Robert Ridley, Board Chair
Robert (Bob) Ridley has enjoyed an employment career spanning 40 years, with the common thread being an ongoing association with the land development and homebuilding industries. His employment responsibilities have included a broad spectrum of municipal, consulting and private sector roles.
Throughout his career, Bob has been an active participant in the land development and homebuilding industries, including various responsibilities for the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA) and the Tarion Warranty Corporation. He is currently serving as the President of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association.
During 2009, Bob was awarded the Colonel Boss award by the Greater Ottawa Homebuilder’s Association as Man of the Year.
In addition to his work-related experience and qualifications, he has been awarded a Masters Degree in Engineering and a Masters Degree in Business Administration. He is also a Registered Professional Engineer in the province of Ontario.
Ken Merkley, Past Chair
Ken Merkley is presently the Marketing Manager of Merkley Supply Ltd., which is the oldest and most comprehensive masonry supply company in the National Capital Region. Ken brings more than 20 years of experience in the marketing, distribution and manufacturing sectors of the construction industry to Habitat GO's Board of Directors.
Ken is a graduate of Carleton University with a degree in commerce. Prior to working in the construction industry, Ken operated his own sales and marketing company, specializing in the creation and implementation of business plans for small companies. Before that, he held senior marketing positions witn Inova Optices, Campbell Printing and XEROX Canada.
As one of Habitat GO's longest serving volunteers, Ken has worked on a number of Habitat GO builds over the past 10 years. He currently serves as a member of the ReStore committee as well.
Richard Lauzon, Vice Chair
Richard Lauzon has held various positions with the Bank of Montreal over the last 32 years including Senior Branch Manager in Ottawa, Community Manager in Lahr, Germany and Senior Commercial Account Manager in Ottawa. For the past 15 years, Richard has held the role of Senior Private Banker with BMO Harris Private Banking where he has the responsibility of managing a portfolio of affluent clients.
He has been an active supporter and dedicated many hours of service to charitable organizations over the years, including the BMO Employee Foundation, the Snowsuit Fund and Starlight Children's Foundation.
Richard is passionate about the cause and currently serves on the executive as board Secretary as well as leading Habitat's Land Acquisition Committee and sitting on the Steel Toes and Stilettos Gala Committee. Richard also recently completed his first Habitat Global Village build in Guatemala.
Chris Jerome, Treasurer
Chris Jerome is a partner at EY and is the leader of EY's Private Mid-Market tax group in Ottawa. Chris’ practice is focused on corporate and personal tax planning strategies, cross-border tax issues, estate & succession planning, corporate tax restructuring and due diligence. Chris has worked on numerous tax-efficient cross-border acquisition and financing structures for both foreign investors into Canada and for Canadian companies with foreign operations. Chris’ clients span all industry sectors.
Magda Seydegart, Secretary
Magda Seydegart specializes in human rights, professional development and institution-building. For more than 30 years she has established herself as one of Canada's leading authorities on human rights policy and education. Magda has served as the Executive Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre of the University of Ottawa and as a member of the Human Rights Tribunal of Canada.
She is a former senior staff person with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Association in Support of Native Peoples. Magda also helped found several human rights NGOs in Canada, including the Network on International Human Rights and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF).
Magda’s current work includes the development, implementation and evaluation of human rights programming, including assignments for UNIFEM, Equitas (formerly the Canadian Human Rights Foundation), CCIC, Amnesty International (Canadian Section), for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Development Program, UNESCO and the Commonwealth Secretariat, CIDA, Rights and Democracy, the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Health, and Inter Pares. She holds an MA in adult education (in human rights) from St. Francis Xavier University.
Kevin Barwin, Director
Kevin Barwin has more than 25 years of business experience as a leader and entrepreneur in the high technology sector. He has held senior management positions in sales, business development and operations. He is currently a founding partner with Clariti Group. Winner at the 2015 BOB’s for Best New Business. Before founding Clariti Group, Kevin served as Vice-President of Business Development for Overlay.TV.
Prior to Overlay.TV, Kevin was Vice-President of Global Sales for Lumenera Corporation. Leading up to Lumenera, Kevin served as CEO and co-founder of Zequra Technologies and CEO of Oursoftware Ltd. In 2003 Kevin was the recipient of the "Top Forty Under 40" awarded by the Ottawa Business Journal for his commitment to professional excellence and contributions to the community.
Kevin holds an MBA from McMaster University and a BA in Mathematics from Queen's University. Kevin is an active volunteer in the Ottawa community. He is the current President of HRPA Ottawa (Human Resources Professional Association). Kevin is also a member of the openOttawa Innovation Fund and member at large of the Board of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa.
Neel Bhatt, Director
Neel Bhatt is co-founder and President of Content Home. After a lengthy career in the finance and accounting fields with both large multi-national and medium-sized companies in Bermuda, the United Kingdom and the United States, he returned to Ottawa to obtain a degree in architecture. Combining his background in finance and architecture, he worked at Windmill Developments Ltd., an Ottawa based developer specializing in leading edge sustainable buildings and communities, before co-founding Content Home, a company that specializes in urban infill projects using sustainable design and construction principles.
In addition to his degree in architecture, Neel is also a Chartered Accountant. As someone who designs and develops residential projects, he was inspired to join the Habitat GO Board to contribute his diverse experience toward enabling people in his community to have well-built, sustainable homes.
Roberto Campagna, Director
Roberto Campagna, founder and President of Roca Homes, holds a Bachelor of International Business degree from Carleton University. Roca Homes is an award winning builder of exclusive luxury homes in Ottawa, having built more than 35 luxury homes in Ottawa since its inception in 2006. Roberto joined the Board of Directors of Habitat GO in 2011, specifically to assist in the ongoing quest for land and new build sites to house our partner families.
Prior to starting Roca Homes, Roberto spent 10 years in the high tech sector with Corel Corporation and ZIM Corporation as a Vice-President and Director, managing sales and marketing operations in Europe and South America. Roberto and Roca Homes are involved in other local charities, such as The Royal Ottawa Hospital Mental Health Foundation and the Broadview Public School Schoolyard Renewal program.
Gord Erskine, Director
Gord Erskine has been an active member of Ottawa’s architectural community for 30 years and, as the President and senior partner at Erskine Dredge & Associates, he functions as a leader and a resource for all staff. Over the course of his career, Gord has gained broad experience in institutional, commercial and residential development and has distinguished himself as an efficient and skilled project manager.
Having been the lead designer on projects ranging from small office fit-ups to major hospital redevelopment, Gord has developed the knowledge and expertise to lead a wide variety of projects types. Gord leads development teams from master planning, through concept and detail design, preparation of the construction package, the tender process and Contract Administration.
Gord is past Chair of the City of Kanata Town Centre Design Committee, the current Chair of the Algonquin College Advisory Board for the Architectural Technology Program, a member of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee, a CaGBC and ORC (Ottawa Regional Chapter of the CaGBC) member, a BECOR (Building Envelope Council, Ottawa Region) member, is a Registered Vendor/Builder with Tarion Corporation and a senior architectural advisor with the Construction Resource Initiative Council.
Janice Menezes, Director
Janice Menezes is the Chief Financial Officer for Lockheed Martin Canada. In this capacity, she is responsible for leading the Corporation’s accounting, treasury, business forecasting, pricing, program control, taxation and information technology functions.
Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Ms. Menezes served in a variety of increasingly responsible positions at Dow AgroSciences in Calgary, Alberta, responsible for financial accounting, cost accounting, auditing, internal control, taxation, implementation of business process improvements and financial systems implementations.
Janice is a Chartered Accountant, and graduated with Honours from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Mathematics.
Elizabeth Rae, Director
Elizabeth Rae is an independent consultant who drives business performance through strategic people practices. For more than 20 years, Elizabeth has built a reputation for creating innovative and practical solutions that give high value and sustainable returns.
Elizabeth has worked in diverse industries, including high-tech, pharmaceutical, healthcare, creative design, and professional services, amongst others. With her studies and practice in both interior design and business administration, her passion is helping committed teams and worthy causes reach their goals.
Jon Solomon, Director
Jon Solomon is an associate lawyer with Menzies Lawyers and practices in the areas of Civil Litigation (employment & personal injury), and Family Law.
He obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor in 2011, and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2013. He obtained his B.Sc. at Concordia University in 2006, and his M.Sc. from McGill University in 2008.
Throughout his life, Jon has committed himself to volunteering and giving back to the community, including: teaching swimming to multi-disabled children, raising money for both a women’s shelter and cancer research, volunteering as a tutor for illiterate adults and at a day care in a developing country. As such, it is his compassion and tenacity that he bestows upon all of his clients’ matters at often challenging moments in their lives.
Anne Van Delst, Director
Anne Van Delst in a partner at Westboro accounting firm Ginsberg Gluzman Fage & Levitz (GGFL) with over 20 years of experience in public accounting. She has extensive experience in the planning, supervision, and execution of assurance engagements and other client services including income tax consulting for a broad spectrum of industries including construction, professional services, consultants, retail and numerous owner-managed businesses.
Over the years, Anne has held various positions with a number of charitable organizations in Ottawa. She has served as a member of the Ottawa Treatment Centre's Board of Directors and as treasurer and chair of their finance committee. Anne is past-president of the Women's Business Network of Ottawa, and was a board member and treasurer of SOS Children's Villages of Canada.
Bruce Wolfgram, Director
Bruce Wolfgram is Vice President, Tenant Representation at Primecorp Commercial Realty Inc. He has practiced commercial real estate for over 25 years, always acting exclusively as a tenant advisor (he won't represent landlords or building owners).
He helps companies across Canada determine their future office space requirements and then searches and negotiates to secure the most cost-effective office lease solution. Bruce is a Professional Engineer (P.Eng) and also an accredited professional in green office buildings (LEED AP).
He is in the top 1% of brokers globally to have earned membership within the Washington DC based SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office Realtors). In addition to Habitat for Humanity, Bruce is also on the Board of the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, and is Chair of its Governance Committee. He previously served on the Campaign Cabinet of United Way.