GBA Group


LF - Aqueduct

With 35 years of development and project management experience, GBA has learned to solve complicated projects with innovation and tenacity.

This experience includes public and private sector projects, and many large-scale complex redevelopments. Remarkable developments happen when the intricacies of a great idea, finance, politics, communication, design, management, leases, negotiation, and construction come together harmoniously.

We succeed by collaborating with clients and meeting their needs in every step of the development process. We don’t waste time or money, and we pride ourselves on a bold commitment to efficiency and fiduciary responsibility.

Building great communities is in our DNA.







President and CEO

The roots of the Bird family are several generations deep in the Ottawa area, instilling in Graham the belief that as a native son he had an obligation to future generations to keep making Ottawa better. As President of GBA, Graham often says that helping to build Ottawa is a great privilege — to imagine what could be, to work with visionary partners, and then together, to build and achieve that vision. “Getting to be creative and help shape the city you were born and raised in really isn’t work – it’s play,” he says.

Graham spends his days — and often many evenings — playing out possibilities to solve complex redevelopment projects to ensure they are completed on time and on budget. Most importantly, he works to ensure they are built so that a community becomes more memorable and more relevant.

With more than 30 years of experience in the development business throughout Canada, Graham has managed a wide variety of multidisciplinary projects for both the public and private sectors. He is particularly respected for understanding the business force of development — the need for building solutions into the design, the construction and the operations of new infrastructure; solutions that are flexible and respond promptly to the requirements of clients or markets.

Graham has a successful track record in leading-edge, complex redevelopment — whether it is institutional, commercial, residential, or mixed-use — through all of the applicable phases including planning, design, construction, financing, approval, communications, and operations. A member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, Graham holds a degree in Applied Science from Queen’s University.


COO and Vice President – Planning

A seasoned professional planner and Administrator, John has spent the majority of his career serving the development community and the public at the municipal government level. Recently retired, he is now focusing his career on city building with the private sector.

John understands how government works, the development approvals process, planning policies and strategies and the need to be inclusive in evolution of a city.

John has extensive experience in policy development at the Official Plan, Community Design Plan and neighbourhood level, leading the preparation of Zoning By-laws and Development Charges By-laws, and the review and approval of development applications including rezonings, subdivisions and site plans in an urban, suburban and rural context. He understands the relationships between infrastructure, transportation and land use planning. He also recognizes that financial affordability is a key to a plan’s success.


Vice President – Communications

Kathryn Hendrick works with GBA to provide strategic communications management from concept to completion for clients engaged in infrastructure renewal. She recently led the extensive communications planning and multi-year implementation for GBA’s redevelopment of the Royal Ottawa Health Mental Health Centre, the Ottawa Convention Centre, Lansdowne Park and the Canadian Firefighters Memorial, and many other initiatives.

A national award-winning communications strategist, Kathryn is a key member of the project management team. Her work helps advance client objectives through the myriad of branding opportunities that exist in redevelopment projects — from conception through procurement, design, construction, stakeholder engagement, event planning, media relations, as well as the official opening and ongoing operations of the facility. For example, these functions were particularly important for GBA and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre in their redevelopment of Canada’s first hospital built under a public-private partnership model.

Kathryn has long-standing relationships with many of Canada’s senior journalists, and has implemented complex media and stakeholder strategies to engage the public, shift public perception and influence government policy. She has a successful track record in government relations, both at a federal and provincial level, and has managed a number of senior communications portfolios in Canadian teaching hospitals and national advocacy organizations. Kathryn has an Honours BA from the University of Toronto, and holds an MA in English and Communications.


Vice President – Community Design and Development

John is a seasoned experienced planner who began his professional career in 1985. He spent 34 years with the City of Ottawa growing his career from a junior planner to a senior leader, acquiring progressively more responsible experience in municipal planning and related fields through out his years with the City. Following his retirement from the City as the Director of Economic Development and Long Range Planning, John established John H Smit Consulting, specializing in Planning and Urban Design Services, and aligned himself with GBA Group as Vice President, Community Design and Development to continue his contributions to city building in the private sector.

While with the City, John dealt with many complex multi-disciplinary and multi-agency planning, development, transportation and economic development projects/initiatives. Throughout much of his public sector career and in the various leadership roles he held, John provided leadership, supervision and management to staff teams and consultant work with a results-oriented focus, and applied project management practices to ensure provision of timely quality service delivery. As a leader, John subscribed to and advanced the principles of change management to support and promote Corporate goals and objectives.

In his current role, John specializes in providing strategic advice and urban planning and design services to various private and public sector clients engaged in development and city building projects. This advice is grounded on the solid appreciation that John has gained through his public sector career of the multi-disciplinary interrelationships between those elements that drive a city’s growth including an understanding of how governments work, drivers of development and change, and the effects of external influences on urban development as well as an understanding of what cities need to do to position themselves in an increasingly complex global world to remain resilient, adaptable, competitive and successful. John understands that financial viability is the cornerstone of success in bringing projects and plans to fruition.

John’s specialties include Progressive Management, Leadership, Sustainable Land Use Planning, Planning Policy Development, Development Review, Urban Design, Economic Development, Transportation Planning, and Heritage Planning.


Vice President – Finance and Procurement

David Laird is a specialist in capital projects and facilities outsourcing procurement, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and intellectual property licensing. He works with GBA as the lead on financial and operations management counsel for infrastructure renewal and procurement from concept to completion.

Prior to David’s association with GBA, David was a senior advisor for infrastructure, corporate finance and M&A transactions for PricewaterhouseCoopers’ for more than 16 years and spent 20 years as a finance and operations executive in the high technology industry.

David applies his extensive advisory and executive management experience to bring practical solutions throughout the procurement process to ensure specification, cost and schedule compliance.

David developed finance models for The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, the Shaw Centre, Lansdowne Park and the Bank of Canada redevelopment projects.

David has raised millions in long-term debt and equity for clients, and arranged for interim financing for acquisitions in amounts of up to $125 million.


Development Manager

Alannah has over 8 years of progressive management experience, mainly focusing on business case development and financial analysis, brand strategy, and business development. She was a founding member and executive of Bridgit Inc., a successful construction software startup which has raised over $8M in external funding.

Alannah holds a Masters in Real Estate and Infrastructure from the Schulich School of Business, finishing first in her class. She also holds a BComm from Queen’s University.


Project Manager

A graduate of Algonquin College’s Business program, Mitchell Bird joined GBA full time in January of 2013 after spending the summer of 2012 working with the GBA team as a Project Management Intern. To augment his business education and his experience at GBA, Mitchell continued his professional development by completing Algonquin’s Project Management program.

Mitchell has been instrumental in developing work-plans and redevelopment approaches for the LeBreton Flats Redevelopment, Tunney’s Pasture Redevelopment, the Brockville Health & Wellness Centre of Excellence, Carp Retirement Residence and the restoration and re purposing of the heritage Davidson-Hope House.

A competitive hockey player for many years, Mitchell lent his organizational skills to the Ottawa Senators as a member of the Marketing Community Relations team before moving to GBA. He values the importance of working with communities as they grow and change, and has learned firsthand as a GBA team member how integral it is in the redevelopment of new infrastructure for clients and organizations.


Office Administration

Chantal Langevin is the Office Administrator for GBA, a position she has held since 2010. Chantal manages the day-to-day aspects of client communications, as well as billing and finance administration, web and data maintenance, plus general administrative support and customer service.

Chantal’s strength as an organizational strategist ensures that the GBA team, and their projects, run seamlessly and smoothly.

A graduate of Algonquin College, Chantal is the accommodating and friendly administrator that clients quickly become very accustomed to and know they can count on. She takes great pride and care in ensuring that every call and request is attended to in the most timely and efficient manner.

An annual volunteer in the Ottawa Christmas Smiles campaign which arranges gifts for seniors over the holidays, Chantal is strongly motivated to give back to her community and to help those less fortunate.

It is these kind of values that make Chantal both an integral part of the office team and a shining example of the GBA way in action.