Board Members

  • Dave Bylsma, Chair

    West Lincoln

    Board Chair Dave Bylsma was appointed to the NPCA in December 2018 and elected Chair in January, 2019. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from McMaster University.

    He is serving his first term on regional council in his capacity as mayor of West Lincoln. He was a councillor in West Lincoln for the 2014 to 2018 term. He has run in eight federal elections for the Christian Heritage Party since 1993.

    In 2000, he started Designer’s Doorstop Inc. which manufactures kitchen cabinet doors and currently employs four at his Vineland facility. He is a member of the West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Niagara Woodlot Association and the Canadian Christian Business Federation.

    Member Bylsma attends Presbyterian Church in Beamsville, where he plays the piano. He and wife Sylvia are raising seven children in St. Anns, with two married children residing nearby.

    On the NPCA Board, Chair Bylsma is on the Audit & Budget, CAO Selection, Governance, and Watershed Floodplain Committees, as well as serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • Diana Huson, Vice Chair


    Member Huson has been a life-long resident of Niagara and is serving her first term on regional council.

    She is currently the director of advancement and communications for Momentum Choir, a charitable organization that promotes and nurtures the musical talents of adults with disabilities. She also works at Brock University providing executive support, and financial, administrative and project management cross-functionally within the Registrar’s Office in addition to coordinating Brock’s graduation ceremonies.

    Member Huson is a graduate of Brock University having a master’s degree in Political Science with a specialization on Public Policy. Her academic research focused on Niagara’s economic development model and institutional change. She additionally holds a master’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization on Marketing. She has a passion for operations management, strategic planning and effective governance.

    Member Huson is an avid hiker, having a membership with the Bruce Trail and an avid interest in preserving and protecting Niagara’s environmental landscape. She is also passionate about entrepreneurship and supporting the growth and development of small to medium sized business in our community.

    She currently resides in the Town of Pelham, with her husband Todd and daughter Natasha. Her hobbies include graphic design, painting, and photography.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Huson is on the Audit & Budget, CAO Selection, Governance, and Watershed Floodplain Committees, as well as serves on the Source Protection Authority.


  • Bill Steele, Member

    Port Colborne

    Member Steele is serving his first term on regional council in his capacity as mayor of the City of Port Colborne. He was a Port Colborne Councillor for Ward One from 1996 to 2014. He has been in the insurance business since 1982 and is the owner of C. M. Steele Insurance Brokers Ltd., established in 1898.

    Member Steele has extensive community involvement including being President of Port Colborne Minor Hockey from 2002 to 2016, past
    president of Port Colborne Lions Club, Vice-president of Niagara South Insurance Brokers Association, past member of Niagara College Foundation, and Chair of Port Colborne Vale Health and Wellness Centre Building Committee, among others.

    He is a member of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario, the Niagara South Insurance Brokers Association, the Chamber of
    Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

    He is married to Debby and has three sons, Mitch, Mack and Riley.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Steele is Chair of the CAO Selection Committee and serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • Brad Clark, Member


    Member Clark has more than 20 years of private sector experience in executive management, public affairs, communications, government relations, and community engagement.

    His public affairs consulting firm, Brad Clark Associates, specializes in community relations. He was honoured to serve in Ontario’s 37th parliament, as MPP for the Riding of Stoney Creek, Minister of Labour, Minister of Transportation, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

    Currently, he is a three-term Hamilton City Councillor for Ward 9 - Stoney Creek. He serves on the boards of Directors for both the Hamilton Conservation Authority and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Clark is Chair of the Governance Committee and serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • Brenda Johnson, Member


    In 2007, while working for Environment Hamilton as a Project Manager, Member Johnson led her community to fight development that would greatly alter the natural environment of their neighbourhood. She was successful in this endeavour and others.

    In 2010, Member Johnson was elected as the City of Hamilton’s Ward 11 Councillor. She is presently serving her third term as the elected official for Glanbrook Ward 11 which is within the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority watershed.

    To better serve the residents of Glanbrook and due to Member Johnson’s past experience and interest in both the Agricultural and Rural Affairs as well as Conservation Authorities, Brenda requested the City of Hamilton’s appointment to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Board and has been a Board member since January 2019.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Johnson is Vice Chair of the CAO Selection Committee and serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • Brian Wright, Member


    Member Wright is currently serving on the NPCA Board of Directors, representing the City of Hamilton.

    He holds a B.A. Sc. in Civil Engineering from University of Waterloo, with a focus on water resources, as well as a M.B.A. from York University with a focus on general management.

    Member Wright has approximately 12 years of experience working at the NPCA, first as the drinking water source protection coordinator/project manager and eventually as manager of Technical Services. Working as a project engineer in the environmental consulting field with more than 15 years of experience, he focused on soil remediation, soil and groundwater studies, and environmental site assessments, among other areas. He has taught several technical courses at a community college.

    Member Wright enjoyed participating in the activities of the organization for many years, and as such, is looking forward to his continued contribution to the NPCA as a board member.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Wright is on the Audit and Budget Committee, serves on the Source Protection Authority, and is the NPCA liaison on the Source Protection Committee.

  • Bruce MacKenzie, Member


    Member MacKenzie is a resident of Grimsby and is a graduate of the University of Guelph, with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Fish and Wildlife Biology.

    His extensive career in conservation includes 39 years with the Hamilton Conservation Authority, managing Conservation Areas and the Fifty Point Marina, eventually stepping into a Director of Customer Services and Operations position.

    He is currently Commissioner of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, Director of the Hamilton Naturalists Club, Bird Study Group, and coordinator of the Grimsby Wetlands. He has previously served as President President of the Ontario Marina Operators Association, President of the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, and Founding Director of the Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch.

    Member MacKenzie has a high desire to give back to the community and foster a strong appreciation of the superb natural heritage of the Niagara Watershed. His conservation efforts span from combating invasive species to the five-year fight he and others undertook to have the former sewage lagoons converted into a natural wetland space. He firmly believes in the benefits of being active in nature for physical and mental wellbeing and would like to build on the immense benefits of providing and protecting natural areas close to where people live.

    He enjoys sharing his love and knowledge of nature with others, in addition to writing, hiking, kayaking, nature photography, biking and art.

    On the NPCA Board, Member MacKenzie serves on the Source Protection Authority.


  • Deborah Coon-Petersen

    West Lincoln

    On the NPCA Board, Member Coon-Petersen serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • Donna Cridland, Member


    Member Cridland is serving her first term as a Councillor in the Township of Wainfleet, and first term on NPCA board.

    She brings nearly 30 years of private business experience to her new public sector roles. As a professional in the banking industry, her experience as a front-line Manager prepared her for specialized roles in headquarters, such as risk, operations and project management.

    In addition to her strategic banking perspective, Member Cridland rounds out her skills with small business success as an owner and partner, building a fly-in fishing lodge business in remote Northern Ontario.

    Her environmental lens is grounded in her previous dedication to Izaak Walton Fly Fishing club conservation on the Credit River system and more recently as one of the early executives on the Niagara Chapter of Trout Unlimited. When you meet Donna, conversations and actions quickly move to water and food… or conservation and farming.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Cridland serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • Ed Smith, Member

    St. Catharines

    Member Smith was born and raised in St. Catharines. He served Canada in many regions of the world before retiring in 2011 after 25 years of service at the rank of Major.

    He has been active in the community in advocating transparency, accountability and integrity as foundational to good governance and the keys to building trust between the public and their elected officials. He was recommended to be a NPCA Board Member by the City of St. Catharines and was approved by the Region of Niagara to service on the NPCA Board commencing in June 2019.

    Member Smith is the founder of an international, non-government organization (International Children’s Awareness) and has been on that Board for 25 years. He volunteers his time working both locally and internationally in different African nations.

    He and his wife Margaret live in Port Dalhousie and have three children who live across Canada.

    As NPCA Board Member, Smith serves on the Source Protection Authority.


  • Gary Zalepa, Member


    Member Zalepa is serving his first term on regional council. He served six years as councillor from 2008 to 2014 for the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, which included being chairperson of Community and Development Services, chairperson of Urban Design Committee, member of Municipal Heritage Committee, member of Committee of Adjustment and chairperson of Corporate Services.

    As an active community member, he is a volunteer for 809 Network Squadron Royal Canadian Air Cadets as chairperson of the squadron
    sponsoring committee, a Board member for Riverbrink Art Museum in Queenston, minor hockey as coach and referee, and member of the Niagara Association of Realtors, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association and Canadian Professional Sales Association, among others.

    Member Zalepa was owner of Real Estate Brokerage for 25 years and is currently the director of strategic growth for Century 21 Canada
    corporate head office. He was past president of the Niagara Association of Realtors, past chairperson of the Ontario Real Estate Association Government Relations Committee and past chairperson of Canadian Real Estate Association MLS Technology Council.

    He is a member of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club and has an interest in keelboat sailing and racing.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Zalepa is Chair of the Audit & Budget Committee and serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • Jack Hellinga, Member

    City of Portcolborne

    Member Hellinga is a resident of the City of Port Colborne. He received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineer from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, obtained a diploma in Drainage Engineering from Niagara College, and a Certificate in Computer Information Processing, and additional course completions in advanced mathematics and calculus.

    He is a retired Senior Project Manager, Office Manager and Technical Lead from CH2M Hill Canada (now Jacobs), where he continued gaining expertise and responsibilities in Civil Engineering, primarily in the Drainage Engineering discipline. He was employed in the Consulting Engineering field for 40 years, with his areas of practice being in government, municipal and industrial water resources engineering, and areas of expertise being water conveyance. Some projects he worked on included stream and embankment stabilization, drainage outlets, water intakes, groundwater control, stormwater control, contamination containment and site rehabilitation.

    Member Hellinga has previously sat on the Niagara College Civil Technician Program Advisory Committee and coached the McMaster University Civil Engineering student design competition team. He is a member of the Region of Niagara Ecological and Environmental Advisory Committee and of the Port Colborne Environment Advisory Committee, including role of Vice-Chair and Chair.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Hellinga serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • James Stewart Beattie, Member


    Member Beattie has served on the NPCA Board of Directors, as a citizen representative for the City of Hamilton, since 2011.

    He has more than 20 years of experience as an operations manager, 39 years in integrated steel plant maintenance, and 42 years as a community volunteer, school trustee, and small business owner.

    Member Beattie resides in Winona and has held the titles of Board Chair, Board Member, and President for the Winona Peach Festival since
    1975. He has been married to Georgina for 48 years, with 4 children and 8 grandchildren.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Beattie is on the CAO Selection, Audit & Budget, and Watershed Floodplain Committees and serves on the Source Protection Authority.


  • John Ingrao, Member


    Member Ingrao is a resident of the City of Welland. He is a Licensed Paralegal with the Law Society of Ontario and has a Bachelor of Health Sciences from Cape Breton University.

    He currently sits as the appointed Chair and Member of the City of Welland Property Standards Appeal Tribunal Committee, the Dog/Animal Appeal Tribunal Committee, and presides, facilitates, and adjudicates appeal matters pursuant to various bylaws and compliance with Administrative Orders.

    Member Ingrao has extensive experiences in the law sectors, as he is retired from Manager of Legal Activity and Prosecutor for the Department of Health, Environmental Health Division, Regional Municipality of Durham.

    He is committed to ensuring that the Niagara Peninsula, with its rich Indigenous history; National history; the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls, the Welland Ship canal system, and other natural environmental wonders, are safe, protected, productive and reserved for future generations to come.

    He and his spouse Julie have 4 children and 9 grandchildren, all committed to supporting education, the arts, sports and social justice for all.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Ingrao is on the Governance and Watershed Floodplain Committees and serves on the Source Protection Authority.


  • John Metcalfe, Member

    Haldimand County

    Member Metcalfe is serving his first term on the NPCA Board of Directors representing Haldimand County, Ward 2.

    At the County, Member Metcalfe serves as Chair, Engineering & Capital Works, Vice Chair, Corporate & Social Services, Member of the Agricultural Advisory Committee, Court of Revision, and Heritage Haldimand.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Metcalfe is Vice Chair of the Audit & Budget Committee and serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • Ken Kawall, Member


    Member Kawall is a resident of the Town of Lincoln. He is a Corporate Director, Chartered Professional Accountant and a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors with public and private sector experience in finance, technology, operations and change management. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo and a Masters in Business Administration from Western University.

    He is a member of the Board of Directors, Treasurer and Chair of the Finance and Technology Committee of the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority. Ken is also a member of the Board of Directors, past Treasurer and past Chair of the Resources and Audit Committee of the Niagara Health System.

    Since the early 2000s, Member Kawall has been involved with local environmental groups focused on increasing environmental knowledge, protecting the environment, conservation and environmental advocacy.

    Prior to retiring, he held Executive positions with several private sector corporations as well as Assistant Deputy Minister with Ontario’s Ministries of Transportation and Labour. He has also served on a variety of community organizations including Ontariogreen Conservation Association, Oakville Arts Council and the Trafalgar Township Historical Society.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Kawall serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • Leah Feor, Member

    Town of Fort Erie

    Member Feor is a resident of Fort Erie, and possesses an undergraduate degree in Commerce, with specialization in Accounting, from the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.

    She also has a graduate certificate in Environmental Management and Assessment from Niagara College and is completing a Master’s of Environment and Business (MEB) from University of Waterloo.

    Member Feor has worked as a financial auditor and a strategy consultant in the field of sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) and currently teaches at Niagara College, delivering courses in accounting, entrepreneurship, and ethics.

    She believes that a healthy ecosystem is the most valuable asset to improved human well-being and is critical to the integrity of our Niagara Peninsula watershed.

    She is a daughter, sister, and an aunt with deep roots in Niagara, and her hobbies include biking, gardening, and traveling.

    As NPCA Board Member, Feor serves on the Source Protection Authority.


  • Malcolm Woodhouse, Member


    Member Woodhouse is a resident of the City of Thorold. He is a veteran at facilities management, project management, and government relations. With more than 40 years experience as either an elected official, government appointee, and public servant, he provides unique insight into the inner workings of joining businesses and government to reach common objectives.

    Member Woodhouse began his community service as a volunteer firefighter and EMS ambulance operator with the City of Thorold. As a member of the Protection Hose Company, he was elected president and received a Honourary Life Membership and has stayed actively involved as a founding Alumni Board member.

    He first held elected office as a Thorold Councillor in 1979 and has been elected numerous times as a Hydro Commissioner, City Councillor, Regional Councillor, and Mayor representing the City of Thorold.

    A Queens Jubilee medal recipient, Member Woodhouse has always prided himself on getting to know the key players of any project and having the vision to guide and complete projects for the betterment of the City and Region.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Woodhouse serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • Mickey DiFruscio, Honorary Member

    Honorary Member DiFruscio has had a lifelong love of nature as an avid fisherman and hunter. He began his tenure as a Board Member of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in 1993.

    He has attended countless community events and public meetings in his 24 years as an ambassador for conservation work.

    When Mickey learned of the plight of Monarch butterflies and other pollinators, he went a step further, leading by example, rolling up his sleeves, and getting his hands dirty to grow his famous milkweed plants every year in his home greenhouse. He donates these plants, the host plant for Monarch butterflies, to restoration projects undertaken by the NPCA throughout the watershed.

    The Mickey DiFruscio and Family Legacy Project was established to honour Mickey and his family for their tireless work by establishing a series of pollinator gardens in conservation Areas and other public lands, that will stand in tribute to Mickey and NPCA’s shared goal of further restoration throughout the Niagara Peninsula Watershed.

  • Rob Shirton, Member

    Haldimand County

    Member Shirton is serving his second term on the NPCA Board.

    At the County, he is the Chair, Public Meeting for Planning Applications, Vice Chair, Engineering and Capital Works, Business Development and Planning Advisory Committee, Court of Revision, Haldimand County Public Library Board and the Museums Advisory Board.

    On the NPCA Board, Councillor Shirton is on the Governance Committee and serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • Robert Foster, Member


    Member Foster was first elected to Lincoln town council in January of 2001 and served continuously representing Ward 1. He was elected to regional council in 2018 and is serving his first term as a regional councillor.

    At Town of Lincoln, Member Foster held many roles including deputy mayor (seven years) and chair of planning and development (nine years). He also chaired the Corporate Priorities / Business Planning Committee for a total of eight years, a position which included chairing the budget process for the Town of Lincoln.

    Member Foster has an extensive background in information technology. He retired as Senior Manager at LifeLabs, a Canadian-owned company that provides healthcare services across Canada.

    His education background includes a BA in political science from McMaster University, a master’s degree in library and information sciences from Western University, and he is currently studying towards a master’s degree in public administration from Western University. Rob has also achieved his Project Management Professional designation.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Foster is Vice-Chair of the Governance Committee, sits on the Audit & Budget Committee and serves on the Source Protection Authority.

  • Rick Brady, Member

    Niagara Falls

    Member Rick Brady is a resident of the City of Niagara Falls, and is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario, possessing a Bachelor of Arts. Additionally, he has taken Management courses from the IVEY Institute.

    He is a Professional Planner and has worked in both the private and public sectors, and as a Full-Time Professor at Niagara College.

    Member Brady is eager to share his skills and knowledge with the Board of Directors and hopes his experience will be helpful in leading the NPCA on a path forward.

    He is the past President of the Niagara Falls Nature Club, past Chairman of the Niagara Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, past member of the Ecological and Environmental Advisory Committee at Region of Niagara, and past President of the Niagara Falls Rotary Club.

    On the NPCA Board, Member Brady is on the CAO Selection and Watershed Floodplain Committees, and serves on the Source Protection Authority.