John M. Beck is founder and President and Chief Executive Officer of Aecon Group Inc. (TSX: ARE), Canada’s premier construction and infrastructure development company. A leader in providing services to private and public sector clients throughout Canada and internationally, Aecon primarily serves the Infrastructure, Energy and Mining sectors.
A graduate in Civil Engineering from McGill University, Mr. Beck has more than 50 years of experience in the construction industry in Canada and internationally. His background includes corporate leadership in numerous construction activities including heavy civil projects and public-private partnerships for the development of infrastructure, such as airports, toll roads and transit systems.
Mr. Beck is currently a member of the Board of Directors of PPP Canada, the Ontario Financing Authority, the Royal Conservatory of Music as well as Co-Chair of the Infrastructure & Urban Development Industries at the World Economic Forum. He is a member of the Advisory Council for the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and is also a member of the Business Council of Canada. He was previously Chairman of the Board of the Ontario Power Authority, a government agency with responsibility for planning and procuring all of the province’s power needs for the next 20 years. He was named P3 Champion of the Year by the Canadian Council of Public Private Partnerships in 2013. In recognition of his distinguished achievements and career-long service to the engineering profession, Mr. Beck was inducted as a Fellow into the Canadian Academy of Engineering.
Paula Palma has served as Executive Vice President and Chief People and Information Officer (CPIO) since June 2014. Ms. Palma oversees Aecon’s vast human resources and information technology functions. Ms. Palma joined Aecon as Chief Information Officer in October 2012, and brings more than two decades of extensive experience in Information Technology and Management Consulting. She held senior executive roles in London and Paris with a variety of world class organizations, including Managing Partner of VPX Consulting, Chief Information Officer and Board Member of VERTEX Data, and COO at ATOS ORIGIN. Ms. Palma received her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, completed her MBA at McGill University, and a Global Executive MBA at INSEAD Paris. She is a member of the International Institute of Marketing and Fellowship, the UK Institute of Directors, and the UK Financial Services Authority.
David Smales has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Aecon since November 2009 and is responsible for financial reporting, accounting and compliance, budgeting and financial planning, taxation, treasury, operational finance, shared services and Aecon’s capital markets activities. Prior to joining Aecon, Mr. Smales was the Chief Financial Officer of Catalyst Paper Corporation and prior to that held a number of senior financial positions at Novar plc in the UK, focused on international operations. His career also includes roles in general management, strategy, and M&A both in industry and during 10 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mr. Smales is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and has a BA (Honours) degree from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in England.
L. Brian Swartz has served as Executive Vice-President of Aecon since June 2012. He has been with Aecon since 1997. Mr. Swartz is Chair of the Aecon Project Review Committee, a member of the Executive Committee and serves on the majority of the boards of directors for its wholly owned subsidiaries. Mr. Swartz has executive responsibility for managing a broad portfolio of corporate services including legal, corporate secretarial, risk management, bonding, office/facility services, and strategic planning services to the Aecon group of companies. He has been actively involved in many major infrastructure and P3 initiatives in Canada and abroad including: Highway 407, Union Station Train Shed Renewal, Union Pearson Express, Ferihegy Airport (Hungary), Cross Israel Toll Highway, Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Power Project (India), Quito International Airport (Ecuador), Pearson International Airport (Toronto), Darlington Nuclear Refurbishment and many other projects. From 1992 – 1997 Mr. Swartz was lead counsel to the Province of Ontario in developing the Highway 407 initiative. In 2013, Aecon’s Legal department was awarded the distinction of “Best Canadian Legal Department” by the International Legal Alliance (Paris). In 2008, Mr. Swartz Chaired the Construction Lien Act Committee, liaising between the OBA, OGCA, COCA and the MAG to ensure stakeholders concerns were addressed and amendments were made. He is Past Chair of the Ontario Bar Association, Construction Law Executive. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Employers Council and a former director of the Canadian Construction Association. Mr. Swartz is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Corporate Counsel (London UK). He was recently appointed to the Board of Advisors for Osgoode Hall Law School’s Professional Development Program which is creating professional development curriculum for senior in-house counsel. Mr. Swartz earned his LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1981 and in 2003 received a Cert. Arb from University of Windsor Law School and a certificate in Advanced Management from the Schulich School of Business, York University. Mr. Swartz writes and speaks regularly in his areas of expertise and serves as a mentor for the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s young lawyer mentoring program.