Jayson is an award-winning business economist specializing in industrial and technological change and is widely recognized as an influential policy advocate in Canada. He is an advisor to both private and public sector leaders and has counselled Canadian prime ministers and premiers as well as senior corporate executives and policymakers around the world.
Jayson has more than 25 years of experience building alliances among businesses, academic institutions, as well as community, labour, and advocacy organizations. Between 2007 and 2016, he served as President & CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Canada’s largest industry and trade association. He was also the founding Chair of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition, Vice-Chair of Canada’s National Roundtable on Skills, and Vice-Chair of the Ontario and Great Lakes Manufacturing Councils.
Jayson studied at Queen’s University and the University of British Columbia in Canada, as well as at the London School of Economics and Oxford University in the United Kingdom. He has held appointments as a Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, and as a lecturer in politics, economics, and international studies at both Oxford and the University of Warwick.
Bilal Haffejee, CPA, CA, CFAChief Financial Officer
Bilal is a senior finance executive with over 25 years of experience working at global multinational companies, operating in the information and communications technology, consumer packaged goods, and telecommunications sectors.
He has demonstrated ability in full-cycle Financial Accounting & Reporting, Strategy, Planning, M&A, Treasury, and Governance. He is focused on maximizing resources, cost optimization, and process simplification.
John joins NGen from the UK where he was responsible for setting the strategies and running high profile government R&D programmes at Innovate UK worth more than $8.5 billion across the automotive, aerospace and intelligent mobility sectors.
John held senior engineering and programme management positions at Visteon working with Ford, Honda, Mazda, Toyota, Suzuki and Volvo. At London Underground his brief was to deliver part of the Olympic Transport Strategy for the London 2012 games. He co-founded Appleseed Solutions, where he helped businesses across the transport sector achieve sustainable business growth, developed the UK Automotive Council’s Strategic Product Roadmap and was the architect and Technical Advisor for Nesta's Drones Flying High Challenge. He served as Launch Manager to set up Zenzic, a not-for-profit leading on R&D investment strategy in the connected and autonomous vehicles sector.
John holds a Bachelor of Engineering Honours Degree in Manufacturing Systems Management and a Diploma in Industrial Studies. He is an accredited IP advisor by the UK Intellectual Property Office. He is a Chartered Engineer in the UK and a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology.
Stewart brings over thirty-five years of diverse manufacturing and engineering leadership experience to the NGen team. Of particular relevance is his nearly twenty years of experience as the Chief Executive Officer of multi-site SMEs in the advanced manufacturing field serving customers in the aerospace, defense, automotive, energy, and biomedical industries.
Stewart’s companies were recognized leaders in the integration of advanced technologies into manufacturing operations, in conjunction with a strong underlying foundation in the principals of lean manufacturing and the theory of constraints. This was coupled with strong business and marketing principals to drive outstanding results. This broad business and technical background have helped Stewart to become an expert in helping companies, particularly SMEs, in the successful adoption and exploitation of advanced manufacturing processes and technologies.
Stewart has a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Arizona and a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering with a specialization in Structural Mechanics from the University of Southern California. He is the holder of two U.S. patents and is a registered Professional Engineer in the province of Ontario.
Carol CutroneOffice Manager & Executive Assistant to the CEO
Carol as Office Manager and EA to our CEO has a key role to play in ensuring effective direction and management of the organization through communication, coordination, and support for the Senior Leadership Team and direct responsibility for NGen office management. With over 30 years of experience in professional office EA positions and a track record of strong performance in high-volume, high-pressure environments.
She is an expert in scheduling, correspondence, best practices, and bringing the organization into the office. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Carol immigrated to Canada in 1991. She has worked with high-level executives in various businesses including Airline, Canada’s National Newspaper, Healthcare, and the Travel Industry, and provided top-level assistance.
She has 2 grown children that have graduated from University. In her spare time, Carol volunteers with Big Brother Big Sisters and enjoys travel, cooking, flower arranging, and spending time with family.
For over 30 years, Wendy has been a leader in technology and cyber security, bringing value as a business partner to innovation. Driven by security, she takes pride in bridging the balance between excellent operations, mitigating risk, and meeting the financial obligations of the business. Wendy recently worked in the utility industry where she contributed to the development of the Ontario Cyber Security Framework. She held a board position with CIPS (Canadian Association of Information Technology Professionals) and hold several certifications in Cyber Security.
As NGen’s Vice President of Data systems and security her goal is to support the growth of technology in Canadian manufacturing and raise the awareness of Cyber Security threats to our manufacturing industry.
Wendy currently resides in Mississauga, Ontario with her family, enjoys the outdoors and supporting her community.
Rhonda O’Keefe has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Ryerson University and has spent her entire career working in manufacturing. Starting out in research and development roles, she early on transitioned over to the intellectual property department.
In 2019, Rhonda joined NGen after heading up the Intellectual Property Department for a global manufacturing organization with a large patent and trademark portfolio. A trusted professional with a proven track record, Rhonda is an advisor to senior management and corporate counsel for global intellectual property matters, commercial agreements, and strategic business direction.
What she enjoys most about working at NGen is the ability to share her IP knowledge with Canadian manufacturing companies to help them protect and leverage the amazing technologies they are developing.
You can find Rhonda in her time off spending time with her daughter, exploring Ontario’s walking trails with her dog Angus, or playing the piano.
Steven has over 35 years of aerospace engineering and management experience with most of the major OEM’s. At Bombardier Aerospace Steven held positions such as Manufacturing Manager, Manager of Manufacturing Technology, and Program Manager for the Dash-8 series airplanes.
Steven was Director of Program Management for Boeing and Military Aircraft for Safran Landing Systems responsible for the FA-18, V-22 and B-777 landing gear programs. At Boeing Commercial Airplanes Steven was an internationally based Program Manager responsible for managing engineering and advanced manufacturing solutions for new aircraft programs.
Prior to working at NGen Steven was Vice President of Operations for Vertex Precision Manufacturing, responsible for upskilling an aerospace manufacturing workforce in several sites and implementing Industry 4.0 techniques and methodologies in newly acquired facilities.
Building on formal education in online learning and higher education leadership, and more recently, public policy studies and innovation management science, Kelly has spent more than 15 years working in Canadian public postsecondary education administration.
She has extensive experience in program development and quality enhancement, with a proven record of obtaining accreditations and approvals for new programs in Canada, the United States, and the EU. Kelly is passionate about extending the reach of learning and development to make education and training more inclusive and accessible to all Canadians. A tech enthusiast, she’s spearheaded initiatives that consider next-generation learning resources, digital credentials, and adaptive, personalized learning. Under the umbrella of higher education reform, her research broadly considers what counts for academic quality to different audiences and who gains and loses from those representations.
Christy MichalakDirector, Advanced Manufacturing Development Programs
With 20 years of experience in design, manufacturing, and international business development in Fortune 500 aerospace and automotive companies, Christy has been fortunate to visit and collaborate with companies all around North America, Europe, and Asia. From this experience, she brings to NGen not only a passion for manufacturing, but also for diversity and inclusion in the sector.
In her off-hours Christy can be found hiking in nature with her partner and two girls, or out in the bush with her portable easel, capturing the Canadian wilderness.
Frank Defalco is based in Ottawa and has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. He is currently Director, Members Relations with Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) and leads NGen’s Technical advisory boards for Additive Manufacturing and Automation & Robotics.
Previously, Frank established Canada’s Premiere Additive Manufacturing (AM) Network, Canada Makes. In his time leading Canada Makes he delivered the Metal Additive Demonstration Program introducing Additive Metal Manufacturing capability to over 200 Canadian companies and helping build AM capabilities awareness to Canadian industry. In this capacity, Frank developed a unique knowledge of Canada’s Additive Manufacturing ecosystem. Before that. He worked at the Canadian Museum of Civilization as the Web Public Service Officer. Also, in his time with Harris Corporation, Frank was part of the first manufacturing team in North America to successfully introduce just-in-time (Lean) manufacturing to the fabrication of printed circuit boards.
Frank is married, has three daughters, and is an avid baseball enthusiast with a love of old movies, history, and music.
Being part of a small but mighty team means diversity in what Bridget brings to NGen and the Canadian manufacturing ecosystem. She plays a vital role in NGen’s Cluster Building Funding stream as well as her honed business development, creativity, and entrepreneurial skills to forge partnerships that deliver meaningful programs and value to advanced manufacturing stakeholders across the country.
Bridget has over 25 years of in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience of successfully building her own business – twice, as well as a machine learning start-up in the UK. Consulting for an SME manufacturer, in SW England, has made her aware of common challenges facing manufacturers everywhere. Her passion for manufacturing started at an early age as her father worked in a factory; she knows firsthand how manufacturing impacts Canadian families.
She loves to walk, doodle, watch rugby and work on her creative nonfiction compilation.
Robbie is a strategic thinker and communications specialist with experience in government and the non-profit space and expertise in innovation and strategic policy. At NGen, he is responsible for government & public relations, marketing, communications and supporting the Board of Directors as Corporate Secretary.
Robbie earned his BSc. at Carleton University where he completed his thesis in the field of nano chemistry and DNA aptamers with the DeRosa Lab. He obtained his MSc. in International Business Management from Ivey Business School at Western University where he completed terms overseas, obtaining his CEMS MIM designation from Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and consulting for Reckitt Benckiser Group in Heidelberg, Germany, and Teach for India in Pune, Maharastra.
Robbie is passionate about the outdoors, wildlife management, sports, cooking, music and history. A self-described jack of all trades, Robbie enjoys taking on new challenges and empowering those around him to do the same.
Gillian Sheldon is Director of Investment Partnerships at NGen, Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, where she is responsible for developing funding partnerships with public sector agencies and private sector investors to support industry-led advanced manufacturing projects.
With 30 years of experience in economic development, both in the UK and Ontario, Gillian has an aptitude for connecting industry to advancement opportunities. Within the last 10 years, she has specifically been engaged in business development in the advanced manufacturing sector. Gillian takes pride in working to strengthen the competitiveness of Canada’s manufacturing sector through creating meaningful business partnerships to drive innovation and investment in advanced manufacturing technologies in Canada.
Gillian graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University with a master’s in business administration (MBA), and the University of Waterloo with a Certificate in Economic Development (Ec.D). Combined with growing up in a family-owned manufacturing service business, these achievements blend her lifelong passion for manufacturing with her aptitude for strategic business connections.
Outside of the work, Gillian enjoys photography, volunteering through Toastmasters International, and walking with her rescue dog.
Lara Sanders, CPA, CMA, is the Director of Finance at NGen with extensive experience providing financial management within the not-for-profit, financial services, and retail sectors at high profile institutions in both Canada and the UK. She has specialized finance experience working in start-up organizations as well with all three levels of government funding programs – both as a recipient organization and, now at NGen, administering funds and guiding companies on financial parameters. In her role, Lara provides oversight of full-cycle accounting operations, financial controls, regulatory and management reporting, and the annual audit.
When not at work, Lara can be found cycling around the city of Toronto, visiting museums and galleries, travelling (whenever possible), knitting homemade gifts, and cooking for friends and family.
Robert Mastrotto, B. Mech Eng., joined NGen after 30 years in Operations Leadership roles across several global Manufacturing organizations. Robert was Vice President Operations at StackTeck Systems and prior to that was Vice President Operations (Americas) for Mold-Masters Ltd. In each of those roles, Robert specialized in leading Lean transformation, driving operational excellence, and championing the change toward world-class performance.
Robert also held senior Human Resources and Operation Leadership roles at Husky Injection Molding Systems Limited. Most recently, Robert led a successful consulting business that focused on helping to move People, Leaders and Organizations forward to achieve outstanding business results.
Robert is a family-focused individual and enjoys spending quality time with his wife and daughters. Robert spends his spare time completing home renovation projects, tinkering with old cars, and playing goal in ice hockey.
Robert derives great satisfaction from NGen’s work and his personal goal is to bring long-term success to Canadian manufacturers and the Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem in Canada.
Ken Morris, is Director, Technical Partnerships of Next Generation Manufacturing Canada with experience leading multi-discipline organizations in the development, manufacture and release of leading-edge technology products and services. He was previously Director (level) of Engineering at Cisco Canada and at ATI Technologies was responsible for the HDTV program that was acquired by Broadcom.
His consulting roles have included a wide range of technologies include software engineering, IoT embedded engineering, IP-cores, Agile/scrum methodologies, SaaS platforms, AI vision systems, IoT sensors and smart-grid products.
Ken has been with NGen for a year and enjoys being part of the Supercluster in Canada. His hobbies are hockey and forestry management.
Joanne joined NGen as Senior Project Coordinator in November 2019. She has worked in the Manufacturing world for three decades with Project Management, Purchasing, and Inside Sales experience spanning two continents.
Summer is her favourite Season and walking and enjoying the outdoors is where she is happiest. Traveling, socializing, and dancing are also on the top of her “fun” list. In her downtime, you will find her, Kobo in hand, reading on the deck. Among many things she is grateful for, are her family and friends and most of all recently becoming a Grandmother for the first time.
Mary Toth is our In-House Paralegal at Next Generation Manufacturing Canada. In addition to her license, Mary has a degree in Political Science and Public Policy and uses her experience working in employment law and human resources to bring a fresh perspective to the team.
“I love working for NGen because each and every person, despite their department or workload, is supportive and always willing to provide their help and experience to accomplish our goals. It is the most meaningful work I have ever done and I am proud to be part of the team.”
Kim D’Souza as Client Engagement Manager plays a pivotal role in developing and nurturing working relationships with a wide range of external stakeholders, allowing for mutually beneficial initiatives and programs in support of NGen and the advanced manufacturing community.
Additionally, she is the main liaison for the Chief Technology Officer’s activity, including the key point of contact for clients and other external partners. With over 20 years of experience working in high-performing business development teams, Kim enjoys working with both the organizations and innovation partners to support the achievement of each others’ goals.
Outside of the office, she has an interest in reading, flower arranging, a keen aptitude for event planning, and spending time with family and friends.
With a background in accounting and finance, Emily joined NGen with experience from a variety of sectors including public accounting, post-secondary, and pharmaceuticals in both Canada and the U.S. Completing her bachelor’s degree at Houghton College in Western New York, she appreciates the opportunity to support Canadian business growth while also continuing education towards her CPA designation.
In her free time, Emily enjoys trail running, yoga, and adventuring in any lakes or mountains she can get to.
Ashley Leung is a Financial Claims Analyst of Next Generation Manufacturing Canada. With her financial experience in the automotive industry and non-profit sector, she demonstrates an ability to deliver results through financial analysis, budgeting, and management reporting. Her financial roles have included business partnering, data analysis, project execution, and process improvement and automation. With the combination of her technical skills and positive attitude, she strives to deliver her best results.
If you catch Ashley outside of work, she can be found baking, gardening, exploring coffee shops, and travelling, with the dream to go coastal foraging in Southern California one day.