Skip to content

About Us

People become partners, so ideas can become solutions, at COVE

COVE is an expanding community of ocean tech companies, and private & public partners who are working together to create the solutions and sustainable growth that propel Canada’s ocean economy.

COVE shares research, resources, and ideas to PROPEL the ocean tech sector.

COVE connects private and public sector PARTNERS to bring new technologies to market.

COVE is building a pipeline of diverse talent to WORK & LEARN within the ocean sector.


Greater Good

We serve our partners for their benefit and the greater good of the COVE ecosystem.

Knowledge Generators

We promote and encourage innovation to lead our industry.

Stewards of the COVE Ecosystem

We seek to preserve the value and integrity of the COVE ecosystem and brand.

Inclusion & Openness

We strive to build an environment that promotes the inclusion of others’ ideas, experiences and perspectives.

Operational Excellence

We are committed to operating in a professional manner, upholding the highest safety standards at all times.

COVE’s Leadership Team

Emily Allen, Ocean Institute Facilitator at COVE

Emily Allen

Ocean Institute Facilitator

Emily Allen is the Ocean Institute Facilitator at COVE. Emily graduated with an undergraduate degree in Biology and a Master’s in Applied Science from Saint Mary’s University. Her interest in the ocean began at a young age and has influenced her career path. As a biologist studying behavioural ecology and evolution in fishes since 2016, she had the opportunity to do research in field and laboratory settings while working in both government and academic institutions and have had the chance to speak about her research on an international level. Throughout her career, Emily has come to love the challenge of communicating scientific concepts to various audiences, which is a perfect fit as she is leading the Deep Dive into Data program that supports educators across Canada in integrating ocean data into high school curriculums.

Emily enjoys spending time outdoors, swimming in the ocean, being with her family and friends, and enjoying her quiet time with her cat Rex and dog Peanut.

Michael Baxter

Financial Analyst

Mike graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in Finance. Shortly after graduating, he moved to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa for over two years. During his stay, Mike worked for Casella Family Brands, owner of international brand name Yellow Tail wines. He also worked as an ice hockey academy instructor and retail associate in Melbourne for O’Brien Group Australia, one of Australia’s largest hospitality and entertainment companies. Mike returned to Nova Scotia in November 2019 and began working for Citco, a global financial services company, prior to joining the team at COVE.

Outside of work, Mike enjoys exploring the outdoors, playing sports, and travelling.

Dara Conrod

Projects and Administration Lead

Dara is the Projects & Administration Lead at COVE. After getting her undergraduate degree at Acadia University, Dara went on to study Music Business at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. Over the past decade, Dara has worked as lead Project Manager to some of Canada’s largest independent record labels and their rosters (Black Box Recordings, Open Road Recordings), where she oversaw and executed all product release campaigns and business affairs. Through this unique experience, Dara brings her strong knowledge of project management, events, brand development, strategic implementation, and administration to COVE.


Dara enjoys exploring the outdoors, podcasts, playing sports, and travelling in her spare time.

Anna Hart, Client Experience Associate

Anna Hart

Client Experience Associate

Anna joins the COVE team as the Client Experience Associate. She holds a diploma in Business Administration, Accounting from Nova Scotia Community College and a degree in Commerce, Global Business Management from Saint Mary’s University. Growing up in Cape Breton and being fascinated with the ocean spurred her career in the ocean technology sector.

Her previous experience includes working with Survival Systems Training Limited (SSTL) in Dartmouth, NS, on their International Business Development team. There she saw two large-scale projects from start to finish, which included building turnkey next-generation environmental simulator facilities like SSTL’s home facility for the Mexican and Columbian Navy. Anna also worked at MetOcean Telematics in business development.

Outside of work, you can find Anna at the beach in the summer, hanging out with family and friends, playing softball and trying new restaurants around the city, and she spends her winters at the ski hills.

Riley Kennedy

Data Steward

Riley Kennedy graduated from the NSCC Marine Institute with a diploma in Marine Navigation. While at the Institute, Riley completed a back-to-back transatlantic voyage to France on the Picton Castle, a three-masted tall ship. During this time, Riley learned valuable skills, including how to master sailing a barque, steering the vessel into port while under sail, sailing off the anchor, and navigating under the northern stars. One of his favourite pastimes was meeting people from all over the world and hearing their stories.


Riley has worked all over the Atlantic waters around Nova Scotia for Atlantic Towing, Clearwater Seafoods, and the research vessel, Coriolis II. While working with Atlantic Towing, Riley gained experience providing offshore supply to an oil rig in Newfoundland’s grand banks and even towed an iceberg. While on the Coriolis, he collected conductivity, temperature and depth (CTD) and water samples from points around the coast of Nova Scotia, did seismic surveying on the Magdalen Islands and conducted CTD and soil sampling of the Saint Lawrence River.

He is an NSCC IT Database Administration program graduate and joins the COVE team as Data Steward for the Stella Maris project. Riley has learned there is a demand for new and upgraded ocean technology and has experienced the challenges of collecting ocean data. His goal is to provide COVE companies with an easily accessible way for ocean technology companies to get their products to market faster.

Riley enjoys camping, running, and helping with the family farm.

James Kesten, Director of Strategic Partnerships

James Kesten

Director of Strategic Partnerships

James joins the COVE team as Director of Strategic Partnerships. He is a professional engineer graduated from Dalhousie University and holds an MBA from Queen’s with focus on Data Analytics, Project Management and New Ventures. He has experience in marine technology innovation, offshore inspections, subsea deployment of technology, strategic planning for international markets, business development, and project management. James has worked around the world in nearly every offshore market and in an onshore capacity in international business development.

James works directly with COVE’s tenants, partners, and stakeholders to create, adopt, and implement initiatives and programs that will remove barriers for the commercialization of new products and services. In his Director of Strategic Partnerships role, James will enhance COVE’s business network and enable a robust Blue Economy.

James lives in Halifax with his wife and two young daughters and has been an avid rock climber for 15 years.

Sheila King

CFO and VP Operations

Sheila joined the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship team as Controller in June 2017. Sheila is responsible for ensuring that the financial management and reporting, as well as the financial planning, risk management and internal controls are consistently best-in-class.


Prior to joining COVE, Sheila was the Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Director of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia for four years.  Previously, Sheila held several positions with the Province of New Brunswick where she worked with the Board of Management responsible for budgets and financial management with responsibility for various departments.  Sheila holds a Bachelor of Science and MBA from Dalhousie University, and is a Chartered Professional Accountant.


Sheila has been a member of the board of directors of the Kidney Foundation and Financial Management Institute, and has worked with Scouts Canada, Dartmouth Whalers Association, Abenaki Aquatic Club, and the New Brunswick Nurses Association.


Sheila lives in Dartmouth with her husband and three children. When she’s not cheering on her kids at various sporting events, Sheila enjoys travelling and reading.

Tanya Lush

Director, Workforce Development

Tanya Lush is a graduate of Acadia University Wolfville, NS (Psychology) and Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Tanya holds a Masters of Education (Human Relations- Psychology) with a specialization in occupational psychology & career development; where personality and ability intersect with vocational and professional interests. She has expertise in, and a passion for, coaching early to mid-career professionals.

Tanya has spent 14 of her more than 22-year career internationally (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Poland). Tanya’s career path has led her to leadership roles in Government, Non-Profit and Higher Education where she has built and led “people projects”, departments and services focusing on employee engagement/retention and career/workforce development for professionals and post-secondary students from more than 70 nationalities over the span of her career!

Tanya enjoys being outside, hiking, reading and travel, and enjoys meeting the local people and experiencing new places and food.

Bruce MacDougall

Senior Project Manager

Bruce MacDougall is the Senior Project Manager for Stella Maris. Bruce is a computer engineer, tech entrepreneur, and business leader.  He has many years of experience in the telecom and ICT fields before becoming immersed in ocean technologies at COVE.  Bruce is involved in the ICT community in Atlantic Canada, focusing on investment and mentorship, business strategy, and technology leadership. As well as founding a telecom firm in Atlantic Canada Bruce has held several senior positions in the ICT sector, most recently as the Regional Vice President of Rogers Communications.

Bruce is the past chair of the board of Digital Nova Scotia, the ICT industry association in this province, and a board member at mitacs. He is a long-time IEEE member and a professional engineer registered in Nova Scotia.  

Originally from Quebec, Bruce has an engineering degree from McGill and an MBA from Queen’s. He lives in Halifax with his family.

Katherine Mataya is the Education and Outreach Manager at COVE

Katherine Mataya

Education and Outreach Manager

Katherine Mataya is the Education and Outreach Manager at COVE. After studying Biology and Math at Queen’s University to obtain her Bachelor of Science degree, Kat went to South America for two years to research and educate people on the local flora and fauna. There, Kat found her passion for outdoor education and, after returning to Ontario, went on to run environmental education programs for all ages.

In hopes of upgrading her skills, Kat completed a post-graduate diploma in Environmental Management and Assessment at Niagara College before moving to Nova Scotia to be closer to family. She worked in the south shore of Nova Scotia, assisting businesses in reducing single-use plastics and running outdoor education programs within rural communities. Now Kat has taken her experiences working with children and youth to support the workforce development team at COVE and help build the pipeline for talent within the ocean sector.

Leslie Munro

Communications Manager

Leslie is the Communications Manager at the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE). Leslie graduated from Nova Scotia Community College with a diploma in Business Administration, Marketing. Previously, Leslie worked for the Province of Nova Scotia, at Communications Nova Scotia and the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Apprenticeship Agency, and the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. The experience she gained working for the province and a Non-Profit Organization is where she learned key relationship building skills in government. Leslie’s continuing to work towards her Business degree from Mount Saint Vincent University and is putting her education and experience into practice at the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship.


In her spare time, when Leslie’s not hiking up mountains or backcountry camping, she’s busy chasing after her two daughters. Her pride for community is exemplified in her time volunteering for the Red Tent Event, for the Marguerite Centre, and GiveToLive: The Big Ride, for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Melanie Nadeau

Chief Executive Officer

Melanie Nadeau is Chief Executive Officer for the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE).  An award-winning Canadian businesswoman and trailblazer, Melanie leads and grows organizations by developing strategies to gain market confidence, drive investments, deliver profits and achieve operational success.   She is an expert in the commercialization of emerging technologies, developing business strategies, and incubating new technology into mature revenue generating engines.


She is a resilient executive leader who builds and fosters strong strategic partnerships with her unique combination of technical, business, and political acumen. An astute decision-maker, Melanie drives operational efficiency and asset optimization through operations, financial management, human resources, and administrative policies and procedures.


In her previous role as Director, Strategic Initiatives for EMERA, a multi-billion-dollar energy and services company, she focused on long-term growth strategies and commercial projects impacting the bottom line.  Prior to this, she held positions of increasing responsibility overseeing 40+ employees and $500M+ budgets. An experienced Board Director, her appointments have included international marine businesses, national industry associations and an Atlantic Canadian energy board.


An internationally recognized thought-leader in the ocean sector, she offers a global perspective and has been a notable expert for the International Energy Agency, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She was hand-selected by the delegates of 30+ countries to Chair the IEC industry standards for marine technologies and co-led global conformity assessment for renewable energy. Melanie has earned multiple awards including Canada’s Clean16 Award for her outstanding contribution towards clean capitalism. She has been an invited speaker to numerous events, including TEDGlobal.


Since serving in the Royal Canadian Navy, she continues her deep appreciation for our ocean.

Mitch Owen

Operations Manager

Mitch joins COVE as the Operations Manager, with over ten years of experience working in marine operations in the tourism industry.

Prior to joining COVE, Mitch worked for Murphy’s on the Water where he managed a fleet of passenger vessels including the Harbour Hoppers and Theodore Too. Mitch is a Transport Canada certified Captain with over 1000 hours of sea-time on a variety of vessels and has spearheaded the development of marine training programs for seasonal boat operators across the country.  He builds trusting relationships and draws on his network of marine stakeholders, including as past Director on the Board of the Passenger and Commercial Vessel Association. Mitch brings to the Cove team his extensive marine knowledge, project management skills, and innovative approach to getting things done.

While not at work Mitch enjoys camping, local history, Nova Scotian adventures and walking at Shubie Park with his wife Taylor and their dog Oland.

Kennedy Sittler

Marine Technical Specialist

Kennedy Sittler joins the COVE team as Marine Technical Specialist. Kennedy moved to the east coast from Kitchener, Ontario, to attend Dalhousie University. She graduated from Dalhousie University with a bachelor of Ocean Science and a minor in Political Science. Throughout university, Kennedy was the president of the Dalhousie Oceanography Undergraduate Society (DOUGS) and the Co-Captain of the Dalhousie Women’s Lacrosse team. She attended NSCC and graduated with an Ocean Technology Advanced Diploma (OTAD). While Kennedy was taking the OTAD program, she participated in the COVE Internship Program and was essential in building Stella Maris.

She enjoys spending time with her friends and visiting her family in Ontario as often as possible. Kennedy also plays hockey which she has played since she was four. In addition, Kennedy loves being around/in the ocean and recently found a love for snorkelling.

Our Board of Directors

Don Bureaux

Don Bureaux has been president of Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) since 2011. Don’s commitment to adult education spans over two decades working with adult learners at colleges and universities as well as professional designation granting organizations across Canada and internationally. At NSCC, he works to bring the college’s vision – transforming Nova Scotia one learner at a time – to life.


Before becoming president of NSCC, Don served as vice-president, academic and vice president, people and planning at the college, and has served in many academic leadership roles throughout his career. His work has allowed him to collaborate with educational leaders across North America, Europe and Asia in creating entrepreneurial learning environments that are connecting to communities and industries.


Don holds a certificate in Adult Education and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Acadia University and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. Don is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Certified General Accountant and holds an international designation as a Certified Business Counsellor through the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). He’s been granted his Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA) designation by CPA Canada and his Fellow Certified General Accountant (FCGA) designation by CGA Canada.


In 2015 and 2016, Don was named one of the top 50 CEOs by Atlantic Business Magazine and serves on the boards of many not-for-profit organizations in Nova Scotia.

Olivier J. Cadet

Olivier Cadet recently joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) working in Corporate Relations at the interface between academic research and industry.  Prior to this, Olivier had been with Kongsberg Maritime for 8 years, most recently as Senior Vice President Global Operations, Americas where he was responsible for operations, with a focus on customer support for the fleet of vessels using Kongsberg Maritime’s technologies.  Olivier was based in Norway between 2015-2018 and was Executive Vice President of Products & Services, overseeing Kongsberg Maritime’s products portfolio aligned with market demands and future trends, such as autonomous operations and digital performance.  Olivier was also accountable for Kongsberg Maritime’s strategic initiative around Information Management System and Smart Data.

Olivier started his international career in the offshore drilling industry in 1998, working for Schlumberger/Transocean as a Controls Engineer where he was involved in the installation, commissioning and support of Dynamic Positioning and Automation systems on offshore drilling rigs.  In 2004 Olivier joined Air Liquide, the world leader in industrial gases, where he served for 9 years in a variety of innovation management roles, including R&D Group Manager and Program Director, driving Air Liquide’s research efforts in the field of Advanced Process Control and Operations Research to support the company’s efficiency program.

A dual citizen (U.S./France), Olivier graduated from the Grenoble Institute of Technology (INP Grenoble) in France in 1998 with a Master of Engineering (Diplôme d’Ingénieur) in Electrical Engineering.  He completed the Advanced Management Program with MIT Sloan Executive Education in June 2022.

Tony Chedrawy

Tony Chedrawy is the President & CEO of MetOcean Telematics, a Dartmouth Nova Scotia based company that develops and manufactures state-of-the-art data acquisition and end-to-end telematics solutions.


Tony worked internationally for many years in the IT and Energy sectors, he returned to Canada in 2001 and joined MetOcean Data Systems, and was appointed to the role of President & CEO in 2006.  Tony spearheaded a management buyout of MetOcean Data Systems in 2008, and later that year founded JouBeh Technologies. After serving as President & CEO for both organizations for 8 years, he lead and oversaw their merger to create MetOcean Telematics.


Tony is a multifaceted, highly motivated and performance driven professional, who has achieved significant year-after-year revenue, profit and business growth objectives. Tony is currently enrolled in Harvard University’s Advanced Management Program (OPM) and will graduate in 2019.  He holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with honours from the University of Houston, and a Bachelor of Engineering (B. Eng., Industrial) from Dalhousie University, and is a registered professional engineer in Nova Scotia.


Tony lives in Dartmouth with his wife and three young children.  When not working, he is actively involved in supporting their wide range of hobbies and activities.

Sean Griffiths

Captain Sean Griffiths is the Chief Executive Officer of the Atlantic Pilotage Authority (APA). The APA is one of four pilotage authorities across Canada and is responsible for providing pilotage services in 20 ports/areas throughout the Atlantic Region.

Captain Griffiths was born in St. John’s, NL and followed in his father’s footsteps by embarking on a career at sea. He joined the Canadian Coast Guard at age 18 then worked his way up through the ranks with various shipping companies world-wide. He obtained his Master Mariner certificate with foreign and domestic command at the age of 30. Two years later, he came ashore and spent several years gaining local and international experience as a Marine Superintendent and Vessel Manager for both private and publicly traded companies. Captain Griffiths joined the Authority in February 2014 as Chief Operating Officer and was appointed by the Board to be CEO in July 2015. At this time, Captain Griffiths also completed his Master of Business Administration from Middlesex University School of Business in the UK, with Merit in Oil and Gas.

Captain Griffiths serves on a number of regional and national committees related to the shipping industry. Captain Griffiths is also a member of the NSCC Foundation’s Fund Development & Stewardship Committee since 2021, and he was also a Member of the Board of the Halifax Mission to Seafarers from 2015-2019 and was Chair from 2017-2019. He resides in Bedford, Nova Scotia.

Caron Hawco

Caron Hawco is President of the Caron Hawco Group, a consultancy specializing in international business development, business and communications strategy as well as the commercialization of new technologies. The company offers a strong global network to open doors to new markets, partnerships, and international investment opportunities as well as expertise relating to industry, supply chain, strategy and regulation.

The company has recently focused on ocean technology, mining, Indigenous consultation, sustainability and international business opportunities. It has delivered projects and economic development studies relating to cleantech, the blue economy and new markets access, including Guyana, Mexico, USA and Norway.

Caron has provided strategic advice to corporate, industry and government leaders from international corporations, SMEs, government and industry associations. She has also worked in numerous sectors, including oil and gas, advanced technology, mining, ocean technology, R&D, healthcare, organized labour, social services, as well as the not-for-profit, economic development and education sectors.

A designated corporate director (ICD.D), Caron has served on over 15 boards of directors and currently serves on the boards of EnergyNL, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Net Zero Advisory Council, and the Canada-Guyana Chamber of Commerce. Caron is the former chair of Noia and also served on the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Recovery Taskforce.

A graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, Caron is an internationally accredited communicator (ABC), formerly awarded Newfoundland and Labrador’s Communications Professional of the Year, a Certified International Trade Professional (CITP), a Professional Project Manager (PMP) and a Corporate Director (ICD.D.)

Matt Hebb

Matt Hebb is an Atlantic Canadian leader, with a proven ability to bring together partners and organizations on transformative and innovative projects across the region.


Matt joined Dalhousie University in 2013 and serves on the executive team as Assistant Vice-president, Government Relations and Economic Development, where he co-leads Dalhousie’s strategic priority to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity.


Prior to his role at Dalhousie University, Matt served in Nova Scotia’s provincial government as Principal Secretary to the premier.


With a focus on collaborative partnerships, he has been deeply involved in the establishment of significant projects in Atlantic Canada, including the Emera ideaHUB, a $64M transformation of Dalhousie’s Sexton Campus into an innovation hub. His strategic leadership has contributed to expanding entrepreneurship within Dalhousie, deepening partnerships with key players in the innovation ecosystem and establishing Nova Scotia as the first Canadian jurisdiction accepted into the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program, a global initiative to accelerate economic growth through innovation-driven entrepreneurship.


Other collaborative work has included the creation of innovation sandboxes with the Province of Nova Scotia – spaces for students to freely explore innovation and entrepreneurship, and development of a partnership with the Rotman School at the University of Toronto to expand the highly successful Creative Destruction Lab to Atlantic Canada, where it is hosted at Dalhousie.


Matt has been instrumental in the realization of several major ocean-related initiatives in Atlantic Canada, including the Ocean Frontier Institute, which attracted $220M in public and private investment, the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE). More recently, Matt was a co-founder and the interim CEO of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, a new platform for collaborative innovation and commercialization backed by significant private and public investment. He lead development of the proposal, securing industry investment, business planning, and negotiations with the federal government.


Matt has recently concluded a third and final term as Chair of the Board of Halifax’s economic development agency, the Halifax Partnership, where he led the development of Halifax’s current economic strategy, and initiated a plan to establish the Halifax Innovation District, enlisting partners in a collaboration to amplify social and economic impact of the city’s dense corridor of innovation and entrepreneurship capacity.


An avid musician, he was the co-chair of the 2018 East Coast Music Awards in Halifax. He is active in a number of national and international university associations.

Mark Jollymore

Mark Jollymore is the President of Innovasea Systems, Inc., a company focused on technology solutions for responsible and sustainable use of our planet’s aquatic resources.  Prior to Innovasea Mark was President and CEO of Amirix Systems, whose Vemco brand is the world leader in the acoustic fish tracking market space.  During Mark’s 7 years as CEO of Amirix, the company grew rapidly, expanded into new markets and ultimately came to the attention of Innovasea Systems who acquired Amirix in 2017.

Mark started his professional career in the aerospace sector working for Litton Industries and Lockheed Martin predominantly in the design and aircraft testing of electronic warfare systems.

Mark holds a degree in electrical engineering from the University of New Brunswick and an MBA from Saint Mary’s University. Mark is an enthusiastic supporter of youth engagement in technology particularly through MakerSpace initiatives. Mark lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia with his wife and 15-year-old son.

John Knubley

John Knubley is a consultant, Corporate Director, and former Deputy Minister in the Government of Canada. He is also a senior advisor to Longview Communications and Boston Consulting Group.

From 2012 to 2019, John served as the Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED Canada).  During this time, he led and implemented the Innovation and Skills Plan.

Prior to ISED Canada, John was Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Privy Council Office, Associate Deputy Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities as well as Associate Deputy Minister of Natural Resources. John’s career in public service included time at the Economic Council of Canada and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

In 2020, John founded InnovAction Advisory Services. InnovAction provides strategic counsel to organizations across a variety of activities relating to innovation, R&D, sustainability, foreign investment, merger review and regulatory matters. He has experience in working with a wide range of sectors and CEOs.

John holds a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University, a Master’s of Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He also received a post-graduate diploma in Nice, France, from the Institut Européen des Hautes Études Internationales.

He serves as a Director of the Ontario Energy Board, the Conference Board of Canada, the Asia-Pacific Foundation, the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute and Genome Atlantic. He is a senior fellow of the Brookfield and C.D. Howe Institutes as well as a member of the Selection Committee of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards.

Lucia MacIsaac

Lucia MacIsaac is a professional engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the energy and education sectors. Joining Shell Canada in 1982, Lucia worked as a specialist engineer in Materials, Corrosion and Pressure Equipment before joining the Operations Engineering group. This experience, along with a MASc in Metallurgical Engineering, prepared her for a career in technical education and training with Cape Breton University and LearnCorp International. Lucia has been involved in all aspects of training including: curriculum development, program delivery; site assessments; budgetary control; quality and safety; program management and business development. Lucia has a strong commitment to safety and in her role as President and CEO of LearnCorp International ensures that quality, safety and protection of the environment is a core value for the company.

Melanie Nadeau

Melanie Nadeau is Chief Executive Officer for the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE).  An award-winning Canadian businesswoman and trailblazer, Melanie leads and grows organizations by developing strategies to gain market confidence, drive investments, deliver profits and achieve operational success.   She is an expert in the commercialization of emerging technologies, developing business strategies, and incubating new technology into mature revenue generating engines.


She is a resilient executive leader who builds and fosters strong strategic partnerships with her unique combination of technical, business, and political acumen. An astute decision-maker, Melanie drives operational efficiency and asset optimization through operations, financial management, human resources, and administrative policies and procedures.


In her previous role as Director, Strategic Initiatives for EMERA, a multi-billion-dollar energy and services company, she focused on long-term growth strategies and commercial projects impacting the bottom line.  Prior to this, she held positions of increasing responsibility overseeing 40+ employees and $500M+ budgets. An experienced Board Director, her appointments have included international marine businesses, national industry associations and an Atlantic Canadian energy board.


An internationally recognized thought-leader in the ocean sector, she offers a global perspective and has been a notable expert for the International Energy Agency, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She was hand-selected by the delegates of 30+ countries to Chair the IEC industry standards for marine technologies and co-led global conformity assessment for renewable energy. Melanie has earned multiple awards including Canada’s Clean16 Award for her outstanding contribution towards clean capitalism. She has been an invited speaker to numerous events, including TEDGlobal.


Since serving in the Royal Canadian Navy, she continues her deep appreciation for our ocean.

John Newton

Rear-Admiral John Newton became Managing Director at Fleetway Inc., in July 2018. Prior to that, he was a Liaison Officer with Veterans Affairs Canada, and Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic.  Rear-Admiral Newton began his career in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1983, after an early occupation as a geologist. He enrolled as a Maritime Surface Officer, after an increased desire for challenge and adventure that he was certain he could find in a career that stretches itself through the shifting tides of the world’s active oceans.

In his early years as a junior naval officer, he acquired specialist skills in navigation, communications and operations, and completed tours in the destroyer HMCS Iroquois, the replenishment ship HMCS Preserver, and the frigate HMCS Montreal. Over the years, he has developed a specialty in Canadian maritime sovereignty, gained through countless fishery patrols and three Arctic sovereignty missions.

While every progression in his career has been enjoyable, one of Rear-Admiral Newton’s fondest memories is when he experienced his life-long dream to patrol the fabled Northwest Passage while he was Commanding Officer of HMCS Fredericton from 2003 until 2006.  In 2000, he completed a year of Joint military studies at the Command and Staff College Toronto, followed by advanced military studies in 2004.

Rear-Admiral Newton has served his country on different fronts. He has deployed on NATO missions of the Cold War, and UN peace support operations, including the Gulf War in 1991, Haiti in 1993, and the maritime embargo of the former Yugoslavia in 1995. Of note, in 2006, he served at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa as Director of International Plans in the Strategic Joint Staff, helping to progress files such as the commitment of the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan and Sudan, amongst others.

Beyond professional duties, Rear-Admiral Newton focuses strongly on his devoted family. He strives to maintain a balanced work-home life, despite the rapid waves of naval responsibilities that consume his time as Commander and require his steady leadership.

Aubrey Palmeter

Mr. Palmeter is President & CEO of East Point Engineering Limited with responsibility for strategic direction and business planning. He received his BSc. from Acadia, and a B.Eng. and MBA from Dalhousie. During his career, Mr. Palmeter has led or participated in a broad range of consulting and construction activities including strategic planning, organizational studies, facility planning, design, business case analysis and life cycle costing, construction, and acquisition.

Mr. Palmeter has served on the Boards of more than twenty public and private Corporations in both Canada and the United States. His professional career has included project engineering; business development and project evaluation for a Canadian investment company; and owning and operating engineering and construction companies in Atlantic Canada. In addition, he has provided his support to a number of not-for-profit organizations and industry associations. He is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors Education Program and holds the designation of ICD.D.

Aaron Plamondon

Aaron Plamondon is the Director, Industrial Participation, at Irving Shipbuilding and is responsible for the company’s multi-billion dollar Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) obligations to the Government of Canada. Aaron has over 12 years of experience in the defence industry, where he served in similar roles before coming to Irving. As further background, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Military History at the University of Alberta in 1998, and a Masters in Military and Strategic Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada in 2001, where he did a thesis on Canadian Defence Procurement. He subsequently did a Ph.D. at the University of Calgary focusing on defence spending, defence procurement, and civil-military relations in Canada. He published The Politics of Procurement (UBC Press) in 2010 and is a National Fellow at the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies.

Brian Santarpia

Rear-Admiral Brian Santarpia enrolled in Canadian Forces, under the Officer Candidate Training Plan as a Maritime Surface Officer, in 1986. The early part of his career was heavily focused in filling operational and training positions in both of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Fleets.

After completion of his training, he served in a succession of operational postings as Navigating Officer of HMC Ships CORMORANT and VANCOUVER, Combat Officer of HMCS HURON, Executive Officer of HMC Ships CHALEUR and HALIFAX, and then as the Commanding Officer of HMCS ST JOHN’S from January 2007 until July 2008.

He has also been posted to numerous training billets, including Navigation Instructor at the Naval Officer Training Centre, Head of the Warfare Training Division at the Canadian Forces Fleet School (Esquimalt), Operations Officer of Sea Training Pacific, and in 2008, Commanding Officer of Sea Training Atlantic.

Following his promotion to Captain(N) in 2009, he was appointed as the Special Advisor to the Vice Chief of Defence Staff. In 2010, he assumed command of Canadian Forces Base Halifax until his departure to attend the National Security Programme in 2012.

RAdm Santarpia was promoted to Commodore in July 2013 and appointed Director General Naval Personnel. He led the transformation of that organization and assumed the duties of the first Director General Navy Strategic Readiness in April 2014. From December 2014 until April 2015 he was deployed to Bahrain where he commanded Combined Task Force 150, a multi- national group of ships and aircraft conducting counter-terrorism operations. Upon his return to Canada, he was appointed to Chief of Staff to the Vice Chief of Defence Staff and later appointed Director General Plans at the Strategic Joint Staff in July 2016. In May 2018, RAdm Santarpia joined the Canadian Joint Operations Command as the Chief of Staff.

Effective June 2020 Radm Santarpia was appointed Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic / Joint Task Force Atlantic.

In addition to being a graduate of the National Security Programme, RAdm Santarpia holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Royal Roads Military College (RRMC) Victoria, and a Masters of Defence Studies from Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Kingston.

Ian Thompson, Chair

Ian is Executive-in-Residence at the Halifax office of the regional law firm Cox & Palmer. He’s former associate publisher at The Chronicle Herald, a former deputy minister of economic development in Nova Scotia, former senior representative in Ottawa for Nova Scotia, former owner of MT&L Public Affairs and he worked for two major energy utilities. He’s an accredited graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors and he’s an honourary degree recipient from Dalhousie University. He has served on the boards of multiple not-for-profit organizations and business development agencies locally, nationally and internationally and currently sits on the boards of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Genome Atlantic and Halifax Grammar School.

Ken Walker

Mr. Walker joined Ultra Electronics in 1995 after a twenty-year career with the Canadian Forces during which he accumulated over 3,000 flight hours in support of NORAD and NATO operations.  He also served on exchange with the US Navy’s Naval Air Development Center as an Engineering Officer supporting rapid technology insertion for US naval aircraft.

Ken began his career at Ultra Electronics as the Program Manager for Advanced Development Digital Towed Arrays and later managed the next-generation multi-static sensor and rapid environmental assessment programs.  Promoted to Director of Marketing in 1998 and later Vice President Marketing in 2000, Ken was responsible for all aspects of international sales and marketing at Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems in Dartmouth NS.

In December 2009, he was appointed as Vice President Government Relations for Ultra Electronics Canada, with responsibility to support all of Ultra Electronics’ federal, provincial and municipal government activities in Canada.

In 2012 Ken was promoted to the position of President Ultra Maritime Systems and in 2016 he was elevated to an Ultra Electronics corporate role as VP Strategy and Marketing for Ultra’s Maritime and Land Division where he also managed Divisional IR&D investment and corporate risk.  Retiring from Ultra Electronics in 2018, Ken established PGS Consulting to support Aerospace and Defence SMEs in Canada and the United States.

During his tenure with Ultra Electronics, Ken has served on several NATO underwater warfare Industry Working Groups, participated as a member of the CADSI International Committee, and was an Executive Board Member of the Aerospace and Defence Industry Association of Nova Scotia.

Contact Us
Discover your opportunities in ocean tech with COVE.