PEI BioAlliance Staff
Rory Francis | Executive Director
TELEPHONE 902-367-4402 | FACSIMILE 902-367-4404 | E-mail
Rory Francis has 30 years experience in professional, management and leadership roles in the public and private sectors. As an experienced senior executive, Mr. Francis has led transformative change in several public sector organizations encompassing economic and social policy, programs and services.
Mr. Francis is a native of Prince Edward Island. He earned a BSc in geology and chemistry from Mount Allison University and an MSc in Hydrogeology from the University of Waterloo.
Since 2004 he has been Executive Director of the Prince Edward Island BioAlliance, a not-for-profit network of bioscience businesses, academic and research organizations, and government agencies. The role of the BioAlliance is to facilitate the growth and development of the province’s emerging bioscience cluster, working with industry, researchers, and government partners to establish the next generation of the Prince Edward Island economy.
From 1991 to 2003 Mr. Francis held Deputy Minister positions in several provincial government departments, including Environment; Agriculture and Forestry; Fisheries and Aquaculture; and Health and Social Services.
Mr. Francis is a member of the Canadian BioAccord and serves as a Board member with the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, the PEI AgriFood Alliance Inc. PEI Institute for Human Health Research, the Regional Advisory Board of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC-Atlantic), and is President of the Eastern Canada Oilseeds Development Alliance. He chairs the Advisory Board for the Culinary Institute of Canada’s Technology Access Centre. In 2008-09 he co-chaired The Commission on the Future of Agriculture and AgriFood in Prince Edward Island.
Mr. Francis is an avid naturalist and is active in community work. He resides in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island with his wife Ann. Their three children have left the nest.
Amy McQuillan | Director, Finance
TELEPHONE (902) 367-4406 | FACSIMILE (902) 367-4404 | E-mail
Amy McQuillan is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Saint Mary's University's Sobey School of Business and a Bachelor of Science degree (Biology) from the University of Prince Edward Island. Prior to joining the PEI BioAlliance, Amy held increasingly senior finance roles at Atlantic Canadian news, media, and entertainment businesses.
Amy is responsible for the overall financial management of the PEI BioAlliance, including financial administration for Emergence, Canada's bioscience business incubator, and the Eastern Canada Oilseeds Development Alliance (ECODA). Her strong financial management and administration background as well as her experience in capital projects are key assets for the PEI BioAlliance. Her consultative and collaborative approach in the workplace is well-matched with the facilitator and catalyst functions of the bioscience cluster.
Clara Deacon | Director, Communications and Marketing
TELEPHONE (403) 701-2815 | FACSIMILE (902) 367-4404 | E-mail
Clara Deacon is a senior communicator with experience leading communications and marketing in both the private and public sectors. Clara has a strong background in communications planning and strategy, media relations, reputation management and research storytelling, and has extensive experience executing large scale institutional announcements. She has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University.
Director, Communications and Marketing
Michael Jones | Program Analyst, CASTL
Dr. Michael Jones has worked in the not-for-profit sector for the past three years focused on drug development funding programs. During this time he has held the position of research specialist with the Weston Brain Institute.
A highly enthusiastic scientist with effective communication and relationship-building capabilities, Michael is passionate about leveraging his scientific and evaluation acumen to provide strategies on evaluating operational initiatives and collecting/interpreting complex data. Additionally, he is a national panel rugby referee where he has traveled extensively throughout North and South America.
Michael completed his B.Sc. (Hons) in Chemistry at the University of Prince Edward Island, prior to completing his Ph.D. at Simon Fraser University in Medicinal Chemistry. He also completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Neuroscience at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Currently, Michael resides in Hamilton, Ontario where he will continue living while he works for CASTL.
Program Analyst, CASTL
Heather Lizama | Corporate Administrator
TELEPHONE (902) 367-4400 | FACSIMILE (902) 367-4404 | E-mail
Heather Lizama has a background in geomatics with over 10 years of IT experience, specializing in client services. Heather received her undergraduate degree in Geography from Trinity Western University in B.C. and a post grad in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) from the B.C. Institute of Technology. She excels in documentation design, solution architecture, time management, prioritization and management of enterprise databases and applications.
Heather has a variety of public and private sector work experiences across Canada at universities, remote sensing firms, Canadian Forest Products, the National Capital Commission, and numerous consulting firms. Through these diverse work experiences, she provides the following roles for the PEI BioAlliance: coordinating and troubleshooting systems and software, URL maintenance, support to the Executive Director and BioAlliance Board of Directors, and provides assistance in project and event execution.
Eddie Francis | Business Development Associate
TELEPHONE (902) 367-4394 | FACSIMILE (902) 367-4404 | E-mail
As an intern in the Emergence Incubator, Eddie has been a member of the PEI BioAlliance team since 2015.
Eddie manages relations with existing and prospective clients and assists with the pre-incubation process, admission process and establishing service contracts. He also provides support to the Emergence Mentorship Program and actively participates in the recruitment of companies to the Emergence Incubator.
Eddie has a B.Sc and a M.Sc in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UPEI where his research focused on inhibiting early stage cancer progression pathways. Eddie has spent the last 15 years in the private sector in early stage companies as an owner, operator and project manager.
Business Development Associate
Christopher Gillis | Executive Director, Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL)
TELEPHONE (902)-218-0402 | FACSIMILE (902) 367-4404 | E-mail
Christopher Gillis has worked in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors in varying roles from Human Resources (HR) advisor to executive manager.
A highly motivated human resources and project management professional with a natural ability to lead, Christopher is passionate about leveraging HR and project management to solve complex problems and create cultures of performance. Additionally, he has taught as a sessional professor at the University of Prince Edward Island and as a sessional instructor in the business program at Holland College.
Having also worked in policy and communications, Christopher’s unique skill set brings added value and depth to the work he does, making him a welcome addition to the team. A graduate of the University of Prince Edward Island, he also holds a master’s degree in policy from Queen’s University and certifications as an HR professional (CPHR) and professional project manager (PMP).
Executive Director, CASTL
Jennifer Lenentine | Manager, Corporate Services
TELEPHONE 902-367-4413 | FACSIMILE 902-367-4404 | E-mail
As Manager, Corporate Services, Jennifer has been a valued member of the PEI BioAlliance team since 2005. She has lead responsibility in the execution and management of core and project funding agreements, providing support to the PEI BioAlliance Board of Directors and overseeing corporate governance practices.
Jennifer is the lead liaison with PEI BioAlliance partner companies and manages industry projects such as the Commercial Services Initiative and the Partners in Prosperity Program. Together with the BioAlliance team, she organizes and provides support services for a number of Bioscience Cluster events, including the BioTechnology and Human Health Symposium, International BioPartnering Missions, and the International VetHealth Global Conference. In addition to her responsibilities with the PEI BioAlliance, she also provides corporate services management for the Prince Edward Island AgriAlliance and its Board of Directors.
Jennifer began her career as a Personal and Small Business Banking Officer with Scotiabank. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Prince Edward Island and has advanced professional training in Canadian Investment Funds. She has volunteered for many years with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization.
Manager, Corporate Services
Dr. Don Ridley | Mentor-in-Residence, PEI BioAlliance
TELEPHONE (902) 367-4400 | FACSIMILE (902) 367-4404 | E-mail
Don Ridley obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Guelph, followed by an NRC industrial post doc with the Swiss multinational Ciba-Geigy. He subsequently joined that company as a research scientist. He had a 23-year career with Ciba-Geigy with progressively senior research, product development, marketing and management positions culminating as Managing Director for Ciba-Geigy S.E. Asia based in Singapore. After the merger of Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy to form Novartis, Don returned to North America and joined CanTox US Inc., a scientific and regulatory consulting firm, as Managing Director and Senior Scientific Consultant a position he held until he retired in 2004. He returned to Canada and settled in Prince Edward Island. He occupies his retirement as VP Business Development of Nautilus Bioscience Canada Inc. as well as assisting the PEI BioAlliance in supporting the bioscience cluster on PEI.
Dr. Don Ridley
Ellen Ross | Project Assistant, Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL)
Ellen is a recent graduate of the UPEI Bachelor of Business Administration program and holds a diploma in Architectural Technology from Holland College. Prior to entering the Business Administration program at UPEI she worked in the construction industry as an architectural technologist.
While at UPEI Ellen was part of the case program which provided many opportunities to travel and compete with other post-secondary students and institutions. Academic and other awards include being on the Dean’s List at UPEI (2017-2019) and receiving the Gold Medal, Architectural Technology and Design (2016) from Skills Canada. An active community member and volunteer Ellen has worked with the Queen Charlotte Intermediate Field Hockey Association and the PEI Women in Business Association, among others.
This past summer Ellen worked with Innovation PEI as a member of their Student Case Program. The purpose of this program and these teams is to develop creative solutions for local businesses facing an array of problems including the challenges associated with navigating a COVID/post COVID world.
Project Assistant, CASTL
Vivian Beer | Manager, HR Strategy
TELEPHONE (902) 367-4407 | FACSIMILE (902) 367-4404 | E-mail
Vivian Beer has worked on several projects for the Prince Edward Island BioAlliance over the past eight years, including the VetHealth Global Conference and the Biotechnology & Human Health Symposium. Most recently, she has taken on management of the PEI Bioscience Cluster HR Strategy, which supports successful recruitment in the PEI bioscience sector through targeted outreach efforts to build key networks and track sector growth.
Vivian has over 15 years experience working in senior management and operating her own marketing company. Projects have included international business development, HR planning, market research, sales/marketing management, events organization, business-to-business partnering programs and digital media marketing.
Vivian has a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Public Administration Diploma from the University of Prince Edward Island. She is a published writer and photographer and is actively involved in community work. Vivian is part of a professional affiliation that tracks marketing, technology and communications trends.
Mark Redmond | Director of Incubation Services
TELEPHONE 902-367-4410 | FACSIMILE 902-367-4404 | E-mail
Dr. Mark Redmond earned a PhD in Molecular Biology and Immunology, and he also has experience as a medical researcher, intellectual property manager, senior health system administrator, education leader and entrepreneur—breadth that will enable him to excel with the Emergence BioIncubator.
Born in Liverpool, England, and having spent most of his career in Western Canada, Mark brings to our community a portfolio of technical experience that ranges from human health and veterinary medicine to biochemicals, from botanical and marine sources to sensors and devices, and from remote application monitoring to manufacturing and systems’ simulation.
Mark developed his own research into global business success in Canadian, American, European, Australian and Japanese markets. He launched over 20 patent-protected products, including pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and medical devices. In recognition of this work, he received the Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation Award, the BioAlberta Entrepreneur of the Year title, and a nomination as Ernst & Young Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year.
In support of talented entrepreneurs and enterprise, Mark co-founded The A100, a self-funding community of seasoned technology-company founders and executives. The A100 focuses on having the entrepreneur develop the full potential of the businessperson, not just the business.
Plant extracts that Dr. Redmond co-discovered and commercialized at botanical extract company Ceapro are the Active Naturals in Johnson and Johnson’s Aveeno products, the products that Jennifer Aniston credits for her glowing skin.
Dogs in Japan are familiar with the leading treatment for Ear Infections (Otitis Externa), which was developed by Dr. Redmond.
Dr. Redmond was a member of the team that brought the world’s first genetically engineered livestock vaccine to market.
Dr. Mark Redmond
Director, Incubation Services
Wendy McIsaac | Program Director, Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL)
Wendy McIsaac has worked in the not-for-profit, public and education sectors in varying roles including Education Coordinator, Client Services Director, Senior Policy Advisor and Chief Administrative Officer.
A results oriented leader, Wendy understands that meaningful collaboration and clear communication are crucial to the success of any program or project as all work, ultimately, gets done through people. She has demonstrated success in leading initiatives in both education and public policy development. Her work with educators across the province to develop curriculum for the PEI school system has been adopted by other jurisdictions across the country and her expertise in public policy development supported the successful implementation of new provincial legislation for local governments. Wendy holds a Bachelor Degree in Community Studies, a Bachelor Degree in English, a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Education Degree from St. Mary’s University.
Wendy is passionate about people, public service, and lifelong learning. These professional passions also permeate her personal life. She is a longtime community volunteer as well as an emerging writer and self-taught baker. In 2018, Wendy was one of fifteen emerging writers from around the world invited to attend to international residency program for writers in Italy. In 2019, she was invited back to the program as a facilitator. Wendy’s writing has been featured on CBC and in various literary journals. She also proudly represented PEI on season two of CBC TV’s “The Great Canadian Baking Show” after being chosen as one of Canada’s top ten self-taught home bakers.
Program Director, CASTL