We’ll be slowly releasing the names of conference speakers. Check back for updates.

Keynote Speaker

Rear Admiral Hawco - Keynote speaker for the Best Defence ConferenceRear-Admiral Darren C. Hawco, MSM, CD
Chief of Force Development

In his career, Rear Admiral Hawco’s non-operational shore appointments included the RCN’s Senior Advanced Air Control Instructor in the CF Naval Operations School in Halifax; Combat Division Commander at the CF Fleet School in Victoria; Senior Staff Officer Schedules, Plans & Exercises in Victoria; Executive Secretary to the Chief of the Maritime Staff in NDHQ Ottawa; Director Maritime Requirements Sea for the RCN in NHDQ Ottawa; Director General Maritime Strategic Management in NHDQ Ottawa; and Director General Cyberspace in NDHQ Ottawa. In addition to Command of HMCS OTTAWA, he was appointed as the Commander Atlantic Fleet in 2012-2013. His academic credentials include a BAdmin from the College Militaire Royal de St-Jean, a Masters in Defence Studies from the Royal Military College, and a Masters in Defence Policy and Management from the Royal Military College.

In May of 2015, he was promoted to Rear-Admiral and appointed as the Chief of Force Development at NDHQ. Somewhat handy around the house, his hobbies centre on keeping his bride and four teenage daughters content.

Michael Akpata

Michael Akpata
Team Lead Public Safety, Investigations, & Counter Fraud – IBM Canada

Michael Akpata most recently joined IBM Canada in November of 2015 as the Team Lead Public Safety, Investigations, & Counter Fraud after serving 20+ years with the Windsor Police Service in Windsor Ontario. Then Senior Constable Akpata was recently assigned to the Financial Crimes and Arson Unit where he served as both an Arson and Fraud investigator.  Mike specialized in power of attorney fraud and financial crimes against seniors. He has also investigated, and secured convictions in various fraud related offences including corporate, individual, credit card and a number of ponzi schemes.  Mike has had a diverse career with the Windsor Police Service which has seen him assigned to drugs and gangs, break and enter, training branch, and uniform patrol. For 4 years he was the Ontario Police Memorial Sergeant Major, and had been the Windsor Police Honour Guard Sergeant Major since 1998.

Gary BiermannGary Biermann
Regional Technology Manager – Canada International Science and Technology

Gary Biermann is a Senior Staff Researcher with Lockheed Martin International Science and Technology (IS&T), and the Regional Technology Manager (RTM) for Canada. He is responsible for looking across the corporation for new technology needs, identifying and pursuing strategically important future technologies, and creating collaborative agreements with universities and companies in Canada to help meet those needs. His focus is on technology transition and developing collaborative research agreements serving both our core markets and adjacencies. Areas of specific technology focus include advanced materials and nano structures, advanced sensing and signature technologies, and advanced computing platforms.