Power UP NORTH 2022 is about reconnecting as we adjust to “The New Normal”, and that's why this years themes are centered around Adversity, Tourism, and The New Normal.

We are proud to welcome a wide range of engaging speakers and instructors to share their insights and knowledge to help you get energized at this year's conference.

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Dr. Gregory Johnson - Athabasca Landing History  

Born and raised on the West Coast, Dr. Gregory Johnson graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and International Relations and then with a Master’s Degree in History. He then moved to Toronto and completed a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) at York University. He subsequently taught at the University of Victoria, Red Deer College and the University of Alberta before joining Athabasca University.


Although his primary field of study is 20th century Canadian Foreign Policy and International History, Dr. Johnson has produced works on aspects of local history, notably, Lac La Biche Chronicles, a history of Lac La Biche, Alberta; and Why Athabasca? A Brief History of the Origins of Athabasca Landing.


Today, Dr. Johnson will talk about the origins of the Town of Athabasca and he will offer up an interpretation that challenges the traditional view of the of the creation of the town.

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Glenys Reeves - Gibbs   -   Economusee  (CDEA Speaker)

ÉCONOMUSÉE Network Society

Since 2013, Carl-Éric Guertin has been the Executive Director of the ÉCONOMUSÉE Network Society (ENS) overseeing the Canadian and International development of the organization.  Established in 1992, the ENS, a not-for-profit organisation, is the founder, owner and promoter of the ÉCONOMUSÉE® concept. Now grown into an international organization with its head office in Québec City, Canada, the network of partners shares the same goals – the continuation, protection and promotion of traditional trades and know-how in the craft and agri-food sectors.


He has established the partnership in Alberta with the CDÉA which a lead so far, the creation of 3 economusees in the province of Alberta and 3 new up-coming.


Carl-Éric Guertin has twenty-five years of experience in management positions within business associations. A recognized developer and visionary, a change agent, a leader with a collaborative approach, passionate about strategic planning and implementation, motivated by economic, regional and sustainable development, he has great ease in public speaking, persuasive communication and creating mobilizing partnerships

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Amy Pilat -  Wine Knows Canada   (Futurepreneur Speaker)

Amy Pilat is the founder of Wine Knows Canada ,a wine education company that facilitates small private wine events as well as large scale corporate events and non profit fundraisers throughout Canada.  With over 2 decades of experience in the wine industry Amy has completed the Wine and Spirit Education Trust level 1 and 2 courses through the Vancouver Art institute along with extensive international travel and training in the art of wine making.


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Quinn Magnuson - BDC Speaker

Being a former CFL player and lifetime athlete, Quinn understands the level of commitment and dedication it takes to be successful and he brings this to his clients as he advises them on the 5 critical functions of business.


After owning the successful 1-800-GOT-JUNK? North Sask territory for 6 years, Quinn sold the company and made the career move over to BDC in 2010 to best utilize his business acumen and coaching experience to help and develop SMEs and Entrepreneurs.


Quinn grew up in an entrepreneurial family and is familiar with the day to day struggles that business owners face. His position at BDC, Trusted Client Partner for Advisory Services, speaks volumes to the work that he and BDC Advisory have done over the 11 years he has been here.


After one year Quinn was promoted from Consulting / Advisory Manager to C/A Partner in 2012 to Senior Client Partner of Advisory Services in 2016.  Has lead the Saskatchewan Advisory team since with a Client Value Index (client satisfaction) rating of 92%.


Quinn and his wife, Kirsten, are avid sports enthusiasts. They have two children, Annika (21) and Leif (19), who are both college athletes: Leif at University of Arizona (football) and Annika (U of S) track and field. Their passion for sports comes through in everything they do.


Specialties: Integrated Sales and Marketing (Traditional and Online), Operational Efficiencies, Productivity, Digital and Tech Adoption.

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James Leppan - Travel Alberta

JAMES LEPPAN is Travel Alberta’s Experience Development Manager for the North. His territory encompasses everything north of highway 16, east to Lloydminster and west to Grande Cache.

Formerly from Zimbabwe, James travelled to all seven continents before making Alberta his home. He is passionate about learning about the heritage and history of the communities in the north and taking that ‘pride of place’ and sharing it with visitors to the region.


Alberta’s North is a mecca of diverse landscapes and cultures – from the Ukrainian Village to Metis Crossing to Alberta’s oldest community of Fort Vermilion, to Wood Buffalo National Park – the second largest in the world and the world’s largest dark sky preserve. James enjoys working with tourism businesses and communities to help tell their stories and develop unique experiences to inspire return visitation and economic sustainability. When not on the road, James enjoys the ocean, musical theatre, and coffee, not necessarily in that order.



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Dusty &  Jonathan Hawkey of Hawkey Studios - The Rural Advantage

Dusty and Jonathan Hawkey are a two person puppet production company that live and work in the Town of Athabasca. They produce custom order puppets for marketing, television, commercials, movies, and social media campaigns as well as for general interest clients. They produce puppet shows and musicals with original music and scripts for events and schools. They also offer puppetry workshops, music and sewing lessons as well as custom clothing designs and alteration services. Their artistic vision is to provide experiences for children and adults alike in rural areas that people may not get a chance to see unless you go to an urban center and to produce puppets for clients both locally and internationally. Their puppets have sold internationally to places as far as Israel, all across Europe and North America. They both have backgrounds in Business, Fine Arts, Theatre, Music, Archeology and Anthropology that they incorporate into their business model.



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Michelle McCrea - GuardaVent

Michele McCrea lives in Grande Prairie, AB with her husband and two children aged 4 & 7. In August 2019 she dreamed up an idea for childproof floor vents and Futurpreneur helped bring that idea to life. Her product, GuardaVent, now sells online through her self-designed website, as well as on Amazon.ca.


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Brian Cardinal - Tipi Raising

Brian A. Cardinal is born and raised in Calling Lake, Alberta along with his two sisters and seven brothers. His family has spent most of their lives living off the land, hunting and trapping for most of the year.

Late at night after checking of checking traps and gathering food, wood and water, their father would tell them stories by the lantern light. He told wonderful legends and amazing tales of the supernatural so we always looked forward to hearing these stories.

Later on in life, Brian would remember how his imagination would take him far off to theses wonderful places so much so that he wrote a book of such wonders and named it, “The Wanderer.”

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John Ritchie 

A former Office Administrator for Heavy Equipment House in Edmonton, he felt a growing disconnect in the urban lifestyle. “Living in the city, some kids don’t even have the privilege of cutting grass,” Ritchie says. “That was my first job as a kid.”


Of Metis descent, Ritchie has spent over a decade learning bush craft and reconnecting with his cultural roots. At Hideaway Adventure Grounds, he channels that traditional knowledge to share with his guests.


“That’s why I like to have grass, open spaces, so people can get dirty, get their fingernails dirty again, get some of that positive energy back from Mother Earth,” he says. “Let the land heal us - if we give it a chance, it will.”


It was realizing the power of that connection and that heritage that led Ritchie to establish Hideaway Adventure Grounds on his lands at the Kikino Metis Settlement.

He offers workshops, school programs and rustic camping experiences, with activities like making shelters, learning bushcraft or leatherworking. 

Please Note Speakers may change without notice.