Keynote Speakers and Special Guests

Don Gayton is an ecologist and author who has spent many years studying and thinking about land management and fire issues in interior BC and across western North America. He has been a range ecologist, extension officer, and consultant, and has also written several books on conservation and ecology topics. We are very pleased to announce that Don will be the WFC2016 Banquet presenter.
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Dr. Carol Miller is a Research Ecologist with the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute in Missoula, Montana, USA. Her research has focused on the landscape ecology and geography of fire, including landscape fire modeling, fire risk patterns, fire suppression impacts, and climate change implications for fire regimes. The main objective of her research program is to help managers understand how to include wildland fire to landscapes as an ecological process.
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Gary Morgan, AFSM (Australian Fire Service Medal) has had an extensive career as a land manager in Victoria, Australia, with several senior management and executive positions in wildland fire. He served as Chief Fire Officer for Victoria for nine years before becoming the CEO of the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, a position he held from 2007 until his retirement in 2014. He is now an independent international fire consultant.

Dr. Ivan Pupulidy is the Director of the US Forest Service, Office of Human Performance, Innovation and Organizational Learning (HPIOL), where he researches tools that facilitate organizational learning and resilience.  HPIOL brings current research in High Reliability Organizing, Resilience Engineering, individual wellbeing, Complexity Science, Risk, and Adult Education to established and emerging communities of practice to help improve risk management skills and foster a culture of learning in the US Forest Service. Dr. Pupulidy’s previous experience includes working as a mine geologist, exploration geophysicist, and pilot of C-130 Hercules airtanker on wildland fires.

Dr. Francis Zwiers is the Executive Director and CEO of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium in Victoria, BC. Dr. Zwiers is a member of the Nobel-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as a former Research Scientist, Chief of Climate Modeling and Analysis, and Director of the Climate Research Division, all at Environment Canada. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Meteorological Society, and a recipient of the Patterson Medal for distinguished service to meteorology.

Dr. Satyamoorthy Kabilan (who goes by ‘Kabi’) is the Director of National Security and Strategic Foresight at the Conference Board of Canada. Dr. Kabilan is an authority on disaster response and resilience and has worked in senior strategic positions in intelligence, counter-terrorism and defense in the United Kingdom; he has also founded two technology startups.

John McLean of Washington, D.C. and Montana, USA is a former Chicago Tribune journalist who headed west over twenty years ago to reclaim his roots and write non-fiction. He has completed five (soon to be six) highly-acclaimed books on fatality fires in the western US, presenting an investigative voice for the American fire community around these tragic events. His latest effort focuses on the 2013 Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona that resulted in 19 fatalities among the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew.

Dr. David Martell is a forestry professor at the University of Toronto. His interest in forest fires began with summers spent working for the the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests starting in the early 1970s. At U of T, he studied Management Science and Operational Research (B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc. and Ph.D.) and their application to forest fire management. Current research interests include the application of operational research and information technology to fire and forest management and the development of decision support systems for fire and forest managers.

Trefor Munn-Venn is the Co-Founder of Rhapsody Strategies, a company that works with leaders and organizations across North America and internationally to transform their performance. As a trained and certified professional business coach, he has worked with some of the most innovative and challenging organizations in the world, including the G8, APEC, the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe, the African Union and many others. Previously, Trefor held the position of Director, National Security & Public Safety for The Conference Board of Canada. Trefor is also one of a handful of Canadians to win a Webby Award — the Oscars of the Internet.



Tim Sheldan is the BC Deputy Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, a position he has held since 2013. Prior to this appointment, he spent five years as Director General for Natural Resources Canada in Edmonton, Alberta. Tim spent the majority of his career working for the former BC Ministry of Forests and Range, culminating in his appointment as Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, from 2003-08. He has also worked for several years in the forest industry and consulting, as well as a stint as a city councillor in Merritt, BC. Tim graduated from Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, BC, and is a graduate of several management and Executive Development programs.


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