Chuck Davidson has been the CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce since 2013, prior to that spending nine years as Vice President of Policy at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. Through the Chamber network, he has been involved in policy development for almost 20 years.
Chuck brings a wide variety of experience with him to his position as Co-Chair of the RMED Board, having worked in roles ranging from radio announcer/reporter with 680-CJOB to working in an underground mine for two years in his hometown of Snow Lake. This array of experiences, coupled with his extensive knowledge and history of economic development in Manitoba ensure the depth of experiences necessary to lead the RMED board.
Chuck enjoys travelling across Manitoba to see the unique destinations that only this province can offer, grateful that even places as unique as Churchill are within a two-hour flight.
Chuck wants RMED to become a strong organization that is a key driver for economic development in rural Manitoba, helping to create strong businesses and even stronger communities.
Joe co-chaired a consultation process that led to the province approving the establishment of RMED and was appointed as co-chair of the first Board of Directors. In the first year, Joe was involved in establishing bylaws and policies as well as being part of the hiring process of the first CEO of the corporation.
Joe enjoys exploring the province’s various cycling and hiking trails, and believes the four distinct seasons of weather in Manitoba makes the activities in our province varied and unique compared to many other places in the world.
Joe wants to see RMED grow to be a fully operational, nimble and helpful organization that brings a coordinated rural economic development strategy to the communities of rural Manitoba. He also wants RMED to be able to help communities and businesses get a voice and assistance so that they can accomplish their goals quickly, which will in turn help municipalities become more vibrant and sustainable communities into the future.
Gail Carswell is a former business owner in the healthcare sector. Her 30+ year history of working on the business side of healthcare includes 5 years with an international pharmaceutical company. Gail began her journey as a start-up entrepreneur, growing into a medium-sized business owner. As such Gail has developed expertise in marketing, operations, human resources, transportation logistics and growth management.
Now retired, Gail devotes her time to boards such as RMED, volunteering and taking opportunities to share her expertise with upcoming entrepreneurs. She enjoys the unique, all-encompassing landscapes in Manitoba, offering residents access to almost every type of natural terrain that can be found on Earth (as well as every type of temperature and weather report!), and enjoys the strong bond of community that we share as Manitobans.
When she first started out as a woman entrepreneur 30-years-ago, Gail had trouble in securing financing and support from existing government institutions and Economic Development organizations. Her hope for RMED is to find ways to nurture the micro-businesses and entrepreneurs in rural Manitoba and help them grow into driving forces of the local economy, while also helping Manitoba capitalize on opportunities to draw medium and large businesses into the province.
Emelio Brown is a young entrepreneur in the Information Technology industry and is CEO of both IntriTech Digital Marketing and Juggernaut Computers, both Brandon-based companies that serve clients across Canada.
Emelio’s experience in helping clients transition their business models to include technology has given him unique insight into the contributions that tech makes to economic development. He knows first-hand how taking advantage of available technology can impact a business’s resilience.
Emelio is also the President of the Westman Jamaican Community (WJC) in Brandon, MB. WJC operates as a non-profit organization, aimed at helping newcomers settle and transition to life here in Canada.
The summer lake culture and endless outdoor activities are Emelio’s favourite part of Manitoban life, and he can often be found spending summer days hiking or biking the Riding Mountain or Brandon Hills trails.
Emelio hopes to help guide RMED to being able to make a difference in, and be a part of, improving the economy in our rural communities.
Ian Cramer is a graduate of the Faculty of Commerce at the University of Manitoba where he majored in Finance, an education he leveraged into a long career of Economic Development in the province. From 1997-2004, Ian was the Director of Economic Development for the Southeast Resource Development Council (SERDC) and also General Manager of the Southeast Community Futures Development Corporation, during which time he lead the development of the first 100% First Nation-owned South Beach Casino & Resort, located on the Brokenhead First Nation. From there, Ian moved on to a role as the Senior Business Advisor for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), where he worked directly on Economic Development issues with two different Grand Chiefs, working to negotiate framework for future First Nation developments and leading the creation of an economic development fund for First Nation business, the first of its kind in Canada.
Ian has also served as the CEO of the First People Economic Growth Fund Inc., and in August 2021 became the CEO of the Southern Chief’s Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC), an organization that focuses on First Nation business development.
With many years of direct, hands-on experience with business ventures in Manitoba, Ian Cramer is prepared to help lead RMED to being an organization capable of benefitting all economic development ventures in our province.
Marilyn Crewe’s diverse work experience includes food service management, and office and marketing management for a humanitarian aid organization providing support to people living in the former Soviet Union, before setting her sights on Economic Development 15-years-ago – as the marketing/EDO/interim general manager for Elgin Community Futures. She now serves as EDO for the town of Neepawa.
Marilyn has experience in most aspects of economic development, including business development, investment attraction, community development, entrepreneurship, tourism, program development and community marketing. This experience, paired with her six years of experience on the Board of the Economic Developers Association of Manitoba (EDAM) has equipped her with the tools needed to help steer RMED towards success in rural Manitoba.
Marilyn enjoys spending time in the beautiful Manitoban outdoors, primarily the HyLife Back Forty Multi-use Trail Park in Neepawa, as well as the other gorgeous hiking and riding trails around the province.
Marilyn wants to see RMED become fully operational in supporting the spectrum of needs in rural communities with a purposeful blend of goals, funding, staffing and governance.
Louis Allain was the chair of a Community Development Corporation in St. Laurent, a Metis community on Lake Manitoba, from 1996-2006, pivoting in 2007 to become the Executive Director of the Economic Development Council for Bilingual Municipalities (CDEM).
During his time with CDEM, Louis also helped to establish a similar structure for local economic development in Mali and Burkina-Faso in Western Africa. Prior to this, Louis was a teacher for nine years and school principal for 16 years, during which time he also helped found two new schools in the Francophone School Division.
When he does get free time to relax, Louis enjoys commercial ice fishing on Lake Manitoba with Metis fishermen, and credits Manitoba’s joie de vivre, or exuberant enjoyment of life, with what makes this province a good place to live and raise a family. Louis truly believes Manitoba is a land of opportunity for all.
Louis wants to help RMED become a sound and sustainable element of human infrastructure for rural economic development that will help support existing organizations and create more opportunities for economic growth in our rural communities.
Tanis Thomas is currently the President of the Pinawa Chamber of Commerce and a very active Board Member of the Pinawa Economic (Community) Development Corporation, roles she has taken on after years of success in the public and private sectors across the spectrum of industries including Agriculture, Information & Communication Technology, Education, and Government.
Upon turning her focus towards her young family, Tanis has become more involved in her artistic and entrepreneurial pursuits, including founding her own business, while also focusing on Arts and Tourism in rural Manitoba and engaging in culturally relevant research related to her artwork and work in Indigenous communities. Having lived and worked in a diverse group of remote and rural communities in Canada, Tanis has first-hand experience and knowledge on the impacts of short-term planning and the challenges it can present to people, communities, and the local economy.
Tanis’ favourite recreational activity is taking in local nature through walking, and she says Manitoba has some of the most beautiful places to hike and walk in all of Canada. Living on the edge of the Canadian shield, she is able to enjoy a connection to the land and water that she loves – a connection that encouraged her to return to Manitoba to start her family.
Tanis is pleased to be able to share her perspective as an Indigenous woman entrepreneur as a representative of the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce as it relates to the goals of RMED