25th Rector of Université Laval
Born in Sainte-Martine, Québec, Denis Brière studied at Beauharnois High School before becoming a student at the Valleyfield Seminary and finished his classical studies with a bachelor's degree in 1968. In 1967, he received a football scholarship as defensive player of the year from the Québec Football League.
In 1972, he graduated from the Faculty of Forestry and Geomatics at Université Laval. In 1973, he registered in a master’s program in forest management and economics at the Faculty of Forestry of the University of British Colombia, in Vancouver. Considering the excellence of his academic achievements and the quality of his thesis outline, he was offered to go directly to a PhD program, from which he graduated in 1979. From 1977 to 1980, he taught at UBC at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
From 1979 to 1980, he was the president of the provincial and federal Committee for the evaluation of environmental policies for the province of British Colombia for the Queen Charlotte Islands. The recommendations of the multidisciplinary committee were focused on methods of forest management and the respect of the environment. He obtained $800,000 for research projects with various Ministries and research institutes including the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC).
In 1981, Denis Brière returned to Québec and joined the James Bay Energy Corporation, at the head office in Montréal. He was responsible for the development of the overall development plan of the Nottaway-Broadback-Rupert watersheds, in collaboration with engineering consultants and the Ministry of Energy and Resources of the Québec Government.
From 1982 to 1987, Denis Brière worked for the FERIC. During the first two years, his main functions were to submit bids, plan, manage, negotiate and to assure follow-up of contracts. The evaluation and the selection of consultants and manufacturers were also part of his responsibilities. He also participated in projects with the International Energy Agency which included the Scandinavian countries, England, France, Germany and the United States. In 1984, he became director of the Eastern Division where he planned, developed and directed the programs of the institute and assured the transfer of technology to the members. He directed forest management research projects and was responsible for 28 employees, managing an annual budget of $2.5M.
From 1987 to 1996, Denis Brière was vice president and general director of the Woodland’s Division at Kruger Inc. He was in charge of fibre supply for Kruger, supervising 30 employees and managing a budget of $85M. By way of acquisitions, he founded a subsidiary company called Kruger Forest Products Inc. In 1994, he was named Forest Engineer of the year by the Order of Forest Engineers of Québec.
From 1996 to 1998, he was president and chief executive officer of Kruger Forest Products Inc. Mister Brière was responsible for four sawmills and a panel mill, in exclusive property, as well as minority interests in seven other sawmills located in Québec, Ontario and the United States. This group employs more than 2,000 people with annual sales of $500M. As president and chief executive officer, he assured the supervision of the manufacturing operations, the sales and marketing including the management of human resources and the negotiation of 12 collective agreements. He was responsible for national relations (federal government), provincial (Québec, Ontario, Newfoundland) and international (Maine, Vermont). He directed the strategic planning exercise of Kruger for these sectors, the plan put forward was realized at the level of 98%.
From 1998 to 2000, Denis Brière was president of the Comact Group, a North American leader in the conception and the manufacturing of equipment for wood processing. The company had more than 1,000 employees with sales of $200M annually.
Since 2000, Denis Brière has held the position as Dean of the Faculty of Forestry and Geomatics at Université Laval. Since his arrival, he has efficiently lead a consortium project on the added value of wood engineering with Université Laval, the University of British Colombia, the University of New Brunswick, the University of Toronto, FORINTEK, as well as the provincial governments of Québec, British Colombia and the Federal government. It is a $64.5M five-year funding, making Université Laval a centre of excellence in the sector.
The Faculty also submitted a strategic development plan to the Québec Government for the Department of Geomatics with an investment of $10.5M over a seven-year period in order to respond to the needs of this emerging sector.
Under his supervision, the Faculty of Forestry and Geomatics has developed seven Industrial Chairs of which four have been officially approved: Industrial Chair on Engineered Wood Products for Structural and appearance applications, a consortium in forestry studying supply chain management called FORAC, industrial research chair in silviculture and wildlife of the boreal forest and the Industrial Research Chair on geospatial data for decision-making. The remaining three are in the evaluation process by NSERC.
His involvements with professional or corporative associations are:
- Centre for the Development of Geomatics in Québec (Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors)
- Association of University Forestry Schools of Canada (Immediate Past Chair)
- Consultative Council of the Minister on Science and Technology concerning all sectors of the Canadian economy (Past vice-president of the Board of Directors)
- FORINTEK (member of the Board of Directors)
- Wildlife Foundation Inheritance Fund (honorary president)
- Geomatics Network for interventions and enlightened decisions GEOIDE (member of the Board of Directors)
- Fluxnet Canada (member of the Board of Directors)
- FOR@C (member of the Board of Directors)
- CIBISA (member of the Board of Directors)
- Canadian Forestry Innovation Council (member of the founding committee)
- Order of the Forest Engineers of Québec (member)
- Canadian Forest Institute (member)