Alberta Regional Board of Directors
Meet Alberta's Regional Board members:
Mike was born in High River, Alberta and was raised in a ranching family in the foothills of southwestern Alberta. His love for nature comes from having grown up spending time along the rivers and in the foothills of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. The majesty of the landscapes of this region and the abundance of wildlife have left a lasting impression on him to this day.
After leaving the ranching life behind, Mike pursued careers in real estate development and then in founding a coffee/cafe brand, Good Earth Coffeehouse, with his wife and partner, Nan. He has always kept an interest and involvement in land conservation. He has been involved with the national board of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), co-chaired a seat at the roundtable of the Banff-Bow Valley Study, served as president of Central Rockies Wolf Project/Wolf Awareness and is the current board chair for the Alberta Region of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Mike lives in Calgary with his wife, Nan, and their daughter, Sophie. There is nothing more gratifying for him than spending time in nature hiking, riding, paddling and skiing in his beloved Alberta.
Susan Church worked extensively with Alberta’s agriculture and food industry for 40 years. She helped position Alberta livestock producers as leaders in animal care issues throughout Canada and the U.S. She and her husband have been active supporters and board members of the Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC's) Alberta Region for several years and have placed two conservation agreements on their ranchland. Susan is past chair of the Alberta Region board.
Susan has been recognized by her peers in the agriculture industry and has received several industry awards, including the Canadian Veterinarian Medical Association’s Humane Care Award. She is a member of the Calgary Stampede’s Animal Care Advisory Council.
She brings with her diverse experience as a board member of the William Herron Family Foundation, the Calgary Stampede Foundation, past board member of Heritage Park and community representative for the University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine Animal Care Committee.
Robert J. Engbloom
Bob Engbloom practises primarily M&A, corporate and securities law and acts for a number of businesses. Mr. Engbloom also acts as lead counsel on a wide variety of significant transactions and has extensive experience in providing advice on mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations and related-party transactions. His practice includes advising boards of directors and special committees on both governance matters and substantive transactions.
Michael Freeborn is managing director and Head of Energy, Investment Banking at CIBC, where he advises energy clients on capital raising and mergers and acquisitions. Michael has held investment banking and capital markets roles at CIBC and Goldman Sachs for over 16 years.
Michael is a native Albertan with ancestors that homesteaded in the province. He and his wife, Alison, and daughters, Katie and Elizabeth, enjoy a number of outdoor pursuits and are passionate about protecting our country’s precious natural landscapes.
Tom Huffaker became vice-president for public and government affairs at Imperial in Calgary in 2013, following service on ExxonMobil’s International Government Relations staff in Washington, DC. Prior to that, he was vice-president for policy and environment at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and a U.S. Foreign Service Officer for 23 years. His early career included the practice of law in California and service on the Capital Hill staff of former House Democratic Caucus Chairman Vic Fazio.
Huffaker holds a BA from the University of California, Davis, a JD from the University of California, San Francisco and an economics diploma from the U.S. Foreign Service Institute. He currently serves on the board of the Canada West Foundation and the Canada Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center and is president of the Imperial Foundation.
Ron Kruhlak is a senior partner with the law firm of McLennan Ross LLP. His practice focuses on resource development issues and commercial disputes. He has extensive experience in energy, environmental and construction-related projects and regularly appears before a variety of courts and tribunals.
Mr. Kruhlak also provides strategic advice to corporations and municipalities on stakeholder issues and enforcement proceedings, and participates in arbitrations and mediations involving energy and construction-related disputes. He is active in a number of organizations in the legal community and is president of the Alberta Chamber of Resources. Mr. Kruhlak is past president of the Environmental Law Centre, and one of the founders of the Alberta Emerald Foundation.
Born in Innisfail, Alberta, Hal Kvisle joined Dome Petroleum Limited in 1975 as a petroleum engineer where he played a key role in crafting the sale of the troubled Canadian company to Amoco Corporation in 1987. In 1988 he joined Fletcher Challenge Energy Canada as president. In 1999 Kvisle joined TransCanada Corporation and was named president and chief executive officer in 2001.
In 2008 Kvisle was named Canada's Outstanding CEO of the Year. He followed that with the 2009 Canadian Business Leader Award, the 2010 Distinguished Business Leader Award and was named to Alberta Venture's list of the top 50 most influential people in the province. Kvisle served several terms as a governor with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, chaired the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America and has been a director for a number of companies, including Talisman Energy and the Bank of Montreal. He currently serves as board chair of ARC Resources and is a board member of Northern Blizzard Resources.
Hal Kvisle has been a National or Alberta board member of the Nature Conservancy of Canada since 2007 and served as chair of the National board from 2011 to 2013.
Maureen McCaw is past executive vice-president (Alberta) of Leger Marketing, formerly Criterion Research Corp., a company she founded in 1986. Ms. McCaw currently serves as chair of Edmonton International Airport, is a director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), is chair of the CBC Pension Fund Plan Board of Trustees and serves on the board of Suncor Energy.
Maureen works with a number of community organizations in addition to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, including the Faculty of Business Advisory Council at MacEwan University. Ms. McCaw is also a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (Edmonton) Executive Committee. She is past chair of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and is a former board member of the Alberta Securities Commission. Ms. McCaw is a resident of the City of Edmonton.
Julia Palmer helps manage Scott Palmer Ranching, working to ensure the high prairie grassland and riparian habitat of the Waterton Park Front and lands adjacent remain productive.
A fourth-generation rancher, Julia is committed to land stewardship and has helped in the development of an innovative rotational grazing system that stimulates soil productivity and preserves native plant species. She also oversees one of the largest organic beef herds in Canada. Her insight and ongoing work have led to selecting happy cows that contribute to her preservation efforts.
Julia continues to pursue innovative solutions in agriculture and land stewardship.
Dean Prodan is currently employed as CFO and director of Whitehorn Resources Ltd., portfolio manager for Priviti Capital Corp. and director of Whitewater Ski Resort. His previous employment includes president and sole owner of UTA Asset Management, four years as an institutional salesman for Peters & Co. Ltd., five years as managing director and co-founder of FirstEnergy Capital Corp., four years as president and portfolio manager of Dominion Equity Resource Fund and managing director of Canfund VE Management Corp. All businesses were focused in the Canadian Energy Sector, specifically in the public markets.
Mr. Prodan currently holds board positions on several private companies, including chair of the board for Cool It Systems Inc. and director of Canadian Energy Acquisition Ltd. He is also active on the advisory board of Priviti Capital Corp. Other board and volunteer activities in the not-for-profit sector include a current position as board chair of the Calgary Arts Development Authority, a director of The Palix Foundation, a director of the Calgary Stampede Foundation, member of the investment committee for the Max Bell Foundation and a member of the Alberta regional board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Kevin Van Tighem
Kevin Van Tighem was born and raised in Calgary. His family roots in what is now Alberta go back to 1875. After graduating with a degree in plant science from the University of Calgary in 1977, he went on to work as a conservation biologist, park warden, interpreter and park superintendent in various western Canadian national parks over a career spanning more than 30 years.
A naturalist, paddler, hunter and angler, Kevin has devoted most of his life to promoting nature conservation and ecological literacy. He is the author of 13 books on wildlife and the environment (including Bears Without Fear (2013), The Homeward Wolf (2013) and, most recently, Heart Waters/Sources of the Bow River (2015), all published by Rocky Mountain Books) as well as numerous magazine and journal articles. He writes a regular column (This Land) for Alberta Views.
Barry Worbets has spent over 40 years working at the intersection of the environment and business. Born and raised in rural Alberta, Worbets graduated from the University of Alberta with a bachelors of science and the University of Calgary with a masters of environmental design. He has a deep understanding of land history, science and policy, particularly in Alberta.
Worbets spent five years as a senior fellow with the Canada West and Max Bell Foundation, improving land and water policy in western Canada. In six oil and gas companies he built industry-leading teams to deliver top-quartile Health Safety and Environmental performance. He was one of the Founders of North American Oilsands Corporation.
Mr. Worbets has served on many boards, including the World Wildlife Fund, Alberta Water Research Institute and Parks Foundation Calgary, to name a few. The Alberta Emerald Foundation for Environmental Excellence honoured him in 2001 for his corporate leadership.