Our Team

How do we describe the BPLI Holdings team? They’re innovators. They see business and workplace opportunities and they transform them into successes, drawing on a unique combination of knowledge, skills and fearlessness. They are our engine of growth, our visionaries, and our expert guiding hands.

Our Executive

Derrick Rowe - Chairman

Derrick Rowe is the Executive Chairman of BPLI Holdings Inc. the holding company for its two operating divisions, Bluedrop Training & Simulation Inc. and Bluedrop Learning Networks Inc. He was appointed CEO of the Bluedrop Training and Simulation business in 2019.

Derrick brings a focused executive leadership style to the BPLI team that stems from three decades of experience leading international, corporate operations. 

As founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Stratos Global Corporation (TSX SGB) until 1999, he helped build the company from a start-up into a successful public corporation. In 2001, Derrick was appointed Chairman of Fishery Products International (FPI) Limited (TSX FPL) and served as Chief Executive Officer from 2001 to 2005. He was appointed Chairman of BPLI Holdings Inc. in 2010.

Derrick also serves on several distinguished boards, panels and commissions including those with provincial, national, and international mandates. His industry expertise ranges from technology start-ups to international seafood operations.

Foreshadowing of his remarkable accomplishments was acknowledged early in his career with significant recognition for leadership, including Canada's "Top 40 Under 40" by the Globe and Mail's Report on Business Magazine; Ernst & Young's "Entrepreneur of the Year Award”. 

An avid tennis player, Derrick serves on the Board of Directors for Tennis Canada and is the immediate Past Chair. 


Emad Rizkalla - Founder and CEO

Emad Rizkalla is a serial entrepreneur and recognized thought leader in the convergence of technology and learning… and how to leverage human capital in ways that develop people, organizations and economies. He is an in-demand global speaker about these topics and socio- economic issues that he is passionate about.

Emad co-founded the predecessor to BPLI Holdings in 1992 while still an engineering student. Before he was 30, Emad was recognized in the "Globe & Mail’s Top 40 under 40" and profiled in a TIME magazine cover story showcasing eight "Young Dynamic Entrepreneurs Who Will Create the 21st Century."

Emad has written numerous articles for publications regarding training, management and workforce development. He has also been featured by dozens of media outlets and publications.

As an active member of many national committees and task forces, he has chaired several not-for-profit boards and sits on an advisory Board for the National Research Council. In 2013, he was honored with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Holding a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Memorial University, Emad has two energetic sons who wear him out, had no grey hair four years ago, loves to laugh (even at times he really shouldn’t) and has a healthy obsession with palm trees.


Brad Driscoll - Chief Financial Officer

Brad Driscoll is the Chief Financial Officer of BPLI Holdings Inc. overseeing the accounting, financial planning, taxation, and financial reporting functions.  He is a key member of the executive team contributing to the operational and financial strategy of BPLI.

Brad joined BPLI as Controller in 2012 shortly after the Company became publicly listed.  Since that time, he has undertaken progressively senior roles as the Vice President of Finance and, most recently, Chief Financial Officer. Brad has been an instrumental to the company’s growth initiatives and has extensive involvement in corporate financing, restructuring, and acquisition transactions.

Prior to joining BPLI, Brad has both public and private sector accounting experience.  He lead the financial reporting team at Nalcor Energy in St. John’s and provided service to several large publicly traded companies with KPMG in Calgary.  He is also a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Newfoundland and Labrador (CPA, CA) and graduated from Memorial University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.


Bernard Beckett - Treasurer & Corporate Secretary

Bernard Beckett has a distinguished career in senior finance, and extensive expertise in corporate transactions and financing that spans more than three decades.

In 2012 Bernard began providing advisory services to BPLI and was the Chair of our Audit Committee. He transitioned into the role of CFO in 2013 and to the role of Treasurer & Corporate Secretary in 2019. Well versed in our financial and public company reporting systems, his expert guidance will continue to support the growth of our company. 

Bernard has been a public accountant and Partner with KPMG and Ernst & Young, and has filled senior leadership roles with private and public companies. Prior to joining BPLI, he served as Corporate Treasurer and CFO of Fishery Products International (TSX FPL), and as CFO with Marport Deep Sea Technologies.

A graduate of Ryerson University, Bernard is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in both Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, and a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCPA, FCA).

Bernard is an active Rotarian and avid traveller.


Board of Directors

In addition to Derrick Rowe and Emad Rizkalla above, we are pleased to introduce the following individuals as members of our Board of Directors


Tom Astle

With over 30 years in Technology and Capital Market sectors of experience, Tom Astle is known as a leading Wall Street and Bay Street technology analyst. He joined the BPLI Holdings Inc. Board of Directors in 2015 bringing a wealth of experience in Technology, Cleantech and Aerospace business models.

Tom is currently the Chief Investment Officer at Difference Capital Management Inc. Prior to joining Difference Capital; he worked at independent investment dealers for six years where he ran research departments that were recognized with several awards for their tech company choices.

As a technology analyst, Tom headed up top ranked teams at major firms including Merrill Lynch and National Bank Financial. At Merrill Lynch, he led a global team that spanned three continents. Tom was consistently ranked the top analyst in his sector for many years by Brendan Woods, and he and his team were consistently highly ranked in global analyst surveys. He has covered many Canadian and U.S. technology stocks over his career and presided over several of the key cycles in that sector.

Tom has written extensively about technology cycles focused on SaaS, OTT technologies, mobility and wireless networking, and optical networking. His current interests focus around the intersection of the cloud, media, and enterprise productivity.

Tom’s educational foundation is degree in Engineering Physics. This along with a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and 7 years as founder of a medical software start-up have served him well in being an advisor and investor in the always exciting but cyclical technology sector.


Paul Sparkes

Paul Sparkes is an accomplished Canadian business leader with twenty-five years of experience in media, finance, capital markets and Canada’s political arena.

Paul spent a decade as a leader in the broadcast and new media industry; where he served as Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs for CTVglobemedia, now Bell Media. He also held senior positions in the Public Service, including with the Government of Canada as Director of Operations to the Prime Minister, and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador as a senior aide to two Premiers, Clyde Wells and Brian Tobin.

Most recently, Paul was Executive Vice Chair, Director and Co-Founder of Difference Capital Financial, a Toronto based merchant bank focused on making strategic investments in, and advisory services for, growth companies in the media, technology and health care sectors and in U.S. real estate.

Currently, Paul is a pursued corporate director, advisor and deal maker for growth companies in the media, technology and entertainment industries. He serves on a number of public and private boards including Thunderbird Films, Blastgard International and Breaking Data Corp. He is the Chair and Founder of Smiling Land Foundation. He joined the Board of Directors for BPLI Holdings Inc. in January 2014.

Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) Degree from Memorial University. Outside of work, he is extremely active on the hockey rink with his two sons, Ben and Jack (next generation Connor McDavid’s!), and most relaxed when fly fishing on the rivers of Labrador.


Andrew Youngman

Andrew Youngman joined the Board of Directors of BPLI Holdings Inc. in 2012, bringing experience in strategy consulting and private equity investments.

Andrew is President and CEO of Citizens Disability, and is responsible for the design, implementation and execution of business strategy.

Prior to Citizens Disability, Andrew has held roles with Internet Venture Works (private equity firm), Lesley University (private education provider) and for Marakon Associates (leading strategy consulting firm.

Andrew holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Economics from Northwestern University. He is a member of the National Association of Disability Representatives (NADR), a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives (NOSSCR) and is a member of the Young President’s Association.