development, and two Chief of Defence Staff Commendations for his service during OP MOBILE and for contributions to RCAF readiness.
BGen Whale is currently the Director General & Component Commander – Space, National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa.
Michael Unger is a board member for the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge, a university student competition for teams to design and build a small satellite. He is currently the Programs Coordinator at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, B.C. where he’s been an astronomy educator for over 10 years. He also curates a monthly lecture series called Nerd Nite held at the Fox Cabaret, where he brings science, and art enthusiasts on stage to talk about their passions. For Michael those passions are obviously space, but also Star Wars, pinball, and fine cheeses.
Maria Manoli is a doctoral student at the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL), where she is also an Erin J. C. Arsenault doctoral fellow in Space Governance, an R. E. Morrow fellow and a N. M. Matte fellow.
She has also received the 2015 Nicholas M Matte Prize, and GREAT and GRMA awards from the same University. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Laws from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, two LL.M.s from the same University, in Civil Law and in Public International Law respectively, and a LL.M. from the IASL, during which she was also an Erin J. C. Arsenault Master’s fellow in Space Governance. Maria is a registered lawyer at the Athens Bar Association, Greece, and has previously interned as a junior project manager at Secure World Foundation, and worked as a trainee in law for the Athens Court of Appeals, the Council of State (Greece), and the Hellenic Competition Commission. Maria is also working as a research assistant for the McGill IASL, where she has participated in a number of research projects.
She has coached the McGill IASL space law moot court team for its participation in the M. Lachs Moot Court Competition for three years and has often been judge for the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. She has delivered a number of presentations to conferences and workshops around the world and participated in the research work of the 2017 Centre of the Hague Academy of International Law. Her research revolves around the commercial uses of outer space.
Dr. Stella M L Melo has a PhD is Space Science and has worked pushing the edge of knowledge and fostering innovation on fields of earth and planetary atmospheres. She worked for over 10 years at the Canadian Space Agency as Program Scientist providing science leadership to the design, development and implementation of several space missions led by Canada, NASA, ESA, CNES and other Space Agencies. Work in Space requires thinking way ahead everyone else. We are constantly dealing with the unknown and pushing the edge of technology to make possible what people normally would qualify as unthinkable!. In 2014 Stella took on a new challenge: to lead a team to bring innovation to the meteorological observation system in Canada, including develop the vision of an integrated observing system for the Canadian Arctic. While climate is an intellectual concept, weather is something people experience in their daily life, and we are certainly experiencing different weather patterns than before. We do need to be innovative to adapt. Stella and her group have been working with academia and industry in Canada and abroad towards innovative ways to observe, understand and forecast weather parameters. Her group is also highly involved on bridging new approaches like AI to improve our capacity to provide weather information. We have seen that changes in climate are driving important changes in the ecosystem. Well, it seems clear that our capacity to sustain life in this planet will depend on our ability to innovate and break throughout the unthinkable!
Other Confirmed Speakers
Iain Christie, Executive VP, AIAC
Lt-Col Catherine Marchetti, Director Space Strategy and Plans, RCAF
Stephane Germain, CEO, GHGSat
Ewan Reid, CEO, Mission Control Space Services
Dr. Nadeem Ghafoor, VP Space Exploration, Canadensys
Dan King, Director of Business Development, MDA