Stephen Madsen, President
Stephen Madsen is a founding member of the North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society. He has a BSc in civil engineering from the University of Alberta, and is currently employed as a technology management consultant. He has lived in the US and Canada and worked for both public and private organizations. He and his wife of 27 years have five children, all of whom have left the nest; and most still live in the Edmonton area. Steve loves the outdoors, enjoys frequent trips to the mountains, and invests his time in the NSRVCS because of his desire to balance the use of the Edmonton River Valley resources with the need to preserve them for future generations.
Dianne Assaly, Vice President
Dianne was born in Edmonton and has been a resident for over 60 years. Dianne has been involved in the North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society since inception and a board member since 2010. Dianne has also volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters as an in school mentor.
A graduate of Grant Macewan Community College ( fashion retailing and later management studies). Dianne has worked in the hospitality industry, retailing and property management.
A resident of Big Island Woodbend area for 24 years, Dianne is retired and actively enjoying Edmonton’s amazing River valley many days a week! Dianne is also a grandmother and gardener who is passionate that children and all residents need ready access to nature for their physical and mental well being.
Esther Ondrack, Secretary
Esther Ondrack (nee Nielsen), born and raised in Edmonton, graduated from the University of Alberta with a BA (Honours) in 1963.
Esther was employed in the oil and gas industry for over 40 years, initially as a summer student and ultimately as a director and senior officer of Chieftain International, Inc., which was sold in 2001 when Esther retired from active employment. Esther also served as a private sector member of the Government of Canada’s Enterprise Development Board; as a public member of the Board of Governors of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, as a director of TELUS Corporation and on the Board of The Canada Council for the Arts.
As a volunteer, Esther has served on boards and committees of several organizations including the Alberta Performing Arts Stabilization Fund, the Caritas Health Group, the Edmonton Arts Council, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, the Edmonton Petroleum Club (former Chair), the Edmonton Symphony, Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta, Pro Coro Canada, the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region (former Chair), the University of Alberta’s School of Business Advisory Committee, YMCA Canada and the YMCA of Edmonton. She is currently a member of the Boards of the Alberta Region of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Edmonton YMCA Foundation, the North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society and the Rocky Mountain Heritage Foundation.
Esther enjoys country living, very near Edmonton, with her husband Jack who is Chairman of Boreal Laser, Inc. Her interests are centered on family, music, travel, the garden and long walks, some of them involving golf.
Keren Tang, Treasurer
Keren joined the NSRVCS board in April 2015. As a public health professional, she has deep appreciation for the natural environment, recognizing that it is an important factor that influences people’s health and wellness. She connects with nature by mountain biking and walking through the river valley, and skiing in the Rockies. Keren also has 10 years of experience in community activism, social entrepreneurship, and wellness initiatives. In addition to the advocacy work for a master plan understanding the Big Island Woodbend area, she has advocated for active transportation, serving on boards locally at the Edmonton Multicultural Coalition, and nationally with Girls Action Foundation. Keren lives next to the Mill Creek Ravine with her daughter and her husband Zack (also a NSRVCS member).
Harvey Voogd, Executive Director
Part-time Executive Director since August 2016, Harvey previously served on the Board from January 2015 onwards. He also works as a Senior Associate with IMC Projects.
Harvey loves Edmonton’s ribbon of green and spends at least an hour a day walking in the river valley with his dog and enjoys canoeing on the river. Five years as an Executive Assistant to a City Councillor made him acutely aware of Edmontonian’s passion for the river valley.
Harvey volunteers with the Alberta Network of Public Housing Agencies, Edmonton Circles of Support and Accountability and the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. In his free time, he loves walking, cross-country skiing, reading, cooking and travelling.
Alex Abboud is a consultant in the areas of communications, public policy, and strategy. He has more than 10 years of leadership experience in the non-profit sector and government.
From 2010 to 2015, he worked for Homeward Trust, a large non-profit organization that has overseen a 27% decrease in homelessness in Edmonton since 2008. From 2013-15, he served as Director, Communications & Fund Development, and previously as a Policy Advisor and Communications Manager for the organization. He previously served as a political staff person at City Hall in Edmonton, and as Executive Director of Students Nova Scotia. While attending the University of Alberta, he was elected Vice-President External of the Students’ Union, and Chair of the Council of Alberta University Students. Alex has run and written for several websites since 2004, and in 2012 served as the inaugural blogger-in-residence at the Edmonton Journal.
Alex joined the NSRVCS board in 2016. He also serves on the boards of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and the Edmonton Heritage Council. Additionally, he is a marathon runner, and a hobby photographer.
Raquel Feroe is a physician with an interest in fostering connections between healthy communities, healthy environments, and healthy people. In addition to serving on the board of the North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society, she serves on the board of the Alberta Capital Airshed, Edmonton & Area Land Trust, Solar Energy Society of Alberta, and Alberta Environmental Network. She is involved with the NSRVCS because of the importance of protecting an area of Edmonton that offers so much health and happiness for all.
Sam is honoured to be a Director with the NSRVCS, growing up beside the river valley has instilled a deep love of it, and a desire to preserve it. Sam is currently studying Political Science at the University of Alberta. He is the President of Greenfield Community League, he teaches and advises for Junior Achievement, as well as experiencing the program himself. He writes for the Alberta Street News, Green Business Canada, and the Green Medium. Sam works for Councillor Michael Walters while as a Research Assistant. He enjoys the performing arts and the sport of hockey enormously.
Jonathan Huckabay is a public affairs professional active in Alberta politics since 2008. He is the owner-operator of Hawkeye Strategies, an Edmonton-based government & public relations consultancy.
He recently served as the Director of Public Affairs for CNIB Alberta and Northwest Territories, following a lengthy career at the Legislative Assembly of Alberta where he progressed through the ranks as an Executive Assistant, Director of Strategic Planning, and ultimately as a Chief of Staff.
Jonathan has been active on numerous boards and committees, including the Safety Codes Council, the Health Coalition of Alberta, and as Vice President of Communications & Policy of a provincial political party. He has also been a member of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and Amnesty International for several years.
In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys motorcycling, camping, Latin American food and dancing. He is fluent in Spanish and has travelled extensively throughout the Americas.
A resident of Windermere in Southwest Edmonton, Jonathan has a close connection to the Woodbend-Big Island area, and he wants to ensure the preservation of the area.
Ian Murray is a founding member and past President of the North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society. Since 1989, Ian has been the owner and president of IMC, a consulting and management services firm focused on the natural resource and manufacturing sectors. Previous to that, he was the Executive Assistant to the Minister of Albert Forestry, Lands and Wildlife.
Ian volunteers as the Secretary-Treasurer and Director of the Environmental Law Centre, and coaches boys and girls’ basketball teams, as well as Little League baseball. He is married with four children.
Ian has a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario. He was admitted to the Law Society of Alberta in1986.
In February of 2016 the Provincial Government appointed Michael Phair Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Alberta. Previously he was part time Executive Director with the North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society, an Educational Coordinator with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta and from 1992-2007 an elected member of Edmonton City Council.
In the Edmonton community Michael Phair has have been active for over 25 years with Edmonton’s Gay/Lesbian (Queer) community, founder of AIDS Edmonton, and a current board member of NeWest Press, Pro Coro Music Society, Paths for People and Edmonton Homeward Trust.
Pearl Ann Reichwein
PearlAnn Reichwein is a historian and associate professor at University of Alberta with twenty years of experience in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. As an educator, she explores the significance of parks and enjoys nature outings of all kinds.
Her research studies Canada’s history of prairie west and mountain regions. Her book Climber’s Paradise: Making Canada’s Mountain Parks, 1906-1974 was awarded the Canadian Historical Association’s prestigious Clio Prize, a finalist in the international Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival competition, and earned an INDIEFAB Book of the Year Honourable Mention for Ecology and Environment.
Born in Edmonton, Dr. Reichwein grew up in its ravines and loves the North Saskatchewan River to its headwaters. In addition to serving on the NSRVCS board, she volunteers with the Sierra Club of Canada, Edmonton chapter, guiding hikes at Plain of Six Glaciers, and acting at Fort Edmonton Park as a park interpreter. She is also interested in governance, policy, and communications, and has worked in national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Alayne was raised on a farm in Southern Alberta. She has Bachelors Degree in History and a Law Degree from the University of Saskatchewan. She has a keen interest in the River Valley having walked most of the trails in preparation for a 2014 walk of the Camino de Santiago.
She has a very strong interest in democracy and is fervent supporter of the community and the natural world.
Alayne was the City Clerk for the City of Edmonton from 2008 to 2014 and has volunteered with a number of organizations over the years in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Biography coming soon.