Management Team

Management Team

SYSTRA Canada’s management team is composed of bold leaders with years of experience working for railways and the railway consulting industry. They are actively involved in the company’s projects, thus ensuring high quality, client satisfaction and desired results.


In January 2018, Mr. Spagnolo was appointed President & CEO of SYSTRA North America. He has over 30 years of experience in mission-critical industries of Defence, Aerospace and Transportation. He has a passion for speed, innovation and competitiveness, and is now leading SYSTRA’s growth in North America, as well as export markets.

Prior to joining SYSTRA, Mr. Spagnolo led Thales for 20 years in a variety of roles:

  • In 2014, Mr. Spagnolo was appointed Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Vice President for Thales Canada Transportation. He was responsible for leading the transformation of the Urban Rail team, implementing project management improvements, establishing a low cost Indian engineering centre, and overseeing other productivity improvements.
  • Between 2012 and 2014, he was Chief Operation Officer of Thales Canada, overseeing the transverse functions, as well as the Aerospace, Defence and Transportation units.
  • From 2001 to 2012, Mr. Spagnolo was the General Manager of the Thales Defence & Security team, growing from a 60 people, $10M business to 350 people and $150M of revenues.
  • Mr. Spagnolo joined Thales in 1996 as a Software Team Lead and two years later became Software Department Head.

Mr. Spagnolo also graduated from the Royal Military College and served 12 years in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Naval Officer.

In addition, Mr. Spagnolo served as a Director on the Board of the Canadian Association of Defence & Security Industries and the Board of the Aerospace Industries Association Canada.

DONALD R. GILLSTROM, Vice President - International

Mr. Gillstrom is one of the founders of CANARAIL (now SYSTRA Canada). He is responsible for leading all Freight & Mining projects for SYSTRA Canada. He has over thirty-five years of experience gained in the track maintenance department of the Canadian Pacific Railway and in the field of railway consulting. Mr. Gillstrom leads the management of projects around the world related to the design of railway infrastructure. In his role, he oversees the design and negotiation of all civil engineering projects. Mr. Gillstrom also brings his extensive knowledge of the African market and holds the position of Project Executive of our Africa-based projects.

JOSEPH SARKIS, Executive Vice President - Rolling Stock

Mr. Sarkis is responsible for all aspects of SYSTRA Canada’s Rolling Stock division. In his role, he leads the engineering teams and supervises the management, negotiation, and implementation of the mechanical and Rolling Stock projects around the world, including turn-key rehabilitation projects. He has over 22 years of experience in various progressive roles within multinational companies such as Caterpillar, ABB, Tyco, Cummins, and brings to SYSTRA Canada a professional background that includes general management, project management, engineering, manufacturing, and business development in the North American and International markets. Mr. Sarkis holds a Master of Engineering degree, Concordia University and an MBA degree (John Molson School of Business).

SAMUEL DEROSIAUX, Exeucutive Vice President - Transit

Mr. Samuel Derosiaux is responsible for the Transit division in charge of addressing the urban transit and the passengers main line markets in Canada. He has 25 years of international experience in projects and in systems engineering. He leads the business development, the project management and the engineering teams and supervises the bids and the projects of design, supervision, commissioning, operation and maintenance engineering of passenger rail systems. He holds a Master of Aeronautical Engineering degree and an MBA degree from the ESSEC Business School in Paris.

GUILLAUME GENIN, Executive Vice President - Freight & Mining

Mr. Genin has been involved in the railway industry for his entire career, combining advanced legal, contractual expertise and international business development functions in Europe (mainly UK), Australia and North America. He has led a large number of marketing efforts to secure important rail contracts and assisted in the growth of major rail businesses, including Keolis, SNCF (French National Railways), through both organic and external growth. Mr. Genin is leading the world-wide business development efforts for SYSTRA Canada and is a member of the Management Committee. He is a member of the Canadian Railway Club’s Board of Directors and holds a law degree.

LINDA BÉLANGER, Vice President - Finance

Ms. Bélanger is responsible for the management of the company finances and administration. Her role is to ensure that sound financial and administration management practices are developed and implemented within the firm. Holding a degree in business administration from the Université Laval, member of the Ordre des CPA du Québec since 1994, Ms. Bélanger possesses diversified experience related to the management of company finances offering specialized services in industrial construction and civil engineering, building materials wholesalers and professional services.

HARRY AGHJAYAN, President’s Special Advisor

Until recently, Mr. Aghjayan was responsible for leading and monitoring all mechanical engineering projects for SYSTRA Canada. His professional background includes 18 years with the Canadian Pacific Railway and 10 years of consulting experience carried out for international railways. In his role, Mr. Aghjayan oversees the design and negotiation of all mechanical engineering related projects. He is also involved in projects based in the Middle East and Africa.

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SYSTRA Canada 1100, boul. René-Lévesque Ouest, 10e étage, Montréal (Québec) CANADA H3B 4N4 | +1 514-985-0930