Board of Directors
Public Interest Alberta is governed by a Board of Directors drawn from our member organizations and individuals. The Board is elected by the membership at our Annual General Meeting.
PIA strives to have a Board of Directors that reflects the diversity of Alberta and our membership, with balanced representation from around the province.
The 2012-2013 Board of Directors are:
Larry Booi, President
Larry has long worked to strengthen education and support the public good. He is the former President of the Alberta Teachers’ Association and was vice-president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation. He has been actively involved in curriculum development, has written textbooks used in Alberta schools, and acted as a consultant for publishers and NGOs. Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor and Instructor in the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta. Larry has played a central role in the establishment and growth of Public Interest Alberta and is Chair of PIA's Democracy Task Force.
Lori Sigurdson, Vice-President
Alberta College of Social Workers
Lori has been employed as a social worker for over 20 years. She has worked in various fields of practice, including children’s services, mental health, social policy and education. Currently, her work involves membership support for the over 6000 Registered Social Workers in Alberta. Larger systems advocacy to promote progressive social policies, as well as the profession of social work, are also part of her role. Lori received her Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Calgary. She lives in Edmonton with her 3 sons.
Jonathan Teghtmeyer, Treasurer
Alberta Teachers’ Association
Jonathan is the Associate Coordinator, Communications for the Alberta Teachers' Association. His primary responsibilities are in communications, political engagement and advocacy. He is currently working on a Masters in Communication and Technology from the University of Alberta. Prior to coming to the Association, he taught Math and Drama to grade seven through twelve students at Breton High School. He is also on the board of directors for the Friends of Medicare and the Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton Region.
Bev Ray, Secretary
Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Edmonton
Bev Ray is the Local President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (730) Edmonton and has been a letter carrier since 2001. Prior to being employed by Canada Post, Bev worked for the Alberta Association for Community Living (AACL) and the Family Centre. During those years Bev was directly involved in providing advocacy support to families with developmental disabilities, as well as being a representative voice during the dismantling of Social Services and the creation of provincial boards. She has been a long-time advocate for human rights and has spent the last 25 years working on social justice issues that impact persons with developmental disabilities.
Heather Smith, Director
United Nurses of Alberta
Heather is the President of the United Nurses of Alberta, a position she has held since 1988. Born and raised in Ontario, she came to Alberta to work as a nurse at the Edmonton General Hospital. She quickly became involved in her union and served as President of her Local for two years. She also sat on the provincial negotiating committee during the 19 day illegal strike in January of 1988. Heather has been a key figure in political action to defend public health care in Alberta including campaigns to oppose Bill 37, Bill 11 and the Third Way.
Elisabeth Ballermann, Director
Health Sciences Association of Alberta
Elisabeth has been President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta since 1995, becoming the first president elected by the membership. Elisabeth joined HSAA in 1980 when she started her health care career as a physical therapist at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. In 1986, she joined the HSAA Staff Association. In order to enhance her academic background in labour relations, Elisabeth graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta. Her extensive community service was recognized in 2005 with the awarding of the Alberta Centennial Medal.
Marle Roberts, Director
CUPE Alberta Division
Marle is currently President of CUPE Alberta Division. She became involved in the labour movement in 1986 when she started as a Lab Tech at the City of Medicine Hat’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. In 1997 Marle was elected as an officer of CUPE Local 46 and in 2000 became President. In this capacity she sat on various committees within her local as well as at the provincial and national level. CUPE Alberta represents employees of municipalities, hospitals, long term care facilities, schools, libraries, post-secondary institutions, and social service agencies among others and has worked with liked-minded groups in fighting attempts to privatize public health care and other public services.
Alex Shevalier, Director
Calgary & District Labour Council
Alex is President of the Calgary and District Labour Council. In that role, he represents the interests of affiliated unions before the City of Calgary, the school boards and the community. A member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401, Alex has served as a vice-president for his union and also chair of the pride and solidarity committee at the AFL. He is a director on the board for Friends of Medicare and sits as a worker representative on the Employment Insurance Board of Referees.
Carol Wodak, Director
Seniors’ Action Liaison Team (SALT)
Carol's reputation as a researcher and advocate in the field of eldercare has been increasing steadily over the past ten years. She came to this activity for intensely personal reasons: her mother experienced almost the full range of continuing care options after suffering a series of strokes from 1995 to 2006, and Carol believes very strongly that the system failed her mother. In addition to individual work, Carol is a founding member of Citizen Watch, an active member and Vice-Chair of the Seniors’ Action and Liaison Team (SALT), and a member of several other community advocacy groups. Carol’s employment with the Alberta Human Rights Commission proved to be good preparation for her current activities.
Gerald Wheatley, Director
Gerald is the Coordinator of the Arusha Centre's InfoActive Resource Centre, which brings community activists together on a variety of social justice and environmental issues. He is a founding member of Calgary Dollars, a complimentary currency system. Gerald is also the producer of the Hold Your Ground music compilation, which has produced four volumes of songs from Alberta musicians to raise money for community organizations. He has contributed to the creation of Calgary's two car sharing initiatives and is the volunteer organizer of Calgary's first pesticide-free park, New Edinborough in Sunnyside, which has supported the City's move toward eliminating cosmetic pesticides. He has a BA in International Relations and is currently completing a Master's Degree in social research.
Guy Smith, Director
Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
Guy Smith has been President of AUPE, Alberta’s largest union, since 2009. Prior to that Guy was an AUPE vice-president for 8 years and a worksite and Local activist for over 20 years. Guy brings a passion for membership mobilization and democracy into the position of President and is dedicated to building a strong and effective defense of all public services. Guy knows how important it is to build links of solidarity with organizations such as Public Interest Alberta to engage in the struggle for a more just and equal Alberta for all.
Gil McGowan, Director
Alberta Federation of Labour
Gil was elected President of the Alberta Federation of Labour in 2005. Prior to that, he worked for 10 years as the AFL’s Communications Director. In addition to his experience in labour, he worked with the Friends of Medicare between 1996 and 2003, where he acted as Communications Coordinator and was a lead organizer for its campaign against Bill 11. Gil currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Parkland Institute and the Friends of Medicare.
Sherri Hunt, Director
Sherri Hunt was born in Kimberley, BC and now resides in Lethbridge with her partner of 15 years, Aaron, and their two children William, 10 and James, 5. Sherry has served on the Board of Directors for the Children’s House Child Care Society since 2004 and has been chair since 2008. A proud member of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Sherry holds several positions within her local and in the labour community. She has been an advocate for quality affordable publicly offered early learning and childcare and has been a member of the Public Interest Alberta Childcare Task Force since 2012
Ricardo Acuña, Director
Ricardo is the Executive Director of the Parkland Institute, Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta – a position he has held since May 2002. Previous to that he worked for nine years as Projects Coordinator for Change for Children Association, an Alberta-based international development organization working in Latin America. He has a degree in Political Science and History from the University of Alberta, and has over 20 years experience as a volunteer, staffer and consultant for various non-government and non-profit organizations around the province. Ricardois a regular speaker to students, teachers, and community groups around Alberta. He has spoken extensively and written on issues of water, NAFTA, commodification of the commons, and energy policy in Alberta. He is a regular media commentator on public policy issues, and writes a regular column for VueWeekly in Edmonton.