Picture of Gordon Panas

Gordon Panas

PCL Construction Chief Financial Officer

“The PCL Story”

PCL is a group of independent construction companies owned by employee shareholders across the United States, Canada, and Australia.

As chief financial officer, Gordon is responsible for all the financial operations of the PCL family of companies. Gordon is a member of PCL’s Office of the CEO, a group that includes the top senior executive management and leadership of PCL. He began his PCL career in Edmonton as accounting manager, followed by stints as administration manager in Winnipeg and Toronto. He left PCL in 1997 to work as chief financial officer for another contractor, ultimately becoming that contractor’s chief executive officer in 2006 and taking the company public in 2007. That company was sold in 2009 and Gordon returned to PCL.

Gordon is a chartered accountant and holds a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Alberta.

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Stefan Wiesen

Intrigue Media Solutions Inc. Co-Owner

“Engaging Millennials: How to Attract ESOP Participants”

As a co-owner of the company, I wear many hats. As CFO, I look after our finances and accounting. As VP HR I look after the framework under which our team members work and assist our managers in handling all aspects of human resources.

At Intrigue Media, we help great organisations to get noticed and found. We are both a media company with hundreds of digital screens throughout many communities in Ontario, and a full service marketing organisation with a strong focus on online/web/social media tools. Most recently, we established a software development department to satisfy highly sophisticated website needs.

Intrigue’s purpose is empowering leaders to strengthen communities. Consequently, I am very engaged in Guelph’s community serving as Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Board Member of the Career Education Council.

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Tom Redl

CHANDOS Construction Ltd. CEO

“Building and Managing Boards in an ESOP Company”

Tom is CEO of CHANDOS Construction Ltd., a market leader in the provision of value-added construction solutions that has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, an Alberta Top Employer and is Certified as a B Corporation. Tom has held this position since 2001. During his time as CEO, CHANDOS has experienced significant growth and positive change.

An entrepreneur and strategic visionary, Tom is a highly collaborative leader and this is one reason behind his success at CHANDOS. Internally, his focus is on the continuous improvement of the company’s business model and ensuring that people come first. Externally, he is focused on developing long-term strategic relationships with key business partners. This dual focus serves a single purpose – to ensure value is constantly being created for CHANDOS’ clients.

Tom truly believes in giving back to the community. He is a dedicated volunteer and member of many Boards which serve the Edmonton community and is heavily involved with advancing Corporate Social Responsibility. In 2015, he personally created a scholarship fund at CHANDOS entitled the “Amisk Award.”

Tom holds an ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors and is an instructor in both the ICD Director Education program as well as the U of A Small and Medium Enterprise Governance program. He is a frequent speaker and panelist on the topics of governance, employee ownership and corporate social responsibility.

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Ramona Rodriguez-Brooks

National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) Outreach and Membership Coordinator

“International Employee Ownership Panel” and “Celebrating Canadian Employee Ownership at Your Company”

The NCEO is a US-based non-profit membership organization devoted to providing practical resources and reliable information about employee ownership. As Outreach and Membership Coordinator, Ramona focuses on spreading the word about the benefits of employee ownership to companies, community groups, business leaders, and the public. She also works to ensure that the NCEO’s membership is supported and growing.

Ramona brings to her job diverse professional experiences from managing education and outreach programs at a small theater company, to line cooking at a large film studio, to running all the technical aspects of live performances.

Ramona has a BA in Sociology with an emphasis in social inequality and a BA Theatre from the University of California, San Diego and can often be found having detailed conversations comparing and contrasting Mexican culinary styles in Northern and Southern California.

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Dean Psarras

Dale & Lessmann LLP Partner

“ESOP Legal, Compliance, and Trustee Panel”

Dean practices business law with a focus on Canadian and cross-border mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and financing transactions. Dean also spends much of his time advising foreign and domestic clients with respect to the establishment and expansion of their businesses across Canada. He advises clients on business formations and wind-ups, immigration and employment matters, shareholder matters (including shareholder agreements, reorganizations and employee share offerings), financings, partnership and joint venture arrangements, corporate governance and regulatory matters and on-going commercial transactions.  Dean has particular expertise representing clients in the manufacturing, retail, distribution, private equity, insurance services, banking, renewable energy, agriculture and agrifood and not-for-profit sectors.

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Perry Phillips

ESOP Builders President

“ESOP Problems and Solutions Panel”

From helping Canada’s fastest growing companies implement engagement strategies to supporting business owners exiting on their terms, Perry Phillips is recognized as one of Canada’s leading experts on employee share ownership plans (ESOPs).

Perry is the Founder and President of ESOP Builders Inc. (the largest designer of ESOP plans in Canada for small and medium sized Canadian private companies) and also the Founder of the ESOP Association Canada (Canada’s only national not for profit organization promoting the ESOP concept in Canada) and primary author ESOPs in Canada: How to Implement an Employee Share Ownership Plan to Grow and Exit Your Business with Your Legacy Intact (2015).

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Robert Postlethwaite

Postlethwaite Solicitors Managing Director

“International Employee Ownership Panel”

Robert is the Managing Director of Postlethwaite, an English law firm specialising in employee ownership. Robert founded the practice, itself employee-owned, after working as a partner in an international corporate law firm, and helps a diverse range of businesses create employee share ownership arrangements tailored to their needs. Since 2014 it has advised over twenty companies on succession through employee ownership trusts. The firm is ranked in both Chambers and Legal 500 as a leader in its field.

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David A. Hildebrandt

IAFP President

“International Employee Ownership Panel”

The IAFP is the international association of companies, academics, and individuals, which support financial participation for employees as a means of increasing productivity and fostering worker satisfaction. As President of the IAFP, David consults with the European Union on the harmonization of benefit program laws for EU Member States.

David is “of counsel” to the law firm of Kirton McConkie PC. He has more than 40 years of experience in the design, implementation, administration and government regulation of domestic and international ESOPs, employee benefit programs, qualified and non-qualified public and private retirement plans, deferred compensation programs, insurance programs, and other cash and stock based compensation and benefits programs. David spent over thirty years in Washington DC as a partner in major global law firms.

Picture of Dan Ohler of ESOP Builders Inc.

Dan Ohler

ESOP Builders Employee Ownership Specialist

“ESOPs 101: The Why’s and How’s” and “Celebrating Canadian Employee Ownership at Your Company”

Dan is an Employee Ownership Specialist with ESOP Builders Inc., Canada’s premier firm for designing, training and implementing Employee Share Ownership, and Stock Option Plans for small- and medium-sized privately held companies.

Dan is a certified coach with the International Coach Federation, a skilled communicator and facilitator, and is known for building high-trust relationships with business owners and employees. He is adept at meeting clients’ needs by designing tailored ESOP transition plans.

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Patrick O’Brien

Metcalf Archaeological Consultants Senior Staff Archaeologist

“ESOP Problems and Solutions Panel”

Patrick is one of approximately 50 employee owners at Metcalf Archaeological Consultants. He has been a participant in the company’s ESOP since its inception in 2002, has served multiple terms on the ESOP Communication Committee, and was one of two co-trustees of the ESOP from 2008 through 2016. He also sits on Metcalf’s ESOP Administration Committee, which is responsible for tracking participation in, and distributions from, the Plan.

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Ed Heakes

Dale & Lessmann LLP Partner

“ESOP Legal, Compliance, and Trustee Panel”

Ed’s practice includes most areas of tax planning including mergers and acquistions, cross-border taxation and estate and wealth planning. Ed has acted for clients large and small, in most industries, including the resource industries. He has been recognized for his leadership in the practice of tax law by his inclusion in Best Lawyers in Canada, 2013-2015 – Tax.
Ed provides corporate and international tax planning advice on a broad range of income tax issues including complex deal structuring, merger and acquisitions, corporate financings and reorganizations.
Prior to joining Dale & Lessmann in 2015, Ed was a Senior Partner of Norton Rose Fulbright LLP and was one of the founding partners of the Toronto Office of Macleod Dixon LLP, Calgary. In 2011, MD was merged into Norton Rose Fulbright. Prior to joining Macleod Dixon, Ed was a Tax Partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt.
Ed was called to the Bar of Ontario, is a graduate in law from the University of Western Ontario and has his Honours Bachelor of Mathematics (B. Math.) degree from the University of Waterloo.
In 2015, Ed completed the Independent Director course and received an ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

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Dean Ell

iQmetrix Director of Finance

“Engaging Millennials: How to Attract ESOP Participants” and “ESOP Problems and Solutions Panel”

Dean Ell is the Director of Finance at iQmetrix, a software company specializing in end-to-end retail solutions. iQmetrix has been on the Profit 500 list of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies for 8 years in a row. Maintaining a fun and rewarding work culture is important to iQmetrix.

With over 25 years of Accounting/Financial Management experience, Dean has been with iQmetrix for more than 15 years and has been their ESOP Administrator since its inception in 2007. Their purpose at iQmetrix is to create great experiences for their employees, customers, and partners.

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