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Charlie Clark was elected Mayor of Saskatoon in October 2016. Previous to that, he was the Ward 6 City Councillor for 10 years. His professional background is in the areas of mediation, education and community economic development. 

Mayor Clark has been part of nation-wide conversations about the key role cities play as engines of innovation and in ensuring quality of life for all citizens. He has presented nationally at conferences on affordable housing, urban development, policing and community safety issues. He is committed to working with the talent and resilience of the people of Saskatoon to be the city that gets it right.

Mary Culbertson is a member of the Keeseekoose First Nation and the first woman to be appointed as Treaty Commissioner for Saskatchewan.  She received her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan, is a member of the Law Society of Saskatchewan and is the first member of Keeseekoose to achieve a Juris Doctor of Law and become a lawyer. 

She grew up seeing both worlds on her family farm north of Pelly Sk across the river from Fort Livingston site and her Nation of Keeseekoose. She is the granddaughter of late Senator Roy Musqua and Nellie Brass. She is a mother of four grown children and proud Kokum to Kaiden, Maximus and Ella. She firmly believes the teachings she learned from her family, her aunts, uncles , cousins and parents have shaped her journey, her knowledge and her determination.  

She has over 20 years professional experience working in the federal, provincial and territorial governments and with Indigenous organizations. This includes Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Canada, Corrections Services Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations , Sunchild Law, and various Tribal Councils.

Adam Orens is a founding partner of the Marijuana Policy Group, the premier consulting agency for cannabis economics, market research, regulation, demand estimation, and analysis. Adam has over 12 years of economic, public policy and management consulting experience, completing assignments for clients such as the US Marine Corps, NASCAR, Vail Resorts, Intrawest, the state of Colorado, US Army Corps of Engineers and US Department of the Interior.

Adam’s demographic and economic research related to the emerging cannabis market has been recognized by the New York Times, 60 Minutes, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Globe and Mail and CBC. His recent work for Health Canada and for Colorado, California, Florida and other states have examined many facets of medical and recreational cannabis markets, including providing estimates of cannabis market size; annual cannabis consumption by residents, tourists and patients; cannabis tax revenue projections; and market supply channels. Adam was a lead author of the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) 2014 Market Size and Demand report and continues to provide consulting services to the MED and to private interests across the world. Adam received his undergraduate degree in economics from Rutgers University and has a master’s degree in agricultural and resource economics from Colorado State University.

Shaun Loney has co-founded and mentored 11 social enterprises, including BUILD Inc, which won the 2011 Scotia Bank EcoLiving Green Business of the Year, and the 2013 Manitoba Apprenticeship Employer of the Year.  Before co-founding BUILD Inc, Shaun was Director of Energy Policy for the Government of Manitoba, and political advisor to Gary Doer’s NDP. Loney is the first prairie Canadian to be awarded an Ashoka Fellowship (2015) and was Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014.  Shaun lives in Winnipeg, with his partner Fiona.  Between them they have three teenage boys - Aandeg, Weslee and Owen.  Shaun is proud to be part of a strong and visionary social enterprise team that is flourishing across the country.  An Army of Problem Solvers is Shaun’s second book.

Dr. Barry Prentice is a Professor of Supply Chain Management, at the I.H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba, an Associate of the Transport Institute, and the third Director (1996-2005). His major research and teaching interests include logistics, transportation economics, urban transport and trade policy. Dr. Prentice holds degrees in economics from University of Western Ontario (1973), University of Guelph (1979) and University of Manitoba (1986).

Dr. Prentice has authored or co-authored more than 250 research reports, journal articles book contributions and a popular textbook.  His scholarly work has been recognized for excellence in national paper competitions and awards. In 2011, Dr. Prentice founded Buoyant Aircraft Systems International as the first airship research centre in Canada.

Dr. John Vidmar is the Chief Operations Office of NGK Biologix and Chief Technology Officer for Nutraponics Canada Corp. The mission of NGK is the production of high quality Cannabis using aquaponics in a sustainable manner.  Aquaponics is an integrated growing system that produces fish and Plants.

Dr. John Vidmar has worked in agricultural research for over 20 years. Previously, he was senior scientist and genomics team lead at Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures, where he has worked focused on evaluation and breeding of both Cannibis sativa and barley. John is co-author on the first Cannabis Genomics peer reviewed article.   John holds a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of British Columbia, where he worked on plant nutrition and assimilation. He spent 2 years as a postdoctoral fellow at INRA, Montpellier, France, supported by ministry of foreign affairs, working on nitrogen and sulfur transport in plants. 

Kristin Catherwood is the Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer for Heritage Saskatchewan. Kristin earned her Master’s degree in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a thesis focused on barns as a symbol of the family farm in southern Saskatchewan. Kristin has been with Heritage Saskatchewan since 2015, having previously worked for SaskCulture and the National Film Board of Canada’s Grasslands Project. Born and raised on a family farm near Ceylon, Kristin once again calls rural Saskatchewan home. She is passionate about the cultural landscape of the prairies and the continuing resilience of rural communities. An experienced storyteller, Kristin uses story in her work to connect people with place and discover how living heritage weaves through our daily lives.

Elan Buan joined the Schollie Research & Consulting team in 2000 and has been intimately involved in project management, coordination, and execution on all the organizations projects over the past 17 years. Elan is an experienced group moderator and researcher. She is extremely adept at uncovering highly valuable strategic information through research, and can manage large amounts of data to distill essential findings in a meaningful and concise fashion. She is passionate about helping communities with their economic development efforts and she thoroughly enjoys research.

Elan earned her Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan and specialized in the disciplines of marketing and human resource management/organizational behaviour.  Elan has previous experience in the financial services sector and the transportation sector where her roles included researching and developing potential new customers, dispatch operations, and customer service

Alex Fallon was appointed President & Chief Executive Officer of Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) in September 2014. Alex has 15 years of experience in international business and economic development roles, having held management positions in Europe (London), Asia (Tokyo) and Saskatchewan.

He is a member of the Economic Developers Association of Canada and holds a Bachelor of Business & Economics (Honours) and a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) both from the UK. Alex was appointed as the first ever British Honorary Consul to the Province of Saskatchewan in May 2013, an official diplomatic role representing the UK Government
in Canada and Saskatchewan. Alex is heavily involved in community organizations and in 2017 was awarded the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteering.

Shawn Beaton, Director of Business Development, CIRA.

Currently in his fourth year with CIRA, Shawn brings 30+ years of technology and business experience in the Telecommunications/IT sector while leading business development & sales.  As a technologist, his expertise is broad in scope, including work with education and research, health care, national and local government, local and global service providers, and enterprise communications infrastructure.

Operationally his experience on the ground with voice and data hardware/network & software design, support systems, and operations management gives him a unique perspective.  More recently Shawn’s area of focus has been in business development and the sale of complex technology solutions to organizations in Canada and abroad.  At CIRA, he is focused on developing B2B market opportunities and partnerships that support and align with CIRA’s mandate to provide a secure, reliable and trusted internet – helping to build a better internet for Canadians in the process. 

Jason Tratch believes in “P3TV” which breaks down into Purpose, Process, Profit enabled by Technology and Value.  He is an awarded entrepreneur with international experience in diverse types of industry verticals and cultures.  He is recognized as a leading expert in Management Systems and Water Utility Technologies. He speaks at University Masters Courses, Colleges, conferences, seminars and Government Trade Delegations.

His direct work experience includes: environment, construction, education, software, agriculture and human health. He has degrees in Science and Agriculture and his certifications include Agrologist, PMP, ISO 9000 Auditor, Six Sigma, Journeyman Carpenter, Wastewater Operator, Market Entry Strategist, and others that you can see at his website:

Judith Veresuk is the Executive Director of the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District, where she is responsible for overseeing BID operations; designing, implementing and managing programs to ensure Downtown Regina is a clean, safe and friendly destination for visitors, residents and businesses.

Judith was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario but is proud to now call Regina her home. Judith holds a degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Ryerson University and was previously employed with the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee where she worked on signage and wayfinding plans for multiple Olympic venues.  Prior to that, she was the Executive Director of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association.  Currently, Judith sits on the Board of Directors for the International Downtown Association and is a member of the Professional Development and Awards Committees.  Judith also chairs the Canadian Committee for IDA which is currently working on programs to support business improvement districts across the nation.

Vickie Newmeyer is the General Manager of the Community Futures Meridian Region serving customers in East Central Alberta and West Central Saskatchewan. With over 25 years of experience in the field of Economic Development she brings some thoughts and experiences that your municipality may find helpful in the effort to grow and prosper. Businesses, large and small want to do business with municipalities that well prepared and ready for the future. Newmeyer’s team at the CF office deliver Loans, Advise and Support to SME’s and support services for projects with municipalities.

Newmeyer has been recognized as one of Saskatchewan’s Women of Influence in the recent past and has been fortunate to have worked with thousands of youth across Saskatchewan, Alberta and in Ottawa to bring forward the Lemonade Marketing Game experience! Be sure to ask Vickie to share her passion for youth and the future they offer to your municipality

Shaun Soonias is a member of the Red Pheasant First Nation in Saskatchewan and the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network (SFNEDN). Shaun has over 23 years of experience in social and economic development roles, having held senior
positions with the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, University of Saskatchewan, Department of Justice, and Saskatchewan Advocate for Children & Youth.

Shaun is a partner in two companies, NutraPonics Canada Corporation which focuses on food security through commercial, 100% organic vertical farming based on Aquaponics and Stonecutters Group which focuses on creating generational wealth by implementing Indigenous Sovereign Wealth Funds. Shaun has worked with First Nations, municipal, provincial and federal governments on a number of key strategies and legislative processes and continues to work towards Indigenous inclusion in the economy from employment to economic development.

Sean Wallace is the Director of Economic Development with the Town of Tisdale, Saskatchewan. He attended the University of New Brunswick after spending a number of years with the Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, as a Reconnaissance Crew Commander and attained the rank of Master Corporal.  After his military career he worked in senior management positions in the private sector in New Brunswick and Ontario.

Previous to moving to Tisdale, Sean was the Director of Foreign Investment for the Government of New Brunswick specializing in investment attraction with specializations in Aerospace & Defence, advanced manufacturing and mining as well as a Manager of Economic Development in Nunavut mostly working with Aerospace & Defence companies and mining companies wishing to establish operations in the High Arctic. 

He has served 3 different provincial/territorial governments as a political advisor as well as advising senior officials on jobs and economy.

Rhett Sangster works with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, coordinating efforts to engage both the public and community leaders on the nature of reconciliation in Saskatchewan. This process aims to work with as many partners as possible to identify shared priorities and a broadly-owned vision for the future.

Rhett grew up in Treaty 6 territory (Tisdale, Saskatchewan) and is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan (B.A. Political Studies). He moved to Ottawa in 2000 to become a Foreign Service Officer and has spent the majority of his career working on issues of international conflict and peacebuilding. He spent three years posted as a diplomat in Turkey, led a successful effort to improve dialogue and cooperation between Afghan and Pakistani border officials, and coordinated Canadian international policy on mediation, peace processes and the effects of war on women and girls. Rhett accepted a Rotary Peace Fellowship in 2012 and graduated in 2014 with a Masters in International Development Policy from Duke University. His thesis focused on conflict prevention and reconciliation in Saskatchewan.

Gavin Conacher is the Director, International Engagement, Ministry of Economy – in his position within the Economic Development Division, he is responsible for the lead generation, lead qualification, opportunity identification, outreach and follow-up in the Province’s 12 priority markets and advancement of investment and re-investment in the province in the areas of manufacturing, minerals and mining, oil and gas as well as agri-food value added.

Prior to Ministry of Economy, Gavin worked in Market Services Industry Branch with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada working in conjunction with the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service in trade/export development and market access as well as a stint in the private sector heading up the Canadian Bison Association, as well as positions in both venture capital and debt financing.

Gavin holds BSA and MSc degrees in economics, and diplomas from the University of Saskatchewan in executive management and Canada’s School of Public Service in executive development program. Gavin lives with his wife Joanne in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Doris Greyeyes, CEO, Wakayos Developments  has a diverse background in health, social development, education and business.  She has worked at the national, provincial and mostly importantly, the community level.  Currently, she is the CEO of Wakayos Developments Ltd., which is the economic development arm of Little Black Bear’s Band.  The Band’s most recent developments are two national franchises, the Tim Hortons restaurant and the Petro Canada Gas Bar & Convenience business.

John Guenther has a working and academic background in public and private organizations.  He is currently the Director of Community Planning for the Province of Saskatchewan, in the Saskatoon office. 

Previously John was the Planning and Development Services Director for the City of Prince Albert, SK, managing a department that delivered public services for building, lands, economic development and urban planning. He has served as assistant director or director in public community development departments in Washington State (Chelan County); Surprise (greater Phoenix area), Arizona; San Diego California; City of North Vancouver; and Alberta.  His private sector background includes working as a planner and project developer for Stantec in Phoenix, Arizona and for various design consulting firms in Alberta.

He has over 25 years’ experience in building regulations, urban planning and enforcement; including projects such as official community plan development; community indicators; forms based bylaws; community outreach; master planning for transportation, parks, land use and housing; shoreline and riparian area regulations and policies; strategic planning; emergency preparation; and financial planning.

Judy MacLeod Campbell is the Arts & Cultural Coordinator for the City of Prince Albert.Judy has worked with the City of Price Albert for 2.5 years. She also worked for the community for 18 months as the Games Manager for the 2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games held in Prince Albert. Prior to that Judy worked with the MEND Saskatchewan, the Northern Sport, Culture & Recreation District as Director of Culture & Community Development, Saskatchewan Government, Saskatchewan in Motion, and in Therapeutic Recreation. She also had a small business Achieve-JMC offering facilitation and planning services. Judy has been in the sport, culture and recreation field for 28 years.

Judy is the lead with the City’s MCAP. Her position also includes managing the Prince Albert Arts Centre, lead staff with the City’s Public Art Policy, provides administrative support to the Prince Albert Arts Board, and work with various arts and culture organizations in Prince Albert, and with coordinating Culture Days.

Phil DeVos, Executive Director, Yorkton Business Improvement District

At the age of 65, Phil is not slowing down. He has like many of us, been involved in many occupations and says he still does not know what he wants to be when he grows up.

Having been a former and current broadcaster, a business owner, promotions and marketing director, police officer, assistant to a member of parliament, member of Yorkton City Council, with two terms as Yorkton Mayor, Vice-President of SUMA for Cities, General Manager of Yorkton's REDA, an Hon. Lieutenant Colonel with the Royal Canadian Artillery, board member Service Canada, and now Executive Director of the Yorkton Business Improvement District gives Phil a rather well rounded wealth of knowledge in many areas.

He is very proud of YBID and what they have done over the past ten years in Yorkton and what they look forward to in the next decade. He welcomes the opportunity to discuss BIDs and why they work in almost any size community.

Gilles Dorval. As the Director of Aboriginal Relations  for the City of Saskatoon, Gilles Dorval works extensively with community partners and Industry to ensure that Aboriginal people are represented in our workforce and participate fully in the development of our community. He has a passion and commitment with a keen understanding of the legislation and the importance of cultivating welcoming environments.

Devon Plett, Saskatoon Makerspace

Design, art, and creativity, have been a part of Devpn's life for as long as he can remember. He has always been a maker, never really romanced by any specific medium for a long period of time. Devon has a lot of respect for people who can focus in on one medium and become master of it, but claims he is just too ADD to do that. 

Accessibility to tools and knowledge is close to his heart as it's always been a struggle in his own creative process. Devon believes that by providing a community with tools and education we can raise the skill level of an entire community. He does not want anyone to miss out on the next greatest invention or masterpiece, just because the people with the vision don't have access to the tools to make it happen. 

John Robinson of Robinsons Residential has been in the architectural design and drafting profession since 1977, after obtaining a diploma in Architectural Engineering Technology. He has experience in single family, multi-family and commercial drawing production. In 1996, John incorporated Robinson Residential Design, providing customized residential design and drafting services to home owners, builders and developers. 

As Principal Designer, John brings his expertise to the more complex projects as well as overseeing the design and creation of new house plans featured on the website. John’s design projects have been featured on HGTV and several TV documentaries.  John’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity over the past 20 years have inspired his interest in affordable housing and he has led several 3-day builds based on the HFH model of the “blitz builds”.  He recently designed and built the Dragonfly tiny house on wheels (THOW) and as a Canada 150 project, a series of small homes reflecting the character and beauty of each of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories.  He is usually very excited about his ‘best project ever’, which is generally the plan he is currently involved with. 

Christine Gutmann joined the Environment and Corporate Initiatives Division at the City of Saskatoon in February 2018. Christine is part of a team responsible for developing and implementing the WinterCityYXE Strategy.  WinterCityYXE is an intentional effort by the City and community stakeholders to celebrate what makes Saskatoon unique as a four-season place that is inviting, vibrant and prosperous, even in the coldest months of the year.

Christine earned her Master's in Planning from the University of Guelph and has previous experience in the planning sector where her roles included development, environmental and regional planning.

Megan Jones is a Senior Planner employed by Stantec with more than 15 years of experience. With an undergraduate degree in Recreation Planning (University of Alberta) and a Master’s degree in Urban & Regional Planning (Queen’s University), her focus has been on collaboratively planning high-quality, connected, functional, inclusive, resilient, and healthier communities.She was one of the local members of the “Healthy Canada By Design (HCBD) CLASP Initiative” that highlighted the link between community health and design. Highlighting the important role that parks, recreation, arts and culture play in a vibrant, sustainable and resilient community are a part of every Master Plan Megan works on.

Outside of Stantec, Megan keeps busy by volunteering for KidSport and the YWCA, reading a book in a park, leading fitness classes, spending time with family, or walking her two giant dogs.


Mitch Thomson is the Executive Director of the Olds lnstitute. The Olds Institute has a mandate to support sustainable community economic development within Olds and Area, Mitch works with community groups and organizations to support this mandate. The Olds lnstitute has 150+ volunteers associated with 10 standing committees as well as two operating social enterprises: O-NET and Mountain View Power.

Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, CEO and Founder Cluster Navigators TBC

Since establishing Cluster Navigators in 1997, Ifor's focus has been on the practicalities of cluster development.  He leads strategy workshops around the world with economic development agencies, cluster groups and support organisations.  Ifor is a frequent speaker on competitiveness, clusters and innovation.

Participants from 50 countries have attended training workshops on the Twelve Step process he has developed.  Clients include The World Bank, UNDP, European Union, international aid agencies and national/regional economic development agencies.  He has been described as 'one of the most influential cluster practitioners in the world'.

Ifor is a founder and Past President of The Competitiveness Institute.  TCI is the leading global network for practitioners, policy makers and business leaders addression regional competitiveness.  Ifor is Welsh.  He lived in Canada before making New Zealand home.

Prior to establishing Cluster Navigators in 1997 Ifor was the General Manager, Strategic Development Unit of Trade NZ. Under the umbrella theme of "Cooperating to Compete" Ifor introduced the Joint Action Group (JAG) and the Hard Business Network (HBN) Programmes and the New Zealand cluster development initiative. 

Neil McClughan, President and CEO Saskatchewan Research Network Inc. (SRNET) 

With an eye on innovation and a passion for creating value, Neil McClughan is the perfect complement for SRNET. Neil joined the SRNET team at the end of 2014, and has since made an impactful change. Neil’s strategic direction has evolved SRNET into an organization that offers increased value for its members and for the province. SRNET has become an important part of the province's research and education digital infrastructure, and is continuing to bring growth and success to this sector.

Prior to SRNET, Neil was a partner in a management consulting company. He has spent the majority of his career in the telecommunications industry, bringing provincial, national and international experience to SRNET.