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Executive Director Leadership Change at QUEST

Jul 5, 2018

Dear Friends,

It’s Brent Gilmour from QUEST. I am writing to let you know that I’ve decided to step down from my post as Executive Director, effective July 20.

It’s been an honour and privilege to have worked with an incredible network of volunteers and industry leaders across Canada over the last seven years to establish a positive and compelling vision of Canada’s energy future. QUEST is now regularly helping policymakers, utility leaders, regulators, and corporate executives position their organizations and jurisdictions for success in the growing Smart Energy Communities marketplace.

My colleague and friend Tonja Leach—QUEST’s Managing Director—will serve as Interim Executive Director while the board conducts a national search for my replacement.

Transitions always present challenges for any organization, but it is a testament to the strength of our team that I will be leaving QUEST on such a high note.

“According to our internal forecast, if all stakeholders acted to fully deliver on the potential of Smart Energy Communities, they would open up enormous private sector opportunities.”

Several years back, we set a goal that every Canadian community will be a Smart Energy Community by 2030. A Smart Energy Community is at once resilient, affordable, energy efficient, clean, and prosperous. Our target date is creeping up fast, but our goal is looking more achievable than ever.

That’s because in the past 18 months or so, a significant and growing number of the various players in Canada’s energy ecosystem have embraced the Smart Energy Community marketplace. According to our most recent reckoning, more than 400 communities—which collectively represent more than 50 percent of Canada’s population—are now in the smart-energy club.

And for a good reason. According to our internal forecast, if all stakeholders acted to fully deliver on the potential of Smart Energy Communities, they would open up enormous private sector opportunities. Today, we estimate the marketplace at more than $70 billion, employing over 700,000 Canadians.

Knowing what we do about the powerful economic drivers underpinning the QUEST mission, we’ve ramped up our work. This year alone, we:


Launched the QUESTtalks series, expanded our services for all of our subscribers, and kicked off our Smart Energy Leaders’ Dialogue salon series in Calgary, Ottawa, and Fredericton.


Engaged with more local governments, utilities, and developers then we ever have across Canada as part of the Smart Energy Communities Scorecard and in support of our Community Resilience initiative.


Played a leading role in Natural Resources Canada’s just-released Generation Energy initiative, which establishes a new energy vision not only for the nation, but for communities, too.


Welcomed an invitation from the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut territories to host a workshop to kick off and inform the agenda for the upcoming annual Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference.

Meanwhile, again, thanks to our team, QUEST has earned its reputation as a neutral, nonpartisan, and business-friendly resource for those seeking insight on the Smart Energy Communities marketplace.

I am grateful that Tonja has agreed to step in and lead the organization through the transition. She has served as my right hand since our official launch in 2011, and is well-known by our partners, clients, and friends. I have complete confidence in her. Put simply, she is an exceptional leader.

I want to thank all of our allies, partners, clients, funders, subscribers, and my many friends throughout Canada’s energy ecosystem for their support and encouragement over the years.

But I especially want to thank my outstanding staff and volunteers. You have truly been a dream team to work with. You’re the heart of this organization, and I know you will continue to inform, inspire, and shape the positive transformation underway in communities, large and small, across the nation, far into the future.

With gratitude,

Brent Gilmour

July 5, 2018

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