Climate Change and Transportation in the Canadian Shield
Free Public Conference

Saturday, March 2, 2019

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Robert B. Schultz Theatre, St. John's College, U of M

*Free parking is available in Lot Q.

Conference Agenda


Speaker Biographies

About the Conference

Climate change is affecting the existing road and rail infrastructure in the Canadian Shield. Melting permafrost and unusual storms have caused infrastructure gaps to emerge, and exposed the networks to greater maintenance. New methods and materials are being tested to stabilize these structures, but this does not lower the costs. Gravel roads in the Canadian Shield average about $3 million per kilometer to build.

Since its inception in 1984, the Transport Institute has been involved in northern transportation studies. The impact of climate change has been addressed for all modes of transport. The Associates of the Transport Institute have established research records in sustainable transport, northern transport and climate change. In addition, the CN Chair for Sustainable Transport is linked to the Institute.

The evidence of climate change points to a growing threat for the people living in remote northern communities. As climate variability grows stronger, the seasonal road transportation systems in the North are becoming less reliable. Half the useful season of the Winter Road network has been lost since 1996, and is predicted to shrink shorter. Even in weak El Nino years, like 2019, the ability of ice road truckers to reach remote communities becomes more uncertain.

This conference has broad public interest and many stakeholders. The free conference will be open to the general public and anyone concerned about the future of northern transport.

If you have questions about the conference, please contact Dr. Barry E. Prentice.

Speaker Biographies 


Marolo Alfaro

Marolo Alfaro is a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Manitoba. He obtained his PhD from Saga University in Japan, and received postdoctoral fellowships from the Royal Military College of Canada and the University of Calgary.

Dr. Alfaro’s research interests include geosynthetics for civil engineering applications, ground improvement techniques, hydroelectric earth dams, road embankments on soft foundations, stabilization of natural and engineered slopes, northern infrastructure impacted by climate change, and cold regions engineering. He has published widely in technical journals and in conference proceedings. He has co-authored a book and published two book chapters.

Dr. Alfaro served as vice-president for Canada of the North American Geosynthetics Society, executive board member of the Canadian Geotechnical Society, Canadian representative to the committee on ground improvement of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, and associate head of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Manitoba.


Robert Astwood 

Robert Astwood, vice president of flight operations for Calm Air, has been flying in northern Manitoba and Nunavut for over 25 years. Astwood has been with Calm Air for 21 years, and is currently the Transport Canada approved operations manager. Astwood is responsible for the oversight of all flight operations, ensuring the safe operations and activities authorized under the company Air Operator Certificate. Prior to his current role, Astwood has held the positions of director of flight operations, chief pilot, check pilot, training captain and captain. Prior to joining Calm Air, Astwood learned to fly and studied aviation at the University of North Dakota and worked for several Air Ambulance companies in Northern Manitoba. 



Gary Bell

Gary Bell is the president and CEO of Calm Air since 2013. Prior to joining Calm Air in 2011, Gary was VP of corporate development at Exchange Income Corporation, the parent company of Calm Air. Prior to joining Exchange Income Corporation, he held roles as manager of merchant banking at RoyNat Capital and commercial debt underwriter at TD Commercial Bank.

Gary is also a board member of the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada, as well as a board member on several Winnipeg Baseball Associations. He coaches his 11-year-old son at both baseball and hockey and is proud to be married to his wife of 18 years, Michelle.


Danny Blair

Danny Blair is the co-director of the Prairie Climate Centre at the University of Winnipeg. He is also a professor in the Department of Geography, where he has been working since 1987. At the Prairie Climate Centre he leads the team that produces the high quality data products and visualizations of climate projections for in the Climate Atlas of Canada.

From 2011 to 2017 he served as the associate dean or acting dean of the Faculty of Science, and was the acting principal of the Richardson College for the Environment. From 2004-07 he was the PARC-Manitoba Hydro Climate Change Research Professor at the University of Winnipeg.

His main research interest is climate change in Canada, especially the prairie provinces. He also has interests in climate variability, teleconnections and the potential for trans-boundary water conflicts in a changing prairie climate. He was a contributing author of Canada’s National Assessment of Climate Change released in 2008, and is a frequent presenter at conferences and workshops about climate change in the prairies. In 2018 he made an invited presentation to Canada’s Senate hearings on the potential impacts of climate change on agriculture and forestry.

He obtained his Geography BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Regina; his PhD is from the University of Manitoba.


Daniel A. Blizzard

Daniel A. Blizzard has a background in industrial wood products; establishing, and growing manufacturing plants for value added (industrial) wood products and exporting of industrial wood products to places like Israel, Peru and Ukraine. Blizzard has been a commodity trader for light frame softwood lumber for 12+ years and creating value added products for 20+ years.

He is knowledgeable of the different species of wood, and their characteristics and engineering design values. His primary transport focus is building sustainable access solutions and systems such as three-ply laminated matting, bridges, engineered matting systems, cross laminated timber (CLT) mats. His markets extend from British Columbia to the north eastern USA.

Blizzard’s education in this field comes from his grandfather, Alfred Blizzard Senior, who managed eight sawmills in Scotland during WW2. These sawmills provided large timber type mats and bridges that were used to provide access for tanks and military equipment to mobilize into Europe in preparation for D-Day. Growing up around Alfred Blizzard is where his interest originated and evolved into a sophisticated timber mat business today.

 Colten Doll

Colten Doll has been in the oil and gas industry for 15 years. He started at the bottom and gradually worked his way up to buying his first truck, which he used to grow his company. Before the crash in 2008, Doll sold his company in order to pursue other interests; leading him to working with access matting. Doll has successfully worked in some of the toughest, extreme conditions and environments. He has worked from northern Yukon and the Arctic Circle, to the southern Saskatchewan border. He has also worked in northern Ontario to the east coast, doing a variety of different jobs.
He has seen what this country looks like; slow or busy, day or night, through all seasons, in some of the toughest terrain in Canada. Doll has gained extensive knowledge working with ice roads, muskeg and peat bogs – including what it takes to be successful in these kinds of environments.

Doll brings a long list of problem-solving skills, for our remote access situations. Doll has built over hundreds of kilometres of access roads, work platforms and staging areas.

He has ventured outside of the oil and gas industry, to power line projects, as well as infrastructure projects. Doll runs pristine equipment with cutting edge technology in order to increase efficiency, effectiveness and to speed up the production outcomes.


Larry Halayko

Larry Halayko, P. Eng. graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Larry started working for Manitoba Infrastructure in 1994 as a project engineer, and has moved up to different roles within the department. Currently, he is the acting assistant deputy minister of engineering and operations division. 

Since 2001, Larry has been overseeing the construction, maintenance and enhancement of winter roads to remote communities. He is also responsible for providing management and guidance in the effective and efficient delivery of programs for Manitoba highways and northern airports and marine operations, including construction and maintenance, preservation, operations and stewardship.

David Horbas

David Horbas grew up a trucker as his father pioneered one of the early rural trucking companies serving the communities of northeastern Manitoba. Horbas is also an entrepreneur. After joining his father after high school, he saw the opportunities in winter road trucking. For well over forty years, he has delivered in all conditions throughout Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. He has provided all of the North West Company's winter road trucking services for 20 years. This year, he has already delivered over 200 loads to the northern stores, and another 200 loads in building supplies for new schools at Wasagamack, God’s Lake Narrows, God’s River and Oxford House, Manitoba. Horbas, with his wife Geraldine and son Nathan, make their year-round home in Beaconia on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. He was also elected to the R.M. of St. Clements’ Council last fall.




Robin Jacuzzi

Robin Jacuzzi is the assistant chief pilot at Calm Air, flying the company's ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft. She is responsible for pilot recruitment and training, policy and procedure implementation, and helping to manage Calm Air's 86 pilots. Jacuzzi learned to fly while completing her degree in management and organizational studies from the University of Western Ontario. After several years of flying charters within northern Manitoba, she fell in love with the Artic flying for Calm Air. Jacuzzi is currently working towards her Master's Degree in Business Administration through Embry Riddle Aeronautical University's Worldwide Campus.

Judy Klassen

Judy Klassen is a Canadian provincial politician, who was interim leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, from October 2016 to June 2017, succeeding Rana Bokhari. Klassen was first elected as the Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for the riding of Kewatinook in the 2016 election.

Klassen and her husband Jason have six children. She grew up in a remote fly-in northern reserve and has spent over ten years working and living in an urban area and completing post-secondary education.

Klassen believes for Manitoba to succeed, we have to bring many northern communities out of the third world and onto a level playing field with the rest of Canada. She believes it is her duty to help as many people as she can because she was helped by many people in order to become who she is today.


Fred Petrie

Fred Petrie is an entrepreneur. He owned and managed a cargo airline, growing from a single aircraft charter operation to four aircraft in scheduled services, while holding the designations of Accountable Executive, Person Responsible for Maintenance and Operations Manager. In 2004, he acquired one of the first Light Sport Aircraft, pioneering shared use. With his spouse, he operated travel agencies over fifteen years. He has worked as an independent financial advisor and published “THE END OF WORK – Financial planning for people with better things to do”. He currently owns and manages an airport in the north. Last year he incorporated Aurora Aerial Inc. for the commercialization of innovative aeronautical technology. It launched October 1st with its launch client, Sunward Science & Technology of China, with rights to commercialize Sunward’s general aviation products, both piloted and remotely piloted aircraft, throughout North America.

Barry E. Prentice

Dr. Barry E. Prentice is a professor of supply chain management, at the I.H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba and a charter member of the Transport Institute. His major research and teaching interests include logistics, transportation economics and trade policy. Dr. Prentice holds degrees from Western University (1973), University of Guelph (1979) and University of Manitoba (1986). Dr. Prentice has authored or co-authored more than 300 research reports, journal articles and contributions to books.

In 2002, Dr. Prentice began the resurgence of interest in using cargo airships in Canada for northern transportation, at the first Airships to the Arctic conference, held by the University of Manitoba. In 2005, he co-founded ISO Polar as a not-for-profit institute to coordinate airship research and hold further Airships to the Arctic Conferences. In 2011, Dr. Prentice opened Buoyant Aircraft Systems International (BASI), to undertake airship and drone research at a newly constructed hanger at St. Andrews Airport. A 24-meter airship was built at the University of Manitoba as a research platform. A smaller 18-meter, radio-controlled airship was flown to test systems for the shipment of supplies to remote communities and mines. The entire research facility and aircraft were destroyed in a violent storm in 2015. In 2018, his proposal for an “Electric Cargo Airship System” won the People’s Choice Award at the CanInfra Challenge. 



Alan Tay

Alan Tay is a bilingual Master's postgraduate of aviation management with over 20 years of aviation experience as ATPL Class 1 Instructor. Tay is from the Singapore Airforce, where he flew on the C130 then came over to Canada to experience both the general and commercial aviation from Part 702 (Aerial Works) to Part 705 (Airline Operation). Tay has been involved in international flight training mainly with Asia Pacific since 2008. He was instrumental in the development of the first online ground school in Canada in 2004; the Integrated Pilot Program in Moncton in 2006; and the Integrated Pilot Program in Buttonville in 2007. Since 2012, Tay has been involved with a few Asian corporations as a senior executive whose capital assets are well over 100 million USD. His responsibilities range from commercialization of new products to managing a business group. Tay's most recent career highlight is to improve the sales of their light small aircraft by 20 times within 18 month and is still the top selling domestic brand in China market presently.