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Commander Chris Hadfield

Astronaut, Honourary Advisor

Referred to as “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong,” Colonel Chris Hadfield became a household name as the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station.  A heavily decorated astronaut, engineer, and pilot, Hadfield’s many awards include the Order of Canada, the Meritorious Service Cross, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.  Hadfield is also a bestselling author of four books, an acclaimed musician, and the host of two internationally acclaimed television series, including National Geographic’s One Strange Rock.   

Dr. Ibrahim Yimer

Vice-President Transportation and Manufacturing, Aerospace Research Centre NRC Canada, Advisory Committee Co-Chair

In January 2018, Dr. Yimer was appointed as Director General of the NRC's Aerospace Research Centre. Following a successful career in applied reserach in the field of gas turbine combustion and fuels, Dr. Yimer has held positions of increasing responsibility at the NRC, including Director of the Gas Turbine Laboratory for 10 years.

He is well recognized in the Aerospace science and technology community where he currently serves as Vice-Chair of the International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR) and a Director on the board of AeroMontreal, WestCARD, International Society of Air Breathing Engines (ISABE), and International Congress of Aeronautical Sciences (ICAS).

Dr. Yimer holds and MSc and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

Dr. Joelle Thorgrimson

Flight Surgeon, Advisory Member

Dr (Capt) Joelle Thorgrimson is an Indigenous military flight surgeon posted to Cold Lake, AB but originally from Kenora, ON.  After completing a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics at Queen’s University, a master’s degree in quantum computing at McGill University and her private pilot licence, she attended medical school and completed a family medicine residency at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) in Thunder Bay, ON. She is presently an Assistant Professor at NOSM who locums in Northern Ontario and is an advocate for women in aviation, STEM and the military. 

Dr. Logan Jones

Analytics Manager N-Flight Planning, NAVBLUE, Advisory Member

Dr. Logan Jones works on operational analytics for NAVBLUE, to improve efficiency and planning in airline flight operations and innovate to provide airlines with solutions for sustainability. Previously with Airbus, he worked on the development and certification of Airbus’ Runway Overrun Prevention System and Braking Action Computation Function. He served on EUROCAE and ASTM standardization committees for runway safety technologies and spoke on runway safety at IATA, ICAO and Flight Safety conferences.

Dr. Martin Smith

Co-Founder & CEO Presage Group Inc., Advisory Member

Dr. Martin (Marty) Smith completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Waterloo and since completing his Ph.D. in Psychology from the Université du Québec à Montréal 28 years ago he has developed numerous decision-making software solutions that target and mitigate the psychological drivers for operational non-compliance.  Airlines, Air Navigation, and Airport Authorities around the world have deployed his solutions. Marty is a noted conference speaker and consultant to IATA, ICAO, TSB, NTSB, Eurocontrol, and Flight Safety Foundation.  Most importantly Marty remains an active pilot, having accumulated numerous endorsements and licenses over his 43 years of flying.

Dr. Sunjoo K. Advani

President, International Development of Technology

Sunjoo Advani graduated from the University of Waterloo in Mechanical Engineering in 1985. After completing his M.A.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Toronto, he was offered a position as Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. There, he created the SIMONA institute and its unique flight simulator, conducted research in simulation and Human Factors, and completed his PhD in Aerospace Engineering. His company IDT provides specialised knowledge to airlines, aviation authorities, airframe manufacturers and research institutes.  

Mr. Jeremy Wang

Co-founder and COO, Ribbit

Jeremy Wang is co-founder and COO of Ribbit, a venture-backed startup creating the world's first airline to use fully autonomous aircraft. Since founding in 2020, Ribbit completed the first hands-free gate-to-gate flight in Canada, received approvals for remotely piloted test flights in Alberta, signed on multiple online retailers and wholesalers, and has been awarded a federal contract to resupply remote northern communities. Prior Ribbit, Jeremy was CTO of one of Canada's top drone operators and named as one of AIAA's 20 Twenties in 2018. He holds a BASc in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

Mr. John Craig

​​​​​​Director of Training, Air Canada

Captain John Craig is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and the Aviation program at Seneca College and is currently the Director of Training for a major airline in Canada, responsible for all pilot training programs. He currently flies the Boeing 777 and has over 30 years of experience in flight training in various roles from ab-initio to turboprop and large jet transport aircraft.

Mr. JR Hammond

Executive Director, CAAM; Founder, Rhizome Aero

CAAM is a Federal Not For Profit organization that acts as the catalyst for the new Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry in Canada. AAM is defined as unlocking Zero-Emission (Electric & Hydrogen) Aircraft to operate in Canada both as flying vehicles and larger commercial airplanes. AAM operations focus on moving people, goods and services in both piloted and remotely piloted aircraft on intra-urban and inter-regional routes.

Ms. Mélissa Després

Program Director, Advanced Manufacturing, Manufacturing and Transportation Division, National Research Council Canada

Mélissa Després is Program Director of the Advanced Manufacturing program since 2022. She is responsible for providing the vision, direction and the leadership in the delivery, adoption and impact of the research. She is also responsible for leading world-class resources and actively managing key relationships and alliances with partners, government and industry to ensure optimal positioning, organizational alignment and delivery in the national interest.

Mr. Derrick Cheung

President & CEO, Defence Construction Canada

Mr. Cheung’s is currently President & CEO of Defence Construction Canada.  He has a multi-modal transportation background and his experience includes executive and senior leadership positions in a variety of transportation related organizations: air (infrastructure, fixed- and rotor-wing); rail (infrastructure, heavy, commuter and automated light rail); marine (infrastructure, passenger, commercial, defence); and public infrastructure and transportation (roads, bridges, bus, para-transit, cycling). 

Mr. Drew Hamblin

Founding President, Supermarine Holdings Ltd.

Drew has been involved in aviation for more than 35 years.  As a partner of Found Aircraft Canada Inc., a board member of VeriTX, board member of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, board member of the Canadian International Air Show, a Upper Freeman of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots, along with his work at Trinity Atlantic Capital.  His knowledge of aviation ranges from small bush planes to corporate jets. Drew holds a commercial pilot’s license.

Mr. Rod Regier

Commissioner, Planning, Development and Legislative Services Regional Municipality of Waterloo

Rod Regier, Commissioner of Planning, Development and Legislative Services (PDLS) with the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, received an Honours Bachelor degree in Geography at the University of Winnipeg, and a Masters in Regional Planning at the University of Waterloo. After graduating from Waterloo, Rod worked briefly with the Region of Hamilton-Wentworth in planning policy; then for 16 years with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in various capacities: municipal planning, regional economic development and provincial economic policy with a special focus on dialogue between business, labour and government on provincial competitiveness in global markets. 

Mr. Simon Witts


Simon's career in aviation spans a wide range of roles across most aspects of the operating side of the industry including many years at Board level. A BSc (Hons) graduate in Aeronautical Engineering / Electronic Engineering (Avionics) from Queen Mary College, University of London, he initially worked in technical/engineering/flying roles and developed up to Senior Board level. 

In December 2019 he established four organisations that make up the ENGAP UK Consortium: Project ENGAP, ENGAP UK, Aviation 360 and IASTI – all committed to engaging and training the next generation of aviation professionals. 

Mr. Thomas Lagaillarde

Head of Product Portfolio & Programmes and Managing Director Canada, NAVBLUE

Thomas Lagaillarde had been developing new businesses for Thales and Airbus for more than 12 years before his appointment as Vice President On-Ground Solutions at NAVBLUE and now Vice President Product Portfolio & Programmes.  He founded an internet start-up while still a student, and has since led projects around integrated Electronic Flight Bag operations, pilot training and runway safety systems with that same entrepreneurial spirit. At NAVBLUE he is now leading the transition to an integrated agile lean portfolio management to enhance the customer value creation and boost competitiveness. 

Ms. Wendy Bailey

Chief, Environmental Protection and Standards Civil Aviation Transport Canada

Wendy Bailey is the Chief of Environmental Protection and Standards at Transport Canada, responsible for the implementation of national environmental standards, and the Civil Aviation environmental program. She is the CAEP Member for Canada on ICAO’s Committee of Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). Wendy is on the Advisory Board of the AVIATOR Consortium, an EU-funded multi-national study. She is a contributing author to Air Quality Management: Canadian Perspectives on a Global Issue, published in 2014. Wendy holds a Bachelor degree in Applied Science (Engineering Chemistry) from Queen’s University and a Master’s degree in Occupational Health and Safety from McGill.