PEI BioAlliance Staff
Rory Francis | Chief Executive Officer
TELEPHONE 902-367-4402 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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 CEO 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
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.
Jason Cleaversmith | Executive Director, Incubation and Infrastructure
Jason is no stranger to the PEI Bioscience Cluster community and has an extensive network both nationally and internationally. Most recently he was VP Health and Nutrition for the Center for Aquaculture Technologies and General Manager of Canadian Operations. He has also served as Managing Director of AKVA Group Scotland, Director of Operations and Business Development at the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Center, and Head of Novartis Aqua Health in PEI overseeing manufacturing and R&D. He was also an industry expert with HATCH Blue, an innovative aquaculture accelerator supporting a cohort of 13 technology companies on three different continents.
Previously, Jason led the bioscience portfolio on behalf of the Government of Prince Edward Island as Senior Investment Manager. He currently sits on the Board of the University of Prince Edward Islands technology transfer office (Synapse) and on the Innovate UK Animal Sector Advisory Board.
Jason is a graduate of Edinburgh University in Scotland, majoring in natural sciences followed by a PhD in Marine Geochemistry. He also completed an Executive MBA with the University of Glasgow, where he gained a Distinction.
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.
Heather Lizama | Corporate Administrator
TELEPHONE (902) 367-4400 | email@example.com
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
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.
Penny Walsh-McGuire | Executive Director, CASTL
Over the past fifteen years, Penny has held leadership roles, including CEO, Executive Director, and Chief Marketing Officer for several not-for-profit organizations. As CEO of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, she has led the organization’s operations and strategic initiatives on behalf of the Chamber’s more than 1,000 members. Through this work, she convened a group of 20 business organizations and industry associations in developing a private-sector-led economic development action plan through the PEI Partnership for Growth.
Penny is passionate about workforce development and has consistently advocated for programs and services to support the growth of PEI’s talent pipeline.
As a highly motivated business leader and communications professional, Penny led marketing and communications for the Confederation Centre of the Arts and the University of Prince Edward Island. As CEO of the Prince Edward Island 2014 celebrations, Penny led a multi-disciplinary team in the strategic development and implementation of a year-long program engaging private-sector, community organizations, and governments at all levels. Penny has most recently served as chair of the Holland College Board of Governors.
A graduate of the University of Prince Edward Island, she holds a master’s and bachelor’s degree in business and a diploma in Events and Conventions Management from Holland College.
Jennifer Lenentine | Manager, Corporate Services
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.
Dr. Don Ridley | Mentor-in-Residence, PEI BioAlliance
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.
Sidney Reid | Program Manager, CASTL
Sidney Reid has been working in the not-for-profit sector for more than 13 years in project and program management, relationship management, and evaluation.
As a naturally inquisitive person with strong communication skills, Sidney has led teams on a diverse range of projects and activities that include the development of online learning resources and Learning Management customizations, management of external consultants and advisory committees, and developing and delivering reports to analyse the effectiveness of projects and programs.
Having worked in both economic development and with an organization that develops and delivers technology enhanced learning, Sidney has knowledge and experience in fostering growth in the economy and understands the power of education and training to drive success within a sector. With an MA in Sociology from the University of Guelph and a BAh from UPEI with a double major in Sociology and Anthropology, Sidney is excited to bring her professional experience and education to the team.
In her spare time, Sidney is happiest when reading a good book or having coffee and conversation with friends.
Vivian Beer | Manager, HR Strategy
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.
Clara Deacon | Director, Communications and Marketing
TELEPHONE (403) 701-2815 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.