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Board of Directors

  • Bonnie Prior
    Bonnie Prior
    Governance Chair
  • Dr. David W. Conrath
    Dr. David W. Conrath
    Board Member
  • Gordon Kack
    Gordon Kack
    Finance Chair
  • Hillary Dawson
    Hillary Dawson
    Board Member
  • Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
    Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
    Board Member
  • Michael Hanna
    Michael Hanna
    Board Member
  • Councillor Paul Sharman
    Councillor Paul Sharman
    Board Member
  • Randall Smallbone
    Randall Smallbone
    Board Chair
  • Robert Bevington
    Robert Bevington
    Board Member
  • Ron Laidman
    Ron Laidman
    Board Member
  • Tim Commisso
    Tim Commisso
    Board Member
Bonnie Prior
Governance Chair

Bonnie Prior is a Sales Representative with Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services. Bonnie recently served as the Executive Director of the Appraisal Institute of Canada – Ontario providing services to 2,000 appraisers in the Province. Bonnie has also served as Director of Commercial Member & Association Executive Relations at the Canadian Real Estate Association and as President of the Canadian Brownfields Network.

Bonnie has many years experience as a commercial real estate broker and appraiser in the Hamilton and Burlington marketplace providing leadership on Boards and committees throughout her career. In 2013, Bonnie was honoured with the “Brownfielder of the Year.”

She is also certified under the Canadian Society of Association Executives and has a certification in Change Management.

Dr. David W. Conrath
Board Member
Dr. Conrath is an accomplished senior executive, comfortable in both the academic and corporate worlds.  He graduated with Great Distinction from Stanford University with a degree in economics.  After serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy, he continued his education with an M.S. in Industrial Administration from Carnegie-Mellon University, and an M.A. in Economics and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of California – Berkeley. He is also a member of Professional Engineers, Ontario.

David’s academic career began at Berkeley. He then joined the faculty of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  He moved to Canada to teach and conduct research at the University of Waterloo, where he stayed for 25 years.  Before retiring, he became the Dean of Business at McMaster University and then held the same position at San Jose State University in California.  In addition, he spent several years at the Universite d’Aix-Marseille in France.

David established Conrath Communications Ltd., and has done consulting with both private industry and government organizations in North America and Europe, primarily to provide advice in the design, implementation and evaluation of information/communication systems.

David has served on a number of boards in the academic, arts and culture and private sector industries. He is currently on the Royal Botanical Gardens board of directors and is a member of their Audit and Finance committee.

Gordon Kack
Finance Chair

Gordon Kack is the Vice President of Operations for Colliers Project Leaders (formerly MHPM Project Leaders). As the VP-Operations, Gordon is responsible for Colliers Project Leaders’ client services and field operations across Canada. Colliers Project Leaders is Canada’s largest real property project management consulting company.  For more than 25 years, Colliers Project Leaders has provided project delivery, strategic program management, and advisory services to both public sector and private sector clients – delivering certainty on more than 10,000 real property development projects from coast to coast.  One of Colliers Project Leaders’ largest offices is located in Burlington, which is the head office for the Central Canadian business unit.

Gordon has more than 30 years of experience within the construction industry, including the establishment of two successful consulting practices.  To date, Gordon has led the successful delivery of more than 500 commercial, municipal, institutional, and retail projects throughout Canada. He has extensive expertise in the delivery of specialized project management services that incorporate rigorous quality, cost, sustainability, and schedule control.

Gordon has a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, is a Project Management Professional (PMP), and a LEED Accredited Professional.  He and his wife, Marilyn have lived in Burlington since 1996, where they have raised three daughters.

Hillary Dawson
Board Member

Hillary Dawson joined Mohawk College in January of 2015 bringing 25 years of public policy, strategic communications and government relations experience to her work at Mohawk College.  She currently is the Associate Vice President – Public Affairs, Marketing & Strategic Initiatives.

Hillary has a significant track record of helping organizations develop the vision, directions and strategies required to generate effective relationship management initiatives, influence public policy and build positive corporate reputation. Before returning to a private public affairs practice, Hillary spent many years as President and COO of the Wine Council of Ontario helping its members advance a strong domestic wine industry. Prior to joining the Wine Council, Hillary was a Principal and Vice-President in one of Canada’s most influential government relations firms. There her practice focus was on developing advocacy and organizational capacity for associations, municipalities, Fortune 500 firms, post-secondary institutions and other public and private sector interests.

Hillary has served on many Boards and Committees including the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, The Tourism Partnership of Niagara, the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors and the Hamilton Burlington Brantford YMCA.  She is currently pursuing her ICD.D designation through Rotman and the Institute of Corporate Directors.  Hillary has a BA (Hons) from Queen’s University in Economics and Political Studies and has completed the Ivey Influence and Persuasion Program from the Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
Board Member

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is honoured to serve as mayor of the City of Burlington. First elected to City Council in 2010 as Ward 2 Councillor and Regional Councillor, Mayor Meed Ward believes “the best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of community members and welcome many different perspectives.”

With a strong background in communications developed over 21 years as a print and broadcast journalist, Mayor Meed Ward served 10 years as editor of a national magazine before launching a full-time communications business in 1998 (Meed Ward Media). She was a weekly columnist with the Toronto Sun for 11 years, a commentator on Vision TV, and a regular panelist on the Michael Coren Show, CHCH Square Off and others. She also taught at Tyndale College and Ryerson University.

Prior to becoming a member of City Council, Mayor Meed Ward founded Save our Waterfront, a grassroots movement of Burlington residents committed to preserving access to the city’s waterfront and protecting it from development. She also served as vice-chair of the Burlington Transit Advisory Committee, as a citizen member of the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital Board of Governors, and as a founding member of BurlingtonGreen Environmental Association. She was also an active volunteer in her local church and public schools.

A resident of Burlington since 2000, Mayor Meed Ward makes her home in downtown Burlington with her husband Peter, their two daughters and son.

Michael Hanna
Board Member
Originally a Commerce graduate of McMaster University in Hamilton, Michael went on to obtain his Chartered Accountant’s designation with what is now Ernst & Young. Michael also completed the Senior Executive Program at the University of Western Ontario in London. He followed that with the completion of the Financial Management Program at the Columbia University-Graduate School of Business in New York and the Executive Program for Smaller Companies at the Stanford University -Graduate School of Business in Stanford California.

Michael eventually left the accounting profession to join a large construction and development company. He then spent the next 25 years as a senior executive in the development industry, establishing and managing real estate, development and construction companies throughout Ontario. Michael has developed industrial, commercial and residential properties throughout Ontario and the USA. Michael now manages a private Real Estate Fund, which invests by way of partnerships in the development, construction and management of commercial income properties.

Councillor Paul Sharman
Board Member
Paul Sharman was first elected to serve on Burlington City Council as the Ward 5 representative in 2010, and is now serving his second term in office. He is thankful and honoured to have been given the opportunity to represent citizens’ interests and serve members of his community

Prior to being elected Ward 5 Councillor, Paul had a successful career in accountancy. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants(FCMA), registered in England. He held a number of management accounting roles at Levi Strauss and Northern Telecom, including controllership positions. He set up a consulting business in 1988 and continued serving clients throughout North America and around the world until 2004, when he assumed the role of President and CEO of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), one the world’s largest accounting associations, based in New Jersey. He was named as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People” in the US accounting world in 2005, 2006 and 2007 by “Accounting Today”.

Randall Smallbone
Board Chair

Randall Smallbone is a registered Exempt Market Dealer for Portland Investment Counsel, selling investments such as mutual funds and exempt market products to high net worth individuals and accredited investors.  In addition, he is a Board member and Chairman of the Audit Committee of TSX listed Hanwei Energy Services Inc., a Board member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, a Board member of the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation, and an Advisor to private SME’s. Randall has been Chief Financial Officer of TSX listed companies, Migao Corporation, KCP Income Fund, Decoma International Inc. (Magna International Inc.), Chairman of the Board of Inceptum Research and Therapeutics and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Norcast Income Fund.

Randall is a financial executive with more than 35 years of operations experience in global manufacturing of consumer goods, contract manufacturing, automotive and aerospace parts. Randall has significant experience in financial management, capital markets, M&A and board governance.

Randall has lived in Burlington for over 30 years and has always been active in the community.  He served as a Board Member on the Burlington Arts Centre and is a member and past President of the Rotary Club of Burlington Central.

Robert Bevington
Board Member

Robert Bevington is a Senior Director in the Telecommunications industry working for Cogeco Connexion. Cogeco is the second largest cable operator in Ontario and Quebec providing residential and business customers with Internet, Video and Telephony solutions. Robert joined Cogeco Conexxion in 2011 and is responsible for the engineering and operational support for Telephony and Internet products.  Prior to joining Cogeco,  Robert spent 11 years working for Bell Canada in various roles across the Voice and Data portfolios.

Working in the Telecommunications field for nearly 20 years, Robert is a seasoned professional with extensive experience in product and technology innovations, operational management, strategic planning and leading large teams.  

Robert graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1998 with an honours degree in Biochemistry and returned in 2007 to complete an executive MBA at Ivey Business School. Robert has lived in the Burlington area since 2015 with his wife and three children.

Ron Laidman
Board Member

Ron Laidman is the Vice President of Infrastructure Services at Oakville Enterprises Corporation (OEC). OEC is an industry leader providing end to end energy and infrastructure services including renewable energy generation, power distribution, as well as infrastructure design, construction and field servicing. As Vice President, Ron oversees multiple engineering and field services groups within OEC that provide solutions to clients across a broad spectrum of industries including telecommunications, utilities, government, construction, industrial and small business. In this capacity, Ron is also responsible for health and safety, analytics and fleet services.

 Ron has extensive experience in operations, business development, project execution, and mergers and acquisitions and has held various senior leadership positions across multiple industries. Ron also previously lived in Alberta and Europe and has spent considerable time doing business outside of Canada mostly in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. Ron holds both a Mechanical Engineering and MBA degree and is a Professional Engineer in Ontario and Alberta. He lives with his wife and 2 children in Burlington.

Tim Commisso
Board Member

Tim Commisso is the City of Burlington’s City Manager. Prior to this role, Tim was a Senior Advisor at MNP, a national accounting, tax and business consulting firm. Having served ten councils and eight mayors, Tim has extensive knowledge and experience in municipal government, strategy development, organizational effectiveness and performance, economic development and change management. Tim holds a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation and obtained his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Wilfrid Laurier University.Tim worked for the City of Burlington for 20 years holding various senior leadership roles including General Manager positions in Community Services and Development and Infrastructure, Director of Parks and Recreation and Deputy City Treasurer.

During his time in Burlington, Tim was at the forefront of community development and engagement. Tim was responsible for major community projects with resident involvement such as the Downtown Waterfront project, the Appleby Ice Centre and Paletta Park and Mansion. Tim was also the project lead on Financial Management System and the facilitation of the Strategic Plan. Having worked in the public sector, Tim also brings many years of knowledge and experience in intergovernmental affairs. Tim’s most recent municipal experience was serving as the City Manager in Thunder Bay for 7 years from 2008 to 2015.