SLEP organization rolls out Strategic Plan at AGM

New board chair, vice chair are appointed as highlights of year past are reviewed

Stephen Thompson, CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership, is pictured at the organization's AGM that took place on Tuesday.

The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership introduced its Strategic Plan and approved new appointments to its board of directors at the organization’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, June 26.

In front of 60 members of the business community at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park, retiring SLEP Chair Bruce Hein announced the appointment of Alex Palimaka as the organization’s chair and Katherine Walker as the vice-chair.

Palimaka began his term as chair by thanking the two retiring board members, Bruce Hein and Joel Regenstreif, for their contributions and commitments to the continued prosperity of Sarnia-Lambton.

“I am truly excited to step in as the chair of SLEP during this time of transition,” said Palimaka. “We have a new Strategic Plan that was developed with significant input from the community, and we have a relatively new CEO who is ready to lead his team staff as they coordinate what we expect to be community-wide engagement on economic development.”

Also announced alongside the appointments of Palimaka and Walker were new board members Dr. John O’Mahony and Rick Perdeaux.

O’Mahony, a medical doctor in Sarnia, joins the SLEP board as the first health care representative to sit on the board. “We look forward to Dr. O’Mahony’s guidance because we recognize that health care is not only an infrastructure issue in a community with an aging population, but also that health care will continue to be a major economic driver,” said Palimaka.

Perdeaux, owner of Toolrite Engineering, has been actively engaged with SLEP over the years and is currently the chair of the Sarnia-Lambton Industrial Alliance. “We will turn to Rick for his profound understanding of the needs within Chemical Valley and the emerging Bio-Industry,” said Palimaka.

The highlight of the AGM was the unveiling of the SLEP Strategic Plan by CEO Stephen Thompson. The areas of growth identified in the Strategic Plan were described in the plan as five pillars – People, Progress, Perception, Place, and Participation. The Strategic Plan was adopted by the board of directors on April 24, 2018, and will guide SLEP’s activities for the next five years, extending into 2023. The Strategic Plan was summarized by Thompson as being focused on strategic population growth, business and investment growth, managing public perceptions of living and working in the Sarnia-Lambton area, assisting with the stewardship of existing infrastructure, and engaging local partners and stakeholders in collaborative economic development.

“We are confident in our strategies to create tangible results in the economic development of the Sarnia-Lambton area because the strategies were developed in consultation with the community,” Thompson said of the Strategic Plan.

“Now that we have gathered the input and the board of directors have synthesized the results into a meaningful plan, my team and I are excited to chart a course to deliver on the ambitious goals in the plan,” added Thompson.

To help all the member communities within the County of Lambton to grow, SLEP officials say the organization is dedicated to working closely with local municipalities through regular meetings. Aiding in this effort of collaboration with local municipalities is the SLEP business outreach initiative, which will be a coordinated approach to contacting between 130 and 200 businesses throughout the County for one-on-one consultations with staff members.

These consultations can be arranged by a local business by contacting Chantelle Core at chantelle@sarnialambton.on.ca or by calling (519) 332-1820.

SLEP Board Members include:

Ex officio Directors

Bill Weber, Warden, County of Lambton – Director (Warden – Automatic)

Ron Van Horne, CAO, County of Lambton – Secretary/Treasurer (CAO – Automatic)

Mike Bradley, Mayor, City of Sarnia – Director (Sarnia Mayor – Automatic)

Margaret Misek-Evans, CAO, City of Sarnia – Director (Sarnia CAO – Automatic)

Judith Morris, President, Lambton College – Director (College – Automatic)

Don Anderson, General Manager, Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation – Director

Shirley de Silva, President, Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce – Director (Chamber – Automatic)

Jason McMichael, President, Sarnia & District Labour Council

Director First Nation – Director

Community Directors

Peter Gilliland, Councillor, Township of St. Clair – Director (South)

Todd Case, Mayor, Township of Warwick – Director (Northwest)

Kevin Marriott, Mayor, Township of Enniskillen – Director (Central)

Bev MacDougall, Councillor, County of Lambton & City of Sarnia – Director (North)

Business Directors

Alex Palimaka, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Bluewater Power – Chair

Katherine Walker, President, IWA Industrial Web Apps – Vice-Chair

Jane Baker, Re/Max Sarnia Realty Inc. – Director

Jerry Beernink, President/Owner, Arkona Machine Shop Ltd/AARO Consulting – Director

Chad Anderson, Owner, Anderson Agronomy Services and Moregrove Farms – Director

John O’Mahony – Family Doctor, healthcare business owner – Director

Rick Perdeaux – Owner, Toolrite Engineering – Director

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