Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors consists of technology developers testing with FORCE, one representative from the Province of Nova Scotia, and an independent academic from a relevant discipline appointed by the Province of Nova Scotia.

The FORCE Board of Directors includes:

Janet MacMillan, APR, Fellow CPRS 
Partner, NATIONAL Public Relations

  • Director of FORCE (Independent Member)
  • Board Chairperson

Janet MacMillan specializes in such areas as risk, reputation and crisis management, citizen engagement, governance and regulatory matters and serves as lead strategic counsel to a number of her firm’s clients.  She guides clients in such sectors as renewable energy, oil and gas, mining and other resources, and infrastructure development. Janet’s career with NATIONAL Public Relations (formerly MT&L, which she co-owned for ten years) spans over 25 years. NATIONAL Public Relations is Canada’s largest public relations firm with more than 375 professionals, offering clients a great depth and breadth of communications expertise across geographies and practice areas. The firm serves regional, national and international clients from offices in Halifax, St. John’s, Saint John, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, New York, London, UK, and Denmark.  In 2006, Janet was inducted as a Fellow in the Canadian Public Relations Society. She is certified by the U.S.-based Institute for Crisis Management and the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2). Janet’s professional career began at Halifax’s Neptune Theatre, followed by an exciting period with the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax where she launched the highly successful Children’s Miracle Network Telethon and expanded the hospital’s public relations and fundraising profile.

Joe Fitzharris
Quality Manager
AMEC Black & MacDonald


  • Director of FORCE (Chair) (Independent Member)

Joe Fitzharris is the Quality Manager at AMEC Black and McDonald. AMEC Black & McDonald Limited (ABM) specializes in engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance services for the Offshore Oil and Gas industry in Atlantic Canada and currently is the EPC contractor for the Sable Offshore Gas Project  for Exxon Mobil.  Joe is current past-chair of the Maritimes Energy Association. Prior to joining AMEC Black & McDonald,  Joe spent five years with the Marener Group of Companies in various Senior Management Positions. Previous to that Joe was part of the senior management team at Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and held numerous management positions for Irving Shipbuilding, working on major offshore projects such as the Hibernia Utility Shaft fabrication, the Eirik Raude semi-submersible completion, South Venture topsides, and the White Rose module fabrication. Joe also serves as a member of the Nova Scotia Community College program advisory committee for welding and steel fabrication programs, a sector chair and industry advisor to the Greater Halifax Partnership’s 5 year Economic Strategy, and as a steering committee member of the national “Marine Renewable Energy Technology Roadmap.” Joe has also served as president, technical advisor and coach of the Cole Harbour Comets Minor Girls Softball Association, and currently chairs the Metro Minor Girls Softball Association.

John Woods, P.Eng
VP Energy Development
Minas Energy


  • Director of FORCE (Berth holder)
  • Project Lead for Minas Energy/Marine Current Turbines (Siemens)/Bluewater

John is the Vice President of Energy Development at Minas Energy (formerly Minas Basin Pulp and Power, a company with a long history of sustainable development in the province of Nova Scotia). He holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering from Dalhousie University and has spent his career in the energy industry.  Before joining Minas Energy, John worked with Suez Energy to develop a 100 MW wind energy farm in the West Cape area of Prince Edward Island.  He was the Executive Director of the Electricity Consumers Alliance of Nova Scotia (ECANS), he has worked as an independent consulting engineer, and he began his career with Nova Scotia Power as a distribution and transmission engineer.  John was a member of the Electricity Marketplace Governance Committee and an active participant in the regulatory process that brought about Nova Scotia’s Open Access Transmission Tariff.

Jeremy Poste
Canada Country Manager
OpenHydro Technology Canada


  • Director of FORCE (Berth holder)
  • OpenHydro lead

Jeremy joined OpenHydro – a DCNS company – in 2014 and is responsible for all operations, projects, teams and business development for OpenHydro in Canada. Jeremy has significant experience in both project management and industrial production in the energy sector, developed through his time working in DCNS in France and abroad, as well as other companies owned either by DCNS or AREVA.  He is a mechanical and thermo-hydraulics engineer by background, specializing in the energy sector. In addition to the FORCE Board, Jeremy is also a Director on the Boards of Cape Sharp Tidal, the joint venture formed with Emera Inc to develop a commercial in-stream tidal array in the Bay of Fundy.

Nils Hirsch
General Manager

Black Rock Tidal Power (BRTP)


  • Director of FORCE (Berth holder)
  • BRTP lead

Nils Hirsch is the general manager of Black Rock Tidal Power, a SCHOTTEL HYDRO company based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nils graduated as a mechanical engineer from Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany, and from École Centrale de Lyon, France in 2005 as a general engineer. Until 2010 he worked as a research associate at the Institute of Product Development and Machine Elements at the University of Technology, Darmstadt, in the field of innovation management. In 2010 he joined SCHOTTEL and has managed tidal energy projects dealing with technical challenges related to design and O&M procedures, as well as financial aspects including investment strategies and cost modeling for SCHOTTEL Turbines (SIT) and TRITON platforms. Additionally, Nils worked in the field of innovation management and managed projects related to SCHOTTEL propulsion systems. In August 2015, Nils relocated to Halifax with his family to take on responsibility as Project Manager of the FORCE1 Project.

Simon De Pietro
Atlantis (Operations) Canada Limited


  • Director of FORCE (Berth holder)
  • Project Lead for AOCL

Biography to follow.

Dr. Robert Fournier


  • Director of FORCE (Independent Academic)

Dr. Fournier is Professor (Emeritus) of Oceanography at Dalhousie University. His scientific specialty is the factors that contribute to phytoplankton abundance. He is the former Associate Vice-President of Research at Dalhousie University, and other activities include chairing the Premier’s Council on Science and Technology (CAST) as well as serving as a member of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s National Advisory Board on Science and Technology (NABST). In addition, Dr. Fournier has been involved in informal assessments of Northern Cod and chaired an overview of Halifax Harbor, as well as formal assessments managed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) of Sable Offshore Energy Project and The White’s Point Mining Initiative. Most recently a greater association at Dalhousie University with the Marine Affairs Program (MAP) which specializes in marine policy.

Sandra Farwell, MPA
Director, Sustainable & Renewable Energy
Nova Scotia Department of Energy


  • Director of FORCE (Province of Nova Scotia Member)

Sandra Farwell is the Director of Sustainable and Renewable Energy with the Department of Energy in Nova Scotia, Canada. Much of her work with the Department has been related to implementing energy strategies in the form of programs and initiatives with a special focus on research and development, renewables and the development of Nova Scotia’s opportunities in the marine renewable energy sector. Sandra led the creation of the Province’s regulatory framework for marine renewable energy and serves as the provincial government member on the Board of FORCE. Prior to joining government, Sandra worked for several years in the fisheries industry where she focused on policy and regulatory affairs.  Sandra holds a B.Sc. in Biology, a BA in Sociology and a Masters in Public Administration (MPA), from Dalhousie University.


Paul Jamer
Breakwater Group


  • Director of FORCE (Independent Member)

Paul Jamer is the President of Breakwater Group, a Canadian company providing marine engineering and business consulting services to a global client base.  A native of New Brunswick, Paul is a graduate of the Canadian Coast Guard College’s Marine Engineering program and has more than 30 years of experience in the Marine Industry. In addition to extensive experience as a project manager and engineering superintendent, he has been a successful consultant to both marine and shore-based industry. Paul has managed operations in Canada and internationally and was instrumental in the development and marketing of landmark environmentally conscious technologies such as hybrid propulsion for the marine industry.  He continues to work with clients to integrate alternative and conventional energy sources to provide pragmatic and sustainable solutions for the future.