Our Team

Senior Management

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 202021 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 the new year.

As part of its 2020-2021 objectives, AFNWA has been actively recruiting its Senior Management Team. These individuals include:

Carl Yates, Interim CEO

Carl Yates has extensive experience in the water utility profession having served as Project Engineer, Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Halifax Water Commission from 1988 to 1996. In 1996, he was appointed General Manager of the Halifax Regional Water Commission [Halifax Water] which assumed a regional mandate after municipal amalgamation of the greater Halifax area in 1996. In 2007, Mr. Yates oversaw the formation of the first regulated water, wastewater and storm water utility in Canada with the transfer of wastewater and storm water assets from the Halifax Regional Municipality. 

After retirement from Halifax Water in July 2019, he formed his own consulting company, Yates Water Management, to promote and support sustainable water management. In June 2020, Mr. Yates was appointed as the interim Chief Executive Officer for the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority which was formed to provide water and wastewater services to First Nations communities in the Atlantic region. The AFNWA represents an innovative approach for First Nations in their pursuit of self-determination and reconciliation with the government of Canada and find a sustainable solution to pressing water and wastewater problems.

Mr. Yates obtained a Bachelor of Engineering from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1984 and a Master of Applied Science from the Technical University of Nova Scotia (now Dalhousie University) in 1992. He previously served as Director of the Water Research Foundation [WRF] with roles as Chair of the Research Advisory Council and Focus Area Council, and Chair of Canada’s National Research Council InfraGuide Potable Water Committee. He currently serves as the Chair of the Canadian Water Network, Board Member of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, and Director of Operators without Borders.

Under his leadership, Halifax Water received the FCM Sustainable Community Award in the water category in 2005 for innovation in water loss control, the CSCE Excellence in Engineering Innovation Award in 2014 for advances in pressure management, WRF Outstanding Subscriber Award in 2018 for research contributions to the water industry, and the Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor Award for Engineering Excellence in 2019.

Mr. Yates received the AWWA George Warren Fuller Award in 2010forexemplary leadership and contributions to the waterworks industry. In 2019, he was awarded the Engineers Nova Scotia Sexton Gold Medal for exceptional achievements in engineering practice and contributions to society. In 2021, Mr. Yates was awarded the AWWA Abel Wolman Award of Excellence in recognition of his career in the water profession that exemplifies vision, creativity, and excellent professional performance.

James MacKinnon, Interim COO

James MacKinnon is the interim Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority (AFNWA), an Indigenous-owned water and wastewater management service based in Atlantic Canada. 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, Engineering Manager

John C. Lam, P.Eng., is Manager 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

Adam Gould, Manager of Communications and 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.

Chantal LeBlanc, Manager of Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer

Chantal graduated from a Master’s degree and immediately began her career as a Commercial Banker in Northern Ontario. Through progressively more senior roles, she began managing a National portfolio of Indigenous clients, inclusive of Band offices, economic development corporations, entrepreneurs, and not-for-profit organizations.

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, Manager of Operations

Biography coming soon.