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WestGrid Staff

The roles and responsibilities of WestGrid's Central Staff team include:


Meet the Team:

Lindsay Sill
Chief Executive Officer

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for the leadership and management of all aspects of the WestGrid organization. This includes the supervision of Central Staff, financial management and reporting, senior administration, and relationship management with Member institutions and provincial partners. The CEO makes contributions to national policy and procedure development through a role on the Compute Canada Management Committee, which includes liaising with WestGrid's counterparts in other regions (Compute Ontario, Calcul Québec, ACENET) and with Compute Canada's CEO. Overall, this role ensures that WestGrid operations are executed to meet the expectations of the Board of Directors, Members and funders, and is acting in the best interest of the research community. 


Lindsay Sill has more than a decade of experience working in the digital research technologies sector, providing leadership to a complex and distributed organization. She has played a key role in the advanced research computing (ARC) arena, both regionally and nationally. In 2017 as a member of the Advanced Research Computing (ARC) Working Group, Lindsay co-authored a position paper on the ARC needs in Canada, as requested by the federal government, through the Leadership Council on Digital Research Infrastructure (LCDRI). These efforts helped influence the 2018 federal budget announcement of $572.5M over five years to implement a Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) strategy. 

A strong advocate for diversity in science and technology, Lindsay served on the inaugural international Advisory Board for the non-profit organization Women in HPC. She has also presented and participated on panels in support of improving the gender balance in ARC. Lindsay has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Victoria, and worked as a Laboratory Manager in the Department of Medicine for the University of Calgary, where her research contributions resulted in a Nature publication. 

Lindsay is a member of the CIRA Nominations Committee and the MacKay CEO Forum. When she is not working, she enjoys competing nationally and internationally in Ultimate Frisbee, and mountain biking or hiking with her family. She resides in Kelowna, BC.

Patrick Mann
Director of Operations

The Director of Operations is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day technical operations of the organization (e.g. issues relating to networking, collaboration/visualization, user support, and infrastructure operation), chairing the Site Leads Committee, acting as the single point of contact for operational issues in WestGrid, supervising central technical staff, maintaining strong coordination with all other Compute Canada project elements and institutions, and is also expected to play a leadership role in the development and growth of new activities and services.


Patrick Mann has a broad range of academic and commercial expertise as an IT and computational science specialist. His areas of focus include cloud computing, virtualization, networking, systems architecture, system administration, and collaboration. Prior to joining WestGrid, Patrick served as IT Director for a partnership between Carbon Management Canada and the International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide. He has worked as a private contractor, providing Amazon Web Services consulting and development services, and has led strategic IT initiatives through senior leadership positions at Cybera Inc., as Chief Technology Officer, and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), as the Director of the Computing and Telecommunications Services Department. Patrick has a D.Phil. in computational astrophysics from the University of Oxford.

Megan Allen
Director, Finance & HR

The Director, Finance& HR directs all aspects of financial management and human resources for WestGrid. This role also acts as the liaison with WestGrid Member institutions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and the Compute Canada Director of Finance on all matters with respect to funding agreements, accounting, budgeting, financial reporting, audit issues, and management.


Prior to joining WestGrid, Megan Allen worked for the University of Calgary as a Finance Partner, serving the units of Facilities and the President's Portfolio. Megan has also worked in the oil and gas industry in Calgary and in the transportation industry in Vancouver. In 2003, Megan received her CMA designation, and currently holds the CPA designation. Megan's skills include budgeting, forecasting, financial analysis and relationship management. 

Ahmad Bisher
Director, Strategy & Business Development

The Director, Strategy and Business Development is responsible for leading initiatives in areas of policy, strategy and planning, government relations, program evaluation, and customer experience. This involves gathering and analyzing information relating to trends and needs in research and industry, as well as working with WestGrid's training and communications staff to engage the academic, research, and innovation communities in Western Canada. The Director, Strategy and Business Development negotiates partnership agreements and/or strategic alliances, and builds relationships with stakeholders at all levels, acting as a bridge between academia, industry, government, and other like-minded organizations, to enable WestGrid to deliver on its mandate.


Ahmad Bisher has extensive industry and management experience with a well-rounded business and technical view to opportunities. He has broad experience including pre-sales, consulting, software development, strategic planning, project management, and operations.

Ahmad has led many large and complex deals and projects to support clients in many different industries including Education, Health, Manufacturing, Information Technology, Telecommunications, Finance and Government.

He has more than six years of experience managing presales bid activities and leading team members from different departments to create strategic and competitive business deals. He also has over 10 years of experience leading software development teams and projects.

Ahmad brings other qualities as he teaches several Business courses at Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University including Technology Management and Consulting Management. He also served on a board of directors for a non-profit organization which he served as the president of the board for four years.

Ahmad has an MBA from Queen's University and BSc in Computing Science from Simon Fraser University. When not working, Ahmad enjoys his time with family, playing sports or at least watching them (especially NBA Basketball).


Erika Keller WestGrid
Erika Keller
Executive Assistant

The Executive Assistant provides administrative support to WestGrid's Senior Management Team. This includes responsibilities such as planning logistics for events and meetings, coordinating travel, handling expense reports, and managing other day-to-day administration that keeps the organization functioning smoothly. The Executive Assistant also provides direct support to the CEO for Board and Board sub-committee meetings, including preparing Board agenda packages and supporting documentation.


Erika Keller is an Executive Assistant who brings with her a diverse background in the Non-Profit sector. Providing support to Industry Leaders and Directors of the Board, Erika strives to create a culture focused on strong relationships, structure, social change and creativity. Prior to joining WestGrid, Erika worked with organizations endeavoring to transform and provide simplistic access to the healthcare and real estate fields. Focusing on those who suffer from mental illness and drug addiction, as well as those caught amongst the affordable housing crisis. Her core strengths include providing administrative consultation, event planning, and communications. In her spare time Erika enjoys kayaking and travel.

Alex Razoumov
Alex Razoumov
Training & Visualization Coordinator

The Training & Visualization Coordinator is responsible for the visualization platform across all WestGrid Member institutions. This includes creating a visualization plan for WestGrid and executing the implementation of the plan across the Member institutions. The Training & Visualization Coordinator acts as the liaison with WestGrid Member institutions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba on all matters with respect to visualization. The Coordinator supports researchers in their visualization needs including responding to requests by email, through the ticketing system and in person as required. Training and outreach is also an important role. This includes developing training material, delivering training and outreach sessions (including summer schools), and training other staff members to provide seminars.


Alex Razoumov has a PhD in computational astrophysics from UBC. He has worked on numerical models ranging from galaxy formation to core-collapse supernovae and stellar hydrodynamics, and has developed a number of computational fluid dynamics and radiative transfer codes and techniques. He spent five years as HPC Analyst in SHARCNET helping researchers from diverse backgrounds to use large clusters, and joined WestGrid in 2014.

Ikenna Okpala WestGrid Senior Developer
Ikenna Okpala
Senior Developer

The Senior Developer is responsible for overseeing and implementing software and service development projects required both by WestGrid and Compute Canada. These projects can range in scope from working on user database features and functionality, to helping implement national Globus filesharing services.


Ikenna Okpala joined WestGrid as a Senior Developer in 2018. Ikenna is a specialist in web development with over 12+ years experience delivering projects in various sectors which include government, medical, pharmacology, retail, e-commerce and sports betting. He subscribes to agile, pair programming (where required), behaviour driven (BDD), DRY, progressive enhancement, and open source approaches to web development. Prior to joining WestGrid, Ikenna was Senior Software Engineer at Marks & Spencer (Venture labs), in the UK and now resides with his family in Atlantic Canada. 

Steven Bucholtz
Junior Developer

The Junior Developer is responsible for software and service development projects that create, extend, implement, and maintain portals, scientific gateways, and advanced computing software tools and databases. This ranges from developing online tools for research groups to submit their work to WestGrid or Compute Canada high performance computing systems, to deploying cloud-based platforms which enable international research collaborations.


Steven Bucholtz joined WestGrid as a Junior Developer in 2019. Steven is an alumnus of the Network and Telecommunications Engineering, and Computer Information Systems programs. Following his passion of programming, he returned to school yet again to acquire a Bachelors of Computer Science, where he originally met and joined WestGrid in a cooperative employment position, before returning as a full-time employee the following year.

Steven has worked previously as a web developer, and is highly familiar with web frameworks such as Flask, Django, and He also has a strong background in programming languages such as Python, Java, and C++.

Prior to WestGrid, Steven has worked for several years as a Network Analyst, with an emphasis on high-density wireless networks. He has also worked directly with development teams over the years as a quality assurance engineer.

Marie-Helene Burle
Research Computing Training Assistant

The Research Computing Training Assistant is responsible for supporting and delivering research computing training sessions across all WestGrid member institutions online or in person. This includes working with the Training & Visualization Coordinator to identify gaps in current training areas and developing new courses, workshops, and webinars.


Prior to entering the realm of computing, Marie-Helene Burle spent 15 years roaming the globe from the High Arctic to uninhabited Sub-Antarctic islands or desert tropical atolls, conducting bird and mammal research (she calls those her "years running after penguins"). As a PhD candidate in behavioural and evolutionary biology at Simon Fraser University, she "fell" into Emacs, R, and Linux. This turned Marie into an advocate for open source tools and improved computing literacy for all, as well as better coding practices and more reproducible workflows in science. She started to contribute to the open source community, became a Software and Data Carpentry Instructor, and worked at the SFU Research Commons providing programming support to researchers. She is thrilled to be continuing in this direction with HPC and new languages at WestGrid. When not behind a computer, Marie loves reading history books and looking for powder in the British Columbia backcountry on skis.