Learn more about the presenters below.

Presenter biographies are organized alphabetically by first name.

Adam V Headshot

Adam Vasilevich 

•  March 2, 11:45 am - 12:45 pm | The Evolution of Local Public Park Engagement: How A Global Pandemic Has Created Opportunities for Dialogue

Adam has been working for 20 years in the planning, design and development of parks and facilities throughout Metro Vancouver. His experience with landscape architectural firms throughout the province, and positions with local municipalities and regional government include extensive project management, public and stakeholder engagement for policy and public space development.

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Adri Stark

•  March 3, 10:30 am - 11:30 am | Made-in-Canada: Learnings from the Canadian City Parks Report

Adri Stark is a project manager at Park People. She is co-author of the Canadian City Parks Report and Sparking Change report which explores the social impacts of parks in underserved neighbourhoods.

Alexander Kurnicki

Alexander Kurnicki

•  February 25, 11:45 am - 12:45 pm| The Garden City Lands: Demonstrating Urban Farming in Richmond's City Centre

Alex Kurnicki has previously presented at BCRPA conferences several times and is happy to return to discuss the Garden City Lands. He is a registered Landscape Architect for the City of Richmond. Prior to joining the City in 2017, he worked at the City of North Vancouver as a Streetscape Planner and Project Manager. Alex has been working in the profession since graduating from UBC in 1999 with a Bachelors of Landscape Architecture. In 2004, he earned a Masters of Urban Planning at the City University of New York while living and working in the Big Apple. He's a father of four, happily married for over 20 years and loves to garden and bee keep whenever he can.
Alex Martin

Alexander Martin

•  February 23, 9:15 am - 10:15 am| COVID-19 and Aboriculture

Originally from Manitoba, Canada, Alex Martin is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist currently studying in the Bachelor of Urban Forestry program at the University of British Columbia. In his role as Director of Operations at Ironwood Urban Forestry Consulting, Alex specializes in tree risk assessment, plant health care/integrated pest management, and municipal tree care operation assessments. Alex is a firm believer in the value of professional development and certifications. In addition to being a Board Certified Master Arborist, Alex holds the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (ISA TRAQ), is licensed in pesticide application and integrated pest management by the Province of Manitoba, and completed the University of Manitoba's Arboriculture Training and Licensing Program. With a background as a climbing arborist and foreman, with experience in municipal contract work and Dutch elm disease programs, Alex believes in the importance of discussion between practitioners and researchers to develop comprehensive and understandable current standards.

Amelia Needoba

Amelia Needoba 

•  March 2, 9:15 am - 10:15 am | New Westminster’s Urban Forest Management Strategy 

Amelia Needoba, is Principal-at Diamond Head Consulting. With 18 years of experience in the strategic planning, development and management of urban and natural forests in Canada and Australia, Amelia specializes in developing and implementing strategies and policies to enhance the resilience of urban trees and forest ecosystems. She has worked with more than 20 municipalities across Canada, and has recently begun working with municipalities in Australia and the US.

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Ben Vandeburgt

•  February 25, 8:00 am - 9:00 am | Flower Bulbs in the Landscape - Amazing Versatility 

Ben Vandeburgt is a Sales Manager at Van Noort Noort Bulb Company with 24 years of experience in handling, supporting and adminstering flower bulb programs. 

Craig Head Shot 2

Craig Sobering

•  March 2, 10:30 am - 11:30 am | Regional Greenways 2050

A love of the outdoors, painting and biology drew Craig to the study of forestry and landscape architecture in the 80’s and 90’s. After close to 15 years protecting BC’s precious farm and forest lands with the Agricultural Land Commission, he found his dream job with the Metro Vancouver Regional Parks’ system planning team in 2009. While you may be familiar with Craig from his most recent work on Regional Greenways 2050, he has also made important contributions to Regional Parks Land Acquisition 2050, the Regional Parks Visitor Survey (2019) and the Regional Parks Plan (2015). When Craig is not working to connect the residents of Metro Vancouver to the region’s important natural areas, he likes to travel with his wife Sharon, take long aimless bike rides, tinker with his collection of vintage bicycles, and support his three teens in their club soccer activities.   

David Lundberg

David Lundberg

•  March 3 11:45 am - 12:45 pm | Resiliency: What is it? How to Achieve it? 

David Lundberg is a leadership coach and owner of Small Pause Coaching and Consulting. Before starting his agency, David spent 30 years in Public Works operations working in several different organizations. He truly understands the challenges that Local Government Supervisors and Managers can face. In 2016, David won an award for Leadership Excellence.

David now focuses on supporting those leaders as an Associate Certified Coach with the International Coaches Federation which represents the gold standard in coaching. He now combines his real world leadership experience with his transformational coaching approach to help leaders achieve exceptional results.

At present, David lives in Richmond, BC with his two school-aged children and enjoys time paddling in the Fraser River and walking the expanse of dyke trails.

Douglas Justice

Douglas Justice

•  February 23, 8:00 am - 9:00 am | What's Wrong with Flowering Cherries?

Douglas Justice is Associate Director at UBC Botanical Garden and an adjunct professor in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at UBC. He is also Program Manager and an instructor for the UBC Botanical Garden Horticulture Training Program. Douglas co-authored The Jade Garden: New and Notable Plants from Asia (2005), and wrote A Field Guide to Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver (2008) with volunteers from the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. He completed a mobile app entitled Vancouver Trees in 2015 and is now working to finish a project that combines Vancouver Trees with a similar volume describing cultivated shrubs in Vancouver. 

Erika Mashig

Erika Mashig

•  March 2, 9:15 am - 10:15 am | New Westminster’s Urban Forest Management Strategy 

Erika Mashig, Manager-Parks & Open Space Planning, Design and Construction, has been practicing landscape architecture for 15 years. Erika is a member of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA), a Registered Landscape Architect with the BCSLA and currently chairs the Metro Vancouver Parks Advisory Committee. She has led and co-led a number of initiatives while at the City of New Westminster including development of the Urban Forest Management Strategy, and continues to work with her team and all city departments to explore private and public realm opportunities to protect, enhance and maintain the urban forest.

George Amos

George Amos

•  February 2311:45 am - 12:45 pm| Using Technology to Improve Safety in Arboriculture

Introduced to arboriculture in 2005 George worked for a small local tree care business in his home town of Maidstone in England. Working in the industry, while undertaking a degree, fueled a passion as a professional arborist. Moving to Vancouver in 2011 to further his experience led him to working and gaining experience with the great trees of the Pacific North West. The journey as a climbing arborist has taken him from working with Vancouver's top tree care companies to the the depth of remote British Columbia as a climber, to running a successful tree care business to now the Field Arborist for the City of North Vancouver.

Hitomi Gilliam

Hitomi Gilliam

•  February 2510:30 am - 11:30 am | Flowering In The Parks

Hitom Gilliam is an internationally renowned flower artist, educator, lecturer, and consultant. She has presented lectures and demos throughout North America, including many Art in Bloom and Flower shows (over 25 + notable Art Museums and Botanical Gardens). She had presented internationally in 16 countries. She has exhibited at Sotheby's Art Institute in NYC, and judged the 2020 Tournament of Roses Parade. She is a recipient of American Institute of Floral Designers' 'Design Influence Award', and also honored with the Frances Jones Poetker Award for flower education (American Horticultural Society). She received the Gold Award and Best of Show for her design display at the Singapore Garden Festival. She is also the author of 7 books. 

Jake Tobin Garrett

Jake Tobin Garrett

•  March 3, 10:30 am - 11:30 am | Made-in-Canada: Learnings from the Canadian City Parks Report

Jake Tobin Garrett is the manager of policy and planning at Park People, a Canadian charity that helps people activate the power of parks. He is co-author of the Canadian City Parks Report, and has written several reports related to urban parks on the subjects of social impact, climate change, urban densification, and more.

Jamie Vala

Jamie Vala

•  March 2, 10:30 am - 11:30 am | Regional Greenways 2050

Jamie is a registered landscape architect with experience in both the private and public sectors as a planner, landscape architect, and biologist. Her focus is protecting and enhancing the ecological integrity of parks and open space in the near urban setting while providing opportunities for people to connect with nature close to home. Jamie currently works as the Division Manager, Planning and Resource Management with Metro Vancouver Regional Parks and holds a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of British Columbia.

Jim Mcleod

Jim McLeod

•  February 259:15 am - 10:15 am | Hives for Humanity - Inclusion of People and Pollinators in Parks

Jim McLeod, Hives for Humanity (H4H) Community Engagement Committee member and DTES community resident and advocate, is a beekeeper and pollinator gardener. Jim will share his work from Cathedral Square Park and the Hastings Folk Garden in Vancouver.

Dr Buhr Photo 2020 Cropped

Kristin Buhr

•  March 3, 8:00 am - 9:00 am | Effective Strategies for Managing Stress and Anxiety

Dr. Kristin Buhr is a Registered Psychologist and Director at the North Shore Stress and Anxiety Clinic.  She specializes in evidence-based treatment of anxiety and mood disorders in adolescents and adults, and regularly provides workshops on mental health issues. Dr. Buhr is a lead consultant for Anxiety Canada, where she has developed numerous self-help resources for adults, parents, and teens coping with anxiety problems, including My Anxiety Plan (MAP), an on-line anxiety management course, and MindShift CBT, a comprehensive anxiety management app. 

Mickella Sjoquist

Mickella Sjoquist

•  March 2, 8:00 am - 9:00 am | Nicomekl Riverfront Park: A Park for People, Wildlife and Water

Mickella has a Masters in Landscape Architecture from UBC and is working toward becoming a registered Landscape Architect. As a Landscape Technician on Surrey's Parks Planning, Research and Design team, she strives for innovative park design by prioritizing spatial experience, ecological sensitivity, and nature based green infrastructure. With multiple awards, significant funding grants and an international publication, Mickella loves planning and designing new and exciting parks for Surrey residents.

Nikolas Wall

Nikolas Wall

•  February 24, 8:00 am - 9:00 am | New Turfgrass Research for Professionals

Nikolas Wall is a CFIA Accredited GD Grader and Operator and has been a Technical Sales Representative at Premier Pacific Seeds Ltd for the past 7 years. He also served on the WCTA board in 2019. Nik works with turf managers around BC to solve turf issues and specify grass seed mixes to suit the unique demands and environments of BC. Nik collaborates often with DLF-Pickseed in Oregon to learn directly from Steve Reid, Head Seed Breeder at DLF-Pickseed, and Dr. Leah Brilman, Director of Product Management, DLF-Pickseed who are some of the industry's top experts and are very sought after speakers. Nik regularly travels down to the DLF seed research farm in Oregon to view the annual turf trials and to stay up to date on the newest varieties.

Paul Van Westendorp

Paul van Westendorp

•  February 24, 10:30 am - 11:30 am | Asian Giant Hornet

Paul was first introduced to bees and beekeeping at the age of eight. His ongoing fascination with bees and their critical role in agriculture and the environment led to his agricultural sciences studies at UBC with employment as a summer student with the BC Ministry of Agriculture during the 1970s. Following UBC, Paul had the opportunity to become involved in apiculture research at the Agriculture Canada research station at Beaverlodge, Alberta for several years.

The suitability of beekeeping to generate supplemental income for subsistence farmers brought Paul to Uganda where he managed an apiculture development project under the auspices of CAREInternational for several years. Political unrest and security issues limited the duration and success of the project and as a result, it eventually brought him back to Canada where Paul was appointed Provincial Apiarist of Alberta. When the equivalent position opened up in BC in 1989, Paul made the lateral move to become BC’s Provincial Apiarist where he has been ever since.

Phil Eastwood

Phil Eastwood

•  March 3, 9:15 am - 10:15 am | Everyday Leadership

Phil is a dynamic presenter whose story-telling style educates, entertains and motivates audiences to improve their communication skills and relationships. Popular with audiences large and small, Phil delivers a message that postiviely impacts life at work and home. 

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Ross Rivers

•  February 24, 9:15 am - 10:15 am | Is Fraise Mowing Your Field Renovation Solution? 

Ross has been designing, building and renovating golf courses and recreational turf facilities since his incorporation in 1980. He specializes in revolutionary techniques, providing unique and cost-effective solutions to common turf problems. His firm has renovated hundreds of acres of turf and held maintenance contracts with dozens of municipalities and school districts in BC.  

Sarah Common

Sarah Common

•  February 259:15 am - 10:15 am | Hives for Humanity - Inclusion of People and Pollinators in Parks

Sarah Common, Hives for Humanity (H4H) Co-Founder, is a beekeeper and pollinator gardener. Sarah will share H4H's work from Cathedral Square Park and the Hastings Folk Garden in Vancouver. 

Stephen Lovering 

Stephen Lovering

•  February 2310:30 am - 11:30 am | Innovations in Tree Health and Stormwater Usages

Stephen Lovering, BLArch, is the North American Technical representative of Citygreen – the world’s leading supplier of sustainable urban landscape solutions, including structural soil cells, tree root management systems, water harvesting and aeration products. As a lifelong horticulture/design enthusiast, Steve has always had an interest in watching landscapes unfold, it was a somewhat natural path that would lead to him changing the world, one streetscape at a time, by helping trees to thrive in urban areas where currently they are failing. From humble beginnings, Citygreen has grown to become the global leader in urban landscape solutions, with offices in Sydney and Los Angeles. Citygreen’s innovative systems have been used on hundreds of successful projects across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Europe, UK, UAE and Asia. Citygreen structural vault systems are made from 100% recycled materials – and have been since day one.

Trevor Smith

Trevor Smith

•  February 24, 11:45 am - 12:15 pm | The State of the Golf Industry in 2020

Trevor Smith is Owner of Keso Turf Supplies Ltd. and Innovative Golf Management Systems Ltd. He is currently President of Allied Golf Association BC (AGA-BC), and Past President of Western Canada Turf Association, and Canadian Golf Superintendents Association.