2014 Fredericton Convocation

Huskilson, Christopher

Doctor of Science (D.Sc.)

Orator: Davies, Gwendolyn


to be Doctor of Science

A native of Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Christopher Huskilson has had a long relationship with the University of New Brunswick, beginning with his receiving Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1979 and 1982 respectively, and, continuing more recently, with his three sons studying engineering at UNB.

It was at UNB that Christopher Huskilson became interested in power engineering and in the energy business in general, joining the Nova Scotia Power Company in 1980. His early work was in the area of software engineering, installing monitoring control systems, and participating in building the Annapolis Tidal plant, an early and still-existing experiment in Fundy tidal power. Working his way up in Nova Scotia Power in positions such as Superintendent of Hydro Productivity at the Mersey Hydro System, Plant Manager of the Lingan and Glace Bay Generating Stations, and Executive Vice President of Operations, he became Chief Operating Officer of Emera and Nova Scotia Power in 2003 -- and President and Chief Executive Officer of Emera in 2004.

As such, he now heads an international utility company with its central office in Halifax but corporate interests in five provinces, twenty American states, and six countries, including locations such as the Bahamas and St. Lucia in the Caribbean. An advocate of clean power, Mr. Huskilson noted in an interview with The Globe and Mail published on 18 July 2014 that "almost all the places we do business -- Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, the Caribbean -- all are very carbon intense electricity markets. So the opportunity to reduce the carbon intensity and reduce emissions from electricity in those markets is what we focus 'our strategy on'." To this end, Emera has entered a partnership with Nalcor Energy in Newfoundland and Labrador to build "a hydroelectric power station on the Lower Churchill River" to transmit electricity via a 170 kilometre underwater cable to Nova Scotia and New England. This $7.7 billion dollar Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project is "on track" to "start generating power in 2017 with full production the next year," and the Maritime link part of the project is estimated to create an average of 300 jobs per year for the Atlantic region during the construction period.[i] Noting the collaborative contribution of Emera and Nalcor on the Churchill Falls Project -- and citing other career initiatives as well -- the Energy Council of Canada co-presented Chris Huskilson of Emera and Ed Martin of Nalcor the 2013 Canadian Energy Person of the Year Award in recognition of the major contributions both have made -- and continue to make -- to the energy sector in Atlantic Canada. Indeed, Mr. Huskilson’s corporate commitment to clean power extends from professional undertakings such as Muskrat Falls in Labrador -- and solar and wind energy initiatives in Barbados -- right down to his personal life where he drives a battery-powered car to and from his office in Halifax every day. [ii]

As part of Mr Huskilson's contribution to his profession and the community, he has served as Chair of the Greater Halifax Partnership Chair of the Canadian Electricity Association; Chair of the Energy Council of Canada; and Board Member of the Halifax Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Somehow, in the midst of this busy professional life, he has also created time to stimulate educational, research, and leadership initiatives in both the university and the region. A member of UNB's Forging Our Futures campaign cabinet and a sponsor of the university's Entrepreneurial Leadership Program through the Wallace McCain Institute, he has been an exponent of Emera's investment in Graduate Scholarships for Master's students from Atlantic Canada and Maine studying engineering or computer science. He has also been an advocate for literacy and early childhood education initiatives in New Brunswick, including Emera Brunswick Pipeline’s support of the UNBSJ "Promise Partnership" programme enabling ten underprivileged students from the Hazen White-St. Francis School area of Saint John to attend first-year university. Under Mr. Huskilson's leadership, Emera has also supported the work of those involved in The Learning Partnership dedicated to promoting a strong national public education system, and has contributed to regional charities, including The Salvation Army Good Neighbour Energy Fund and the IWK Children's Hospital.

In his interview with The Globe and Mail in July 2014, Chris Huskilson indicated that, after he graduated from the University of New Brunswick, one of the things that he had wanted to do was "to stay in Maritime Canada and in Nova Scotia if possible". Not only has he achieved that goal, but he has done so while becoming one of "the top business leaders in Atlantic Canada" and by heading up "the largest multinational company based in Nova Scotia".[iii] He has also accomplished this while earning the tribute of his colleagues for "his depth of knowledge, wisdom, and judgment".[iv] It is with great pride that the University of New Brunswick now bestows upon him the degree of Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa.

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