Smart21 2021 Conference Speakers

Agustin Argelich
Digital Technologies International Consultant

Agustín is a Telecom Engineer by Ramon Llull University (Barcelona) and a Professor of leadership at Ingenio School (Lleida University).   Author of Analyze, Act, Advance, a book about how to build a virtuous cycle of hope, innovation, renewal, and continuous improvement. Principal consultant of Argelich Networks, an independent digital technology (Information and communications technologies) and management consultancy boutique. He founded it after the Barcelona’92 Olympic Games when he was one of the youngest project leaders as Technological Director of the IX Paralympic Games. For 30 years, he has been leading significant digital technology projects for business and public organizations. Expert in Unified Communications and Collaboration and telecom infrastructures. He is a proud member of the Society of Communications Technologies Consultants International (, he served as a board member for eight years, seven as Chairman International Affairs Committee and two as Vice President. He represents in Spain the Think Tank Intelligent Community Forum ( and is member of the international jury of the Intelligent Community of the year award. He is a recognized international speaker in ICT technology, innovation, change management, and leadership. Before the Olympics, Agustin worked as Telecom Manager in Asco Nuclear Power Plant and served as Lieutenant in Spanish Air Force. Agustin is married to Mª Eugenia for 30 years, and they are parents of two daughters and four sons.

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Troy DeFrank
Director, British Columbia Trade & Investment, Pacific Northwest

Troy DeFrank is an international trade and investment professional with more than 12 years of experience generating new business for clients and driving corporate investment in new markets.

He is currently British Columbia Trade & Investment’s Director – Pacific Northwest supporting economic collaboration across the Cascadia Corridor.

Previously, Troy was the ICT Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Consulate in Seattle, as well as an International Business Development Manager for the Washington State Department of Commerce. In both roles, he supported cross-border trade, corporate expansion, and partnerships in a number of industries including technology, life sciences, cleantech, aerospace and building materials.

Troy received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Japanese from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s Degree in International Studies from the University of Washington.

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Jerry W. Dobrovolny, P.Eng., MBA
Commissioner and Chief Administrative Officer, Metro Vancouver

With more than 30 years of experience in local government, large-scale infrastructure planning and operations management, Jerry Dobrovolny leads Metro Vancouver’s 1,800-strong workforce in providing essential utility and other services to the region’s 23 member jurisdictions and 2.7 million residents. As stewards of over 25% of the Region’s land base that ranges from high mountain watersheds to fresh and salt water marshes, Metro Vancouver’s 150 scientists and technical staff are entrusted to protect the region’s most sensitive ecological habitats.

Previously City Engineer and General Manager of the Engineering Services at the City of Vancouver, and a New Westminster city councillor, Jerry’s expertise and collaborative executive leadership skills spearhead Metro Vancouver’s ambitious policy and utility capital programmes. Priorities include upgrading multi-billion dollar utility systems, making the region more resilient to the impacts of climate change, including achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, increasing the supply of affordable housing, protecting the environment and developing a regional service to bring economic prosperity and equity to all for generations to come.

Jerry has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia, a Professional Engineering designation and a Master of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University. He also played offensive line in the Canadian Football League from 1983 to 1987. Jerry and his family live in New Westminster.

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James Ehrlich
Faculty, Smart Cities, Environment, Singularity University

James Ehrlich is Founder of ReGen Villages Holding, B.V. a Stanford University spin-off company formed in the EU to realize the future of living in regenerative and resilient communities, with critical life support of organic food, clean water, renewable energy and circular nutritional flows at the neighborhood scale.

Mr. Ehrlich is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Stanford University School of Medicine Flourishing Project, Faculty at Singularity University, Senior Fellow at NASA Ames Research Center and (Obama) White House Appointee for Regenerative Infrastructure.

Mr. Ehrlich Ehrlich founded ReGen Villages as a Dutch (EU) impact-profit company in 2016, with its patented VillageOS™ operating system software to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to define, design and autonomously manage regenerative neighborhoods that promote healthy long-term outcomes for residents and wider communities.

ReGen Villages are planned for global replication and scale in collaboration with established industrial partners, universities, governments and sovereign wealth and pension funds, enabling an optimistic post-COVID green transition.

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Garth Frizzell
President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

FCM President Garth Frizzell is a councillor for the City of Prince George, British Columbia. He was first elected to council in 2008, and is currently serving his fourth term. He chairs the city’s finance and audit committee.

Garth has been elected to FCM’s Board of Directors 11 times. He has been a strong advocate for empowering local governments with the right tools to meet the needs of Canadians. With a decade of leadership in bringing local solutions to national challenges through FCM, he knows first-hand that when orders of government work together as partners, they get more and better results.

Garth lives in Prince George with his wife Sue and their three sons. There, he co-founded an award-winning technology software company. A former president of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce, he also teaches business, economics and technology at the College of New Caledonia.

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Headshot_-_Jack_Froese.jpgMayor Jack Froese
Township of Langley, BC, Canada

For 41 years, Mayor Jack Froese has lived, worked, and raised a family in Langley and was a successful business owner and farmer.

Through responsible, accountable leadership, Mayor Froese works in cooperation with Council, other elected officials, and members of the community to ensure the Township of Langley remains a thriving
residential and business destination.

With a vision for enhanced economic activity and job creation, improved transportation, and safe, well-serviced communities, he is dedicated to providing an exceptional quality of life for those who live and work in the Township, now and in the future.

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Joost Helms
Director, Eindhoven International Project Office (EIPO)

Joost Helms is director of the Eindhoven International Project Office (EIPO), guiding and supporting regions and cities around the world on Triple Helix collaboration, Smart Cities and socio-economic development strategies. He also chairs the Eindhoven Academy, institute for education and training focusing on successful collaboration in the Brainport Eindhoven ecosystem. With EIPO, Joost Helms is working closely together with Binh Duong province (Vietnam) on implementing Binh Duong’s new socio-economic development strategy as a member of the Binh Duong Triple Helix Advisory Board and co-director of the Binh Duong Smart Region project office. Binh Duong has been awarded Smart21 by ICF in 2019 & 2020.

Joost graduated Eindhoven University of Technology in Chemical Engineering in 1996, gained 10 years of experience as an entrepreneur and has been in politics for another 10 years. He served as Vice Mayor of the City of Eindhoven when his city was awarded ICF Intelligent Community of the Year in 2011. Like no other, he understands the differences in motives, interests and processes of the different partners within Triple Helix collaborative ecosystems.

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Stephen Hilton
Founder and Director, City Global Futures

Stephen Hilton is Founder and Director of City Global Futures, a leading Smart and Sustainable Cities consultancy. global

Stephen was formerly Director of Futures at Bristol City Council.  He has 20+ years’ experience of developing strategy and delivering innovative and impactful projects.  Stephen was named Local Government Innovator of the Year for his work on technology and democracy. 

Stephen is a Fellow of the University of Bristol Digital Futures Institute  and a Trustee of the Architecture Centre. He is actively involved in research on Digital Placemaking.  

He provides strategic advice on Smart Cities  and Regions to the West of England Combined Authoruty and is currently supporting Bath and North East Somerset Council to develop a renewed 2030 vision. He is an expert advisor to the UK Government on Digital Innovation and international low carbon investment programmes. 

Stephen has a severe, geneti eyesight conditionn.  In 2019 joined the board of the Bristol Sight Loss Council where he works on employment and transport opportunities for blind and visually impaired people.

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Li Wen (Ema) Hsieh
Director, ICF Institute in Taiwan

Beginning in 1989, Li Wen (Ema) Hsieh has worked for the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI); one of Taiwan’s most important research organizations. She held several significant positions during her career here, including Head of PR, Project Manager in Latin America, and the New Business Director of the Technology Center for Service Industries.

After her retirement from ITRI in 2013, she was invited to be an advisor to the Joint Innovation Center of the Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Industry Association to assist the Taiwanese industry with expanding its sales to Latin America. In 2018, she joined the ICF Institute in Taiwan and is responsible for business development and marketing. She also has an extensive network with the smart city solution providers in Taiwan. Li Wen (Ema) Hsieh holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Chung Hua University, Taiwan.

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Gudie Hutchings
Member of Parliament, Long Range Mountains

Gudie Hutchings became the Member of Parliament for the riding of Long Range Mountains in October 2015. With her strong community ties, varied business experience and commitment to Newfoundland and Labrador, she was appointed by Prime Minister Trudeau as the Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism in 2015, and later served on the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. In 2019 she was appointed Parliamentary Secretary of Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development.

Born and raised in Corner Brook, she is proud to call the Humber Valley of Newfoundland and Labrador home. Gudie's focus on consultation and consensus-building makes her a strong voice for the business owners, workers, and families of Long Range Mountains.

Gudie has a passion for rural Canada and, in all her pursuits, has focused on developing and retaining local employees and promoting sustainable environmental practices. Since being elected, she has worked to bring the issues of rural areas to the forefront, champion the tourism industry, and work hard on issues related to women and gender equality. 

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Brenda Knights
CEO, seyem

Brenda Knights is the CEO of Seyem’, wholly owned by the Kwantlen First Nation. Brenda previously worked in the transportation sector in various management roles, then came home to her indigenous community to assist with Economic Development. Brenda is currently working on her Masters in Business Leadership. She serves on a number of Boards including the Elizabeth Fry Foundation, Langley Tourism, the TOL Museum Advisory Committee and as a Council Member for the BC Indigenous Business Advisory Council for the Province of BC. Brenda is a descendant of Grand Chief Wattlekanium, whom met the Simon Fraser Expedition in present day New Westminster.

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Anne Lawrence
Head of Industry Advancement, Economic Development, Moreton Bay Regional Council

Formerly Head of Industry Advancement at Sunshine Coast Council in Queensland Australia, Anne Lawrence’s role for the past five years has been to lead a team that supports the growth and prosperity of the region’s 30,000+ businesses and capitalises upon the investment in game-changer projects such as a greenfields ‘Smart City’ CBD precinct, a new international airport and the recently commissioned Broadband Undersea Cable. With a focus on seven high value priority industry verticals, Anne leads a team of team of professionals that develop, evolve and execute programs in partnership with a collaborative network of strategic partnerships. An example of the impact Anne has had in this role is as the principal architect of the region’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, which has achieved 65% growth over the past three years.

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Kalum Lauritzen
IT Lead, City of Nelson, BC, Canada

Kalum has worked with local government and service providers for over 25 years to assist with their technology/communication challenges. He spent many a frustrating evening fighting with slow leased lines, unreliable wireless networks, delicate laser point to point links, and even investigating running fibre optics through street light conduits. For nearly 20 years, Kalum and family have lived in Nelson, BC - a small mountain town with its own hydro generating & distribution system. Working for the City of Nelson, in collaboration with Nelson Hydro, local service providers, the province, and local trusts, Nelson is able to deploy a robust fibre optic network throughout the city. Kalum enjoys working with local organizations looking to leverage high speed communications within the city and the world, and is always looking for opportunities to help other towns reach their potential.

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Dale Lutz
Co-CEO and Vice-President of Development, Safe Software Inc

Dale Lutz is the Co-CEO and Vice President of Development for Safe Software, based in Surrey, British Columbia. Along with friend Don Murray, Dale co-founded Safe in 1993 and co-created Safe’s core product FME, now the globally recognized standard in spatial data transformation.

Today Dale uses his 25+ years of experience to guide FME’s core development, with a focus on continually refining and optimizing the FME Desktop user experience.

Known for his expertise in data interoperability, Dale regularly speaks at conferences and tradeshows around the world, sharing his passion for making data accessible to anyone who needs it.

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Dan Mathieson
Mayor, City of Stratford, Ontario, Canada

Dan Mathieson is in his fifth term as Mayor of the City of Stratford and has sat on municipal council since 1995. He is past Chair of the Ontario Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), Past Chair of Kings University College at Western University, Chair of the Stratford Police Services Board, a member of the Board of Directors of Festival Hydro and Rhyzome Networks and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Dan is also a Governor on the Board of i-Canada and a Board Member of Hampton Financial Corporation.

In 2012, Dan was chosen by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, paying tribute to community leaders whose endeavours have set them apart as technology innovators. As well, Dan received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 for public service.

Dan has received an ICD.D Designation through the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Guelph and a Masters of Public Administration Degree from the University of Western Ontario.

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Lissa Matyas
Vice-President, International Partnerships, Mitacs

Lissa Matyas is the Vice-President of International Partnerships at Mitacs. Funded by the federal and provincial governments of Canada, industry and universities, Mitacs’ mandate is to build domestic and international partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada. Lissa has twenty years of experience spanning international R&D partnership development, graduate program development, graduate student training, university strategic planning, stakeholder relationship management and marketing.

She comes to Mitacs from McGill University where she held the position of Director of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and prior to this, Director of Graduate Enrolment Management. Prior to joining McGill University, she was at Concordia University for ten years. At Concordia she managed the university’s strategic planning exercise in the Office of the President, held the positions of Director of Graduate Student Recruitment for the John Molson School of Business and Associate Director of the John Molson MBA Program, as well as Director of Alumni Relations at Concordia University. Lissa holds a Greenbelt in Lean Six Sigma from Fujitsu Canada, as well as a Master of Science in Administration degree with a concentration in Marketing and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, both from Concordia University. Lissa sat on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies and is a member of several other professional associations.

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Rob McCann
Founder, Clearcable Networks and President, Hamilton Technology Centre

Rob McCann is the founder of Clearcable Networks and President of the Hamilton Technology Centre. He has been working with advanced broadband service deployments in mid-market and rural cable and telephone systems since 1998. He is responsible for building and maintaining technical, network, and application intelligence. Rob works closely with several carriers, cable systems, municipalities, and network service providers in Canada, the US, and the Caribbean providing them with the technology, integration, and business practices required to effectively operate voice, video, and data services in the changing broadband service provider industry.

Rob’s active projects include work with ICF recognized Intelligent Communities by chairing the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Digital Infrastructure Working Group and providing technical insight to Municipal Broadband networks including ICF recognized Sarnia’s Bluewater Regional Network and Newmarket’s ENVI Network. He was named the Canadian Independent Telephone Association’s 2016 Supplier of the Year and holds degrees in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo and Economics from McMaster University.

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Doug McCollough
CIO, City of Dublin, Ohio, USA

As CIO of the City of Dublin, Ohio, Doug McCollough has worked to connect people to opportunities, and promote change in initiatives ranging from Smart and Connected Cities, IT Workforce Development, expanding broadband access, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, and Blockchain in Government. He speaks and advises as a Subject Matter Expert and advocate on technical subjects, diversity, equity, inclusion, and using technology for economic development.

Doug has held positions within the State of Ohio Departments of Public Safety, Commerce, Industrial Commission, and Medicaid. He served as the Director of Information Technology for the City of Richmond, Virginia. He is on the boards of Per Scholas Columbus, TECH CORPS, Black Tech Columbus, and Jewish Family Services of Columbus. He Chairs the Data Policy Needs Survey & Toolkit Working Group within the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission and serves on the Advisory Boards for the Center for Public Safety & Cyber Security Education (CPSCE) at Franklin University, the IT Cloud/Cluster Advisory Committee for Western Governors University, and the Department of Engineering Education at the Ohio State University.

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Mayor Michael Morden
City of Maple Ridge, BC, Canada

Mike has lived in Maple Ridge for over 30 years and was honoured to be elected as Mayor in 2018. Mike has been married to Hilary for 38 years, a researcher and sessional instructor at SFU.

Prior to this term, Mike has served two terms as a City Councillor, two terms at the Union of BC Municipalities and three years as Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee. In addition Mike is the past President of the Chamber of Commerce.

Mike is an honest, passionate and hardworking problem solver. He is a successful business owner, as well a career volunteer who dedicates his spare time in the service of others to make our community a better place.

As Mayor, Mike is serving on the TransLink Mayor’s Council and Mobility Pricing Committee, ECOMM Board, Metro Vancouver Mayor’s Board, Regional Housing and Performance and Audit and Zero Waste Committees.

Mike understands complex social problems, sees opportunity and has a proven track record of leadership and taking action. Mike is resolved to bring us a safe and connected community, closure of tent city, strong advocacy with senior government by working together for our needs, great recreation, a vibrant downtown, a strong local economy and a local government that listens and acts for the majority of the people.

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Steve Scheepmaker
Director of Corporate Administration at the Township of Langley, British Columbia

Steve’s portfolio at the Township is broad and includes numerous departments that deliver core services to both internal and external stakeholders. With deep roots across many facets of the technology world, Steve is always looking for new and innovative ways to leverage technology as a means to enhance operational efficiency and ultimately, help our community grow and prosper.

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Päivi Sutinen
Director, City as a Service Development, Espoo, Finland

Dr, EMBA, Päivi Sutinen is the Director for City as a Service Development at the City of Espoo which is the Intelligent Community of the Year 2018 and also iCapital finalist year 2019 and 2020.

She has been as a Chairman of the steering group of the 6Aika – joint strategy for open and smart services with the six largest cities in Finland (2014-2020). She hae over 25 years' experience as director, developer and cocreator in local, national and global levels at the Finland's two biggest cities and communities in Espoo and Helsinki.

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Karen Stewart
Chief Information Officer, City of Maple Ridge, BC, Canada

Karen Stewart is an experienced manager with a passion for developing Smart Communities. Her focus is on data-driven citizenship as a top priority. Working in the industry for over 3 decades she has a keen interest in helping governments and communities focus on policy initiatives enabling them to tackle pressing issues bringing top priorities into focus.

She is a knowledgeable GIS and IT professional with a passion for creating communities where people want to live, work and play and is currently the CIO for the City of Maple Ridge.

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Graham Truax
Executive Director, Innovation Island Technology Association, Comox BC Canada

With over 30 years experience working as an entrepreneur and executive in Startup’s and small-medium-sized businesses, Graham’s career has spanned retail, manufacturing, commercial real-estate development and media/technology industries in Canada and the US. He has founded, co-founded, and advised dozens of companies, realizing 7-9 figure revenues, and raising over $150 million in venture and institutional financing.

In 2013, with a move to beautiful Vancouver Island, Graham began working with Innovate BC’s Venture Acceleration Program as an Executive in Residence [Startup Whisperer] serving a 30,000 km² geography with 79 municipalities and 8 regional districts ~ separated by ocean, rivers, lakes, and mountains but “connected” by float planes, ferries, winding highways and “developing” digital infrastructure! With boots on the ground, Graham knows firsthand the challenges faced by more rural-based entrepreneurs who want to build, grow, and stay in place. Circa April 2020, in response to the COVID crisis, Graham developed the Digital Economy Restart, Recover, Reimagine Program (DER3) that is now helping hundreds of businesses across the Province of BC to diversify their business models.

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Toomas Türk
Chief of Innovation, City of Tallinn, Estonia

Toomas Türk is the first ever Chief of Innovation at City of Tallinn since November 2018.  His main responsibility is to lead Innovation and Smart City programme, including novel technology projects, tech community engagement and internal innovation capacity initiatives. See more . He has have worked on country senior level positions at Top Global/National Tech companies including Oracle, Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol, Telia, Omniva/E-invoicing Center and has great knowledge about e-Estonia, Start-ups and Smart City activities. Toomas has actively served Cluster organisations such as Estonian Smart City Cluster, ITL (national ICT Cluster), PostEurop (Brussels based) and has been CES (US) partner representative in the Baltics. His competences are from Sales and Marketing, Strategy development to Change and Project management in wider ICT area. He has graduated from TalTech (BA studies) and has taken part of several International long-term trainings (Canada, UK, Sweden).

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Kadie Ward
Commissioner and Chief Administrative Officer at Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development

Ms. Ward is a seasoned executive whose career to date has been characterized by successful collaboration across public, private and civil society organizations to design and deliver inclusive economic growth strategies that engage traditionally marginalized populations and provide equal opportunities for all to participate in the economic health of their community.

Her expertise has taken her around the world working with legislators to establish programs and legislation to support trade, local economic development, social enterprises as well as women’s participation in the economy. With an MA from Western University and an MBA from the Kellogg-Schulich School of Business conferred upon her by both York University and Northwestern University, Ward provides a unique perspective that helps economic development professionals manage risk and ambiguity in evolving intelligent economies.

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Additional speakers will be confirmed soon.

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