Board Members

Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc., as shareholder, appoints the Board of Directors for Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc.

The Board for Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. comprises:

Five Independent DirectorsOne City of Guelph Representative
  • Ms. Jane Armstrong
  • Mr. Robert M. Bell
  • Ms. Marika Hare
  • Mr. Robert Huggard
  • Mr. George Mitges
  • Mr. Derrick Thomson, Chief Administrative Officer

Ms. Jane Armstrong is the Chair of the Board and Mr. Robert M. Bell serves as the Vice-Chair.

Corporate Officers are not members of the Board and consist of Mr. Pankaj Sardana, Chief Executive Officer; Ms. Nicole Mailloux, Vice-President, Human Resources; Mr. Michael Wittemund, Vice-President, Engineering and Operations; and Mr. Michael Koktan, Director of Finance / Controller.

Board Member Photos and Biographies

Ms. Jane Armstrong - Chair

Jane Armstrong

Ms. Jane Armstrong is a life-long resident of Guelph and is a partner with the law firm of Vorvis Anderson Gray Armstrong LLP. She has practiced law since 1982 and she holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School and an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. Ms. Armstrong has served on the Boards of several community organizations, including the Downtown Board of Management and the Canadian Red Cross Society. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Guelph and served as its President in 2004-2005. Ms. Armstrong is a former member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Panel and a former Chair of the Guelph Police Services Board. In 2009, Ms. Armstrong received the Chartered Director designation from The Directors College, a joint venture of McMaster University and the Conference Board of Canada.
Mr. Robert M. Bell - Vice-Chair

Bob Bell

Mr. Robert (Bob) Bell has more than 25 years of energy sector experience and is the Co-Founder and President of Applied Precision Inc., a North American leader in delivering optical 3-D metrology-based technology solutions. His previous board experience includes serving as a Director and Executive Committee Member of the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce, Director of the Sunnyside Children's Foundation, and the Director of the Queen's University Centre for Advanced Gas Combustion Technology. He has also been active in various industry associations including serving as Chair of the Standing Committee on Environment of the Canadian Gas Association and Chair of the Environment Committee of the Ontario Natural Gas Association. He holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance and International Business from Queen's University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from Western University. He is a graduate of The Wharton School Executive Development Program. He has been an instructor at the Seneca College Centre for Advanced Technology and a guest lecturer at Queen's University School of Business.
Ms. Marika Hare - Director

Marica Hare

Ms. Marika Hare has more than 35 years of public and private sector experience in the energy sector. She possesses in-depth knowledge of the utility sector regulatory environment gained from working for the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) as a Managing Director for four years before serving as an OEB Board Member for five years. Prior to this, she held senior executive positions in the natural gas distribution industry. Ms. Hare has extensive experience in business development, strategic planning, environmental analysis and rate-setting, and knowledge of the policy issues that impact the energy sector. Her prior board experience includes serving on the Boards of the Peterborough Distribution Company and MicroSkills, a not-for-profit community based organization. She has chaired the Ontario Natural Gas Association Energy Market Committee, the Canadian Gas Association Environmental Standing Committee, the Ontario Natural Gas Association Environmental Committee and the Gas Technology Canada Environment Committee. Ms. Hare has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration from the University of Toronto and a Master of Environmental Studies from York University. 
Mr. Robert J. Huggard - Director

Mr. Bob Huggard

Mr. Robert (Bob) J. Huggard is a recognized leader in the energy sector with experience holding senior executive positions with the Ontario Energy Association, Enbridge Inc., The Consumers Waterheater Income Fund and Direct Energy. Mr. Huggard served on the Board of Directors of Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. from June 2011 to June 2014 and was reappointed to the Board in June 2016. Other board experience includes serving on the boards of Crius Energy, ProAction Cops and Kids, SCITI Total Return Trust and The Consumers Waterheater Fund. Mr. Huggard has a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College and a Master of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business at York University. He received his icd.d designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors in 2008.
Mr. George Mitges - Director

Mr. George Mitges

Mr. George Mitges, a professional agrologist and President of the Niagara Branch of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists, acquired an in-depth understanding of Ontario's electricity distribution sector while serving for eight years as an independent director on the Board of Niagara Peninsula Energy, Inc. He was the General Manager and an Ex-Officio Board Member of the Vineland Growers' Cooperative for five years and has also served on the Boards of the Albright Manor and Edelheim Apartments, The Antique and Classic Boat Society and the Waynesboro Hospital Corporation. Mr. Mitges has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Western Ontario and is certified as a Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) from the Ontario Institute of Agrologists in Guelph.
Mr. Derrick Thomson - Director

Mr. Derrick Thomson

Mr. Derrick Thomson, the City of Guelph's Chief Administrative Officer, has more than 35 years of experience in municipal public service. He joined the City in September 2013 as Executive Director of Community and Social Services and assumed additional responsibilities for operations, transit, and emergency services in 2014.

Prior to joining the City of Guelph, Mr. Thomson served as Chief Administrative Officer of the Township of West Lincoln and held a variety of senior management roles at the City of Brampton. Mr. Thomson has served as Second Vice-President of the Ontario Municipal Administrators Association; a member of the Strategic Programming Committee for the YMCA of Greater Niagara; and as Treasurer of the Municipal Internal Auditors Association of Ontario. He holds a Masters Certificate in Municipal Administration and a Diploma in Recreation.

Management Team Photos and Biographies

Mr. Pankaj Sardana - Chief Executive Officer

Pankaj Sardana

Mr. Pankaj Sardana has over 30 years of experience in the energy sector with the past 15 years spent working at the executive level.  He gained his energy sector experience with the Ontario Ministry of Energy, Consumers Gas (now Enbridge Gas Distribution), Ontario Hydro, Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), Toronto Hydro Corporation and Ontario Power Generation. Mr. Sardana has in-depth knowledge of finance and treasury operations, accounting, regulatory affairs, commodity trading, load forecasting and other aspects of the electricity distribution business. He has a Master's degree in Economics and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Mr. Dan Amyot - Director of Information Systems

Mr. Dan Amyot, Director of IT

Mr. Dan Amyot is responsible for Information Systems at Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. Dan was hired by Guelph Hydro in 1993 in the mapping department and over the past 20 years Dan has been promoted through the Geographical Information System (GIS) Department and now the Information Systems Department to his current position in 2009. He has led the development of Guelph Hydro's GIS and, in this role, positioned Guelph Hydro to attain ESRI Canada's Innovation Award in the field of GIS. Dan is an active member of the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance looking at best practices regarding underground infrastructure damage prevention and has also been featured in several GIS news articles. Dan holds a Mechanical Engineering Technician diploma from Canadore College, an Executive Leadership Development Certificate from the Richard Ivey School of Business, and a Masters Certificate in the Energy Sector from York University. 

Ms. Cristina Birceanu - Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs, Customer Care and Billing

Ms. Cristina Birceanu

Ms. Cristina Birceanu has more than 25 years of electrical utility experience acquired in Europe and Canada.  As Guelph Hydro's Vice-President of Regulatory Affairs, Customer Care and Billing, she oversees all facets of pricing, credit, customer service and billing at Guelph Hydro, as well as ensuring the organization is in compliance with all regulatory requirements as mandated by the Ontario Energy Board and the Independent Electricity System Operator. She has been a member of the Electricity Distributors Association Regulatory Council since 2004. She holds a Master Certificate in Energy Sector Leadership from the Schulich School of Business at York University, a Bachelor's Degree in Electric Engineering from the Technical University of Bucharest, Romania, and a Bachelor's Degree in Business, Management, and Marketing - International Economic Affairs from the Academy of Economics in Bucharest, Romania.
Mr. Paul Drone - Acting Director of Operations

Mr. Paul Drone - Acting Director of Operations

Mr. Paul Drone has 25 years' experience working in both the power line trade and management.  As Guelph Hydro's Acting Director of Operations, Mr. Drone is responsible for all matters of operations including line crews, electrical maintainers, and supervision of Guelph Hydro's transformer stations. A certified Red Seal Powerline Technician, Mr. Drone has been involved in many different aspects of the electricity sector throughout his career, including working as part of a crew restoring power following the 1998 Ice Storm which affected Eastern Ontario and Quebec, and serving as the Unit Chair for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) for nine years. 

Mr. Michael Koktan - Director of Finance / Controller

Mr. Michael Koktan, Director of Finance / Controller

Mr. Michael Koktan is a Chartered Professional Accountant in Ontario. Prior to joining Guelph Hydro in 2004, he worked for 10 years as an Auditor for KPMG and served as the Associate Director of Finance for St. Lawrence College.  He holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and has successfully completed the Controllership Program of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario.
Ms. Nicole Mailloux - Vice-President, Human Resources

Ms. Nicole Mailloux - Vice-President, Human Resources

Ms. Nicole Mailloux is a senior human resources professional with in-depth experience in all facets of human resources, including compensation, labour relations, and human resources strategy. Ms. Mailloux has extensive experience in the Ontario energy sector. Her first career was in the field of biological research with Ontario Hydro's Research Division, and she spearheaded Guelph Hydro's Conservation and Demand Management programs in 2005 and 2006. She is a core member of the Electricity Distributors Association Human Resources Council and its Advisory Committee, and is on the Leadership Council of the Guelph | Wellington Local Immigration Partnership. She is on the Board of Michael House and volunteers for other local charities. She has been designated as Human Resources and Compensation Committee Certified (HRCCC)) and is a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP). She also has an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Guelph.
Ms. Sandy Manners - Director of Corporate Communications

Ms. Sandy Manners - Director of Corporate Communications

Ms. Sandy Manners is an award-winning senior communications professional with more than 25 years of experience in the energy and utilities sector. Prior to joining Guelph Hydro, she held senior communications positions at Horizon Utilities, Siemens Power Generation and Westinghouse Canada. She currently represents the electric utility sector as Vice-Chair of the Electrical Safety Authority's Consumer Advisory Council, serves on Ontario's Green Button Pilot Project Working Group and the Power Providers Working Group on Electric Vehicles. She is a member of the Our Energy Guelph Taskforce, is a reviewer for funding applications (energy) with the Ontario Centres of Excellence and serves as an Outreach Fellow for the MIT Climate CoLab. Ms. Manners has taught Issues and Crisis Communications Planning at McMaster University, is a past-Chair of the Communicators Council of the Electricity Distributors Association and served as a delegate for the University of Berlin's Transatlantic Urban Climate Dialogue in 2011-2013. Ms. Manners has an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Waterloo University, a certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from the University of Toronto and is a Fellow of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

Mr. Erik Veneman - Vice-President, Innovation and Growth

Mr. Erik Veneman - Vice-President, Innovation and Growth

Mr. Erik Veneman has 20 years of experience working in a management capacity at four different Ontario local distribution companies including engineering, stations, control room, and lines construction and maintenance.  Mr. Veneman is a graduate of McMaster University and is a licensed Professional Engineer.  More recent certifications include Project Management Professional and designated Master Electrician.  Throughout his career, ensuring safety compliance, maintaining great employee relations, implementing new regulation, continuously improving processes, and emergency planning have all been key areas of accomplishment.  Areas of focus related to innovation and growth include special projects in power system automation, renewable power plant operation and, more recently, successful shared service offerings with other electricity utilities.
Mr. Matt Weninger - Vice-President, Metering and Conservation

Mr. Matt Weninger - Vice-President, Metering and Conservation

Mr. Matt Weninger has 30 years of experience in the electric utility sector with Guelph Hydro.  A graduate of the University of Waterloo, he has been a licensed Professional Engineer since 1990.  Mr. Weninger is currently responsible for metering, field operations technology including supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), and the development and delivery of Guelph Hydro's very successful Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) portfolio.  Mr. Weninger has been involved other areas of the utility business such as "smart grid" planning, regulatory affairs and roadway lighting and serves on various industry committees and working groups.

Mr. Michael Wittemund - Vice-President, Engineering and Operations

Mr. Michael Wittemund - Vice-President, Engineering and Operations

Mr. Michael Wittemund is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ontario and has worked in electrical utility engineering at Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. since 2003. A graduate of the Ryerson University, Mr. Wittemund is responsible for oversight of Guelph Hydro's Engineering and Operations departments, including distribution design, system planning, development servicing, protection and control, and all operations functions.