Community, business leaders guiding Island’s prosperity
A strong and diverse group of 26 Island business and community leaders will help shape Prince Edward Island’s future success.
Members of the new Regional Economic Advisory Councils meet for the first time today, August 3, in Stanley Bridge. The goal of the four regional councils is to guide, develop, and drive community and economic growth across Prince Edward Island.
“Our Regional Economic Advisory Councils reflect the diversity and experiences of Islanders and will set a new course for the continued prosperity of our province and our people,” Premier Wade MacLauchlan said. “I would like to thank these dedicated Islanders, who show that by working together to help our communities grow and prosper, we make Prince Edward Island mighty.”
Specific goals of the advisory councils include:
• identifying economic drivers and clusters in the region and advise on growth and investment opportunities in these sectors;
• identifying opportunities to enhance population growth in the region, and specifically help in targeted population attraction drawn by employment and economic opportunities;
• advising on labour development initiatives and youth entrepreneurship support;
• advising on strategic infrastructure development; and
• developing economic growth strategies for the region, identifying and leveraging strength areas, and drawing on existing economic development organizations – as well as municipal and federal governments – to ensure a collaborative effort.
“I feel my motivation and experience in various aspects of business will be an asset to the council,” said Thane Smallwood, a member of the East Prince/West Queens Regional Economic Advisory Council. “My goal is to help develop our economy and the infrastructure required to ensure the next generation prospers.”
Members of the Regional Economic Advisory Councils were chosen through Engage PEI which helps Islanders apply to volunteer on more than 70 provincial government agencies, boards and commissions. To learn more about which agency, board or commission may fit your interests, contact Engage PEI.
Here are the members of the province’s Regional Economic Advisory Councils.
Jason Ramsay, Chair
Mr. Ramsay, a resident of Fortune Cove, is a senior representative with McCain Produce and a recognized community leader in West Prince. Having lived in West Prince his entire life, Mr. Ramsay has been an advocate for local schools and the importance of the province’s primary industries.
Chief Matilda Ramjattan
Chief Ramjattan was elected Chief of Lennox Island First Nation in April 2013. Chief Ramjattan has been recognized by Health Canada through the First Nation and Inuit Health Award for Excellence with Communicable Disease Control Health Emergency and is an active volunteer in her community and church. Chief Ramjattan is a member of the Sunrise Singers women’s drum group and is an Aboriginal entrepreneur.
A resident of Alberton for over 20 years, Ms. Batten is a graphic designer who owns and operates a publication promoting local small businesses in the Western Region. Ms. Batten has been a volunteer with the PEI Association of Newcomers to Canada and a long time board member of the Alberton Library Ltd. She is currently pursuing a Certificate in Adult Learning and Bachelor of Education from UPEI and Holland College.
A business owner in Tyne Valley, Ms. Dillon is also a member of Innovation PEI’s Board of Directors. A proud Islander, Ms. Dillon wants to help ensure there are opportunities for young Islanders to work, raise a family and be successful in rural PEI.
Ms. Rix, from O’Leary, is the Executive Director of the West Prince Chamber of Commerce. She was a member of the organizing committee which spearheaded O’Leary’s successful bid to be named Kraft Hockeyville in 2017. Ms. Rix has previously worked with the West Prince Sports Council, Rural Community Learning Inc., and the O’Leary Community Sports Centre as well as being an instructor of Community Education at Holland College.
Mr. Adams is the owner and operator of Iron Haven Gym which has locations in three Prince County communities. An entrepreneur for over 30 years, Mr. Adams also owns Eclipse Entertainment and has received provincial recognition for his entrepreneurial successes.
East Prince/West Queens
Rick Kennedy, Chair
Mr. Kennedy is a Chartered Accountant from Summerside and is the current president of Curran and Briggs, a heavy construction company specializing in road and highway construction as well as project and land development.
Mr. Arsenault has owned and operated Wellington Service Station Ltd. since 1982. He serves on the council of La Société de développement de la Baie acadienne (SDBA) and has been a member of the Village of Wellington council as well as an active supporter of local charitable organizations.
Ms. Robinson is from Augustine Cove. Robinson’s family has been farming in the area since 1810. Ms. Robinson served on the board of directors of the PEI Federation of Agriculture for eight years including as president in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, Ms. Robinson received the Women in Agriculture Award from the PEI Women’s Institute. She is the current chair of the Canadian Agriculture Human Resources Council, and a member of the National Program Advisory Council to the Federal Minister of Agriculture and on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
Ms. Roberts has been a business owner in her community of Kinkora and other mostly rural communities, for 25 years. Her businesses cross over various sectors including agriculture, retail, food service and real estate. She is a board member of the Canadian Convenience Store Association and Food Island Partnership and was named Kinkora’s Citizen of the Year in 2008.
Mr. Clow is from Hampshire and has worked with Cavendish Farms for the past 24 years in many roles including VP Operations and General Manager Cavendish Farms and Senior VP of the Cavendish Group. Mr. Clow is also the secretary/treasurer of Hampshire Cemetery, a past board member of the PEI Heart and Stroke Foundation and past board member of the Alliance for Potato Research and Education.
Born and raised in Charlottetown, Mr. Smallwood moved back to PEI in 2006 and is the General Manager of PEI Bag Co. Ltd in Central Bedeque. Since returning to PEI, Mr. Smallwood has served in numerous volunteer positions including as President of Scouts Canada, a member of the Summerside Rotary Club and an executive member of the Summerside Chamber of Commerce.
Jennifer Dunn, Chair
Ms. Dunn is a tax partner with BDO Canada and has over 20 years of public accounting experience in a variety of not-for-profit, private- and public-sector engagements. She has been a board member and treasurer of the PEI division of the Canadian Mental Health Association and is a past president of the Rotary Club of Hillsborough. In 2017, she received the Sinclair Cutcliffe Award for her involvement with rotary. The award is presented annually to a member who exemplifies the rotary ideal of service above self.
Chief Brian Francis
The Chief and Band Administrator for Abegweit First Nation since 2007, Chief Francis is a strong advocate for continuing education and advanced learning. He was the first Aboriginal person in PEI to receive a red seal trade certificate and has spent time working with the federal departments of Veterans Affairs and Fisheries and Oceans. Chief Francis was recently appointed to the Advisory Group on the Atlantic Growth Strategy and is a proud recipient of the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Ms. Alan has spent the last 12 years as the Executive Director of Downtown Charlottetown Inc. working closely with partners to revitalize Charlottetown, attract business to the city and create employment opportunities for its residents. Ms. Alan is the past president of the Rotary Club of Hillsborough and the West Royalty Home and School Association. She currently sits on major city management organization boards regionally, nationally and internationally.
Mr. Jewell is the CEO of Canada’s Island Garden. From York, Mr. Jewell is active in the agriculture industry and his community and with his wife Dawn owned Jewell’s Country Market, a garden centre and farmer’s market since 1998.
After working in Nova Scotia and Quebec for the past ten years, Ms. Kilfoil moved back to PEI and is currently the Interim Executive Director at Women’s Network PEI. Ms. Kilfoil’s experience in the non-profit sector with such organizations as the Girls Action Foundation and Katimavik, will bring expertise in youth engagement, experiential learning and delivering programs from a feminist perspective.
Mr. Hennessey lives in Stratford and has been a business leader for almost 30 years. Among his businesses are Source for Sports and East Coast Cresting. Mr. Hennessey has spent time as a board member for numerous local and national organizations including the National Sporting Goods Association, Downtown Charlottetown Inc., Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce, Stratford Planning Board and Pownal Minor Hockey Association.
Ms. Lemire is from Nine Mile Creek and has been a resident of Prince Edward Island since 2009. She is the director of the Coopérative d’intégration francophone de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard (CIF) and through CIF has established the Francophone Immigrant Recruitment Program and the AgriInterCulture program which seeks to match skilled workers in the agriculture sector with Island farmers. Ms. Lemire is also chair of the Acadian and Francophone Community Advisory Committee.
Scott Annear, Chair
Mr. Annear is the owner and general manager of Morley Annear Ltd., a significant trucking company located in Montague. Mr. Annear is also involved in the tourism sector with River Run Dining Cruises which operates out of Montague and Georgetown. Mr. Annear is active in the Montague Rotary Club, serves as Chair of the Lower Montague Council, President of the PEI Trucking Sector Council and a member of the Masons and Shriners service clubs. He recently served on the the PEI Ferry Task Force.
Ms. Shilabeer is the administrator of the Wood Islands & Area Development Corporation which has a number of initiatives based at the eastern entry point to Prince Edward Island. Originally from Alberta, Ms. Shilabeer has been a small business owner, spent time working with both the provincial government of Alberta and the federal government and is passionate about rural economic and community development. She is currently working alongside the Belfast Historical Society to coordinate a vision for the continued growth of the community and was a member of the the PEI Ferry Task Force.
Mr. Fitzpatrick learned a strong work ethic at a young age while helping on his family farm. At the age of 22, he purchased King County Chrysler in Montague which he still runs 31 years later. Mr. Fitzpatrick’s involvement within his community has included time with the Cavendish Wellness Centre Fundraising and Steering Committees and as a member of the Brudenell Community Council. He is currently Vice President of the PEI Dealers Association.
Ms. Hoerig and her family moved to St. Peters Bay in 2015 from Montreal for a job opportunity as General Manager of Bohemian Findings, a leading international online Etsy retailer. With over 20 years of retail experience, Ms. Hoerig has strong leadership skills and believes there are opportunities in Prince Edward Island for both personal and professional growth. Ms. Hoerig is looking forward to becoming more involved in her community as a member of the East Regional Economic Advisory Council.
Mr. Cheverie and his wife, who are originally from Souris, moved back to their home community in 2013 to start a business. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Mr. Cheverie worked in the construction industry as a Project Manager in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
Mr. Keenan is the Chief Executive Officer of Rollo Bay Holdings in Souris. The company is a major potato growing and packaging operation. Mr. Keenan has served as a member of the Board of Governors for the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame and the PEI Ferry Task Force and is currently the Chairman of the United Potato Growers of Canada and Vice-Chair of the Inspire Campaign of Global and Experimental learning for UPEI.
A Professional Engineer with 32 years experience working with Public Works and Government Services Canada, Mr. Taylor currently works part time for the largest independent engineering firm in the region. Mr. Taylor is also an entrepreneur, managing his own consulting company. Through his consulting company, Mr. Taylor has been instrumental in the relocation of the Amish community to eastern PEI and is currently working with the First Nations on renewable energies.
Department of Rural and Regional Development