Mary and Roger Austin – Roger is the Principal of Austin Engineering Ltd. and a Civil/Structural Engineer. Mary is Austin Engineering Ltd.’s Director of Business Development. Austin Engineering Ltd. offers geotechnical, civil, structural and hydrotechnical engineering. Their team provides responsive, high-quality engineering for BC Hydro, Nelson Hydro, FortisBC Inc., Columbia Power Corporation and industrial clients. They are driven by a commitment to excellence, innovation and client success.
Jim Barr – Jim is the founder and CEO of one of Canada’s most successful content production and marketing companies. Seekers Media was founded in 2008 with the objective to drive increased visitation to Alberta and BC’s destinations and tourism attractions. Using content as a path to conversion and by working with Hootsuite, TELUS, Destination BC, Travel Alberta and Destination Canada, Seekers Media has helped many communities launch, sustain and grow their social and digital media profiles. Jim, aka Doc Pow, has been a storyteller, media educator and producer for more than 15 years and makes his life’s work getting people stoked about exploring places throughout Western Canada, including the Columbia Basin.
Jada Basi – Jada is CitySpaces Consulting’s Manager of Housing and Community Planning, with over 13 years’ experience in the areas of community planning, social policy, affordable housing, feasibility studies, business plans, land use planning, real estate market analysis and consultation. Having grown up in BC’s interior, Jada is rooted in small town and rural communities and has worked with numerous municipalities and non-profit organizations across the province. Some of Jada’s recent projects include Quesnel’s Official Community Plan; the Seniors Affordable Housing development project in Peachland; Cowichan Valley’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment; and Nelson’s Affordable Housing Strategy. Jada is a confident and energetic leader and known for her inclusive and collaborative approach to planning processes. She is adept at assessing complex social and community issues, creating tailor-made solutions that balance context, culture and place.
Robert Bell – Robert heads research, analysis and content development activities and directs the multi-stage analysis of communities for the annual Intelligent Community Awards program. He also authors the in-depth content on the Top7 Intelligent Communities that are core to the Intelligent Community Forum’s (ICF’s) mission. Robert developed and leads the Intelligent Community Accelerator programs. Serving as the content lead for ICF’s annual summit in New York City, he is also the author of ICF’s founding study Benchmarking the Intelligent Community, and lead co-author of Brain Gain, Seizing Our Destiny and Broadband Economies: Creating the Community of the 21st Century.
A regular blogger, Robert has contributed articles to The Municipal Journal of Telecommunications Policy, IEDC Journal, Mayors & Cities, Global Urbanist, Daily Yonder, and Telecommunications, and has appeared in segments of ABC World News and The Discovery Channel. A frequent keynote speaker and moderator at municipal and telecom industry events, he has also led economic development missions and study tours to cities in Asia and the US.
Lynn Betts – Lynne has facilitated close to 900 environmental discussions on a range of national, provincial, and regional topics including climate change, environmental policy, species-at-risk and ecosystem restoration. She often merges community engagement with communications, and has developed multiple public education and awareness products related to the Columbia River Treaty, the impacts of hydro operations on local watersheds, and water quality impacts related to coal mining. Her knowledge, enthusiasm and engaging facilitation style support effective and creative co-thinking and dialogue. She has lived in the Columbia Basin for more than 25 years.
David Coletto – As a founding partner and CEO of Abacus Data, David and his team deliver strategic advice and research design expertise to many of Canada’s foremost corporations, advocacy groups and political leaders. David has a wealth of experience in marketing research. A leader in online research methodologies, public affairs research, corporate and organizational reputation studies and youth research, David has led projects for companies in many sectors including pharmaceutical, transportation, financial services, educational, natural resource, telecommunications, media, arts and cultural, tourism and retail.
David also leads Abacus Data’s Canadian Millennial Research Practice, developed to help organizations connect and engage with Canadian Millennials. His clients have included the LCBO, RCMP, Calgary Police Service, Clintar, Credit Union Central of Canada, Hudson’s Bay, Ontario Ministry of Child and Youth Services and Ontario Municipal Tax and Revenue Association. Earning a doctorate from the University of Calgary in 2010, David is an Adjunct Professor at the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs at Carleton University, where he teaches courses on polling and public opinion, political marketing, research and public affairs. He is also an instructor at the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management at Carleton University.
David is an outspoken proponent of transparency in the polling industry and is regularly called upon by media and organizations alike to provide expert analyses of public opinion and research methodologies. He a member of the Board of Directors for the Shaw Centre in Ottawa and, in 2013, the Ottawa Business Journal and Ottawa Chamber of Commerce named him a “Forty Under Forty” in Ottawa.
Andrew Earnshaw – Andrew graduated from Queen’s Commerce in 1993 and moved his powder skis to the Kootenays immediately thereafter. He has held a range of roles in the civil and private sectors since, including the Advocacy Centre, CFDC of Central Kootenay, Makalu Systems, and Castlegar Community Services. Throughout this timeline, he has been engaged as a consultant and facilitator to numerous small businesses and NGOs in multiple sectors.
Andrew’s current focus is as Executive Director of the Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice, where he and his colleagues bring the voice of Family Physicians to collaborative conversations in complex health system improvement.
Jim Fisher – Jim is the Executive Director or Kootenay Family Place (KFP). KFP is a multi service organization based in Castlegar, providing a range of early intervention services as well as Castlegar Neighborhood House. The Neighborhood House has the distinction of being the first member of the BC Association of Neighborhood Houses outside the lower mainland. The purpose of the house is to promote community connection and address social isolation. Recently the house has begun a project using Better Impact software to recruit and attract volunteers.
Brian Fry – Brian was born and raised in the Columbia Basin and in his 54 years has truly leveraged all the advantages rural life can deliver. In his early days he was part of the infamous Red Mountain Racers. Through great coaching be became a National Ski Team member at 19 years of age during the Crazy Canuck era but this wouldn’t last long. A bad crash abruptly ended his promising career and left Brian looking for a new exciting path forward.
He chose to become a technology entrepreneur in 1985 and since this time has been involved in over 10 technology Start-Ups and was a founding member of the British Columbia Technology Industry Association. While he spent some of his early career in Vancouver and Silicon Valley getting his tech start he was determined to prove he could build great companies from the rural Kootenays and in 1997 made his move. He has now been doing this for 20 years.
Brian’s biggest success to date was the building of RackForce which he co-founded with Tim Dufour. It became Canada’s largest cloud provider by the time of its sale in 2015. Since this event Brian has had the luxury and time to seek out the next big opportunity which he calls a “moonshot” to drive everyone’s imagination.
Brian has been fortunate to recruit his dream team. Tim has rejoined Brian as well as a new to the region tech super star entrepreneur, Pilar Portela. Together, along with significant partners in the region and abroad, they are working on a major strategy (i4C.tech) to build a rural tech industry focused on using exponential technolgies that drive corporate sustainability. Brian will be sharing why he thinks the work being done right here in the basin will scale globally and have a significant impact on climate change.
Darrel Fry – Darrel Fry is the CEO of Advanced BioCarbon 3D (ABC3D) with a mission to disrupt climate change by creating advanced bioplastics. ABC3D is developing sustainable plastics from wood, that are of engineer grade quality, yet biodegradable, non toxic, and carbon negative. The company focusses on plastics used in transportation, housing, renewable energy, tech and other industries that require high grade plastics with exceptional performance qualities. Darrel is a 4th generation Rosslander and operates the business in the Columbia Basin.
David Greaves – David is a Recreation, Fish and Wildlife graduate of Selkirk College with a Bachelor degree in Geographic Information Systems. He was born and raised in the West Kootenay/Boundary, worked over several years as a field consultant in corporate management and development of Subway restaurants of south-central B.C., then built and operated an audio/video recording studio in Nelson. Seeking to contribute to sustainable land and resource management and the opportunity to interact in influential ways within the local community, David decided to pursue a college career. He studied the presence/absence of Canada Lynx of the Southern Monashee mountain range to establish potential trans-boundary movement patterns and explored the use of UAV sensor technology to explore the potential for automating land cover classification mapping of aquatic habitat features within the Slocan River. David has recently worked for Teck Metals Ltd. as an industrial hygiene technician, as park supervisor of Syringa Creek Provincial Park, at the Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre as a UAV operations specialist, and currently resides as a research assistant/data cruncher for the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute.
Ryan Gibson – Originally from rural Manitoba, Ryan has a deep intrigue and respect for rural communities, rural people and the events that shape their futures. Growing up witnessing the transformations in rural development and agriculture, and their influence on communities, instilled a fascination and commitment to rural issues. Over the past years Ryan has been a student, practitioner and admirer of rural populations, dynamics and interactions.
Ryan is the Libro Professor in Regional Economic Development in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph. Ryan’s research and community engagement focus on rural and regional development, governance, philanthropy and public policy. Ryan is the President of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network and Past President of the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation.
Paula Gordon (Symposium MC) – Paula is host/producer of “The Paula Gordon Show: Conversations with People at the Leading Edge”(sm). Begun in 1996 as regional radio and subsequently distributed internationally by CNN, it debuted as internet audio in ’98 and video in 2006. For the past decade, she’s written for HuffingtonPost and, alongside her executive producer/husband Bill Russell, produces ‘BerleyTimes from their eco-restoration home in Kimberley.
From the late ‘80s, the two consulted with major corporations facing demographic and technological challenges, having sold their award-winning regional video/film production company. Paula hosted WMAQ-TV/NBC “Small World”, an Emmy® nominated weekly half-hour celebration of Chicago’s multi-ethnic communities from ‘77 to ’81. She’d entered broadcasting via PBS, producing and hosting nationally distributed television programming. An undergraduate government major, Paula’s Masters is in radio-television-mass communications. Her service on national Boards includes Oberlin College’s President’s Advisory Council and the Interdenominational Theological Center.
Amber Hayes – Amber is a serial entrepreneur and avid technology lifestyler and expert. Amber has founded several technology businesses including Adventure Engine (an early cloud software company), has been an international consultant for a broadband technology adoption and education company, a longtime technology entrepreneurship, commercialization coach for KAST and manager of the Basin Business Advisors program.Her latest contract has been as MIDAS Project Director for the Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration & Studies (MIDAS) FabLab facility in Trail, BC
Amber believes that a growing culture of online community, open source culture and new technology will continue to change our world daily.
Karen Hamling – Karen has been Mayor of Nakusp for 12 years and on Village council for over 22 years. She has been the Chair of the Regional District of Central Kootenay for the past three years and was a Director on Community Futures for 17 years. She is passionate about her community and the region she helps to serve.
Christopher Horsethief – Christopher is an organizational theorist specializing in complex social processes, collective intelligence and post-traumatic community resilience. For 20 years Christopher has been facilitating data collection and field analysis of the relationship between culture and communication, documenting the dynamics that pose challenges to Indigenous leaders and organizational resilience that drives language revitalization. His specific research interests include data visualization and scale-free distributions in social network architectures, and their role in post-crisis cultural network fragmentation and alignment processes. His teaching background includes Nation Rebuilding at College of the Rockies, Indigenous Education at the University of Victoria, Management and Supervision in post-crisis scenarios at the Spokane Tribal College, Leadership and Social Media Strategy in the Gonzaga University’s MBA-American Indian Entrepreneurship Program, and Complex Social Processes at Union Institute & University.
Lori Joe – Lori has always been passionate about working with youth, and helping close the opportunity gaps that are often associated within rural communities.
Lori’s history has included working as a Community Program Coordinator for a local non-profit, owning and operating her own Art Studio/Gallery business, and working as the Regional Coordinator for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-Get Outside BC Program for Youth.
Lori has launched and managed the Kimberley Youth Action Network Leadership Team and spearheaded the “Inspire Me” Initiative which exposes local youth to future jobs in Arts, Science, and Technology.
Aside from her commitment to KYAN, Lori enjoys volunteering with the high school art club, teaching painting classes at the local art centre, spending time in nature, and traveling to visit her children at McGill and the University of Victoria.
She lives with her husband Jerome and four children Victoria, Alexander, Isabel and Sophia in the Salmo area.
Kalen-Sukra obtained a Master’s Degree in Political Science from York University, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Toronto. She also has local government management and municipal law training from the University of Victoria.
Kalen-Sukra has more than twenty years of proven leadership in municipal and community affairs, strategic planning, human resource management, public policy and labour relations with advanced skills in conflict resolution, negotiations and communications.
She has spearheaded the innovative Sustainable Salmo process to prepare a hybridized official community plan and integrated community sustainability plan that provides a community planning & citizen engagement model for small rural communities.
Jordan Kirk – Jordan is the Coordinator for Canadian Forest Products Woodlands Information Management Team, a team of 16 GIS professionals that provide all the GIS support to Canfor’s BC and Alberta operations. During his 18 years with the company he has worked in the Fort St. James, Grande Prairie and the Radium Hot Springs operations. Prior to becoming Coordinator of the WIM team his role as GIS Analyst was to provide advanced GIS support and manage major data conversion projects throughout the company.
Jean-Marc La Flamme – 20+ years of digital business building experience and part of the first large scale websites in Canada, Jean-Marc is an internet pioneer. He has extensive virtual team management and product development serving billions of users, small business and as an entrepreneur. Today he is a Business Development and Web Marketing Growth Hacker for major Canadian startups including innovative financial technology, entrepreneur education and transportation companies. Founder and President of Mountain CoLab an innovation centre in Revelstoke. An Executive in Residence coaching technology business for the Kootenay Association of Science and Technology and Community Leader for Startup Revelstoke. A huge passion for technologies including blockchain, artificial intelligence & virtual reality but also affordable living and community development. So yes, he loves to ski, bike and practice the #FutureOfWork in the Columbia Basin.
Livia Lara – Originally from Brazil, Livia has resided in Canada for two years. A graduate in business administration and tourism/hospitality management, she has just finished the Sustainable Business Post-Degree Program at College of the Rockies. Livia has managed the Cranbrook Farmer’s Market since May 2016.
Erik Leslie – Erik, registered professional forester, is a forestry consultant and the Forest Manager for the Harrop-Procter Community Co-operative. He is also President of the BC Community Forest Association, which represents over 50 community forest organizations across British Columbia. Erik has 20 years of experience working for the forest industry, First Nations, community organizations and regional and provincial governments on projects from Haida Gwaii to Labrador. He has extensive experience in forestry planning and operations, community consultation, small business management and forest certification.
Erik has developed and is currently implementing an applied climate change adaptation pilot project in the Harrop-Procter community forest. The project is designed to demonstrate how managers can integrate climate science and risk assessment into practical forestry decision-making in the Columbia Basin.
Ingrid Liepa – Ingrid has worked on a wide array of climate action projects since the late 1990s, from community through to national levels. She played key roles in the delivery of Columbia Basin Trust’s Communities Adapting to Climate Change Initiative from 2008 to 2014, and is now a core member of the Trust’s Climate Action Program team. With an educational background in environmental management, law and facilitation, her focus is on connecting people with the knowledge and inspiration to take action.
Terri MacDonald – Terri MacDonald is the BC Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development and also leads the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute at Selkirk College. Terri holds a Ph.D. in Educational Studies from the University of British Columbia, and M.A. in Policy and Administration from the University of Calgary, and a B.Sc. and B.Ed. from Lakehead University. Dr. MacDonald taught high school science in Ontario and British Columbia. More recently, her experience has been in the field of economic development with nearly 15 years of experience working with communities across British Columbia, primarily in the Kootenay region. Terri’s research interests include workforce development, business retention and expansion, regional socio-economic development and evidence-based decision-making, and applied research at community colleges. Her commitment to rural revitalization and strategic decision-making as a fundamental ingredient to planning for positive change is evidenced by an impressive track record of rural research and dissemination.
Isobel Mackenzie – Isobel is the Seniors Advocate for the Province of British Columbia. She has over 20 years’ experience working with seniors in home care, licensed care, community services and volunteer services. Isobel led BC’s largest not-for-profit agency, serving over 6,000 seniors annually. In this work Isobel led the pioneering of a new model of dementia care that has become a national best practice. She led the first safety accreditation for home care workers, among many other accomplishments. Isobel has been widely recognized for her work and was named BC CEO of the Year for the Not-for-Profit Sector and nominated as a Provincial Health Care Hero.
Prior to her appointment as the Seniors Advocate, Isobel served on a number of national and provincial boards and commissions including the BC Medical Services Commission, the Canadian Homecare Association, BC Care Providers, BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry, and the Capital Regional District Housing Corporation. Isobel received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Victoria and has a Certificate in Health Care Leadership from the University of Toronto. Isobel lives in Victoria.
Colin Mahony – Colin is a PhD candidate specializing in forest climatology. In his career as a registered professional forester, Colin has worked in restoration of forests disturbed by mountain pine beetle, wildfire hazard reduction around communities, ecosystem mapping and many other aspects of forest management. He is currently researching shifts in the climatic zones of British Columbia and the potential for emergence of new climate types that were not historically present in the province. Colin is a member of the Climate Change Subcommittee of the Association of BC Forest Professionals.
From her career as an award-winning journalist, she transitioned into economic and business development, and for over 25 years has led community and business development, and marketing programs in both the public and private sectors—including projects with First Nations and impoverished communities. Career successes include working with hundreds of entrepreneurs, as well major investment projects like Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, the Oceanfront Development Project in Squamish, business and sponsorship programs for the Richmond Olympic Oval and its legacy, and global business and investment programs for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games—a program that has become the world’s best practice in business development during the Olympics.
As CEO of Vancouver’s Economic Commission, Lee helped lead the city’s transformation into a Canadian technology hub with a focus on investment, business expansion and talent attraction. She is a founding director of the Consider Canada Cities Alliance, made up of the nation’s largest cities, and a regular speaker on leadership in economic planning and development, investment attraction and trade, as well as community development. In 2014 Lee launched her new company, m+a globalnomics, a multi-disciplined consultancy focusing on community and economic development, social entrepreneurship, marketing and communications, analytics and metrics, innovation and global investment. Her work focuses on both rural and urban economic planning and development across Canada and globally.
She is an active member of Calgary’s business and tech community, including the Alberta Rainforest Technology Ecosystem, and on a deeply personal level believes community is everything. She gives back through a variety of volunteer and philanthropic activities, has served on multiple boards including her current role as a director of Calgary’s cSPACE, is a Past-President of Rotary and of the Economic Development Association of British Columbia, and a former director at Economic Developers Association of Canada. She is especially passionate about startups, innovation and technology, social entrepreneurship and the elimination of poverty.
Linda McVetty – Linda is a long-time Kimberley resident in her second year working for Wildsight Kimberley/Cranbrook as the manager of the Kimberley Farmers’ Market. Linda grew up on an orchard and is passionate about promoting sustainability and community through the market and its special events.
Claire Paradis – Claire is a past editor of The Arrow Lakes News, and now freelances for several publications and web designers, plus creates content for the Visit Nakusp social media campaign. With training in linguistics, a background in journalism and community organizing and a love of the outdoors, Claire has enjoyed living, writing and playing in and around Nakusp for the past eight years. Having been raised in rural places and then transplanted to Vancouver in adolescence, Claire is a thorough mix of city and country. It is her dream to fuse the best parts of both together, by identifying and building on both the unique opportunities and challenges correlated with smaller populations in rural areas. For Claire, quality of life means living in clean air and water and being part of a close and active community where each citizen’s contribution to the community is significant.
Ian Parfitt – Ian joined Selkirk College as a GIS Instructor in 2002. His background is in conservation GIS, including work for the Long Beach Model Forest on Vancouver Island and for the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program in Nelson. In 2010 Ian became coordinator of the Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre, a leading geomatics applied research unit in the Canadian college system. Ian has led the development of the centre’s research infrastructure and capacity in Internet mapping and unmanned aerial systems (UAS). His current research interests include open data policy, remote sensing with UAS, citizen science and internet map services.
Ian holds Master in Science (Geography) and Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degrees from the University of British Columbia. He is also an instructor in the Advanced Diploma in GIS and Bachelors Degree in GIS programs at Selkirk.
Ellen Pond – With roots in the West Kootenay, Ellen is a partner with C2MP Consulting, a small planning and design firm based in Vancouver. Focused on emissions reductions and community resilience, Ellen specializes in the design of community-based climate change solutions using innovative policy tools, neighbourhood planning and design, and stakeholder and public process facilitation. Ellen also teaches in and chairs the Policy Studies in Sustainability program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Before that, Ellen co-taught graduate courses and managed community-based research projects with the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning at the University of British Columbia and worked as a senior advisor with a national non-profit organization advancing climate and clean energy policy solutions. A registered landscape architect, Ellen’s current consulting and teaching work seeks to advance low-carbon, resilient communities. She brings her passion for collaboratively designed solutions to her work with interdisciplinary teams and communities.
Desneiges Profili – Desneiges resides with her husband and three children in her West Kootenay hometown of Trail. Passionate about literacy and lifelong learning, Desneiges made the natural transition from the public education system into the not-for-profit literacy world. The literacy field ignited a passion that transformed her life and set her on a path that ultimately led to where she is today as the Executive Director of Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL). With a tenacity for the field, dedication to supporting others and commitment to taking CBAL to the next level, Desneiges is continually striving to grow and learn in this ever-changing world.
Tom Rand – Tom is a global thought leader with a recognized record of achievement in the promotion of a low-carbon economy. A green entrepreneur, investor, advisor, public speaker and author, Tom’s ambition is to help bring clean technology to life. Join Tom as he challenges you to recognize that there are concrete solutions to the climate change crisis.
Tom has proven his mettle as managing partner of ArcTern Ventures—a clean-tech capital venture firm—and as senior advisor at one of Canada’s leading technology incubators, MaRS Discovery District. Along with numerous articles, he has written two books: Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit: 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World and Waking the Frog: Solutions for our Climate Paralysis. He is an Action Canada Fellow and was appointed to the Government of Ontario’s Climate Action Group in 2015.
Tom holds a BSc in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo, an MSc in philosophy of science from the University of London, Kings College, and an MA and PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto.
Gwyn Symmons – Gwyn is the co-founder and Principal of CitySpaces Consulting and has 40 years experience in managing and facilitating community planning processes ranging from long-term visioning through to construction and completion of development of all sizes. His career includes work in small and large communities throughout BC, Ontario, and the United Kingdom. An accomplished communicator and strategic thinker, Gwyn has the reputation as a capable facilitator of multi-party processes. Gwyn has extensive experience in the non-profit sector and has overseen the development of affordable housing units under a variety of programs. He also has worked with post-secondary institutions on campus and facility planning including BCIT and Camosun College.
Jason Taylor – Jason is an Instructor and Researcher at Selkirk College and has specialized in 3D design workflows for solid and polygonal modeling, digital fabrication and rapid prototyping with extensive research and application in additive and subtractive manufacturing and motion control systems. Jason has over 19 years of teaching, managing and program development at Selkirk and continues to push his colleagues, students and peers in new and challenging directions. Jason conducts research for Selkirk College clients and provides technical and logistical support to the MIDAS Fablab team and its members.
Stephanie Van de Kemp – Stephanie is the co-owner of Cleanline Automotive, an earth-friendly automotive maintenance and repair business located in the East Kootenay community of Invermere. These days, she spends most of her time chasing three adventurous daughters around. As a mompreneur, photographer and freelance writer, Stephanie is grateful to live in such an inspiring place. She enjoys snowboarding, all things foodie, environmental do-gooding and spending time in nature with her family.
Jeff Zukiwsky – Jeff is a registered professional planner with nine years’ experience working in the climate change adaptation field. During that time, he has supported the development and implementation of climate adaptation strategies for 24 municipalities across Canada and provided research and policy evaluation expertise to various communities, agencies and governments, including the Province of BC, Province of Alberta and Government of Canada. Jeff holds Master’s Degree in Resource Environmental Management from Simone Fraser University.