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WestGrid Staff

John Longbottom
Chief Executive Officer

John Longbottom has held senior positions in sales, marketing, and general management in the telecommunications, utilities, government and insurance sectors. John has also worked as a technology and applications specialist in the manufacturing, distribution, and engineering sectors. Prior to joining WestGrid, John led IBM Canada’s innovation strategy and program in Western Canada, focused on creating value for clients and partners through the use of new information technology (IT) models, agile development, and an alignment of partner capabilities from industry, government, academia, research and start-up companies and organizations. John led IBM Canada’s Smarter Cities initiative and was responsible for IBM’s overall efforts to improve operations and service delivery within cities, regions, and government agencies. In 2013, he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work with communities. John also held the position of Manager of Strategy and Planning within IBM’s Global Industry Business Solutions in New York, where he worked on a four-year assignment in IBM’s U.S. corporate headquarters, focused on marketing strategy and planning, and business strategy for IBM’s e-business Solutions. In 2004, John created and implemented IBM Canada’s National Aboriginal strategy and continues to support that strategy in an advisory capacity. John has held Executive positions at Ceridian Canada Ltd., first as Vice-President and General Manager of Western Canada responsible for the company’s business interests from Victoria to Thunder Bay, where he focused on business development, operational effectiveness, strategic sales and marketing. John then moved to become EVP, Sales and Marketing where he was responsible for market intelligence, market planning, marketing communications, marketing operations, new business development, sales, partner relations, and account management. He was also responsible for the leadership and financial management of Life-Works Services, Ceridian’s EAP division. 

Patrick Mann
Director of Operations

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

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 & Partnership Development

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. He 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. Ahmad 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. Outside of work, Ahmad teaches several business courses at Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University including Technology Management and Consulting Management. He has also served on the 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. In his spare time, Ahmad enjoys spending time with family, playing sports, or at least watching them (especially NBA Basketball).

Erika Keller WestGrid
Erika Keller
Executive Assistant & Project Manager

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

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

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

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

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.