the PIER team

Centre for Port Development and Innovation

David Thomas

Executive Director

As Executive Director of the PIER, David is responsible to engage, connect, manage, and facilitate PIER member collaboration, with the aim of solving challenging and complex problems within the transportation, supply chain and logistics sectors, leveraging initiatives and projects through PIER member led engagement and research.

David has spent 15 years working in economic development, environmental science and tourism in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the UK. Before joining The PIER, he worked in the provincial business and economic development agency specializing in innovation, corporate strategy, investment attraction, transportation & logistics, ocean technology and defence, and manufacturing.

He holds a Master of Business Administration (University of New Brunswick), a B.Sc. in Environmental Science and a PGCE in Education (both University of East Anglia, UK), as well as a PMP from the Project Management Institute. After moving to Canada in 2009, David chose Halifax as his home, and greatly enjoys taking advantage of Nova Scotia's hiking trails and coastal paths. He has twin nine year-old girls, a Welsh Springer Spaniel and three rescue cats.

Ryan Grant

Operations Lead & Manager of Projects

As Operations Lead & Manager of Projects for The PIER, Ryan is working to implement and facilitate innovative solutions to complex project challenges involving PIER members, the HPA, and external stakeholders. He's responsible for day-to-day operations, member, event, and partner engagement, and facilities management. Ryan is With a passion for the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, Ryan has held positions with multiple Innovation Hubs across Nova Scotia including Ignite ATLANTIC and Volta, where Ryan was project lead for the building of Volta’s 60,000 square foot innovation space. Ryan studied at Cape Breton University and Université Sainte-Anne. He also has a passion for sports such as hockey and golf and has been an active volunteer with Feed Nova Scotia for several years.

Sherry Scully, BEd, MBA, PHD

Director of Workforce Development

Dr. Sherry Scully is the Director of Workforce Development at The PIER. Sherry has more than two decades of experience conducting primary research and contributing to literature, resources, and strategy and program development related to workforces in evolving industries and those in transformation.

In her current role with The PIER, she is examining barriers to entry to port careers, for under-represented workers. She will consider the growth and evolution of the transportation industry and the implications that has for our regional and national workforce.

Sherry holds an interdisciplinary PhD in social psychology and management from Dalhousie University, as well as an MBA and two degrees in Education. A strong advocate for learning, Sherry volunteers with educational development efforts internationally, and in her spare time can be found snorkeling in the ocean or wandering a mountain top - exploring sea to sky!

Emma Ross

Communications & Programming Coordinator

In her role Emma develops, implements, and advises on internal and external communications materials and strategies for The PIER on behalf of the Halifax Port Authority’s Communications team. She is also responsible for coordinating programming, designing and supporting diverse opportunities and events for The PIER membership and growing ecosystem.

Prior to joining the team at the HPA, Emma was working in marine energy services providing departmental support for communications and marketing initiatives.

She is a graduate of both Mount Saint Vincent University and the Nova Scotia Community College and has an extensive background in theater performance and administration, working with theatre companies locally and in the USA.

Lauren Nickerson

Member Services Coordinator

As Member Services Coordinator, Lauren supports the success of The PIER by overseeing the day-to-day operations and services within the space. She works closely with PIER and HPA staff, ensuring a smooth provision of services, activities, and events, and to help support a collaborative environment focusing on alignment, value delivery, risk management, and resource management.

Lauren attended Acadia University before graduating from the Music Business Program at NSCC where she was honoured with the President’s Award for academic achievement and community involvement. Lauren has worked in many fields from retail store management, music, radio promotion and events with four stations, and most recently insurance where she was for nearly 5 years before joining our team.

In her spare time, you will find Lauren with her partner, step-daughter, and their beloved golden retriever Georgia, enjoying a good live music or sporting event, or on an adventure with her family.

Manvi Bansal

Program Coordinator, Work Integrated Learning

As Program Coordinator, Manvi's primary focus will be the implementation of a new Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program with a focus on developing ‘green skills for net zero careers’.

Manvi is a recent graduate of Dalhousie University. Her most recent work term was as a Program Administrator and Communications Student with National Research Council Canada.

She has been involved with the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) with CRA for the past 3 years, helping students and low income households file their income taxes for free.

Kenzi Donnelly

Administrative Assistant

In her role, Kenzi supports administration and office management, as well as contributes to member services, activities and events. She is the first point of contact for members, staff, and guests from the reception desk and supports information management, and finances.

Kenzi previously worked as an Administrative Assistant at an accounting firm in Saskatoon before recently moving back home. Prior to that, she spent a few years working in politics locally and in Ottawa.

In her spare time she enjoys yoga, concerts, spending time with her friends and family, and painting.