The Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment was created in 2009 under the direction of Cape Breton University. In 2020, the Verschuren Centre Inc. was created to provide the organization with opportunities to grow even further as an entity of its own. The Centre inspires and facilitates commercially useful research and development and fosters related educational and training opportunities in four key areas. An accomplished Board of Directors, lead by Chair, Keith MacLeod, lend their expertise in all research areas. Their proven leadership skills and business acumen will help turn the Verschuren Centre Inc.'s vision into reality.


R. Keith MacLeod, P.Eng.

In addition to chairing the Verschuren Centre Board of Directors, Keith currently serves as the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. He previously held the positions of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Sproule and its subsidiaries, until his retirement on June 30, 2014, responsible for overseeing its Canadian, U.S., International, Unconventional and Project Management businesses.  His worldwide experience at Sproule was primarily in the areas of reservoir engineering, oil and gas reserves/resource evaluations, acquisitions and divestitures; securities commission reports, expert witness testimony, investment advice and education. Keith has experience working in 30 countries spanning 6 continents.  Keith lectured at the University of Calgary for many years and presented to industry on oil and gas disclosure related matters and has been an industry advisor to the Alberta Securities Commission (“ASC”). He is active with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) having served as the Canadian Regional Director on the international board as well as chair of the Canadian Section.  He is also active with the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers (SPEE) as one of the authors involved in the preparation of the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook and a member of the ASC’s industry taskforce, whose recommendations formed the framework for National Instrument 51-101.

He earned his Diploma in Technology in Mineral Science from what was formerly known as the College of Cape Breton, now Cape Breton University.  He earned a Bachelor of Science (Honors) Engineering from Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology, in Butte, Montana. In 2017, he completed the Director Education Program of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Annette Verschuren

Chair & CEO, NRStor
Chancellor, Cape Breton University
The Verschuren Centre’s namesake, Annette Verschuren, is Chair and CEO of NRStor Inc., an energy storage development company. Formerly she was president of The Home Depot Canada and Asia, overseeing the growth of the company’s Canadian operations from 19 to 179 stores between 1996 and 2011. She also led The Home Depot’s entry into China.
Ms. Verschuren began her career as a development officer with the Cape Breton Development Corporation, a coal mining operation, in Sydney, Nova Scotia. She then worked with Canada Development Investment Corporation as executive vice-president, privatizing crown corporations, before joining Imasco Ltd., one of Canada’s largest holding companies in financial services, retail and food services, as vice-president, corporate development. Immediately prior to joining The Home Depot, Ms. Verschuren was president and co-owner of Michaels of Canada, a chain of arts and crafts stores, where she opened 17 stores in 26 months.
Ms. Verschuren is a board member of several companies and foundations, including Liberty Mutual Insurance Group of Boston, Air Canada, Saputo and Canadian Natural Resources Limited. Additionally, Annette Verschuren sits on the federal government’s Science Technology and Innovation Council. She co-chairs the Smart Prosperity Initiative which is mapping out a course to a stronger, cleaner economy for Canada.
In 2011, Ms Verschuren was honoured as an Officer of The Order of Canada for her contribution to the retail industry and Corporate Social Responsibility. A champion of community investment and volunteerism, Ms. Verschuren serves as Chancellor of Cape Breton University.

Dr. Vicky Sharpe

Dr. Sharpe is a long-term champion of integrating the environment and the economy. As the first employee and founding President and CEO of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (STDC), Vicky built an internationally renowned global cleantech fund. Vicky drives environmentally responsible innovation that has increased productivity, competitiveness and boosted Canadian exports.
Dr. Vicky is helping to shape the Canadian cleantech landscape through strategic advice and leadership. She is a founding member of the Boards of the Alberta Enterprise Corporation and Carbon Management Canada Inc., a national research network focused on carbon management in the fossil energy sector. Dr. Sharpe continues to serve on numerous technology, industry association and government committees, including international advisor on sustainability issues representing the Canadian energy sector at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Forum.
As a widely recognized expert and advocate for SD and technology innovation, Vicky addresses national and international audiences to promote an understanding of the culture shift in values society must make to secure a sustainable future.

Hon. David C. Dingwall

President & Vice Chancellor, Cape Breton University

The Honourable David C. Dingwall is the seventh President & Vice-Chancellor of Cape Breton University.. He is highly regarded for his substantial, in-depth experience in both the private and public sectors, at national and international levels. He was elected to the Parliament of Canada on four different occasions. In 1997, as Canada’s Health Minister, he introduced and passed the Tobacco Control Act, which was recognized by the World Health Organization, Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Lung Association. 
Mr. Dingwall has extensive corporate governance experience. As the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Canadian Mint, in less than two years, Mr. Dingwall grew its revenue to more than $100 million. He currently serves on several boards, including Co-Director of the Canada China Institute on Business and Development, Ted Rodger School of Management, Ryerson University; a Board Member of The Canadian Bar Association, The Advocates’ Society, ADR Chambers Inc., and Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society; and Chairperson of Orenda Solutions Inc.
Mr. Dingwall holds degrees in commerce and law from Dalhousie University, has studied Corporate Governance at Harvard Law School, and is also a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D), Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. In 1997, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Cape Breton University.

Frank B. van Schaayk

Mr. van Schaayk’s career has afforded him successful and diverse experiences, initially in the oil and gas sector, and then as an operating executive and Board Director in large and privately held food businesses, as well as not-for-profit entities. In October 2014, Frank retired as Regional President, The Americas, McCain Foods Limited, the world’s largest producer of frozen potato products.  Prior to joining McCain Foods, Mr. van Schaayk was President and Chief Operating Officer of Ben’s Limited, a privately held wholesale bakery company in Eastern Canada from 19980 to 1992.  Mr. van Schaayk began his career in 1978 with Schell Canada Ltd. as a drilling engineer, also serving in strategic and financial planning rolls at Shell.
Mr. van Schaayk holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from St Francis Xavier University and the Nova Scotia Technical College where he graduated with Honours in 1978.  Mr. van Schaayk’s continuing education includes completing the executive program and the University of Western Ontario; Ivey School of Business; the IMD. Family Business Program at Insead, Lausanne Switzerland, completion of a Chartered Corporate Director Designation from the Conference Board of Canada and Degroote School of Business; McMaster University in Canada; and completion of the Advanced Management program at Harvard University in 2009.
Mr. van Schaayk has also served on many Boards (Ben’s Ltd, McCain Foods Ltd., Bay State Milling Co., High Liner Foods), including not-for-profit entities, and is currently Chair of the Nova Scotia Health Authority Board and a member of the Board of Governors of Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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