Karen Diebert – Manager and Subdivision Technician

Karen’s main goal as Manager is to ensure the delivery of planning services to the Agency’s members while maintaining the financial viability and long term future of the Mackenzie Municipal Services Agency.  As Subdivision Technician, her experience and knowledge of the subdivision process both from a practical and legislative basis has proven to be a valuable asset to the Agency.

Karen began her career in planning in 1980 when she joined the staff of the Peace River Regional Planning Commission based in Grande Prairie.  In 1983, the Mackenzie Regional Planning Commission was formed and Karen assisted in setting up the new organization and took on the lead role of Subdivision Technician.  She has continued in this role through the transition from a regional planning commission to the services agency.

In terms of the administration of the Agency, Karen took over these duties when the Agency downsized in the year 2000.  Over the past years with changes in staffing, this position has progressed to that of overall Manager.

Havan Surat, MRAIC, FIIA, GISP – Manager of Planning and GIS

Havan Surat is an architect, urban planner and urban designer. As a Manager of Planning and GIS, Havan manages the planning functions and documents delivery to the member municipalities in a timely manner. He involves in both, long range and current planning activities and coordinate with agency team members and municipal staff for project updates. He has completed numerous municipal statutory documents that include Municipal Development Plans, Inter-municipal Development Plans, Land Use Bylaws and Area Structure Plans and currently involved in developing Municipal Development Plan Guidebook for Government of Alberta Municipal Affairs. Being a Certified GIS Professional (GISP), Havan manages the GIS team for quality map products delivery and implementing web mapping solutions to the local municipal organizations.

Havan has Dual Master Degrees in Urban Planning and Urban Design along with graduate certificates in GIS and Development Review from The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Texas at Austin respectively. He has graduate certificates in GIS and Development Review from The University of Texas at Arlington and a GIS Skills Enhancement Certificate from the Tarrant County College. He has worked earlier in city municipal planning departments for the City of Fort Worth and City of Columbia in USA on various current and long range planning projects. He is a Member of Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (MRAIC) and Fellow Member of The Indian Institute of Architects (FIIA).

Elise Willison, RPP, MCIP – Senior Planner

As Senior Planner, Elise supervises the Agency’s current intern and is one of the key “go to” planning staff. Her varied municipal/regional planning experience, knowledge of the agency municipalities, in addition to past municipal and private sector practice have contributed to this role. Elise is involved in both long range and current planning duties including developing and revising policy and legislative documents including Intermunicipal Development Plans, Municipal Development Plans, Area Structure Plans and Land Use Bylaws. Current planning responsibilities include providing advice and recommendations to municipalities regarding development inquiries, drafting amendments and research projects. Research projects include topics such as Lot Availability Studies, Housing Studies, briefs to the Agency board on provincial policy changes including the Municipal Government Act.

Elise has worked with the Agency since January 2009.  Her previous work experience was in Ontario, working within the Niagara, Hamilton and Toronto Regions for fifteen years in planning, drafting and related fields.  Elise holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts (BAA Degree), Urban and Regional Planning from Ryerson University and earned her RPP, MCIP in January 2007. Elise also holds a Cartographic Technician Diploma from Seneca College.

Alisha Mody, RPP, MCIP- Municipal Planner

Alisha is a municipal planner with expertise in strategic planning, land use bylaws, and policy development.  She works on both long range planning projects for all member municipalities and with the Town of Peace River on current planning policy, projects and development.  Recently completed projects include Area Structure Plan Guidelines for the MD of Peace No. 135 and working with a Mural Selection Committee to select a location and artist for the Town of Peace River’s most recent public art. Alisha is currently working on an Intermunicipal Development Plan for the County of Northern Lights and the Village of Nampa, as well as a number land use bylaw amendments addressing a variety of issues in a number of member municipalities.

Alisha has been working as a professional planner for five years and has a Masters of Planning degree from the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning. Before joining the MMSA, Alisha worked with the regional planning department at the Fraser Valley Regional District and the strategic planning division of Metro Vancouver’s Transportation Authority (TransLink).

Philip Rough, B.URPL, MCIP Candidate – Municipal Planner

Phil is a municipal planner with expertise in land use bylaws, policy development and interpretation. He works primarily on providing planning advice and recommendations to development inquiries from municipalities. Phil also assists with subdivision inquiries and the processing of subdivision applications. Recently completed projects include the review and rewrite of Land Use Bylaws for the Towns of High Prairie and Falher.

Phil graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (B.URPL) in 2005. After graduation, Phil worked with Kneehill County. He obtained an International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance in 2008 and spent 1 year in Sudan working with a Swiss Humanitarian Aid Organization. Phil also worked as a Planning Technician with Alberta Transportation.

Jorden Olmstead, B.A. – Municipal Planner

Jorden joined the MMSA staff through the Alberta Municipal Internship Program as a Municipal Planner. He has experience in community engagement, geographic systems and legal issues in planning. Jorden is gaining knowledge in both current and long-range planning. He is assisting on research projects including the Gravel Pit Study for the MD of Fairview No. 136, an Affordable Housing Study for the Town of Rainbow Lake, and a Lot Availability Study for the Village of Nampa.

Jorden completed his Bachelor of Arts in Regional and Urban Planning at the University of Saskatchewan in 2015 and obtained a Certificate in GIS from Saskatchewan Polytechnic in 2016. As a part of his undergrad, he completed a practicum with Prairie Wild Consulting Co. in Saskatoon. He also worked with the Prince Albert Downtown Business Improvement District to conduct a “Downtown Building Inventory” and “Midtown Housing Inventory” while obtaining his Certificate in GIS.

Thomas Deming, B.A., CPT – Planning Technician

As a Planning Technician, Tom is working with both the Planning and GIS departments. Tom works on current development planning and on long-range planning projects for member municipalities. Currently Tom is focused on the Birch Hills County Municipal Development Plan rewrite, providing planning advice and recommendations for development inquiries and civic addressing. GIS projects include MDP maps, special purpose maps, LUB amendment drawings, and working on the Town of Peace River’s GIS projects. He also manages the Agency’s Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

Tom is from Port Dover, Ontario.  He has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Geography from Brock University and a Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning and GIS from Mohawk College. He has also interned with Stantec Consulting Ltd as an Environmental Planner and the Town of West Lincoln as a Planner. Tom is currently enrolled in the Applied Land Use Planning program at the University of Alberta.

Clark Zhou, MSc – Senior GIS Technologist

Clark is the Senior GIS Technologist whose main responsibility is the development and maintenance of the Agency web mapping.  Clark brings over 10 years of GIS work experience and is proficient in the programs needed to move the GIS program forward.

Previously, Clark worked with Opus Stewart Weir for 7 years designing and developing web maps, cartography and geography maps.  Clark has a Certificate in GIS Technology from NAIT.  He has a Master of Science Degree in Geophysics from Ocean University of China.

Hector Perez, B.A., MSc – GIS Technologist

Hector is a GIS Technologist with expertise in professional mapping, GIS analysis, geoprocessing, and aerial photo interpretation. He is responsible for the on-going spatial data maintenance and dissemination, as well as for the compilation and organization of GIS data from maps, databases and other sources. Hector is also in charge of the end-use support and the generation of maps and other GIS reports and information products. The main projects he is currently involved in are rural addressing, land use bylaw, plan index, landowner and cemetery map generation and updates.

Hector worked as a GIS Technician for the University of Extremadura in Spain for nearly four years where he provided GIS technical support to new students and the Forestry Research Group staff. He was also in charge of developing several hydrological projects and hydraulic simulations in order to obtain floodplain maps.

Hector holds a Bachelor Degree in Forestry Engineering and a Master Degree in Geographic Information Technologies: GIS and Remote Sensing from the University of Extremadura’s Forestry and Environmental Engineering department.

Brenda Taylor – Administrative Assistant

As Administrative Assistant, Brenda assists all staff with projects and assignments to deliver quality services to the member municipalities and our clients.  She brings a background of office administration and project management.  Brenda has been working with the MMSA since January 2007.

Darlene Hachey – Administrative Assistant

Darlene recently joined the MMSA team in February 2017 as the Administrative Assistant. She provides assistance to the staff, municipalities and clients. Her strengths are in office administration and customer service.