Perry Spitznagel
Chairman & Managing Partner (Calgary), Bennett Jones LLP

Perry Spitznagel is vice-chairman of Bennett Jones, managing partner of the Calgary office and a member of the firm’s Partnership Board.

Perry is a corporate lawyer with extensive national and cross-border experience. He has acted for clients in some of the largest transactions in Canada, including many of Canada’s and North America’s largest national and cross-border mergers.

Perry has been recognized by Financial Post Magazine as one of the 25 most influential people in corporate Canada. He is also recognized by Chambers Global, the Legal Media Group, Best Lawyers in Canada, PLC Which Lawyer, the IFLR 1000 and The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a leading lawyer in his areas of expertise.

Perry is a director of public and private companies. He is also a director of Winsport Canada, which manages the legacy assets and programs of the Calgary Winter Olympics, and is a past director of Alpine Canada. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Samara Canada and a past member of the Alberta Securities Commission Advisory Committee. A former ski racer, Perry remains active in skiing.

Perry is a graduate of McGill University, BA (Economics), 1979, with great distinction, and Osgoode Hall Law School, LLB, 1982.

He is a frequent speaker and has chaired national and international conferences on a variety of business law topics. Perry speaks French and German.


John Cassels
President, Birkdale Energy Ltd.

John has spent the last 33 years in the Canadian oil and gas sector serving as a senior officer and director with nine publicly traded junior oil and gas companies with particular emphasis on finance and the public markets.

John was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bishop’s University in Quebec and moved to Calgary in 1972 where he became a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young (then Clarkson Gordon).

As a volunteer in ski racing, John served on the board of the Alberta Alpine Ski Association from 1984 to 1990, volunteered at the 1988 Calgary OWG at the alpine venue at Nakiska and became Chairman of the Lake Louise World Cup ROC in 1994. In 2011, he was appointed  Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Winterstart Events Ltd., the company responsible for the FIS Audi Alpine World Cup at Lake Louise.

Wayne Henuset
President, Willow Park Wines & Spirits

Wayne Henuset epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit that permeates Alberta’s economy.

Wayne Henuset’s focus for more than two decades was in the oil and gas industry. Wayne Henuset’s entrepreneurial spirit saw him diversify his business endeavours. In 1985, Wayne Henuset established Conquest Developments, a land development company building commercial and residential projects both in Florida and Alberta. In 1994, he opened Willow Park Wines & Spirits, which has become the largest privately owned retail liquor store in Canada, garnering world attention. In 2002, Wayne Henuset started Keller Williams Realty South, a real estate office in South Calgary that has quickly grown to over 145 agents.

In 2005, Wayne Henuset co-founded Energy Alberta Corp. to spearhead the building of safe and responsible civilian nuclear energy facilities in Alberta.  Wayne Henuset was instrumental in establishing nuclear energy as a viable energy source in fossil-rich Alberta and later forming a partnership with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.  In 2008, Energy Alberta Corp. was sold to Bruce Power Alberta, to continue the licensing process, construction and operation of the nuclear power plants.

Wayne Henuset is also extremely passionate about his philanthropic endeavours. In 2001, he established the Vintage Fund, an endowment fund operated by the Calgary Foundation. The Vintage Fund was created to support local charities. Most recently, the Vintage Fund teamed up with Calgary Metropolitan Foundation in the construction of affordable housing for seniors. On September 17th of 2010, Willow Park on the Bow officially opened with 150 units for carefree living. Wayne Henuset currently sits on the board of directors for Calgary Health Trust and SAIT.

Trevor H. Nakka
Senior Practice Partner, Deloitte

Trevor is a senior Deloitte partner based in Calgary, with two decades of experience delivering assurance and advisory services to complex entities, as well playing roles in firm management, leadership and governance roles.  Trevor’s current focus is on co-leading the firm’s CFO Program, leading teams of partners and staff in service to some of Deloitte’s most important clients and serving on Deloitte Canada’s Board of Directors.

During Trevor’s 20+ years with Deloitte, he has been involved in over 10 initial public offerings, as well as more than 60 public company prospectuses, complex securities filings and M&A transactions; Trevor is experienced in addressing complex matters with clients, securities commission personnel, legal counsel and investment advisors.  Trevor has significant volunteer board experience, and frequently presents to boards of directors or board committees on complex financial matters, risk management, governance, financial reporting and advisory issues.

Chris Perks
Managing Director & Head Corporate Banking- Energy, CIBC Capital Markets

Mr. Perks joined the Corporate Banking, Energy Group in 1996 and is responsible for the origination and execution of credit transactions in the energy sector. Supported by a team of 15 professionals dedicated to the sector, he and his team manage approximately 75 energy clients in Canada for whom credit commitments aggregate to roughly C$12 billion.

Mr. Perks assisted with the successful re-establishment of CIBC’s Houston-based Energy Finance Group in 2010 which now consists of 10 credit professionals and has grown to assets of $3.5 billion since that time.

Sector specialization includes conventional oil & gas, oil sands, shale oil & gas, CBM, LNG, pipelines, midstream/downstream oil & gas operations, and power generation.

Mr. Perks has significant bank debt financing experience having executed numerous project and corporate finance transactions over the past 18 years in the energy sector.

Mr. Perks is a past executive board member and Treasurer of the Alberta Chamber of Resources (2000 – 2010) and is currently President & Chair of the Calgary French & International School Foundation (since 2005).

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce with distinction from McGill University in Montreal and a Master of Business Administration from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver

Bob Thompson
President and CEO, Brownstone Asset Management

Bob Thompson is vice-chairman of the Calgary Stampede’s board of directors. He has been a volunteer with the organization since 1987 and has been on the board since 1998. As a Stampede director, he has participated extensively in developments and strategy associated with Stampede expansion.

Bob Thompson founded Brownstone Asset Management and serves as President and Chief Executive Officer. Bob directs corporate strategy and governance, and is a lead portfolio manager with the firm. Prior to forming the company, Bob spent twenty years in the energy and investment management business.

Bob is a member of the Financial Sector Advisory Board for the Calgary Economic Development Authority.

Bob earned a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) degree from Arizona State University in 1982, a Masters of Business Administration from European University, Geneva Switzerland in 1989, and the Canadian Investment Manager designation in 1997.