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Board of Directors 


Dean Ell
Director and Chair
Dean is currently in his 2nd year as Chair of the ESOP Association Canada.   He has performed several roles within the Association over the past 5 years including sitting on the conference planning committee, the membership committee, advisor to the Board, and Board Member before being elected as the Chair.  Dean has over 30 years financial experience in the accounting field and is currently employed as the Controller with iQmetrix in Regina Saskatchewan and has 25 years of experience working for 2 different ESOP companies.  He has also been the ESOP Administrator at iQmetrix since the inception of their ESOP in 2007.

Besides his passion for ESOPS and Finance Dean loves the outdoors so on the weekends there is a good chance you will find him out camping or smoking various types of meats and cheeses in his monster homebuilt pellet smoker.

Ramy Taraboulsi
Director and Vice Chair
Ramy is a senior executive who has a passion for all things FinTech and AI. He has an engineering undergraduate degree combined with a diploma in higher mathematics, masters in Computer Science, an MBA, and he is also a CFA. This academic background makes him a perfect fit for teaching in Seneca’s Fintech post graduate program as well as in Schulich’s MBA program. Ramy has been the lead researcher on multiple fintech applied research projects and spends multiple hours per day analyzing and commenting on economic and market activities through his online articles.

In addition to his academic career, Ramy is currently holding directorship positions in multiple organizations. In the past, Ramy held multiple executive positions including chairman and CEO of SyncBASE Inc., CIO of Insurance Bureau of Canada, VP, Internet Strategy and Development, Fidelity Investments, VP, Internet Technology, Merrill Lynch and Chief Systems Architect, Mercer Human Resources Consulting. He started his career as a programmer and he still spends many long hours every week enhancing his programming skills specifically in the fields of e-commerce, Data Management, AI and Machine Learning.  Ramy has been practicing different forms of martial arts over the last 35 years and he currently actively practices Karate and Tai Chi. He speaks 6 languages, and enjoys reading, writing, traveling and playing music.
Dan Ohler
Director and Treasurer
Dan has been actively involved in the ESOP Association Canada since 2015. His energy, enthusiasm, and relationship-building skills have been significant in establishing a solid leadership team, and for the success of each annual conference. He was the Conference Chair in 2016 and has been a Director on the Board since it was re-established in 2016.

As an Employee Ownership Specialist with ESOP Builders Inc. Dan supports business owners to design, communicate, and implement ESOPS. The process utilizes high employee engagement for greater acceptance and ownership.

Dan is an Associate Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation, a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programing, a life-time student in the School of Hard Knocks, and has numerous other certifications which indicate he is supposed to know something. Dan's passion is to support others to excel.  He and his wife, Carol, provide Couples Coaching and Couples Retreats to support others to enhance the most important relationships - with self and your partner at home.

Joanna Phillips
Director and Secretary
Joanna joined the Association in 2019 as a Board member and is Chair of the 2021 Canadian Employee Ownership Conference. She is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) and Certified Value Builder (CVB) and currently works at ESOP Builders Inc. as Vice President. She holds an Honors Degree in Business Management Specializing in Human Resources from Western University.

Since graduating, Joanna has worked with various companies in a wide range of industries such as healthcare, insurance, supply chain/ logistics, and marketing. She has excelled in all her roles within Human Resources and has been a trusted guide and advisor to business leaders to ensure continued success of the company. Joanna’s main areas of focus have been talent management and strategy, including succession planning, employee relations, health and safety, and disability management. 

Passionate about creating ownership cultures and shared wealth on a broader level, Joanna brings a creative, modern, and focused view to ESOP design and implementation.

Patrick O'Brien
Patrick has been involved with the ESOP Association Canada since 2016 and currently sits on the Association’s Board of Directors and Membership Committee.  He is a past member and one-time chair of the association’s Conference Planning Committee as well.

Patrick is one of approximately 35 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 2019. He also sits on Metcalf’s ESOP Administrative Committee, which is responsible for tracking participation in, and distributions from the Plan.  In his free time, Patrick enjoys volunteering, gardening, playing music, and making the best damn pizza in his hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Melanie Russell
Melanie is the founder of Kalex Valuations Inc. and began professional practice in 1985, which includes several years of industry experience. Throughout her professional career she has been involved in many assignments for a variety of public and private companies of various sizes and across many industries, obtaining her training at two of the largest international accounting firms in the industry. Melanie placed second in Canada on the CICBV membership examination. She founded Kalex Valuations Inc. in 1996.

Ms. Russell has been active in teaching business valuations and related topics since 1987 at various universities and professional organizations, and runs the premiere preparatory course for CBV students in Canada taking their national Membership Qualification Examination. She has written various articles, taught professional courses and had many public speaking engagements on matters relating to business valuations and related topics.

Melanie has qualified as an expert in the areas of business/asset valuation, quantification of damages, income determination and forensic accounting. She has testified as an expert in business valuations in the Ontario Court of Justice and the Ontario Superior Court, and for the Investment Dealers’ Association and the Discipline Committee of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, as well as in alternative dispute forums.

Andrew Dey

Andrew is the president of Mowbrey Gil Business Advisory Services Inc., the advisory services arm of Mowbrey Gil LLP Chartered Professional Accountants. He leads the advisory practice in the areas of Business Valuation and Litigation Support, Corporate Finance and consulting to Government and Indigenous Organizations.

Andrew has over 30 years of public practice experience gained in the international marketplace working in the United Kingdom, the Falkland Islands, the province of Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Andrew is a Chartered Professional Accountant and Chartered Business Valuator and has been qualified as an expert witness by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. In addition to providing valuation and litigation services to a wide range of clients in a diverse range of industries, the Indigenous Consulting Group focuses on Financial Management Assistance, Economic Development and Capacity Building Initiatives, and providing advice guidance on Board and Governance Structures.

Kris Reimer
Throughout his career, Kris, has worked in various capacities of leadership, management, and expansion in both the business and not for profit world. He is passionate about building environments of safe accountability, strong community, and united vision.
Kris started out in the construction industry where he learned the importance of execution, accountability, and communication and used his 10 plus years there to transition and invest into the sign fabrication business with Selkirk Signs. Having then started from fabrication and working his way up to President, Kris has always remained committed to ensuring a passionate team atmosphere has permeated his operations. Whether it’s pricing negotiations, staff training, or team bonding.   Kris’s ambition and determination has already reaped very positive results for his company.

In April of 2017 Selkirk Signs officially became an ESOP company. Kris was part of the Senior Management team that implemented the ESOP at Selkirk Signs. Kris is a loving husband and caring father of 3 children. He currently resides in Calgary, AB.

Parker Fjeldberg

Jonathan Lok
Jon began his forestry career on Northern Vancouver Island with companies like Canfor, TimberWest, Weyerhaeuser and Canadian Air Crane and was inspired to co-found Strategic Natural Resource Consultants, one of the larger resource management consultancies in BC. In his role as Managing Director, he is responsible for setting strategy, growing culture and building a world-class team. The firm was recently named as one of the Top 100 Employers in Canada.

Jon studied at SFU, BCIT and UBC Sauder School of Business and has been recognized as the ABCFP’s Forest Technologist of the Year, received the CIF’s James Kitz Award and was named by Canadian Forest Industries Magazine as one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 40 in the forest sector.

Jon has served as President of the Consulting Foresters of BC, the Association of BC Forest Professionals, the Canadian Institute of Forestry and the North Island Community Forest. Outside of work, he enjoys racing rally cars, riding motorcycles and exploring the waters and backcountry of Vancouver Island and the Central Coast.

John Stevens 
John Stevens has had a distinguished career over the past 30+ years, holding titles including Senior Vice President, President, CFO, COO, and CEO of fast-growing organizations like Nilsson Bros. Inc, Eveready Inc., NC Services Group Ltd. and ENTREC Corporation. John was also a member of the Board of Directors of Eveready Inc. and NC Services Group Ltd. John has a proven track record and 30+ years of broad experience in operations, business development, finance and accounting. 20 years+ experience at the most senior level of organizations working with private and public companies as well as companies owned by private equity. John has a passion for employee ownership, employee engagement, customer service and profitable growth. John also has extensive experience in strategic planning. During his career, John has been involved with 80+ acquisitions and is an expert when it comes to due diligence and integration. John was named a Business Leader of Tomorrow honoring Edmonton’s visionary business leaders. In 2013 and in 2015, John was named an E and Y Prairies finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2014 John was named one of the ten executives you need to know in the Oil sands by Oil sands Review Magazine.  John has volunteered his time and has been actively involved in non-profit organizations such as Prostate Cancer Canada, Kids Up Front and the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton. John was awarded the very distinguished Canada Community Advocate Award from Prostate Cancer Canada. John was very involved with Financial Executives International for over a decade including serving as the local board chair. John served a two-year term on the Petroleum Service Association of Canada board. John enjoys spending time with his four adult children, traveling, investing, NFL football and has a passion for cooking. John has attended cooking school in Italy, France, Las Vegas, Phoenix and completed the cooking boot camp at NAIT in Edmonton. John’s roots take him back to the family cattle farm north of Edmonton.  

Ramona Rodriguez-Brooks
Advisory Committee
The NCEO is a US-based non-profit membership organization devoted to providing practical resources and reliable information about employee ownership. As Membership Director, Ramona focuses on increasing the visibility and adoption of employee ownership in the business community and general 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 programs at a theater company, to line cooking at a 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 in Theatre from the University of California, San Diego.

Ramona is an Advisor to the ESOP Association Canada Board of Directors.

Rachel Bachmann
Advisory Committee

Paul Maarschalk
Advisory  Committee
Paul has been involved with the ESOP Conference Committee since 2016.  He is the Principal at Maarschalk Valuations Inc. a specialist Valuations Firm based in Kelowna BC. offering business valuation services throughout Canada.  Since founding the firm in 2008 Paul has provided valuations reports for numerous companies, including several ESOP companies. 

Paul's business valuations skills are build on both his education and 30 + years experience in the financial industry.  Prior to establishing his valuations firm, Paul worked as a CFO in Canadian and international financial services, value added agriculture, mining, mineral exploration, marketing and software and as a corporate finance specialist in corporate banking.  He also consulted in all levels of business, from privately owned start ups and publicly traded corporations and covered a wide range of industries from traditional manufacturing to modern technology and knowledge based firms.