Myrna Gillis, QC is a lawyer, mediator and entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in business. As a labour and employment lawyer, she has advocated for persons with disabilities and represented public and private sector employers in the vulnerable persons sector, providing advice on regulatory compliance, corporate governance, human rights and leading industry standards and practices. She is peer-rated for practice excellence and high ethical standards. She has experience raising exempt market capital in Canada, and has led initiatives in research and development and innovation, including projects with grant funding from provincial and federal funding agencies. She has reliability security clearance and training through the federal Industrial Security Program. Myrna has served on the executive of various boards, including DASC, a social enterprise employer supporting persons with disabilities; For A Dream’s Sake, an endowment fund for women with terminal cancer; Dalhousie Law Alumni Association; Boys and Girls Clubs of Nova Scotia and Canada; and the Dalhousie Legal Aid Service Board of Trustees. She is a member and supporter of Women Grow, an organization supporting cannabis leaders in the sector. She also served on the Nova Scotia labour management review committee and received her Queen’s Counsel designation in 2014 for exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession. Myrna volunteers with the debate program at Halifax Grammar School and enjoys wilderness camping and travel.
Michael O’Keefe is a senior financial executive with more than 20 years of experience in both public and private companies including acting as Chief Financial Officer of mineral exploration companies listed on the TSX venture exchange. With many years in private industry, as well as experience directing a finance department for a multi-national company, he has demonstrated strong public company experience including continuous disclosure reporting as well as reporting relating to business acquisitions, take over circulars and prospectus filings. He was part of the senior management team for one of the “50 Best Managed” private companies in Canada before joining Aqualitas. He has a MBA from Saint Mary’s University and is a Chartered Professional Accountant.
He is active in the local whole food community and in the promotion of renewable energy. He serves on the board of Nova Leap Health Corp. (TSXV:NLH) and previously Chebucto Terence Bay Wind Field Limited.
Barbara Darby provides legal advice to clients regarding corporate matters, workplace and human rights law, civil litigation, estates and family law. She taught literature and writing at the University of Lethbridge, Queen’s University, Dalhousie University, and Mount St. Vincent University, and taught the law of succession at Schulich School of Law. She was the recipient of two university gold medals. As an elected member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, her duties involved regulatory analysis, governance and equity committee work and attention to the Society’s role in ensuring legal professionals serve the public interest. She is a second-term Department of Justice appointee to the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission, where she also works on the Commission’s Strategic Planning, Operations, and Appeal Committees. She is a member of the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia Professional Conduct Committee that reviews regulatory disciplinary matters and was a legal representative on the Research Ethics Board for a provincial Health Authority. Barbara values doing pro bono legal work and governance work with volunteer boards. She is runner, gardener, bee keeper and occasional cello player. Originally from Alberta, Barbara has lived in Nova Scotia for over 20 years.
Katharina Seitz-Cochrane brings more than 20 years experience in international business development to her role with Aqualitas. After receiving her PhD in animal science from the University of Giessen in Germany Katharina worked in product development and marketing before founding a national veterinary equipment company. Katharina’s demonstrated successes as an ambassador and liaison between North American and European companies position her as an invaluable leader in building Aqualitas’s international partnerships.
Kyle Atkinson has nearly 20 years experience in the pharmaceutical and medical cannabis industries, in both business development and client care. Most recently, Kyle co-founded and lead Trauma Healing Centers – a network of eight clinics and affiliate clinics that serve thousands of medical cannabis patients with a particular focus on the needs of veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces. Kyle is leading Aqualitas’s acquisition strategy and the development of our client care program. Kyle will be working closely with physicians, researchers and allied health professionals in their support of patients requiring cannabis for medical purposes.
Priyanka Mehra comes to Aqualitas with nearly a decade of experience in food science and technology research focusing on food chemistry, fermentation technology, brewing science, new product development, food processing and food quality. Most recently, Priyanka managed Quality Assurance for another licensed cannabis producer. With a focus on hygienic system design for overall operating conditions and a proficiency for product planning, processing and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Priyanka is developing, implementing and managing procedures and protocols at Aqualitas to ensure our practices and products are of the highest quality. Priyanka has an undergraduate degree from A.D. Patel Institute of Technology and Masters degrees from Jiwaji and Dalhousie universities.
Dorothy Easy has a work history that includes multiple, relevant skills including certificates in Good Manufacturing Practices and WHMIS; quality control and oversight of products and kits; quality control for incoming manufacturing goods; quality control and maintenance of laboratory equipment; batch quality control, maintenance of documentation; control of product inventory; stability studies, management of a recall program, control of labelling, and preparation of certificates of analysis, material safety data sheets, Standard Operating Procedures, and product instructions. Dorothy is familiar with Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) International Shellfish Sanitation Conference and Health Canada regulations. Her work as quality control personnel has been completed using Health Canada’s good manufacturing practices. She has a testing background for bio-toxins and water as well using CFIA approved testing methods. Dorothy resides in Chester, Nova Scotia, and is avid outdoor enthusiast and gardener. She enjoys kayaking and hiking.
Adrian Murray obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Alberta and a B.Sc. in chemistry from St. Francis Xavier University. Heading up and working in chemistry laboratories based in industry and academic research facilities, Adrian has extensive research, teaching and Good Manufacturing Practices experience. He has conducted research and analyses in industrial operations, product and process development, quality control, environmental control, biotechnology, nanotechnology and other applications. He has also applied theoretical, experimental and applied research into basic chemical and biochemical processes to create or synthesize new products and processes. As a postdoctoral researcher, he researched anaerobic digestion, bio-solid treatment, and OpenCEL product development; ran pilot testing; analysed waste water samples, and did product development. He also worked in the process chemistry group that investigated customer complaints, identified problems and provided solutions within a large international manufacturing company. Adrian has served as a chemistry department visiting research scientist, graduate teaching assistant, and graduate and undergraduate research associate in Germany, Alberta and Nova Scotia. He instructed introductory chemistry (general and introduction to organic chemistry), as well as supervised undergraduate and Master’s student research projects. He has published peer-reviewed work and is a member of the Canadian Society of Chemistry and American Chemical Society and is a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (German Academic Exchange Service) Research Ambassador. In his spare time, Adrian makes craft beer and is a multi-category award-winning brewer.
Sean O’Keefe is a Professor of Food Science and Technology at a large research institution in the United States. He has a Ph.D. in Food Technology from Iowa State University, a Master’s in Food Science and Technology from Technical University of Nova Scotia, a B.Sc. in Biology from St. Francis Xavier University and postgraduate experience in France (INRA, Dijon). He has extensive experience with food analysis methods including HPLC, GC, GC-MS, GC-MS/MS, flame and furnace AA and others (MALDI-TOF, SEM, rheometry, colour, etc.). Sean has experience in food processing (thermal, non-thermal) and extractions (solvent, microwave assisted, SC-CO2), fractionations (short path thermal desorption, solid phase separations) and is actively involved in product development with novel bio-actives. He has been involved with developing food products for famine relief in Africa as well as natural ingredients to improve the quality of “meals ready to eat” for the United States Department of Defense. He envisioned and developed a Brewing Science program in the US. He will assist the Aqualitas team to develop cannabis-derivative products consistent with our license and act as a scientific advisor. Sean has certifications in radiation safety, Good Laboratory Practices, and Managerial Assessments of Proficiency, among others. His hobbies include home brewing and growing hot peppers using deep water hydroponics and coco coir.
Neil Ross is a biochemist with several years of multi-disciplinary research and management experience. He has a Ph.D. and B.Sc. in Biochemistry from McGill University and following a post-doctoral fellowship in a drug discovery laboratory with a major pharmaceutical company, he worked for over 23 years at the National Research Council as a scientist, director and industrial technology advisor, co-authoring over 65 peer-reviewed publications. He has extensive background in the cultivation of fish and algae, understanding nutrient and water quality requirements of each. As well, he has worked closely with analytical chemists and industrial partners in natural products development (product characterization and QA/QC methods, new food product and scaling up of cultivation technologies). His recent work on developing a drug for eel farming has also familiarized him with the regulatory processes at Health Canada and the US FDA. He will assist the Aqualitas team to identify strategic research and development partnerships, including funding opportunities, and advise on scientific direction, integration of nutrient flows in the aquaponics system and the development of cannabis-derivative products.
Dr. Donaldson has interest and experience in process analysis and scaling, with on-going research in multi-phase systems, process intensification, energy sustainability, and rapid analysis and controls. As an Associate Professor in Engineering at Dalhousie University, Adam provides partner-focused experimental and computational analysis, engaging in active collaborations with industry and government to characterize and improve processing systems in the energy, aquaculture, water treatment, and mining sectors.
Russell Easy will assist the Quality Assurance team with respect to its aquaponics growing platform and in research and development of the aquaponics system. As a developmental biologist, he provides the team with expertise in fish biology and habitat and microbial diversity, ensuring that its practices will be consistent with Good Microbiological Practices. He is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Acadia University and is the supervising professor of our subsidiary Finleaf Technology's aquaponics research project at the KC Irving Environmental Science Centre. He has a Ph.D. in Biology from Dalhousie University, a Master’s Degree in Biology from St. Mary’s University and a Bachelor’s degree in genetics from Carleton University. He has been a registered microbiologist with the Canadian College of Microbiology and holds a technical degree in biochemistry from Algonquin College. Dr. Easy was a postdoctoral fellow at St. Mary’s and Dalhousie Universities, where he worked on various elements of stress in a broad range of animals. He has worked as a microbiologist for the National Reference Laboratory for Health Canada at the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and as a research lab manager for the National Research Council in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Russell lives in Chester Basin, Nova Scotia and is an avid kayaker, outdoor enthusiast and musician.
Jake Ward has training and experience in aquaponic cultivation and aquaponic system construction in Canada and the USA. He is certified by dicentra in Good Production Practices and is a research assistant for Finleaf Technologies Inc.
Nancy Stapleton has 20 years of experience in strategic communication planning, media relations and fund development. During her career, she has provided communications counsel for some of the region’s largest educational and healthcare organizations as well as grassroots non-profits. She is a passionate communicator and advocate and, in addition to her role as Communications Manager, Nancy serves as Vice Chair on the Aqualitas Medical & Patient Advisory Board.