Board of Directors

SECTOR REPRESENTATIVE
Public Member at Large Richard Keillor
Public Member at Large Dave Walty
Environment Bob Cameron
Research Education Jean-Marie Sobze
Watershed Stewardship Tony Saunders
Recreation/Tourism/Fisheries Dave Hay
Agriculture Shelleen Gerbig
Forestry Ian Daisley
Utilities Ashley Rowney
Oil & Gas Robert Thompson
Mining Vacant
Metis Nation of Alberta Sylvia Johnson
Upper Watershed First Nation Vacant
Metis Settlements General Council Vacant
Lower Watershed First Nation Jim Webb
Middle Watershed First Nation Vacant
Rural Municipalities Elaine Garrow
Small Urban Elaine Manzer
Federal Transboundary Relations Abdi Siad-Omar
Large Urban Chris Thiessen
Provincial Government Dan Benson

Biographies

Rick Keillor - Chair - (Public Member-At-Large)

Since 1982 I have been operating my own mixed (cattle and grain) farm. I am married and have a grown son and daughter.

Before returning to the farm I obtained a BSc in Zoology, minor Geography, course work in Geology at the University of Alberta (1975). From 1976-1982 I worked for Alberta Fish and Wildlife, mainly on Wildlife management and Land use issues.

   Over the past years I have been involved in organisations such as Peace Country Forage and Beef Association and Holistic Management, with an interest in grass management, including riparian and forest grazing management. (All bush and riparian areas on my farm are fenced out from general grazing use)

During the 1990’s I served as member of DMI Peace River (Daishowa Marubeni International) Public Advisory Council. I gained valuable insights into forest management and water issues, as well as the mill side effects and issues.

Currently I am councillor for the M.D. of Peace # 135 (2nd term), and in this capacity I am chair of the Grimshaw Gravels Aquifer Management Association (inter municipal group).

   I have a long standing interest in land use and land and water management issues, as it relates to agriculture, industry, recreation and ecosystem needs.

 

Shelleen Gerbig - Treasurer -  (Agriculture)

Shelleen moved to Falher in 1990. She has a BSA from the University of Saskatchewan. In 1993, she began working for the MD of Smoky River. Where she remained working for 14 years as The Director of Agricultural Services. After taking a year to work on the farm, she went back to work with SARDA. Her position deals with the environmental programs and extension.

    She has four children ages 9 to 15 and helps operate a 5000 acres grain farm in addition to full time work. Shelleen was a member of the initiators group and is representing the Agriculture Sector.

 

Ashley Rowney - Secretary -  (Utilities)

Ashley was born and raised in Southern Saskatchewan and currently resides in Grande Prairie, Alberta. She relocated to the Peace Region after graduating from the University of Regina with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Petroleum Systems Engineering. Ashley is the Regulatory and Compliance Office for Aquatera Utilities, a full service utility corporation.  In her role, she develops, implements and maintains various programs. These programs involve public education, conducting environmental projects and studies, as well as monitoring and reporting relevant to provincial and federal requirements.

 

Dan Benson (Provincial Government)

Dan was raised on a farm in the County of Camrose.  He attended Northern Alberta Institute of Technology where he graduated as an Engineering Technologist.  He moved to Peace River in 1997 where he worked for PFRA/AAFC.  In 2013 he started a new position with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry as an Agricultural Water Specialist.  He served as an alternate on the MPWA board of directors since 2014.

 

Bob Cameron (Conservation/ Environment)

Bob Cameron has been a resident of the Debolt area since 1976. Born in Edmonton in 1948, Bob grew up in Montreal, Toronto, and Moncton, NB, but returned to Alberta every summer by train to visit family. By 1973, Bob had completed his Renewable Resources Technology at Kelsey Institute in Saskatoon. In 1976, Bob began the forestry stage of his career with one summer timber-cruising and three subsequent summers as Tower man at Economy Creek Lookout for the Alberta Forest Service. For the last 25 years, Bob has owned and operated a one-man Mobile Dimension Sawmill. He represents the Environmental Sector.

 

Ian Daisley (Forestry)

Ian Daisley is representing the Alberta Forest Products Association on the MPWA. As a Professional Forester he has worked for Alberta Newsprint Company in Whitecourt for the past 10 years. Mostly he supervises forestry operations, but more recently has worked in a role where he is in charge of the planning, silviculture and certification for the company. 

 

Elaine Garrow (Rural Municipalities)

I am currently in my fourth term on the M.D. #133 Council. I live on the original family farm that was established in 1916. For many years my husband Ace and I owned Berwyn Insurance in Berwyn, Alberta. In 2000 we moved back to the farm.  In 2001 we sold Berwyn Insurance and I went back to college and took the Horsemanship program at Fairview College.

   Today I raise Arabians and Quarter Horses and I am also an Equine Certified Western Riding Instructor. I instruct horsemanship, judge camps, and host clinics, and put on horsemanship camps.

    My main passions are going green, protecting the environment, health care, and making good contributions to the community and province.

   As a Councilor for the M.D. #133  I represent the following boards: 

Peace Library- Executive, Municipal Planning Commission, Agricultural Service Board, FCSS Board, Grande Spirit Foundation, Peace River Economic Development Alliance- Chair, Personnel Committee, Peace Library System,

Heritage Resource Committee.Central Peace health Council. I also sit on the Community Futures Board as a volunteer.

 

Dave Hay (Recreation/ Tourism/Fisheries)

Born in Smithers, B.C., Sept. 21, 1950

Currently live in Sunset House East of Valleyview.

Widower with two grown sons and six grandchildren. Currently a Councillor for the MD of Greenview representing Ward Four Sweathouse and Sunset House areas. Previously I was Manager, Operations for the MD of Greenview. Over the course of my time in the workforce I have done many different jobs the following are from start to present; Logger in BC and Alberta: Heavy Equipment Operator and Faller, Maintenance and Construction Foreman for Alberta Environmental Services. Dickson Dam, On-site Supervisor for Alberta Environmental Services / Alberta Public Works. Oldman River Dam project, Parks Maintenance Supervisor for Alberta Resources Services Oldman River Dam and Region. At this time I started at NAIT through their Distant Delivery Program to study Water and Waste Water Technology as a requirement of my job in the parks.

    When they privatized parks I went onto Red Deer County as their Utilities Operator and Co-ordinator, they too privatized and my Wife and I moved to Taber, Alberta where I was the Public Services Director.

   From there to Ft. Vermillion as the Area Supervisor for Fort Vermillion, High Level  Rural and Zama areas. Then a move to Mackenzie BC as Town Foreman and then back to Alberta where I took the job of Assistant Superintendent of Public Works for the MD of Greenview. I was Elected to Council in the last election. This meant the need for me to resign from my position as Manager Operations.

    Some of the qualifications I have had over my time in the workforce include Water and Wastewater Certified Operator in Treatment, Collection and Distribution.

    Successful completion of the Alberta Bridge Inspection Course Certified Public Works Supervisor Certified Canadian Playground Inspector Certified Chainsaw Safety Instructor Numerous workshops and seminars on Disaster Management for the Emergency Operations Centre First Aid and other industry Training Certificates.

   My hobbies are photography and fishing.

 

Sylvia Johnson (Metis Nation of Alberta)

Sylvia Johnson is the President of Region VI Metis Nation, the Northwest Region of the province of Alberta.  The Metis population in this area is over 20,000 people with 7,000 Metis holding membership with the Metis Nation of Alberta.

Five times elected for three year terms, serving her membership is first, ensuring training, education, establishing partnerships with industry and community on their behalf.

She has received both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Governor General of Alberta Medal and the Golden Eagle Award from Native Women of Canada.

Married, with three grown children and ten grandchildren, she was born and raised in the Peace River area and has a strong pride and love for the north.

 

Her strengths are to work with both provincial and federal government, proud to be able to contribute to volunteer board appointments that will bring a voice to Aboriginal people.

Elaine Manzer (Small Urban)

Elaine was born in Peace River where she attended school, then left to earn her Bachelor of Education Degree at the University of Alberta, came back to teach junior and senior high school in Peace River and Grimshaw, returned to the U of A to earn two Post-Graduate Diplomas in Secondary and Post-Secondary Education.  After about 36 years as a teacher and principal Elaine retired from teaching and is now serving her first term as a Councillor for the Town of Peace River.

 

Jean-Marie Sobze (Research/ Education)

After completing a B.Sc. in forestry and wildlife, Jean-Marie worked as a forest planner in his home country of Cameroon. He completed his Ph.D. in forestry at the University of Göttingen, Germany, specializing in community-based forest management. Before coming to Nova Nait Boreal Research Institute (nBRI), Jean-Marie’s work focused on uncertainties in data input for wood supply estimation and involved industrial timber supply analysis and applied research in Ontario. Dr. Jean-Marie is representing the Research and Education Sector.

 

Robert Thompson (Oil & Gas)

Robert is a Senior Environmental Coordinator at Encana Corporation and is representing the Oil and Gas Industry on the MPWA.  Robert has degrees in Engineering and Biology and is a Professional Engineer in Alberta. Having grown up in Ontario Robert moved to Alberta in 1995 and worked as an environmental consultant for 15 years, specializing in assessment and remediation of soil and groundwater at contaminated sites.

 

Starting with Encana in 2010 Robert was hired to work on a portfolio of abandoned sites for remediation and reclamation.  Since then Robert’s role has expanded to include evaluating environmental liability associated with Encana’s acquisition and divestiture activities and Waste mitigation programs.  Currently Robert is working with Encana’s Government Relations team on the Environmental Policy file, which includes all Water-related Issues.

 

Tony Saunders (Watershed Stewardship)

Tony is Semi-Retired and a resident of Northern Sunrise County where he raises Scottish Highland Cattle just east of Nampa, where he has lived for 21 years.

 

Tony has been a director on the Heart River Watershed Advisory Committee since 2006 and is also a Director on the Rural Crime Watch committee. Tony was a former director on the Harmon Valley Feeder Association for 12 years and was the Alternate member for the Mighty Peace Watershed Alliance Watershed Stewardship seat before being elected Director in 2017.

 

Abdi Siad-Omar (Federal-Transboundary Relations)

Abdi Siad-Omar has a Masters Degree in Rural Planning and Development from University of Guelph, Ontario. Abdi has over 20 years experience in water resource planning, environmental management, project management and coordination. Currently, Abdi is a senior water management planner with Northern Region of Alberta Environment.

    As a water management planner provides a proactive leadership in water resources planning and management. Abdi leads, coordinates and participate the following activities:

  • Lead and manage the planning of multi-objective watershed management projects.
  • Lead and coordinate lake water management studies.
  • Develop and coordinate proposals and terms of reference for watershed management planning.
  • Design of planning process to address watershed management concerns.
  • Clarify the purpose, scope, parameters, issues to be resolved.
  • Conduct a research on regional water uses and impacts.
  • Participate operational planning of capital projects.

Chris Thiessen - Vice Chair - (Large Urban)

Chris Thiessen is a newly elected official in the city of Grande Prairie. Born and raised in Alberta, Chris has been a resident of the Peace Region for over 15 years. Holding a degree in Digital Arts and Mass Media as well as several years of General Studies at the University of Alberta, Chris has devoted his life to service within his community and to help assist in the raising of consciousness in a variety of social fields (humanitarian, environmental, spiritual). Currently, Chris works also works for the Canadian Mental Health Association, helping the at-risk and low-income populations in the city of Grande Prairie. Relevant history of his service in relation to the Watershed includes:

  •  creation of the Peace Starts At Home not-for-profit local music genre festival (2005-10) which raised over $50,000 for a variety of charities in Grande Prairie over its operation.
  • co-creator and mentor of the youth anti-nuclear advocacy group SPOC (Stop Poisoning Our Community, 2007-09, later reformed to Start Protecting Our Community, 2010-current) which successfully helped to oppose the bid for a nuclear power plant on the Peace River.
  • youth educator on environmental awareness and recycling initiates (K-8)
  • community member participant in creation of Grande Prairie's Municipal Development Plan, Cultural Master Plan, Transit Master Plan, and Muskoseepi Park

Dave Walty (Public Member-At-Large)

David Walty lives in a log house that he built himself on a small farm just outside of the Town of Peace River. The view from his house looks down the valley of the Mighty Peace. “I can view the many faces of the river, its furry, it ever changing flows and its radiant beauty form my front door”.  Dave recently retired from 40 years of managing the Fish and Wildlife resources of the Peace Region.  Dave is a fisheries biologist by training. His experience with management, planning, aboriginal relations, stakeholder relations, communication, education and working in a team environment are many.  Dave has an intimate knowledge of most lakes and rivers in the Peace Watershed. Dave is a founding member and a director of the East Peace Water Co-op, the largest water co-op in the province. 

 

Jim Webb (Lower Watershed First Nation)

The North Peace Tribal Council Board of Chiefs confirmed Mr. Webb to act on behalf of the member First Nations of the NPTC as of May 2013. He brings to the table a great deal of experience and understanding of the Peace River and the area covered by the Peace River Watershed.