As President and CEO of the Halifax Port Authority, Karen Oldfield Q.C., ICD.D, has overseen an era of transformation at the Port of Halifax. This includes significant marine infrastructure investment to facilitate large vessels, the refinement of the cruise industry in Halifax, and the strategic development of real estate assets including the Halifax Seaport which is now a premier destination for culture, events and entertainment. Karen has been instrumental in positioning the Port of Halifax as a strategic national asset, one that annually generates over $1.7 billion in economic impact and 12,000 port-related jobs.
The Port of Halifax is a diverse, deep-water cargo port handling containerized, bulk, breakbulk and roll-on/roll-off cargo year-round. The Port connects importers and exporters with 150 countries through a wide range of shipping lines, offering the deepest container berths on the eastern seaboard and seamless intermodal connections to major inland markets. Since August 2015, Halifax has been handling some of the largest container vessels operating along the East Coast of North America.
Over $250 million has been invested in port-related infrastructure by the private and public sector since 2004. This includes significant upgrades to the container terminals in preparation for larger vessels; the Richmond Terminals redevelopment project designed to support large project cargo and the offshore oil industry; shore power for cruise vessels; an integrated port logistics system; and ongoing funding toward the SmartATLANTIC weather buoy project.
The Halifax Port Authority has developed a diversified revenue base generating strong and consistent cash flow. The investment-grade credit rating of ‘A+’ from Standard & Poor’s is confirmation of the strength of that cash flow. Halifax was the first port in Canada to achieve ISO 14001 certification – an internationally recognized standard for environmental management systems. Halifax has become the marquee cruise port in Atlantic Canada, generating over $100 million in local economic benefit each year. The port community in Halifax is working collaboratively to create the necessary conditions for businesses to expand their potential market and create economic growth.
Nationally, Karen Oldfield recently served as the President of the International Women’s Forum of Canada. She has also served as a member of the Advisory Council on National Security which provided advice through the National Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada. Locally, Karen sits as Chair of the Board of Governors for Saint Mary’s University and is a member of the Halifax Gateway Council board. She is also an avid golfer who lives in Halifax with her husband and their daughter.
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Paul MacIsaac joined the Halifax Port Authority in September 2005 as Senior Vice-President. Currently, Paul has overall responsibility for finance, infrastructure, environmental management and the Seaport Redevelopment Project.
Prior to joining the Halifax Port Authority, Paul had an extensive career in the private sector in retail operations and commercial real estate leasing. Previously, he held the position of Senior Manager, Corporate Advisory Services with Ernst & Young Chartered Accountants.
Actively involved in his profession and community, Paul is Chair of the Nova Scotia Division for the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, an Executive Member of the Associated Alumni of Acadia University, Past-Chair of the ACPA Finance Committee and past member of Financial Executives International. He has worked with the United Way of Halifax and has served as a coach and executive member of various sports associations within his community.
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Vice-President, Planning and Operations
In April 2018, Capt (N) Ret’d Mike Davie joined the Halifax Port Authority as Vice-President, Planning and Operations.
Prior to joining the Halifax Port Authority, Mr. Davie gained significant Command , Management, Operational and Leadership experience over a 30+ year career with the Royal Canadian Navy. He served in a number of roles including Director, Naval Force Readiness; Commanding Officer, Sea Training (Atlantic); Chief of Staff to Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic; and Commanding Officer, HMCS Athabaskan.
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Vice-President, Real Estate
As Vice President, Real Estate, Krista Dempsey is responsible for real estate acquisitions and the strategic direction of the Halifax Port Authority’s real property, which currently consists of 260 acres of land plus a wide variety of facilities that support the diverse core activities of the Port of Halifax.
Prior to joining the Halifax Port Authority, Krista spent more than 20 years in various real estate capacities throughout Atlantic Canada. She has held increasingly senior roles in the commercial real estate industry having been accountable for the acquisition and disposal of real property as well as the leasing and property management of both office buildings and retail shopping centres. In the public sector, Krista has extensive experience with the Federal Government – Public Works and Government Services.
Actively involved in her community, professionally and personally, Krista is currently a member of the Halifax Harbour Planning Committee, the Building Owners and Managers Association, the Urban Development Institute and the Real Estate Institute of Canada.
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