ABFI Board of Directors

Chris Thrall, ABFI Board Chair
Chris Thrall
President and CEO, BioRefinex Canada Inc.

BioRefinex is a startup company that is commercializing an Alberta developed technology to convert organic wastes into high grade organic fertilizers and feedstock for biogas production. Chris has over 15 years of international energy, environment, and agriculture commodity operations experience. Prior to joining BioRefinex, he held a number of senior management positions with Direct Energy Marketing Limited, Centrica plc, and Enron Europe Limited. Most recently Chris headed up Direct Energy's renewable energy and carbon markets business in North America. Prior to that he managed their Canadian gas and power trading operation. He also led M & A teams that successfully acquired five gas-fired power stations in North America and the United Kingdom representing over 1700 MW of generation capacity.

Chris currently is a Board Member of McIntyre Ranching Co Ltd., Tessera Ventures Inc. and Shared Key Inc., which are family owned and operated businesses. He also served on the Boards of Association of Power Producers of Ontario and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, based our of Washington, DC. He received his MBA from INSEAD and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University.

Rich Groom, ABFI Board Director

Rich Groom
Partner at Vanta Group

From group benefits to insurance, risk management to pension planning, Vanta Group serves many of Canada's most successful businesspeople.

Specializing in the design and implementation of comprehensive and strategic plans, Vanta Group's partners and advisors bring more than a century of collective expertise. With a dynamic and proactive approach, we're giving new meaning to the phrase "in the black".

Kevin Algar, ABFI Board Director

Kevin Algar
Algar, Virtue & Associated Inc., President

Algar, Virtue & Associates Inc., President Kevin Algar, BA (Hons), JD, CIMA, CFP, CLU, TEP is passionate about helping Canadian families prudently manage their wealth.

With 38 years experience in the fields of tax, investment and estate planning, he provides premium, exclusive and independent professional wealth management services to Canadian families. Having participated in the preparation of hundreds of wealth plans, he possesses a tremendous knowledge base of what works and what doesn't.

He has been an instructor and speaker on taxation and retirement planning topics to groups including the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Canadian Tax Foundation and the (former) Canadian Association of Financial Planners.

His education and credentials span the field of wealth management. He holds a BA (Honours) in psychology and is a Certified Financial Planner® certificant, with specialized training in a variety of areas. In the field of investment planning, he carries the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) designation administered by the Investments & Wealth Institute® (formerly IMCA) and taught in conjunction with The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. In the fields of tax and estate planning, he has a law degree (Juris Doctor) from the University of Calgary, and is a Registered Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) and a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).

He loves golf and boating on the West Coast and lives with his family in Calgary.

Buffy Lammie, ABFI Board Director
Buffy Lammie
Vice President of Energy and Commercial Financial Services, RBC

Buffy currently holds the role of Vice President Energy and Commercial Financial Services in Edmonton. She has over 17 years of experience with RBC in banking and business management.

During her time at RBC, she has held various leadership roles including Senior Commercial Account Manager, Vice President Commercial Banking Health Care Professionals Team, Regional Vice President Edmonton North Integrated Markets and her current role as Vice President Energy and Commercial Financial Services. Buffy has expertise in financial management, complex deal structuring, and leadership.

Buffy graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science degree, a Bachelor of Education degree and a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in International Business. At the University of Alberta, she was awarded the APEGGA Alberta Education Scholarship, and Labatt's MBA Fellow Award. She has been awarded at RBC; the Royal Bank Convention for top performers; the LEO Award; and as well, the prestigious Executive Counsel Private Banking Award.

Buffy takes pride in volunteering and participating in her community. She enjoys golfing and is an avid sailor having attained her Canadian Yachting Association Bronze Level 5. Buffy also holds a Grade 10 Level in Piano from The Royal Conservatory of Music. She is also active on the Advisory Board with the Alberta Family Business Institute at the University of Alberta. 

Photo of Dean Koeller, ABFI Board Director
Dean Koeller
President, Calvert Home Mortgage Investment Corporation

Dean Koeller is President of Calvert Home Mortgage Investment Corporation, a family owned business for more than 45 years. Calvert Home Mortgage has financing $700 million in mortgages on over 6,000 properties in Alberta and is currently expanding into the Ontario market. Dean has been actively involved as an industry leader serving as the Founder and Chair of the Private Mortgage Lenders Form for 10 years, served as director and President with the Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association, committee member of the Alberta Securities Commission, Exempt Market Advisory Committee, a director of Youth Central and former director of Energy Insurance Group and director (8 years) and Chair (2 years) of a non-profit group cSPACE Projects.

The family was honored as a Signature Family in 2019 by the Alberta Business Family Institute, and a finalist for the Calgary Business Family of the Year with Family Enterprise Xchange in 2016. Dean has been recognized as a Mortgage Investment Entity Industry Leadership Award by the Private Capital Market Association (PCMA) in 2017, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service in 2013, Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association President Award in 2012 and Top 40 under 40 in 2006 by Calgary Inc. Magazine.

Deanna Werklund, ABFI Board Director

Deanna Werklund MBA, ICD.D

A visionary leader with an entrepreneurial spirit, Deanna Werklund is founder of Emergenetics Canada (2013) and the charity for youth leadership, Empowering Minds (2012).

Deanna graduated from Queen’s University EMBA program in 2014.  Deanna is also a graduate of the Institute for Corporate Directors, a Master Graduate of Rapport Leadership International, and a graduate of the highly distinguished Judy Project – an initiative led by the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. 

Deanna sits on four Boards - Calgary Counselling Centre, WEDO Alberta, Alberta Business Family Institute, and Empowering Minds.  All of these organizations do important work that align with her values of helping others succeed and improving mental wellness.

A mother of two (super great) grown children, Deanna enjoys spending time vacationing with her partner Rob Finot and their beautiful Rottie, Dani, anywhere there is a beach and warm weather.

Lloyd Steier
Distinguished Chair, Entrepreneurship & Family Enterprise,
Professor - Department of Strategic Management and Organization
Academic Director - Centre for Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise (CEFE)
Academic Director, Alberta Business Family Institute
Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta

Joseph Doucet
Stanley A Milner Chair in Leadership
School of Business, University of Alberta

Shauna Feth
Executive Director
Alberta Business Family Institute
School of Business, University of Alberta