OPG Round 1

OPG Category – Round 1

We are pleased to present the Round 1 Judges for the 2017 OPG Ignite Category! This panel of experts is responsible for selecting the Semi-Finalists who will move on to the Boardroom Competition.


Jason VanWart – VP Inspection & Reactor Innovation, OPG
Jason Van Wart is a professional engineer who attended the University of New Brunswick, where he completed both a Bachelor and Masters of Mechanical Engineering. He began his career at OPG in 2001 and has worked in Nuclear Engineering, Finance, Inspection and Maintenance. In 2014, Jason achieved Dean’s List standing while completing his MBA at the Rotman School of Management.

Late in 2014, Jason was appointed to the position of Vice President for Ontario Power Generation’s Inspection and Reactor Innovation (IRI) Division. With more than 450 staff and an annual operating budget of $150M, IRI is responsible for safely executing the specialized inspection and maintenance programs at OPG’s power generating facilities.

Under Jason’s lead, IRI has progressed a mandate to support innovation in Ontario. IRI currently engages with key regional innovation players including the University of Ontario – Institute of Technology, and the Spark Centre, one of Ontario’s designated innovation centres. This fall, IRI is a lead sponsor at the Spark Centre’s Ignite innovation pitch competition.

Outside of work, Jason is passionate about contributing to his hometown community of Saint John, New Brunswick and is a part owner of the National Basketball League of Canada’s Saint John Rip Tide. The team provides approximately $1M annually to the economy of Saint John.


Jason Wight – Director of Engineering, PNGS, OPG
Jason began his career with Ontario Power Generation at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station (PNGS) in 2000, after graduating from McMaster University with a degree in Engineering Physics.  He eventually progressed on to a variety of leadership positions including Section Manager of Rotating Equipment, Valve Programs, and Conventional Systems. He’s held Department Manager positions in Plant Design and Performance Engineering at Pickering, as well as the role of Design Authority at Darlington. Jason broadened his expertise outside of engineering by taking on roles such as Outage Control Centre Manager and the Assistant Maintenance Manager at PNGS.

In August 2016, Jason became the Director Station Engineering at Pickering.  He is passionate about Leadership & Innovation.  Jason is currently leading a Nuclear Fleet Initiative on Innovation & Technology to advance technological solutions within OPG’s nuclear fleet.  In his role, he has created an innovation accelerator, called ‘X-LAB’. The goals of the accelerator are to create an environment that encourages and fosters creative thinking across OPG, drive the development of out-of-the-box solutions, engage and attract employees, drive efficiency improvements, and develop new revenue streams.

In his spare time, Jason collects hobbies and enjoys hockey, curling, golf, and relaxing at the cottage! Jason currently resides in Brooklin, Ontario. And is a Fellow of the World Nuclear University.


Sherry Colbourne – President & CEO, Spark Centre
Sherry Colbourne is President & CEO of Spark Centre and a Canadian entrepreneur who recently returned to Ontario to take the helm of Spark Centre after a 4-year entrepreneurial sabbatical in the Middle East. While overseas, Sherry co-founded Startup Oman and became one of the first Chapter Directors of the Startup Grind platform in the Middle East. Now back in Ontario, but still smitten with the opportunities of global innovation, Sherry continues to advocate for an international approach to the development of Durham Region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Sherry is a strong believer that entrepreneurism brings diverse cultures and people together around a common purpose called innovation and that the opportunity for Durham Region lies in its roots as an innovative and diverse Region.


Heather Ferguson – Vice President, Environment, OPG
With nearly 20 years of experience in the resource development and electricity sectors, Heather is currently the Vice President of Environment at Ontario Power Generation (OPG).  In this role, she is responsible for OPG’s Environment team which supports OPG’s Hydro, Thermal and Nuclear operations, as well as OPG’s development and construction projects.

Heather also has accountability for key strategic environmental initiatives, including OPG’s Transportation Electrification Strategy.  Prior to this, Heather was the Director of OPG’s Hydro Business Development Group where she was responsible for the advancement of OPG’s hydroelectric project portfolio from concept to construction.  Prior to joining OPG, Heather was a consultant in the Calgary office of Golder Associates where she worked on environmental assessments for large-scale resource development projects in the mining and oil & gas sectors.

Heather holds an undergraduate and Master’s degree in Science from Queen’s University, as well as an MBA from the Rotman School of Management and is a Director on the Boards of the Ontario Waterpower Association, Wildlife Habitat Council, Electric Mobility Canada and the Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station.


Emile Ramnarine – Director, IRI Innovation, OPG
Emile Ramnarine is a graduate of McMaster University, Bachelor of Engineering.  He began his post graduate career on the Bruce A Nuclear Generating Station Restart Environmental Qualification project prior to joining OPG.  He has been with OPG since 2005.  He has held various Engineering positions in Station Components Engineering, Major Components Nuclear Engineering, and the Pickering Continued Operations organizations.

Emile progressed on to diverse Management positions in Metallurgy & Welding, Darlington Refurbishment, Business Development and Work Control.  He is currently the Director of Innovation for OPG’s Inspection & Reactor Innovation (IRI) organization (formerly referred to as the Director of Engineering, Inspection & Maintenance Services).  Innovation is the most exciting part of his day to day operations.  State of the art technology has arrived at OPG facilities, inspired by teamwork and industry collaboration.

Emile is a long standing resident in the Durham Region and continues to enjoy community events with his friends and family.