Presenters

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Kear Portris

Indigenous engineering and Relationship Manager/Principal, Gwaii Engineering

Kear is an Indigenous engineering and Relationship Manager/Principal at Gwaii Engineering. Gwaii is an Indigenous civil and environmental engineering firm focused on working with Indigenous and First Nation communities in BC, working to design and build infrastructure that maximize benefit to communities. Kear is passionate about increasing Indigenous representation in STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) and supports capacity building on design and construction projects Gwaii is involved with.

Heather Leong

Manager, Capital Programs, Community Infrastructure Directorate, Indigenous Services Canada

Heather has worked with the Federal Government for over 25 years, initially with Health Canada before moving to Indigenous Services Canada.  Heather has worked in various directorates in ISC, including Funding Services, Specific Claims Branch (now part of CIRNA), and Community Infrastructure.  Originally from Alberta, Heather has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Calgary and holds a General Management Certificate from the Sauder School of Business. 

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Michael Sadler

Director, Indigenous Relations, BC Housing

Michael Sadler is a member of the Kispiox First Nation, part of the Gitxsan Nation in Northern near Hazelton, BC. He holds a Bachelors(Lethbridge ’89) and Masters(Simon Fraser ’98) degrees in education and has been an instructor in various post secondary institutions in the areas of teaching development and Indigenous Social Issues. He has worked as a CEO, Executive Director, and Director in regional and provincial organizations in the areas of Indigenous education, employment and training, social development, health and housing.

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Kerry Black

Advisor, First Nations Housing and Infrastructure Council - BC

Kerry has worked for the past 10 years in both the public and private sectors, on water and wastewater management in First Nations communities across Canada. Most recently Kerry served as a Senior Policy Advisor in Housing & Infrastructure with the Assembly of First Nations.

 

Kerry previously worked as an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia in Civil Engineering. She has just transitioned to the University of Calgary as a Schulich Research Chair, and maintains a strong base in BC.  Her work is centered on community-based participatory approaches, encompassing research relating to engineering infrastructure and sustainable communities, with a key focus on the incorporation of Indigenous-centered research methodologies.

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