Canadian Consulting Engineer

Virtual Event
Decarbonizing Remote Communities Virtual Summit
April 11, 2024 at 1:00pm ET

Panel Discussion: A Multifaceted Challenge and Opportunity


  • Jean Blair, director of planning and outreach, Torchlight Bioresources
  • Kevin Brown, energy department manager and climate action co-ordinator, Old Massett Village Council
  • Mark Heyck, executive director, Arctic Energy Alliance
  • Nathan Tedford, director of nuclear technologies, Hatch
  • Brian Walmark, decarbonization advisor’, Fort Severn First Nation community
Continued efforts to decarbonize remote communities will require multifaceted approaches, depending on the local realities on the ground, past legacies of fossil fuel consumption, climate and economics, among other factors. Our panel will discuss a variety of tools for change, from renewables like wind, solar and biomass to small modular reactors (SMRs).

Jean Blair
Jean Blair, director of planning and outreach at TorchLight Bioresources, works to advance bioenergy projects that support healthy forests and sustainable forest management while decarbonizing communities, energy systems and industries. She is based in Newburgh, Ont. Her areas of focus include biomass district energy, industrial fuel switching, sustainable biomass supply, active forest management and public engagement.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown is energy department manager and climate action co-ordinator, Old Massett Village Council, which governs and manages Haida Gwaii and its surrounding waters in British Columbia, serving 5,000 community members with initiatives for sustainable land use, energy and fishing. Kevin focuses on developing renewable energy programs, including biomass heat using pellets and wind systems, along with ensuring food security through local means.

Mark Heyck
Mark Heyck, former mayor of Yellowknife, is executive director of Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA), a not-for-profit society mandated to help communities, consumers, producers, regulators and policymakers work together to reduce the costs and environmental impacts of energy and utility services in the Northwest Territories by adopting efficient and renewable products and practices.


Nathan Tedford
Nathan Tedford, based in Port Hope, Ont., is director of nuclear technologies at Hatch, responsible for the engineering firm’s engagements related to advanced reactors, small modular reactors (SMRs) and fusion energy. Throughout his more than 15-year career at Hatch, he has been involved in many aspects of power station design and deployment, including hybrid-power systems for off-grid mines and remote communities, and a wide variety of power generation technologies, including coal, diesel, wind, solar, concentrating solar, nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.

Brian Walmark
Brian Walmark is a Fort Severn First Nation community member and advisor currently living in Thunder Bay, Ont. With nearly 20 years’ experience working for First Nations and the public and private sectors, he has been an innovator and a leader in supporting decarbonization efforts in his community and others surrounding it, transforming proposals into shovel-ready projects backed by government funding. By way of example, he helped develop the Fort Severn First Nation Solar Array, which won the Engineering a Better Canada Award and an Award of Excellence at the 2022 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards.