The Friends of Kananaskis Country is a federally-registered charity incorporated under Alberta’s Society Act. It has a small but dedicated staff, a committed volunteer Board of Directors and hundreds of passionate, caring volunteers working collaboratively to keep Kananaskis Country’s natural and cultural heritage available for future generations.
Friends of Kananaskis Country Staff
Trevor Julian – Executive Director
Trevor is thrilled to join The Friends of Kananaskis as the Executive Director starting in mid-July, 2023. He is passionate about Kananaskis Country and has enjoyed paddling, skiing, biking, hiking, and wandering in the area since he moved to Alberta in 2010. Highlights include introducing his daughter to ski touring and hiking in K-Country with hiking Tent Ridge and skiing Engadine Burn as two of their favorites.
Trevor joins Friends after 26 years of working in independent school education in British Columbia and Alberta. The past 13 years have been spent at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School in Okotoks, Alberta in the roles of Middle School Principal, Senior School Principal, and most recently as Deputy Head of School. During this time, Trevor developed a variety of skills in leadership, project management, fundraising, finance, and working with volunteers that will help him be effective as the Executive Director of The Friends. In addition, Trevor has provided leadership and oversight to the school’s risk management, health and safety, and the outdoor education program.
Trevor, his wife Julie of 23 years, and his daughter Kate (finished 1st year at UBC), and son Jack (graduating high school in June) are thrilled to be move to Canmore to begin this new chapter of their lives.
Tim Johnson – Program Coordinator
Tim has been the FKC Program Coordinator since April 2018, working to plan trail stewardship days for the Kananaskis Volunteer Trail Program and lending a hand to FKC’s many other projects. In his free time he endeavours to chip away at an ever-growing list of hikes, bike rides, ski trails and snowshoe adventures in Kananaskis and the Rockies.
Bruce Gleig – Trail Care Supervisor
Bruce’s lifelong passion for trails began right out his back door onto the Niagara Escarpment and the 900km long Bruce Trail. After university, a love of the outdoors led to stints as a river guide in Canada and guiding hiking trips in Guatemala. He has spent the past 25+ years working in the environmental sector (government, non-profit, and private consulting). After 8 seasons as a Friends volunteer crew leader for trail stewardship programs, he’s thrilled to join the Friends of Kananaskis team as the Trail Care Supervisor. When he’s not building trails, you’ll find him hiking, biking, skiing, fishing, or paddling. Bruce and his family have lived in Canmore since 2001.
Bookkeeper – Michael Sovereign (CPA, CGA), Sovereign Cloud Accounting
Friends of Kananaskis Country Board of Directors
The Friends of Kananaskis Country is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Though they bring a diversity of backgrounds and skills to the Board, they all have one thing in common: a passion for Kananaskis Country. Our Board ensures that our programs and projects focus on:
- Trail care;
- Environmental education;
- Volunteer participation;
- Protection of the natural and cultural heritage of Kananaskis Country.
Ed Engstrom — Co-Chair
Born and brought-up in Alberta, Ed has been a Rocky Mountain enthusiast forever, starting as a child when he nicknamed water as “mountain juice”. This love of the mountains grew to include hiking, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, bouldering, rock climbing and mountaineering. After the floods of 2013, Ed decided it was time to give back his efforts to repair the damage.
Ed is married to hiker/skier Jackie and has 3 adult daughters who have all been infected with the Rocky Mountain bug. As part of a successful career in IT leadership, is an IT management consultant. Ed’s career as a volunteer continues with commitments to the Calgary Stampede and fitness organizations. He has been on the Board since November 2014, Co-Chair since June 2018.
Wendy Heidebrecht-Jossa — Co-Chair
Wendy is excited about working with Friends in her role on the Board. An accountant by trade and a hiker by passion, she has experience supporting various boards through executive-level reporting as well as holding several director positions. With over 25 years of diverse industry knowledge, Wendy can bring to the table invaluable insight.
Wendy enjoys travelling, hiking and trekking throughout the world, and has a passion for the Canadian Rockies. Since retiring from her hectic CFO position a couple of years ago, she joined a local hiking group, and rediscovered her love of exploring. She enjoys volunteering and sharing her knowledge with others. Wendy joined the Board in June 2021, immediately taking on the role of Secretary. She became Co-Chair in January 2022, and Chairs the Board’s Governance Subcommittee.
Sam Debree — Treasurer
Sam joined the Board of Directors in 2023, and immediately stepped up to act as Treasurer. She is excited to be working with Friends of Kananaskis Country. Sam grew up in Central Alberta and moved to Calgary in 2020 to be closer to the mountains and be able to go on more adventures. Throughout the years, she has been on many hiking, backpacking and trail running adventures with her dog Willow and her husband Jason. In the winter, she can often be found cross-country skiing and backcountry skiing. Many of her favorite trails are in the Kananaskis area and believes it is important to conserve the area for future generations to enjoy the trails. During the weekdays, she works as a Financial Analyst and has many years of experience working in the non-profit sector.
Derek Ryder — Secretary & Director of Communications
Derek is a long-time fan of the outdoors, having started hiking, backpacking, canoe tripping, rock climbing and skiing in Ontario in the 1970’s. After moving to Calgary in 1981, he fed his passion with hiking, white water canoeing and downhill skiing in the Rockies. He has held several directorship positions in community organizations, including acting as President of his Condo Association and his gliding club, managing newsletters at Bow Waters Canoe Club and the Victoria Macintosh User Group, and others.
Derek retired in 2011 after 32 years in the oil and gas industry, with a background in engineering, geology, economics, planning and management, including several national and international assignments. Since retiring, he has expanded his volunteering. He now:
- Helps the Bow Valley Stewards with Alberta Parks maintenance projects;
- Is a Wildlife Ambassador working with Bow Valley WildSmart to educate trail users on coexisting with wildlife;
- Supports Alberta Parks’ Kananaskis Ecology team’s various back-country trail camera Wildlife Research Projects, both through camera servicing and photo classification;
- Is a member of Kananaskis’ Bear team, out several days a week through the summer doing telemetry on collared bears, and managing people while bears are roadside;
- Has been a volunteer SnowHost at Sunshine Village since 2011.
In 2017, he gained certification with the Interpretive Guides Association as an Apprentice Interpretive and Hiking Guide. He resides in Kananaskis Country with his partner Karen, surrounded by the mountains in which he spends his time.
He has been on the Board since June 2012, serving continuously as Director of Communications, and has primary responsibility for the newsletter and website content, plus contributes to the Friends social media presence. Derek also gets out for many trail care days, and is a Crew Leader as well. He served as Chair or Co-Chair from September 2013 to January 2022. He has served as Secretary sporadically during his tenure as a Director, and currently serves as Chair of the Board’s Trail Care Subcommittee..
Kevin Jones – Director
Kevin immigrated to Canada from the UK with his wife Sarah in 2012, and settled in Calgary. They were drawn here mainly by proximity to the mountains and the space compared with southeast England. Since arriving, Kevin has taken up cross-country and downhill skiing, and snowshoeing in the local area and farther afield, as well as continuing with hiking and rock climbing that he had been enjoying in the UK. One of his first volunteering activities in Canada was as a member of the Operations Team organizing the annual Calgary New & Used Ski Sale. Recent retirement from a financial management position in the Calgary sports and recreation sector has afforded more time to enjoy the many outdoor activities that the Calgary area has to offer, and to give back through volunteering with one of the organisations supporting those activities. He joined the Board of the Friends of Kananaskis in May 2020, and became Treasurer in 2021 serving in that role until mid-2023.
Amanda Kelly – Director
A lifelong area resident, Amanda was raised along the eastern slopes of the Rockies in the unique communities of Seebee, Morley, Exshaw and Barrier Lake. An avid outdoor enthusiast and nature nerd, she is frequently found meandering peaks and valleys admiring the flora and fauna and soaking in the sights and sounds. In addition to pedaling, skiing and hiking every chance she gets, she celebrates the landscape and life through music and songwriting.
Deeply connected to the natural and cultural landscape, the ecological treasures, the history and the people of Kananaskis Country, Amanda continues to pursue an intimate relationship with the land and its people through her recreational, volunteer and professional pursuits. Her formal education and professional management experience includes Travel and Tourism, Landscape and Garden Design and Health, Safety and Environmental Management. Amanda has a passion for learning, literacy and education. In addition to pursuing continuing education throughout her adult life, she enjoyed 13 years facilitating learning (and a love of the outdoors) while home educating her 2 daughters, served 18 years as the chair of the Exshaw Library Society and 12 years as a School Board trustee with Canadian Rockies School District.
She is excited to have the opportunity to use her diverse skills in organizational leadership, project management and human resources, her community service and Board experience to the Friends of Kananaskis as a director and as a volunteer. Amanda joined the Board in June 2021, and currently Chairs the Board’s Truth and Reconciliation Subcommittee.
Janice Pasieka – Director
Janice is an Endocrine Surgeon at the University of Calgary. She fell in love with the Canadian Rockies when she saw them for the first time driving out from Ontario after medical school. Since that first encounter, Janice spends every opportunity she can hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and mountain biking throughout Kananaskis Country.
A firm believer that it is important that we, as Canadians, protect and preserve our Parks, their diverse ecosystems and the wildlife, now and for the next generation, Janice felt it was time to get more involved. By becoming a board member, Janice hopes that her expertise and passion for the mountains will be a valuable asset to the Board and looks forward to working with the team. Janice joined the Board in June 2021.
Kimberly Haddow – Director
A native of Ontario, Kimberly was fortunate enough to spend a number of years early in her life growing up in Calgary. Her greatest memories were time spent in the mountains, with very fond memories of Kananaskis Country. This passion developed during her youth was the motivation to get back to the mountains when she returned to Calgary 15 years ago. An avid hiker, backpacker, camper, snowshoer and kayaker, any time spend in the mountains is her favourite time.
Kimberly has been able to combine her love of the mountains with her day job as a Senior Project Manager in construction. She has completed numerous past projects in both Kananaskis Country and Banff National Park. Kimberly also brings a strong commitment to volunteering: engaging with non-profits, industry associations, and community organizations. She is looking forward to bringing together her knowledge and skills in project management and construction to support the stewardship of Kananaskis Country through the Friends of Kananaskis Country. Kimberly joined the Board in June 2021.
Connor Meagher – Director
As a born and raised Calgarian, Connor has spent many seasons skiing, hiking, running, and exploring in Kananaskis Country. He’s excited to help the Friends of Kananaskis continue stewarding this special place so that future generations continue to enjoy the Park.
Connor has a passion for non-profit and volunteer work, having previously worked on projects for Boys and Girls Club of Calgary, Alberta EcoTrust, and BRAC. He has been a volunteer over the years at YMCA Calgary and Best Buddies Canada.
During the day, Connor works in an operations and strategy role for a tech-startup based in San Francisco, and was previously a management consultant.
In addition to spending time in nature, Connor enjoys travelling, rooting for the Flames and Stampeders, playing basketball, and golfing. Connor joined the Board in April, 2023, and Chairs the Board’s HR Subcommittee.
Chris Kean – Director
Chris is a retired Oil and Gas Executive that recently moved to Canmore so that he spend more time in the Canadian Rockies. Four generations of his family have enjoyed the majestic beauty and exhilaration of being out in the mountains whether it was hiking, biking, camping, skiing or just enjoying a picnic out in the woods. Several years ago, he joined Friends of Kananaskis Country as it was a perfect opportunity to be part of something that helps preserve this special place so that others can create their own memories. He can honestly say it has been one of the most fun and rewarding volunteering activities that he has done. He gets to spend time in nature and learn what it takes to create and maintain those amazing trails while meeting and working with a fantastic group of people.
He is now looking forward to continuing this journey as a member of the Board. When Chris is not out on the trails, you will find him out volunteering with various other organizations in the Bow Valley or travelling to other wilderness destinations. Chris joined the Board in June, 2023.
Lloyd Suchet – Director
Lloyd Suchet has spent parts of his life in many parts of Canada, but has settled in Calgary in no small part due to its incredible access to mountain parks like Kananaskis Country. As an avid splitboarder, mountain biker, climber and hiker, Kananaskis has also been a special place for him, and is what drove me to become more involved in Friends of Kananaskis. Outdoor spaces and outdoor recreation enrich lives, and Lloyd is dedicated to improving access, education, and environmental protection so that more people can enjoy these incredible natural amenities.
In his professional life, Lloyd is currently the Executive Director of the BOMA Calgary, with experience in policy development and research as well as serving as an aide to a federal cabinet minister. He has also been involved in community initiatives he is passionate about, including the Friends’ 2022 TrailFest event, the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Wild Outside program, the Alberta River Surfing Association, and the Calgary Jewish Federation.
Alberta Parks Liaisons
The Friends of Kananaskis Country works closely with the Government of Alberta, through the Ministry of Forestry, Parks and Tourism. We are grateful for the support and guidance we receive from the Kananaskis Country Parks Division Liaisons, who sit on our Board: