TAC 2020
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Keynote Presentations

TAC 2020/21 Toronto is pleased to feature three plenary presentations by prominent Canadian and International technical experts in their fields.

Jenny Yan – President, International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association
Global Tunnelling Update and Canada's Role: Today and Tomorrow

As ITA President, Jenny Yan will present TAC 2020 Toronto delegates with a valuable update on the state of the world-wide tunnelling industry and will provide an overview of ITA/TAC interaction, highlighting the importance of Canada's role in world tunnelling. In particular, she will present examples of transit tunnelling around the globe, setting the stage for future discussions of Canadian transit tunnel development.

Professor Jinxiu (Jenny) Yan is President of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA) and Deputy General Manager of the China Railway Academy Co., Ltd. Professor Yan has served as a consulting engineer or researcher on numerous major tunnel projects for more than 35 years. As a leader of research or expert groups appointed by the government or the project owners, she has been involved in the construction of many major railway, highway and metropolitan tunnelling projects as well as long subsea tunnels. Her experience includes work on the 32km New Guanjiao Railway Tunnel, the 18km Qining Zhongnanshan Highway Tunnel, the 13km Yesahnguan Tunnel in karstic geology, and the longest subsea highway tunnels in China – the 7.8 km Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay and the 8.6km Xiamen Xiang’an Subsea Highway Tunnels. Professor Yan is the recipient of five major tunnelling awards, and over the past years has delivered 40 international keynotes/lectures in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America. Recently, her research has focused on the better use of tunnelling and underground spaces in urban areas.

John Bianchini, P.Eng. – Chairman and CEO, Hatch
Canadian Tunnelling – What Can the Mining Industry Bring to The Table?

John Bianchini will examine the current and potential roles of the Canadian mining sector in the expansion and success of the Canadian tunnelling industry. By highlighting lessons learned from the mining industry (automation, safety, contract & procurement methods, etc.) John will make a strong case for breaking down the silos between the tunnelling and mining sectors and exploring new ways to learn and work together. To reinforce his case, he will present high level statistics for transit tunnel spending in Canada and around the world and will highlight Canadian tunnelling and mining engineering expertise. His talk will include a discussion of contract procurement, asking in particular if PPP and APF models are really the best path forward.

Hatch Chairman (2017-present) and Chief Executive Officer (2012-present), John Bianchini, has enjoyed an over 30-year engineering career with Hatch where he has excelled at leadership roles that combined technical, project and management positions. He is an accomplished process engineer, a seasoned project manager, and an experienced global business leader. As Chairman and CEO, John represents a team of more than 9,000 employees located in 45 offices on six continents, with capital projects under management totaling more than $30 billion dollars. John takes a keen interest in the development and mentoring of young engineers and is known as motivational leader in the Canadian engineering community. John holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Toronto (1985), is a member of Professional Engineers Ontario, and is active in both the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy & Petroleum and the Canadian Society of Chemical Engineers. In 2011, he was named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Phil Verster – CEO & President, Metrolinx
Transit Development and Expansion in Canada and the Greater Toronto Area

Phil Verster will profile the important role that tunnelling played in many completed Ontario transit projects to date, with a focus on the GTA – Eglinton Crosstown, 401 Rail Tunnel, Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, etc. He will address future tunnelling needs for upcoming transit development, including near-horizon projects such as Eglinton West, Yonge Subway Extension, Scarborough Subway Extension, and will present a long-term vision for transit tunneling in the region. To round out his talk, Phil will present his views on contract procurement methods for large scale transit projects, both past and future.

As Chief Executive Officer & President at Metrolinx, Phil Verster oversees a team committed to transforming transportation in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe area. Prior to joining Metrolinx, Phil managed train operations, infrastructure builds and infrastructure management for passenger rail systems in England, Scotland and Ireland. He began his career in his native South Africa in the electricity sector and went on to spend several years in the UK at Bombardier Rail and at Irish Rail. In 2011, Phil joined Britain’s Network Rail where he managed the second largest route in the system. He then ran Scotland’s ScotRail passenger rail service, and served as Managing Director of Network Rail’s East West Railway. Phil joined Metrolinx in October 2017. His comprehensive knowledge and extensive transit background has equipped him with the necessary tools Metrolinx requires to continue working towards delivering an integrated, regional transportation system that will serve the needs of residents and businesses for years to come.