Directory  Resources  Events                                                        

EDCO 2022 Professional Development Regional Event - London

  • 20 Sep 2022
  • 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
  • 100 Kellogg Lane, London, ON
  • 37


Registration is closed

Regional networking opportunity in London!

Take advantage of this opportunities to meet peers in your region and learn about trends in economic development that are effecting your municipality. 

EDCO Regional Economic Development Professional Development Event

Southwestern Region

100 Kellogg Lane

London, Ontario

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Register for the London Event Here!

Registration Closes on Tuesday, September 13, 2022


9:00 AM         Welcome & Keynote Speaker Mike Moffit, Ivy Business School, "State of the Regional Economy"

Dr. Mike Moffatt is the Senior Director of Policy and Innovation at the Smart Prosperity Institute and an Assistant Professor in the Business, Economics and Public Policy group at Ivey Business School, Western University. Mike’s research at SPI focuses on the intersection of regional economic development, building child-friendly, climate-friendly housing and communities, and clean innovation. In 2017, Mike was the Chief Innovation Fellow for the Government of Canada, advising Deputy Ministers on innovation policy and emerging trends. He has also previously held the titles of Director (Interim) of the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management, Directory of Policy at Canada 2020, and Chief Economist for the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto. Mike has worked with politicians and policymakers of all political stripes in several countries to craft more effective public policy. From 2013 to 2015, Mike served as an economic advisor to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. Outside of his clean economy work at SPI, Mike is a disability-rights activist.

9:45 AM         Session 1: Share & Discover Talent Recruitment Best Practices

Speaker Profiles:

Justin Falconer is the CEO of Workforce WindsorEssex, where he works with a team of professionals dedicated to leading regional employment and community planning for the development of a strong and sustainable workforce. Justin has 18 years of experience working in government and community roles, including 11 years in management positions.

Justin joined the Workforce WindsorEssex team in January 2016 as Manager of Intergovernmental Partnerships and was later promoted to Senior Director in 2019, then CEO in 2020. Justin leads the organization’s public communications and employment planning work, including spearheading the WE Data Tools initiative. His work on WE Data Tools, an online platform of job search, career development, and community data tools, as well as a series of reports and analytics, has been implemented in all communities across Ontario. This important data helps inform employment planning in ways that were previously unavailable. 

Prior to joining Workforce WindsorEssex, Justin led organizing efforts across Southwestern Ontario for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s successful 2015 election where he was responsible for the recruitment, training, support, and motivation of thousands of volunteers in a data-driven campaign that attempted to contact more than 750,000 voters in 21 ridings from Windsor to Halton Hills. In 2013-2014, Justin managed the Windsor office of former M.P.P. Teresa Piruzza where he was responsible for operations, communications, and community and stakeholder engagement. Between 2006-2013, Justin worked in progressively senior operation, communications, and outreach roles in the Ontario Government for former Premier Dalton McGuinty, former Deputy Premier Dwight Duncan, and former Minister John Milloy. 

Justin is married to Christina and they have two sons together. Justin and his family enjoy spending time together traveling and watching movies.

Robert Collins Robert Collins, Director, Workforce Development, brings significant experience from senior roles in provincial and municipal governments and non-profit organizations in southwestern Ontario to this portfolio. Robert is active in a number of initiatives designed to address current and anticipated labour market shortages and close the gaps between supply and demand - an identified cornerstone of community economic resilience and sustainability.

Connecting companies to talent and talent to companies is a major focus of his endeavours.

Robert has made full use of London’s fine educational opportunities graduating from the University of Western Ontario, London Teacher’s College and Fanshawe College after originally coming from London, England.

Robert is a Past President of Western University’s Alumni Association and its Senate and is an active volunteer with a variety of organizations.

10:30 AM       Break 1

10:45 AM     Session 2:  A Care Economy Hat Trick - Child Care, Employment and Community Growth”

Session description:

Find out how one community addressed workforce capacity challenges, employment needs and child care education through an innovative approach.  

This session will offer insight into:

  • the crisis around the ECE (Early Childhood Education) Workforce (why are Educators leaving the field?); 
  • the impact of the ECE workforce crisis on families seeking child care as critical infrastructure to ‘return to work’ across all sectors; and,
  • the needs and opportunity created for those seeking employment.  

Join leaders from the Municipality of Chatham-Kent including Kelly Emery, Director of Children’s Services, Early On, and Recreation; Matt Keech, Program Manager, Employment & Social Services, and Audrey Ansell, Director of Community Attraction & Promotion, as they describe an innovative solution that created a successful ‘hat trick’ connecting child care, employment and growth in this mid-sized community! Andrea Carmona, Manager, Public Affairs, Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)  will also join the panel to discuss the economic impact of child care and she-covery post pandemic.

Moderator Profile:

Audrey Ansell M.A., Ec.D graduated with a Master s Degree in Economics from University College Dublin, Ireland and having worked as an investment analyst/stockbroker in the UK, she then immigrated to Chatham-Kent.  Audrey is a Certified Economic Developer and the Director of Community Attraction & Promotion for the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. With a portfolio focused on attracting and retaining talent/workforce, residents and visitors, Audrey s work is centered on applying the core principles of economic development to community economic development initiatives. Communities grow when everyone shares a common goal and works toward achieving it and Audrey believes that finding goals is possible when a community s assets, culture and people are understood. Understanding and hearing the community helps everyone to see where and how they can contribute.

Speaker Profiles:

Kelly Emery is a versatile people person and problem solver with over 30 years of experience in the field of social services with proficiencies in project leadership, policy development, budgeting, and operational facilities management.  Kelly is a Registered Early Childhood Educator, who received her ECE from Lambton College straight out of high school.  Kelly knew she wanted to work with children from the start, and was driven to create positive, enriching learning environments where children flourish and families feel they belong.  Not only does Kelly know how to create the conditions that allow children thrive during the early years, she is a ‘big-picture’ systems builder and community champion.  Having worked with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and Chatham Kent Lambton School Services, Kelly forged relationships among the many players in community systems, while navigating policy, budget and legislation to create local solutions for children and families.  Currently, Kelly is the Director of Children’s Services and Recreation with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, working with her provincial and local partners to implement the Canada Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement within Chatham-Kent.  Kelly is a champion not only of the multiple facets of children’s services within a community, but a passionate mentor for future child care leaders.  If Kelly isn’t making slime with her grandchildren, she is planning her next retail or sunny adventure! 

Matt Keech is a Program Manager with Employment and Social Services at the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.  Some of the programming that he is responsible for includes Ontario Works employment programming, Ontario Works integration and modernization initiatives, Community Navigation and Community Relations Worker outreach programs.  Matt has been employed by the Municipality of Chatham-Kent since 2003 serving in multiple divisions including the Clerks Office, Licensing Services, and the Building Department.

Andrea Carmona, Manager, Public Affairs, Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) To Andrea, an inclusive province means equality of opportunity – ensuring that everyone, irrespective of their age, race, sex, gender identity and orientation, or religion, has the chance to pursue and achieve their goals and aspirations. As the Manager of Public Affairs at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, she works to advocate on behalf of Ontario’s business community. Andrea believes that business is an invaluable partner in building a more inclusive, innovative, and prosperous society. In the past, Andrea has contributed to driving equity, diversity, and inclusion within the STEM sector, amplifying the lived experiences of equity deserving groups and providing organizations strategies to promote psychological safety, belonging, and overall wellbeing. Andrea holds a Master of Public Policy from the Munk School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and is a 2021-2022 DiverseCity Fellow. Andrea is an avid yogi and enjoys connecting with nature in her spare time.

12:00 PM       Lunch Break & Networking

1:30 PM         Session 3: Agri-Food Investment

Speaker Profiles:

Kapil Lakhotia: An economist by training, Kapil Lakhotia is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC). With over 15 years of experience developing jobs and investments in London, Kapil provides leadership on infrastructure improvements, workforce development initiatives, and entrepreneurial activities. 

Directing all activities within the LEDC across the business development, talent, marketing and communications departments, Kapil’s efforts have resulted in significant new investments and job creation in London through the attraction of international companies, including Maple Leaf Foods, Dr. Oetker, Aspire, Original Cakerie, and Natra.

With an Honours degree in Economics from Western University and a Masters of Economics from the University of Waterloo, Kapil has over two decades of educational, professional, and voluntary experience, and has taught economics at King’s University College.

Deeply involved in the London community, Kapil is the current chair of King’s University College Board of Directors, and serves on the Fanshawe College Board of Governors and MainStreet London Board. He actively participates in regional collaborations, such as Consider Canada City Alliance and the Ontario Food Cluster, and consults with provincial and federal governments on building sustainable, diverse and inclusive economies.

James Smith is an Aussie who came to Canada 30 years ago, with over 30 years of culinary, academic and leadership experience.

Chef James most recently helped open two brand new hospitality facilities at Fanshawe, and Centennial Colleges, while holding positions as a both a Chair, and Associate Dean of Culinary, Hospitality and Tourism schools. James' primary passion has always been about food, healthy, and clean eating, hospitality, and culinary arts, having trained as a chef, and worked at several Toronto landmark restaurants including - Scaramouche, Truffles at the Four Seasons, and Boba restaurants.  James also brings a wealth of experience in Food Media having worked on Food Network productions such as Christine Cushing Live, Martin Yan's Chinatowns, Cook Like a Chef Series, as well as working with Canadian Living Magazine as a writer, and recipe creator.

James began his academic teaching career at George Brown College as the inaugural Research and Development Chef at the Centre for Hospitality & Culinary Arts, developing recipes and products for Sobeys, as well as food entrepreneurs. James went on to teach in Continuing Education and Apprenticeship before he was hired as a full-time faculty member to teach Culinary, Hospitality business, and Nutrition courses in the School of Hospitality Tourism Management.  Once established as an exceptional professor, James moved on to help develop and launch an innovative program combining culinary management, food science, and nutrition where he fostered many partnerships, participated in many applied research projects and created many key partnerships that supported community and food industry needs, and connected graduates to industry.

James' personal education journey includes obtaining a Culinary Management Diploma as well as his Red Seal Chef Certification before he completed his MBA in Hospitality and Tourism from the University of Guelph.

James has many personal passions which include soccer, running, playing guitar, and entertaining, as well as a love for doing small home renovations, and home improvement projects, which fits perfectly well in his new role developing food processing spaces for small food processing companies in the Grove.

Stephanie Slaman has over 15 years of experience working in community economic development and business development roles in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors.  As Economic Development Officer with the City of Guelph, she leads economic development initiatives related to COVID-19 economic recovery, strategic planning, partnerships, and business retention and expansion programming. Stephanie has extensive industry experience in the agriculture, food and beverage, information technology and advanced manufacturing sectors driving business cluster growth and investment. Stephanie’s achievements in, and passion for, community economic development brings a collaborative approach to the development of support programing for Guelph businesses.

Stephanie is also part of the 3rd generation management team for the family-run agriculture production business John Slaman Greenhouses Ltd, producing beautiful quality cut flowers year-round in over 250,000 square feet of climate-controlled greenhouses located in Burford ON.

Stephanie is a certified Economic Development Professional and holds a Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development which inform her business advisory and support work.

Greg Merlihan is an Investment Attraction Consultant with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and has been with the public service since 2013. Greg works with both international and domestic food and beverage processors, to develop their Ontario-based investment plans and contract manufacturing opportunities. 

Greg’s work for Ontario draws on a private sector career of over twenty-five years in the processing and food industry in operations, sales & marketing and leadership roles. Greg holds a degree from the University of Waterloo.

Joe Dales, Co Founder & President, Agriculture & Food Innovation, RH Accelerator Inc.

Joe Dales has gained 35+ years of agriculture & food industry experience beginning his career in sales, marketing and management roles, working with leading life science companies such as Pfizer, Cyanamid Crop Protection (now BASF), First Line Seeds (now Monsanto), and Ciba Seeds (now Syngenta NK Seeds).

In 1997, he co-founded with his wife Sandra, one of the first ag business websites on the internet.  In 1998, he co-founded Ltd. which has grown to become a leading supplier of innovative solutions to farmers, agriculture and food companies around the global. In 2019, he co-founded RH Accelerator Inc., a privately held investment firm and leads their value adding investments in the agriculture and food innovation and start-up sector. Joe, RHA and 519 Growth Fund have made more than 25 investments and continues to support entrepreneurs with hands on, experienced business coaching and support.

Joe is passionate about bringing innovation to agriculture and helping farmers improve productivity.  He has been involved in successfully launching over 40 agri technological innovations ranging from products (Pursuit, Odyssey, seed varieties, biologicals - HiStick), start up companies like and and a range of software products and services.

Joe has gained extensive corporate governance board experience with several companies such as Canterra Seeds, Vive Crop Protection, Haggerty AgRobotics and Intelliculture. He actively volunteers his time to many community organizations such the Board of Governors for the Western Fair Association and was one of the founders of The Grove at Western Fair, several Fanshawe College Advisory Committees and has coached hockey, basketball and soccer teams over the year.

Joe graduated with an Honours BSc in Chemistry from Western University and a Masters in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University.  He lives in London, ON with his wife Sandra and two children, Michael and Rachel.

2:30 PM         Break 2

2:45 PM         Session 4: Building Your Local Supply Chain, Current and Future Trends of FDI

This session will provide you with information on how supply chains are changing, which key Ontario industries are most affected by these changes, how the Electric Vehicle supply chain differs to the traditional automotive supply chain, and the strategies Ontario economic developers can use to generate more interest in their community from investors across industries. You will also gain a better understanding of how the automotive industry in Windsor and Ingersoll have changed advancements in Electric Vehicles, how this has affected the workforce, and how these communities have responded to these changes.

Speaker Profiles:

Stephen MacKenzie is the President and CEO of Invest WindsorEssex responsible for advancing economic development to grow and sustain prosperity in Southwest Ontario, Canada. 

He has spent 27 years in economic development organizations in Connecticut, Nova Scotia and now Ontario. Prior to joining IWE, he served as the Executive Director of the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region and previously held the position of Senior Vice President of the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.

Before joining CERC, he was the Director Economic Development in Stamford Connecticut.

In Halifax, Stephen was a Senior Executive Major Projects for the Nova Scotia Department of Economic Development's Investment and Trade Division.

Previously he spent four years with the TD Bank, and later served in sales and marketing functions at different organizations in both Canada and Belgium.

Stephen has been a part-time lecturer at European University and Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

He received a bachelor's degree in Commerce from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, completed his MBA at European University in Belgium, and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute. He is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), and a Board member for the Canada-United States Business Association (CUSBA).

Curtis Tighe

joined the Town of Ingersoll in 2017 with a recent promotion to the Manager of Economic Development and Tourism. Recently named an EDCO Top Ten Economic Developer for 2022 Curtis focuses his attention on promoting and improving the business environment in Ingersoll to attract, retain and assist with expanding businesses. Currently the co-chair of the Ontario Manufacturing Communities Alliance and a Director of the Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance Curtis is passionate about attracting foreign direct investment to the Town of Ingersoll, its neighbours and partners.

Rob Creamer has been with Research FDI since 2015 and is currently Executive Vice-President, Business Intelligence. Rob has become a market research expert in his role and supplies our team with the most promising business prospects across a wide variety of industries. He is also responsible for creation of in-depth reports for clients on arrange of topics, including but not limited to regional and international bench marking studies, industry analyses, deep dives into company growth potential, analyses of FDI trends, supply chain studies, and SWOT analyses.

Rob plays a key role in business planning activities for the company, including capacity planning, KPI reporting and internal resource allocation to ensure optimal performance at Research FDI. Finally, Rob is responsible for the management of the company’s business intelligence platform FDI365, which provides human curated and predictive intelligence on growing companies to its loyal client base.

Rob has also been extensively involved in the development of business intelligence resources and company targeting strategies on countless investment attraction missions, working with arrange of esteemed clients including the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the Saxony Region in Germany, AICEP Portugal Global, the West Midlands Growth Company, Investissement Quebec, Invest Liverpool, the Columbus Region, and Toronto Global, among many others. Rob has a Master of Arts in Political Science from the esteemed McGill University and a professional background that includes policy analysis with international think tanks, service development in the charitable sector, teaching, and marketing. Currently based at the company’s headquarters in Montreal, Rob is a native of the United Kingdom and has lived and worked in Canada, Sweden, and Ghana.

4:00 PM         Question & Answer Period from the day 


Thank you for considering Delta Hotels by Marriott London Armouries for your accommodation in September. 

Please click on the below link to reserve your room within the Economic Developers Council of Ontario room block. 

Event Summary:

Economic Development Council of Ontario

Start Date: Monday, September 19, 2022

End Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Last Day to Book: Friday, August 26, 2022

Delta Hotels London Armouries for 145 CAD - 165 CAD per night

Book your group rate for Economic Developers Council of Ontario

Proudly presented by


*Registration Cancellation will receive a full refund less a $50.00 administration fee*

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software