Countdown to the Conference








Invited Speakers

Joe Caffrey (Ireland)

Senior Research Scientist with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI)

Professor Joe Caffrey worked as a Senior Research Scientist with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) for 39 years. In IFI he headed up the Coarse Fish, Aquatic Plant Management and the Invasive Alien Species Departments. In 2015 Joe took early retirement from IFI to join INVAS Biosecurity as a Director, where he is continuing his research and management work.

While with IFI, Joe has worked on contract to Waterways Ireland (and its predecessors) for almost 30 years, providing water quality monitoring, aquatic weed management and fish stock enhancement advice and services for the canals. Now in INVAS Biosecurity, Joe has retained this contract and works closely with Waterways Ireland personnel to preserve the high environmental and amenity status of the canals.

Joe’s current specialist interest is in Invasive Alien Species and he has extensive and worldwide experience researching, controlling and managing these unwelcome visitors. Biosecurity is a current major focus of his efforts to prevent the introduction and spread of invasives in Ireland.

Joe has project-led many national and international research/management projects dealing with environmental matters and invasive alien species, and has been directly involved with the development of national and EU legislation relating to invasive alien species. Joe has written in excess of 100 peer reviewed scientific and management papers for national and international journals.

Mark Adamson (Ireland)

Flood Risk Management In Ireland – Past and Future

Mark Adamson is the Head of the Flood Relief and Risk Management Division in the Office of Public Works in Ireland, where he has worked since 1998 having previously worked for a few years as a consultant in the UK and overseas. Mark is responsible for the implementation of the EU ‘Floods’ Directive in Ireland, the advisory service to planning authorities on flood risk, climate change adaptation planning for flood risk management, and for the technical aspects of the design of flood relief schemes. Mark directed the National CFRAM Programme and was also Chairman of the EU Working Group on Floods for six years.

Roger Altsäter (Sweden)

Göta Canal 2.0: Preserving and Developing the Culturally Historic Canal in Challenging Conditions’

Roger Altsäter became Managing Director of the Göta Canal Company (AB Göta kanalbolag) in September 2016. He is a target focused and ambitious leader with extensive experience in several fields, having served, amongst other things as Managing Director of ASM Foods and Radio&Co AB as well as in a management position at ICA. Roger has a DIHM diploma in Marketing Economics and an MBA. He spends his leisure time with family and friends, cooking, travelling and enjoying sports of all kinds. Roger Altsäter accepted the offer to become Managing Director of the Göta Canal Company because he finds it an amazing operation, working with an impressive facility in a wonderful environment. Under his direction, the company has entered a new, exciting phase, facing many challenges as part of the project Göta Canal 2.0 and a modernisation of the company, venturing further into fields such as digitisation and pre-emptive maintenance.


Christopher Breslin (United Kingdom)

Glasgow Canal Project


Joe Caffrey (Ireland)

Mapping and Control of Alien Invasive Species in Irish Canals


Caroilin Callery (Ireland)

Director of the company who owns Strokestown Park House, Home to the National Irish Famine Museum

Caroilin Callery is a Director of the company who owns Strokestown Park House, Home to the National Irish Famine Museum.
She is also a Board Member of the Irish Heritage Trust who operates the National Irish Famine Museum at Strokestown Park House in Co. Roscommon. Caroilin has been deeply involved with the development of Strokestown Park for over 3 decades. She holds an MA in Modern Drama Studies from UCD.
Caroilin is the Artistic Director of Cultural Connections Theatre Company and has been at the forefront of a number of ‘Making History Visible’ Projects including the Gathering, National Famine Commemoration, Inaugural Irish Famine Summer School, the Missing 1,490 Project and the developing National Famine Way – Famino.
These Projects have garnered much International attention and have taken the ‘Strokestown Story’ from inside the walls of the Museum and made it accessible at a multitude of levels locally, nationally and internationally.

Mike Clarke (United Kingdom)

Heritage Boat Kennet

Mike Clarke has been involved with canal history for almost 50 years. Best known in the UK for his work on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, he is also widely known by waterway historians throughout Europe and China. For over twenty years he has been looking at the development of inland waterways across Europe. As an engineer, he has researched aspects of canal engineering, in particular the development of the chamber lock. He is currently translating a 200-year old Austrian book on canal building, which will include an introductory overview of European canal investment. Other projects include a comparison of canal development in Ireland and England. He set up the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society twenty years ago to promote its unique history and heritage.

Heather Clarke (United Kingdom)

Waterways & Wellbeing

Heather oversees the Trust’s brand, marketing, and public affairs. She is responsible for strategy, public policy, research and measurement, strategic performance and reporting, spatial and statutory planning functions, and planning and urban design consultancy functions. Heather joined the Trust in 1997, after working for an urban development corporation which was charged with delivering large scale area-based regeneration. A chartered planner, she has gained extensive experience in strategic and statutory planning, property-based regeneration, place-making and partnership working with the Trust.

William Collins (United States)

Is creating a municipal authority the answer to a sustainably watered Delaware Canal ?

William Collins is a landscape architect and Vice President of Simone Collins Landscape Architecture in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Mr. Collins specializes in planning and rehabilitation of historic industrial landscapes. Bill authored the Delaware Canal Vision Study and presented it at the World Canal Conference 2016 in Inverness, Scotland. He was the bridge architect for the 2001 Tohickon Aqueduct rehabilitation; and designer for numerous Camelback bridges over the Delaware Canal. Bill has extensive hands-on experience in conservation of heritage structures working as a traditional timber framer, including reconstruction of operable lock gates on the Maumee Canal in Toledo, Ohio, USA. Bill serves as technical advisor to Delaware Canal 21 and he has presented his canal projects at numerous venues. His practice spans 43 years, and his projects have won over 20 national, state, and local awards.

Olivia Cosgrave (United Kingdom)

Row the Erne

Olivia Cosgrove, Co- Founder of Row the Erne, led the build of a 33ft ‘Menapian’ curach in 2014. She subsequently steered the development of the Club to win a National UK Living Waterways Award, empowering communities to use and enjoy their waterway. Olivia, an accountant and humanitarian aid specialist, spends most of her spare time on the water as a kayak coach or journeying through the island network of the Erne waterways. Olivia has rowed curachs, large and small, since 2004. She crewed on the Colmcille, a similar curach to the Menapian, on a number of trips including the north coast of Spain, the west of Ireland and Iona in Scotland. She is a qualified RYA Day Skipper and crews with her local RNLI lifeboat station. In 2017 she volunteered on a search and rescue boat in the Aegean sea assisting refugees cross the dangerous waters from Turkey to Greece.

Benny Cullen (Ireland)

Local Sports Partnerships: Activating the Waterways

Benny Cullen has used his career to combine his passion for water and sport. Starting his career as a Civil Engineer, Benny worked for Hydrostadium, a French hydraulic engineering consultancy specialising in the design of artificial water courses for the Olympic Games. Benny was a hydraulic design engineer for the 2004 and 2008 Olympic projects in Athens and Beijing. From hydraulic engineering Benny’s career then followed his passions for Sport and he worked with a water sports governing body. Here Benny became a cornerstone of Blueways project and was a key developer and driver of the Blueway concept. Benny then worked with Waterways Ireland activating the canal infrastructure of Dublin City before moving to Sport Ireland where he manages the Local Sports Partnerships initiative. The Sports Partnership initiative develops, supports and promotes opportunities for sports participation in Ireland in collaboration with many national and local partners, including Waterways Ireland.

Jewel Cunningham (Canada)

From Adversary to Advocate: Parks Canada and Water Management

Jewel has 20 years of experience with Parks Canada in many roles and many places. Starting in 1997, Jewel worked in the areas of marketing, communications, and stakeholder relations before moving into operations and management for National Historic Sites in Eastern Newfoundland. As a participant in the Parks Canada Executive Trainee program, Jewel was the Field Unit Superintendent for Newfoundland East, and strategic advisor to the Director General, Eastern Canada. From 2008 to 2012, Jewel held the position of Field Unit Superintendent in Prince Edward Island.  Since 2012, Jewel has been the Director of Ontario Waterways, where she is responsible for the effective leadership of the Rideau Canal and the Trent Severn Waterway. She is currently the acting Executive Director for the Ontario and Waterway region with Parks Canada.  Jewel holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Hua Derong (China)

Protection, inheritance and utilization of the Grand Canal heritage

Mr. Hua Derong, Director of Yangzhou Cultural Relics Bureau, Director of Yangzhou World Heritage Protection Management Office, served as deputy magistrate of Baoying County of Yangzhou City and director of Yangzhou Municipal Sports Bureau. As a cultural heritage enthusiast, since 2016, Mr. Hua Derong with his colleagues fully devote to the protection of the Grand Canal heritage. He has participated in the National Grand Canal Heritage Protection Survey for two years and compiled the Overall Planning for the Protection and Utilization of Yangzhou Canal Heritage, published a book named The Long Distance – Painting Yangzhou and the Grand Canal and organized volunteer activities to protect the Grand Canal. Under the leadership of Mr. Hua Derong, Yangzhou’s cultural heritage protection is flourishing, and the Grand Canal heritage protection has won international praise.

Terre Duffy (Ireland)

Dublin’s Water Quarter

Ms. Terre Duffy has been working in Culture, Tourism and Development in both Ireland and abroad for the last three decades and currently leads the Development of Dublin Docklands for Waterways Ireland.

Eriberto Eulisse (Italy)

Youth involvement in re-imagining nautical and waterway’s heritage. The case of YouInHerit project in Venice

Eriberto Eulisse is director of the Centro Internazionale Civiltà dell’Acqua (Water Civilization International Centre), a non-profit NGO based in Venice, Italy. The Centre is aimed to promote trans-disciplinary and holistic research approaches in order to change unsustainable behaviours and practices in water perception, use and management. After graduation in Social Sciences at the University of Bologna in 1994, he specialized in Cultural Anthropology and Museology at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich (UK). He worked as Project Officer in Social Sciences for the European Commission, Brussels, and as Director of the River Navigation Museum of Battaglia Terme (Padua).

Geraldine Foley (Ireland)

Don’t forget your shovel….

Geraldine Foley is a founder member of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland’s Newry & Portadown branch and has volunteered as secretary, PRO, researcher and chief soup chef at various times since 2005. For the previous 20 years Geraldine lived on a 50ft steel yacht which she built along with her partner Peter. They sailed all round the world and were the first Irish yacht to visit South Georgia and the Kerguelan Islands in the Southern Ocean. Such an unconventional, self sufficient and demanding life experience has been good preparation for the task of restoring the historic Newry to Portadown canal where imagination and perserverance have proved to be essential skills for a successful volunteer project. After selling the yacht Geraldine turned to the calmer waters of canal boating aboard a Dawncraft 32, and for 5 years explored the waterways of England and Ireland where she found immense satisfaction in operating locks and never, ever having to worry about the weather! Now, without a boat for the first time in 30 years Geraldine is studying for a degree in English and history at Ulster University while continuing to be involved with restoration of the Newry to Portadown canal.

Galen Fulford (United Kingdom)

The application of Floating Ecosystems in the revitalisation of Urban waterways.

Galen Fulford is the founding director of Biomatrix Water Solutions. He is an avid waterway enthusiast and has dedicated his professional life to expanding solutions for the restoration of waterways with a particular focus on urban and hard edged waterways as well as polluted waterways. Galen is also an ecological design inventor and is the author of four international patents focused on innovative restoration systems which are now built in northern Scotland with exports internationally ranging from the US to South America, China, India, and Europe etc. Above all Galen’s passion is for collaborating with people, with nature and with other waterway enthusiasts to maximise the potential of waterways.

Joseph Gillespie (Ireland)

Restoration of the Shannon – Erne Waterway

Joseph Gillespie is Waterways Ireland’s Northern Regional Manager responsible for three waterways including the Shannon – Erne Waterway. He is a member of Waterways Ireland’s Senior Management Team. A Chartered Civil Engineer, he commenced his career with the Office of Public Works in the Arterial Drainage section. He gained experience in cost-benefit analysis, survey and design of large river catchments, and providing engineering support to the National Parks Service. He worked as Area/ Liaison Engineer on a major cross-border catchment drainage scheme. He was assigned to monitor progress on the Shannon – Erne Waterway reconstruction project in 1991 becoming its Engineer in 1994. Appointed Regional Manager in Waterways Ireland in 2001, he leads a team of professional, technical and administrative staff throughout the region. He is also leading an Interreg funded greenway development partnership project on the disused Ulster Canal.

Hartmut Ginnow-Merkert (Germany)

Electric propulsion and alternative fuels to preserve the ecological integrity of our scenic inland waterways

Hartmut Ginnow-Merkert was a prfessor and practitioner of Industrial Design. He lived and taught Industrial Design in Nort and South America as well as in Germany. As a response to the Tschernobyl desaster he initiated a number of solar boat projects and organized the first solar boat regatta in the U.S.. Solar boat regattas provide the platform for young people to experiment with solar-electric energy, testing and comparing their ideas with enthusiasts from around Germany and Europe. In 2017 the first joint German-Russian solar boat regatta took place in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad; in 2018 there will be five solar boat events in various parts of Germany wit solar boat teams from Germany, Poland, Russia and the Netherlands.

Roemer Goosensen (Netherlands)

Off-grid wastewater treatment – clearing the way for a green-blue canal

Roemer Goossensen (1969) grew up in the city of Harderwijk, where he finished middle management school in 1988. After several positions in road- air and deep sea logistics, supply-chain management and marketing, he switched to environmental technology. It was a logical step followed by the strong wish to work with relevant technology to add value for the society. Since 2013 he works on business related to waterfiltration, wastewater treatment and resource recovery. For Afmitech Friesland he initiatied the floating waste water treatment system, which is under evaluation by the Frisian recreation board Marrekrite.

Andrew Grieve (United Kingdom)

How greenways can deliver government objectives

Andrew is Head of the DfI Walking and Cycling Unit since November 2013. He lives in Belfast and is a regular commuter / everyday cyclist clocking up around 2,000 miles annually around the city. His background is in mechanical engineering. Following a short time working in industry and four years in academic research at Queen’s University, Belfast he joined the NI Civil Service in 1989. Over the past 25 years he has held a variety of posts dealing with a broad range of public services. He enjoys his current post in the Walking and Cycling Unit with the challenges that it presents for making a real difference to people’s lives – improving health and wellbeing through more active lifestyles, improving the environment through reduced reliance on motorised transport and bringing the economic and social benefits of more ‘people-centered’ places..

Colin Harris (Ireland)

Re-imagining urban waterways through sports

Colin Harris was born in Dublin and spent much of his life in the west of Ireland pursuing his passion for watersports. He was first introduced to windsurfing working summers for the family business Surfdock in the Grand Canal Dock. Since taking over as managing director of Surfdock in 2010, he has worked hard to expand the range of activities on offer and with the installation of a wake park under the sister company Wakedock was the first to introduce cable wakeboarding to Ireland. When he is not in Dublin managing the business, you can find him on the beaches of Sligo – surfboard in arm.

William Holdsworth (United States)

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Aqueduct Restoration at Williamsport, Bringing History Alive

Bill Holdsworth is serving his third term as president of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Association. Bill has been an active member of the association since 2004. His affection for the canal began 40 years ago when he moved to the Washington, D.C. In his professional life, Bill spent 35 years as a systems analyst for the Federal government, the last 20 years with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Eamon Horgan (Ireland)

Navigational infrastructure in high quality designated environments – The requirement for proper design and assessment


Matthew Kennedy (Ireland)

Irelands Royal Canal: From 20th Century Derelict Waterway to 21st Century Linear Parkway

Matthew Kennedy has been a member of the Royal Canal Amenity Group since the early 1980s and was very involved in the canal restoration program, particularly on the Leixlip, Maynooth and Kilcock stretch of the canal. Matthew took over as Chairman in 2013 at a time when the grouped moved from restoration to promoting the recreational, heritage and educational potential of the Royal Canal . Matthew is a retired Marine Engineer and holds a Masters Degree in Military History

Donal Mac An Bheatha (Ireland)

The Royal Canal re-imagined Greenway for the 21st Century

Senior Planner in Longford County Council for 20 years. A total of 38 years of professional experience both in Ireland and the UK. Personally responsible for the development of the Royal Canal Green Way cycle path in Longford and other amenity parks and walks.

Tadhg Macintyre (Ireland)

Case Studies in Water Sports : How BlueWays can create a Blue Minded Perspective

Tadhg MacIntyre BA MA PHD is a lecturer in sport, exercise and performance psychology based at the Health Research Institute, where he conducts research on mental health, well-being and most recently focused on applying nature-based interventions for well-being. A co-editor, with Dr. Aoife Donnelly (DIT) of the forthcoming Routledge text “Green and Blue Exercise: Nature based interventions for well-being.” He initiated the MINDSCAPE summit event in 2017 and has had funding success with EU Erasmus Plus and other funding agencies (Irish Research Council, Enterprise Ireland, EPA, World Anti-Doping Agency). Over the past two decades Tadhg has consulted with Olympic level athletes in sports including rowing, and track and field and he was the sport psychologist for Munster rugby (2014-2016). In recent years his research focus has been on developing nature based interventions for well-being based on the following concepts: nature savouring, restorative natural spaces, green exercise and nature based solutions.

Jean Mackay (United States)

Who’s Out There? Using visitor data to better attract and serve canal visitors

Jean Mackay has served as the Director of Communications and Outreach for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor since 2007. She implements all aspects of communications and marketing, including publications, media relations, stakeholder engagement, website management, and social media. Jean works collaboratively with organizations throughout the 500-mile-long National Heritage Corridor to preserve canal heritage, promote tourism, and foster vibrant communities along the waterway. In 2013, she created a partner program to facilitate effective ongoing engagement and coordination with canal-related historic sites and museums. Forty sites now participate and serve as gateways for the Corridor. Jean formerly worked as Director of Education for Audubon International. She holds a MS in Environmental Education from Leslie University.

Duncan Mackay (United Kingdom)

Low speed 2 / Slow speed too

Duncan Mackay BSc Principal Adviser Natural England Director, London and SE region, Countryside Agency Technical Director, Babtie Environmental, Countryside Manager, Berkshire County Council Senior Countryside Officer, Countryside Commission Deputy Secretary, Open Spaces Society Author of six non-fiction books: ‘Whispers of Better Things’ 2017; ‘Reading, the place of the people of the red one’, 2016; ‘Bizarre Berkshire’, 2015; ‘Eat Wild’ 2010; ‘Apples, Berkshire, Cider’, 1996; ‘The Secret Thames’ 1992. Former Commodore of Henley Sailing Club Winner of the Henry Ford European Conservation Award for Heritage 1996

Una May (Ireland)

Women in Sport Programme

Dr Una May has worked with Sport Ireland (previously the Irish Sports Council) since 1998 and has managed the Irish Sports Council Anti-Doping Program since 2001. She is currently the Director of Participation and Ethics in Sport Ireland. She has a PhD in Exercise Physiology (1996) and a BSc (Hons) in Sports Science (1991) from John Moores University, Liverpool. She has represented Ireland in both orienteering and mountain running. Una has chaired a team of Independent Observers appointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency to monitor the anti-doping programme at a number of global sports events. She is a member of the Implementation oversight Group of the National Physical Activity Plan and a former Lay representative on the Board of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine. She also represents Sport Ireland on the All-Island Obesity Action Forum and on the LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy Oversight Committee.

John Mc Keown (Ireland)

Restoring the Royal Canal

John Mc Keown BSc (Hons), Dip P.M., Eur Ing CEng FIEI MICE Chartered Engineer John Mc Keown is Regional Manager with Waterways Ireland based at the Eastern Regional Office in Ashtowngate, Dublin 15. John has been involved with inland waterways over the past 31 years and for 10 of those years worked specifically on the Restoration of the Royal Canal, which was closed to navigation in 1961. John studied Civil Engineering at Queen’s University, Belfast and graduated in June 1981 with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) Degree. He also attended Trinity College Dublin in 1986 and was awarded a post-graduate Diploma in Project Management. John is a Chartered Member of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland and the Institution of Civil Engineers in London.

Michael McClure (United Kingdom)

The Watersports Enhanced Together (WET) project

Mike McClure works for Sport Northern Ireland and his role involves liaising with local and national government agencies, national federations and clubs to develop outdoor sport and recreation. He led a consortium that developed the NI Outdoor Recreation Action Plan which provides the framework for developing Northern Ireland as a great place to be active outdoors. Mike is secretary of European Network of Outdoor Sports and has been involved in a range of European Projects including the Get WET project. Mike is an active outdoor enthusiast – with his main passion being sea kayaking. He is a British Canoeing level 5 Coach and has led trips throughout the UK and Ireland as well as in Canada, America and Europe. Mike was an Environmental Scientist and worked in outdoor environmental education for over 20 years. He is passionate about engaging people with nature and communicating the importance of ecosystems and wildlife.

William Miles (United States)

Developing the Genesee River Waterfront in Rochester, NY, US

William R. Miles, PE Mr. Miles is the USA Waterways Principal for Bergmann, a 400 person consulting firm headquartered in Rochester, NY and with 12 offices in the eastern half of the US. He is also the technical manager for the firms’s nationally recognized Navigation Structures Business. He has over 40 years of experience as a Project & Program Manager and Senior Engineer for lock and dam, flood risk management and waterways projects around the US and Canada. He is a member of PIANC, IWI, ASCE, SAME, ASDSO, USSD and the CDA; and has presented numerous project presentations to waterways conferences. Mr. Miles is a graduate of Syracuse University with a BS in Civil Engineering and has worked at Bergmann for over 28 years. He was the Principal in Charge for most of the Developments on the Genesee River in Rochester.

Richard Millar (United Kingdom)

Make No Small Plans: Transforming Scottish Canals through Art & Creative Engineering

Richard Millar is Director of Infrastructure at Scottish Canals. His current remit covers caring for the heritage and environment of the nation’s 250-year-old inland waterways, as well as project development, fundraising, and the promotion of marine and canal-led tourism. Richard’s high-profile projects, include the Millennium Link – an £83.5 million scheme which returned Scotland’s canals to navigation after 50yrs – the regeneration of the Lowland Canals as a visitor destination; the development and operation of The Falkirk Wheel, the world’s only rotating boat lift; and the creation of Pinkston Watersports – Scotland’s first urban watersports centre, in North Glasgow. Most recently, he played a pivotal role in the creation of The Helix. The £43 million project has transformed 350 hectares of underused land between Grangemouth and Falkirk into a new visitor attraction, parkland and marine hub with the Forth & Clyde Canal at its heart.

Patrick Moss (United Kingdom)

Keep it Local – Affordable Restoration and Sustainable Regeneration

Patrick Moss is director of his own consultancy firm, Moss Naylor Young Limited, based in Somerset, England, setting up seven years ago after a career in private practice and specialising in Waterways, Heritage and Regeneration. Patrick, who owns a couple of boats himself and is a lifelong waterway enthusiast, spoke at the World Canal Conference in Syracuse NY last year on “floating communities and flourishing heritage”, and this year has taken his work further by looking at how affordable boating and regeneration can bring forth the restoration of small isolated waterways as well as benefitting larger schemes. In addition to his consultancy work, Patrick is a project monitor for the Heritage Lottery Fund, Chairman of the Somersetshire Coal Canal Society and acts for the Commercial Boat Operators Association; and has recently been invited onto the council of the Railway and Canal Historical Society.

Markus Müller (Ireland)

Rejuvenating Angling Tourism: A Collaborative Approach

Born in Germany, Markus calls Ireland his home for the past 20 years. A certified Hydrologist, Markus currently works as Fisheries Information Manager for Inland Fisheries Ireland. Previously, he has worked as Research Assistant at the National University of Ireland and Scientific Officer at the former Central Fisheries Board. Markus has gained a complex knowledge of Ireland’s fisheries resource and has contributed to the development of the NSAD (National Strategy for Angling Development). He has been a keen angler since a young age and is a Qualified Flyfishing Instructor and Marine & Countryside Angling Guide.

Julia Pollok (Germany)

The WIN Project: Developing Water Tourism in the Northeast of Germany

Julia Pollok is Project Manager at the North Brandenburg Water Tourism Initiative since May 2017. She is responsible for the overall project management, including lobbying, public relations and supporting investment projects in water tourism. Previously, she served as Manager Government Relations (2006-2017) and Specialist Trade and Investment Policy (2004-2006) at the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany. She holds a Master’s Degree in American Studies, Political Science and Communications Science from the University of Munich.

John Robinson (United States)

Re-imagine Ability: Cycling for Success along the Canal

In 2014, John Robinson was named one of ten national White House Champions of Change for Disability Employment and honored with the Excelsior College President’s Award for Advocacy in 2010. Since 2011, he’s served as managing partner, CEO and Founder of Our Ability, which provides inclusive workforce and employment consulting, mentoring, workshops, keynotes and seminars on disability and diversity. John additionally founded Our Ability Connect, the only online platform where employers can directly connect with qualified candidates with disabilities by searching a digital profile service, posting employment opportunities and sponsoring virtual job fairs. As Executive Director of the New York Business Leadership Network, he builds coalitions among New York State businesses interested in both hiring and building supplier diversity of businesses owned by individuals with disabilities.

Theron Robson (Ireland)

Maintenance of Heritage Lock Gates on the River Shannon

Theron Robson is a chartered civil engineer and has worked for 12 years in the Structures & Buildings Section of Waterways Ireland. Since late 2017 Theron is now the Senior Engineer, Operations, on the South Shannon.

Les Saunders (Ireland)

Electronic Charting of Inland Waterways of Ireland using crowd sourced data and low cost devices

Les left Wesley College Dublin in the mid-1960s, studied Electrical Engineering at UCD and later Computer Science at Trinity. He spent his entire career at IBM, over 40 years and retired 11 years ago. Les has held the role of PRO in the CSIG since its formation in 2011. He is an elected Council Member of the IWAI and represents the CSIG on the IWAI Executive. He is also the current Commodore of Gortmore Boat Club in Terryglass and an active member of the Heritage Boat Association Les is married with 2 children, one still in college, and the other a heritage boat owner, IT specialist and father to two children. He has a Silver C for gliding and a PPL for powered aircraft, and is the proud owner of Heritage Boat 41M for over 30 years. He plays guitar for fun and playing with the 41M keeps him fit.

Josie Saunders (United Kingdom)

Un-locking new audiences: using Scotland’s canals as unique event venues

Josie is Head of Corporate Affairs for Scottish Canals and works with the CEO and board of Scottish Canals to communicate the organisation’s vision, ambition and values to a broad range of audiences, from politicians and customers through to partners, communities, users and other stakeholders. A member of the Senior Management Team, Josie develops and delivers marketing, branding, communications, digital, website, events and corporate reputation management solutions to meet business objectives. Since joining Scottish Canals in 2012, Josie has changed the way the organisation engages new and existing customers, introduced consumer-focused marketing which supports income generation and designed and delivered branding, marketing, events and stakeholder solutions to attract new audiences to Scotland’s canals. A former national and regional newspaper journalist, prior to joining Scottish Canals Josie was a senior account director at one of the largest full service communications agency in the UK.

Lauren Small (Canada)

Canada’s Lachine Canal: A Cradle of Innovation and Community

Lauren Small joined the Public Service of Canada in January 1997, and has served in science, innovation and international portfolios. She is currently Director of Quebec Waterways with Parks Canada responsible for 5 historic canals including Carillon, Chambly, Lachine, Saint-Ours and Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and $1.2B in federal crown assets.

Ms. Small holds a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Human Affairs, and the School of Community and Public Affairs (1995), and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University (1997).  She completed a Graduate Certificate in Air and Space Law at McGill University, Faculty of Law, Institute of Air and Space Law (2014).

Prior to joining Parks Canada, Ms. Small worked for Environment Canada, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the Canadian Space Agency.  Spanning her 20- year career, Lauren has been instrumental in three major legislative projects including the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Species at Risk Act, and the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act.

In May 2015, Ms. Small was awarded the Alumna of the Year Award by Concordia University for outstanding professional and personal achievements and was named as one of five Concordia graduates making a difference in the world in 2016.

In November 2012, Ms. Small was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal, honouring her continued commitment to improving relations with international partners.

Ms. Small is an avid runner and enjoys taking advantage of the paths along the beautiful and historic canals of Quebec!

Roger Squires (United Kingdom)

Rebuilding Lost Canals: New Approaches to Resortation

Dr Roger W Squires was a founding member of Inland Waterways International. He is a longstanding member of the UK Inland Waterways Association, and was Deputy National Chairman of the Association for ten years. He has been involved with canal restoration for over 50 years and has written several books and various articles on the subject. He is a Board Member of the American Canals Society. He owned a narrow boat for many years and toured the UK waterways in it. He was Commodore of St.Pancras Cruising Club for ten years, until 2010, and subsequently was elected its Vice President. He is a Trustee of the London Canal Museum and is Deputy Chairman of the Museum Board. He was awarded a British Empire Medal [BEM] for services to the waterways.

Veronique Sterkens (Belgium)

The multifunctional potential of the Flemish waterways

Ms. Sterkens supports the policy relating to navigable waterways both on water recreation and on operation management and policies. She works on efficient services for recreational boating and advises policy aspects of process management and operation and co-ordination of water recreation issues. She coordinates and harmonizes the related aspects, in co-operation with the representatives of the recreational users of the waterways (e.g. boating federations), tourism and interregional organisations, and other waterway managers, and follows up international fora concerning water recreation.

Henning Stuben (Ireland)

Waterways rejuvenation projects in Denmark

Henning Stüben is a co-­founder of Urban Agency, leading the Copenhagen office together with Heechan Park. His architectural design and urban planning skills, as well as his broad experience in project management and ­execution are of major importance to the office. Henning is responsible for business on the German and Scandinavian market. He has been in charge of a number of important international commissions and competitions like the Kalvebod Waves in Copenhagen, the Iceberg dwellings in Aarhus and the Lille Youth Center in France. Through his work with numerous waterfront and harbour projects, Henning has become one of the leading experts for waterfront developments in Northern Europe. Many of the projects Henning has developed are published worldwide as projects that have pushed the borders of contemporary architecture.

Paula Treacy (Ireland)

The Ecological Health of Irish Canals, Delivering the Objectives of the EU Water Framework Directive


Rudy Van Der Ween (Belgium)

The re-opening of the Lower Scheldt in the city centre of Ghent (Belgium)

Mr Rudy Van der Ween promotes water tourism for the city of Ghent. In this function he also represents the other Flemish cities in several governmental bodies on behalf of Tourism Flanders and in regional tourism organisations on behalf of the city. Rudy is a council member of Inland Waterways International, member of PIANC-Belgium, member of the Network of Inland Waterways Europe, secretary of the Association of Flemish Nautical SME’s, board member of the Flemish Passenger Ship Association, member of the Flemish Committee of Nautical Heritage. Rudy organised the World Canals Conference 2015 in Ghent.

Pamela Veinotte (Canada)

Evolving Heritage Assets to Meet Modern Day Needs


Julie Wleklinska (Poland)

The Elbląg Canal – preservation of the natural heritage by designing a dedicated sustainable boat

Julia Wleklińska is a graduate of Interior Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, Poland specializing in Naval Architecture Design. She is currently a doctorate student of Design at her alma mater. The author’s research interests concern preservation of the natural heritage of historic waterways via the introduction of sustainable infrastructure and eco-conscious solutions in water transport. Julia Wleklinska works as interior design as well as yacht design professional. However, having been academically and professionally involved with design, she also took MA in English Linguistics at the University of Gdańsk.

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