AFNWA Senior Management Team
As requested by the Board, and outlined in the Business Case and Governance Manual, AFNWA was mainly tasked with recruiting its Senior Management Team as part of its 2020–21 objectives.
Following the appointments of Carl Yates as Chief Executive Officer, and James MacKinnon as Chief Operating Officer, and with help from Leaders International, AFNWA assembled its Senior Management Team.
John Lam, Manager of Engineering, joined in November 2020, followed by Adam Gould a month later as Manager of Communications and Outreach. Chantal LeBlanc, Manager of Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer, and James Trimble, Manager of Operations, would join the team in 2021.
In 2023, the Board implementated changes to the Senior Management Team upon the hiring of the new CEO and retirement of Carl Yates, the former interim CEO. James MacKinnon is the Director of Engagement and Corporate Relations, and now works directly with Communications & Outreach.
The AFNWA Senior Management Team includes:
Susheel Arora, CEO
As part of its post-transition objectives, AFNWA required new leadership with a strong background in water and wastewater systems. Susheel Arora, former Director of Operations at Halifax Water, brings over 20 years of expertise and field work to his new role as AFNWA CEO. Susheel previously led One Water, an initiative involving wastewater and storm water collections, water distribution, treatment, and biosolids management for the Halifax region, advocating its holistic approach in the value of water. His career includes having earned two Master’s Degrees, one in Environmental Engineering and other in Applied Sciences. He also graduated from Harvard Business School’s General Management program. An active member of Engineers Nova Scotia, Susheel also participates in professional organizations such as Water Environment Federation [WEF], American Water Works Association [AWWA], and the International Water Association [IWA]. Susheel practices an active lifestyle and is always keen to explore new countries and cultures. He is the volunteer Vice-Chair of the Board at the Zatzman Sportsplex in Dartmouth, NS.
As part of its post-transition objectives, AFNWA required new leadership with a strong background in water and wastewater systems. Susheel Arora, former Director of Operations at Halifax Water, brings over 20 years of expertise and field work to his new role as AFNWA CEO.
Susheel previously led One Water, an initiative involving wastewater and storm water collections, water distribution, treatment, and biosolids management for the Halifax region, advocating its holistic approach in the value of water.
His career includes having earned two Master’s Degrees, one in Environmental Engineering and other in Applied Sciences. He also graduated from Harvard Business School’s General Management program.
An active member of Engineers Nova Scotia, Susheel also participates in professional organizations such as Water Environment Federation [WEF], American Water Works Association [AWWA], and the International Water Association [IWA].
Susheel practices an active lifestyle and is always keen to explore new countries and cultures. He is the volunteer Vice-Chair of the Board at the Zatzman Sportsplex in Dartmouth, NS.
James MacKinnon, Director of Engagement & Government Relations
James MacKinnon is the Director of Engagement & Government Relations, and former interim Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority (AFNWA). The first utility of its kind, AFNWA works at improving health and safety in First Nations communities through improved water and wastewater management.
A two-time Dalhousie University Alumnus, James graduated a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Chemistry and Sociology, and Master of Public Administration. His career began with Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat, in positions including Director of Housing and Infrastructure.
James is a lifelong Nova Scotian; a proud Caper born and raised in Coxheath, Unama’ki, and now resides in Halifax.
John Lam, Director of Engineering
John C. Lam, P.Eng., is Director of Engineering for the AFNWA, and started with the Water Authority in November 2020. In this role, John is responsible for asset management, master planning, capital improvement planning, and provision of technical services that support the short and long-term management of the water and wastewater assets.
John graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering, majoring in the fields of environmental and hydraulic structures. Since graduation, he has worked in many parts of Atlantic Canada, various locations across Canada (including living and working in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories for four years), Bermuda and Europe.
John was a project manager and/or lead process engineer for the design, assessment or operation of nearly 100 water and wastewater facilities. Over his 30+ years of consulting engineering career, John has acquired significant engineering expertise in virtually all types of water and wastewater treatment technologies. John was involved in some projects that contributed to the development of innovative enhancements to treatment technologies including disposal of treated effluent using evapotranspiration, moving bed bioreactor treatment using dissolved air flotation for clarification, Sequencing Batch Reactor wastewater treatment, greenhouse wastewater treatment, biosolids management using fly larvae and vermiculture and engineered spring/siphon for supply of water.
He was the lead author for the AtlanticCanada Wastewater Guidelines Manual for Collection, Treatment, and Disposal (2006) and is asteering committee member for the current update of both the water and wastewater guidelines.
John has worked in provincial and territorial governments; in Rankin Inlet as project officer (Public Works) and regional municipal engineer (Municipal Affairs) for the Government of the Northwest Territories prior to the formation of Nunavut; and as the program lead for wastewater program for Nova Scotia Environment.
As a Class I Wastewater Treatment Operator, John operated up to 20 wastewater treatment plants in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Bermuda. He has developed and deliverednumerous technical and continuing education training courses for Nova Scotia Environment, Atlantic Canada Water & Wastewater Association, Maritime Provinces Water & Wastewater Association, Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University and Nova Scotia Community College.
John has served as board and/or committee member for:
- Atlantic Canada Water & Wastewater Association
- Canadian Water & Wastewater Association
- Canadian Affairs Committee of the American Water Works Association
- Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment Municipal Wastewater Project Team
- Consulting Engineers of Nova Scotia
- Engineers Nova Scotia
Chantal LeBlanc, Director of Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer
Upon departure from her Commercial Banking career, she began a role as Chief Financial Officer for a group of companies participating in a variety of industries including manufacturing, hospitality, events management, and commercial real estate. Chantal ended her maternity leave early in order to join the team at AFNWA.
She has described the opportunity to serve Atlantic First Nations communities in this capacity as one of the highest possible honours and undoubtedly a great highlight in both her personal and professional life.
Chantal spends her spare time chasing after her 3 girls – a toddler and twin infants.
James Trimble, Director of Operations
James joined AFNWA in April 2021 as Manager of Operations, bringing over 30 years of water and wastewater management experience in Indigenous communities. He would become Director of Operations in 2023. As Director, 'Jim' ensures that all operators are fully trained and licensed, and that water, wastewater treatment plants, and related infrastructure are operated and maintained to industry standards.
Prior to joining AFNWA, 'Jim' was Director of Capital and Public Works at Beausoleil First Nation, where he was dedicated to solving issues in water and wastewater such as lack of operator training resources, and securing funding for capital projects, operations, and maintenance activities. A major milestone of James' career was with Nunatsiavut in Labrador where he lead the construction of Torngat Mountains National Park facilities.
His responsibilities also include oversight for quality assurance and quality control to ensure AFNWA delivers on its mission to provide high quality drinking water and wastewater services that meet the highest standards in the land.
James would like to demonstrate that this operations management style can succeed across Canada, while continuing to advocate for First Nations careers in trades. A personal goal is to eventually earn his Master's of Business Adminsitration [MBA].
A father of seven (7), James resides in Woodstock, NB, with his wife of 30-plus years. The Trimbles proudly run a foster home that helps First Nations youth.
Adam Gould, Manager of Communications & Outreach
Adam Gould joined Atlantic First Nations Water Authority in December 2020 as Manager of Communications and Outreach. He is a Mi’kmaq from Membertou in the district of Unama’ki, and now resides in Truro, NS, with his fur-child Cleo.
His experience allowed him to build a great rapport with Mi’kmaq / First Nations / Indigenous communities and leaderships. A unique skillset including media relations, strategic analysis, and creativity paired with a background in academia and business-like methods has shaped Adam’s pragmatic approach to projects.
In 2003, Adam graduated from UCCB (now CBU) with a BA in anthropology-sociology, then followed up his education with a Bachelor of Public Relations (co-op option) from Mount Saint Vincent University in 2008. Adam enrolled for graduate studies at Royal Roads University, and graduated in 2011 with a Master’s of Arts in Intercultural and International Communications – the first Mi’kmaq to ever graduate from the program.
With over two decades of combined education and professional experience, Adam will be integral to the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority’s senior management team, its mandate, and successes.