About KLT

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors main objective is to manage the affairs of organization by ensuring that KLT’s mission is at the forefront of all decisions and future development. The BoD reviews and approves recommendations from it committees in the areas of financial stewardship and risk management, human resources, monitoring key stakeholders, and overseeing community, education and advocacy.

John Desbiens, P.Eng., Chair

John Desbiens, a professional engineer who has been practicing consulting and engineering over two decades, is the new chair of the Kawartha Land Trust. He is President and CEO of Cambium Inc., a Peterborough consulting and engineering company that provides expertise and services in environmental, geotechnical, and construction monitoring. John has lived and worked in both North and South America while focusing his expertise on the protection of the natural environment and human health. Throughout his career, John has consistently been conscious of the complex interactions between our built environments and the surrounding natural environment within which they are embedded. Much of John’s work experience has been in support of dozens of municipal, provincial, and federal government initiatives that must balance a broad spectrum of interests and priorities. He has been a member of the KLT Board of Directors since 2016.

John McWilliams, QC, Vice Chair

John McWilliams retired as Senior Vice-President and General Counsel of Nexen Inc., and brings over 30 years of experience in the international oil and gas business. He has played a leadership role in governance, ethics and corporate responsibility, including the development of the International Code of Ethics for Canadian Business. He is a former Director of Transparency International Canada, former President of the Canadian Petroleum Law Foundation, Founding Director of Bank West, Chair of the International Conservation Fund of Canada, and a Trustee and Director for Lakefield College School.

Cheryl Lewis, Past Chair

Cheryl Lewis has retired from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources where she held the position of Director of Applied Research and Development. Previously, she had worked as a Fisheries Biologist in Lindsay. She has been living in Peterborough since 1995. Cheryl enjoys many outdoor activities including hiking, canoeing, birding, cycling and fishing and is pleased to join KLT’s efforts to conserve key natural heritage features in the Kawartha region.

George A. Gillespie, Treasurer

George is a Fellow Chartered Accountant and recently retired from a local accounting firm McColl Turner LLP.  George was born and raised in Peterborough and is a graduate of Ryerson University with a B. Tech. degree in Business Management. George qualified as a Chartered Accountant and with his wife Ann, raised a family of four children and now has six grandchildren.  Over the course of George’s career, he has volunteered on many local Boards including Community Futures, Peterborough Business Development Centre and Fleming College.  George has also volunteered with the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants in Toronto and became a Fellow of the Institute in 2016. George is passionate about protecting our environment and he enjoys a variety of outdoor activities. George was appointed as Treasurer of the Board of Directors in June 2019 and is also a Trustee of the Kawartha Land Trust.

Eva Kennedy, B.Sc., M.Sc.

Eva Kennedy joins the Board after retiring from a career with the Ontario Public Service. She holds a B. Sc. in Biology from McGill University and a M. Sc. in Zoology from the University of Western Ontario. In her work for the Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources and Forestry, Eva held leadership positions in environmental policy, science and information management. She has been an active community volunteer and served on the Board of Directors of the Peterborough Social Planning Council.

Eric Howe 

Eric has an educational background in economics/commerce and has worked as a senior executive for a number of manufacturing businesses including most recently Fisher Gauge, NEFAB and Nobelgen. He has been involved with KLT as a volunteer for the past two years, including participating in stewardship activities on several properties and attending the 2017 retreat. He has served on a number of Boards, including the Peterborough-Hastings Trans Canada Trail Association Board.

Paul Downs

Paul Downs is a former teacher and school principal who became President and Owner of Nexicom Inc. following the death of his father in 1978. He is on the KLT Board of Directors and a member of the Finance and Audit Committee. Over the years he has served as president of several telecommunications associations and chaired a number of committees for different organizations. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wilfred Laurier University and Master of Education degree in Educational Administration from the University of Toronto.

Al Sippel

Al Sippel spent 32 years working in the Fish and Wildlife Program of the Ministry of Natural Resources. He started out as a fish health specialist, and worked as a district biologist and in policy and legislation development. He retired in 2009 as the manager of the section responsible for fishing and hunting licences, collecting revenues and other business aspects of the fish and wildlife program. He enjoys gardening, bird-watching, reading, cooking and travel. Al is past-chair of the Land Stewardship Committee and has been a member of KLT Board of Directors since 2019.

Committees of the Board

Finance & Audit Committee

  • George A. Gillespie, Chair
  • Don Gillespie
  • John Desbiens
  • Alec Gowland
  • Paul Downs

Investment Committee

  • George A. Gillespie, Chair
  • Doug Eberlee
  • Alec Gowland
  • Eric Howe

Nominating Committee

  • Cheryl Lewis, Chair
  • Alec Gowland
  • John McWilliams
  • Bill Morris
  • Eric Howe