Throughout his 40 year science career, Wilf led many major research initiatives. These included the application of genomics in canola improvement; the development of industrial bioproducts from vegetable oils; and production of bioactive natural products in plants for enhanced human health and quality of life.
Wilf grew up in Melville, SK. He earned a PhD in Crop Science at the University of Saskatchewan, followed by postdoctoral studies in Germany. He worked at Agriculture Canada in Ottawa from 1973-89, where he pursued research on cell genetics of selected Canadian crops and contributed to the establishment of a plant biotechnology research program, which he chaired from 1980-89. In 1990, he accepted a position with the Plant Biotechnology Institute (PBI) of the National Research Council of Canada in Saskatoon and served as group leader for canola biotechnology research and head of the Transgenic Plant Centre until 1999, when he assumed the position of research director. In 2007 he took a one-year posting as the acting director general of the PBI, then served as president and CEO for Genome Prairie From 2008 to 2012. Along with his position as president and CEO of Ag-West Bio Inc, Wilf recently assumed the role of Chair of the Agricultural Institute of Canada.
In 2010, Wilf was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Society for In Vitro Biology. In 2015, he received the province's highest honour, the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.
Director of Commercialization: Brad Bly
As the Director of Commercialization, Brad manages Ag-West's Commercialization Fund, an early stage financing vehicle that can invest in Ag-bio companies with promising technology and an economically feasible plan for commercialization. In this capacity Brad works with companies, in collaboration with other stakeholders, to help get them ready for immediate and follow-on investment. He also specializes in knowledge transfer and seeks innovative ways to provide mentorship and commercialization input through the creation of seminars or one-on-one input.
Brad has a diverse Saskatchewan farm/agri-business and banking background. He worked for many years in the Saskatchewan banking industry, along with five years in economic development project management and commercial funding with the Federal Reserve Bank and U.S. Treasury. He is a certified economic development finance professional (EDFP) with a bachelor in Agriculture and an MA in economics. He also volunteers as an executive board member with the Saskatchewan Economic Development Association (SEDA). Brad grew up on a farm near Saskatoon, and operated the farm before moving to Minnesota. His wife Chantal is a chiropractor. They have two young children.
Mike grew up on a farm near Scott, SK. as part of a large farming family. He obtained his Agriculture degree in 1991 at the University of Saskatchewan with a Specialization in Soils. He worked for Dow, Agriculture Canada, Novozymes and Monsanto in various research capacities during his university years. Upon graduation he began his career as a retail agronomist with Imperial Oil. In 1994 Mike moved to the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool as a Senior Commodity Merchandiser, sourcing and trading special crops. From 1997 to 2000 he acted as a Business Process Reengineer, obtaining his PMP and helping design and implement a new IT grain handling system. From 2001 to 2004 Mike worked with the Canadian Wheat Board operating out of Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 2004 he joined Federated Co-operatives Ltd. in Saskatoon as their Corporate Agronomist and later served as the Director of Marketing in the Crop Supplies Department.
For the past five years as the Director of Corporate Initiatives for Ag-West Bio, Mike has served as government liaison, keeping provincial and federal governments up-to-date on regulatory and trade issues. He works with industry, research institutions, associations, and government agencies to identify and lead key strategic initiatives and execute collaborative projects to strengthen Saskatchewan’s ag-bioeconomy, and he provides strategic guidance in Ag-West Bio’s commercialization activities. Mike is happily married with four children. He continues to own land with his wife, but is no longer actively farming. He is currently completing his EMBA.
Director, Finance, Administration and Human Resources: Boni Dorish
Boni manages all financial activities, administration and human resources for Ag-West Bio. She is responsible for the overall accounting analysis and reporting, monitoring of system processes as well as helping to ensure that the activities of the organization are aligned with the strategic plan.
Boni has a diverse accounting background. She worked in Calgary, AB as a Control Accountant with Enmax, then returned to Saskatoon to work as an accountant for POS Bio-Sciences for six years before taking on her current role at Ag-West Bio. Boni attended SAIT in Calgary where she completed her Accounting Certificate, then received her Business Certificate at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Saskatoon. Recently, Boni earned her CPA, CMA designation. She also volunteers as an Industry Director for BioTalent Canada.
Communications and Administrative Assistant: Monica Gordon
Monica was born and raised in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. While she has no immediate family members working in agriculture, she did hear a lot of first-hand accounts about faming life when she worked as a waitress at a local coffee shop in high school. Monica attended the University of Saskatchewan, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2015. During her final year of university, she wrote for the U of S student newspaper, the Sheaf.
Prior to working at Ag-West Bio, Monica was the Marketing Summer Student at the Western Development Curatorial Centre in 2014, where she got to write some lovely radio commercials and conduct market research. At Ag-West Bio, Monica’s duties range from creating e-promos to making sure everyone has enough coffee to get through the day. She provides both administrative and communications support for events and conferences, and managed media relations for Saskatchewan’s Global Biotech Week 2016, which Ag-West Bio coordinates. Monica has no kids, but aspires to maybe own a dog one day.
Corporate Secretary and Executive Assistant: Lana Mollard
Lana was born in Humboldt, Saskatchewan and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She graduated from Secretarial Business School, returning to school in 2000 to refresh her skills at the Saskatoon Business College.
Lana worked as an executive assistant in the construction industry until 1987 when she started her family. She returned to the workforce in 2001, filling various positions with the Saskatoon Public School Division, such as secretary, accounting clerk, accounting supervisor and office manager. In the summer of 2008, she joined Genome Prairie as administrative assistant, then assumed the role of the Executive Assistant to the President. In June 2012, Lana accepted the position of Corporate Secretary and Executive Assistant to the President with Ag-West Bio Inc. Lana is also the Corporate Secretary for Agricultural Bioscience International Conference (ABIC) Foundation.
As Corporate Secretary and Executive Assistant to the President, Lana manages and supports the office of the president and is responsible for the oversight and management of the operations of the Board of Directors and its committees. She also advises the Board and senior management on corporate governance.
Communications Director: Jackie Robin
Jackie grew up on a farm north of Saskatoon in the early days of canola. She attended the University of Saskatchewan and then the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, AB where she earned a bachelor degree in Visual Communications. Her experience ranges from custom-designed interpretive centres, to part-owner of a weekly newspaper, to freelance graphic design and communications.
Jackie has been with Ag-West Bio since 2005, first as the Communications Assistant, and taking the position of Communications Director in 2008. Her duties include communications strategy for Ag-West Bio, media relations, website maintenance, event promotion, publication development and design, as well as membership. Her goal is to make the Ag-West Bio website the communication hub for Saskatchewan’s bioscience cluster.
Events and Communications Assistant: Allison Sigstad-Kirzinger
Allison grew up in west central Saskatchewan and from her youth was involved in 4H – which encouraged her love of horses. She began helping on the family farm at a young age, cooking meals and making her way to the field when she was old enough to drive. As a young adult, Allison moved to Alberta to pursue post-secondary schooling. She later moved back to Saskatchewan to help out with the family farm. Allison enjoys volunteering her time and talent with “Meals on Wheels,” the theatre and acting on stage.
After eight years of working in the Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar constituency for a Member of Parliament, Allison sought a new challenge in the bioscience sector, joining the Ag-West Bio/Genome Prairie team. She currently serves as the Events and Communications Assistant. An enthusiast of all aspects relating to horticulture, she feels at home working for a company that promotes biodiversity. Allison has one daughter who resides in Lethbridge, AB.
Research Analyst: Marin Stefanovski
Marin was born and raised in the capitol of Macedonia (Skopje) where he had a wonderful childhood and youth in the country’s "golden years." After high school, he studied German language and worked in sales. He completed his first year in Political Science at the University of Law, then moved to Prague to continue his education in the Anglo-American University, where he earned a bachelor degree in International Relations and Diplomacy. While studying, he managed coffee shops and restaurants.
While writing papers on various topics at the University, Marin was involved in creating topics for future conferences, mainly in oil and gas, green energy and upcoming technologies in various sectors. He lived in Barcelona in 2009, working as a freelancer for the Open Book Group Institute, then returned Prague in 2010, working, writing, and traveling.
Marin's passion for innovation and interest in science and technology paved the way for his journey to the "beautiful country of Canada" in 2015. He says he hopes to one day contribute to society by proving a new theory, or participating in finding an invention that will serve and help humanity. He believes that every person has a unique role in this world, following the beauty of his dreams, for the great achievement that each of us is preparing our whole life.
Not married, he says "the future will tell."
Marin has "an adorable niece in Macedonia, and a wonderful family that I respect, cherish and love."
Administration Assistant: Betty Timmons
Betty joined Ag-West Bio in April 2016 in a support role for the President’s office. Betty grew up in Dublin, Ireland, of farming parents and spent most of her summers on the farm with her grandparents. Having gained a post-secondary diploma in administration in Ireland, she moved to Ontario with her husband and young daughter. She spent a number of years working as Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of Masterfeeds, a leader in the Canadian animal nutrition industry, at their head office in London, Ontario. Upon moving to Saskatoon in 2012, Betty worked in the mining industry before joining Ag-West Bio. She is excited to be working in such a vibrant organization at the heart of the country’s agricultural biotechnology sector.
Manager of Cluster Development: Bev Stangeland
Bio to come
Manager of Event Development: Nicola Goosen-Davila
Nicky is currently on maternity leave.