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EDCO 2022 Professional Development Regional Event - Whitby

  • 13 Sep 2022
  • 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
  • Centennial Building 416 Centre Street South, Whitby, L1N 4W2
  • 41

Registration is closed

Regional networking opportunity is coming to Whitby!

Take advantage of this opportunity to meet peers in your region and learn about trends in economic development that are effecting your municipality. Session topics include:

EDCO Regional Economic Development Professional Development Event

Central Region

416 Centre Street South, Whitby, Ontario

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Register for the Whitby Event Here

Registration Closes on Thursday, September 8, 2022


9:00 AM         Welcome 

9:15 AM         Session 1: Current and Future Trends of Economic Development

Micro-credentialing has become a popular approach to upgrading and transitioning skills in our workforce.  This session will explore this popular trend and the economic development implications for the future workforce.

Speaker Profiles:

Rachel Sumner has served as Chief Executive Officer of Ontario Tech Talent since November 2020. TALENT is a subsidiary of Ontario Tech University. Rachel is accountable to ensuring the organization that she leads delivers on its mission to ensure a lifetime of meaningful employment for all Canadians. Rachel’s team works with employers and focuses on critical talent shortages and skills gaps to develop talent pipeline strategies that will provide an ongoing supply of diverse, highly skilled, job ready candidates.

Dr. Scott Henderson is Dean and Head of Trent University Durham Campus. Dr. Henderson holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Dr. Henderson’s research explores music and locality, youth culture, popular culture and identity. Dr. Henderson develops distinct academic directions that differentiates the Trent Durham GTA campus.

Debbie Johnston serves as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Studies and Professional and Part-time Learning. As a results-driven leader with a passion for learning, Debbie uses her experience, insight and enthusiasm to help students transform themselves into professionals destined for success. Her work in corporate learning has earned national and international awards.

10:30 AM       Break 1

10:45 AM       Session 2: Bringing Housing, Business Support Services and Connections to Downtowns

This session provide insight into the importance of housing and community connections in downtowns and the benefits to businesses. This session will also explore the implementation of the recent My Mainstreet Program in Whitby and Oshawa.

Speaker Profiles:

Christy Chrus is the Manager of Creative Communities for the Town of Whitby. She is a Registered Professional Planner with over 15 years of experience, mostly centred around Downtown Development and recently has merged the culture, tourism and events portfolio into her work program. She is passionate about downtown revitalization of mid-size cities and has a new found interest in placemaking to support downtown development.

Teresa Shaver is CEO of the Business Advisory Centre Durham, which is one of Ontario's 54 Small Business Centres that help people build successful businesses. Teresa has always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and has worked in over 5 start up organizations across 3 countries and moved to Canada in August 1999 to be part of a start up in Toronto. Teresa has also run a number of her own businesses (a jewellery designer, mobile aesthetician, sewing teacher, yoga teacher) and has been a business coach for over 10 years.

Since 2016, Colleen Goodchild has been the Manager of Policy Planning and Special Studies at Durham.  Colleen is working with her team to complete Envision Durham, the Region’s municipal comprehensive review of the Durham Regional Official Plan.  She understands the importance of vibrant urban cores with housing choice that will attract and retain talent to Durham.  She understands that today’s knowledge workers can work from almost anywhere, and the places they choose to live will be walkable, compact, diverse neighbourhoods, that offer culture, restaurants, bars and cafes, parks, and arts and entertainment.

12:00 PM       Lunch Break & Networking

1:00 PM         Session 3: In-House Economic Strategy Development

In 2021, the Town of Whitby developed its first in-house economic development strategy. This session will explore the approach to developing a strategy, the process and lessons learned. The session also draws from the Region of Durham’s in-house agriculture strategy development process and lessons learned.

Speaker Profiles:

Paul Pirriis the Senior Manager of Economic Development for the Town of Whitby. Paul has demonstrated experience working in government administration with skills in economic development, community engagement and corporate communications.  He has a Master’s of Public Administration from Western University.  He also served as the youngest elected Councillor for the Town of Aurora from 2010 to 2018.

Stacey Jibb is the Manager of Agriculture and Rural Economic Development with the Region of Durham’s Economic Development and Tourism Division (Invest Durham). In this capacity Stacey works with a strong team to provide support for the Township of Scugog, Uxbridge and Brock as well as targeted programming to grow the agri-food industry in Durham Region. Stacey grew up on a dairy farm in north Durham and lives on a poultry and crop farm in Beaverton, Ontario with her partner.

Allison Brown is an Agriculture Economic Development Specialist with the Region of Durham and enjoys to support farms and agri-businesses across the region. She started working in this role in March 2020. Allison is a University of Guelph Class of 2019 graduate and has received her BSc. Agr majoring in Animal Science. She also farms with her family in Kawartha Lakes where they raise beef cattle and grow field crops.

Lisa MacKenzie is a Tourism Specialist within Durham Region’s Economic Development and Tourism division. She has been with the Region of Durham for over 6 years and has worked closely with community partners and stakeholders in both the agri-business and tourism sectors. Her work has included projects related to business retention and expansion, outreach and education, stakeholder relations, and marketing and promotion.

2:15 PM         Break 2

2:30 PM         Session 4: Current and Future Trends of FDI

This session provides insight into the post-COVID business environment as it concerns foreign direct investment attraction. The session examines business expansions into Canada, new foreign delegation approaches and key factors when evaluating locations.  Innovation in Ontario will be explored in terms of locational advantages for businesses.


Dennis Croft's work history includes HP, Compaq, CIBC, Canada Life, Open Text, and Rogers.  He has also worked with startup success stories such as D2L and 360insights. Dennis is very familiar with international business operations and expansion.  

As a strategic leader, Dennis helped establish two globally recognized innovation accelerators (Spark Centre and 1855 Accelerator), participated in 30+ tech. mergers and acquisitions, and has directly managed investments, grants, financing and fund-raising endeavors for scaling tech businesses.


In 2019, Dan Ruby joined the OVIN team as the Sector Manager for Automotive and Mobility Innovation.  In his role, Dan works with the seven OVIN Regional Technology Development Sites and helps develop and manage projects on behalf of the OVIN R&D funding streams.  Dan’s prior roles included Economic Development Manager for the City of Vaughan, and Managing Business Consultant for the York Small Business Enterprise Centre.

Simon Gill joined the Region of Durham as the Manager of Business Development & Investment in September 2017.  Since December 2018, he has served as the Director of Economic Development and Tourism where his team engages with the local and international business community to bring in investment and create jobs here in Durham. His team grows tourism, markets Durham’s value proposition for investment, and delivers a variety of economic development programming.

Matt Switzer is the Director for the USA East Market at Toronto Global. Toronto Global is the government agency that attracts and supports US companies as they expand and grow into the Toronto region.

3:45 PM         Question & Answer Period from the day – EDCO representative

4:00 PM Farewell & Thank you


Residence Inn Whitby by Marriott

September 13-14, 2022 EDCO Group Rate

Studio suite ( one Queen bed and a double bed pullout couch) -$179 + taxes 

Book your group rate for Economic Developers Council EDCO online or by calling 905 444 9756

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