SPEAKERS

Wednesday

Speakers

Jordan Tesluk

Forestry Safety Advocate

BC Safe Forestry Program

Jordan Tesluk has been working in forestry since 1992, and is a certified external auditor with BC SAFE Companies, Alberta Partnerships in Injury Reduction, and AgSafe BC. He is a member of the Technical Advisory Committee with the BC Safe Forestry Program and a new trainer with the BC Forest Safety Council. His background includes a Ph.D. in Sociology focused on forestry-reliant communities and a Masters in Criminology focused on health and safety regulation in silviculture.

Robin McCullough

Chairperson

BC Safe Forestry Program, Strategic Advisory Committee

Robin C. McCullough grew up in a forestry and farmwork family in northeastern Ontario, and began planting trees in Hinton Alberta in 1996. In 2013, she left her field position as a Project Manager with Brinkman Reforestation Ltd, for her current role as BRL’s Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator. Robin holds a BA in Indigenous Studies and Comparative Development, a BFA in Media Arts, and an MA in Communication and Cultural Studies; her MA thesis was a granular look at the various methods by which silvicultural Supervisors translate the technical prescriptions of foresters to the workers responsible for planting the seedlings. Robin has held the Chairperson position with the BCSFP’s Strategic Advisory Committee since 2017, and focuses both professionally and personally on facilitating justice and community safety, through education, engagement, and transparent accountability processes.

Sonja Leverkus

Founder

Shifting Mosaics Corporation & Northern Fire WoRx Corp

Dr. Sonja Leverkus is the founder of Shifting Mosaics Corporation and Northern Fire WoRx Corp. She holds a PhD from Oklahoma State with specialization in pyric herbivory, landscape ecology, and prescribed fire. She is an RPF, RPBio, PAg, EP, and is a Burn Boss and Ignitions Specialist. She holds a BSc from McGill, BA from UVic, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta’s Wildfire Analytics Lab. Her passion for the land and all its inhabitants drive her to provide effective, efficient, ecologically and culturally appropriate natural resource management opportunities for all her clients.

Jeanette Campbell

Senior Occupational Hygienist

WorkSafeBC

Jeanette Campbell is a Senior Occupational Hygienist with the Risk Analysis Unit. Before joining this group, she worked as a WorkSafeBC occupational hygiene officer for 10 years in the Nanaimo and Coquitlam regions. Jeanette has been working as an occupational hygienist for 35 years. She holds both the CIH and ROH designations and has a MSc (Applied) in Occupational Health/Industrial Hygiene from McGill University.

Don MacFadgen

Senior Occupational Hygienist

WorkSafeBC

Don MacFadgen has worked at WorkSafeBC for approximately three decades. He has held a variety of roles including Researcher, Occupational Hygienist, Safety Officer, Supervisor and his current role, Senior Hygienist. He has inspected in the forestry and wood products manufacturing sectors including silviculture and seedling services sector.

Don’s credentials include: Certified Industrial Hygienist; NFPA 1001 Level 1 and II certified firefighter, Emergency Medical Assistant – First Responder, Hazardous Material Technician, Canadian Registered Safety Professional, Incident Command System Level 3.

Tom Yearwood

President

Denning Health Group

Denning Health Group offers industry-leading, high-level consulting services led by founder and President, Tom Yearwood, LLB. Over the last twenty five years, Tom & his group has worked with some of the nation’s leading employers including multinational companies with cross border operations. Tom’s services are sought out by businesses for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a client already has their policy in place but needs more adequate training to get their business up to speed or needs on the spot advice to help with a crisis, such as drug-related issues. Whatever the reason a client may need consulting services, choose Denning Health Group.

Teresa Cheung

Client Service Manager

WorkSafeBC

In her current position, Teresa consults with employers regarding their existing disability management programs and actively works with them on the claims process. Previously, she worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant within the organization, assisting injured workers in returning to work. Prior to coming to WorkSafeBC, Teresa worked with the United States Federal Government in the Department of Homeland Security. In this role she worked as an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, consulting and educating managers of airports regarding the management of Human Rights claims. Teresa holds a Master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation and a Juris Doctorate degree in Law.

Elise Kobylanski

Client Service Manager

WorkSafeBC

Elise is a Manager of Client Services and a Registered Nurse with an extensive background working as a certified occupational health nurse with a focus on disability management in both public and private sectors. In her current role in Return to Work Consultation and Education Services, she assists employers improve their return to work outcomes by implementing disability management best practices. Elise has shared her disability management expertise on several occasions for the Canadian Manufacturer’s and Exporters Association, the BC Municipalities Safety Association, the Maritime Employers Association, and the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering. Elise is also a certified Psychological Health and Safety advisor for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Russell Claus

Volunteer

Threads of Life

Russell currently resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he works in occupational health and safety. Originally from Victoria, BC, he completed his Master’s degree at McMaster University where his studies and thesis focused on worker safety in the resource sector.
In the summer of 2010, Russell suffered a workplace injury that changed his life forever.
Today, Russell is here as a volunteer of Threads of Life – the Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support – and its Speakers Bureau.

Britt White

Representative

Northern Society for Domestic Peace

Britt White has been with the Northern Society for Domestic peace for over 6 years in administration and with the Pregnancy Outreach Program. She has been with the CAMP program since 2018. Britt previously worked in the reforestation industry for over 7 years primarily as a tree planter and briefly as a cook. She has used her many years as a woman in reforestation to collaborate with NSDP staff to ensure the CAMP presentations speak to camp workers and are as reflective of that unique experience as possible. Britt delivers the CAMP presentations along with Tina and Airika and works to collaborate on resource development and system changes with industry.

Airika Owen

Representative

Northern Society for Domestic Peace

Airika Owen has been with NSDP for over 7 years. Airika is currently a coordinator of NSDP’s Sexual Assault Services team, which provides 24 hour crisis, call-out support for sexual assault victims/survivors. For CAMP, Airika works to develop presentation and support resources and collaborates with industry to promote system changes to improve safety for vulnerable workers. Airika also provides sexual harassment and assault education to Indigenous and rural high school students in preparation for their moves to post-secondary campuses.

Louise Bender

Vice President, People & Administration

Mosaic Forest Management

Louise is an established people and culture executive with extensive experience in various sectors in Canada. She has a proven track record of cultivating innovative and effective people programs and strategies, fostering workplace cultures that are not only inclusive but that empower individuals to bring their authentic selves to the work they do and thrive. With a passion for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion across the forest sector, Louise currently co-leads a dedicated group of individuals and organizations working from coast-to-coast in Canada’s forest sector. The Forest Sector Equity Diversity and Inclusion Alliance (FSEDIA) mandate is to create cultural safety in the forest sector and by doing so make the forest sector an industry of choice for everyone.

Thursday

Speakers

Honourable Nathan Cullen

Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship

Stikine Region

Nathan Cullen was elected MLA for Stikine in the 2020 provincial election.

He previously served as minister of Municipal Affairs, minister of state for Lands and Natural Resource Operations, as chair of the Environment and Land Use Committee and a member of the Cabinet Committee on Economy.

Nathan proudly served as Member of Parliament for the riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley for 15 years, from 2004 to 2019. He is a strong advocate for the residents of Northern BC and has worked throughout his career to promote sustainable development.

During his time in Ottawa, Nathan was recognized multiple times by his peers at the Maclean’s Parliamentarian of the Year Awards. He also served as Official Opposition House Leader and held critic roles for Finance, Natural Resources, Environment, Ethics, and Democratic Reform.

Nathan has worked to encourage the participation of young people in politics and public policy and has supported young entrepreneurs in the Northwest in starting and growing their businesses.

Nathan has run a consulting business specializing in strategic planning and conflict resolution. He has previously worked in international development in Africa and South America.

He lives with his wife and twin sons in Smithers.

Derek Lefler

Director, Forest Science, Planning,

and Practices Branch

Ministry of Forests, Office of the Chief Forester

Derek grew up in Prince George and, following university, pursued a career in forestry that led him to various corners of British Columbia. With experience in consulting, industry, BC Timber Sales, and firefighting for BC Wildfire Service, he has gained extensive knowledge of the province’s interior. Prior to his current role as Director of Forest Science, Planning, and Practices Branch, Derek served as the District Manager in the Sunshine Coast Resource District for seven years. Outside of work, he can often be found chauffeuring his children to sports events, tending to his yard, chasing after the family dog, or enjoying fishing excursions on the Salish Sea with his wife Kelly.

Lori Daniels

Koerner Chair in Wildfire Coexistence

Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia

Dr. Lori Daniels is the inaugural Koerner Chair and director of the new Centre for Wildfire Coexistence in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC. Lori investigates the impacts of natural and human disturbances and climate change on forests. With her research team, she has ongoing projects on wildfires, forest dynamics, and social-ecological resilience to climate change across British Columbia. Her enduring partnerships with local, provincial, and national governments, environmental organizations, forest management companies, community forests, and First Nations ensure her scientific advances are translated to active conservation, restoration and management.

Lennard Joe

Chief Executive Officer

BC First Nations Forestry Council

Lennard Joe, (Traditional name of Suxwsxwwels, meaning Grizzly Man) brings over 30 years of natural resources and business experience into his current roles. He is a Registered Professional Forester, a member of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation, and owner of Grizzly Path Consulting, a First Nations company that focusses on the land, its resources, and people. Lennard is actively involved in developing new businesses and opportunities in the resource sector within his territory as well as throughout Canada and the world. Living in balance Lennard carries the corporate knowledge of his nation and continues to practice its protocols and traditions. His role as an Indigenous Professional Forester has opened doors in Indigenous Governance, Provincial and Federal government, Industry, Academia, and Forest Certification.

Flavio Caron

Trainer

Indigenous Corporate Training Inc.

Being the son of an Anishnabe mother and Italian-Canadian father, Flavio has grown up in two worlds, and is honoured for what both have bought him.

Flavio’s life has been immersed in all aspects of entrepreneurship, through the operation of many businesses to the training of others to succeed in their ventures. He believes that the ability to communicate – whether between individuals or between cultures – will always provide the foundation for success.

As an entrepreneurship and cross-cultural trainer, Flavio hopes that we all embrace the need to understand and be understood. The respect and trust that we strive to achieve in our personal and professional lives comes first and always from understanding.

Contributing to the success of thousands of individuals and organizations – he is honoured with each and every opportunity. Relationship-building is the cornerstone to his training philosophy: where individuals, organizations, communities and Nations learn and prosper through this spirit.

Leading or consulting with projects involving some of the most respected organizations and corporations in the world, Flavio trusts that inspired people – inspired educators – embracing new knowledge and ideas – will always succeed.

Miigwetch!

Bruce Ralston

Minister of Forests

Government of BC

Bruce Ralston, K.C., was appointed as B.C.’s Minister of Forests and Minister Responsible for the Consular Corps on December 7, 2022. A member of the Cabinet since July 2027, he has served as Minister for Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology.

An advocate for innovation in the province’s technology sector, he brings his experience in and knowledge of the sector to his current cabinet portfolio, where he is focused on the revitalization and modernization of the forest sector leading to expanded diversification in manufacturing. His priorities include the sustainable management and conservation of B.C.’s old growth forests in the face of climate change, while ensuring a competitive and sustainable future for communities, First Nations, workers and companies.

Minister Ralston was born in Victoria, raised in Vancouver, and spent his childhood summers in his mother’s home town of Smithers. He completed his undergraduate studies in history at the University of British Columbia, and earned a Master of Arts at the University of Cambridge in England before returning to UBC to earn a law degree. He ran a successful law practice in Vancouver and Surrey for 23 years until his election to the BC Legislature. While running his practice he served as a city councillor in Surrey, Chair of Vancity Credit Union – Canada’s largest credit union — and President of the BCNDP. He and his partner raised their three children in Surrey.
First elected as the MLA for Surrey-Whalley in 2005, voters have re-elected him four consecutive times since then, in the 2009, 2013, 2017, and 2020 general elections.

Keith Atkinson

Chair

BC Forest Practices Board

Keith Atkinson is a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry from the University of British Columbia. He served for 10 years as the chief executive officer of the First Nations Forestry Council, where he worked to create opportunities for First Nations in forestry. Keith has also held positions as the forest resources manager at the Nisga’a Lisims Government and served as a community trustee for the Snuneymuxw First Nation, of which he is a member. Keith lives in North Vancouver on the traditional and unceded territories of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.

Lacey Rose

Co-Founder

Women in Wood

Lacey Rose grew up Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador. Graduating from the University of New Brunswick in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry, Lacey has been a Registered Professional Forester in Ontario since 2008. Lacey’s work experience has ranged from field work in the Boreal forest, to writing a forest management plan for 250,000 hectares of Crown forest in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence forest, to now the hands-on management of the Renfrew County Forest, as the County Forester. Outside of these roles, Lacey is the Co-Founder of Women in Wood, a network for women who work with, in and for the woods, and the host of the web-series Mighty Jobs and Green Jobs.

Lisa Tedesco

Land and Resource Specialist

BC Wildfire Service

Lisa started with government in 2005 as a backcountry ranger in Monashee Provincial Park. When she got tired of sleeping on the ground, she moved on to the role of ecosystem biologist which took her from south Okanagan to north Okanagan and eventually to the West Kootenays. Here Lisa worked extensively with the Boundary Fire Zone, area licensees and local contractors to establish an ecosystem restoration program and get prescribed fire back on the land. In the last few years, she has been working at the provincial level with the Together for Wildlife program. This role covered everything from policy development to research collaborations to supporting regions with restoration planning and implementation. She is now working with the BC Wildfire Service supporting planning, implementation and administration of the Cultural and Prescribed Fire Program.

Ken Ness

President/Owner

Ken B Ness Consulting Inc.

Presently is President/Owner of Ken B Ness Consulting Inc, specializing in wildfire investigation & training, and investigative interviewing training.

  • Conservation Officer for 38 years with Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment. Retired in April 2018 from the position of Detective Sergeant with the Enforcement & Investigations Section.
  • In 2001 was appointed to the National Wildfire Co-ordinating Group’s Wildland Fire Investigation Subcommittee, based out the USA, as one of two Canadian representatives.The mandate of this group is to develop and maintain wildfire investigation training materials and standards for North America. This group has developed the following training courses which are taught worldwide:
    o FI-110 Fire Scene Observations & Scene Protection for First Responders
    o FI-210 Wildfire Origin & Cause Investigation
    o FI-310 Complex Case Management.
  • Was chair of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center’s Wildfire Investigation Working Team from 2012-2018.
  • Has instructed and provided presentations on Wildfire Investigation, Investigative Interviewing, and Investigation Procedures at workshops and conferences throughout Canada, USA, Guam and Australia.
  • Investigated approximately 610 wildfires, and has been the lead investigator for many criminal and civil investigations since 1994.

 

Friday

Speakers

Leith McKenzie

Director, Forest Investment and Reporting Branch

Office of the Chief Forester, BC Ministry of Forests

Leith Mckenzie is a professional forester with 30 years experience working primarily in the areas of silviculture and stewardship in the Ministry of Forests. She is currently the Director, Forest Investment and Reporting Branch in the Office of the Chief Forester. Before that, she was Manager, Forest Carbon Initiative, and Integrated Planning. Leith has served as Operations Manager at the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, and was also the Research and Silviculture Team Lead at the Thompson Okanagan Region in Kamloops, where she worked with the Forests for Tomorrow program. She has worked at the District, Region and Branch in the Ministry including 14 years in Kamloops and Clearwater Districts, spent 10 years working at the Thompson Okanagan Region and South Area before working the last 6 years in the Office of the Chief Forester Division. Leith is based in Kamloops.

Susy Domenicano

Executive Director

2 Billion Trees (2BT Program), Natural Climate Solutions Division, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada

Susy Domenicano has devoted a significant portion of her life to the study and preservation of trees and forests. As a child, she spent countless weekends exploring the woodlands of the Appalachians, an experience that deeply influenced her career path. However, it was her nine summers working in the reforestation industry in western Canada that truly solidified her commitment to forests. Driven by her passion for trees and forests, Susy pursued her studies and research in forest ecology, tree physiology, agroforestry, and climate change modeling. Her research further nurtured her appreciation for the complexity of forests.

With a desire to contribute to the public sector, Susy joined the Canadian Forest Service at Natural Resources Canada in Ottawa. In this role, she explored various aspects of the forest sector, including managing a national forestry database, leading national reports on the condition of Canada’s forests, conducting economic analyses for forest policies, leading a working group focused on promoting diversity within the forest sector’s workforce, and more recently, overseeing programs for the forest sector.

More recently, Susy has taken a leadership role with the 2 Billion Trees program, which brings her journey full circle to her earlier days of planting trees, where she continues to make an impact on the preservation and growth of Canada’s forests.

Dean Marshall

Owner

RDM & CO. Resources Ltd.

Dean’s forestry career began in 1991. Working with Bugbusters – Spectrum’s parent company, he was a tree planter, backpack sprayer, silviculture surveyor, crewleader, camp supervisor and project manager.

Between 2001 and 2104 he gained additional operations experience working for Canadian Forest Products Ltd., in all woodlands roles, including as Silviculture Coordinator and Woodlands Manager.

Between 2014 and 2023, Dean oversaw the operations and management of Wright Canada Holdings Ltd – (Spectrum Resource Group and Wright Tree Service) where he served as their Vice President. While at Wright his focus was on systems integration, business development and the forming meaningful and lasting business partnerships through Reconciliation.

Today, Dean works as an independent consultant, helping Nations to operationalize their forest assets and tenures.

 

Rob Keen

Executive Director

Canadian Tree Nursery Association

Rob is a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) who founded Keen Forestry Ltd., a forestry consulting business, upon graduating in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University of Toronto. He has been involved in many facets of the forestry industry, primarily in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Forest region including providing forestry services to landowners, developing forest management plans on Crown and private lands, conducting wood supply and feasibility studies, and participating in forest audits for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (and Forestry).

In 2002, Rob was contracted by the Trustees of Trees Ontario to assess the opportunities of reestablishing private land tree planting in Ontario after the government cancelled this service in the mid 1990’s. In 2003 he presented a new model for delivering private land tree planting engaging organizations involved with seed collection, stock development and tree planting and in 2004 this model was launched.

In 2011, Rob assumed the role of CEO of Trees Ontario and in 2014, after coordinating the merger of the Ontario Forestry Association and Trees Ontario, continued the role of CEO of the newly formed charity, Forests Ontario, where he led the Forests Ontario team in sustaining and generating new partnerships to support and achieve its re-greening mandate. In April 2023 Rob stepped down from Forests Ontario

In the summer of 2023, Rob was hired to establish the Canadian Tree Nursery Association. On October 26, 2023, the Association was officially launched and currently supports 52 nurseries that grow over 630 million native seedlings annually supporting the nation’s forest restoration efforts. As its Executive Director, Rob continues to lead this organization’s efforts to expand Canada’s overall forest restoration capacity.

Rob was a Director and Chair of the Algonquin Forestry Authority, Director of the Invasive Species Centre, and is currently a Director of Maple Leaves Forever and Chair of the Sustainable Forest Licensee, Westwind Forest Stewardship Ltd., Rob received the Clean50 Lifetime Achievement Award in the fall of 2022.

 

Paul Jeakins

Consultant

Indigenous & Energy Sector Affairs

Paul managed to have two distinct careers. In the first half he worked as a forest tech, then professional forester for the Ministry of Forests, forest companies and as an instructor at Selkirk College. After all that he started up a natural resource management consulting company based in Nelson. In the second half of his career, he joined BC’s Oil and Gas Commission. He started out as their audit manager working his way up until he retired after a 10-year stint as the CEO and Commissioner. Paul has a Forestry Diploma from BCIT; A Bachelor of Science – Forestry Degree from the University of Alberta and a Master’s Degree in Environment and Management from Royal Roads.

Emcee

John Betts

Executive Director

WFCA

John Betts is the Executive Director of the Western Forestry Contractors’ Association. Prior to taking this position in 1994 he had worked as a Frontier College labourer teacher, set chokers logging on the West Coast, planted trees in Ontario (1968) and B.C., operated his own tree planting and silviculture firm for a decade, worked as a free-lance journalist, played centre for the Kaslo Klippers hockey team, reported for the Nelson Daily News, and played bodhran, tin whistle, bones and drums for the Argenta Old Time Dance Band. He now lives and works from his home in Queens Bay on Kootenay Lake with his wife Anneke where they raised two sons. In 2019 he was awarded an Honorary Membership in the Association of BC Forest Professionals for his contributions to forestry in British Columbia.