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Board & Governance

Organizational Chart

* Note: This organizational chart was last updated on December 31, 2017.


Historically, WestGrid was governed by institutions in Western Canada that paid a membership fee and received funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Major Science Initiatives (MSI) program. However, in 2016, WestGrid’s Member Council voted unanimously to move forward with WestGrid’s incorporation after a thorough investigation of various options. 

On February 9, 2017, WestGrid became a Canadian not-for-profit organization, with an applicant board and membership of three independent individuals. These individuals will provide governance and oversight to the organization. This interim governance structure will allow the organization to do the administrative, financial and operational activities associated with the corporation in parallel with the development of the long term governance plan. It also allows for the stakeholder community to spend the time necessary to perform ample consultation to develop a robust governance structure.

Compute Canada is supportive of this path as it ensures the risk for the region is managed separately;  governance and representation for the region is inline with the other regions, and WestGrid is better able to set and manage regional priorities and partnerships.

Applicant Board

WestGrid has incorporated with three independent individuals who will serve as both the Members and the Directors for the new entity until WestGrid is ready to move forward with a formal long-term governance structure complete with bylaws, which will define the full membership and the inaugural Board of Directors. The Directors are legally responsible for the organization, and will guide the organization based on the advice of the WestGrid Member Council and Executive Committee until a governance structure is in place, following a community consultation.

Ken Hewitt has played a significant role in the development of advanced research support in Western Canada and is a former CEO of WestGrid. In addition to participation in the creation of WestGrid, Ken assisted in the writing of the National Platforms Fund (NPF) proposal which led to the creation of Compute Canada in 2006. Prior to WestGrid Ken worked with Cybera from 1995 to 2006 and was the president.
Seamus O’Shea is the former VP Academic of  the University of Lethbridge. Seamus was an active member of the WestGrid Member Council. After leaving his role at the University of Lethbridge, Seamus stayed involved in the Research and Innovation sector in a variety of roles including as a Board member of Cybera.
Jay Black is a retired professor of Computer Science, and has been CIO at both Simon Fraser University and the University of Waterloo.  He has been an active participant in strengthening digital research infrastructure (DRI) in Canada, as Chair of the Board of BCNET, and as a founding co-chair of the Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure, a national coalition of institutions, individuals, and organizations dedicated to improving the Canadian DRI ecosystem.


Nominations Committee 

The WestGrid Interim Nominations Committee (NomCom), formed in September 2017,  is responsible for recruiting and presenting the slate of candidates for the inaugural WestGrid Board of Directors to the WestGrid Membership to elect.

Kyle Demes
Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives
University of British Columbia

Kyle has a decade of experience as a student, staff, and instructor at 4 Universities, and is currently working with the AVPR and VPR at the University of British Columbia to operationalize strategic objectives within the portfolio. In that capacity, he supports the evolving needs of units and task forces in the VP Research & Innovation portfolio (e.g., Advanced Research Computing, Community Based Research, Sequencing & Bioinformatics Consortium, and Collaborative Research with Indigenous Communities) and supports faculty members and groups in major national and international grant competitions. He enjoys combining his analytical skills, familiarity with higher education, network of university professors and administrators, and extensive research experience to support large scale inter-institutional research efforts in BC.

Dr. Nelson J. Amaral
Professor, Department of Computer Sciences
University of Alberta

Dr. Nelson J. Amaral received a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering in Brazil followed by a Ph.D from The University of Texas at Austin in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Alberta working on software systems with a focus on compiler optimization and high performance computing. His research interest is focused on code transformations that are applied at an intermediate representation of the program: a representation that is common to several programming languages and to several processor instruction sets. He is interested in implementing new code transformations on state-of-the art production compilers. He is also interested in the application of learning technology to the compilation process. His group is investigating the use of both supervised and unsupervised learning to improve the performance delivered by, and the efficiency of, modern commercial compilers. His group is also investigating ways to improve the implementation and evaluation of feedback-directed optimization (FDO). He received the University of Alberta Faculty of Science Excellence in teaching Award in 2015 and Distinguished Engineer, Association for Computing Machinery in 2014.

Dennis Salahub 
Professor, Department of Chemistry, 
University of Calgary

Dr. Dennis Salahub received his BSc in 1967 from the University of Alberta. He then moved to attend the Université de Montréal where he completed his doctorate under the direction of professor Camille Sandorfy. He returned to Alberta as VP (Research) at the University of Calgary and in 2007, when his VP research role concluded, he maintained a role with the university as a professor of chemistry. During his career, Dr. Salahub has published more than 300 research articles and edited four books. His scientific recognition is displayed by over 400 national and international invited lectures. His initiatives have helped to install high-performance computing in Quebec and in Canada. Dr. Salahub’s research interests lie in theoretical and computational chemistry, especially Density Functional Theory (DFT) and its applications in materials and biomolecular modelling. Dr. Salahub's overall research goal for the next decade is to develop the theoretical, computational, and conceptual expertise necessary to attain a detailed microscopic understanding of chemical reactions taking place in real, complex environments.

Dr. Dennis Salahub

Shari Baraniuk 
CIO, Information and Communications Technologies
University of Saskatchewan

Shari holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Operations Research Management from the University of Manitoba and an MBA in Information Technology Management from Athabasca University. Shari has been with the University of Saskatchewan for over ten years. Prior to embarking on the role of Chief Information Officer within Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at the U of S, Shari was the Director, Systems Support and Development with Financial Services and prior to that, the Associate Director, Information Technology with Facilities Management. Before joining the University of Saskatchewan, Shari worked for a number of organizations including the City of Saskatoon, LGS Group Inc., Canadian Pacific Rail System, SHL Systemhouse and Andersen Consulting. Her roles have ranged from systems design and development to business analysis and from team leader to project manager.

Shari Baraniuk

Jay Doering 
Associate Vice-President (Partnerships)
University of Manitoba

Dr. John (Jay) Doering obtained a B.Sc. from Queen’s University at Kingston and a Ph.D. from Dalhousie University. He completed an NSERC postdoc at Environment Canada and in 1993, joined the University of Manitoba’s Department of Civil Engineering. He is now serving as a member of the University’s senior executive team as Associate Vice-President (Partnerships) in the Office of the Vice-President (Research and International). Having served eleven years as the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Dr. Doering appreciates the role of high performance computing in driving discovery and innovation across a very broad spectrum of disciplines. As the Associate Vice-President (Partnerships) in the Office of the Vice-President (Research) he chairs the University’s committees on High Performance Computing and Research Computing, as well as sit on the University’s Information Technology Advisory Committee and the Senate Committee on Academic Computing.  Serving also on Compute Canada Member’s Working Group bridges the local, regional, and national contexts.

Dr. John (Jay) Doering


2017 Open Call for Directors

WestGrid’s independent Board of Directors will bring a variety of skills and experience to the organization. Their backgrounds in the academic, private and public sectors ensure WestGrid’s resources and services anticipate and effectively address the evolving needs of the research computing community in Western Canada. Directors are elected for two-year renewable terms, and all Directors are encouraged to serve on at least one standing subcommittee of the Board.

WestGrid relies heavily on the commitment of volunteer Board members for:

  • planning its future via the strategic plan;
  • reviewing and approving new initiatives that set the direction for the organization within the funding mandate;
  • making final decisions on resources and service delivery;
  • approving corporate policies and overseeing compliance; and
  • appointing the CEO and setting an overall compensation strategy for executives.

Candidates for the Board positions must be available to attend quarterly meetings (alternating between videoconference and in person at a site in Western Canada), the annual AGM (in person), and strategic planning sessions as required (all travel expenses will be reimbursed). They are also required to dedicate a few hours per quarter to meeting preparation. Candidates should be willing to advocate on behalf of, and promote the views of WestGrid, to secure funding, legislation and community support.

To view the full details of the Open Call for Board Member Applications please CLICK HERE.

To apply…

Interested individuals should complete the online application and submit their resume to by December 22, 2017.

The Nominations Committee will review and select candidates from among the applications received. The slate will then be brought forward to the WestGrid Board for approval before being submitted to WestGrid Members for election at a Special Members Meeting.

All individuals who submit an application will be notified of the outcome of the process after the final slate of candidates has been approved by the Board and before the slate is presented to Members for election.