Wilf was born in Melville, Saskatchewan. He attended the University of Saskatchewan, receiving a doctoral degree with specialization in Crop Science in 1972, and then studied as a postdoctoral scientist in the Max-Planck Institut für Biologie, in Tubingen, Germany. Wilf was employed as a Research Scientist with the Research Branch of Agriculture Canada in Ottawa from 1973-89. During this period 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 July 2007, Wilf assumed the role of Acting Director General, PBI for a period of one year. From June 2008 to May 2012, Wilf served as president and CEO for Genome Prairie. Wilf has been actively involved in the development and application of biotechnologies for the genetic modification of crops, particularly canola. He has collaborated with numerous government, university and industry groups and has provided training for researchers in plant biotechnology. He has led major research initiatives on 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. He has given many presentations and lectures on biotechnology including public awareness and public education aspects of this emerging field. In June, 2010, Wilf was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Society for In Vitro Biology. In 2015, Wilf received the province's highest honour, the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.
Manager of Event Development: Nicola Goosen-Davila
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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.
Manager, Finance, Administration and Human Resources: Boni Dorish
Boni has been with the AWB since the beginning of 2012 and is responsible for all financial activities of the organization as well the administration and HR responsibilities. She attended SAIT in Calgary, AB where she completed her Accounting Certificate, and then attended SIAST in Saskatoon, SK where she received her Accounting Diploma. Boni worked as Control Accountant with Enmax in Calgary, AB, and gained valuable experience from her employment at the POS Pilot Plant in Saskatoon, where she worked as an accountant for six years.
Corporate Secretary and Executive Assistant: Lana Mollard
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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
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/GenomePrairie 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.
International Business Development: Bev Stangeland
bio to come