Polytechnics Canada's Annual Conference 2015

Thank you for attending our event!
Event Date 
May 6, 2015
Event Address 
Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Regina, SK
Sponsored by 
Cisco Systems Canada

Our conversations focused on the unique ways that Canada's polytechnics meet the needs of the know-how economy in the 21st century.


  • Building Know-How! A panel of industry representatives highlighted Saskatchewan Polytechnic's contributions to skills and innovation, demonstrated best practices in polytechnic industrial engagement.
  • President, International of Philadelphia-based CDI Corporation, David Arkless, spoke to global demand for market-relevant education and training.
  • One of Canada's leading commentators on trends in public opinion and politics, Bruce Anderson, Founding Partner, i2 Ideas and Issues Advertising, set the political landscape ahead of this year's federal election.

May 5 evening: Informal reception for those who have arrived prior to our member group meetings on May 6.
May 6 day: Internal working group meetings (Polytechnics Canada's members only)
May 6 evening:  Opening formal dinner reception
May 7: Public day, closing after lunch

Last updated May 21, 2015

Contact: events@polytechnicscanada.ca

Polytechnics Canada’s Annual Conference 2015
Polytechnics Know How!
Regina, Saskatchewan


Tuesday, May 5, 5:00 – 9:00 PM

Location: Oak Room, Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan, 2125 Victoria Avenue
Informal reception for those who have arrived prior to our member group meetings on May 6. 

Wednesday, May 6, Morning, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Location: Parkway Building, 4635 Wascana Parkway, Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Working Group meetings for members of Polytechnics Canada only: 

  • Polytechnics Canada Board of Directors
  • Institutional Research Planning Officers
  • Applied Research
  • Vice Presidents 

Working group members have received separate emails with more details. 

Wednesday, May 6, Evening, 5:30 PM 

Location: Salon B and C, Queensbury Centre, 1700 Elphinstone Street

5:00 PMShuttle bus departs Hotel Sask for Queensbury Centre 
5:30 PMOpening reception
6:30 PMOpening Dinner
Speeches by:
Minister Kevin Doherty, Minister of Advanced Education, Saskatchewan Government
Mike McCullough, Former CFL player, Saskatchewan Roughriders
Elysia Vandenhurk, Graduate, Saskatchewan Polytechnic
8:45 PMShuttle bus departs Queensbury Centre for Hotel Sask
9:00 PMShuttle bus departs Queensbury Centre for Hotel Sask

Thursday, May 7, 7:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Location: Regency Ballroom, Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan, 2125 Victoria Avenue

7:00 AMRegistration opens
7:30 AMBreakfast
8:00 AMWelcome and opening remarks
Nobina Robinson, CEO, Polytechnics Canada
8:15 AMFederal Election 2015 Outlook
Bruce Anderson, Founding Partner, i2 Ideas and Issues Advertising
9:30 AMCoffee break
10:00 AMGlobal Demand for market-relevant education and training
David Arkless, President, International, CDI Corporation
11:30 AM

Building Know-How! Panel of Industry Sector Experts and Lunch

Dr. Larry Rosia, President & CEO, Saskatchewan Polytechnic


  • Cheryl Knight, President, Cheryl Knight & Associates Ltd., Previously Executive Director & CEO, Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada
  • Derek Lothian, Vice President, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters
  • Pamela Schwann, Executive Director, Saskatchewan Mining Association
12:30 PMLunch and Closing Remarks
Nobina Robinson, CEO, Polytechnics Canada
Anne Sado, President, George Brown College and Chair, Polytechnics Canada
1:30 PM

Conference ends

Taxis will be available to take guests to the airport.

*All times are subject to change*

Bruce Anderson

Bruce Anderson
Chairman, Abacus Data
Founding Partner, i2 Ideas and Issue Advertising

Bruce Anderson is one of Canada's most respected public opinion researchers and strategic communications advisors.  In 1980, he was appointed Special Assistant to the Federal Minister Responsible for Government Communications.  In 1983, he joined Decima Research, and was appointed President of Decima in 1989, at the age of 32.

Mr. Anderson left to become a founding partner of the Earnscliffe Strategy Group and helped lead that highly regarded company for 15 years.

He rejoined Decima as CEO in 2004, as and led the company for another 4 years of growth, during which it was twice named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies.   After completing a transaction with Harris Interactive in 2008, Mr. Anderson opened his own research boutique.  In 2013 he became Chairman of Abacus Data, one of Canada’s fastest growing young research companies.

In 2012, he helped found a new advertising boutique, i2 Ideas and Issues Advertising, which blends creative and media planning skills to build winning public affairs campaigns. The firm has become a leader in its market, serving a wide range of industries including mining, oil and gas, pipelines, telecom, banking, defense and security and urban transit.

Mr. Anderson advises many blue-chip corporate clients and industry associations and has done years of in-depth polling on politics and public policy.  He has served as a top advisor for several political leaders in the Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties.

He is one of Canada’s leading commentators on public opinion and political affairs, a regular member of the CBC’s popular At Issue panel and writes a weekly online column for the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper.

David Arkless

David Arkless
President, International CDI Corporation

David Arkless is President, International of the Philadelphia based CDI Corporation.  David took up this appointment in October 2014.  He is also the CEO and Founder of ArkLight Consulting Ltd.  Established in early 2013, it follows nearly 25 years within ManpowerGroup where he held office as President of Global Corporate and Government Affairs

David is a world-renowned expert on labour market trends and has widespread experience of helping countries to develop their labor market strategies.  As well as being a regular advisor to the US Department of State, and various EU departments, he regularly works with the ILO and various offices within the United Nations.

David also holds office as a Global Board Member of Education for Employment Foundation in the US, Development Board Member of the Centre for Social Justice and Board Member of the Arab International Women’s Forum, both in the UK.

David works tirelessly on humanitarian issues where he was the former president of the End Human Trafficking Now organisation and is currently a member of the global Business Coalition Against Trafficking (gBCAT). 

David is currently a Vice President of the China International Council for the Promotion of Multinational Corporations (CICPMC) in Beijing.

In 2014, David also joined the Board of the Durham University Business School and has created an ArkLight Lecture Series for students.

Cheryl Knight

Cheryl Knight
Cheryl Knight & Associates Ltd.

Cheryl Knight was the Executive Director and CEO of the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada (the Council) since its inception in 2001 until 2013. She has recently begun her independent consulting practice specializing in workforce development strategies, labour market intelligence and advisory services for leaders and executives. She has more than 30 years of business and human resources experience in the petroleum, financial, transportation and post-secondary education sectors. She is also a dynamic and well-respected speaker on human resource and labour market issues facing the petroleum industry. Cheryl Knight holds a Bachelor of Psychology from the University of Calgary and a Masters in Education in Counseling from the University of Lethbridge.

Nobina Robinson

CEO, Polytechnics Canada

Nobina Robinson was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnics Canada in May 2009. She held progressive appointments in the federal government and non-profit sectors since 1990.

Mrs. Robinson began her public service career in 1990 when she joined the Treasury Board Secretariat as a management trainee. Two years later, she became a Foreign Service Officer and was posted as a political officer to the Canadian Embassy in Havana from 1994 to 1997.  From 1998 to 2002, Mrs. Robinson led FOCAL, a policy institute on Canada’s relations with the Americas.

Before joining Polytechnics Canada, Mrs. Robinson was the Ottawa-based Senior Government Relations Advisor for Seneca College, responsible for federal advocacy for one of Canada's largest colleges.

Mrs. Robinson has a B.A. from Amherst College, an M.A. from Oxford University (Commonwealth Scholar 1985-1988) and has pursued post-graduate studies at Yale University.

Mrs. Robinson served as a member of the Expert Panel on the Review of Federal Support to Research and Development that completed its work in October 2011.

In her capacity as CEO of Polytechnics Canada, Mrs. Robinson supports a number of other like-minded groups, including the Business Higher Education Roundtable, the Human Resources Committee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the C.D. Howe Institute and is a Champion member of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum.

Mrs. Robinson has previously served as a Board Member of the Rideau Club of Ottawa. 


Pam Schwann

Pam Schwann
Executive Director, Saskatchewan Mining Association

Pam Schwann is the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA), an industry-funded organization, whose members are global leaders in safely and responsibly exploring for and mining a diversity of commodities in the province, including potash, uranium, coal and gold.

Pam attained a Bachelor of Science, Honours – Geology from the University of Regina and a Master of Science from Carleton University in Ottawa.  She is a registered member of APEGS.  Prior to joining the SMA, Pam held progressively senior positions in the Government of Saskatchewan culminating in Director of Mines, Industry and Resources. Pam enjoyed 10 years working in northern Saskatchewan as Resident Geologist and as the initial Director, Northern Mines Monitoring Secretariat. She was also a sessional lecturer in geology for the University of Regina at NORTEP.

Pam currently serves as Vice-Chair on the Board of Saskatchewan Polytechnic, and is also on the Board of Western Canada Testing Inc. (WESTEST).  She was one of the founding Co-Chairs of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) Minerals Session in 2010, a position she continued until 2014.

Elysia Vandenhurk

Elysia Vandenhurk
Chief Operating Officer, Three Farmers

Elysia Vandenhurk is COO and part owner of Three Farmers and also a certified Red Seal Chef. She joined her sister at Three Farmers Products after completing the culinary arts program at SIAST and working under many popular chefs including celebrity chef Susur Lee, in Toronto. Elysia’s skills in the kitchen have proven to be invaluable at Three Farmers as they continue to expand their line of natural, healthy foods and sell in stores from coast to coast.​