and Board of Directors

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AMM Executive

Chris Goertzen, President

Mayor, City of Steinbach

Chris’s political career began in 2002 when he was first elected as a Councillor for the City of Steinbach. Since becoming the eighth mayor of Steinbach in 2006 he has been a champion of the community and its vital role in the southeast region.

He and his brother Robert developed a new independent business in 1997, Main Bread and Butter. This specialty grocery store and cafe has risen to become a successful home-grown operation and a favourite among the citizens of Steinbach.

Chris successfully balances his busy political life with his store ownership and his family, wife Annalee Schellenberg and their two children.

Chris was elected to serve on the AMM Board of Directors in November, 2010, and elected Vice-President in November, 2014. Chris represents the AMM on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Federal Gas Tax Oversight Committee, the Building Canada Small Communities Fund, the Municipal Road Selection Committee, the Joint TAC #3 Subdivision Committee, and the Municipal Employee Benefits Program Board of Trustees.

He assumed the role of President of AMM on July 6, 2015.

Ralph Groening, Vice-President

Reeve, RM of Morris

Ralph was elected to the RM of Morris council in October of 1995 and has served as Reeve since October 2010. During his tenure on council he has served on various committees. The reorganization of drain maintenance and water management program, the completion of the RM of Morris rural water project, and the restructuring of the Morris Emerson Area Health Foundation have been highlights. Ralph was elected to the position of AMM Central District Director – Rural in November 2006 and to the position of Rural Vice-President in November 2012. He is currently serving his second term as Vice-President.

Ralph sits on numerous committees including the Municipal Bridge Selection Committee, Office of the Fire Commissioner Advisory Committee, Provincial Fire Strategy Planning Group, Municipal Road Selection Committee, Building Canada Small Communities Fund, and the Manitoba Water Services Board.

Ralph lives in the Town of Morris and is a former grain and oilseed farmer. He is married to Patti and they share five children: Jodi, Sherri, Allison, Jillian, and Mike.

In his spare time Ralph enjoys reading (history and biographies), and historical and geneological research.

Gavin van der Linde, Vice-President

Mayor, Town of Morris

Gavin was first elected to the Town of Morris council in 2006. In 2010 he became the mayor of Morris. He has been involved serving his community since he first moved to Morris in 1999. He was instrumental in setting up a Youth Drop-in Centre, Wellness Centre and Gym. Some of his first experiences with Town Council were as the Town’s Emergency Coordinator. He led the community through some of the large Red River floods as well as other weather-related incidents.

Gavin was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in 2015, and to the position of Vice-President in November 2016.

Seeing the strength and effectiveness of 137 municipalities and municipal leaders working together on regional or provincial priorities is very rewarding. The level of government closest to the people who understand local priorities is a great place to be serving.

He currently works with Eco-West consulting with municipalities across the province on green economy projects.

He lives in Morris with his wife Joan and three children, Gina, Jamie and Kirsten

AMM Board of Directors

Trevor King, Interlake District

Reeve, RM of Woodlands

Currently serving his first term as Reeve for the RM of Woodlands following two terms as councillor. Encouragement from other delegates combined with a strong interest in local government prompted Trevor to run for a seat on the AMM board of Directors.

He operates a farm in his area. Trevor and his wife Kim are the busy parents of four sons – “all hockey players”.

He was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in November 2010.

Bruce Henley, Interlake District

Mayor, RM of West St. Paul

Bruce and Shauna, along with their children Justin, Trevor and Kyle, have called West St. Paul home since 1995.

Elected to council in 2002 and mayor in 2010, Bruce has learned the intricacies of legislation and governance, and gained valuable experience working with emergency services like police, fire and EMS personnel. Bruce prides himself on being West St. Paul’s strongest voice.

Bruce believes that to be a good leader you have to be involved in the community and he relishes any chance he gets to participate in celebrations like Canada Day and enjoys interacting and supporting all community groups. He believes in the COPP program and is a strong supporter of the West St. Paul Lions Club. A huge believer in youth and education, Bruce takes part as a volunteer guest reader for I Love To Read at West St. Paul School every year, and participates in activities at The Middlechurch Home of Winnipeg and the Sisters of St. Benedict Monastery and Retreat Centre.

Bruce has also served on the Board of Federation of Canadian Municipalities as a Director and also as a committee member in 2015 and 2016, and has served as the chairman for the Red River planning District the second largest planning district in the Province where he continues to serve as a board member. Currently also serves as the chairman of the Red River North Flood Consortium. A historian, Bruce recently read over 136 years of Council minutes from 1880 until 2016 giving him a tremendous understanding of Council decisions from the past. This knowledge has served him well as Mayor knowing and understanding the community, region and the Province.

Bruce was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in June 2017.

Jeff McConnell, Western District

Mayor, Town of Virden

Jeff McConnell practices law at McNeill Harasymchuk McConnell and has been a member of Town of Virden Council since 1998.  He was a Member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities since 2002 and loves living in Virden.

Jeff and his wife Margaret have two children, Beth and Alex, granddaughter Willow, as well as Kira and Pepper, the family dogs.  While he grew up in Winnipeg and was educated at the University of Manitoba, Mayor McConnell has been a resident of Virden since 1994.

Jeff was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in June 2017.

Stuart Olmstead, Western District

Mayor, Town of Carberry

Stuart is serving his first term as Mayor for the Town of Carberry, following two terms on council.

An insurance salesperson, Stu majored in political science at Brandon University before returning to Carberry to live and work. He also owns several rental properties, manages a baseball team, enjoys reading and movies, and he has a cooking show on local access television.

Stu was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in November 2012.

Neil Christoffersen, Central District

Reeve, RM of North Norfolk

Neil spent four years serving the council of the LGD of Austin prior to being elected Reeve for the RM of North Norfolk in 2006.

Born and raised in the Austin area, he left the province for 30 years. In 1998, he returned and moved into his family home where he now resides with wife Cathy. Their two children and three grandchildren are divided between Winnipeg and Kelowna, B.C.

Neil was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in November 2010.

Martin Harder, Central District

Mayor, City of Winkler

Martin Harder ran successfully for Mayor of the City of Winkler in 2006, and is now serving his third term of office.

During this 10 year period, Winkler has experienced a 25% population growth, and is now rated as #4 in assessed City property value in Manitoba, only surpassed by cities like Winnipeg, Brandon, and Steinbach.

Martin truly enjoys serving his community and in 2010 divested himself of the family business so he could dedicate more time to his role as Mayor of the City.

Family is very important to Martin and he works hard to ensure that the community is a welcoming and supportive place for youth, families and aging residents.

Martin’s vision for being a regional player is evidenced in his leadership with Pembina Valley Reeves and Mayors, as well as his election to the AMM Board of Directors in November 2015.

Stan Toews, Eastern District

Reeve, RM of Hanover

Stan and his wife Mary have lived in the New Bothwell area for 44 years, raising two sons and two daughters. Stan farms with his son Kevin, and enjoys fishing, camping and spending time with his grandchildren.

Stan has served as a member of council since 1995. He was first elected to represent ward one which includes the Village of New Bothwell and the rural areas  surrounding New Bothwell and the Town of Niverville.

Stan was elected as  Reeve of the municipality in October 2006, and was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in November 2017.

Brad Saluk, Eastern District

Reeve, RM of Brokenhead

Brad is currently serving his first term as Reeve for the RM of Brokenhead.  His political career started when the Town of Beausejour called a by-election in 2005, and Brad decided to run for the position of councillor.  He won.  In 2006 he ran for re-election and won his seat back to become Deputy Mayor.  In the years following he worked hard for the people of Beausejour and in the 2010 election became Mayor.

Brad was born and raised in the RM of Brokenhead and attended school in Beausejour.  After graduating, Brad decided to work with his family on the farm, side by side with his father and his brother, and in the year 2000 he took over full control of the farming operation.  With his brother Randy, wife Nancy, and son Justin they continue to run the family farm.

Brad was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in June 2015.


Penny Byer, Northern District

Councillor, City of Thompson

Penny Byer moved to Thompson in 1978 to open up the CBC North Country studio. With a Diploma in Creative Communications and certificates in marketing, public relations and journalism, Penny has worked in a variety of media. She recently retired from Vale where she was responsible for coordinating community and employee communications strategies and projects.

As a former business owner, Penny has also served as President of the Thompson Chamber of Commerce. Her involvement in the community sees her currently serving on the boards of the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre and Lions Manor 55 affordable seniors housing project.

In her capacity as City Councillor, she has chaired the Human Resources Committee, the Development Review Committee, the Communications Committee and the Recreation Committee. She is also the City liaison to the Boreal Discovery Centre and Community Futures/North Central Development organizations.

She has also been involved with several non-profit organizations as both a leader (first Chair of the Thompson Relay for Life) and as a supporter (canvasser for Heart and Stroke Foundation).

Penny was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in June 2017.

Karen MacKinnon, Northern District

Councillor, City of Flin Flon

Karen has been serving on the Flin Flon City Council since October 2006. Flin Flon being a border city, it is proud to be members of both the AMM and the Saskatchewan Unban Municipalities Association (SUMA).

Karen is currently chair of Social and Community Services for the City of Flin Flon. She represents the city on the Finance Committee, Traffic Commission, Flin Flon Public Library Board, The Flin Flon and District Environmental Council and Flin Flon Museum Board. She is President Elect for The Flin Flon and District Chamber of Commerce. Karen was appointed to the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Board of Directors by the Provincial Government in 2012.

Karen was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia. In 1977 she moved with husband Barry to Flin Flon. They have two daughters and two granddaughters.

Karen was first elected to the AMM Board of Directors in June 2008, serving until June 2011. Karen was again elected to serve as Northern Director on the AMM Board in June 2015.

Marvin Kovachik, Parkland District

Reeve, RM of Mountain

Jack Bremner, Parkland District

Councillor, RM of Dauphin

Jack’s municipal career began as a tax assessor in 1978. Thirty two years later he retired and, having always admired the job that local municipal councils did, he decided to run himself. He was elected to council in 2010 and again in 2014.

Jack runs a cattle farm and purebred operation, consisting of 130 mother cows, in partnership with his wife Lori and son Cory. He also runs a by-law enforcement business in the Parkland area dealing with eight amalgamated municipalities.

In their spare time, the Bremners spend as much time as possible with their first grandchild Madison.

Jack was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in June 2015.


Doreen Stapleton, Midwestern District

Councillor, Municipality of Harrison Park

First elected in 2006, and after serving two terms as Deputy Reeve with the former RM of Harrison, Doreen is now a dedicated Councillor with the newly amalgamated Municipality of Harrison Park. A retired business owner, her life-long vocation is in music. As an educator, entertainer and composer, she values interaction with all ages and this experience bodes well in her political life.

Grateful for the opportunity and time her work affords, Doreen enjoys “hands-on” community involvement and her responsibilities on Council.

She is member and Past Chair of the Rossburn Sub-Division Trail Association; Current Chair of the Age Friendly Initiative Committee and the Sandy Lake Endowment Fund. She has been recently appointed to the Coalition for Healthy Aging in Manitoba Advisory Committee.

Doreen considers an astute ability to communicate as one of her best qualities. She recognizes this as an important trait in today’s political world and beneficial in the role of AMM Midwestern District Director, which she was elected to in June 2017.

Doreen and her husband Gary live on the north shore of beautiful Sandy Lake and delight in the company of family and friends.

Merv Starzyk, Midwestern District

Councillor, RM of Yellowhead

Merv is retired from farming, but he and his wife Cathy still reside on their farm west of Shoal Lake. They have two daughters and three grandsons. The farm has been rented out for several years, and they sold their cattle herd in 2012.  Merv retired from his off the farm job in 2014, and has been helping out at the local funeral home.

Merv has been a councillor for almost 26 years, and is currently Deputy Reeve of the RM of Yellowhead. Over the years he has been on most municipal committees, and still sits on and chairs a variety of boards, along with the responsibilities as Deputy Reeve. He is past President of the TransCanada Yellowhead Highway Association, and a director on the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame Board. He was first appointed to the Shoal Lake and District Vet Board in 1991, and became chairman in 1992. He has been in that position for 23 years, and is very familiar with the operations of the Veterinary Services Districts.

Merv was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in June 2015.


Jeff Browaty, City of Winnipeg

Councillor, City of Winnipeg

Jeff was elected to Winnipeg City Council in 2006 and re-elected in 2010 and again in 2014 in the ward of North Kildonan. He serves as the Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Property & Development. He has a keen interest in urban planning and development issues that dates back to playing SimCity on a 9” black and white Macintosh computer in the early 1990’s.

Prior to his election Jeff worked as a real estate appraiser in his family’s business and was working towards full accreditation in the AACI program. He is a graduate of the Asper School of Business and is involved in many groups including the Red River Basin Commission, The Partnership of the Manitoba Capital Region and the Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation.

Jeff was appointed to the AMM Board of Directors in November 2013.

Chad Davies, President, Manitoba Municipal Administrators Association

Chief Administrative Officer, Municipality of Harrison Park

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