Heather Hall

Heather Hall is an Assistant Professor in the Economic Development and Innovation program in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo. Heather grew up in Northern Ontario and has a professional and personal interest in researching planning and economic development in northern regions. This includes: regional development planning, policy and practice; community readiness and community impacts related to natural resource development; and innovation and entrepreneurship in rural and northern contexts. Heather is the co-lead of the University of the Arctic’s thematic network on the Commercialization of Science and Technology for the North and she is the co-author of the newest edition of Planning Canadian Regions. Her research has been recognized nationally and internationally by the Canadian Association of Geographers’ Ontario division (CAGONT), the Innovation Systems Research Network (ISRN), the Regional Studies Association and she is an alumnus of the Arctic Frontiers emerging leaders program.


Tjaart Van den Berg 

Tjaart is CEO of LandInfo Technologies Inc. He has a Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning with 30 years international experience in the development and implementation of GIS in the public and private sector. Tjaart was born and educated in South Africa and has been working with local governments in Canada for more than 20 years. In the course of his work, he has become an expert in developing and applying GIS technologies to support municipal infrastructure and services. Tjaart is passionate about assisting municipalities to be more effective in what they do. In recent years, he focused his work on designing solutions to help smaller municipalities with asset management planning needs and implementation. In addition to assisting numerous municipal and private sector clients to implement GIS and Asset Management systems in Canada, the USA and South Africa, Tjaart actively promotes the awareness of geospatial technologies. He is a regular speaker at universities and professional institutions and has been working closely with various research institutions to develop innovative technology and procedures that improve the use of GIS and Asset Management.


Terry Van Horn

Terry and her family moved to Trail, BC in 2001. Using her chemical sciences background, her experience in working in industry towns of Mackenzie and Prince George, as well as her business diploma Terry joined the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) in 2004. During her 8 years at KAST, she learned that collaboration, team work, and relationship building are necessities in rural communities where selling the viability of an idea and a region is fundamental to success. Further expanding on her skills and knowledge in 2012 Terry joined the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC). As the regional Economic Development Officer she continues to promote opportunities and drive economic and business growth through strong partnerships and a passion like no other.

Terry and her family are grateful for their life in this beautiful region and plan to live a long and healthy life playing golf close to their children and, hopefully one day, grand children.



Brian Fry

Brian was born and raised in the Kootenays and in his 54 years has truly leveraged all the advantages rural life can deliver. In his early days he was part of the infamous Red Mountain Racers. Through great coaching be became a National Ski Team member at 19 years of age during the Crazy Canuck era but this wouldn’t last long. A bad crash abruptly ended his promising career and left Brian looking for a new exciting path forward.

He chose to become a technology entrepreneur in 1985 and since this time has been involved in over 10 technology Start-Ups and was a founding member of the British Columbia Technology Industry Association. While he spent some of his early career in Vancouver and Silicon Valley getting his tech start he was determined to prove he could build great companies from the rural Kootenays and in 1997 made his move. He has now been doing this for 20 years.

Brian’s biggest success to date was the building of RackForce which he co-founded with Tim Dufour. It became Canada’s largest cloud provider by the time of its sale in 2015. Since this event Brian has had the luxury and time to seek out the next big opportunity which he calls a “moonshot” just to keep him excited.

Brian has been fortunate to recruit his dream team. Tim has rejoined Brian as well as a new to the region tech super star entrepreneur, Pilar Portela. Together, along with significant partners in the region and abroad, they are working on a major strategy to build a rural tech industry around local strengths. Brian will be sharing why he thinks major rural economic development can happen through Tech Industry opportunities and how to do it.



Christopher Horsethief


Christopher Horsethief is a social network analyst and organizational theory consultant specializing in complex social processes, collective intelligence, and post-traumatic community resilience. His professional endeavors have brought diverse theory into practice among several Columbia River Tribes, including the Ktunaxa, Ksanka, Spokane, Colville, and Flathead. The result has been increased efficacy of Indigenous Ways, Native language revitalization, and First Nations mediated culture.

Christopher received a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College, a M.A in Applied Economics from Washington State University’s School of Economic Sciences, and a Ph.D. from Gonzaga University’s Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies. His research has consistently explored functional similarities and divergences between Indigenous Ways of Knowing and the Western Scientific Method. Most recently he joined the faculty in Union Institute and University’s Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Studies where he is teaching courses in complexity science, collective problem-solving, and the emergence of leadership.

His research interests include identifying long tail and scale-free distributions in social network architectures, describing their facilitation of resource pathway redundancies, post-fragmentation network alignment, and social network intelligence. His research interests specific to leadership include exploration of the functional overlaps between leadership as a process of unifying energies for common goals, collective intelligence as collaborative cognition in light of common problems, and social network intelligence as coordinated and distributed problem-solving agency. His current research initiatives include the use of statistical and social data to instantiate complex emergence and creation of meta-agents to facilitate organizational cognition.


Photo credits: On the move partnership, Terrance Clifford Photography