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Appointee Biographies

Grant Review Team - Muskoka, Nipissing, Parry Sound and Timiskaming - Ontario Trillium Foundation


Charles Cooper is a veteran of the Information and Communications Technology Industry with over 25 years of experience nurturing startup organizations in policy based networks, encryption technology and cloud sourced applications. Charles has semi-retired to the cottage and now owns Muskoka Hydrovac ltd. A non-destructive excavation business. Charles is a seasoned leader within the competitive telecommunications carrier market and has crafted many strategic roadmaps which contributed to numerous successful acquisitions including Call Net (by Sprint Canada), Group Telecom (by Bell Canada) and Atria Networks (by Rogers Communications). These acquisitions exceeded a billion dollars in value. Outside the office, Charles is an active volunteer within the community participating on many advisory and governance boards. Most recently, he was the Chairman of the Board for Peel Senior Link, a local health services provider, which delivers “Support for Daily Living” program to over 1000 seniors. Under his six-year leadership, PSL grew funding by 350% and achieved accreditation Canada certification for corporate governance. He as also been a member of the Advisory Board for the Information and Communication Technology program at Sheridan College. Once a month he mentors’ entrepreneurs with local startups as the Industry Chair for Communitech’s Product Management Peer to Peer group in Waterloo. Lately he has co-founded and first funder of the Dwight Winter Pantry, a seasonal food bank in Dwight Ontario. Throughout the winter, Charles teaches children with disabilities, as a volunteer ski instructor with the Ontario Track 3 Association. He can most often be found relaxing by the lake with his wife and three daughters in Muskoka.


Angela Knight van Schaayk is President/CEO of James C. Knight Creative Insurance Planners Inc., and a group benefits consultant for Gallagher Group Benefits. Her community involvement includes serving as President and Secretary for the North Bay Rotary.


Lucio Pavone is a professor (part-time) for the Faculty of Education at Nipissing University, a secondary school principal near North District School Board, and a former business teacher for Simcoe Catholic School Board.


Jean Polak has lived in Bracebridge since 1993. She operates her own law firm and practices in the areas of civil litigation, municipal prosecutions and will & estates. She has always been an active volunteer in her community, going back to her roots in Ajax, Ontario, and continuing through her student years, then in her early professional career at the Torys Law Firm. Since moving to Muskoka her volunteer involvement within her community includes being a member and past President of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge. Volunteer with Community Living South Muskoka and serving on the boards of the local hospital, the Muskoka Heritage Foundation and its successor the Muskoka Conservancy. At a provincial level she has also served as a member of the Chief Justice of Ontario’s Advisory Committee on Professionalism and as a Director of The Advocates’ Society. In 2019, she was awarded the Ontario medal for Good Citizenship by the Province of Ontario.


Patricia Carr graduated post-secondary at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and Nipissing University in North Bay with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Classics. Patti has worked for the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce for 32 years and is currently the Vice President of Policy and Communications. Patti is the mother of two grown boys. Patti has volunteered for numerous organizations over the years in areas of charities, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, education, Chamber executives, emergency management, economic/business development, tourism and sports events – current ones include: KidSport, Canadian Cancer Society and Rebuilt Resources board of directors. Patti is also a mentor and coach for new business start-ups and expansions of established businesses. Three years ago, Patti was recognized with a provincial award from her peers in the Chamber network. This year, Patti is the lead for the five-year Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program, one of eleven communities piloting the program granted by Immigration Canada in 2019.


Chris Litschko is the Chief Executive Officer & Board Director of Lakeland Holding Ltd. and its subsidiary companies: Lakeland Power, Bracebridge Generation and Lakeland Energy. Consolidated company annual revenues of $57M on assets of $126M. he is past Chair of the Electricity Distributors’ Association- Georgian Bay District and Board Vice Chair of Cornerstone Hydro Electric Concepts group. He is currently Vice Chair of Muskoka Futures (Chair of Business Investment subcommittee), member of Muskoka Founder Circle, and sits on Georgian College’s Public Advisory Committee. Chris supports causes towards children in need, health, entrepreneurs, environment, anti-bulling, protecting women against violence, cystic fibrosis, cancer society, and animal rehabilitation.


Moreen Miller’s career spans over 30 years in various roles within the mining, aggregates and construction industry. Moreen recently retired from her position as the President of Fowler Construction, a road construction company based in Muskoka. She has served on several commissions and boards and is currently a member of the Muskoka Algonquin Health Care Board of Directors, and the Chair of the Board of Defence Construction Canada. Ms. Miller has an academic background in geology and landscape architecture. She has worked in Canada and internationally on construction, land rehabilitation, initiatives, community affairs and sustainable development.