Our Board and Staff
The Board of VHEMI is committed to preserving this incredible chapter of Canadian history and to telling the many stories of this special place. VHEMI volunteers manage the day-to-day operations of the Island with a view to conserving and celebrating its cultural, heritage and environmental value and thereby adding to the value-added features of life in historic Saint Andrews - Canada's oldest seaside resort town. Our goal is to increase the experiential value to tourists visiting the town, the Charlotte Coastal Region and Southern New Brunswick.
John is currently a private consultant in the area of Education Leadership and Workforce Development. Previously, he worked with New Brunswick’s CyberNB’s Cybersmart, leading the development of a talent pipeline for the cybersecurity sector in the province. He is a past president of C21 Canada: Canadians for 21st Century Learning and Innovation (2011-2014). He is the former Deputy Minister of New Brunswick Education (Anglophone Sector) 2003-2010; and was the Deputy Minister of New Brunswick Intergovernmental Affairs between 2001-2003. Previously he worked for government helping to develop the province’s aquaculture sector. John graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1978 and earned a master's degree in urban and regional planning at the University of Waterloo in 1982. He lives in Fredericton with his wife and has three children and eight grandchildren.
Board Vice Chair
Gordon Gilman is originally from Saint Andrews and has acquired over four decades of experience in public service, private business and crown corporations across the province and, upon retirement, recently returned to enjoy life by the sea. He began his career with the Royal Bank of Canada, gained experience in private sector property and restaurant management and rose through the provincial public service to leadership positions including Vice President of New Brunswick’s Regional Development Corporation, Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Health and President and Chief Operating Officer of Facilicorp NB where he led the organization’s design, implementation, and operations of selected non-clinical services for the New Brunswick provincial health system. Upon becoming Deputy Minister of Government Services, President and CEO of Service New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Internal Services Agency, he oversaw the merging of four government organizations to create a new Service New Brunswick and in 2015 became its first Chief Executive Officer. He was instrumental as Deputy Minister of the departments of Finance and Human Resources in creating the new Treasury Department and Secretary to Treasury Board Cabinet Committee. Gordon has maintained a commitment to community service throughout his career. Along with holding positions on many public sector boards including Algonquin Properties Limited, he has also served on the boards of Theatre New Brunswick, Medbuy, and Partners for Youth. As a proud Charlotte county native, Gordon is pleased to contribute to the VHEMI’s work on Minister’s Island.
Andrew Cook, FCPA, FCA
Andrew Cook, a resident of Saint Andrews, is a retired audit partner of public accounting firm Deloitte. During his career with the firm, Andrew worked in offices in Saint John, Fredericton, Mississauga, and Toronto. He concluded his career as National Professional Practice Director, with national responsibility for risk management and quality control. Andrew is a life-long volunteer, serving community and national organizations. He has been President of Golf Canada, New Brunswick Golf Association, Fredericton North Rotary Club, New Brunswick Institute of Chartered Accountants and United Way of Fredericton. He also served as Campaign Chair for United Way of Fredericton and was a member of the Executive Committees of United Way of Canada and Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. Following his retirement, he served as Area Representative for Toronto West region of the Opimian Society before moving back to New Brunswick and Saint Andrews in 2017.
Allan Fiander, M. Sc., P. Eng
After completing postgraduate studies in England, Allan was a member of the Civil Engineering faculty at the University of New Brunswick for seven years. In 1976 he started his career as a private sector consultant. Since 1983 he has been Owner/President of two Consulting Engineering firms undertaking feasibility studies, planning, design and construction engineering services for a broad range of Transportation and Tourism projects throughout Atlantic Canada (including the 30 km linear Fundy Trail Parkway facilities along the Bay of Fundy coast east of St. Martins). Allan has participated at the Fredericton Branch level and as a Councillor for the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick. He has also held executive roles including terms as President on Boards of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (Atlantic Provinces Section) and the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies - New Brunswick. His local community involvement includes membership on the Van Horne Heritage Trail Committee and he was a founding Board member of Charlotte Dial-a-Ride. Allan served as President of Saint Andrews Civic Trust Inc. during the period when the Trust's focus was restoring the once nearly derelict Pendlebury Lighthouse.
Jay's background includes careers in the worlds of fine arts, philanthropy, hospitality and travel. After spending 25 years in the world of fine arts and antiques, Jay has shifted focus and now writes a weekly etiquette column for the Telegraph Journal and produces two local television shows on CHCO TV. Jay's community involvement includes board roles at Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature Center, the Ross Memorial Museum, past chair Friends of the Ross, the John Howard Society, Charlotte County Reads, Past president BIA, chair CHCO TV, Kingsbrae Garden and Passamaquoddy Lodge. Jay has extensive experience in restoring old buildings and communities.
John G. Kelly, B. Com., LL. B., M. Sc., M.A., F.CIS
John has roots as a “Bay of Fundy” boy. He was born and raised in Saint John. His parents made frequent family trips to Saint Andrews during his youth. Those sojourns to this wonderful historic tourist haven imparted an indelible memory with him on the importance of heritage and preserving and enhancing its legacy. His recently published book “Meaningful Memories” (www.johngkelly.ca) recounts how growing up in a vibrant historic east coast community exposed him to learning experiences that were instrumental in developing an appreciation for the role that heritage and heritage preservation plays in creating the foundation for innovative intergenerational active community living. He left Saint John as an adult to pursue a professional career as a law professor in Toronto. He and his wife Susan, a Torontonian, resided in the heart of downtown Toronto in the historic St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. John took on an active role as co-chair of the St. Lawrence Market in developing a framework for innovation by local vendors and community stakeholders in the modernization of the legacy of one of North America’s landmark historic food markets. John and Susan have decided to return to his roots to be close to family. Small town living in historic Saint Andrews by the Sea on the shores of the Bay of Fundy has always been on the top of their agenda when the talk was about “coming home”. John has not come home to retire but to engage in an “encore career” and is wanting to make Ministers Island board membership an important part of this mission.
Hon. Michael Phelan
The Honourable Michael L. Phelan, recently retired judge of the Federal Court, is a lifetime part-time resident of Charlotte County with a home in Breadalbane with a perfect sightline to Ministers Island. His family (Gillmor’s of St. George) has roots in the county and long-time connections to Passamaquoddy Bay. His home is on family land and with his grandchildren, there have been six generations on that property. He practiced law in Ottawa with two national law firms before his appointment to the Bench. Michael has a keen interest in history and a lifelong passion for and commitment to the area. He sees the Island as one of the understated gems in the area steeped in pre and post-colonial history.
Mary Lynne Borsella, B. Sc., MBA
Mary Lynne Borsella was born and raised in Saint Andrews NB, and continues to be involved in the community through her position with New Brunswick Community College (NBCC). An experienced academic leader with twenty years of diverse progressive administrative experience, Mary Lynne has been a senior leader with NBCC holding many positions within the organization from Department Head, Campus Dean, Provincial Dean and Academic Chair. Throughout her career in post-secondary education, Mary Lynne has had the opportunity to lead diverse groups of educators and learners and to connect with industry members, organizations, and business owners with respect to the education and training required for their employees. Mary Lynne has been involved in many industry sectors throughout her career and is currently responsible for NBCC’s Hospitality and Tourism Management and Post-Graduate Business programs. Prior to entering the world of post-secondary education, Mary Lynne held several positions in the Recreation and Tourism industry with private wellness centers, ParticiPaction Canada, CP Hotels and Resorts and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts where she was the Director of Spa and Recreation services at the Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrews. Mary Lynne is excited to bring her experience in education and tourism to her role as a member of the Board.
Steve Pierce has been an educator for more than 35 years. Steve's experiences include extensive travel and cross-cultural work in education. He taught school in Papua New Guinea, in Nunavut and in New Brunswick. Now semi-retired and living in Saint Andrews, he has been a school principal in four different schools for more than twenty-eight years. Steve's experience also includes more than fifteen years of teaching part-time at University of New Brunswick, Faculty of Education. Steve is currently teaching graduate students online in educational leadership. University teaching also includes instructing lead-teachers in Bhutan, school principals in St. Lucia and teachers in Trinidad and Tobago. In addition, Steve served as Director of the New Brunswick Centre for Educational Administration at University of New Brunswick for two years, promoting leadership development regionally.
Stephen is the General Manager of the Algonquin Hotel and Resort St Andrews, NB. He holds a degree in Hotel & Catering Management Studies from the University of Kirklees, Huddersfield, UK. Stephen started his career at The Savoy Hotel in London, England. He progressed through progressive management positions with Holiday Inn and Marriott Hotels then became the proprietor of a number of hotels in theUK. He has always been community minded serving on Municipal Councils, District Chambers of Commerce, Municipal Tourism Teams, Hotelier Associations, Quality Steering groups and Theatre groups.
Robert Neil, P. Eng.
Soon after graduating in civil engineering from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Bob moved to Canada to accept a position with Canadian Pacific Railway in Regina, Sask. He subsequently had a 33-year railway career at numerous locations across the country in engineering, operations, marketing and executive roles. In 2000, he established his consulting firm providing management advisory and evaluation services in the transportation and logistics service industries. Clients included federal, provincial and First Nations governments, port authorities, railways and shippers. He has previously served on the Boards of various railway companies and was a director of VHEMI from 2015 to 2022. He had a summer home in St Andrews for many years and on retirement, moved permanently to the Town. Having had the opportunity to appreciate and admire Van Horne’s achievements close-up during his CPR career, Bob has returned to the Board with a desire to contribute to the long-term success of Ministers Island.
Ex-Officio Board Member
Shannon is originally from the Miramichi and is a proud and passionate New Brunswicker. During her career with the New Brunswick Public Service, she has worked in several departments in progressively responsible roles. She is currently Assistant Deputy Minister of Heritage and Museums and Corporate Services with the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, and represents the department on the Ministers Island Board of Directors in an ex officio capacity. Shannon was a student of UNB Fredericton’s Business Administration Program and is a graduate of the New Brunswick Community College, Queen’s University’s Executive Human Resources Program, UNB’s Public Service Management Program, and Government of New Brunswick’s Executive Leadership Development Program. Shannon has several years of experience in strategic planning, legislative and policy development and interpretation, program development and delivery, client service delivery, stakeholder consultation and engagement, continuous improvement and performance, financial management, human resource services, data analysis for decision-making, and the machinery of government. She works with colleagues across government departments and agencies, with stakeholders and various associations, and with her federal, provincial, and territorial counterparts. Shannon believes strongly in giving back to her community through volunteering with Liberty Lane second-stage housing for women and children, Greener Village Food Bank, Fredericton’s Women in Transition House, and United Way and is a leadership mentor to women, human resource professionals and university students.
Acting Executive Director
Having extensive senior management, administrative and organizational improvement experience, Keith has many skill sets that have contributed to his leadership success to date. These strengths include effective communication and relationship building skills as well as system improvement and vision planning expertise. Keith's professional background is centered in education. He served as Superintendent of Schools and Director of Education with the Province of New Brunswick. And he holds a Masters of Education degree from the University of New Brunswick.
Born in Scotland but raised in Saint Andrews, Susan has been a vital part of the Ministers Island team since 1998. In addition to various administrative duties, she is responsible for: the upkeep of Covenhoven; organization of all island tours and events; training of tour guides and volunteers and promotional activities. She has an incredible historical knowledge of Saint Andrews, Van Horne and Ministers Island and combines this with her quick sense of humour to provide an excellent experience for those visiting the island. Susan has contributed immensely to VHEMI and is an enthusiastic supporter of the current direction for the Island.
Administration & Accounting Manager
Born and raised in New Brunswick, Lucinda moved home 9 years ago to be closer to family and friends. She enjoys spending time on Ministers Island. Her Accounting and Administrative education and experience makes her a valuable asset to The Van Horne Estate on Ministers Island. She believes that the Island and its vast trails is a place for everyone to visit and explore.
Facility & Landscape Manager
Dwight grew up in Charlotte County and has deep roots in New Brunswick. Before graduating from high school in St. Stephen, he spent summers working on Grand Mannan and in Saint Andrews. He has worked and travelled extensively throughout Canada, South America, Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe. His interest in sustainable design led to a post-secondary degree from the University of Guelph in Landscape Architecture followed by a career in the private and municipal sectors. Dwight enjoys collaborating with others and exploring new ideas to achieve goals. He is enthusiastic about the opportunity to combine his personal expertise and professional skills to continue holistically developing and promoting the Island for the enjoyment of all.