OTTAWA, ONTARIO – With the current government’s commitment to Canada’s new defence policy, and the release of the Defence Investment Plan – Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K) has enhanced its Defence Procurement Team to provide industry-leading expertise with respect to complex public procurements tendered by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces.

H+K’s Defence Procurement Team is now comprised of 16 consultants and associates, contains members who have served alongside prime ministers and premiers, at the executive branches of the public service, as elected officials and at the Canadian Forces. Collectively, they hold unrivalled expertise in military operations and land-sea-air deployments, combined with over 40+ years of diverse senior-level management and decision-making experience within federal politics, procurement, and procedures.

“The quality of this procurement team is designed to help our clients win new business, by harnessing the support they require at the right time, with both government and industry,” says Louise Mercier, Vice President and Group Leader of H+K’s Defence Procurement team. “Our team’s complimentary skill set ensures that our clients capture strategies effectively, influence the right stakeholders, build their reputations, manage risk, and engage decision-makers.”

H+K’s Defence Procurement team has a detailed understanding of the the complex requirements of value propositions, Industrial Technological Benefits (ITBs) and Industrial Regional Benefits (IRBs), as well as an unmatched experience working at all levels within the Department of National Defence, Public Services and Procurement, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Shared Services Canada, Public Safety and the Strategic Aerospace Defence Initiative.

As part of Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ global network of 86 offices in 47 countries, the team can also provide local support to clients working with foreign and domestic prime contractors and suppliers to identify opportunities for long-term Canadian and export supply opportunities.

Meet H+K’s team of Defence Procurement experts:

Brian Mersereau – With over three decades of experience serving as a strategic counsellor and business advisor on many of the federal government’s major projects, Brian has served as trusted advisor on projects for a wide variety of goods and services in both the military and commercial sectors, including many of Canada’s major mergers and acquisitions. Brian brings more than 15 years of hands-on experience from the buyer’s perspective of evaluating, negotiating and managing major government contracts with the now Department of Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Louise Mercier – A leading expert in Canada on government military procurement, Louise brings over 25 years of defence experience. Leveraging her deep relationships between industry and various government departments, Louise has successfully led and implemented multiple business development strategies for small, medium, and large complex, military industrial programs. She is currently an executive board member of The Canadian Defence Association Institute, and a Board Member of Arcs of Fire, Veterans Fund. She is an active volunteer of CADSI (Canadian Association Defence and Security Industry) and for many years, has chaired CADSI’s Annual Navy Outlook as a part of the Canadian Armed Forces Outlook Program. She is proud of supporting women in the Defence sector, and is a founding member of Women in Defence & Security (WIDS).

Lt-Gen (Ret’d) Steve Lucas – Lieutenant General Steve Lucas’ career in the Canadian Forces spanned the period from 1969 to 2007 when he retired from the position of Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Becoming an Air Navigator, his flying career spanned two decades during which he flew some 4000 hours mainly in the soon to be retired CC-130 Hercules. During the latter part of his 37-year career he was privileged to hold a series of challenging Command positions beginning in 1989 when as a Lieutenant Colonel he assumed command of 435 (T) Squadron, the first Air Navigator to command an operational Transport Squadron. He was also appointed Base Commander Goose Bay, where as a Colonel he oversaw the multi-national Low-Level Fighter Jet Flying Training Program in the early 90s. After a number of Senior Staff positions in National Defence Headquarters and in Winnipeg at the Operational HQ of the AF, he was appointed Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division and Commander of the Canadian NORAD Region in mid-2000. During his time in Command, he was responsible for the Air Defence of Canada during the September 11th attacks on New York and Washington. In 2005 he was appointed to Command Canada’s Air Force as Chief of the Air Staff, a position he held until 2007.

BGen (Ret’d) Eddy Morin – With a highly successful air force career, in addition to valuable business and defence procurement insights, Eddy brings over a decade of experience as a senior executive with the world’s largest aerospace and defence companies. Until January 2013, Eddy was country director and vice-president in Canada for Boeing (defence, space & security). In that capacity, he oversaw the strategic planning and business development activities for Boeing’s defence products and services to the Canadian Government, with focus on government relations and customer satisfaction. Before joining Boeing in 2005, Eddy provided consulting services for the aerospace industry with a specialization in management and strategic planning in the defence procurement sector. Eddy served with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) for 36 years. He served in numerous positions, covering the full spectrum of aerospace engineering, maintenance in field operations and staff positions. In June 1994, he was appointed as the director general of aerospace equipment program management at the NDHQ in Ottawa, overseeing engineering, maintenance and procurement functions in support of the RCAF. He served in this capacity until he retired in June 1999.

Rear Admiral (Ret’d) Bruce Johnston – With a highly successful naval career, as well as the business and defence procurement insights, Bruce brings over a decade of experience as a senior executive with the world’s largest aerospace and defence companies. During a naval career spanning four decades, Bruce enjoyed three command tours at sea coupled with senior positions ashore. His experience in Ottawa included management of the navy’s capital procurement program, and, as Director General Military Plans and Operations, he set up the first Joint Staff within the CF for the execution of military operations during the Oka crisis and the First Gulf War. He completed his naval career as the Commander Maritime Forces Pacific from 1994-1996. Bruce moved to a career in industry with Litton Systems Canada (1996-2001) and Northrop Grumman (2001-2004) as vice-president government relations. Bruce was also active in defence industry associations both in Ottawa and Halifax. He chaired many seminars and defence outlooks and was the principal driver in the creation of the CANSEC defence trade show.

In 2004, Bruce assumed the position of president, EADS Canada. The scale of effort was broadened significantly with multiple EADS business units involved in Canada, including Airbus.

Craig Rowsell – With more than 33 years of experience in public sector major capital acquisition and industrial policy, Craig offers clients insight, leadership and strategic counsel on major defence procurement, industry and regional development programs and policy issues. He provides sharp and timely advice on issues, including the changes flowing from the new Defence Procurement Strategy and the introduction of ITBs and Value Propositions. As lead executive of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) responsible for the defence and aerospace sector, Craig saw the region’s industry grow from a handful of firms to the dynamic industry of today boasting some 10,000 jobs, 200 companies and exceeding $1 billion in annual revenues.  Craig has shepherded numerous proposals through the decision-making process and organized and led defence and aerospace industry trade missions to Chile, France, Abu Dhabi and the UK. He started his public service career at Public Works and Government Services.

Colonel (Ret’d) Bob Gunn – With 38 years of experience in the Canadian military, Robert (Bob) brings extensive experience in defence procurement, helping clients gain greater access to military sales opportunities. He completed his military career in 2009 as Associate Director General, Science and Technology Operations, leading the provision of military advice to Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC). From 2006-2009, he was head of the Applied Military Science Department of the Royal Military College of Canada. As department head, he supervised the Land Force Technical Staff programs, through which future officers and NCMs destined for equipment acquisition and force development positions are educated. From 2002-2006, Bob was Director of Land Requirements. In this capacity he oversaw the provision of the operational direction for the acquisition and management of equipment to sustain a multi-purpose combat capable army. From 1998-2002, Bob served in the Directorate of Land Strategic Plans where he was responsible for the production of the army’s annual business plan and its performance management. A gunner by training, during his military career Bob has, on seven occasions, been appointed to the position of unit Commanding Officer. From 2002-2006, he was accorded the honour of serving as Director of Artillery.

Colonel (ret’d) Richard (Dick) Mohns – As a Senior Associate, Richard (Dick) brings extensive and diverse experience in leading and managing multi-disciplined and multi-national teams, both military and commercial, in the defence systems and training & education fields. His particular expertise includes Major Crown Project Management, Complex Commercial System Solution Development and Costing, Weapon System Equipment Program Management, Career and Occupational Management, Integrated Logistics Support Management and Training and Education Policy and Program Management.

Dick has 25 years of experience in the Canadian military, last serving as Director of Training & Education Policy/Plans at National Defence HQ where he led a directorate responsible for major enhancements to Canadian Forces training and education programs. Prior to that, Dick held a number of project management positions within the Royal Canadian Air Force, including the Canadian Search and Rescue Helicopter (CSH) project – one of the most politically challenging high profile projects in the history of the Canadian Armed Forces. Since retiring from the military in 2001, Dick has held a number of senior positions with many heavyweights in Canada’s aerospace industry including General Dynamics, Boeing, L3 Communications and PAL Aerospace. Over his career in the private sector, Dick has supported a number of major pursuits – providing guidance to chief engineers on all bid elements, specifically focused and involved in writing the engineering and logistics elements of those bids.

Colonel (ret’d) Francis Bleeker – Francis is a senior defence and security executive with more than 35 years of experience in international and domestic markets and a Senior Associate with Hill+Knowlton. As Principal of Malmaison Advisers & Company, a strategic consultancy firm based in Ottawa, he specializes in practical business solutions, advice and education to the defence industry and government.

Previously, Commercial Head for the Abu Dhabi-based defence company Caracal International, Francis provided strategic advice to the company’s CEO on international business development opportunities and internal company processes and practices. During his tenure, he initiated strategic alliances with defence companies in the UK, US, and Indonesia. Prior to his overseas assignment in the Middle East, Francis was a senior executive at Colt Canada Corporation where he fulfilled significant industrial offset obligations at minimal cost through strategic agreements and using innovative means. Francis also successfully lobbied the Canadian government on changes to export legislation and offset regulations. Francis regularly offers his expertise and defence industry knowledge to the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) where he served as chairman of the International Committee and participating member of the Government Relations Committee. Prior to relocating to Canada in 1998, Francis served as Deputy Director of International Police Cooperation at the Ministry of Home Affairs in The Hague, Netherlands. Additionally, he served as Secretary of the Legal Committee of the NATO Interallied Conference of Reserve Officers (CIOR).

David Collenette, P.C., L.L.D., F.C.I.L.T. – David draws on his national and international experience, knowledge of the political system and unique insight to provide senior counsel and strategic advice to a wide range of clients. Prior to joining H+K, David served as a member of the Canadian House of Commons for more than 20 years, and served in cabinet under three prime ministers, Pierre Trudeau, John Turner and Jean Chretien, holding a number of senior portfolios. As minister of national defence, David oversaw the reorganization, restructuring and reengineering of the department as the government confronted the severe financial deficit. As transport minister, he authored a major policy document, “Straight Ahead,” which chartered a course for Canadian transportation policy over the next decade. David oversaw Canada’s response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent issues related to transportation security. In the last two years he served in cabinet, David was also responsible for 10 Crown corporations, including Canada Post, VIA Rail, Marine Atlantic and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

Major (ret’d) Sean Hoopey – Sean brings over twenty-two years experience in defence procurement. By leveraging his deep knowledge of the Canadian procurement process, he provides clients a comprehensive understanding of military requirements, and the process to gain the strategic advantage in competition. Sean spent the majority of his fulltime military service as a technical staff officer and Project Director in the Directorate of Land Requirements on various sensor, weapon system, and vehicle projects, where he successfully delivered equipment totalling hundreds of millions of dollars for Canada’s Army.  He brings with him a wealth of information on how to effectively develop winning capture strategies and build successful teams. As the Vice Chair of NATO Land Group 1 Dismounted Soldier Weapon and Sensor Working Group, he was instrumental in helping NATO allies rapidly improve their dismounted surveillance and target acquisition capabilities.  His experience in industry with Thales as the Business Development Manager responsible for land and joint C4ISR, vehicle, and simulation opportunities and also as a consultant for several DND/CAF Cyber Projects gives him “real time” insights into the evaluation and requirements development process.

Lee Carson – Lee offers more than 30 years of Canadian space and defence procurement experience as well as insights from an industry perspective, coupled with a thorough understanding and deep passion for Canada’s North and Northern Strategy. Lee is one of Canada’s most accomplished builders of surveillance systems for achieving maritime and northern situational and domain awareness.

Throughout his career in the Canadian aerospace industry, Lee has held a variety of increasingly senior roles in business development, program and general management, while maintaining a strong focus on arctic and maritime domain awareness systems. Lee spent 25 years with MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA), where he captured over $200 million in government capital projects for the Department of National Defence, Environment Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard, among others, and led the implementation of many of these projects. He enjoyed 10 years as the general manager of MDA Halifax. Subsequent to MDA, Lee joined COM DEV Ltd. as the vice-president, business development for their Canadian division, where he focused on the capture of Canadian Space Agency business related to Canada’s Northern Strategy.

Kevin Bosch – With over two decades of experience working with elected officials, Kevin brings un-paralleled relationships and political experience in providing strategic research and media and stakeholder relations. He has worked in various leadership positions providing advice to a long succession of parliamentarians, two Prime Ministers (Justin Trudeau and Paul Martin) and three Liberal Leaders (Stéphane Dion, Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae). Kevin’s experience within the Liberal Party of Canada spans almost 30 years and reaches from coast to coast to coast. Before joining the Liberal Research Bureau as Deputy Director and the Office of the Liberal Leader, he worked for both Minister of Human Resources Development, Hon. Jane Stewart and Minister of the Environment, Hon. David Anderson. Prior to his work in Ottawa, Kevin worked with the Alberta Liberal Caucus at the Alberta Legislative Assembly in Edmonton.

Michael Plastino – Michael provides valuable support to the procurement and public affairs teams as they advise both Canadian and international clients on how best to secure government contracts, influence procurement programs, achieve long-term benefits and shape public policy decision-making.

He helps domestic and international defence firms establish their brands in Canada in order to successfully compete on major capital procurement programs. Michael’s experience includes strategic planning, media relations, stakeholder relations, corporate communications and project management.

Richard Cohen – As a Senior Associate, Richard brings a unique blend of military, academic, diplomatic, political and business experience to clients requiring a global understanding of personalities and operations at the most senior political and bureaucratic levels of government at home and abroad. Richard is president of RSC Strategic Connections, an independent firm specializing in counsel in the defence and security sectors in Canada and overseas. With more than 30 years of experience, Richard has served as an operational commander and staff officer in the Canadian and British Armies, including many years in counter-terrorist operations, a leader in NATO’s defence cooperation activities, a senior academic at a US-German security studies institute, an advisor on security issues to the public and private sectors and most recently, senior defence advisor to the Canadian minister of national defence. In that role he advised the minister on a wide variety of issues, including: development and implementation of the Canada First Defence Strategy; Canadian defence policy in Afghanistan; defence policy in the Arctic;  policy on procurement issues; Canada-US defence cooperation; NATO and international bilateral defence relationships; disaster relief operations; military support for Public Safety; National Search and Rescue policy;  and DND policy issues in Quebec and the Western Provinces, including energy exploitation on DND lands.

Pierre-Yves “P-Y” Bourdas – A public safety expert with over 40 years of experience in both operations and administrative programs, P-Y provides authoritative strategic law enforcement and national security advice. P-Y possesses proven leadership experience at the senior executive level and has developed a comprehensive network of contacts that allows him to get a full appreciation of ongoing issues within the law enforcement and intelligence community. P-Y is widely sought after by the media as a subject matter expert for national policing and public safety events. He is a keynote speaker and facilitator at the US-Canada Border Conference and is frequently asked to participate in panel discussion and facilitate learning sessions. P-Y joined the RCMP in 1975. His professional career spanned 33 years giving him broad exposure to operational and administrative challenges. He developed a reputation as an agent of change, and has driven key initiatives such as the National Ports Program, the Council on Public Safety and a major realignment of RCMP resources in the province of Quebec. He created the first combined forces, Special Enforcement Unit of First Nations police officers. In 2006, this model received the International Association of Chiefs of Police award for outstanding innovative policing.

For more information about Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ Defence Procurement Offering, please contact Louise Mercier | (613) 786-9971