Our Work and People …

Al Sandilands, Associate

With a B.Sc. in biology from the University of Waterloo, and 40 years of experience as an ecologist, Al spent his first 8 years after university working for a conservation authority before evolving as a consultant to environmental consulting firms.

We first became aware of Al and his firm Gray Owl Environmental Inc. a number of years ago during one the most entrenched regulatory standoffs, on one of Ontario’s most environmentally significant areas - Pelee Island.  Al Sandilands typifies the difference between being just smart and being wise - which is often the difference between achieving agreement or lawyers at the OMB.   We know from experience that when it comes to environmental stakeholders, Al has a respectful appreciation for all views, and the experience to move the issues and interests toward the best cooperative, science based, accommodation achievable.

In addition to working for the private sector, Al has also worked for municipal governments and provincial and federal agencies. Although his formal training was in fisheries and aquatic entomology, he has evolved into a wildlife biologist specializing in ornithology and species at risk. He is writing a four-volume book entitled the Birds of Ontario: Habitat Requirements, Limiting Factors, and Status. The first two volumes, which cover the nonpasserines, have already been published. He has dealt with over 50 different species of risk including inventories, preparation of 2 COSEWIC reports, preparation of a draft recovery strategy, and successful negotiation of permits under the federal Species at Risk Act and the provincial Endangered Species Act, 2007.

Karen J. McMillan - Associate

She’s directed events for clients with Mikhail Gorbachev, and General (ret’d), Secretary of State, Colin Powell, amongst many others. 


As the Principal of McAver Group, Karen has many skills and offers many services for project management and event facilitation, and we are most pleased that she has agreed to be part of our operational network.  


We invited Karen to become one of our Associates because we wanted to give our public, private and not-for-profit clients access to one of the best in the area of turnkey event and project management. Trade shows, gala dinners, fundraisers, corporate events, public policy conferences - all are part of our full range of client care services.


We have worked with Karen on numerous projects over 20 years, and whether it has been security challenges, staying on budget, special services for VIP guests and family, or creating an environment that motivates your audience -together we have the experience and resources to give you the confidence that you will look professional to those who matter most.

Doug MacKenzie - Associate

This past year, Doug MacKenzie has been a front page news maker for forming and leading two community organizations - CMGRA and C4CA - in their successful fight to stop a power plant being built near schools and homes in Oakville.

Douglas is someone we have worked with on several major stakeholder relations projects involving securing federal,  provincial and community agreements for several green energy ethanol plants.  Over the past 16 years of working together, we have come to respect Douglas for the passion he has for the causes he believes in; his extensive senior level business experience; an extraordinary ability to formulate complex technical science and correlate it into pragmatic and human terms; his candid moral compass and strategic sense.  Between Pelee Island and the Oakville power plant, we have both been at the centre of two of the most challenging community/regulatory conflicts in Ontario so far this century.

Doug’s professional career has included: President and C.E.O. - PERMOLEX INTERNATIONAL L.P. (current); President and C.E.O. - PACIFIC RIM ETHANOL; President and C.E.O. - COMMERCIAL ALCOHOLS; Executive Vice President - SUNOCO Group; Senior Vice President  Central Region - PETRO CANADA; and Assistant General Manager Development - IMPERIAL OIL.  Doug has a M.B.A. from York University;  a M.S., Management Science, Stanford University;  and a B.Sc. Engineering Physics, Major Nuclear Physics University of Alberta

Semi-retired now but still active in a number of interests, we look forward to continuing to work with Douglas on new challenges.

Dennis Jack - Associate
Dennis Jack was raised on family farm in Chatham Kent, and was named  an Honourary Professional Agrologist  2003 by the Ontario Institute of Agrologists, and Agriculturalist of the year 2005 by the Chatham-Kent District Chamber of Commerce.   

Dennis served as a member and County President of Cattlemen , Soil and Crop Improvement Association, as well as serving 5 years as trustee on Kent County School Board.  We worked with him in helping to develop Ontario’s first ethanol policy and program when he was President of the Ontario Corn Producers Association.

Dennis is past chair of the Ridgetown College Foundation, and is current Chair of the Grain Financial Board of Ontario.  He is past board member of Agris Co op, and is currently Director of the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame .

In addition to being a knowledgeable straight shooter, we appreciate being able to send a real farmer to talk things over with rural folks, instead of some junior suit from a Toronto PR firm who wouldn’t even think to put some boots in the trunk.   Dennis knows agriculture, and has known the politics and policies of Ontario for more than a few decades - and that kind of experience they just can’t teach at Guelph.  

Some of Those We Have Worked For …

Governments and Agencies

Office of the Premier of Ontario, Office of Team and People Development, Management Board Secretariat,  Ontario Realty Corporation, and cabinet level of every provincial ministry, the Ontario Legislature, the House of Commons, Prime Minister’s office and Revenue Canada, Customs & Excise.

Industry Associations

The Ontario Greenhouse Alliance, Ontario Food Terminal, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, Ontario Medical Association, Ontario Corn Producers Association, Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance

Not For Profit - Public Interest

Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ontario Red Cross – Disaster Relief Division, Mohawk College, Chatham Capital Theatre, Ontario Red Cross – Home Care Division

Private Companies

Toronto Dominion Bank - Green Line, Union Gas, Hill & Knowlton, Pelee Island Winery