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Board of Directors
Kawartha Land Trust’s (KLT) Board of Directors’ main objective is to manage the organization’s affairs by ensuring that KLT’s mission is at the forefront of all decisions and future development.
The Board of Directors reviews and approves recommendations from its committees in the areas of financial stewardship and risk management, human resources, monitoring key stakeholders, and overseeing community, education and advocacy.
Paul Downs, Chair
Paul Downs is the past president and previous owner of Nexicom Incorporated and Nexicom Systems Incorporated. Nexicom is a local telecommunication company with its head office in Millbrook, Ontario. Nexicom Systems is a supplier of telecom products to companies across Canada.
Paul was born and raised in the independent telephone industry. Upon completion of high school, Paul attended Lakeshore Teachers College and then Wilfrid Laurier University where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then returned to the teaching profession and over a period of fifteen years was a teacher, Vice-Principal, and Principal. During those years, he obtained his Master of Education degree in Educational Administration from the University of Toronto.
Following the death of his father in 1978, Paul, along with his brother John, became involved on a full-time basis with the Nexicom companies. Since 1978, Nexicom expanded its service offerings and grew its staff from ten employees to over eighty.
Over a period of thirty-seven years, Paul served as President and/or Director of many Canadian and U.S. telecommunication associations. Additionally, he served over eight years on the Fleming Board of Governors, in roles of Vice-Chair, Chair of the Governance Committee, and Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee. Paul and his family have properties in Millbrook, Mississauga, and the Township of Trent Lakes.
Randy Northey, Vice-Chair
Randy Northey is a business executive with over 35 years of legal, finance, and management experience. He helps operate a local Peterborough business, Health Care Relocations (HRC). Before joining HCR, Randy practiced commercial law at Peterborough law firm LLF Lawyers. Prior to that, he was a senior executive at a public real estate company based in Toronto.
Over the years, Randy has volunteered on a number of local boards, including Peterborough Housing Corp., Community Futures, and Art Gallery of Peterborough. He was raised in Peterborough and cottages on Mississauga Lake. Randy enjoys a broad range of outdoor activities, including alpine and Nordic skiing, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, and running.
George A. Gillespie, Treasurer
George A. Gillespie 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 Bachelor of Technology degree in Business Management.
George, with his wife, Ann, raised a family of four children and now has six grandchildren. Over the course of his career, George 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. He is passionate about protecting our environment and 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.
Robert Brown had a career as a software engineer with a solid history of successful entrepreneurial start-ups and then moved into the global corporate world as senior management at Siemens in R&D and Business Excellence. Robert currently works with numerous community-based not-for-profits and provides support at his partner’s dental clinic.
As a lifelong environmentalist/conservationist, Robert is a strong advocate of protecting land and all the creatures that come with it. He enjoys a broad range of activities including gardening, pottery, cycling, skiing, hiking, and anything else outdoors no matter the weather.
Geri Blinick (she/her) has worked in the not-for-profit sector in environment, community health, housing and homelessness as a community developer, program manager, project manager, and researcher. Geri has a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Biodiversity and an Master of Arts in Human Geography in which she worked with a First Nation to examine settler responsibilities in the context of ongoing access to Manoomin (wild rice) and Indigenous rights.
Geri is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work, and works at the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment where she facilitates cross-sectoral collaboration to improve tenants’ rights to healthy homes and children’s environmental health. Geri is an outdoor enthusiast who loves to walk in the woods, paddle, cross-country ski, garden, and read with her family and friends any chance she gets.
John Good brings years of experience in partnership development, community engagement, and government relations along with knowledge of stewardship and conservation programs, policies, and practices to his role as a Kawartha Land Trust Trustee and Director.
Prior to retiring, John was Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough. He has held positions with Parks Canada, Ontario Parks, and the Canadian Parks Council. He was also a volunteer Director of Otonabee Conservation and Otonabee Conservation Foundation.
Eric Howe 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 Kawrtha Land Trust as a volunteer for the past three 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.
Eva Kennedy joined the Board after retiring from a career with the Ontario Public Service. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from McGill University, a Master of Science in Zoology from the University of Western Ontario, and has taken the NFP Governance Essentials Program at the Rotman Institute of Management.
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 a lifelong community volunteer and served on the Board of Directors of the Peterborough Social Planning Council and the Lakefield Animal Welfare Society.
John McWilliams, QC, Past Chair
John McWilliams is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and Queen’s Law School. His work experience was largely in the international energy business, retiring as Senior Vice-President, General Counsel, Nexen Inc. He has played a leadership role in governance, ethics, and social responsibility, including the development of the International Code of Ethics for Canadian Business.
He is Past Chair and Director, International Conservation Fund of Canada, Trustee of Lakefield College School, and a Director of Calgary Arts Academy. John and his wife, Susan, summer at Stony Lake, are avid birders, and passionate about conservation. In 2020, they donated the 32-acre McWilliams Family Property to Kawartha Land Trust.
Al Sippel, Past Vice-Chair
Al Sippel spent 32 years with the Ministry of Natural Resources where he worked in several biology and management positions. After retiring in 2009, Al spent over nine years on KLT’s Land Stewardship Committee, including three years as Chair of that committee.
He is past Vice-Chair of KLT’s Board of Directors and has been a member of the Board since 2019. He enjoys gardening, bird watching, reading, cooking, and travelling.
Committees of the Board
Finance and Audit Committee
- George A. Gillespie, Chair
- Paul Downs
- Don Gillespie
- Randy Northey
- George A. Gillespie, Chair
- Robert Brown
- Doug Eberlee
- Eric Howe
- Al Sippel