CARS NRD 2019 – Presenters

National Railway Day Conference 2019

Bringing Forth Awareness Diversities – Industry Responsibility & Accountability

NRD logoCARS is pleased to officially announce that we will be hosting our National Railway Day Conference 2019 in Edmonton!

November 7th in Canada will mark the 134th year that the last spike was driven into the Canadian Pacific Railways (CPR) at Craigellachie. From that moment Canada has been united and rail has become one of the most important and valuable modes of transportation while delivering people and goods safely and efficiently.

To commemorate this special day in history and to celebrate our industry, CARS will be hosting its National Railway Day Conference in Edmonton November 5th, 6th, & 7th at the brand new J.W. Marriott ICE District. For the first time in its history since this conference began in 2014, NRD will have a tradeshow component where industry will have an opportunity to profile their goods and services.

The theme for this year’s conference will be “Bringing Forth Awareness Diversities – Industry Responsibility & Accountability”. It is our responsibility as an industry to ensure that we continue to take action and educate our employees on the several areas of awareness whether it is culture, gender, safety or even proper employee training. NRD will focus on all of these and more. It will be a great forum to get engaged and hear from industry leaders.

Faye Ackermans
Faye Ackermans

  • Reappointed Member of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada in July 2018
  • Appointed Member of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada in July 2014

Faye Ackermans had 25 years of experience in the rail industry, with over 15 of those years with senior positions in rail safety and regulatory affairs, before being appointed a member of the Board on 02 July 2014.

Mrs. Ackermans began her career with Canadian Pacific Railway in 1982. From 1996 to 2008, as General Manager of Safety & Regulatory Affairs, she was responsible for corporate-wide oversight for safety management, security planning, operations regulatory compliance and occurrence investigations. Over that period, Canadian Pacific reduced train accidents by 65% and personal injuries by over 70%.

She has held several rail industry committee memberships over her career, including the Safety & Operations Management Committees of both the Railway Association of Canada and the American Association of Railroads.

Mrs. Ackermans received a Master of Business Administration from Concordia University in Montreal and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Carleton University in Ottawa.

Panel Discussion on Diversity and Inclusion

Krystal Abotossaway
Krystal Abotossaway
Talent Acquisition Strategic Sourcing Partner – Indigenous Peoples

Krystal Abotossaway is a well sought-after speaker and expert on Indigenous engagement. As Lead Strategic Diversity Advisor and Partner at TD Bank, she is the touchstone for bringing the voice and the talent of diversity and Indigenous cultures to the bank’s Diversity Talent Strategy and Community Relations programs. Her thought leadership in advancing the Human Resources knowledge on Indigenous engagement is informed by her academic background in Human Resources Management and her leadership roles on multiple Associations and Boards in Canada Krystal Abotossaway is from Aundeck Omni-Kaning First Nations and Chippewas of Rama First Nations. She is an urban Ojibwe Anishinaabe Kwe. 

Darrell Schuurman
Darrell Schuurman, MBA
Co-Founder & CEO, Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

Darrell is an advocate of effecting social change through the economic empowerment of LGBT+ entrepreneurs. He is the co-founder and CEO of the CGLCC, Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce, a national not-for-profit organization with a mission to expand the opportunities and advancement of the LGBT+ business community in Canada.

Darrell is also passionate about strengthening Canada’s tourism industry. He was the co-founder of Travel Gay Canada, an organization focused on increasing tourism receipts to Canada, and Managing Partner at DNA Marketing Group, a specialized marketing company for the tourism industry. Prior, he spent 6 years with VIA Rail Canada and 5 years with the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council.

Darrell completed his Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the University of Calgary, and completed his Executive MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University.

S Ziemer
Stephanie Ziemer​
Director of HR, REMCAN Projects LP

Stephanie Ziemer has been railroading for more than 27 years purely by chance.  Stephanie started her career in what she thought was only a summer student position with Canadian National Railway in Thunder Bay, ON.  Early on her career she knew if she stayed in the rail industry, she would be an agent of change and felt as though the rail industry in the mid-1990’s needed some much ‘shaking up’.

Stephanie stepped into a leadership role in Operations at an early age after graduating from Lakehead University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.  This leadership opportunity took her across CN’s national network in a training capacity and was then posted to the BC Division in increasingly more senior roles in Operations, leaving her position as the Manager responsible for the rail terminal in Prince George to join CN’s Labour Relations and Human Resources team in 2000.  Taking on challenges in both Labour Relations and Human Resources allowed Stephanie to focus on strategic recruitment, leadership development and training, and changing the conversation relative to managing within the confines of the various collective agreements at CN.  Prior to leaving CN, Stephanie was appointed to the position of Manager of Aboriginal Relations for the province of BC.  In this capacity, Stephanie continued to outreach and engage with various Indigenous communities focusing on pre-employment training, recruitment and selection, and again changing the conversation relative to the relationships between CN and Indigenous communities within the national rail corridor.

Now with REMCAN Projects LP as the Director of Human Resources, Stephanie has taken on the challenge of diversifying REMCAN’s recruitment and selection strategies and supporting the leadership team as REMCAN continues to be a leader in safety and innovation.

Panel Discussion on Edmonton Transit

A Dichoso
Adonis Dichoso
Engineering Program Manager, Capital Line at City of Edmonton

Adonis Dichoso stands at the forefront of developing a modern, globally competitive city with a transportation system that meets the needs of a diverse, dynamic and growing population. As an Engineering Program Manager for LRT Delivery for the City of Edmonton, he’s spent the last three years evangelizing an industry-wide transportation mode shift to LRT and has helped the City of Edmonton transform for it’s transportation needs as the City grows.

A project leader with a complete understanding of emerging trends in oil and gas, transportation and municipal engineering, Adonis has championed infrastructure, complex projects to his enterprise, clients and consumer customers towards successful completion. Throughout his 13-year tenure in the private sector, Adonis blends industrial knowledge with design and construction abilities from conception through to completion. He has valued experience in the seamless management, implementation and execution of multiple projects.

Adonis holds a management MBA, a Project Management Professional designation and Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. He successfully streamlined operations of client projects through scope and objective development; preliminary project planning and design; and determination of resources and timelines. As well, he has the ability to grasp new ideas and concepts and a strong understanding of design and construction management combined with oil/gas transportation knowledge. He is a cost-effective, proactive contributor with proven ability to create and implement cross-functional processes, solve problems, and issue resolutions.

T Lucas
Terri Lucas
Commercial Manager, Valley Line Southeast LRT project at City of Edmonton

Terri Lucas’s career has focused on the procurement and delivery of complex transportation projects delivered through Public-Private Partnerships (P3s).  Terri spent 11 years mastering the technical and commercial aspects of procuring and delivering major ring road P3 projects for Alberta Transportation. While working at Alberta Transportation, Terri led the successful procurement of the final two ring road P3 projects with capital construction amounts of $925 million and $1.1 billion.  

Terri’s involvement in P3 projects has spanned different phases and tasks for delivery including: land acquisition, project approval, business case development, procurement, proposal evaluation, financial management, risk management, contract administration, design-construction inspection and audit, and operations and maintenance support.  

Since July 2016 Terri has been the Commercial Manager for the Valley Line Southeast LRT project, the largest single infrastructure contract the City of Edmonton has entered into with a cost of $1.8 billion.  Terri is responsible for contract management as it specifically relates to risk, financial terms, commercial aspects, and potential claims. More recently, Terri has been participating in the procurement of the Valley Line West LRT project, an extension to the Valley Line Southeast LRT project.

In addition to Terri’s work responsibilities, she takes pride in acting as a mentor to two junior professionals.

Terri is a professional engineer licensed in Alberta, a Project Management Professional certified by PMI, and has a master’s degree in engineering management from the U of A.

Brad Smid
Brad Smid

Brad Smid, P.Eng, has been building LRT in Edmonton for the past thirteen years. Leveraging his private sector background in construction and railroad engineering, Brad joined the City in the early 2000’s to help the City tackle its challenges in urban transportation. In that time, Brad has helped to deliver over 75% of Edmonton’s current and under construction LRT network – and in doing so has helped to change the face of Edmonton.

Brad is the Project Director for the Valley Line LRT; a truly transformative project. This 27 km urban-style, low-floor LRT system will connect southeast and west Edmonton to destinations throughout the City. Valley Line Southeast, the initial 13 km segment of the Valley Line, is currently under construction. It is the City’s largest infrastructure project to date, and its first project to be delivered as a Public-Private-Partnership (P3). Valley Line West, a 14 km extension, is currently in the procurement readiness phase and will be delivered using a Design-Build-Finance (DBF) method.

In addition to his work responsibilities, Brad is a minor hockey coach and is the Honourary Treasurer of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

Brad is a past recipient of a Certificate of Fellowship from Engineers Canada and the James A. Vance Award from the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

S Smith
Steve Smith
Chief Operating Officer, Torq Energy Logistics Ltd.

Mr. Smith co-founded Torq Energy Logistics Ltd. in 2011 and is responsible for daily operations and management, as well as certain strategic planning and growth initiatives. Prior to Torq, Mr. Smith served as Vice President, Compliance and International Development at a real estate private equity firm. Mr. Smith held increasingly senior roles with private real estate investment and asset management companies Interborder Holdings and Walton Global Investments. Mr. Smith is a member of the board of directors of Remcan Projects LP and ThorCan Construction and Refractories Inc. Mr. Smith is a graduate of Mount Allison University.


Megan Bates
Manager Industry Relations, WBF

Megan is the Manager of Industry Relations for Women Building Futures (WBF). In her role, Megan works to identify and build partnerships with industry that both support the work of WBF, and the women WBF serves.

Since joining WBF in 2016, Megan has lead the pilot of a Professional Class 1 Driver program and a Solar/Renewable Energy program. She’s also identified and secured multi-year partnerships with municipalities surrounding Edmonton. Megan thoroughly enjoys working to identify new areas of opportunity to ensure WBF is offering programs that align with economic and industry needs, ensuring the long term employment and career success of WBF Alumni.

Prior to her work with WBF, Megan lived abroad for 10 years with most of her time spent in London, UK. Her experience ranges from retail management and customer service to human resources and recruitment in various industries. Megan studied Human Resource Management at MacEwan University and recently finished the Management Essentials Certificate from University of Alberta Executive Education.

Megan is passionate about helping women find their confidence and become financially independent. Megan lives in St. Albert with her husband Mike and their two children, Mia and Sam.


S Mifsud
Steven Mifsud
Managing Director, NRAC Access Consultant

Steven Mifsud founded disability accessibility consultancy Direct Access in 2004. From creating the UK’s first ever Quiet Rooms for autistic people with Virgin Trains to installing Changing Places toilets at Birmingham International to reviewing customer journeys for Eurostar, the European rail operator, Steven has enabled rail operators to improve accessibility for disabled people. Steven is currently the Lead Accessibility Consultant for Virgin Trains in the UK.

Profoundly deaf since birth, Steven has also undertaken audits of stations across West Berkshire for the local authority’s transport plan and reviewed architectural plans for the Luas Green Line extension in Dublin. For London Underground, Steven worked on the Olympics 2012 step-free programme including the key interchange stations Wembley and Tottenham Court Road as well as Stratford International the terminus for the Olympic Park, Jubilee line and interchange for the Docklands Light Railway.

Steven has global experience in the field of accessibility and is also the Project Director of Universal Design for Dubai Expo2020.

The new Accessible Canada Act will change the way the Canadian Transportation Agency operates – Steven will highlight some of the issues therein and draw on best practice from Europe and Japan in facilitating accessibility. 


Pam Arpin
Pam Arpin
Assistant Vice-President Customer and Corporate Services, CP Rail

Pam Arpin is an experienced professional with a demonstrated history of working in the transportation industry. She joined Canadian Pacific in 1997 and since that time has held a variety of positions in Sales, Customer Service, Finance and Operations before being named Assistant Vice-President Customer and Corporate Services in 2017.

Leading a diverse team of approximately 400 employees, Pam is responsible for CP's Network Service Centre. In this shared services role, she oversees CP’s customer service, operational, financial and human resources transactional support functions, as well as leading development and implementation of improvements to these services through process and technology innovation.

Pam holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance from the University of Saskatchewan. 


Knut Ohm
Knut Ohm
Rail Safety Officer, Safety and Compliance Services Branch, Alberta Transportation, Government of Alberta

Knut’s experience includes 28 years in the airline industry in senior management positions, project management in Canada and globally, charter operations and airport operations. After retirement Knut spent three years in health care as a director of operations and the last sixteen years with Alberta Transportations Rail Safety. 


James Thompson
Vice-President, Western Region

James Thompson was appointed Vice-President Western Region in April 2019, based in Edmonton. Most recently, he had been General Manager Alberta Region since 2016 and Superintendent Network Operations since 2015.

Mr. Thompson has worked for CN for over 20 years and has held positions of increasing responsibility in CN’s operation. At the start of his career, he worked as a Track Maintainer in Ontario and from there, has steadily worked throughout Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta honing skills of large team management, operational efficiency, contract negotiation, and budget management. Mr. Thompson has particular interest and deep experience in developing and implementing management training with an emphasis on safety culture. 


E. Michael O’Malley
President, Railway Supply Institute

Mike O’Malley has served as President of the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) since February 2018. RSI is a trade association representing more than 250 companies involved in the manufacture and delivery of products and services in the freight car, locomotive, maintenance of way, communications and signaling, and passenger rail industries. RSI connects members to their customers, supports them in the global marketplace, and advocates on behalf of the industry in the legislative and regulatory processes. America’s railway suppliers represent a $28 billion/year industry supporting more than 100,000 American workers.

O’Malley’s career also includes prior experience in the railroad industry, federal and state government, and international trade organizations. He joined CSX at its Jacksonville, Florida headquarters in 2007 as vice president, state government and community affairs before being named vice president, procurement and supply chain management in 2013. From 2002-2007, O’Malley served with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in Washington, D.C. as counselor to the undersecretary for policy, deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy, and most recently as chief of staff with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Before his tenure with DOT, O’Malley was a government relations advisor with Shaw Pittman LLC. Prior to that, he worked for International Trade Services Corp., the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago, and on the staff of Illinois Governor Jim Edgar.

His education includes a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, a Master of Science in European Studies from the London School of Economics, and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.