News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

March 27, 2019


The Manitoba government is appointing seven new members to the Research Manitoba board of directors, Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen announced today.

“We are pleased to welcome these new and returning members of the board,” said the minister.  “Under the new board’s leadership, we look forward to ensuring Manitoba is on the leading edge of innovative, value-added research and development.”  

Tracey Maconachie is appointed chair of the board.  She is president of the Bioscience Association of Manitoba, a non-profit organization dedicated to growing Manitoba’s bioscience industry.  Maconachie has previously served on the St. Boniface Hospital Research Enterprise Committee, and chaired the 2017 Agricultural Bioscience International Conference.  She has also served on the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation board, the Manitoba Technology Accelerator board, and the University of Manitoba dean of science advisory board.

Dr. Rashid Ahmed is a PhD-level biostatistician with expertise in statistical analysis for population-based research and models for planning population level interventions for public health.  He is currently the associate dean of research and an associate professor at the University of North Dakota’s College of Nursing.  He has served on the board of the Data Research Centre at the University of Manitoba and as a statistical consultant for Health Canada and various universities.

Doreen Bilodeau is the former owner of North American Plastics with 42 years of experience in all aspects of management, marketing, sales and training.  She was one of six Canadians selected to develop an internal training program for new employees that is now used to train new hires and existing staff in organizations across North America.  She has volunteered in schools, justice and other fundraising events.

Dr. Hani El-Gabalawy is the scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis, professor of medicine and immunology, senior clinician-scientist and endowed rheumatology research chair at the University of Manitoba.  From 1997 to 2000, he was a visiting scientist at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland.  In 2000, he returned to the University of Manitoba where he continued his research in the area of pathogenesis and prognosis of early inflammatory arthritis.

Luis Escobar is a professional engineer registered in Manitoba and a professional traffic operations engineer.  He worked in traffic management for the City of Winnipeg, most recently as the manager of transportation.  During his time at the city, he oversaw a number of major transportation initiatives, most recently guiding Winnipeg’s first Transportation Master Plan and implementing the Transportation Management Centre.  He is a member of the Transportation Association of Canada and the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and has served on a number of committees for these organizations.

Earl Gardiner is the founder and executive chairman of RANA Respiratory Care Group.  In 2016, he also founded a new Manitoba-based digital health technological start-up company, Cerebra Health, which uses new technology considered by leading sleep researchers to be one of the most significant breakthroughs in sleep diagnostics in decades.  He is a former board member for the Life Science Association of Manitoba and is a current member of the City of Morden’s Economic Development board.

Andrea Legary is the senior manager, global research and development and government incentives, tax with Deloitte.  She also facilitates professional development courses with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Manitoba.  She was formerly with Magellan Aerospace, where she worked on a number of high-profile projects including a satellite for the Canadian Space Agency, the Black Brant Sounding Rocket used by NASA and the F35 Joint Strike Fighter program.  She has a range of volunteer experience in Winnipeg’s vibrant entrepreneurial community.

Two members are being reappointed to the board:
•    Dr. Digvir Jayas is currently the interim president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, and vice-president (research and international) at the University of Manitoba.  He holds a PhD from the G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in Pantnagar, India, the University of Manitoba and the University of Saskatchewan, and serves on many boards both locally and internationally.
•    Christopher Johnson is the co-founder and CEO of Permission Click Inc.  He is a technology entrepreneur with a wide range of experience in sales, business planning, funding and managing technical teams. He holds a bachelor of commerce (honours) degree from the University of Manitoba, and was recently recognized by Startup Canada as the entrepreneur of the year for the Prairies.

The minister thanked the outgoing chair and board members for their commitment and service to the province.

These appointments are part of the Manitoba government’s efforts to continue to refresh the agencies, boards and commissions of the province, ensuring that Manitobans continue to be represented in these important positions by highly qualified and enthusiastic individuals, the minister noted.

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