Faculty Advisory Board

The FAES Advisory Board is comprised of a group of alumni and friends of the Faculty from across Canada and around the world who have generously agreed to share their wisdom and energy with Macdonald. Their mandate is to share their invaluable expertise by providing external insights to enhance the Faculty’s mission and promote the Faculty and our students in the broader community.

Mr. Bernard Poliquin, BSc’84(Agr), MSc’90, Advisory Board Chair

Senior Vice-President, Ivanhoé Cambridge Inc.

Bernard Poliquin is Senior Vice-President at Ivanhoé Cambridge Inc., a position he assumed in June of 2015.  His duties include responsibility for the entire office building port­folio in Québec, including Place Ville Marie, Le 1000 de la Gauchetière, World Trade Centre Montréal, the business office of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the future Maison Manuvie in Montréal, and the Edifice Price in Québec City.  He is also responsible for coordinating the implementation of Ivanhoé Cambridge's $1 billion plan for downtown Montréal.

Mr. Poliquin is an experienced manager in the real estate field.  Since November 2010, he had held the position of Vice President, Real Estate Services, at Mouvement Desjardins, where his responsibilities included occupancy strategy and planning, transactions, lease and project management for Desjardins across Canada, as well as property management activities including Complexe Desjardins, Montréal’s largest commercial property, and the organization’s corporate campus in Lévis, Québec.  His team also provided support to the Desjardins retail network involving some 1,700 sites.

He also worked at Jones Lang LaSalle as President of Canadian operations and then as Managing Director in Sydney, Australia and at Bell Canada as Vice President, Real Estate Asset Management, Canada.

Mr. Poliquin is past chairman of the Board of Directors of the Urban Development Institute of Québec (UDI) and currently sits on its board of governors.  He currently presides over the real estate and construction sector for the 2016 – 2017 Centraide (United Way) campaign in Montréal and chairs the Faculty Advisory Board of McGill University’s Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, from where he holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Science.

Mr. Anton Angelich, BSc(FSc)’73

VP Marketing, Virginia Dare

Anton Angelich is the Group V.P. of Marketing for Virginia Dare, responsible for the marketing of flavors and consumer research. Mr. Angelich holds previous executive positions with Symrise, Cultor Food Science and Givaudan flavor companies. He has over 17 years with Nestle as a manager and food scientist in product and process development, sensory evaluation, and the Nestle Test Kitchens.

Mr. Angelich holds B.S in Food Science from McGill University and a M.B.A. in Marketing from N.Y.I.T. His professional memberships include the American Society for Enology & Viticulture, American Association of Candy Technologists, Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology, American Marketing Association, World Futurists, and numerous trade association affiliations. Other Volunteer Positions: Friends of McGill (NYC), NYC McGill Alumni Association.

Anton is a passionate Mac supporter, and is also frequently consulted by students and Faculty alike for insights and knowledge sharing on various initiatives, typically tied to food development and innovation.

Mr. J. William Ritchie, BSc(Agr)’51

Past President, Ritchfam Holdings Limited

John William (Bill) Ritchie was born in Glace Bay Nova Scotia on September 3rd 1929 to parents William Tolmie Ritchie & Helen Mary (Hood) Ritchie. He attended West Hill High School in Montreal Quebec, received High School Leaving Certificate and went on to earn his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at McGill University (Macdonald College) in 1951. He was President of the Literary and debating Society in his Junior Year and President of the Students Council in his Senior Year.

Bill married Lorna K. Hartle on July 2, 1955 and has 4 children, Kathy, David, Jenipher, and James and 4 grandchildren Kate, Claire, Maria and Gigi. He is a Member of the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame and had previous memberships of the Toronto Stock Exchange – the Montreal Stock Exchange – and Lloyds of London. He is a recipient of both the Macdonald College and the McGill Alumni Awards of the Year.

Mr. Ritchie worked for AE Ames and Co Limited in Montreal Quebec as a Bond Trader from 1951-55, Geo. W. Brown and Co Ltd in Fredericton New Brunswick as an Investment Dealer, Co-owner, President and CEO from 1955-57 then went on to Eastern Securities Co Ltd, in Halifax Nova Scotia as an Investment Dealer and Regional Director from 1957-63 where he later worked for Scotia Bond Company Limited, in Halifax Nova Scotia as an Investment Dealer, Co-owner, President and CEO from 1963-90. He held the position of Director at DHX Media Inc - Kivuto Inc - SimplyCast Inc - Watts Wind Inc. His previous Directorships include: Empire Co Limited - Sobeys Stores Limited - Atlantic Shopping Centres Limited - Eastern Securities Co Limited - Scotia Bond Co Limited - Keltic Inc.

Mr. Marc Bieler, Dip Agr’58, BA’64

Founder, President & General Manager, Bieler Cranberries inc.

Marc Bieler founded Bieler Cranberries, which is Canada’s leading cranberry producer with 1,400 acres in production. They supply the processing company ATOKA with high quality cranberries which are transformed into Juice, Sweet and Dried Cranberries, Powder and Sauces. Certain products are sold retail under the ATOKA label or sold as fresh fruit in season. Bieler Cranberries sets high standards for the fruit they produce by taking actions for sustainable agriculture. Their standards result from development policies such as water optimisation and cultural prevention methods, and wetland preservation. Mr. Bieler is also Founder & President of Congelateur Bieler inc., Atoka Cranberries inc. and President of Bieler Holdings inc.

His previous experience includes, Investor & Board Member of Doxsee Food, a Food Processor in Baltimore Maryland for clam products, salad dressings and maple syrup. He also worked as an Apple Grower and Processor for a company in Frelighsburg Quebec and a Grain Trader for the Continental Grain Company in New York.

Mr. Bieler has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Adelard Godbout Award (Ordre des Agronomes du Québec, 1996); the Grand Prix de l'Entrepreneur (1997); he was named the Personalité de l'année du Monde Agri Alimentaire du Québec (2006); and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the McGill Alumni Association (2014).

Ms. Nathalie Zinger, BSc(Agr)’81, Dip Ed/MSc’83

Executive Coordinator, Conservation Engagement, Nature Conservancy of Canada

Nathalie Zinger, an exceptional leader, has taken the helm of numerous and successful conservation initiatives in Quebec. On September 25, 2013 she was recognized for her contributions to environmental causes and habitat conservation in Quebec with the prestigious Cercle des Phénix Award. With a B.Sc. in agriculture (wildlife management), an M.Sc. in landscape planning and 30 years of extensive field experience, Zinger has an excellent understanding of issues associated with the protection of natural areas and natural resources management.

After 10 years as vice-president with the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Quebec, Nathalie Zinger is taking on the challenges of a new role within NCC at the national level for the next two years. While remaining based in Montreal, she now occupies the position of executive coordinator – conservation engagement, where she promotes the importance of nature on a daily basis, for conservation and health as well as at the social and economic level. Her mandate is to support strategic initiatives to increase conservation engagement programming, especially for the following areas: visitor management, Conservation Volunteers, Conservation Internships and Nature Days. Additionally, Ms. Zinger is responsible for guiding the organization's vision of completing a series of Nature Atlases and possible contributions to marine conservation.

Mr. Matt Giffen, BCom’91

President, Bench Brewing Company; President, Giffen Vineyards Inc.

​Matt is the President of the new farmhouse style craft brewery Bench Brewing Company, located near Beamsville, Ontario.  benchbrewing.com

Matt is also actively involved in the Agricultural sector as a grape and hops grower in Niagara, Ontario, as well as the owner of a cattle ranch near Pincher Creek, Alberta.

Matt recently retired after 25 years in banking to focus on farming and his role at Bench Brewing.  He held a number of senior positions during his banking career, including leading Scotiabank’s European and Asian capital markets operations ,Global Head of Infrastructure Finance, Global Head of Commodities and Co-Chair of the Bank’s Energy Operating committee.  Matt was named one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People in 2012.

Matt is married to Erin with three daughters Molly, Kate and Ella.

McGill Connections: ERIN AND MATT GIFFEN ENTRANCE SCHOLARSHIP Established in 2010 by Erin Giffen and Matt Giffen, B.Com. 1991, for outstanding students entering the B.Com. program in the Desautels Faculty of Management. Awarded by the Scholarships and Student Aid Office on the basis of academic merit and leadership in extracurricular and community activities. 

Mr. Omer Sagheer

Vice-President Finance, The Scoular Group

Omer Sagheer serves as VP of Finance with The Scoular Company, and prior to that role he held the title of Director of Finance. He joined the company in Sept of 2008. Before joining Scoular, Mr. Sagheer was employed with White Energy, a Dallas based renewable energy company focused on the production of ethanol and bio-diesel where he served in a number of roles within the company including VP of Business Development, VP of Marketing and Public Policy and President.

As one of the founding members of the company he assisted in raising the equity and debt required to launch the business and the funds required to grow the business. Prior to those roles Mr. Sagheer was employed by First National Bank of Omaha where he expanded the renewable energy portfolio for the bank as well as his portfolio of general lending clients. He has earned two undergraduate degrees in business and finance and an executive master’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Mr. Sagheer and his wife Kael live in Omaha with their three daughters, one of whom, Aanya, is a current student at McGill University.

Dr. Karen Lapsley, BSc(FSc)’74

Chief Scientific Officer, Almond Board of California (ABC)

Karen has managed the nutrition and food research programs and established the scientific rational and the research network that has made science based global messaging standard practice at the Almond Board of California Since August 1999. This science platform of over 140 high impact-level publications along with appropriate tool kits and spokespeople, forms the backbone for the Almond Board’s extensive international outreach program to consumers, health influencers, and policy makers in key markets. As California produces 80 percent of the almonds globally and exports over 70 percent of the crop and its products, she has also focused on more international research collaborations to explore the almonds//health/sustainability links. She also has oversight for the production and environmental research at ABC, and their integration into ABC’s sustainability programs. She has a strong record for identifying crucial scientific issues, providing balanced perspective to senior management, and mobilizing resources to reach consensus and resolution. She represents the Almond Board of California professionally with the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), International Treenut Council World Forum, and University of California Davis advisory boards in the food science and agr/biological engineering departments.

She has presented more than 100 conference presentations, has written over 50 publications and reports and has been co-author of several book chapters. Previous experience included progressive research and management responsibilities in government and food industry positions and university teaching to entry level nutrition and dietetic students. She began her career in consumer communications and quality assurance with a multinational food company (T. J. Lipton/Unilever). Professional memberships and active leadership roles have been with US and Canadian Food Technology Associations. She was born and raised in Montreal, Canada and speaks French and German. When she’s not thinking about almonds and travelling, she enjoys sailing and scuba diving with her husband.

Mr. Éric Gosselin, BSc(Agr)’91

Partner, McCarthy Tetrault LLP

Éric Gosselin is a partner in the Business Law Group in Montreal for McCarthy Tetrault LLP. He has practiced law with the firm since 1995. Mr. Gosselin maintains an active practice in all major areas of corporate and commercial law, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, partnerships, corporate restructuring and financing and has advised on a number of Canadian and cross-border acquisitions. He acts for a variety of companies and financial institutions involved in the agrifood sector, notably manufacturers of food and alcoholic beverages and he has advised these clients on transactional work, regulatory matters and general commercial matters. Upon completing high school at the Collège Bourget in Rigaud (1986) and the educational program at John Abbott CEGEP (1988), Mr. Gosselin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science and a certificate in environmental studies from McGill University in 1991. He also received his LLB from the Université de Sherbrooke in 1994, was called to the Québec bar in 1995 and has been a member of the Ordre des agronomes du Québec since 1998.

Mr. Gosselin serves on the board of directors and executive committees of the Fondation de la Place des Arts (executive vice-president). He also sits on the board of directors of Culture pour tous, on which he acts as Chairman of the board and of Festival TransAmériques. He also sits as an external member on the Arts and Business Committee of the Conseil des Arts de Montréal. He was one of three mentors of Go-C.A. when the program was launched in January 2011 and is still actively involved as a mentor in the program. Go-C.A. is a twinning activity involving professionals from the business and arts communities designed to recruit new members to the Board of Directors of artistic organizations.

Ms. Andrea R. Courey, BCom’82

Award winning entrepreneur, author, lecturer and recipient of the McGill Dobson Fellow for her work with budding entrepreneurs, Andrea founded Grandma Emily’s Granola (GEG) in 1997. GEG manufactured homemade style organic granola cereals for the food service industry. Starting from her home kitchen, she grew the company and the product line to include bars, snacks and gift amenities. A single mother with three children, little money and no child support, her business plan was one line: ‘don’t give up’. When she sold the company in 2015, GEG was selling from coast to coast.

For over 15 years, Andrea has assisted budding and seasoned entrepreneurs with her own brand of ‘lead from the heart’ entrepreneurship. She has guest lectured in English and French in elementary and high schools, colleges and universities here in Quebec and elsewhere, introducing concepts ranging from ‘Being a Profounder’ to the value of paradox in business.

Andrea recently published her first book “Conversations with Chloe – A Mother/Daughter Dialogue Across the Veil”, a non-fiction exploration of grief, loss and relationship.