2017 RAIL Speaker Bios

Dr. Wendy Dugglby

Nursing Research Chair Aging and Quality of Life

Dr. Wendy Duggleby is a Professor, Endowed Nursing Research Chair in Aging and Quality of Life, Director of Innovations in Seniors’ Care Research Unit and Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta.  She is also an adjunct professor, Division of Palliative Care, Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta and advanced oncology certified nurse (AOCN).  Wendy and her research teams have developed and evaluated several interventions to foster hope and quality of life in older adults and their family caregivers with national and provincial funding support.  This research has received multiple awards for excellence, including the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal for the impact of this research on the health of Canadians.

Dr. Mary Beckie

Associate Professor and Director Community Engagement Studies

Mary Beckie is Associate Professor and Director of Community Engagement Studies in the Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta. In 2015 she became the academic coordinator for the western Canadian node of FLEdGE, a 5-year federally funded research program to support the development of regional food systems across Canada. Mary’s academic and community work focuses on the development of sustainable agrl-food systems Including, urban agriculture, farmers markets, organic agriculture, agroecology, place-based food systems and the role of community-university partnerships. She has been Involved In research projects In western Canada, Europe, Cuba, Sri Lanka and India. Mary grew up on a mixed farm in south-central Saskatchewan and completed an Interdisciplinary PhD In Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development from the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Lars Hallstrom

Director, Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities

Dr. Hallstrom is a professor in Social Science at the Augustana Faculty of the University of Alberta.  he has extensive experience in the fields of environmental, public health, and social policy, both as a researchers, and as a knowledge broker for knowledge translation.  As a Centre director, he has overseen the implementation of over 40 different research, outreach, and knowledge transfer projects since 2006, and has established strong connections to practitioners and decision makers working in public health, community development, rural development, environmental policy, and watershed management.

Dr. Michael McNally

School of Library and Information Studies

Michael B. McNally is an Assistant Professor at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta.  His research interests include intellectual property and its alternatives, radio spectrum management, rural broadband policy and government information policy.  He is Standing Member of the Van Horne Institute’s Centre for Information and Communication.  He has a PhD and MLIS from the University of Western Ontario.

Joyce Gould, PhD.

Alberta Parks 

As Science Coordinator, Joyce is responsible for the overall coordination of science and research for Alberta Parks.  Her focus involves promoting research in parks and protected areas, fostering the translation of science into policy and practice, and showcasing Parks as living laboratories. Her main areas of interest are protected areas management and conservation of vascular plants, particularly rare species such as whitebark and limber pine. 

Brian Joubert, PhD. 

Alberta Parks 

Brian has a keen interested in the human dimensions of conservation management. A Senior Park Planner, he is working to enhance social science research in Alberta Parks, with emphasis of finding complementarity at the intersection of ecology and social sciences. He has a particular interest in managing different uses in protected areas and understanding cultural values that underpin those beliefs that influence nature based recreation behaviours. 

Toby Williams

Olds College Centre for Innovation

Toby Williams is the Director of the Centre for Innovation at Olds College and in her role she supports a team that works in applied research, international development, entrepreneurship, and the Olds College farm.  Toby has a Masters degree in Public Administration and a background in rural economic development, business development, and research.

Dr. Chris Buse

Cumulative Impacts Research Consortium

Chris is the Project Lead for the Cumulative Impacts Research Consortium at UNBC--a platform for community dialogue and original research on the cumulative environmental, community and health impacts of resource development. Chris received his PhD from the University of Toronto and holds a Post-doctoral Fellowship from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. 

Dr. Margot Parkes

University of Northern British Columbia

Margot Parkes is a Canada Research Chair in Health, Ecosystems and Society, at the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada. Her work seeks to integrate social and ecological determinants of health, with a particular focus on the cumulative health, environment and community impacts of land and water governance, and on watersheds and catchments as settings for intersectoral action to improve health. Margot’s publications and international collaborations focus on research, education and capacity to link health, ecological and social concerns; with an emphasis on ecohealth, and ecosystem approaches to health. Her work continues to be informed by Indigenous knowledge and leadership across Oceania and the Americas, as well as next-generation approaches to learning and collaboration that address complex health and sustainability concerns.

Dr. Brent Swallow

Alberta Land Institute

Brent Swallow is a Professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of Alberta.  With students and colleagues, he has been studying land use in Alberta for the last four years.   Completed research shows the magnitude, pattern, drivers and impacts of land use conversion on land prices.  Current research focuses on the challenges faced by land owners and municipalities faced with competing pressures to conserve and convert land from agriculture to residential or commercial uses.  Support for the research is provided by the Alberta Land Institute, Max Bell Foundation, Calgary Regional Partnership, and Capital Region Board.  

Judilonne Beebe

Association of Communities Against Abuse

Judilonne Beebe is a Social Worker and Child and Youth Care Counselor who has spent 40 years working in the fields of Family Violence and Childhood Sexual Abuse. She is currently the Executive Director of the Association of Communities Against Abuse in Stettler, Alberta. She was involved in the development of a rural based counseling program that covers a large geographic area of East Central Alberta including counties, M.D.'s, and Special areas.
Judi regularly offers training for police officers, victim services advocates, nurses, teachers and the general public on abuse issues. She also co-facilitates a treatment program for men charged with assault against their partners and mandated by the courts.
Judi has received two Inspiration Awards for leadership in Family Violence Prevention and for her work as a pioneer in the area of sexual violence. Judi lives on a farm with her husband, has three children, six grandchildren and enjoys reading, gardening and the outdoors.

Noel Ma

Alberta Tourism

Since joining the Alberta Public Service in 2009, Noel Ma has held roles in various portfolios including Tourism, Apprenticeship and Innovation.  He is currently the Director of the Destination Development Unit of Alberta Culture and Tourism.  He holds a Master of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with a Drama minor. 

Kristin Walsh

Town of Devon

Kristin Walsh is the Manager of Parks, Recreation and Culture for the Town of Devon, and one of the driving forces behind the community engagement approach for the Town. As a recreation and community planning specialist, one of her main goals is how best to engage the community in a variety of meaningful and exciting ways to produce an end result that is owned by everyone.

However, being as close to a Luddite as one can get in this day and age and still be successful, she had to overcome her own personal hurdles to be able to do this through a variety of media (and yet, possibly quite unbelievably, she now teaches Facebook use to community groups!)

Never one to follow a path well-trodden, Kristin used her years of learning, trial and error, research and an unshakeable belief in the process to bring a new and inspiring method of community building to the Town of Devon which has resulted in an innovative and unusual (for North America) plan. This session will focus on the community development approach used, key lessons learned, community and professional perspectives and the take-away lessons of the community bu¡lding approach to improving Devon's Voyageur Park.

Chris Warwick

Town of Hanna

Chris is a third generation hardware store owner/operator in Hanna Alberta. Chris began public life in 2004, he ran a successful campaign winning 1 of 6 positions on Hanna town council. In 2010 Chris made the decision to run again in the Municipal election. He was successful once again. In 2013 he ran again, this time for Mayor. He was successful winning by acclamation. Chris has experience in many facets of municipal committees. He has been a representative on the Henry Kroeger Regional Water Services Commission, Cactus Corridor Economic Development Corporation, Palliser Economic Partnership, the Town of Hanna Community Services Board, Palliser Regional Planning Services Commission, Hanna’s Regional Climate Change Taskforce and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association’s Infrastructure and Energy Standing Committee. 

Dr. Ryan Bullock

University of Winnipeg

Ryan Bullock is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences and Director of the Centre for Forest Interdisciplinary Research (C-FIR) at The University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. He researches the human dimensions of environmental resources with a focus on how societies respond to social-ecological crises, conflicts and change. This means understanding how different societal actors perceive, innovate and adapt to changes induced by, for example, climate and land use changes, in order to devise collaborative solutions. He is lead author of Community forestry: Local values, conflict and forest governance (with K. Hanna, 2012, Cambridge) and lead editor of Growing community forests: practice, research and advocacy in Canada (2017, University of Manitoba Press).

Seth Bryant

University of Alberta

Seth Bryant is an Engineer and a Researcher interested in using science to improve the tools we use to make decisions. Seth is working with Dr. Evan Davies at the U of A to bring state-of-the art modeling and systems thinking to better understand how society lives with floods. Their current work is focused on helping managers select the best path to reduce flood risk. 

Shane Groendahl

Blindman Brewing

Shane Groendahl is "one of the guys" at Blindman Brewing.  As one of the co-founders, he has been there since the early scheming of starting a brewery in Central Alberta.  Blindman Brewing has been in operation since October 2015, and is proudly making a go of getting good beer to the people.  

David Claveau

Olds College Brewery

David Claveau is the new General Manager of the Olds College Brewery. This is a teaching brewery where students learn to become Brewmasters. The facility also offers research and testing services to other breweries through the Olds College Centre for Innovation laboratories.

Claveau is committed to contributing to the growth of the brewery industry in Alberta. He has experience as a home brewer, and has training in brewing both from the Université Laval and through a continuing education Beer School program in Calgary.

He has a background in food science, management, and brewing. He holds an MBA in Agricultural Business Management, a Master’s degree in Food Science and Technology, and a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from Université Laval in Quebec.
His recent work experience as a food microbiologist and senior product manager provided him with skills and knowledge in the areas of general management, project management, and operations. His area of responsibility at the Olds College Brewery includes strategy, marketing development, customer service and general operation duties.

Chris Heier

Half Hitch Brewing Company

Chris is the president of Half Hitch Brewing Company in Cochrane, Alberta. He was responsible for the recipe development, planning and contracting for the construction of their brewpub. Currently, he is managing brewery operations and business development.

Tracey Boast-Radley

Viking Beaver FCSS

Tracey Radley is a mom, wife and the director at Viking/Beaver Family and Community Support Services. Tracey serves on various boards within Beaver County and is the current trustee for Beaver County East with Battle River School Division. Prior to moving to Alberta, Tracey’s career involved 16 years in Reinsurance and Commercial Insurance Broking handling a variety of accounts. 

Ed Cullinan


Ed Cullinan is currently a Senior Engineer in the Research and Innovation department in ATCO’s Pipelines & Liquids Global Business Unit. Originally from Saint John, NB, Ed graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 2010 with a degree in Chemical Engineering and is now a registered Professional Engineer in Alberta. His research focus will be in community energy systems, energy efficiency, alternative energy, methane emissions reduction and operational technology.

Scott Merrifield


After spending 10 years practicing forestry as a registered professional forester, Scott Merrifield transitioned into the energy industry with ATCO through the planning of numerous transmission facilities. Serving as Project Manager for a new 500 kV AC transmission line from Wabamun to Fort McMurray, currently under construction, he oversaw the route development, consultation, land acquisition and permitting components of the project. Recently, Scott has taken on an additional role as the Program Manager for Community Renewables as ATCO continues to grow its business providing municipal customers with renewable energy solutions, as Alberta transitions away from a reliance on coal fired electricity.

Matt Wright


Matt Wright is a graduate of Computer and Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta as well a graduate of Computer Engineering Technology from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.
His experience at ATCO has been focused in the design and operations of distribution power, telecommunications, isolated PV generation and asset management for transmission and distribution assets. In his current role as Senior Lead Engineer – Solar, Renewables and Complex Projects, Matt is responsible for large scale PV & Energy Storage design, and replacement of diesel based micro-grids using off-grid solar solutions for remote or isolated communities.

Roger Epp

University of Alberta

Roger Epp is professor of political science at the University of Alberta, where he has served in a number of leadership roles, most notably as founding Dean of the U of A’s Augustana Campus in Camrose. In that role he was instrumental in the establishment of the Alberta Rural Development Network. As a writer and speaker, he has explored what it means to live and teach as a multi-generational settler on Treaty 6 land with a sense of memory and care. Those explorations include the books We Are All Treaty People: Prairie Essays and Writing Off the Rural West, as well as a documentary, “The Canadian Clearances,” co-produced for CBC Radio. His writing has also appeared in such diverse periodicals as the Western Producer, the Small Farmer’s Journal, and the Toronto Star. He was an invited honorary witness at hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. 

Todd Zimmerling

Alberta Conservation Association

Todd has an undergraduate degree in zoology from the University of Alberta and an M.Sc. and PhD. in population ecology from the University of British Columbia. He is a Professional Biologist with 24 years of experience working on a wide range of wildlife and fisheries related projects across western and northern Canada.  Todd started his career as an environmental consultant, founding his own company with his wife (who is also a biologist).  In April 2007, after 14 years as an environmental consultant Todd took over the role of President & CEO of the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA), where he oversees a staff of 80 and deals closely with government, industry and community stakeholders on a wide range of conservation related issues across Alberta.

Stacey Haugen

International Development Research Centre

Stacey Haugen is a Research Award Recipient at the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa. During her award, Stacey has been studying the resettlement and integration of Syrian refugees in rural Canada. She has an undergraduate degree in political studies from the University of Alberta, and a Master of Arts degree in Global Governance from the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

Colleen Lindholm

Rural Health Professions Action Plan

Colleen Lindholm is a Rural Community Consultant with the Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP), working with rural communities in East Central Alberta.  Her education background is public relations, bringing over 20 years of experience in communications, community development, engagement and capacity building.  Her work has largely been focused with not for profit organizations and health – including Primary Care Networks.

Jonathan Koch

Rural Health Professions Action Plan

Jonathan Koch is the Director of Communications and Marketing for the Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP).  Jonathan has over a decade of experience in professional communication, both as a newspaper reporter and editor, and as a corporate consultant specializing in rural communications. He is also the editor of the award-winning ForgottenAlberta.com website, a project that promotes and interprets southeastern Alberta’s forgotten history.

Mitch Thomson

Olds Institute

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.

David Crowe

Alberta Health Services

David is a Public Health Inspector with Alberta Health Services in Calgary and has been working in Alberta for 20+ years.    David graduated with an Honours BSc in Biology and Environmental Science from Trent University prior to receiving his B.A.Sc in Environmental Health from Ryerson University in 1995.  He recently completed his MSc in Environmental Practice from Royal Roads University in Victoria, where he was able to leverage his practical experience in Environmental Public Health in an Environmental Protection and Sustainability focused area of study.  
David’s career in Environmental Public Health has most recently been focused on Contaminated Sites and Land Development and Sustainability issues in Alberta.  He is currently part of a process that will develop a collaborative working group to address Healthy Community Design initiatives within Alberta Health Services with a goal of increasing the tools and collaboration opportunities for health inspectors across the province.

Graham Matsalla

Alberta Health Services


Graham Matsalla is a Health Promotion Facilitator for Alberta Health Services, and has worked in health and wellness promotion for over 14 years. 

He has worked in the setting of Communities and Neighbourhoods which includes Active Transportation and Built Environment. He currently works in Population, Public, & Indigenous Heath - Healthy Living - Chronic Disease Prevention – Provincial Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour on the WalkABle Alberta project. This project is designed to support rural communities in improving the walkability of their community. WalkABle Alberta facilitates the development of more walkable communities by improve community’s physical and social environment. Various supports are provided to communities based on their specific need.

As a facilitator Graham provides guidance and tools to Alberta Health Services’ residents to continue to improve their health.

Claudine Louis

Maskwacis Cultural College

Dr. Claudine Louis is from the Samson Cree Nation, a mother of five beautiful children and resides in Maskwacis, Alberta.  She obtained her Ph.D. in Education from the Indigenous Peoples Education Program, Educational Policy Studies Department within the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. She holds a Masters degree in Education, Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree.  In 2014, she received a Postdoctoral fellowship to research teacher identity with the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) at the University of Alberta.  In addition, she was an entrepreneur, President of her own training company called Creeative Heartworks, and presented on topics relevant to Indigenous peoples for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups and organizations for nineteen (19) years. Prior to that, she was the Director of Education for Samson and held employment in other areas of the Nation. Currently, she is the President of the Maskwacis Cultural College, which is an Indigenous Post Secondary institute that has been in operation for over 40 years.

Jordan Christianson

Special Areas Board

Jordon Christianson was born and raised in the small community of Oyen in eastern Alberta, where his family farmed and ranched south of town. After completing high school, Jordon attended the University of Saskatchewan where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture. He began his career with the Special Areas Board as an Agricultural Fieldman in 1999 in Consort and then moved to the Field Services Administrator position where he was responsible for the approval of industrial activities on public land in the Special Areas. From there, he moved on to become the Director of Property Administration, which oversees the administration of 2.6 million acres of public lands, manages the sale of Tax Recovery Lands, and coordinates other land related, municipal functions. And most recently Jordon was appointed Chair of the Special Areas Board in September 2015. Jordon is still very active on the family farm. Over the years, much of their land has been seeded back to perennial forages and the operation has become primarily cattle based, consisting of cow/calf and backgrounding calves through the winter. Between the Special Areas Board and the farm, Jordon has established a strong connection to the land and a keen appreciation of native grasslands.

Cory Habulin

Alberta Status of Women

Cory Habulin is the Manager of Research & Analytics for the Alberta Ministry of Status of Women. In this role she focuses on creating partnerships with the research and analytics communities, internal and external to government, to increase availability of research and data analysis that will enhance understanding of issues facing women and girls in Alberta, as well as creating pathways with community organizations for exchanges of context, information, and data on issues affecting diverse groups of women and girls in Alberta. The Ministry has three mandate areas of focus, Women’s Economic Security, Women in Leadership and Democratic Participation, and Ending Violence Against Women and Girls. Before joining Status of Women, Cory worked for over a decade with the Alberta Department of Environment. Her background is in Environmental Sociology with a BA (Religious Studies), a BSc (Environmental and Conservation Sciences), and an MA (Environmental Sociology) all from the University of Alberta.

Elder Mary Moonias

Louis Bull Cree Nation

Elder Mary Moonias a Cree great-grandmother was born and raised in Maskwacis Cree Nation of Treaty #6 Territory.

Elder Mary earned her Bachelor of Education degree at University of Calgary in 1980 and taught in Maskwacis first nations until her retirement.

Elder Mary spent 10 years of her childhood at Ermineskin Residential School.  In 2007, at a national residential school settlement ceremony held in Ottawa, Elder Mary’s dedication towards healing and reconciliation was honoured as Canada’s First Residential School recipient of Common Experience payment.

Since her retirement, Elder Mary has a very busy schedule serving in the following:

  • Chair and Board member on AKO Child Wellness Society, to reconnect families.

  • Cultural Advisor to Norquest College, since 2014, she continues to establish good relations for staff and students in Wetaskiwin and Maskwacis campuses.

  • Teaches at the Maskwacis Cultural College.

  • University of Alberta Augustana campus, presenting eagle feathers to indigenous graduates during the convocation ceremony.

Elder Mary’s motto is simple, “I’ve succeeded in my own life and I want other people to be able to do the same.”

Elder Jerry Saddleback

Samson Cree Nation

Jerry Saddleback is the Dean of Cultural Programmes and Elder-in-Residence for Maskwacîs Cultural College in Maskwacîs, AB. He also teaches Cree and Protocol classes in Enoch on Tuesdays and Cultural Social Work for First Nations University. Jerry was born and raised in Samson Cree Nation by his Father who was a prominent Elder in the community. Through his Father, Jerry Saddleback learned from many Elders throughout his early childhood and was taught the Cree language, stories and ceremonies. He attended university and achieved a Bachelor of Education. He taught various grades throughout his teaching career, breaking ground by introducing Cultural and Cree language curricula, catering specifically to Aboriginal children and teens. He used his education and Cree language skills to also do ground breaking field research for Confederacy of Treaty Six interviewing numerous Elders on language, Culture, ceremonies, songs and our Story of Creation.  He is one of a handful of people who knows the Origins of Cree Syllabics and was the key speaker/lecturer for the Conference on Syllabics in June 2013. Jerry’s knowledge was used extensively as a Spiritual Advisor for the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. Jerry Saddleback is recognized by being awarded as Role Model, as Keeper of Knowledge and many other awards. He was chair of Cree Language Committee that drafted the Cree Language Declaration. He is Elder to many organizations, institutions, projects, government committees; and continues the legacy of our Old People travelling wherever he is invited, to share the stories, language, Culture, ceremonies, songs and Story of Creation to all members of the Plains Cree family and other nations, educational institutions and conferences.

Tara de Weerd

Alberta Electric System Operator

Tara de Weerd is manager of the public affairs team at the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO). She is responsible for leading the AESO’s activities of government relations, media relations and social media as well as overseeing all communication programs associated with Alberta’s electricity market transition. Tara holds a Bachelor of Communications with a Specialization in Public Relations from Mount Royal University and is an Accredited Business Communicator.