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.

John Woods, P.Eng
VP Energy Development
Minas Energy


  • Director of FORCE (Berth holder)
  • Project Lead for Minas Tidal

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.

John Kerr
Commercial Director Canada
DP Energy


  • Director of FORCE (Berth holder)
  • DP Energy lead

John is a Chartered Surveyor with considerable commercial experience spanning more than three decades in Canada, the Caribbean and Ireland identifying, financing and delivering large scale development projects. John has held senior management positions with or consulted to a number of large firms and public companies including Wimpey Taylor and Balfour Beatty based in the UK.  John has a long association with the DP Energy Group of Ireland and serves as their Commercial Director for their Canadian renewable energy development ventures. With a formal business education taken at the University of Limerick and holder of both undergraduate and master’s degrees, John is also an accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator, an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators of Ireland and Great Britain and a Fellow of both the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors headquartered in the UK John served as both Member and later Division Chairman during a period of thirteen years of the Irish statutory property tax assessment appeals body, namely the Valuation Tribunal. He has also held many community and voluntary roles, including President of the University of Limerick Student’s Council, Chairman of the University of Limerick Alumna Association, Chairman of various Irish Business Development and Enterprise Associations, the Chamber of Commerce and Sports and Recreational bodies.  John is a dual citizen of Canada and Ireland.

Alisdair McLean
Open Hydro Country Manager – Canada
Director, Cape Sharp Tidal


  • Director of FORCE (Berth holder)
  • Cape Sharp Tidal lead

Alisdair McLean is the Country Manager for Open Hydro, an Irish tidal-power technology company that formed Cape Sharp Tidal with Emera to generate energy from the Bay of Fundy. Alisdair has 28 years of experience in technology-driven companies ranging from global leaders like DuPont, and Abbott, to start-ups. For the past ten years Alisdair has worked in renewable energy and energy conservation. As an engineer, he co-authored several patents relevant to gasification of non-recyclable solid waste, and as a business development executive he led a global team working on renewable energy project development initiatives across North America, in Europe, Australia and China. Alisdair has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Dalhousie University, and is a Professional Engineer in Ontario. He’s also an avid marathon runner and youth soccer coach.

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.

Joe Fitzharris
QS Atlantic Inc.


  • Director of FORCE (Independent Member)

Joe Fitzharris is the President of QS Atlantic Inc. which offers consulting, project management and supply chain management services to the Marine and Energy Industries. He has worked in the Energy and Offshore Oil and gas industry for over 20 years with extensive experience in strategic planning, project, quality and supply chain management. This experience was partially gained through his previous work for Amec Black & McDonald (Quality Manager East Coast Canada), Marener Industries (VP Operation & GM), Irving Shipbuilding (Corporate Quality Manager, Commercial Manager, Test and Trails Manager).

Joe has supported the development of the tidal energy industry as a steering committee member of the national “Marine Renewable Energy Technology Roadmap.”  He is a member of the Canadian Standards Council Shadow Committee for the development of International Standards TC-114 for Marine Energy and has previously served on the Maritimes Energy Association Board as Vice Chair, Chair and Past Chair, along with various sub-committee and Core conference leadership roles. Joe was also served the supply chain lead on the development of the “Value Proposition for Tidal development in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada study conducted for the OERA. He is a currently a director on the board for Scotian Windfields. Joe 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 has also served as a volunteer on local community minor sports boards in various roles.

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.

Ken Paul
Director of Fisheries and Integrated Resources
Atlantic Policy Congress (APC) of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat


  • Director of FORCE (Independent Member)

Ken Paul currently serves as Director of Fisheries and Integrated Resources for the Atlantic Policy Congress (APC) of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat, a policy research and advocacy sectretariat for 32 Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Innu Chiefs, Nations and Communities. Mr. Paul is primarily responsible for supporting the commercial fisheries and aquaculture among the 30 First Nation communities across the Atlantic/Gaspé region. He has also helped to facilitate work in renewable energy, environment, and climate change in the region. Mr. Paul holds a bachelor of science from Dalhousie University, and has training in leadership, policy development, mediation, labour relations and First Nations governance. He has worked as an engineer and hydrographer with the Canadian Hydrographic Service, leading multibeam seabottom mapping operations.  He has also worked as a Senior Aboriginal Policy Advisor and a Field Unit Superintendent for Parks Canada, and worked with the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq in 2010 to set up the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group, which is responsible for technical and watershed fisheries work.