Our Team

At every step, highly qualified and dedicated professionals are involved in our operations. Click an individual for a brief biography.

Volunteer Board Members

  • Gary Pritchard


  • Gary is from Curve Lake First Nation and is the Manager of Energy & Environment at Cambium Aboriginal, a First Nations engineering and technical consulting firm. He has worked with and travelled to over 280 Indigenous communities and has over 14 years of work experience regarding environmental assessments, policy, project planning and permitting.

  • Leah Hagreen, B.Sc.


  • With a background in environmental consulting and program management, Leah’s experience and skills inform her passion for education and water, both at home and abroad.

  • Ian Heaps


  • An entrepreneur with 20 plus years in building brands and sales through creative marketing and communications initiatives, Ian is co-founder of Blundstone Footwear Canada. Starting with one store in 1994, Blundstone’s distribution has grown to over 600 locations across Canada.

  • Sue Chiblow (Ogamauh annag qwe), B.Sc., MEM


  • Ogamauh annag qwe is crane clan born and raised in Garden River First Nation. She has worked extensively with First Nation communities for the last 26 years in environmental related fields. She sits on council in Garden River First Nation and is currently pursuing her PhD in Environmental Science at York University with a focus on N’be Kendaaswin (Water Knowledge). Sue has worked with Elders for the last 26 years documenting their knowledge and currently works with the Traditional Ecological Knowledge Elders from the Huron Treaty area.

  • Teza Lawrence, B.A.H.


  • Teza is an award winning television and film producer and co-founder of Amaze Film & Television, working with YTV, HBO & Disney among others. She balances the bright lights of the entertainment industry with the bucolic pasture of her Duntroon farm.

  • Eric King, M.S.W., R.S.W.


  • A recognized leader in adolescent mental health therapy, Eric is Director of family programs at the Pine River Institute, a therapeutic boarding school. Eric also runs a private practice and he teaches at the University of Toronto in the Department of Child Psychiatry and the Faculty of Social Work.

  • Heather Murphy, Ph.D.


  • Heather specializes in water treatment engineering at Temple University. Previously, she was a research fellow with the Canadian Public Health Agency and also worked with UNICEF managing large-scale projects bringing water and sanitation resources to over 1000 communities in the developing world.

  • Edward H. Kernaghan, M.Sc.


  • Ed sits on the boards of four publicly listed TSX Companies, is President of Kernwood Ltd., a private investment holding company and has over ten years experience working in the financial markets. Ed also has a passion for science and the environment, having completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics.

Volunteer Advisors

  • Murray Richardson, Ph.D.


  • An Associate Professor of Geography at Carleton University, Ottawa, Murray’s research focuses on watershed hydrology and mercury sensitivity, and spans geographic regions from southern Ontario to the Canadian arctic. Murray actively incorporates community engaged scholarship practices into his research at every opportunity.

  • Jonathan VanderSteen, Ph.D., P.Eng.

    Water Treatment Engineer

  • Jonathan was an engineering professor at the University of Guelph before he joined Water First to address First Nations water challenges. He has extensive experience related to civil and mechanical engineering, humanitarian engineering, and instructional and training program design.

  • Craig Johnson, Ph.D.


  • An Associate Professor of International Development & Political Science at the University of Guelph, Craig’s research and field work has been conducted with the Canadian, UK and Swiss International Development Agencies on numerous aid projects.

  • Jim MacPherson, LL.B.


  • Before joining Water First, Jim practiced commercial law in Toronto from 1972 until his retirement in 2010. Jim’s previous community volunteerism has spanned a variety of roles, such as President of the University of Toronto Schools Parent Association, President of the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce; Chairman of Lawyers Associated Worldwide; and Chairman of the Purple Hills Arts & Heritage Society.

  • Jackie Pye, B.Sc., M.Ed.


  • Jackie has been a teacher and guidance counsellor for 20 years and currently works as a consultant designing educational programs and curriculum. She has degrees in Biology, Physical and Health Education, and graduate degrees in Education and Environmental Studies. Jackie has written for Ontario Ecoschools, and is currently developing secondary curriculum with the Katavik School Board and Inspire Nunavut; She’s also developing an Arctic focussed climate change curriculum in collaboration with Darkspace.

  • Bob Rae


  • Bob Rae is a former Premier of Ontario and a former interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. He now advocates for First Nations on a number of issues, including the right to safe drinking water.

Operations Volunteers

  • Michael L’Ecuyer, B. Des.

    Designer & Developer

  • In 2010, Michael joined forces with his artist & illustrator wife in order to create coloveration, an art and design company. Together, they cover the gamut of needs, both personal and professional for individuals, companies and not for profits locally, provincially and internationally. Michael’s main focus is editorial, web and identity design and development.

  • Ruth Ann Pearce, B.F.A.


  • In 2010, Ruth Ann joined forces with her graphic designer & developer husband in order to create coloveration, an art and design company. Together, they cover the gamut of needs, both personal and professional for individuals, companies and not for profits locally, provincially and internationally.

    Ruth Ann and coloveration reside in the valley of Dunedin, Ontario inspired by the character of the land and its inhabitants.

  • Brad Holden, Hon.B.A., B.Ed.

    Education Design and Tech Support

  • Brad’s experience and Bachelor degrees in Geography & Education allow him to bring a wealth of knowledge to classrooms. Brad spent a decade working as a community journalist and has experience teaching outdoor education.

  • Ellen Field, Ph.D.

    Lead Instructional Designer

  • Ellen’s Ph.D. is in Education with an emphasis on environmental learning; she is also trained as an intermediate and senior high school teacher in Environmental Science and Outdoor Experiential Education. Ellen has worked as an educational consultant with numerous environmental NGOs in Ontario and she currently balances working at Water First, alongside facilitating professional development for teachers, and as an instructor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University.