APCO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President Ron Williscroft

Currently working in the Communications Branch with the City of Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, Ron started his emergency services career in the mid 1980's as a search and rescue volunteer in Ontario. Trained in Communications Technology at the National Radio Institute, Ron has worked as a Sr. Field Technician, Subject Matter Expert and Systems Trainer in telecommunications with Bell Cellular, Motorola, Unitel and AT&T. Moving to Manitoba in 1989, he worked as a Paramedic in North Eastman and Interlake RHA's. Ron is an NFPA/IFSTA certified Emergency Services Instructor, Emergency Telecommunications Course instructor, ED-Q and graduate of the Communications Centre Manager program with Fitch & Associates/IAED. Ron is also as active member of NENA and CITIG and currently sits on the Manitoba EMS Provincial Communications Advisory Committee. His hobbies include being an active Amateur Radio operator and he is still active as a volunteer in government with the Province of Manitoba and within his home community.

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Vice President Robert Stewart

After working as a paramedic with BC Ambulance Service for 5 years, Robert bid into a position with BCAS's Vancouver Dispatch Operations Centre in 2002 and didn't look back. Over the next 8 years, he worked his way through the positions of call taker, dispatcher, Dispatch Officer and then Dispatch Supervisor in British Columbia's largest EMS call centre. In April 2010, Robert began work as the Manager, Dispatch Training, Development and Quality Improvement at BCAS. Away from the 9-1-1 setting, Robert flexes his passion for instructing by improving personal and team effectiveness in BC companies through a balance of facilitation and coaching using the Insights Discovery and Navigation models.
Robert lives with his wife and daughter in Greater Vancouver.

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Director Ryan Lawson

Ryan Lawson has been an Operations Manager at E-Comm (the 9-1-1 and Emergency Communications Center for Southwest BC) in Vancouver, BC since August of 2008. Ryan's background in Emergency Communications began as a 9-1-1 and Emergency Police call-taker in mid 2003. He has been an acting trainer, mentor to new call-takers, as well as provided leadership and training for E-Comm's PoliceCAD transition. Ryan accepted a management role as a Team Manager in April of 2006. Since taking on a management role, Ryan has helped lead the charge for integration of call-center metrics, measures, and methodology into the emergency and 9-1-1 environment. In addition, Ryan helped to lead the team that managed the transition of E-Comm Fire Dispatch to the Intergraph CAD and Locution Firehall Alerting System. In his most recent role Ryan has taken on responsibility and oversight of E-Comm's Training, Quality Assurance, Voice Records, Professional Standards, and Fire Dispatch Operation. Prior to joining E-Comm, Ryan held leadership positions in marketing with AT&T Canada, StarGarden Software, and as an Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. When not at E-Comm, Ryan enjoys golf and rollerblading, is an avid movie fan (and collector!) and is a lifelong student of military history. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in History from the University of British Columbia as well as certifications in Internet Marketing and Leadership.

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Director Joel McDonald

Joel McDonald currently works for the City of Lethbridge as a Communications Specialist. His current role is a 9-1-1 and Emergency call taker/dispatcher for Police, Fire, and Ambulance. He is an acting supervisor, a trainer, mentor, and Chairman of the Health and Safety Committee. Joel's career aspirations started with the Criminal Justice Police diploma program at Lethbridge College in early 2000. He then began studying Emergency Medicine and became a Licensed Emergency Medical Responder. In 2003 Joel began working in the Industrial Sector operating Emergency Transport vehicles and providing field education and implementation of safety protocols for companies in the Oil & Gas Industry. Joel continued his education in Emergency Medicine and is now a Licensed and Practicing Paramedic with the Alberta College of Paramedics. Joel has been a guest speaker several times at APCO conventions and has presented topics applicable for target audiences ranging from trainees to Center Managers. Joel currently lives in Lethbridge with his wife and 3 children.

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Director Theresa Virgin

Theresa started her career in 1975 with Peel Regional Police as a records clerk. In 1976 she was selected as one of a group of the first civilian dispatchers for Peel Regional Police. In 1980, left Peel Regional Police and joined Durham Regional Police as a dispatcher. In 1989 was awarded the position of Supervisor in Communications. In 1994, was selected to be the first civilian Manager of Durham Regional Police Communications Centre and 9-1-1 Manager. In 2004, due to a reconfiguration of Senior Management, took on the title and position of Communications/9-1-1 Technical Services Manager. She has completed a Masters Certificate in Regional Management from U.O.I.T. graduating in 2005 and has been a certified A.P.C.O. trainer since 2004. In addition to her other duties, Theresa is the current Editor for the Canada APCO "Wavelength" magazine. She recently retired from 36 years of policing. Theresa has long been an advocate for Communicators and communications training and has been an active member of APCO since 1994.
Theresa has been married to husband Ted for 31 years, has three children and two grandchildren.

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Director Cindy Sparrow

Cindy Sparrow is the Assistant Deputy Chief of the Red Deer 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Centre, in Red Deer, Alberta. Cindy is no stranger to Emergency Services and Public Safety Communications. Her 19-year career began in the northern community of Slave Lake, Alberta where she worked as both a dispatcher and a flight and ground EMT-A. Her journey in Emergency Services continued to Lethbridge, Alberta where she worked with the City of Lethbridge Public Safety Communications Centre as a Communications Specialist, Shift Supervisor, and then as Operations Manager over 13 years. In 2014 she moved to Red Deer 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Centre as the Assistant Deputy Chief. She has been in a leadership role since 2007 and assisted other agencies as a Public Safety Consultant. Passionate about the people and process in our industry, Cindy has developed and delivered several coaching, mentoring, training and quality assurance and improvement programs throughout her career. She specializes in implementation, process, change and people management. Off duty, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter motorcycling and travelling.

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Past President Gavin Hayes


In 2007 Gavin Hayes became involved in both Public Safety Communications and APCO Canada. Since that time he has served on APCO Canada’s Board of Directors, was elected to the position of President on two separate occasions, and has been the National Events Coordinator for the past three years. During his time as both Vice-President and President, Gavin was appointed as the Chair of the APCO Global Alliance for two terms. While occupying this position he was involved in a number of international initiatives within the United Arab Emirates.
In 2011 Gavin retired from a rewarding 31 year policing career as a Staff Sergeant with the Halton Regional Police Service. During his time with the Service, Gavin had the opportunity to manage its Regional PSAP. It was then he fully realized and grasped the efforts and professionalism of the people “in the seats” who truly are the, “First, First Responders.”
Since retiring, Gavin has taken on a number of full-time positions including a Police Foundations Instructor at Trillium College, an Investigator with the OIPRD (Office of the Independent Police Review Director), and currently is the Supervisor of the Corporate Security Department at Porter Airlines in Toronto.
Although retired from public safety and law enforcement, Gavin has maintained his connection to the public safety communications community through his work for not only APCO Canada, but through his deep connections with other affiliated Public Safety Communications Associations (iCERT, NENA, BAPCO and APCO International).
Gavin has and continues to work tirelessly in an effort to recognize and de-stigmatize mental health issues within both Emergency Services, but more importantly, Public Safety Communication Centers. Towards this goal, Gavin has spoken both nationally and internationally on mental health issues including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the effects it has had, and may have in the future for staff working in the public safety communications industry. Specifically, he has raised the “human” element nationally and internationally within the industry regarding any proposed NG-9-1-1 environment. These efforts culminated with APCO Canada’s “Your Voice Counts” campaign in 2014 which continues today.
Gavin has also been actively involved in promoting Christian humanitarian efforts in South West Africa for over a decade with International Teams in Burkina Faso at the Village of Hope. Since his retirement he has taken over the administration of the project as the “Project Champion” and works with the local partners to manage the project both here in Canada and also in Africa.

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