Our board members

We are truly grateful for the time and efforts of the high-calibre members of our Board of Directors. They offer proven wisdom and experience in a range of areas, including finance and accounting, business, government relations, corporate communications, technology development and transfer, IP and engineering, to name a few.

  • Judy Shaw (Chair)

    President, Judy Shaw & Associates Inc.

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    Prior to forming her own consulting company, mid 2012, Judy Shaw worked for Syngenta and its legacy companies, Novartis and Ciba-Geigy, for 34 years. With demonstrated expertise in regulatory affairs, government policy, industry relations and public affairs, over the years, Judy has established and nurtured many effective stakeholder relationships. She has established strong networks with farm associations, industry, environmentalists, government and not-for-profits and has a skill in working with extensive networks and partnerships.

    While working with Syngenta, Judy designed projects to promote agricultural sustainability and stewardship in Canada. She developed partnerships with Ducks Unlimited Canada and Fondation de la faune du Québec in the restoration of wetlands and riparian strips along with the establishment of more than 20 annual scholarships in sustainable agriculture at Canadian Universities.

    Judy’s passion for agriculture built several Syngenta initiatives, including a philanthropic giving back to agriculture program, focused on supporting agricultural leadership in Canada as well as sustainable agriculture and hunger issues; enrolment with Imagine Canada; the annual 4-H Arbor Awards for volunteer recognition; and a leadership development program for grower association board members to enhance their effectiveness as advocates for agriculture.

    Judy is currently the President of the Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame, the interim Chair of the Cereals Council of Canada and the Past President of the Canadian 4-H Council. Previous positions held include Chair of the Pest Management Centre Risk Reduction and Minor Use Programs Advisory Committee and Chair of the Canadian Business and Biodiversity Council. She also served on many value chain steering committees focused on sustainable agriculture including the National Food Strategy and the Canadian Agriculture Sustainability Dialogue.

  • Steve Armstrong, PhD

    President and CEO, Genome Atlantic

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    Steve’s unwavering commitment to help Atlantic Canada reap the benefits of genomics-based innovation has made him an invaluable part of the Genome Atlantic team since its inception in 2000.

    He has a strong scientific background as well as extensive experience in both the public and private sectors -- expertise that is highly beneficial as he helps connect industry, academic institutions and funding agents around strategic genomics R&D collaborations.

    Steve is driven by the opportunities for economic and social impact in a diverse range of sectors in the region. As such, he demonstrates a willingness to ‘roll up the sleeves’ and work with partners to make things happen in everything from strategic consultations with industry about sector challenges that can be addressed by genomics, to deriving new R&D funding mechanisms to reduce administrative loads on industry/academic research teams.

    Steve filled other key roles at Genome Atlantic before being named CEO, including project manager and VP Research and Business Development. Prior to that, he worked at a number of innovation-focused organizations, including Innovacorp, CanTox Inc and the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation. Steve has a PhD in pharmacology from Dalhousie University.

  • Dave Finn, M.Eng.

    Chief Operating Officer, Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador

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    Dave is the Chief Operating Officer for Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador, an organization that facilitates and manages research and technology development on behalf of the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore oil and gas industry.

    He has over 25 years of experience in various facets of the innovation and commercialization process, from applied research and technology development, proposal development, project development, financing and management, consulting, and business development on the “supply side” to managing an organization responsible for identifying R&D needs, securing alignment, negotiating joint investments and managing complex projects and programs on behalf of an industry consortia on the “demand side”.

    Dave has worked in Houston, Ottawa and St. John’s in large and small public and private organizations, including the National Research Council Canada, xwave (now part of Bell Canada), ZeddComm, and Aliant Energy Services.

    Dave is a graduate of Memorial University where he completed both a Bachelor (Naval Architecture) and a Masters of Engineering (Ocean Engineering). He is a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.

  • Patricia Hearn

    Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Affairs, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador

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    Ms. Patricia Hearn is Regional Executive Director, Atlantic Region, Industry Canada and is responsible for the delivery of Industry Canada programs and services in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

    Prior to this, she was Provincial Director of Industry Canada, NL for four years and has had a long career with the Federal Government Service in a number of senior management positions contributing to economic development, science, technology and innovation. She also supports the development of the telecommunications sector through the Spectrum Management Program. Patricia is a Memorial University graduate with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration.

    It is her responsibility to develop and strengthen the strategic networks with other federal government departments, provincial governments, industry associations, industry executives, academia and other stakeholders.

  • Ron Keefe


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    Ron Keefe is Counsel to Stewart McKelvey and Managing Partner of Island Capital Partners. He is President of Regis Duffy Bioscience Fund Inc. and sits on numerous boards of private entities. Ron has a business degree from University of Prince Edward Island along with LL.B. and MBA degrees from Dalhousie University. He holds CPA, CA and ICD. D designations. He was the President and CEO of BioVectra Inc. and Diagnostic Chemicals Limited.

    Mr. Keefe is past chair and a current member of the PEI BioAlliance. He is a member of the UPEI board of governors and chairs the finance and audit committee of the board. He is Chair of Synapse, UPEI’s technology transfer company. He is a member of the Holland College Foundation and the Chair of Island Advance, a committee established by the Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce to advance the economy of Prince Edward Island. Mr. Keefe is a past chair of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.

    Mr. Keefe has a keen interest in advancing economic development in the Atlantic region and views science-based businesses as one of the pillars to grow our economy.

  • Marc LePage (ex officio)

    President & CEO, Genome Canada

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    Before assuming this role in January 2016, he served as President and CEO of Génome Québec since December 2011, where he led a major increase in research activity and enhanced focus on the development of genomic applications within priority sectors within the province.

    He brings a wealth of experience in the innovation sector and venture capital, in addition to a broad network of international contacts.

    He is an expert in international partnerships and previously served as Special Advisor, Climate Change and Energy for the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C. and worked as Consul General at the Canadian Consulate in San Francisco/Silicon Valley.

    Marc LePage was also one of the pioneers behind the founding of Genome Canada in 2000. During his tenure as Executive Vice-President of Corporate Development, he made a significant contribution to the development of genomics in Canada.

    From 1994 to 2000, he worked as Director of Business Development for the Medical Research Council, where he was in charge of building international partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry, venture capital and foundations.

    Marc LePage is a member of the Board and the Governance Committee of the Quebec Network for Personalized Health Care. He also sits on the Board of Canada World Youth.

  • Surita Maddox, BSc, MBA

    Atlantic Regional Executive Director, Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED)

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    Surita Maddox became the Innovation Science and Economic Development (ISED) Atlantic Regional Executive Director in January 2018.

    This new appointment is in many ways a return home for Surita who was born and raised in Newfoundland and Labrador, and who has spent more than 17 years working at ISED.

    Surita first joined the public sector in 2000 as a commerce officer with Industry Canada, ISED’s predecessor department. Since then, she’s held various policy and program positions with increasing responsibilities within the department, including: Senior Advisor to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Industry Sector; District Director, Spectrum Management; Deputy Executive Director, Atlantic Region; and A/Senior Director with the Industrial Technologies Office. Surita recently returned to the Department from Infrastructure Canada where she worked as the Senior Director of the Canada Infrastructure Bank Transition Office.

    She holds a Bachelor of Science from St. Francis Xavier University, and a Masters in Business Administration from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

    During her off time, Surita enjoys yoga, running and taking spin classes, as well as traveling to Newfoundland to spend quality time with her family.

  • Mark Ploughman, B.Eng, MBA

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    Mark has spent over 25 years in the manufacturing sector and has extensive experience in quality assurance, operations management, human resource management, and new product development.

    Prior to joining RDC, Mark was Assistant Deputy Minister for Innovation and Sector Development with the Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development (BTCRD) of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, where he was responsible for the province’s Innovation Strategy and worked closely with stakeholders in a broad variety of sectors to develop and advance initiatives that lead to increased levels of innovation and commercialization.

    Mark was the General Manager, St. John’s for Lotek Wireless Inc., a firm that specializes in biotelemetry solutions for animal research. He was responsible for planning, directing and coordinating the operations of the St. John’s plant to maximize plant contribution and corporate value.

    Mark’s career has spanned a number of disciplines in industries including oil and gas, manufacturing and electronics design. He has served on a number of industry association boards and advisory committees to post-secondary institutions.

    Mark completed both his bachelor’s degree in engineering and graduate degree in business administration at Memorial University. He currently serves on the board of the Research and Development Corporation and the Steering Committee for the Translational and Personalized Medicine Initiative of Memorial University of Newfoundland.

  • Ian Thompson

    Executive in Residence, Cox & Palmer

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    A senior business person accredited by Canada’s Institute of Corporate Directors with particular expertise in communication, public policy and board governance, Ian has been a Canadian business owner, a senior executive in a publicly traded energy utility, a senior newspaper executive and a senior bureaucrat. He has held leadership positions in not-for-profits locally, nationally and internationally. As a volunteer, he led the International Cystic Fibrosis Association, providing support to lay and medical communities in parts of Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South America. He has received many awards for his professional and philanthropic work.

  • Beth Webster, BSc, MBA

    Vice President of Operations for Populous Global Solutions Inc.

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    Elizabeth Webster, better known to her peers as Beth, earned her BSc from Dalhousie University and MBA from the University of New Brunswick before starting an entrepreneurial IT career focused on health technology, and before that, eLearning.

    Beth currently is Vice President of Operations for Populous Global Solutions Inc., a Fredericton-based company specializing in population health management solutions. Even with the demands of an entrepreneurial company, she still makes time to serve as Chair for Service New Brunswick, as well as a Board Member for the Stan Cassidy Foundation and the Fredericton Convention Centre. She has put her extensive business experience to good use previously serving on various boards such as the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) as well as the Fredericton Airport Authority, to name a few. In 2003, Beth was named Knowledge Industry Person of the Year at the KIRA Awards and continues to support the IT community by mentoring young entrepreneurs and by participating in speaking engagements. When she gets involved in something she believes in, she believes in giving it her all.