Board of Directors
The WestCaRD Board of Directors is comprised of five independent, community-based professionals having backgrounds covering finance, accounting, law, business development, engineering education, aviation & aerospace operations. The Directors bring substantial experience and in-depth knowledge of Manitoba’s socio-economic, environment and bring a strategic focus on maximizing our benefits in Manitoba and Western Canada. WestCaRD Board Directors are:
- Michael Rodyniuk, President & Chief Executive Officer WASAYA Airways, LP
- Chair of WestCaRD Board of Directors
- Carmele Peter, President, Exchange Income Corporation
- Chair of WestCaRD Finance Committee
- Michael Kukelko, Tax Partner at MNP LLP
- Vic Gerden, President, AeroPlus STM Services Inc.
- Ibrahim Yimer, Ph.D, Director, NRC Gas Turbine Laboratory
- Bob Hastings, President, PointMan Canada Ltd
- CEO WestCaRD
Michael Rodyniuk, Board Chair
Chair of WestCaRD Board of Directors
Michael Rodyniuk is President and Chief Executive Officer of Wasaya Group Inc. (WGI) a company owned 100% by 12 First Nations. WGI is made up of three primary businesses, Wasaya Airways LP and Wasaya Petroleum LP, Wasaya Leasing LP serving First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario.
Michael is a seasoned aviation executive with over 25 years of management experience spanning the globe. His leadership experience includes serving at legacy airlines (Air Canada, American Airlines, Swissair, United Airlines), low cost (WestJet, ZIP), and regional airlines (Exchange Income Corporation (EIC), Hawaii Island Air, Wasaya Airways) and contributed to start-up airlines (Volaris, ZIP). He has been active in acquisitions, alliances, green field start-ups, corporate restructuring and airport development.
From 2005-10 Michael worked with the Winnipeg Airports Authority as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing operations and redeveloping the airport campus. In 2010-2012, Michael served as Chief Operating Officer for EIC’s aviation group of companies where he led business in Canada’s North serving First Nation and Inuit Communities. In 2012, as Executive Vice Chairman, he led the Hawaii Island Airteam, restructuring the airline and selling the company to Oracle founder Larry Ellison. In 2013 he negotiated a successful joint venture between Willis Lease Finance Corporation (WLFC) and the Chinese Central Government agency, China Aviation Supply Corporation (CASC) having been active in Asia business since the 1990s. Further in 2013 and 14 he oversaw the acquisition of certain assets of JTPower by WLFC to create Willis Aeronautical Services Inc., where he was a founding member of the Board of Directors. Currently, Michael serves as Chair of the West Canitest R&D Inc (WestCaRD) Board of Directors, an initiative of the General Electric Company, the Government of Canada and Standard Aero focused on research and development of aviation turbine engines. Michael holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Manitoba and is a member of the first graduating class accredited by two United Nations agencies; Airports Council International (ACI) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), as an International Airport Professional (IAP).
Carmele Peter, Chair of Finance
Chair of WestCaRD Finance Committee
Ms. Carmele Peter, LL.B. has been the President of Exchange Income Corporation since July 2014 where she oversees 13 operating companies including 5 regional airlines and 2 aerospace companies.
Ms. Peter served as the Chief Administrative Officer of Exchange Income Corporation from October 2012 to July 2014. Prior to joining Exchange Income Corporation in 2012
Ms. Peter practiced law for over 23 years at the law firm of Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson LLP, where she specialized in transactional and tax work. She represented a number of public and private entities and was involved in a number of significant acquisitions including the acquisition of Allstream Inc., the sale of MTS’s yellow pages directory business and the acquisition of the Winnipeg Jets.
Michael Kukelko specialized in the taxation field for over 30 years at a variety of professional services firms and industry concerns. Mr. Kukelko has served many of the largest players in the Manitoba Aerospace industry sector in his career. Most recently, Mr. Kukelko served as a Tax Partner at MNP (retiring in June, 2015). He served a number of public and private entities in the Winnipeg and national marketplace. Mr. Kukelko currently is a lecturer on Canadian Income matters at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba. He holds a CPA designation and Bachelor of Commerce (with Distinction) from the University of Manitoba.
Vic Gerden has a background of managing large teams and multifaceted aviation operations and aerospace-related projects. His early career was with the Canadian Forces where he held positions of increasing responsibility dealing with national and international aviation operations including fighter operations, aerospace testing, surveillance systems, flight and leadership training. After reaching the rank of Colonel he transitioned to a career with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada where he held the positions of Regional Manager Central Canada, national Director of Air Investigations, Chief Investigator of the Swissair 111 Investigation, and Senior Advisor for National and International Operations.
He is President of AeroPlus STM Inc, principally providing executive management and consulting services to the aerospace and related support sectors. In addition to being a Southport Board Director, he is a Board member of the Manitoba Industrial Technology Centre, and West Canitest R&D Inc (WestCaRD) which is a non-profit organization whose objectives are to assist the growth of the economy of Manitoba via technology development in the aircraft propulsion and environmental engine testing sector through ongoing investment, innovative research, specialized technologies and workforce development initiatives.
Dr. Yimer began his career with North American Mfg. Co. of Cleveland, USA as a Research Engineer in 1997 supporting the development of Low NOx industrial burners. He then joined the National Research Council Canada (NRCC) in January, 1999 as a Research Scientist where he spent nine years performing research in low-emission combustion and alternative fuels. In 2005, Dr. Yimer became a Team Leader of a group of Technical and Research staff focused on Gas Turbine Aerodynamics and Combustion research and in April, 2008 he was appointed as the Director of the Gas Turbine Laboratory, at the Institute for Aerospace Research of the NRCC. Dr. Yimer has received his Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada in 1998. He has authored over 50 technical publications and serves as a board member of the International Society of Air breathing Engines (ISABE) and WestCaRD, as well as a member of several technical program committees such as ASME-IGTI and ICAS regularly contributing to the organization of various national and international technical fora.
WestCaRD Executive Management
Bob Hastings became the Chief Executive Officer of WestCaRD on June 1st, 2015. Bob has extensive experience in defence, aerospace, and high technology business in both public and private sectors. He has been working extensively on aero-engine icing research and development since 2003 and has extensive multi-disciplinary teambuilding and project management as well as business development experience.
Mr. Hastings served in the Royal Canadian Air Force for 17 years, headed a Canadian Department of National Defence aeronautics research program and was the first Director of the National Research Council of Canada Gas Turbine Laboratory. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Bob Hastings has been President of PointMan Canada Ltd since its incorporation in October 1999.