Previous Speakers

1. MFRE Food & Agribusiness Speaker Series

Dylan Jones, Founder @ Coast Protein: Sustainable Cricket Protein Bars and Powders

Dylan views small value-driven businesses as the catalyst for great change in the Canadian economy. He created the idea of Coast Protein to see food production and protein consumption to be completely disrupted. Dylan’s drive for a more sustainable future comes from his love for Canada’s winters and deep, deep powder snow

Brian Mauza, Ocean Spray Canada (ret.)

Brian is a professional agrologist active in the BC Institute of Agrologists with 41 years in the horticulture/agriculture sector in British Columbia. He has worked with growers and grower groups, traveled to visit other growing regions in Europe, Japan and North America, as well as represented grower groups with respect to research and industry issues with the Federal and Provincial governments, educational institutions and the private sector.

Colin Carter, Professor, University of California, Davis: Economics of Genetically Modified Crops

Karina Sakalauskas, Industry Specialist, Berries, Ministry of Agriculture

Karina is a Berry Industry specialist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture, in Abbotsford, BC. Prior to this, she spent the last 8 years as the Research Coordinator of the BC Blueberry Council, working closely with growers and other stakeholders to manage disease issues, and facilitate knowledge transfer through educational programs.

Brian Smith, BC Assessment, Agricultural Land Valuation

Brian Smith is a Deputy Assessor with BC Assessment in the Fraser Valley region. He is a member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada and has spent the past 9 years working on the valuation and taxation of all property types. During that time he has spent a considerable amount of time working on the valuation of properties that fall within the Agricultural Land Reserve and the corresponding property taxation of this group of properties.

Julie Wilson, Master of Land and Water Systems (MLWS) Academic Coordinator

Christian Langpap, Associate Professor, Oregon State University

Dr. Langpap is an applied economist specializing in environmental and natural resource economics.As part of his seminar, Dr. Langpap led a fireside chat with MFRE students where he discussed “The Role of the Private Sector in Environmental Policy“.

Hanako Okano, Retail Marketing Specialist At Unilever/Ben & Jerry, Japan

Hanako Okano is the Assistant Brand Manager for Ben & Jerry’s at Unilever Japan. Her breadth of experience includes management consulting at Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting and new product development at Dole Japan. She co-wrote a nutritional health book on long-term living in 2007 and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Market Analysis from the University of British Columbia in Canada. Hanako Okano is a global citizen and currently lives in Tokyo, Japan.

Jennifer Woron, Director of Marketing & Sales at BC Dairy Association

As the Director of Marketing & Sales, Jennifer contributes to the promotion of milk consumption in BC through BC Dairy Association’s provincial marketing initiatives. In particular, Jennifer manages the Association’s “Buy Local. Eat Natural.” initiative (now We Heart Local) and Powered by Chocolate Milk program. In addition, Jennifer manages the organization of the very popular BC Dairy Industry Conference.

Kirk Homenick, President of Naturally Homegrown Foods Ltd.

Naturally Homegrown Foods Ltd. is a Maple Ridge, BC based premium snack food company.  It produces a line of hand cooked chips under the Hardbite brand name.  Kirk has over 16 years’ experience in the consumer food and agri-food marketplace having previously worked at Houweling’s Nurseries, Forbes Medi-Tech, and BC Hot House Foods.  Throughout his career he has held roles in many different areas including sales, marketing, operations, general management, strategic planning, and corporate development.   Kirk holds a Masters of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University, and an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.

David Fraser, Professor, The University of British Columbia

David is a professor in the Animal Welfare Program and is cross-appointed between the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics at The University of British Columbia. Loblaw, Canada’s largest grocery retailer, recently named Professor David Fraser as scientific advisor on animal welfare. David has served as an advisor on animal welfare for the retail and restaurant sectors in the United States and for the World Organisation for Animal Health, and is a member of Canada’s National Farm Animal Health and Welfare Council. In his role as scientific advisor to Loblaw, he will conduct research, provide expert opinion and scientific guidance, and help the company ensure that their commitments are aligned to animal welfare standards and best practices.

Arjan Stephens, Executive VP of Sales and Marketing for Nature’s Path Foods

Arjan is responsible for leading Nature’s Path’s strategic direction in regards to product development, communications, sales, advertising, and packaging. Looking to champion Nature’s Path as a trusted name in quality organic foods, Arjan has led his team through integrated consumer awareness campaigns, grassroots organic gardening programs, an expansion into the European market, and the acquisition of Que Pasa Mexican Foods. In 2012 Arjan was named one of Business in Vancouver’s top 40 under 40.

Joel Brooks, Marketing Communications Specialist at Okanagan Specialty Fruits 

Joel Brooks is the Marketing Communications Specialist for Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF), a grower-led biotech company based in Summerland, BC. In this role, Joel helps lead the company’s communication efforts, including managing OSF’s day-to-day communications activities, engaging in consumer and media relations, handling social media activities, and drafting the company’s marketing and educational materials.

To date, OSF’s chief focus has been developing and securing regulatory approval for Arctic® apples, which were commercially approved in March 2015 after years of rigorous review. Arctic® apples are varieties that, through genetic engineering, are enhanced with a nonbrowning trait that prevents enzymatic browning from occurring when the fruit is bitten, sliced or bruised.

Monte Staats, Manager of Hop Yard, Operations, Persephone Farms Persephone Brewing Company, Open Demonstration Hop Yard and Business Resource Centre

Monte Staats holds a degree from the Masters of Land and Water Systems program at UBC and is co-founder of Hop Yard Collective, a small business that is attempting to find innovative ways to support and grow the hops industry in BC.  Monte has been involved in designing, constructing and farming hops on the Sunshine Coast in an effort to forward the BC hops movement and support the local craft beer movement. He has most recently worked with Persephone Brewing Co. developing a feasibility plan and working business models for a small scale commercial hops farming in BC.

Norm Chan, Co-Founder/Director, Greens Organic + Natural Market

Greens Organic + Natural Market is a young innovative market founded by two UBC alumni who are passionate about promoting a healthy, fun, and sustainable lifestyle. It is an industry leader with unique offers including 100% organic produce, a full whole animal butchery, and a restaurant level deli with in-house industry chefs where everything is made from scratch. Fully community oriented, Greens is committed to purchasing local where possible, minimizing processed foods and providing the freshest, tastiest, and newest natural and organic items.  The company is completely independent and proudly BC owned and operated.

Norm Chan is Co-Founder/Director at Greens and is actively involved in all stages from inception including branding, startup funding, construction, operational growth, consolidation & expansion. He holds a B.Sc in Computer Science from UBC and has held various leadership roles in software, aeronautics/air traffic control and project management. During his mandate at Greens, he has overseen revenue growth past the 5+ million level and company achievements such as Vancouver Westside/Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce – Entrepreneur of the Year and Westender Best of the City – Gold.

April Bellia, founder of Granola Girl

April Bellia founded Granola Girl Enterprises, Inc in 2011 after 12 years of running a wedding cake business. As a mom-preneur, April wanted to create an everyday product with a focus on women and to celebrate the everyday girl. Granola Girl granola stands out with organic ingredients and a home-made taste, sweetened with maple syrup (no refined sugar here!). The bonus is 2 superfood ingredients: hemp hearts and goji berries. Beyond the yumminess factor and unique packaging, this simple granola cereal has a greater message; Granola Girl is building a community of like-minded fans who are active, support local businesses, fuel up with natural foods and create amazing and serendipitous experiences every day!

Lauren Archibald, Marketing and Sales Development at Ethical Bean Coffee

Lauren Archibald works in sales and marketing at Ethical Bean Coffee, inspiring consumers to drive positive social and environmental change through their daily cup of coffee. Ethical Bean is a leading, Vancouver based, roaster of 100% Fairtrade certified, organic coffee which has grown into an international success. Fostering relationships with B Corp, Fairtrade, and other key partners, Lauren is always seeking new ways to collaborate and bring the Ethical Bean story to life.
Previously working as the Western Marketing Manager at Bullfrog Power, Lauren engaged brands such as MEC, Rocky Mountain Soap, and Deloitte to leverage their support of renewable energy through innovative marketing activation. Lauren is a known connector and is armed with delicious coffee, contagious energy, and a passion for adventure on the beautiful West Coast and beyond.


2. MFRE Resource & Environment Speaker Series

Sabrina Santoro, Communications Manager at BC Salmon Farmers Association

Shaun Strobel, Product Director at Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery (CSF)

Shaun is Skipper Otto’s son, who began fishing with his father when he was just 7 years old. In addition to fishing, Shaun selects and maintains solid relationships with other fishermen and navigates the complex logistics of getting fish from the hands of the fishermen to the hands of the CSF members. Dismayed at the dwindling salmon fishing fleet in the wake of the big business Seine fleet and fish farms, Shaun wrote an M.A. thesis at SFU on the labour history of fishing in BC. Shaun was a high school Social Studies teacher for many years, taught SCUBA diving, and is a technical diver.

Will Horter, Director of Strategy at Dogwood Initiative

As Director of Strategy (former Executive Director) Will oversees the strategic choices of  all Dogwood Initiative’s programs. Will received his law degree Summa Cum Laude from the University of California, after completing a B.A from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire where he majored in Anthropology and Third World studies. Prior to being called to the B.C. Bar in 1995, Will worked extensively as a community and labour organizer around the world. He also serves on the board of numerous international, national and provincial non-profits. His passion is helping local people solve local problems. He lives in Victoria.

Heather Wood, Senior Policy Analyst at Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Heather Wood is the Regional Manager of Aquaculture Programs, based in the Pacific regional office of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Previous positions held at DFO include Senior Marine Protected Areas Coordinator and International Policy Team Lead. Prior to joining DFO, she spent 10 years working with Environment Canada in both Ottawa and Vancouver as a Senior Policy Advisor on international and intergovernmental issues, with a primary focus on Canada-US relations. Before joining the Federal Government, Heather worked in both the private and NGO sectors as a land-use planner and strategic advisor on natural resource issues. Heather has a BAH in Geography from Queen’s University and a Masters’ of Urban Planning from McGill.

David Minato, Regulatory Affairs & Community Manager at BC Salmon Farmers Association

David Minato is a graduate of Simon Fraser University and also holds a Diploma in Fisheries and Aquaculture from Malaspina College. His aquaculture career began in 1987 at a private salmon hatchery located north of Campbell River. In 1994, he took a sixteen year hiatus from salmon farming as the owner operator of Campbell River Pet Centre, returning to salmon farming in his current position at the BC Salmon Farmers Association

Jessica Verhagen, VP Business Development & Strategy at Ecosphere

Althelia Ecosphere – the asset management platform established to demonstrate that competitive financial returns can be fully aligned with the preservation of natural capital and social development started a new venture, Ecopshere+. The founding mission is to build scale in the marketplace for environmental assets, such as those created through Althelia Ecosphere’s Althelia Climate Fund 1. The Climate Fund was launched in June 2013 backed by notable institutions from the public and private sector with a mission to align economy with ecology by financing integrated rural landscapes that support conservation of natural ecosystems alongside ecologically sustainable commercial activities. The new venture will give businesses across multiple sectors, investors, consumers and other key stakeholders access to assets from projects and programmes that help deliver the <2ºC carbon budget.
Jessica has more than a decade of experience at the intersection of environment and finance. She previously worked for Axine Water Technologies, the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines, and the B.C. Climate Action Secretariat.

Policing Loan Sharks: Evidence from the unlicensed money lending market in Singapore

Kaiwen Leong, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and  Haibo Xu, Fudan University, Shanghai

Preliminary Draft.

Lon LaClaire, Director, Transportation at City of Vancouver

Lon LaClaire is the Director of Transportation for the City of Vancouver. Prior to taking on this position, he had acted in the Director role for almost a year. As Director, Lon oversees all aspects of transportation, including planning, design, engagement, traffic and parking management. Lon has worked for the City for about 20 years. He started his career by designing bikeways and traffic calming and quickly moved on to work on the City’s newest rapid transit lines – the Millennium and Canada SkyTrain Lines. He was a key contributor to the two most recent, award-winning, long range transportation plans – the Downtown Transportation Plan and the City’s Transportation 2040 plan.  Before moving into the Director role, Lon managed the City of Vancouver’s Strategic Transportation Planning Branch for a number of years. Lon completed his undergraduate degree in engineering at Concordia University in Montreal and completed his Masters in Transportation Engineering and Structures at the University of Calgary.

Jordan Suter, Resource Economist at Colorado State University

“A Spatial-Dynamic Economic Analysis of Groundwater Management Policies”

Publication list