Board of Governors' Biographies
The Board of Governors provides an important role for Red Deer Polytechnic. Below you can read about the professional and personal achievements of Red Deer Polytechnic's Board of Governors' members.
Guy Pelletier, Chair
Guy has a long history with Red Deer College dating back to 1987 when he graduated with a Business Administration diploma. After completing his Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Calgary, he returned to RDC as an employee. Guy continued his connection to the College in a volunteer capacity after moving to the private sector in 1996. He served on a variety of committees with the Alumni Association, the Foundation, and two terms on the Board of Governors.
Guy works as the Vice President of the Red Deer Region for Melcor Developments. Melcor has been an active residential and commercial real estate developer in central Alberta for over 40 years. He has a strong belief in the immense value of education in all forms. He served two terms (one as Board Chair) as a Trustee for Red Deer Catholic Schools. Guy is a committed community volunteer having served on many Boards and Committees – most recently as a Board member for the 2019 Canada Winter Games held in Red Deer.
Guy shares his love of Red Deer with his wife Lee Ann. Together they have three children – one in high school and two attending university.
Stuart Cullum, President
Mr. Stuart Cullum is the 12th President of Red Deer Polytechnic, beginning his first term on
August 2, 2022.
He joined Red Deer Polytechnic after a successful five-year term as President of Olds College where he achieved a bold vision and led unprecedented success on a national scale. His accomplishments included a significant increase in both domestic and international enrolment, more than $23 Million in applied research funding, and the development of key action plans including the College’s first Indigenous Relationship Building Strategy and Action Plan. He was instrumental in establishing the Olds College Smart Farm, a leading innovation hub for innovation, training and applied research that has attracted over 100 partners globally and over $40 Million in investment. Prior to Olds College, he served in executive positions at Lethbridge College, Northlands, NAIT, AVAC, and Westlink Innovation Network. Early in his career, Mr. Cullum taught in the secondary system in central Alberta.
Mr. Cullum currently serves as Chair of the Post-Secondary International Network (PIN) and Campus Alberta Central, a joint partnership between Olds College and Red Deer Polytechnic. He has held numerous professional appointments across Canada that include a current Board appointment to the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) and advisory roles within Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and THRIVE Canada Accelerator.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts (History) and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Lethbridge and a Master of Business Administration (Technology Transfer Specialization) from the University of Alberta. He is an Accredited Professional Director (ICD.D) and has completed the Executive Program with Singularity University and the Institute for Educational Management Program at Harvard.
Erin Bast is a first-time student member of the Board of Governors, as well as beginning her first term as President of the Students’ Association of Red Deer Polytechnic (SARDP) on May 1, 2023. Erin has been a council member of SARDP since 2021 while also recently holding office as Vice President External of the Students’ Association of RDP. She has completed her second year of Legal Assistant Diploma Program and will be continuing her educational path in open studies focused on completing a BBA. Erin has consistently held a place on the President’s Honor List since she began her educational journey at RDP in July 2021. She has received numerous accolades for her commitment to her education, mental health and volunteerism, including the Students’ Association of Red Deer Polytechnic Mental Health Initiatives Scholarship, the Involvement in Student Governance Scholarship, Student of the Year, and most recently the Terry Wood Scholarship.
On her journey to achieve academic success, Erin has become passionate about mental health awareness and education. As an individual who grew up around mental health struggles, she finds it important that students are made aware and educated on the supports while attending Red Deer Polytechnic.
Erin is a wife and mother of three children all under the age of 11 who all share the love of the outdoors, gardening, and camping.
Tammy Burke is a long-time resident and former Mayor of Rocky Mountain House, a community which she has called home for most of her life. She had a keen interest in local governance and decided to get involved with Municipal Government in 2013, when she was elected as a Councillor for the Town of Rocky Mountain House (RMH). Tammy went on to serve as Mayor from 2017-2021. During this later term she held seats on various boards and committees both locally and provincially. Some of these include Alberta Urban Municipality Association’s Environment & Sustainability Committee, Parkland Regional Library Board, RMH Healthcare Recruitment Team, and many other municipal boards. She is currently serving on the Recycling Council of Alberta as vice chair, West Country Family Services Board in RMH and on Campus Alberta Central. She believes strongly in being an active community volunteer whenever possible. Often there are partnerships to be made or ideas to be shared through the various boards and committees. This allows knowledge sharing and helps to strengthen our communities.
Tammy and her husband Stuart raised their two children in RMH and now enjoy spending time with their adult children and six grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors either walking or gardening and loves to be in the mountains skiing, hiking, or officiating weddings in the beautiful west country. She is passionate about educating people on the benefits of waste diversion, curbing food waste and leaving a healthy earth for future generations. She believes we should always remain open to new and inventive ideas, and never be afraid of change and progress.
Tammy is appreciative for the opportunity to sit alongside with new and current Board of Governor members for Red Deer Polytechnic, and looks forward to following the vision, mission, and values of the institution.
Born and raised in Red Deer, Caroline began her post-secondary education at Red Deer College, (now Red Deer Polytechnic). Once gaining a solid educational foundation she then transferred to the University of Victoria to complete a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology.
After working in Victoria for a number of years in the post-secondary and social service field, Caroline had the opportunity to return home to Red Deer and work at RDP. Over the ten years that Caroline has worked at RDP, she has held positions in recruitment and advising guiding students through their educational path. Currently, Caroline holds the position of Design and Assessment Coordinator in the Department of Career Education & Experience Development.
Biography coming soon.
Emeka Nwachukwu was born and spent his early years in Nigeria before arriving in Canada in 2011 from Scotland. As a Senior Project Manager with multi-industry experience in 3 continents, Emeka works with organizations to address business challenges by providing unique technology solutions.
Emeka lives in Red Deer with his wife, Jennifer and four young children in beautiful Central Alberta, within reach of the prairies, lakes, and mountains.
Emeka is passionate about community engagement, poverty and hunger eradication, food security, and children education. As a child growing up in Nigeria, Emeka realized that the only way to escape poverty was to study and get good grades in school. But beyond the school walls, in the village of Mbaise in southeast Nigeria where he grew up, Emeka knew first-hand what is meant by the African expression “it takes a village to raise a child” because the community was very much involved in instilling morals into young children as well as in lending money to parents in need of paying school fees for their children.
In addition to his role on the board of RDP, Emeka is a volunteer at the Red Deer Mustard Seed and a member of the Parish Council of St. Leonard-On-The-Hill Anglican Church in Red Deer.
Julie has extensive experience in providing assurance (audit), tax, succession and business advisory services to a variety of public sector and nonprofit clients. A passion of Julie’s, she also leads clients through financial fluency and governance sessions in an effort to help her clients better understand their financial reporting.
A proud member of the central Alberta community, Julie is involved in a variety of volunteer and non-profit governance roles, including on the board of the Downtown Business Association.
A resident of Red Deer, Julie is married to her high school sweetheart, Darren and has two children – one in RDC and one in high school.
Julie is passionate about adult education, and Alberta’s public institutions. She looks forward to working with Red Deer College’s leadership and stakeholders towards fulfilling the vision of RDC.
Carmen completed a Bachelor of Social Work degree at the University of Calgary and a Master of Social Work degree at McGill University in Montreal. Prior to teaching, her practice focused on anti-poverty work, community organizing/development, and international development work. Carmen began teaching in the Social Work Diploma program at Red Deer College in 2005 as a full-time sessional, becoming a continuous faculty member in 2015. Her teaching interests have included social work with communities, social policy, research, ethics, and current social trends and issues.
Carmen has been involved in different areas and activities of the institution beyond teaching: the Research Ethics Board; the Research Common; the Faculty Association; the Professional Development committee; and, the development of the social work program. She has contributed a chapter on ethics in community organizing to an edited text, co-published a peer-reviewed article to an international social work journal, presented in virtual social work workshops internationally, and contributed to community committees. Carmen is a faculty representative to the Red Deer Polytechnic Board of Governors.
Paul grew up in Red Deer and attended Red Deer College for two years before moving to Edmonton to obtain both his Bachelors of Commerce and Law degrees from the University of Alberta.
Paul is a partner at Warren Sinclair LLP in Red Deer and his practice focuses primarily in corporate and commercial law, banking and finance, commercial and residential real estate, commercial leasing and business purchases and sales.
Paul is involved in numerous volunteer and non-profit roles, including being a member of the Piper Creek Optimist Club (former President and Board Member), the Society for Hospital Expansion in Central Alberta (SHECA) and sitting on the board for various charity golf tournaments.
Paul’s athletic interests include hockey and golf.
As a former Executive and now President and CEO of Futures Resource Partners, Brenda has decades of experience in leadership roles, building sustainable organizations. Her experience includes leading HR design strategy, recruitment, retention and development in small, startup organizations to large corporate, and public sector entities with over 250,000 employees. She regularly mentors and coaches new and developing leaders to achieve success.
Her recent experience includes working at the University of California as Chief Human Resources Officer, preceded by Interior Health in British Columbia as Vice President, People and Clinical Services, Alberta Health Services as Vice President of Talent Strategies, David Thompson Health Region as Vice President of Human Resources and East Central Health in Saskatchewan as Vice President of Human Resources. She is a talented recruiter and coach, successfully filling executive level roles in Canada and the USA. She is a dedicated member of the Red Deer Community, working with local agencies to recruit, coach and develop their business models, and volunteering her time to sit on local Boards such as the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter and the Red Deer Hospice Society. She recently won Central Alberta’s Women’s Award of Excellence for her work in Health and the Non-profit sector in Central Alberta.
Scott Robinson joined the KESA Team in the fall of 2019 after spending 4 years as the CEO of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Scott joined the Games as the CEO in September 2015 following a 23-year career with Hockey Alberta. During his time at Hockey Alberta, he held various portfolios including Coordinator and Manager of High Performance, Senior Manager of Hockey Development, Senior Manager of Business Development and, for the last ten years, Executive Director for the Hockey Alberta Foundation.
Scott started his academic career at Red Deer College where he studied Kinesiology in 1988 before graduating with a degree in Sport Administration in 1991 from the University of Alberta. In 2012, he completed a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University. While at Royal Roads, Scott was selected from his cohort of 48 students to receive the Founders Award signifying his dedication to sustainable and innovative leadership. Most recently Scott was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award at Red Deer College in 2019.
Scott resides in Red Deer with his partner Dawna and has two children one attending post-secondary and the other in public school system here in Red Deer.
Tia Rudd is pursuing a degree in Business Administration. Throughout her studies at Red Deer Polytechnic, she has been actively involved in student leadership and activities. In 2023, she attended the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) West Case Competition among a team of RDP students. Tia has served as a Councillor of the Students Association of RDP, and a member of the Mental Health Committee and Bylaw Amendment and Review Committee. She has been recognized for her dedication and achieved awards, including the Students Association of Red Deer Polytechnic Mental Health Initiative Award and Outstanding Dedication Award. She recently received the City of Red Deer Human Resources Academic Award.
Tia grew up in a small town in Central Alberta. After graduating high school, she gained experience in the oil and gas industry, working primarily as a Safety Specialist and Medic. She further pursued an education in healthcare and completed her Licensed Practical Nurse diploma in 2019. Tia has experience working in inpatient and outpatient settings; she continues to work as a nurse throughout her studies. She is passionate about mental health, advocating, and helping others.
Tia enjoys exploring new opportunities, spending time outdoors and sports.
Dr. Cyrus Taheri
Dr. Cyrus Taheri completed his BSc and MSc in Biological Sciences in Iran. Before moving to Canada, Cyrus was a visiting scholar in Finland and Germany for around two years. Cyrus completed his PhD in Applied Microbiology from the University of Saskatchewan in 2013. As a postdoctoral researcher, he worked at Lethbridge Research and Development Centre from 2014 to 2016.
In 2016 Cyrus joined Red Deer College, where he has been teaching courses on microbiology and cell biology. Cyrus is also involved in undergraduate research in applied and environmental microbiology. He has co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and one book chapter, and has acted as a peer reviewer for several scientific journals. Cyrus has a deep passion for teaching and research and has led several science outreach projects for high school students, including students in First Nation communities of Alberta.
Shannon Wyzykoski, a senior business advisor and entrepreneur, works with rapidly changing businesses to establish strategic direction and increase profitability. Her volunteer experience on other governance boards includes working on a variety of committees and serving as Board Chair of the Red Deer Regional Airport Authority. Shannon holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Corporate Finance from the University of Alberta and is a Chartered Professional Accountant.
Shannon was bestowed the Canadian Forces Decoration in honour and recognition of her military service. Shannon and her husband reside in Red Deer and have two grown children.
Shannon looks forward to collaborating with the Red Deer Polytechnic Board of Governors to serve the learners and communities of Central Alberta.