Panel Four: Industry


Jim is a 30-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. Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems is one of the oldest continuously operating electronics design and manufacturing operations in Canada and the largest electronics product design company in Atlantic Canada.

Jim’s personal passion is innovation and its impact on the competitiveness of Canadian industry. Jim is a proud alumnus of the Nova Scotia Technical College (now Dalhousie University Faculty of Engineering) with a degree in electrical engineering. He also has an MBA in marketing from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and is a registered professional engineer in Nova Scotia.

Mark is the Shipbuilding Strategy Manager for the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI) in New Brunswick. JEDI works with partners to foster Indigenous economic development in New Brunswick. Mr. Taylor manages the New Brunswick Indigenous Shipbuilding Engagement Strategy which focuses on using innovation to open Indigenous business development and community economic development connected to the federal shipbuilding program. A feature program of the strategy is the JEDI Indigenous Business Accelerator Program, the first of its kind in Eastern Canada, that supports the development of new Indigenous business startups who work with universities and industry partners to develop new technologies as they grow their businesses. The program is funded by the Government of Canada, Government of New Brunswick, Lockheed Martin Canada and Bank of Montreal. Mr. Taylor is a graduate of St. Thomas University with 10 years experience in economic development.

Software Product Manager, is a computer engineer and retired military officer with an M.Sc. in Acoustics and Oceanography. He has 25 years of experience hunting submarines and performing R&D to develop advanced sonar systems. He founded Akoostix in 2006, which was acquired by GeoSpectrum in 2014, then to be acquired by Elbit in 2017. Joe led the successful CICP (now BCIP) bid for TruView, which has become a coveted processor at the Acoustic Data Analysis Center (ADAC), while the core framework is used for Elbit's sonar processing.


Captain(N) Wilson enrolled in the Naval Reserve at HMCS MALAHAT as a MARS Officer, and after graduating from the University of Victoria in 1992, he finished classification training.  He started serving full-time in the Naval Reserve until making a component transfer to the Regular Navy in 2002.

Capt(N) Wilson was part of the Commissioning Crew of the Costal Defense Vessel HMCS YELLOWKNIFE and was posted consecutively as the ship’s Navigating and Executive Officers before being appointed to command in July 2000.

Following component transfer, Capt(N) Wilson was offered the opportunity for an in-depth exposure to major warship operations in HMCS WINNIPEG as the ships Communications Officer (CCISO). Following completions of the Operations Room Officer Course he returned to Esquimalt where he sailed as a Combat Officer in the Fleet’s Flagship, HMCS ALGONQUIN. After a year as XO at Sea Training (Atlantic), Capt(N) Wilson was posted to Ottawa in 2011 in the RCN’s Force Development Division as Project Director for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC). 

In July 2013, Capt(N) Wilson assumed command of the modernized Halifax Class (HCM) frigate HMCS CALGARY where he had the honour to be the first commander in the Canadian Fleet to bring HCM ship to high Readiness.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Defence Studies and is a graduate of the joint Command and staff Programme 35.


Owen is the Director of Industry and Government Engagement with the Mi’kmaq Economic Benefits Office (MEBO). Owen has an MBA from Cape Breton University with a focus in Community Economic Development. He is a past president of the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce and 2013 was presented with the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for work in community economic development, work documenting the history, beauty and culture of Cape Breton and for his work in economic development with First Nation communities. In Oct. 2013 Fitzgerald received the CBRM Ambassador of the Year Award from the Sydney & Area Chamber of Commerce.

As Director of the Mi’kmaq Economic Benefits Office, Fitzgerald helps lead a very successful First Nation model in Economic Development, one that is being recognized across Canada. Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office seeks to build a broad network of industry and government partners, and in doing so identify both employment and business opportunities for local Aboriginals. MEBO works to prepare and support both individuals and Aboriginal businesses to be part of these opportunities. The Benefits Office strives to educate industry and government departments of the value of having a diverse workforce and in doing so, provide solutions on how to better engage Aboriginals. MEBO helps industry find the workers they need through promotion and recruitment efforts and provides training when necessary.


Prior to becoming Assistant Deputy Minister, Lands and Economic Development, Sheilagh Murphy was the Director General, Social Policy and Programs Branch at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). Sheilagh has held several executive level positions with the Department, including Acting Director General, Operations and Planning Support Branch; Ministerial Liaison Officer; Senior Advisor, Northern Economic Development; and Director, Strategic Management and Economic Analysis. Sheilagh holds a Masters of Arts from the University of British Columbia and an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University. Sheilagh is an active volunteer in her home community of Chelsea, Quebec, where she and her husband Gordon live and raised their three sons.


Bio Forthcoming


Ken started Chrysler Corporation at the age of 18.  He quickly got involved in the union and elected to several positions within the Windsor Assembly Plant.  He was elected to the position of President of Local 444 in 1994. He successfully held that position until 2008 when he replaced the legendary Buzz Hargrove as the National President of the CAW.

Ken’s reputation of a passionate and determined leader was tested in the 2008-2009 economic crisis.  He takes pride in recognizing the CAW stood tall in defending the interest of workers, the communities in which they live and Canada’s economic and social conditions.  Ken went on to play a leading role in merging the “CAW” and the CEP into one dynamic and growing union under the identity “Unifor”, prior to his retirement in 2012. The merger was a result to growing corporate power engineered in many ways by government policies.

Ken was executive Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress and an executive member of the Ontario Federation of Labour.  He also served as a full participant on the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council “CAPC” representing labour which included senior government, business and academic leaders.

Ken was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee and was also presented an Honorary Doctorate Law degree from University of Windsor.


Phil started apprenticed in the Royal Air Force working on long range RADAR’s before going back to school and gaining his degree in Marine Engineering from Plymouth in the UK. He went on to gain a Masters and Ph.D. in subsea engineering from Cranfield University, UK. Phil has spent his career from that point leading engineering and business teams in the marine sector. After a long period with Global Marine Systems Ltd as their VP of Engineering, developing ship’s systems and equipment, and subsea remote technologies, Phil took leadership positions in the marine energy space, working on ocean renewables (for OPT) and offshore oil and gas (for BMT), heading up technology development, business operations and strategy. In January 2016, Phil moved to Canada and assumed the role of Vice President of Fleetway Inc. and Oceanic Consulting Services, part’s of JD Irving group of companies, where he is responsible for driving all aspects of the business.


Bio Forthcoming