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Appointee Biographies

Grant Review Team - Thames Valley - Ontario Trillium Foundation


John Lohuis has over 34 years of experience in municipal/provincial governments and within the private sector. John has a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Windsor with an Honour Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo-Recreation & Business option at Wilfrid Laurier University. John is a past President of the Ontario Parks Association, previously on the Board of Directors of Parks & Recreation Ontario, was Co-Chair of the PRO Public Affairs Committee for over 10 years, and past Chair of the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association parks advisory committee. Was General Manager/CEO of the Niagara Parks Commission from July 2012 to August 2016. Also was an adjunct lecturer at the University of Waterloo from May 2011 to August 2012. Prior to that period held various positions at the City of Mississauga including Acting Commissioner of Community Services and Director portfolios in Parks & Recreation, Arts & Culture, Environment & Tourism.


William Ungar is a seasoned professional with extensive experience and knowledge in the agricultural sector. A professional Agrologist that is practicing in the Provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. One of the first registered Certified Crop Advisors in Ontario. Bill has been involved throughout his career in the seed, fertilizer and pesticide industries, having worked with and continues to work with many growers in several provinces with research plots, yield data collection and interpretations. Some of his corporate experiences include Dekalb Seeds, Monsanto, Yara North America, Growmarks and Federated Co-operative. Bill has, throughout his career, shown a dedication to the growers that he works with and has to this day several clients from different regions of the world, that he continues to wortk with. Bill is a member of the Professional Agrologists of Ontario (OIA) and sits on Provincial Board of Directors (OIA), Certified Crop Advisors (CCA), Vice Chair of the Aylmer Police Services Board, Board member Ontario Association of Police Service Boards Zone 6, Member of the Lake Erie Region Ground Source Water Protection Committee, and several other worthwhile organizations. Bill is an avid hunter and fisherman and is involved with several different agencies in that sector as well.


Jack Couckuyt has been a secondary principal in two secondary schools in Elgin County. He received an M.A. from the University of Alberta in 1969 and an M.Ed from the University of Western Ontario in 1978. He was Mayor of Aylmer from 2010 to 2014 and a Town Councilor for 4 years before that. He had served on the following boards: St. Thomas Elgin Public Health Unit (Chair 2014), the Aylmer Police Services Board (5 years); the Easy Elgin Family Health Team (currently for 2 years), the Aylmer Area Community Foundation (4 years, currently Chair).


Joy Bevan is a retired health care leader. Current board member of the Victorian Order of Nurses Middlesex Elgin Community Corporation. Actively involved in the community of Greater Thames Valley.


Amelia (Amy) Sloan completed a master’s in planning at Dalhousie University and an Honors Bachelor of Science from McMaster University, with a minor in Art History. She is currently working as an Urban Planner with Stantec Consulting in London, Ontario. Amy carries with her experience at various levels of government and has worked on many complex, long-range policy projects, including reviewing provincial legislation, comprehensive official plan updates, and corporate strategic plans. Amy is well-versed in provincial land use planning legislation and has specific experience dealing with planning policy in rural areas of Ontario. Her employment history with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Canadian Urban Institute, Agriculture Canada and Oxford County has provided a breadth of knowledge in several aspects of land use planning across social, cultural, economic, and environmental policy issues. With roots in St. Thomas, Ontario Amelia grew up working at her family's farm market and apple orchard. She continues to be involved in community organizations that foster social inclusion, promote the arts and recreation, and advocate for improved housing and strong, connected cities. She continues to seek out new opportunities to expand knowledge in land use planning and economic development. With this knowledge, she hopes to positively contribute to urban and rural environments that support civil and sustainable living.


Wilfried Riecker is a self-employed Human Resources Consultant. He retired in 2009 as Manager of Human Resources and Corporate Secretary at Timken Canada LP. He is a former Director of the Elgin Community Futures Development Corporation, the Maple Leaf Foundation, St. Thomas Energy Inc. and a former board member of St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital and the Fanshawe College Board of Governors.


Gillian Martin is the President of Ansell’s Awards & Specialties. Her community involvement includes serving as a board member/advisor/big sister / in school mentor for Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of St. Thomas-Elgin.


Mike Lang is a former Window Installer for A1 Unique Installation. His community involvement includes serving as board of directors for Cheshire Homes of London.


Dennis O’Grady worked for Conservation Authorities in Ontario for 37 years, the last 32 as Executive Director. Mr. O’Grady has volunteered for a variety of environmental, local government and social agencies over his career. He has lectured across North America on watershed management and non-profit board governance. Mr. O’Grady has a Master of Public Administration from Queen’s.


Lori Van Opstal is a successfully semi-retired entrepreneur, with a strong commitment to delivering value to both industry and community. Lori has built a number of successful businesses in both Canada and the U.S., and was featured 12 consecutive times on Profit Magazine’s list of Top 100 Canadian Women Business Owners. Lori has Chaired: South West Local Health Integration Network, Cambridge Shelter Corporation, Making Room Inc., Cambridge Kiwanis Village Non-Profit Housing, Economic Development Advisory Committee (Cambridge), Canada’s Technology Triangle’s Ambassador Task Force, Community Leaders Taskforce on Municipal Restructuring (Vice-Chair) and the Fleet Safety Council Conference. Lori found her work with high school budding entrepreneurs, in the Junior Achievement program in Tillsonburg, especially rewarding. Lori is a dual-citizen originally from Los Angeles. She has one child, Nice, a 27 year old licensed Diesel Mechanic at London Transit Commission. Lori’s husband, Ron Verspeeten, owns Verspeeten Cartage, and Award winning Trucking company, based in Ingersoll.