Lakehead University Professor receives an international Field Discovery Award

Photo of Dr. Matt Tocheri at the Liang Bua site with Dr. Thomas Sutikna.

Dr. Matt Tocheri, second from right, is pictured at the Liang Bua site with Dr. Thomas Sutikna, third from right.

December 12, 2017 – Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University’s Dr. Matt Tocheri is being recognized by the Shanghai Archaeology Forum for his research on Homo floresiensis at Liang Bua in Indonesia.

“It is a great honour to receive a 2017 Field Discovery Award with my collaborator and friend Dr. Thomas Sutikna,” said Dr. Tocheri, Canada Research Chair in Human Origins at Lakehead University and Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution’s Human Origins Program.

Eight years of further excavations and study at the Indonesian cave site of Liang Bua pushed back the time of disappearance of the ‘hobbits’ of Flores (Homo floresiensis) from as recently as 12,000 years ago to about 60-50,000 years ago – around the same time that modern humans (Homo sapiens) first dispersed through the wider region and reached Australia.

The new findings were published in Nature in 2016 in an article entitled Revised stratigraphy and chronology for Homo floresiensis at Liang Bua in Indonesia. Dr. Sutikna from the University of Wollongong recently travelled to Shanghai to give a presentation about the research and to participate in the award ceremony.

“Archaeological fieldwork is extremely challenging at the best of times and especially in remote areas like Flores,” Dr. Tocheri said. “To receive such recognition from our peers for our research is really special and I am very grateful to the Shanghai Archaeology Forum Selection Committee for their effort in reviewing all of this year’s nominations.”

Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead University’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation, congratulated Dr. Tocheri and Dr. Sutikna.

“This award recognizes the many years that Dr. Tocheri and Dr. Sutikna have spent excavating the physical and cultural remains of Homo floresiensis, which roamed the earth at the same time as our species,” Dr. Dean said.

“Thank you to the Shanghai Archaeology Forum Selection Committee for this recognition and thank you to Dr. Tocheri and Dr. Sutikna for your expertise and dedication,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

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Media: For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177, or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.

 

 

 

Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2018 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, as well as first in Total Research Dollars, second for Citations, and third for Scholarships and Bursaries. In 2017, Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the third consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

Photo of Dr. Matt Tocheri at the Liang Bua site with Dr. Thomas Sutikna.

Lakehead-Georgian welcomes first students

Stephen Bond, Bridget Healy and Jacky Wu are part of the inaugural cohort of Lakehead-Georgian Electrical Engineering students

(from left to right) Stephen Bond, Bridget Healy and Jacky Wu are part of the inaugural cohort of Lakehead-Georgian Electrical Engineering students. 

 

September 13, 2017 - Barrie, ON

Approximately 36 students began their studies at Georgian College's Barrie Campus in September as part of Lakehead-Georgian’s first classes.  Students embarked on a four-year journey in the first two Lakehead-Georgian combined programs: Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) with Electrical Engineering Technology advanced diploma, and Honours Bachelor of Arts and Science – Environmental Sustainability (Ecosystem Management) degree with Environmental Technician diploma.

“I’ve always been a very hands-on person,” said Bridget Healy, a first-year engineering student. “I explored a number of other degree programs, but the university-college model at Georgian really appealed to me. I liked the idea of having one-on-one interaction with the faculty and learning practical skills.” Healy, who is from Orillia, also loved the fact she can live at home and have a short commute to school.

Lakehead-Georgian programs allow students to complete a university degree and college credential in only four years, combining academic and applied learning to graduate job-ready.

“We routinely hear from industry that they are looking for graduates who have hands-on practical experience, in addition to a theoretical foundation that comes from a university education,” said Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans, Principal, Orillia Campus of Lakehead University.

“Under the innovative partnership that is Lakehead-Georgian, our students will experience the best of a university and college education. Our goal is to provide a combination of applied and practical learning experiences that will be valued by employers. Our engineering graduates will be job-ready, equipped with the theoretical and practical skills to allow them to hit the ground running.”

Academic and service teams from Lakehead and Georgian continue to collaborate on a number of fronts, including the development of new programs for the years ahead.

“We’re very excited to have our first Lakehead-Georgian cohort of students on campus,” said Jason Galea, Dean, Academic Quality, Teaching and Learning, and Degree Partnerships, Georgian College. “Our two academic institutions continue to work diligently and creatively – ensuring our partnership grows to meet the need for degree-level education in our communities. With the Lakehead campus in Orillia and Georgian’s main campus in Barrie, we are proud to serve students and employers with innovative, collaborative programs for today’s economy.”

Two new Lakehead-Georgian programs will begin in September 2018:

  • Honours Bachelor of Science in Applied Life Science degree with Biotechnology – Health diploma
  • Honours Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with Computer Programmer diploma

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For further information, please contact:

Elaine Murray
Communications Specialist
Georgian College
elaine.murray@georgiancollege.ca
705.728.1968, ext. 1003

Jaclyn Bucik
Marketing and Communications Associate
Lakehead University
jbucik@lakeheadu.ca
705.330.4008, ext. 2014

Lakehead University has about 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. In 2016, for the second consecutive year, Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead first among Canada’s undergraduate universities. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

 

Degrees, diplomas, certificates, apprenticeships and more – Georgian College offers more than 125 market-driven programs to accelerate your success. Georgian is Ontario’s #1 co-operative education college and #1 in graduate employment among all Ontario colleges. We're recognized as a trailblazer in entrepreneurship and social innovation education. Georgian is home to 11,000 full-time students, including 1,500 international students from 60 countries. In 2017 we are celebrating our 50th anniversary.

Stephen Bond, Bridget Healy and Jacky Wu are part of the inaugural cohort of Lakehead-Georgian Electrical Engineering students

New national report card provides comprehensive snapshot of the sustainability of Canada’s food systems

Food Counts image of vegetables from front page of pamphlet.

May 26, 2017 – Thunder Bay, ON

Researchers at Wilfrid Laurier University, Lakehead University and the University of Toronto have taken a first step toward producing a comprehensive report card on the sustainability of Canada’s food systems.

Their new report, “Food Counts: A Pan-Canadian Sustainable Food Systems Report Card” brings together 61 existing measures of social, environmental, and economic well-being to examine food systems at the national level. Unlike existing food systems report cards, which focus on isolated perspectives such as economic productivity or individual health outcomes, Food Counts builds on existing efforts to create an integrative set of measurements to assess whole food systems, taking a range of relevant factors into account, from ecological, economic, health, labour, and educational points of view. There are plans to update it regularly to track trends.

“The Food Counts report card highlights the limitations of existing indicators and the need to reassess the way we approach and advocate for social justice, ecological regeneration, regional economies and active democratic engagement,” said Dr. Charles Levkoe, Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems and an assistant professor at Lakehead University. “There is a lot more research needed to understand the path towards sustainable food futures and this report card is a vital step in that direction.”

Some areas where Canada is doing well, from a social justice point of view, include that agricultural wages are going up while fatalities among farm workers are going down. More farms are using water conservation measures and more households are composting.

Areas where Canada is not doing as well include that fruit and vegetable consumption is going down and is lower than average among Indigenous peoples. A set basket of food is becoming more expensive and household food insecurity is going up, with food bank use also on the rise. There are fewer, older farmers on fewer, larger farms and they are in greater debt. Farmers are using more chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are going up.

“Developing sustainable food systems is complicated,” said Dr. Alison Blay-Palmer, director of the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Centre for International Governance Innovation Chair in Sustainable Food Systems and an associate professor at Laurier and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. “We need to think about how our food is grown or harvested, who has access to healthy food, and how these things impact our environment and local economies. This report card helps us understand where we are doing well, where we can improve, and where we need more information.”

The report was produced with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada by the FLEdGE (Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged) research and knowledge-sharing partnership, which is hosted at Laurier. The report can be accessed online at https://fledgeresearch.ca/foodcounts/. Twitter: #FoodCounts.

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

Dr. Charles Levkoe, Assistant Professor
Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems
Lakehead University
clevkoe@lakeheadu.ca

 

Dr. Alison Blay-Palmer, Associate Professor
Centre for International Governance Innovation Chair in Sustainable Food Systems
Wilfrid Laurier University
ablaypalmer@wlu.ca

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Media: For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177, or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.

 

 

 

Lakehead University has about 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. In 2016, for the second consecutive year, Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead first among Canada’s undergraduate universities. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

Lakehead University announces its 2017 Convocation Ceremonies’ Honorary Doctorates and Fellows

April 26, 2017 – Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University will recognize five exceptional people at this year’s three Convocation ceremonies on Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3 at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium.

Kevin Page, Bob Dhillon, and Rudolf Wahl will each receive an honorary degree for their remarkable achievements.

“These individuals are being recognized for their exceptional accomplishments in public service, business, and mining,” said Dr. Brian Stevenson, Lakehead’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “Convocation is not only a time to celebrate what our students have achieved, but the contributions of special members of our community, as well.”

Lakehead will also honor the dedication of Dr. Inderjit Nirdosh and Dr. James Franklin, who will each be named Fellow of the University.

David Tamblyn, Chair of Lakehead’s Board of Governors, explained that this year’s Fellows were selected because of the many ways in which they have given back to the University community.

“For years, Lakehead students have benefitted from Dr. Nirdosh and Dr. Franklin in their roles as professors, through their fundraising and personal contributions, and by volunteering their time,” Tamblyn said. “These are the qualities we recognize and honour by naming them Fellows of the University.”

As announced in early March, former Ontario Liberal Party Leader and past Chair of Confederation College’s Board of Governors Lyn McLeod will be formally installed as Lakehead’s ninth Chancellor on Friday, June 2, at the first of the University’s three Thunder Bay campus convocation ceremonies.

 

Honorary Degree Recipients

Kevin Page

A photo of Kevin Page

Kevin Page is the current Chief Executive Officer of the new Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa.

Prior to this position, he was the Jean-Luc Pepin Research Chair in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa from 2013 to 2016.

Page was Canada's first Parliamentary Budget Officer from 2008 to 2013.

He has 27 years of experience in the federal public service with most of that time spent at three central agencies responsible for budgeting, including the Department of Finance, the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Privy Council Office.

Kevin was the Assistant Secretary to Cabinet for Macroeconomic Policy before becoming Canada's Parliamentary Budget Officer.

He has a Master's degree in Economics from Queen's University and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Lakehead University. Born in Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ont., Kevin is married and a father of three children.

Page will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws on Friday, June 2 at 2 pm. 


Bob Dhillon

Photo of Bob Dhillon

Bob Dhillon is the President and CEO of Mainstreet Equity Corp., as well as the founder and largest shareholder. Mainstreet (TSX: MEQ) has achieved a 1,270% total return on investment from Sept 2013 - Sept 2014, making it Canada’s highest performance real estate company.

Mainstreet’s assets are valued at over $1.5 billion, consisting of more than 10,000 apartment units in Western Canada, and growing.

He has directly supported Lakehead University’s international outreach to India. He was also instrumental in helping Lakehead University’s Faculty of Business Administration develop connections within India.

Dhillon currently sits on the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Board, the biggest Canadian Crown corporation, and he is the Honorary Consul General for Belize in Canada.

He owns a private island in Belize that he is developing into a world-class tourist resort. Dhillon is also the author of the book Business and Retirement Guide to Belize and he ownsNational Payments, a Visa and MasterCard-approved Merchant Processing business involved with the financial services industry.

Some of Dhillon’s notable achievements include: Recipient of the Sikh Awards (London, UK) 2016 Business Man of the Year, recipient of the India Association of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award, and recipient of the Ernst and Young 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year for the Prairies Real Estate and Construction category.

Dhillon will receive an Honorary Doctor of Commerce on Saturday, June 3 at 9:30 am.


Rudolf Wahl

Photo of Rudolf Wahl

Rudolf (Rudy) Wahl was born in Minden (Germany) and immigrated to Canada in 1988. Initially he was hired as Mechanical Shop Leader at the Dickenson Mine, Balmertown, and subsequently by Barrick Gold Corporation (1989-2008) as a Mechanical Leader and Continuous Improvement Coach at the Williams Mine, Hemlo.

Wahl became an independent prospector in 1989 working in the relatively-unexplored Terrace Bay-Marathon -White River area of Northwestern Ontario.

His work has resulted in the discovery of more than 30 mineral properties with gold, base metal, strategic metals and diamond potential.

His exemplary work ethic has earned him recognition by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines as one of the most productive prospectors in the Province.

Currently, he is a member of the Thunder Bay Prospectors and Developers Association; the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada; and is a Director of Tashota Resources Inc.

In 2012, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association (NWOPA) for outstanding work as a Prospector in Northwestern Ontario.

In 2015, Wahl received the NWOPA Bernie Schneider’s Discovery of the Year Award for 2014 for his discovery of a potential high-grade niobium deposit within the Prairie Lake area.

Wahl has cooperated with Lakehead University faculty and students in research on his mineral properties.

Wahl will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science on Saturday, June 3 at 2 pm. 

 

Fellows of the University

Dr. Inderjit Nirdosh

Photo of Dr. Inderjit Nirdosh

Dr. Inderjit Nirdosh, a Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering, came to Thunder Bay in 1981 to work as a faculty member in the School of Engineering at Lakehead University.

Dr. Nirdosh obtained external research funding throughout his career. Notably, he received Lakehead University’s first ever prestigious NSERC Strategic Grant Award in 1985, followed by three more such awards. He has seven patents and has published numerous research articles in various reputable scientific journals.

He has also earned many Merit Awards, was the co-recipient of the inaugural Lakehead University Distinguished Researcher Award (1989), and has been recognized with the Lakehead University Distinguished Instructor Award (1995) and several other prestigious provincial and national teaching awards.

Dr. Nirdosh served as Faculty Advisor for the Lakehead University Student Chapter of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering from 1989 until his retirement in 2012, leading the Chapter to numerous top national honours.

He has tirelessly solicited funds to establish several undergraduate and graduate bursaries for Lakehead students. Dr. Nirdosh was honoured with the inaugural Faculty Advisors Award by the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering in 1999 and was elected to the Fellowship of the Chemical Institute of Canada in 2000.

Outside of his university work, Dr. Nirdosh has promoted the art and cultural forms of India in the wider community through such activities as the Raag-Rung Music Circle, which has brought top-ranked artists to Thunder Bay. These concerts raise funds for causes such as the Northern Cancer Research Foundation and post-secondary student scholarships at Lakehead University and Confederation College.

In addition to his academic and community work, Inder is an accomplished poet and lyricist in the Urdu, Hindi and Panjabi languages of India. 

Dr. Nirdosh will be named Fellow of the University on Friday, June 2 at 2 pm.


Dr. James M. Franklin 

Photo of Dr. James Franklin

Originally from North Bay, Dr. James Franklin is focused on unravelling the reasons for the exceptional mineral endowment of the Canadian Shield.

He received his PhD from the University of Western Ontario and then joined Lakehead where he was the University’s first economic geology professor from 1969-75.

Dr. Franklin then joined the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), continuing base metal and gold research throughout the Shield.

 In 1981 he took a 10-year excursion to lead the GSC’s Marine Minerals Program, discovering “black smoker” systems on the modern seafloor. From this sea- and land-based work, he developed robust guidelines that helped steer modern exploration. In 1992 he became Chief Scientist for the Geological Survey of Canada.

He has volunteered to teach short courses for Lakehead’s Society of Economic Geologists student chapter, donating his usual fee to the Bernie Schnieders Memorial Award. Dr. Franklin has maintained strong links with the Geology department, acting as a mentor to both faculty and graduate students.

He helped establish the Dr. Melville Bartley CESME Memorial Scholarship in honour of the founding Principal of Lakehead Technical Institute by contributing $25,000 to Lakehead University.

Since “retiring” from the GSC (1998), James advises approximately 70 exploration companies world-wide.

Dr. Franklin is a board member of four companies, and helped develop base metal and chrome resources in the Ring of Fire, Sturgeon Lake, Wyoming and Mexico.

Dr. Franklin is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an Adjunct Professor at several Ontario Universities, and Past President of the Geological Association of Canada and the Society of Economic Geologists.

He has published over 200 papers and book chapters, and innumerable abstracts.  James has a passion to discover more new mines in Northwestern Ontario.

Dr. Franklin will be named Fellow of the University on Saturday, June 3 at 2 pm.

 

Convocation Schedule

Friday, June 2 – 2 pm

  • Faculty of Engineering
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Medicine

Saturday, June 3 – 9:30 am

  • Faculty of Business Administration
  • Faculty of Health & Behavioural Sciences
  • Faculty of Natural Resources Management

Saturday, June 3 – 2 pm

  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Science & Environmental Studies
  • Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities

Graduands are asked to arrive by 1 pm for the afternoon convocation ceremonies and by 8 am for the morning ceremony.  

More information on Lakehead University’s convocation ceremonies is available at www.lakeheadu.ca/current-students/graduation

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Media: For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177, or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.

 

Lakehead University has about 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. In 2016, for the second consecutive year, Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead first among Canada’s undergraduate universities. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

Lakehead University hosting International Women’s Day Research Panel

March 7, 2017 – Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University is hosting an International Women’s Day panel to celebrate research by female faculty members over their careers.

“It will be very inspiring to hear from this talented group of women, two of whom are Canada Research Chair holders,” said Florence Bailey, one of the event’s organizers and the Manager of Industry Research Partnerships at Lakehead University.

Five researchers from various departments at Lakehead University will share their research accomplishments on International Women’s Day, Wednesday, March 8.

Bailey said the panel will celebrate the accomplishments of the University's female researchers and inspire others to plan out their career with research in mind.

At Canadian universities the percentage of female students attending at the undergraduate level is higher than male students. But at the university level there is still a higher male to female ratio in terms of professors and researchers.

“There is no evidence to suggest that there has been an active attempt to discourage women at a system level from becoming tenured professors or research chairs. However there are still barriers and biases that have been identified that limit the careers of highly trained and highly educated women. This represents a talent loss when it comes to research,” she said.

Bailey states that attending this panel will be especially beneficial for women who want to become researchers, and everyone is welcome.

“You will hear the passion these researchers have for the work they do and better understand their motivation and drive to continue to learn, to develop and to create new and innovative ways to address real life problems,” Bailey said.

Moderated by Dr. Connie Russell from Education, researchers will include Dr. Pam Wakewich from Sociology, Women's Studies, and the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research; Dr. Alla Reznik, Canada Research Chair in Physics of Molecular Imaging, from the Physics department and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute; Dr. Pauline Sameshima, Canada Research Chair in Arts Integrated Studies from the Faculty of Education; Prof. Karen Drake, Faculty of Law; and Dr. Michelle-Marie Spadoni, School of Nursing.

Registration is not required for the International Women’s Day Research Panel, taking place on Wednesday, March 8 from 9 to 10:30 am in the Faculty Lounge (UC 1029G).

For more information, please visit lakeheadu.ca/ri.

 

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Media: For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177, or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.

 

 

 

Lakehead University has about 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. In 2016, for the second consecutive year, Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead first among Canada’s undergraduate universities. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

Spencer Orr

Spencer Orr (HBOR’02) launches himself into new experiences with wholehearted abandon – like racing down the main street of Anchorage, Alaska, with a herd of reindeer on his
heels.

In March 2014, Spencer – the merchandising and product strategy vice-president of the iconic outerwear company Canada Goose – was in Alaska for the start of the Iditarod dog sled race. He’d travelled there with chief brand officer Kevin Spreekmeester to cheer on Lance Mackey, a four-time Iditarod winner and Goose Person (the term the company uses to describe its
ambassadors). While the two execs were having lunch, a fellow diner mentioned that the annual running of the reindeer was happening that afternoon. “Spencer turned to me,”
Kevin recalls, “and said, ’Buddy, we’re in.’”

Adventure seeking came early to Spencer. His father was the superintendent of Terra Nova National Park on the east coast of Newfoundland. “We lived in the park until I was 10,” Spencer says, “and it gave me access to back country camping, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even scuba diving.”

His enthusiasm for outdoor life extended into equipment and clothing. “As a kid, I’d go to bed
every night with a stack of Mountain Equipment Co-op and other outerwear catalogues, reviewing hiking boots in my mind.” Spencer’s affinity for nature led him to study marine biology at Dalhousie University, but he changed course when he got a summer job
up in Muskoka. “I met a Lakehead University student who wouldn’t stop bragging about his outdoor recreation program,” he says. “I realized then and there that outdoor rec could be a
great stepping stone for me.”

By that August, Spencer was officially a Lakehead student on the Thunder Bay campus. “For the first couple of months I was pinching myself because I was able to take a biology-heavy course load which merged all my passions.”

Being in outdoor rec also brought camaraderie. “We were very tight. You saw other rec’ers no matter where you went – social events, the local climbing crag, mountain biking trails,” he says. “We were easy to spot – you just picked out the guy or girl wearing Birkenstocks and a
backpack.”

Spencer’s time at Lakehead was momentous for another reason. He met his future wife Jenny Brown in 2001 at a party after his third-year canoe trip. Jenny, who was a genetics/ anthropology student and varsity wrestler, was immediately drawn to Spencer’s dynamism. “On one of our first dates,” Jenny says, “he took me rock climbing, which I’d never done before – then we started mountain biking, canoeing, and snowboarding together.”

By his fourth year, Spencer was holding down jobs at a local restaurant, a bar, and a Sierra Designs store called the Trip Outdoors. He saw this retail position as a way to advance his career.

“I remember asking in my interview about the likelihood of moving up from the sales floor to head office. The store owner looked at me and said, ‘You’re taking a part-time minimum wage job. Are you sure you want to take that kind of risk?’” He did, and when a Sierra Designs product manager came to the store, Spencer was prepared. “I’d become a high-performing salesperson, so I was able to pull him aside and give my elevator speech. I said, ‘The pocket angle doesn’t work on this jacket and this cuff doesn’t make any sense, and have you thought about this?’”

The manager agreed to meet with Spencer who flew to Sierra’s head office in Toronto on a Friday. On Sunday evening, his new mentor emailed Spencer a Corel Draw software program – which he’d never used before – and told Spencer to deliver original designs to his inbox by Tuesday morning. Spencer knuckled down and came up with 27 designs that showed enough raw potential to get him hired on a trial basis.

Eventually, Spencer convinced Sierra Designs to hire him full time and he and Jenny loaded up a U-Haul and moved to Toronto. He became a Sierra product coordinator and Jenny landed a job at the Hospital for Sick Children laboratory where she is currently a genetic technologist. The couple now have two young daughters who are just as active as their parents. The family heads out of the city every weekend to go camping, cycling, and bouldering in the summer and skiing in the winter.

Spencer’s next big break in the outerwear world happened a few years later when his mentor moved to a different company two weeks before a major sales conference. “My boss looked around and said ‘Who’s going to present the line?’ I put my hand up and my boss whispered to the guy next to him, ‘Who is that?’” Spencer ended up giving a four-hour presentation to international reps and when he stepped off the stage, he was offered the product manager
position.

By 2009 Spencer was running the entire apparel division for Sierra Designs and was ready to venture out in a new direction. He applied to Canada Goose, a third-generation family business founded in 1957. The company has established a reputation for putting function and quality first. “We keep our promise to protect people from the elements whether it’s rain, wind, or snow,” says Spencer, “as well as make sure that they look good wearing them.”

Canada Goose is worn by everybody from research scientists in Antarctica to fashionable New Yorkers to extreme athletes (famous mountaineer Laurie Skreslet was sporting a Canada Goose parka when he became the first Canadian to summit Mount Everest in 1982). Their jackets have become the standard uniform of movie crews who need to stay warm in frigid conditions. Oversized pockets and speciallydesigned features for storing gear and cables means that crews don’t have to tote around heavy backpacks anymore. Well-known actors and celebrities such as Daniel Craig and Emma Stone have also taken a shine to Goose parkas, both on and off set.

This popularity has fuelled the company’s expansion over the pastfew years. It has factories throughout Canada, offices in New York and Paris, and sells its products in nearly 40 different countries. This meteoric ascent is paralleled by Spencer’s own rise through the ranks of Canada Goose. He started out as a product manager, was promoted to director of design and merchandising and then vice president design and merchandising. In 2016 he became
the vice president of merchandising and product strategy overseeing a team of 12 people. He has found his home. “Our CEO Dani Reiss says, ‘If you find the right job, you don’t work a day in your life.’ And I love it here,” Spencer says. “It feels like family.”

“Spencer eats, sleeps, and breathes Canada Goose,” Jenny says. “He’s been great for the company and the company has been great for us.” Chief brand officer Kevin Spreekmeester
agrees. “Spencer is focused on evolving products to make them more
comfortable and he’s made a real impact by introducing our HyBridge Lite jacket.” The jacket won Outdoor Magazine’s Gear of the Year Award and opened the doors for Canada Goose in the lightweight category.

Spencer is continuing this push to help the company transition into a three-season brand: fall, winter, and spring. He has been intimately involved in the design process of garments – from concept all the way through development, product engineering, and compliance. “I’m always asking, ‘Is it possible that this is not a best-in-class product?’”

The nature of his job means that Spencer criss-crosses the globe on a regular basis.

He has seen all of Asia and Europe, keeping his finger on the pulse of the outerwear industry. He’s at tradeshows, fashion shows, and retail stores as well as at the mills where yarn is made and the dye houses where fabrics are coloured.

But one travel experience stands above all the others. In 2015, Spencer journeyed to the North Pole to conduct field tests on Canada Goose gear – he wanted to see for himself how they stood up to the harshest of conditions. He made the voyage with a handful of scientists and a group of adventure tourists. They landed in Svalbard, a northern island well above Norway before transferring to a rusted and creaking airplane that flew to a Russian base camp located in the middle of a floating ice field. The only structures were two giant heated plastic tents for sleeping, a dining tent, and a homemade sauna. “One tourist dressed up as Santa Claus and a couple got remarried,” Spencer says. “It was like an arctic Las Vegas.”

Although Spencer revelled in the craziness of it all, he says that the best part was being able to walk away from the chaos and “into the wind and the cold to find the empty spaces and solitude I was seeking.” It was an impulse that marked Spencer as an outdoor rec’er at heart – and one who we are proud to count as a Lakehead grad.