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Private Sector Advisory Board (PSAB)

The Private Sector Advisory Board (PSAB) is a body of high-level, seasoned and respected individuals from a variety of sectors who understand the national and international challenges associated with Canada’s R&D and commercialization landscape. PSAB was established by the Networks of Centres of Excellence at the request of the Government of Canada in 2007.

PSAB provides the NCE Steering Committee with expert advice and recommendations during the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) and Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) competition processes. PSAB evaluates proposals based on their ability to create a strategic, long-term economic advantage for Canada.


Marc Leroux

(Chair) Marc Leroux is the Principal at Priorat Capital and has extensive experience in innovation and technology transfer through both the private and postsecondary research sectors. He is the former Managing Director of UNIVALOR LP, which is responsible for technology management and transfer for 10 research centres affiliated with the Université de Montréal, including École Polytechnique and six research hospitals, as well as the creation of spin-off companies and other business deals in all fields of university research. Marc Leroux has close to 40 years of experience in research and technology transfer, with a particular focus in the telecommunications industry. His areas of expertise include hands-on management in growth and turnaround situations, sales and business development, introducing technologies into markets, and creation and management of partnerships. Marc Leroux holds a Bachelor of Science degree from McGill University and a Master of Science from Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS). In recognition of his contributions to research and innovation in the Québec public sector, he was awarded the 2010 Bâtisseur prize by the Association pour le développement de la recherche et de l'innovation du Québec (ADRIQ). He is currently a member of Anges Québec and a member of the boards of directors for the Centre québecois d’incubation des biotechnologies (CQIB) and the Fondation des Étoiles (research in children’s diseases).

Vikas Arora

Vikas Arora was nominated EXFO's Chief Technology Officer in July 2008. He is responsible for the company's technological direction, specifically strategic technology and business initiatives covering next-generation fixed mobile converged networks, 3G/LTE, IMS, SDN/NFV, mobile backhaul, optical networks, Carrier Ethernet/IP and services like VoLTE, video, voice and data. Prior to joining EXFO, Mr. Arora was Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of iPine Networks (acquired by Nakina Systems), which offered IP service assurance products for voice, video and data. He served as CTO of Nakina Systems and also spent 10 years at Nortel in Ottawa and Harlow (UK), where he held senior management and architect positions. Overall, Mr. Arora has over 20 years of technical and business leadership experience working with mobile and fixed network operators, system integrators and equipment vendors globally. In 2004, he was named by the editors of the Ottawa Business Journal to its annual "Forty Under 40" list as one of the region's best and brightest business and civic leaders. Mr. Arora also serves on the advisory board of the Information and Communications Technologies Sector of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Technology from G.B. Pant University in India and a Master of Science (Computer Science) from the University of Saskatchewan.

Luis Barreto

Luis Barreto has 30 years of experience in academia, public health and industry. Dr Barreto is currently the President of the consultancy Dr Luis Barreto and Associates. He is the former Vice-President of Clinical and Medical Affairs and Vice-President of Immunization and Science Policy at Sanofi Pasteur where he spent more than 23 years in research and development, leading clinical trials and shaping immunization policy in Canada and around the world. He led the clinical development and commercialization of many vaccines, including technologies such as acellular pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b and polio combinations for children, adolescents and adults. These vaccines bring over a billion dollars yearly in sales back to the Canadian economy and reduce disease and death around the world. He has been an influential member of the Canadian vaccine landscape for over 25 years. He has published extensively on History of Vaccine Development and Canada’s contribution to global control of Small Pox and Polio as well as Clinical Trials and Immunisation Policy.Dr. Barreto has been part of the Canadian pandemic influenza vaccine scientific advisory groups led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Infection and Immunity, and the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada . He has also been part of Health Canada’s Policy Advisory Committee Dr Barreto is a member of various boards including Research Canada, PREVENT, VIDO/InterVac (ex-Chair). InterVac is a $140 million, 150,000 sq ft animal/human vaccine facility opened September 2011 in Saskatchewan. Dr Barreto is a member of the Board of the International Consortium of Antivirals. He has also been appointed as the member of the Policy and Public Support working group of the Decade of Vaccines of the Gates Foundation, Senior Advisor to the National Research, Canada, Vaccine Group and Biosciences Education Canada. Dr. Barreto spends considerable time in philanthropic activities with organizations like Health Partners International and Non-Governmental Organizations. He has been recently appointed to the Board of the March of Dimes. Dr Barreto completed his M.B.B.S and M.D. in Community Medicine in India and M.H.Sc in Community Health and Epidemiology at University of Toronto. He is married to Lorraine and has two boys Rohit and Rahul.

Alan Burgess

Alan Burgess is the past Chief Executive Officer and Director of Northwest Mettech, the leader in highly controlled plasma spray coating solutions that meet the quality and production needs of the aerospace, automotive, pulp and paper, energy and electronics industries. Alan brings a strong engineering and business background to product development and materials engineering. He founded Mettech and remained president until 2010. Through this period, Alan was involved in product development, applications engineering and customer service. Most recently, he lead sales and was part of the financing activities for Mettech. Alan has a BASc in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of British Columbia. Alan is a Board Member of Nanotech BC and is the Scholarships and Awards Chairman for the International Thermal Spray Association.

Jean-Paul Castaigne is a senior executive with extensive international experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Prior to relaunching JPCConsulting, a boutique consulting company specialized in biotechnology, as President, he was CEO of Angiochem, COO and CSO of Conjuchem, and previously he was Vice President, Head of Global R&D at the Fournier Group in France. In addition, Dr. Castaigne spent eleven years with Novartis in a variety of management positions, including Corporate Vice President for Canada, President and Managing Director in the Philippines and Director of Medical and R&D in France. Dr. Castaigne has also worked with CILAG (J&J) and Sanofi in France. He received his MD from Paris University in 1975 and held the position of Associate Professor of oncology and pneumology in 1978. Dr. Castaigne received an MBA from HEC Paris in 1987. Dr. Castaigne is member of the board of the following biotech companies and organizations: Ocera Therapeutics, Asmacure and BioQuébec.

Karen Clarke-Whistler

Karen Clarke-Whistler, Chief Environment Officer for TD Bank Financial Group is responsible for developing and implementing an environmental strategy that meets TD’s stated goal of becoming the environmental leader in the banking industry in North America. A respected environmental scientist, prior to joining TD Karen worked as an environmental consultant on projects around the globe relating to sustainable development of the natural resource and energy sectors. She has consulted extensively to global banks and is published on a range of topics relating to sustainable development and corporate responsibility.

Hadi Mahabadi is an innovation leader and a world-renowned scientist with extensive and successful experience in management and commercialization. Dr. Mahabadi received his doctorate in the field of polymer engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1976 and held various academic positions, including Chair of the Chemical Engineering Department of Tehran University of Technology, before joining Xerox in 1981. During his forty-year career, including seven years as Vice President of the Xerox Innovation Group and the Director of the Xerox Research Centre of Canada, Mahabadi has had many scientific discoveries and has been instrumental in successful commercialization of many breakthrough technologies. He has published over 200 papers, presented in many international conferences as an invited /plenary lecturer and authored over ninety U.S. patents.His scientific achievements, managerial capabilities and innovation leadership efforts were recognized by many awards, including his 2012 appointment as Officer of the Order of Canada as an innovation leader and for his commitment to promoting scientific development in Canada. He has also received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Andrée-Lise Méthot

Andrée-Lise Méthot, founder of Cycle Capital Management, boasts almost 20 years of experience in corporate financing, management and engineering. She has set up an investment platform specialized in cleantechs totaling more than $230 million, which brings together industrial, institutional and strategic investors. During her career, she has developed a network of top-notch partnerships, from businesses, political affiliations and environmental backgrounds. In addition to serving on portfolio companies’ boards of directors, she is Ecotech Québec’s co-founder and Chair, and sits on the boards of directors for SWITCH, the Alliance for a Green Economy in Québec, Société québécoise des infrastructures, Fonds Capital Culture Québec and Natural Gas Technologies Centre. She is also a member of the External Advisory Committee to the Vice-Principal Research and International Relations at McGill University. She co-chaired a Task Force under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. She has chaired and has been a member of many panels of judges, in particular the Grand Prix du génie-conseil québécois, the Canadian Consulting Engineers Awards and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2011, Andrée-Lise was recognized as one of Canada’s Clean16 and was named La Presse/Radio-Canada Personality of the week, while in 2013 she was named one of the Top 20 cleantech investors by CleanTechnica and one of the most influential women in sustainable development and in the cleantech industry by Corporate Knight. Ms. Méthot created the first Quebec-based venture capital fund specializing in the cleantech sector: the Fonds d’investissement en développement durable, which gave birth to Cycle Capital. She also launched a fund specializing in sustainable development: the Fonds d’action québécois pour le développement durable. Among others, she previously worked at Groupe Axor, CINBIOSE, and at the Commission de la Santé et de la Sécurité du Travail. She has an MSc from the Université de Montréal and a Bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering from Université Laval. She also studied atmospheric physics at the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Avi Pollock

Avi Pollock serves as Vice President Innovation & Strategic Planning for RBC. He represents the Technology & Operations (T&O) organization as the platform strategist and has accountability for supporting the RBC’s Chief Information and Operations Officer in developing, driving and communicating the T&O organization’s mandate, priorities, operating model, and strategic plan.He has direct responsibility for providing business communications and business architecture services for T&O, business reporting and benchmarking, and driving the enterprise Digital Social Collaboration Program. His innovation team has an enterprise-wide mandate to stimulate innovative activity by identifying and validating emerging technologies and opportunities that have the potential to drive client value and differentiate RBC from its competitors. He is a member of the senior executive team that operates Technology and Operations and is a frequent speaker on Innovation as well as mobile and social media strategies.Prior to joining RBC, Avi provided interim executive management services in sales, business operations, and acquisition strategy to technology companies in start-up and growth phases. He previously held the position of EVP, Professional Services for a TSX-listed technology company. Avi currently serves as Industry Chair on the Board of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre, a non-profit focused on developing Ontario's role in the mobile economy. He has served on the Advisory Board for Change Inc. a collaboration between United Way of York Region and York University to incubate and invest in promising innovations to tackle complex social issues in York Region. He has served for more than 8 years on the Loan Review Committee for the Canadian Youth Business Foundation which provides loans to young entrepreneurs. He is Adjunct Faculty for the Masters of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at Ontario College of Art. Avi has a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from University of Western Ontario, is a graduate of the joint LLB-MBA program at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business and is a member of the New York State Bar Association. Avi resides in Toronto, Canada with his wife and two sons.

Bruce Schmidt

Bruce Schmidt is a graduate of the University of British Columbia. He currently operates a private consulting  practice  in Vancouver focused on technology start-ups, corporate development and corporate restructuring within the life-sciences sector.  He spent nearly 20 years involved in various corporate roles in Canada leading to an interest in new company formation and management activities in Canadian biotechnology. Bruce served as a founding director of Genome British Columbia in 2000 and worked with that organization in a management capacity for 8 years building awareness and understanding of the significance of genomics as an enabling technology and also developing key corporate, government and academic relationships in British Columbia and across Canada. In 2008 Bruce co-founded a genomic expression profiling company in which he was actively involved until 2011. The company, GenomeDx Biosciences, remains focused on assisting the health care sector with better informed diagnoses leading to more effective and efficient treatment decisions. Bruce has served as a director and officer for a number of high-tech and biotech companies in Canada and is past-Chairman of both the Life Sciences industry association and the Nanotechnology industry organization in British Columbia.  Since 2006, Bruce has been involved in a life-long interest in farming and wine through a new estate winery in the Southern Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. At the community level he is Chair of the BC Mental Health Foundation and also a final juror for the New Ventures BC Competition.

Ron Schwartz

Ron Schwartz is the managing partner of Adante Consulting. He is a senior executive with experience in business strategy and execution, analytics, technology strategy, and the management of large change programs. He has served, on several occasions, in an interim management role as a line executive with operational responsibility. He also serves on a number of Boards or Councils, giving him a very broad view of enterprise stewardship and governance. He is actively involved in the delivery of consulting engagements, both at Adante and its subsidiary RiskOnBoard, which focuses on Enterprise Risk Management. Equally comfortable with hands on, in a leadership role or as an advisor, he is a skilled leader who can match operations to strategy, and resolving complex business- and technology-related matters. He specializes in working with senior management and large project teams to map out critical business-improvement technologies and approaches, and to strategize, plan, guide and on occasion help recover complex and important projects. He is a former PwC Partner and IBM Executive, and has spent over 25 years in the management consulting industry. He has an MBA and holds the CMC designation, which indicates the highest degree of commitment to consulting as a profession. He has taught business courses at the university level, speaks at conferences, and has had many articles published.

Martin Walker

Martin Walker, media and entertainment technology executive, has been involved in commercial software development in Montreal from the mid 1980s. He has spent most of his career in the multimedia arena, working for companies like Matrox Electronics, Softimage, Behaviour and others. He has been a key player in building tools and environments for video productions including special effects and 3D computer graphics. His venture in the gaming industry has evolved into the creation of several generations of multiplatform game engines and the elaboration of optimized production pipelines to unleash the creative power of artists, designers and programmers on over 120 titles. Currently CTO for Fuel Industries, a youth engagement company specialising in brand gamification through mobile and web applications, Martin has been board executive for l’Alliance Numérique, and a member of advisory committees for Concordia University, Champlain College in Burlington, Université de Sherbrooke and Collège Bois-de-Boulogne to help improve art and game production programs.