and Board of Directors

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AMM Executive

Kam Blight, President

Reeve, RM of Portage la Prairie

Kam Blight is a fourth generation farmer from Oakville, Manitoba, where he resides with his wife Krista and their three children. In partnership with his brother Kevin, Kam owns and operates Blight Native Seeds Ltd, specializing in Native grass seed production. Kam has served on the executive of the International Northern Seed Trade Association for 5 years including as president for 1 year.

In 2010, Kam was elected Reeve of the RM of Portage la Prairie MB and is currently serving his third consecutive term in this role. Kam previously served as Vice-President of AMM – and then was elected as President in November 2020. Prior to this, Kam was appointed by the provincial government to the 2011 Flood Task Force, and as a result of his contribution he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding achievement in public service.

In addition to his passion for farming and economic development, Kam has enjoyed many years of success as a youth hockey coach, skills instructor and junior hockey scout.

In his spare time, Kam enjoys restoring and riding snowmobiles and spending time with his family.

Brad Saluk, Vice-President

Reeve, RM of Brokenhead

Brad is currently serving his second 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 and Vice-President in November 2018.

Chris Ewen, Vice-President

Mayor, RM of Ritchot

Elected through a by-election for the Rural Municipality of Ritchot in 2017, Chris continues to serve his residents as Mayor, with a strong council beside him. At 29 years old, he is still the youngest mayor ever elected in Manitoba.

His background includes working as a Real Estate Agent/Broker in Brandon for 5 years before finding an interest and passion for entrepreneurship. He combined his love for business with coffee and now operates a full-time event service & online store with his newly engaged fiancée Maranda.

His passion behind politics is fueled by community growth, economic development, and sustainable living. He believes that we can find harmony in utilizing the natural assets around us, while also respecting them.

Chris also sits on the Rugby Manitoba Board of Directors, the Maple Grove Rugby Park board, and a director for the Winnipeg Assassins.

Chris was elected to the AMM Board of Directors as Vice-President in November 2020.

AMM Board of Directors

Cheryl Smith, Interlake District

Reeve, RM of St. Laurent

Cheryl is a life-long member of her community of St. Laurent.  Her husband Randal T. Smith Q.C. works for Justice Canada.  They have 6 adult children and one grandson.

Cheryl currently works for the Province of Manitoba as a Senior Analyst. She previously worked as a Human Rights Investigator with Manitoba Justice and served on the municipal Council for the Rural Municipality of St. Laurent for 9 years as a Council member, she is now starting her second 4 year-term as Reeve.

Cheryl also served as the first President of the Association of Lake Manitoba Stakeholders (ALMS). She served seven years on the Manitoba Human Rights Commission as Vice-Chair appointed by the Filmon Government and was appointed by the Selinger government to serve on the Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin Regulation Review Committee after the 2011 flood.

Cheryl attended Red River Community College where she received certification in Child Care. She also completed courses at Harvard University in Negotiations and Nation Building. She is fluent in both official languages.

Earlier this year, Cheryl was appointed to the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC).  CPAC is a Pan-Canadian collaboration based on shared goals to reduce the burden of cancer, reduce the number of Canadians diagnosed with cancer, and to improve the cancer experience for patients.  The Partnership collaborates with partners across the country to identify shared priorities, and coordinates a leadership response to those priorities in collaboration with hundreds of others across the country.

Kelly Cook, Interlake District

Councillor, City of Selkirk

Kelly is currently serving his third term as Councillor in the City of Selkirk. Throughout his first two terms he has served and lead numerous committees as well as task forces on projects in the city.

Kelly and his wife Betty have been residents of Selkirk for over 30 years where they raised their two children. He is retired after a 35-year career in Management with MTS/Allstream.

Kelly is truly committed to serving his community, he is Past President of the Chamber of Commerce, Past Chair of the Eastern Interlake Health Foundation, currently volunteers in the Palliative Care Program in Selkirk and as an activity volunteer at the Tudor House PCH. He represents the city on the Clinical Teaching Unit Task Force for the Health Authority as well as the Provincial-Municipal Justice Advisory Committee.

Kelly’s personal goals are to represent the Interlake District with integrity, honesty, and bring the District’s issues to the table as one voice. He believes we truly are stronger together as one voice.

He looks forward to his term as a director and meeting many new faces across the Region and Province.

Stuart Olmstead, Western District

Mayor, Town of Carberry

Stuart is serving his second term as Mayor for the Town of Carberry, serving on Council since 2006.

Working in the group insurance field as The Group Insurance Guy, Stuart studied Political Science and History at Brandon University before returning to his hometown of Carberry to go into business.  He enjoys music and concerts, various movie genres, softball in the summer, and stars in a local cooking show on access television.

Stuart was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in November of 2011.

Rhonda Coupland, Western District

Councillor, Municipality of Boissevain-Morton

Rhonda grew up in Deloraine and has spent the last 26 years on a farm in Boissevain.  She is married and has two grown boys and a beautiful granddaughter.

In 2014 and 2018, Rhonda was elected to serve on the Council of the Municipality of Boissevain-Morton. Previously, Rhonda served on the local school board for 16 years. Rhonda also holds a political science degree from Brandon University and is committed to representing the Western District on the AMM Board of Directors.

Nancy Penner, Central District

Councillor, City of Morden

Nancy has deep roots in the rural landscape and knows that the strength of our communities lie in hard work, innovation, and good decision making. She was a farm partner with her husband Henry in the RM of Roland for 25 years and until her recent retirement was a Certified Financial Planner Professional and business partner in a wealth management practice.

Nancy believes in giving of her time and expertise to help build vibrant communities. She has served on a number of community boards and for several years volunteered as a 4-H leader. She knows the value of member based organizations. She held the position of Executive Director with the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association.

Nancy is committed to bring a strong voice to AMM and represent the Central District through hard work, integrity and commitment.

Nancy was elected in a by-election in December 2020.

Morris Olafson, Central District

Reeve, RM of Stanley

Morris and his wife Mary operate a family farm along with their three sons and families. Morris is currently serving his second term as the Reeve of the RM of Stanley and is also the current president of the Manitoba Auctioneers Association. Previously, Morris was a school trustee for 10 years and served in various capacities with several community organizations.

Loren Schinkel, Eastern District

Reeve, RM of Lac du Bonnet

Loren was elected in a by-election in 2016 as Reeve for the RM of Lac du Bonnet, was acclaimed in 2018, and is currently in his second term.

Loren served for 30 years of in law enforcement, commencing his career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1978. In 1981, he joined the Winnipeg Police Service, where he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and spent many years in specialized investigative units, such as Homicide and Major Crimes. He was also selected as the Coordinator of the Emergency Response Tactical Unit.

In 2001, he was elected as the President of the Winnipeg Police Association, to represent 1,500 police and staff members. During this time, he served on numerous committees and boards including the Canadian Police Association and the Winnipeg Police Pension Board.

He retired in 2008 to assume a position with the Province of Manitoba as the Coordinator of Aboriginal and Municipal Law Enforcement. He has also held appointments from Federal and Provincial Ministers on the Federal Judicial Advisory Committee – Manitoba Region, which provides recommendations on Queen’s Bench Judicial appointments to the Minister, as well as the Independent Chairperson for the Stony Mountain Institute, which adjudicates serious inmate discipline offences under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. Loren is also currently a board member for the Manitoba Liquor Gaming and Cannabis Authority and the Provincial Municipal Justice Advisory Committee.

Loren and his wife, Debbie grew up in the Lac du Bonnet area. They have been married for 47 years and Debbie owns and operates “Dance Plus,” a dance retail store in Winnipeg. They have one son, who is married, and one precious grandson.

Loren is committed to his role as Reeve and to working to improve the community and region where he grew up.

Melanie Parent, Eastern District

Councillor, RM of Piney

Melanie is currently serving her second term on Council for the RM of Piney. Through Council committees Melanie has developed a passion for tourism. She is currently on the Executive of the Eastman Tourism Board and chairs their local tourism initiative – Sunrise Corner. Melanie’s other passion is working with seniors, as she is currently employed as a Resource Coordinator for Services to Seniors since 2010.

Although born in Quebec, Manitoba has been Melanie’s home for the last 25 years. Melanie resides in Sprague with her dog Bear. You can also often find Melanie volunteering and writing grant proposals for community organizations within the RM of Piney.

Karen MacKinnon, Northern District

Councillor, City of Flin Flon

Karen has been serving on the Flin Flon City Council since 2006. Karen was also born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, and she moved with her husband Barry to Flin Flon in 1977. They are retired and love spending time with their two daughters and their families who all reside in Flin Flon.

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

Kathy Valentino, Northern District

Councillor, City of Thompson

Jim Manchur, Parkland District

Councillor, Gilbert Plains Municipality

Jim was born and raised in Gilbert Plains and was involved in a grain and livestock operation with his two brothers Lawrence and Dave up until 2014.

In the fall of 2014 and in 2018, he was elected to the newly amalgamated municipality of Gilbert Plains holding both terms as Deputy Reeve.

Jim is married to his wife Laurie of 25 years and has two sons Chris and Conner, both currently enrolled at the University of Manitoba.

Jim enjoys the odd game of golf and travelling when time permits.

Jim was elected to the AMM Board of Directors in June 2019.

Ron Kostyshyn, Parkland District

Reeve, Mossey River Municipality

Ron and his wife Judy have operated a mixed farm in Mossey River Municipality for over 40 years. They have two daughters, Jennifer (Ricardo) and Melissa (Kevin), as well as five grandchildren.

Prior to his election as Reeve of Mossey River Municipality in 2018, Ron served as Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture from 2012-2016 and MLA for Swan River from 2011-2016. Ron also served as a Councillor of the RM of Mossey River from 1988-2006 and as Reeve from 2006-2011. During this time, Ron was an AMM Board member from 2009-2011.

Ron’s agricultural background and passion for the Parkland region have also resulted in various Chairperson positions for several organizations, commissions, and community initiatives. For example, Ron was the Chairperson of the Manitoba Conservation District Association (MCDA) from 2005-2008, Chair of the provincial Veterinary Service Task Force from 2007-2008, and Chair of the RM of Mossey River Centennial Celebration from 2004-2006.

Merv Starzyk, Midwestern District

Mayor, RM of Yellowhead

Merv is serving his first term as Mayor of the RM of Yellowhead and is celebrating 30 years on Council. Having rented his farm, and retired from his off the farm job, Merv and his wife Cathy still reside on their farm west of Shoal Lake.

Over the years, Merv has been on most municipal committees and boards, and his still chairman on many of them. He is past-president of the TransCanada Yellowhead Highway Association, currently Vice-President of the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame, Director on the Upper Assiniboine Conservation District, and a member of the Yellowhead Restorative Justice Committee. He has been chairman of the Shoal Lake and District Vet Board since 1991, and is very familiar with the operations of the Provincial Veterinary Services Districts.

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

Linda Little, Midwestern District

Councillor, Hamiota Municipality

Linda Little is currently serving her second term as Councillor for the amalgamated Hamiota Municipality, having previously been a Councillor for the Rural Municipality of Hamiota since 2011. Trained in Crop Protection, Linda and her husband Dale have been operating a grain, oilseed, and pulse farm for 25 years. They have two daughters who are both enrolled at the University of Manitoba.

Born and raised in Nipigon, Ontario, Linda loves hiking, kayaking and being outdoors. She volunteers as a Skate Canada Manitoba Official in addition to serving on many district and community boards.

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.

Nettie Neudorf, CPA, CGA, CMML, MMAA President

CAO, RM of Portage la Prairie

Nettie is the CAO for the Rural Municipality (RM) of Portage la Prairie, moving to this position in 2016 after 24 years with the City of Portage la Prairie in various capacities. Her cumulative 28 years of experience in the municipal world fills her tool kit with administrative, governance, financial, and human resource management skills.

In addition to this, Nettie is the Instructor for the municipal accounting courses in the Manitoba Municipal Administration Certificate Program through the University of Manitoba. She is also a regular presenter for the professional development seminars for the Manitoba Municipal Administrators’ Association in topics related to municipal finance.

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