Growing B.C. shipbuilding sector to get boost through new advisory committee (

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About British Columbia’s industrial marine sector
  • The industrial marine sector contributes about $6.8 billion annually to B.C.’s economy and employs approximately 22,000 people.
  • The B.C. government supports the industrial marine sector through workforce development, technology investment and industrial development, such as:
    • the B.C. Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Industry Tax Credit, for eligible companies that employ apprentices in the shipbuilding and repair industry;
    • $400,000 supply-chain resiliency grant to the Association of BC Marine Industries in March 2021; and
    • ongoing advocacy for the polar icebreaker contract, including working with other provinces and letter of support to the prime minister, resulting in Seaspan’s successful bid.
  • B.C. has about 27,000 kilometres of coastline.
  • The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest port and conducts trade with more than 170 countries.
  • The Port of Prince Rupert is Canada’s third-largest port and has North America’s shortest shipping route to Asia.
  • Victoria’s Esquimalt Graving Dock is the largest ship-maintenance facility of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and accommodates a wide variety of vessels, including cruise ships more than 300 metres long.
  • Seaspan Shipyards of North Vancouver was selected to deliver the non-combat vessel package under the federal government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS).
    • This work, worth billions of dollars to the B.C. economy, supports good, high-quality jobs while building a sustainable shipbuilding industry over the long term.
    • Seaspan delivered three Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels to the Canadian Coast Guard in 2019 and 2020, completing the first class of ships under the NSS.
    • The contract to construct and deliver a polar Icebreaker was awarded to Seaspan in May 2021 and will support 1,400 direct jobs in B.C., in addition to spinoff economic opportunities.
BC Shipbuilding Advisory Committee overview

The B.C. government has a mandate to support increasing the capacity, capability and competitiveness of B.C.’s shipyards and associated businesses. This includes the development of a made-in-B.C. shipbuilding industry strategy as identified in the April 2021 speech from the throne.

A made-in-B.C. shipbuilding industry strategy is a collaborative opportunity to build sector capacity, capability and competitiveness, with the common objectives of innovation, sustainability, inclusivity and economic growth.

The BC Shipbuilding Advisory Committee is composed of two separate bodies: the BC Shipbuilding Industry Working Group and the BC Shipbuilding Innovation Advisory Council. Here are biographies of the 20 committee members:

BC Shipbuilding Industry Working Group

Robert Allan (chair) is president of the Association of BC Marine Industries (ABCMI) and executive chairman of Robert Allan Ltd. He is a third-generation Vancouver naval architect, designing commercial workboats of all types for 50 years. He is internationally recognized as an authority on tanker escort tugs and specialized workboat design and has received major peer awards for this work, including: Royal Institution of Naval Architects (U.K.) Small Craft Group Medal for significant lifetime achievements in naval architecture (2005); Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers David W. Taylor Medal for notable achievement in naval architecture (2005); SS Beaver Medal from the Maritime Museum of British Columbia for significant contributions to the maritime industry (2012); the Meritorious Achievement Award from Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. in recognition of significant technical achievements within the engineering and geoscience professions (2017); and B.C. Ministry of International Trade Export Award for Leadership (2017).

Hank Bekkering was most recently general manager of Point Hope Maritime Shipyard in Victoria. His experience includes work as commissioning engineer for the construction of two BC Ferries Spirit Class vessels, production/commissioning engineer at Todd Shipyard in Seattle for the construction of Jumbo Class ferries for Washington State Ferries, production/commissioning engineer for the construction of BC Ferries Catamaran fast ferries and general manager at Vancouver Drydock in the repair and modernization of BC Ferries vessels, fishing vessels and commercial tugs and barges.

Mark Collins is president and CEO of BC Ferries. He previously held executive positions with the ferry operator for 11 years, including vice-president, engineering, and vice-president, strategy. He has served as president of both Rolls Royce Marine Brazil and Italy, and as global technical vice-president for an international shipping firm. He has served at sea as marine engineering officer on tankers, container vessels and offshore support vessels. During his 37 years in marine, he has been executive or technical lead on more than 30 ship construction projects and more than 100 ship conversion/repair projects domestically and internationally.

Robert Hedley is co-founder of Greystoke Maritime Management Ltd. and is a senior leader with strong operational and technical management experience, including the design, construction and operation of LNG carriers and oil tankers. He is a founding partner at Greystoke Marine Management Ltd. From November 2010 to April 2014, he was senior vice-president at Seaspan ULC. He founded RHBC Global Technologies in 2008, providing consultancy services to marine, offshore and industrial clients.

Bruce Kempling has been owner and president of Ocean Pacific Marine Store and Boatyard in Campbell River since 1985. He has more than 36 years experience overseeing vessel refit, repair and new builds up to 110 tonnes. Projects range from local recreational and commercial vessels to projects for the RCMP, Canadian Coast Guard and Canadian Navy.

Jamie Marshall is vice-president, shipbuilding and innovation, BC Ferries, responsible for investing in and acquiring a new, innovative fleet of vessels for BC Ferries. In addition, he is accountable for identifying and developing strategic business opportunities to grow and diversify the company’s revenue. He previously served as vice-president in various capacities, marine superintendent and as a captain in the fleet. Prior to joining BC Ferries, he served as an officer with the Royal Canadian Navy.

Jane McIvor is executive director, Association of Pacific Ports. She has worked in the public relations, communications and project management field for more than 25 years, providing services predominantly to the many sectors of the West Coast marine industry. From 2011 to 2019, she published BC Shipping News, a trade magazine focused on commercial marine activities on Canada’s West Coast. In 2018, she was awarded the SS Beaver Medal for Maritime Excellence, recognizing people who play a leadership role in B.C.’s marine industry.

Tim Page is former vice-president, business development, at Seaspan Shipyards. He has more than 35 years of government relations and public affairs experience working with private companies and national not-for-profit associations across diverse sectors of the Canadian economy, including international trade, defence, marine, consulting engineering and high-performance sports. His past roles include vice-president, government relations at Seaspan Shipyards and president of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries.

Riccardo Regosa is general manager, Point Hope Maritime Shipyard in Victoria. Raised in the Netherlands, he spent 10 years in the Royal Dutch Navy attaining his marine engineering training prior to joining Damen Shipyard Group. At Damen, he spent 15 years working in several management positions in the Netherlands, Poland, China, Romania and the United Arab Emirates. In 2016, Riccardo became general manager of Point Hope Maritime. In 2019, he led Point Hope’s acquisition of Esquimalt Drydock Co.

Rollie Webb is senior vice-president, Robert Allan Ltd., and has 46 years experience in marine engineering and shipyard experience, starting out in ship operations as a marine engineer at sea, followed by 32 years of shipyard experience in Canada and the U.S. in ship repair and ship construction, including production, project, general and executive management roles. He also has extensive experience in the operation, repair and construction of icebreakers.

Shipbuilding Innovation Advisory Council

Brenda Eaton (chair) has been chair of the BC Ferries board of directors since January 2019 and is also chair of Westland Insurance. A corporate director who has served for more than 15 years on various private, public, Crown corporation and not-for-profit boards, she currently serves on the boards of LifeLabs and RBC's Global Asset Management independent review committee, in addition to the Alzheimer Society of B.C., Canadian Red Cross and the Vancouver Foundation. She previously held senior positions in the B.C. government, including deputy minister to the Premier, and deputy minister of Finance and Treasury Board, Social Services, and Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.

Larry Bafia is director of the master of digital media program, UBC centre for digital media, which specializes in collaborating with industry partners to find digital solutions for real-world problems. He is an animator and educator who works with various media and started his career in stop-motion and Claymation with Crocus Productions in Chicago and then the Will Vinton Studios in Portland, Ore. During a seven-year stint as commercial animation director at PDI/Dreamworks, he directed commercials for many clients including Coca-Cola, Sega, Intel, Kraft, Target, Circle K and Saturn.

Elisabeth Charmley is board co-chair, Vancouver Maritime Centre for Climate, and brings more than 17 years experience working in the maritime industry including 10 years at the world’s largest container ship lessor, Seaspan Ship Management in Vancouver. In 2020, she co-founded the not-for-profit Vancouver Maritime Centre for Climate (VMCC). The VMCC works at a grassroots level to bring together regional and deep-sea shipping and maritime communities to focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout the maritime supply chain.

Emilie de Rosenroll became the founding CEO of the South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP) in 2016. She has since spearheaded a number of key economic development initiatives for southern Vancouver Island, including the Rising Economy Task Force, the Smart Cities Initiative and a number of Indigenous economic reconciliation projects. She was previously executive director of the Nova Scotia Association of Regional Development Authorities and a lead consultant to the Province of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Union of Municipalities.

Walter Gerlach is the directing business representative for Northwest District 250 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), which represents workers in B.C. and the Yukon. He has been a business representative for the IAMAW since 2002, assuming his current role in 2013. His duties have included representing workers employed in shipbuilding and ship repair since 2010. He has also served on the executive council of the B.C. Federation of Labour since 2013.

David Hargreaves has been vice-president, strategy and business development at Seaspan Shipyards since October 2019. He has more than 25 years experience in complex system engineering and growth-oriented industrial development and is responsible for growing Seaspan’s domestic and global business for shipbuilding, repair and overhaul in Vancouver and Victoria. Prior to joining Seaspan, he worked at Canadian space technology company MDA for 24 years in progressively more senior roles, most recently as vice-president, strategy.

Ian McIver is president, Seaspan Marine Transportation. Prior to joining Seaspan, he worked as an executive for 30 years in a variety of positions ranging from supply chain, sales and marketing, operations and corporate development at Ledcor Resources and Transportation, Canfor, BC Rail and CP Rail. In 2018, he joined Seaspan Marine as vice-president, Seaspan Ferries, an operating division of Seaspan ULC. He was appointed president in May 2021 with overall accountability for Seaspan Marine Transportation’s operations and performance.

Jon Mikkelsen is director of the naval architecture and marine engineering program at UBC, which was established in support of the Canadian shipbuilding industry. His scholarly and professional activities are primarily focused on the areas of naval architecture/ocean engineering, sustainable fishing-gear design and mechanical design. He has co-authored several papers on a variety of subjects, such as improving ship hull-form performance and the design of live-capture fishing technologies for use on rivers and estuaries throughout the West Coast.

Tom Roemer is vice-president academic, British Columbia Institute of Technology. He began his career as a logistics co-ordinator with the German air force in Portugal. He moved to Canada in 1993 and developed production control systems and database solutions for industry. In 2000, he designed and chaired an engineering technology program around the emerging internet for Okanagan University College. During subsequent appointments as dean of trades and technology and vice-president, strategic development at Victoria’s Camosun College, he worked closely with marine industries in Esquimalt.

Lecia Stewart is chair of the board of directors, BC Ferry Authority, and is recognized as an industry leader with more than 25 years experience advising on startup, procurement, governance and delivery strategies for large and complex infrastructure projects. She served as president and project director for two major Canadian transit projects – the $1.2-billion SkyTrain Millennium Line and Metro Vancouver’s West Coast Express commuter railway. She was also a vice-president at Bombardier Transportation.