Strong Speaker Lineup Planned for Boating Ontario Conference

Boating Ontario has released its full speaker lineup for its upcoming annual conference later on this month. The list includes numerous industry experts designed to attract the association’s 600-plus members consisting of marina operators, boat dealers, brokers and suppliers across the province. The Boating Ontario Conference will take place at the Blue Mountain Village Conference Centre in Collingwood, Ontario from November 27 to 29.

Conference speakers include:

Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Global Public Affairs

darrell-brickerIpsos’ Public Affairs has offices in 30-plus countries and a staff of 600 research professionals. It is a social and corporate reputation research firm.

Prior to joining Ipsos in 1990, Bricker was Director of Research in the office of Canada’s Prime Minister. He was also a research consultant with firms in Ottawa and Toronto. Bricker holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Carleton University and a BA and MA from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Bricker is a public speaker who regularly engages with audiences around the world. He is interviewed frequently in the media, appearing on CNN, the BBC, Bloomberg, and Al Jazeera, as well as on all of Canada’s major television and radio networks. He’s written articles for publications as diverse as Canada’s Globe and Mail and France’s Le Monde.


Ann-Marie Barker and Guy Castagne, TSSA Engineering Specialists 

barker-castagneAnn-Marie is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and a professional engineer. She is responsible for the direction of safety policies for the storage and handling of liquid fuels in Ontario, and a provincial expert on the Ontario Liquid Fuels Handling Code.

Guy Castagne is a regional supervisor serving northern Ontario. Castagne has worked at the TSSA for 11 years within the inspection department of the Fuels Safety Program. He is a certified fire and explosion investigator. He has worked within the fuels industry for 26 years as an inspector, technician and college teacher.


Chris Brown, Profit Solutions Specialist for Lifeline Business Solutions

chris-brownChris Brown has 30-plus years under his belt as a Manager of credit risk, inventory finance and retail finance in the Recreational Products Industry. He is also a regularly guest columnist for Boating Business magazine.

As an unbiased Profit Solutions Specialist, employing a unique insider knowledge of the industry, he helps business owners who need or want guidance maximizing their profit potential.


Javed Khan, President of EMpression

javed-khanJaved S. Khan brings 20 years of corporate experience and eight-plus years of successful small business ownership.

He is an accomplished and engaging professional speaker, voice over talent, and President of EMpression – a marketing services company. Khan’s company focuses on helping entrepreneurs, business owners and organizations bring their unique ideas to life.

For the past four years, EMpression has been a strong partner with Boston-based software firm, Constant Contact, and is considered an Accredited Authorized Local Expert for the company.

He’s been a featured presenter at various professional associations, chambers of commerce, regional and national conferences, workshops, webinars, and media outlets.


Thomas Dammrich, President of the NMMA

tjdThomas Dammrich became president of NMMA 16 years ago. One of the first things he tackled was focusing on market expansion efforts that were also measureable. Dammrich’s leadership has helped unify the industry to do just that with the Discover Boating campaign, now entering its twelfth year.

Over the years, Dammrich has worked to unite the industry on advocacy issues to protect and grow the industry, as well as to insure the boating public has unfettered use of our nation’s waterways. The American Boating Congress today boasts over 30 industry co-hosts. Dammrich speaks for the industry on Capitol Hill and directs NMMA’s staff to protect the industry’s interests in Washington D.C. Thom works to be sure boating is represented at every table where decisions impacting recreational boating and fishing are addressed. He personally serves on the Boards of the International Council of Marine Industry Associations, the American Sportfishing Association and the American Boat and Yacht Council.


Darlene Upton Executive Director, Ontario and Waterways, Parks Canada

darlene-uptonDarlene Upton has been with Parks Canada for 20 years. Her current role includes leadership on regional relationships for the five national parks, one national urban park, 31 historic sites and two marine conservation areas in Ontario, in addition to the historic waterways in Quebec and Ontario.

Upton is passionate about making Parks Canada sites relevant and accessible through innovative partnerships that allow visitors unique, local, and authentic experiences. She is the recipient of Boating Ontario’s Gord Blake Visionary Award for leadership in the marine industry largely due to this passion.


Claude Aumont Strategic Partnership Coordinator for OTMPC

claude-aumontClaude Aumont was hired as a Strategic Partnership Coordinator for the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) a little over 13 years ago.

As Partnership Coordinator of the Northern Office, he is responsible for marketing Northern Ontario Tourism and acting as a liaison with industry partners across the North. Claude is also responsible for the promotion of Powersports Tourism for the province and his mandate is to promote all areas of Recreational Motorsports Touring across Ontario, which includes boating.

Aumont brings a unique combination of 24 years of experience and achievements in the tourism industry to OTMPC. He is a pioneer in using the best of traditional media and communication tactics – while embracing modern non-traditional online and social media channels – to convert leads into buyers.


Tracey-Hart, Marketing Manager of Discover Boating Canada

tracey-hartTracey Hart, Director of Marketing for Discover Boating Canada, has been working on the Discover Boating Program for almost ten years. Prior to her experience at Discover Boating, Hart managed events for clients such as Nike and the Hudson’s Bay Company at various agencies. She was also responsible for directing national sponsorship and events properties on behalf of General Motors of Canada and its Chevrolet, Chevy Trucks, Cadillac and Corporate portfolio of brands.

In addition to her experience as a senior manager in the Nottingham municipal government in the UK, she also worked at the Canadian Molson Indy events in Toronto and Vancouver. She holds a BA in Social/Cultural Anthropology from University of Toronto.


Tina Varughese, Professional Speaker and Trainer

tina-varugheseTina, President of tWorks, is a professional speaker and trainer specializing in cross-cultural communication, work-life balance and inclusive leadership.

Prior to tWorks, she worked with Alberta Employment and Immigration where she spearheaded international recruitment missions in response to Alberta’s labour shortage.

She is a contributing writer for the Human Resource Institute of Alberta’s Network magazine, Calgary Real Estate News, and Home to Home magazine. She is also a professional member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

For the full conference agenda visit: or to register for the conference, visit