Albertans Supporting Alberta
As Northwestern Polytechnic works to support the economic recovery of Alberta, the institution launched the Workforce Advisory Council.
The Council will be guided by NWP's strategic priorities and the recommendations put forward by the
Alberta Colleges’ Economic Recovery Task Force and the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs Report.
The Workforce Advisory Council will be led by Council chair, Dennis Landis, President and CEO of PrairieCoast
Equipment. The Council will be comprised of 20-members featuring entrepreneurs, business owners, and employers
representing a broad cross-section of industries in Alberta.
The Workforce Advisory Council will work with NWP to:
- Support regional economic recovery.
- Strengthen connectivity with industry.
- Improve the integration of skills development in thriving and emerging sectors within NWP’s
As NWP continues on the path of becoming the centre of post-secondary excellence in northern Alberta,
the institution is committed to tackling the unprecedented challenges resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic.
NWP will support and help expedite local, provincial and national economic recovery through the fostering of:
- Talent for a skilled workforce.
- Meaningful work-integrated learning opportunities to create pathways to employment.
- The implementation of innovative approaches to identify future trends in the workforce.
- Research and innovation partnerships to attract investment in the region.
Meet our Members
Denis Landis, Chair
Dennis Landis was born and raised in Honduras and Mexico. After graduating high school, Dennis
moved to Grande Prairie earning a degree in Religious Education from the Peace River Bible
Institute. During college Dennis worked at his family's John Deere dealership and has grown that
business into PrairieCoast Equipment - named as one of Canada's 25 Best Managed Companies
(2012), and as Canada's Top Employer (2020).
Dennis believes in using his skills and abilities to make a difference. He has dedicated his time
serving on the GP Chamber of Commerce executive, the World-Wide Sales advisory board for Deere
and Co., and currently as chair of the PRBI Board of Directors. He has also created a mentorship
program, "Top Shelf" which works with young entrepreneurs in the region. Dennis is excited to
offer his experience and expertise to NWP's Workforce Advisory Council.
Alex Barendregt is the owner of Teleo Inc.
Cody Beairsto is a lifelong resident of northern Alberta and proud to call Grande Prairie home.
He shares his for all things Grande Prairie with his wife and two kids, who are very involved in
Cody is a Civil Engineer and partner of Beairsto and Associates, a family-founded engineering and
survey company based in the Peace Country. He obtained his Civil Engineering degree through the
Engineering program at GPRC for the first year, transferring to U of A for the balance of the
Volunteering within the region has always been important to Cody; he has previously served one
year as Chair and four years as a director on the board of the Grande Prairie and District
Chamber of Commerce; nine years as a director on the board for Community Futures Grande Prairie
and Region; and is currently serving as a council member for the Northern Alberta Development
Council for the Province of Alberta.
Cody is very excited for the opportunity to be involved once again with NWP and its continuing
pursuit of educational excellence.
Brian Bettis leads TELUS Communications as the General Manager for Northern Alberta and BC
Interior. With over a decade of experience in telecommunications, Brian's cross functional
experience and people-first approach have driven significant improvements in TELUS' ability to
deliver on its Future Friendly promise.
Brian is a disrupter and a passionate champion of change. He is never afraid to put his neck out
and try something, while using the power of collaboration to do it. He believes that harnessing
the collective intelligence by sharing information and solving problems in real time, promotes
impactful change within the community.
Scott is the CEO of TARA Energy Services.
Rene Blais was born in North Battleford, SK and moved to Manning AB at a young age, where he
spent his childhood. After completing school, he went to work for a local rig moving company,
which launched his career in the oil and gas industry. Since that time Rene has managed a number
of oilfield companies with a track record for building success. He owned Prime Oilfield Rentals
and Prime Oilfield Hauling, and is the current owner/operator of RB Oilfield Hauling.
Outside of business Rene and his family like to give back to the community by supporting local
charities such as PARDS, Stars and others. He is married with two children, and five grand
Kory is the Regional Managing Partner, Peace Region at MNP.
Scott is the Senior Game Services Programmer, Improbable Game Studios.
Marc Colombina leads the operations, project management, logistics and procurement for Terrapin
Geothermal's various projects, including the Alberta No. 1 Geothermal Project. Beyond project
and resource management, Marc maintains Terrapin's relationships with the various Federal,
Provincial, and non-government granting and tax credit organizations while also assisting with
lobbying and policy development. Marc is active in the Alberta energy and environmental policy
sector, acting as both a participant and observer for policy changes such as the Distributed
Generation Review and the transition from the Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation (CCIR)
to the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) emissions management programs, in
order to align Terrapin's activities and assumptions with policy indicators.
Stacy is the Senior Operating Officer, QEII Regional Hospital and Area 9 Operations, Alberta
Born and raised in Horse Lake First Nation, Eugene Horseman learned first-hand the issues facing
his community. With the vision of improving the lives of his community members, he has served as
an elected leader for over 12 years in Horse Lake First Nation, the past four as Chief. Eugene's
leadership has introduced innovative and practical solutions for the community, and he is
committed to building a more effective government and administration.
Eugene is recognized by Government, Industry and First Nation people as an effective and
strategic leader. He is the Director of Business Development and a partner at Status Energy - a
position which provides him an opportunity to continually engage industry partners while finding
ways to improve the lives of First Nation people throughout Treaty 8, Alberta and across Canada.
Owen is a member of the KMSC Law LLP team in Grande Prairie.
Kim is part of the My Lifestyle Agents team.
Randi is a Branch Manager for ATB Financial.
Robert McLaughlin is the Operations Superintendent at Canfor. His career in the Forestry sector
spans over 28 years, during which time he has worked in Northern Ontario, various regions of
British Columbia and now the Alberta Peace Country. Robert loves the outdoors and spending time
with his kids.
He is looking forward to being part of the Workforce Advisory Council where he can offer input
and perspective from the Forest-industry, as well as learn from the very experienced individuals
who make up the Council.
John grew up in Grande Prairie with a large family, spending most of his time on the ice or outdoors.
He is currently finishing the Business Administration Diploma with a Financial Services Major, after
which he will transfer to the University of Lethbridge to finish his Finance Degree, with
aspirations of Law School in the future.
John is in his second year of student leadership at Northwestern Polytechnic. He is the current President and served as
the previous VP External for the Students' Association. John has represented the Students'
Association on both Academic Council and Workforce Advisory Council and additionally, he chairs the
John has deep routes in the Peace Region, spending most of his spare time coaching youth hockey or
creating resumes for residents seeking employment. He is a strong advocate of youth engagement and
John is both honoured and excited to hold membership on the Board of Governors and contribute to the
institution's polytechnic transition.
Frank Vant Erve
Frank is the Customer Service Manager for Finning.
Dr. Luc Boyer
Dr. Luc Boyer is the Manager, Institutional Planning and Research at NWP. He holds a PhD in
Sociology from the University of Waterloo, with a specialization in survey research (data
quality, nonignorable nonresponse, research-on-research), mixed methodology, and applied social
statistics. He holds certificates in Big Data and Social Analytics (MIT), Program Evaluation
Essential Skills (CES), and Teacher of Adult Education (Centennial). He is also deeply committed
to the sociology profession, having served as Communications Officer, Executive Committee
(ex-officio), for the Canadian Sociological Association.
Luc thrives on enhancing knowledge and informing decision-making at the strategic, tactical and
operational levels. He is passionate about fostering collaboration between government, business
and post-secondary institutions.
Dr. Andrew Dunlop
Dr. Andrew Dunlop is the Director, Research and Innovation at Northwestern Polytechnic. He
is an historical geographer with a research interest in cultural ecology and the evolution of
landscapes within different environmental contexts. His research findings and career experience
have convinced Andrew that great innovative ideas can come from anyone, and that NMP plays an
important role in bringing them to life. 'Place' is at the centre of Andrew's approach to pretty
much all things in life, and he very much apprecates the opportunity to work with fantastic
innovators, teachers, and learners throughout the Peace and West Yellowhead regions.
Cherene Griffiths joined NWP's Executive in August 2020, adding her 15 years' experience in post-secondary education within Alberta, to the team. She recently served as the Executive Director, Government Relations, at the University of Alberta, where she helped to build and advance the institution's reputation and relationships. Cherene brings leadership experience in stakeholder engagement, issues management, administration, and human resources to the Vice President, External Relations role.
Cherene holds a Bachelor of Commerce, and a Master's of Business Administration from the University of Alberta, as well as a designation as a Chartered Professional in Human Resources. Throughout her career, Cherene has distinguished herself through her commitment to post-secondary education, building relationships, and her dedication to community service.
Shelly Hegge brings a lot of experience to the table as NWP's Event Services Coordinator. Born
in the BC Peace, Shelly worked in her family-owned business before making the move of a lifetime
to Oslo, Norway. After 16 years, she returned to the Peace County and worked in a number of
upper-level positions at a large Grande Prairie hotel, before joining Northwestern Polytechnic. Shelly has a
passion for lifelong learning, and is excited to part of the team.