One-Day Symposium: Survival Skills in a Tough Construction Market

Survival Skills in a Tough Construction Market

March 24, 2009

Speaker biographies


Hon. Kevin Falcon


Hon. Kevin Falcon, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and MLA Surrey-Cloverdale

Kevin Falcon was first elected in 2001 to represent the riding of Surrey-Cloverdale, and was re-elected in 2005. He initially served as Minister of State for De-regulation. In this capacity, he spearheaded the province's reduction of red tape by one-third in the new government's first three years.

Kevin Falcon was appointed Minister of Transportation in 2004, where he has led British Columbia 's most aggressive infrastructure investment program in provincial history. He fought to ensure the 1.9 billion dollar Canada Line would get built. The Minister is also steering the Lower Mainland Gateway transportation Project, a three billion dollar initiative that will ensure British Columbia 's potential as the Asia-Pacific Gateway to North America is realized.

As well, Minister Falcon currently oversees a multi-billion dollar capital program that includes the Kicking Horse Canyon, the Sea to Sky Highway and the William Bennett Bridge, among many others. Additional responsibilities include investment in airports throughout the province, along with leading government's critical ports strategy.

Minister Falcon's leadership recently earned him recognition in Vancouver Magazine's annual ranking of the city's 50 most influential leaders. Before his election to the Legislative Assembly in 2001, Kevin Falcon was president of Access Group, a corporate communications firm he founded in 1998. He has also worked in the real estate development industry and was vice-president of Northwest Investment Properties. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University, and his real estate education at the University of British Columbia.


Najeeb Hassan


Najeeb Hassan has been a partner with the law firm Heenan Blaikie since joining it in 2006, after serving as a Vice-Chair at the British Columbia Labour Relations Board. Before his appointment to the Labour Board, Mr. Hassan represented public and private sector health employers while employed with the Health Employers Association of British Columbia. Najeeb has lectured extensively in the area of labour relations, employment law. His practice brings a practical, common sense approach to complex legal issues. In partnership with public and private sector clients, he provides strategic planning, insightful advice and advocacy, to prevent and resolve conflict in the workplace.


Peter Gibson


Peter D. Gibson is a Partner with KPMG LLP (Canada) and Senior Vice President of KPMG Inc. Having graduated from the University of British Columbia, Peter joined KPMG Vancouver in 1981 and, shortly after passing the requisite professional examinations in 1982, was recruited by the Firm’s Financial Advisory Services group. As a member of this team, corporate recovery and restructuring matters have been his primary focus. He spent over five years in Alberta as head of KPMG’s Edmonton Financial Advisory Services practice prior to returning to British Columbia in 1998 to lead Vancouver’s corporate restructuring group. In 2005, he also assumed responsibility for providing restructuring services to clients in Calgary, as well as those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. 


He has been involved across Canada and in Europe and the US in a wide range of government and public and private company engagements, including formal and informal insolvency and restructuring mandates. Additionally, he has acted as advisor to boards, lenders, corporate debtors, and other stakeholders with respect to viability assessments, security reviews, business reorganizations and financial investigations. Peter has also held directorships in two small public companies and has participated in a number of not for profit boards.

Industry sector experience includes forestry, hospitality and entertainment, software development, automotive, agriculture, real estate and construction, death care and financial services.


Bill Skelly


William E.J. Skelly, a partner in the Business Law and Financial Services Law groups, joined Heenan Blaikie in 1998. He previously worked as a partner in a medium-size law firm in Vancouver and in one of the largest law firms in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Mr. Skelly practises in the corporate and commercial field with a focus on insolvency law, corporate and commercial lending and real estate. He is widely recognized for his expertise in the restructuring of national and international companies. His clients include many of Canada's largest financial institutions. His experience also encompasses railway law, especially with respect to short-line acquisitions and financing. Mr. Skelly was a Provincial Council member of the Canadian Bar Association for a number of years and remains a member of the business law, banking law, real estate and insolvency subsections of the British Columbia branch of the Canadian Bar Association.


Derek Brindle, QC


Derek Brindle, QC is experienced counsel in major litigation, arbitration and in alternate dispute resolution involving commercial claims and complex construction and engineering disputes. He regularly represents owners, construction participants, design professionals and insurers in construction law matters, and has appeared at all levels of the Courts in British Columbia and in the Supreme Court of Canada. Derek advises Crown institutions and industry on risk mitigation strategies in major procurement. He has a diversified commercial and insurance law practice and has acted as counsel in a wide range of disputes involving class actions, claims for defective design and construction, building envelope failures, delay/impact claims, claims involving errors and omissions and comprehensive general liability insurance policies, and in insurance “bad faith” claims. He has an extensive background in criminal and in personal injury law. Derek is rated by LEXPERT as one of British Columbia’s “Consistently Recommended” lawyers in the area of construction law, and is listed in the Best Lawyers in Canada, 2008. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2001.

In addition to counsel work, Derek writes and lectures extensively on legal issues of interest to the construction industry, architects, engineers, the legal profession and the insurance industry. He has written and presented on a wide variety of topics, including construction claims and risk avoidance, building envelope failures, builders liens, the liability of design professionals, procurement law, and insurance “bad faith” claims. He is a Director of the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project Ltd. and B.C. Pavilion Corporation.


Roger Holland


Roger Holland is a corporate/commercial solicitor with experience in corporate reorganizations, acquisitions, shareholders agreements, estate planning and commercial lending and borrowing. He has acted as counsel for several companies with regard to the acquisition of commercial real estate and in corporate reorganizations. He has negotiated and drafted a wide variety of documents including share and asset purchase agreements, commercial leases, franchise agreements, agreements involving the development, distribution, licensing and assignment of computer software, and employment, distribution, publishing and licensing agreements. He also advises clients with respect to compliance with privacy laws. He has also carried out the incorporation, restoration, windup, dissolution and amalgamation of several companies.

Mr. Holland also provides legal advice with respect to the drafting of construction contracts, tendering documents, requests for proposals, public-private partnerships (P3s), and has negotiated several major infrastructure contracts.


James Mack


James Mack is currently the Acting Head of the BC Climate Action Secretariat in the Minister of Environment.  The Secretariat leads change to achieve the Province of British Columbia’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and is comprised of a strong team of committed and knowledgeable people with expertise in key areas of climate action including: carbon neutral operations, transportation and energy policy, research, and strategic partnerships.


Prior to joining the Secretariat, James worked in Ottawa for the Government of Canada on a variety of environmental, social and economic development issues. This has included work at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Privy Council Office, and Indian Northern Affairs Canada.


Steve Davis

Steve Davis is the President of the Independent Power Producers association of BC (IPPBC) and head of Steve Davis & Associates Consulting Ltd, a consulting firm providing commercial, and strategic market advice on developing green power projects in BC.

Steve has been developing green IPPs in BC since 1990. He ran the project development subsidiaries for BC Gas and Ledcor and developed biomass, co-generation and small hydro IPP projects in BC for 12 years prior to setting up his IPP consulting business in 2002. Steve has been an IPPBC Director since 1992 and President since 2001. He has co-authored a dozen major IPPBC reports and commentaries and provided regulatory testimonies in BC Utilities Commission hearings. As IPPBC’s official spokesman, Steve has written dozens of articles and letters to the editor and delivered over 50 public presentations and speeches on IPPs in BC.  Steve’s consulting company has; performed due diligence on investments in IPP projects, created pro formas for small hydro projects, analyzed dozens of BC IPP projects and development companies, reviewed agreements between IPPs and First Nations and Local Governments, prepared site tenure applications for IPP developers, and assisted on preparing IPP project proposals to BC Hydro.  


Steve has a Civil Engineering degree from UBC and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario.


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