Community Futures Huron is a not-for-profit organization serving the communities of Huron County since 1993. As a Community Futures Development Corporation, we are mandated by and partially funded through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (a.k.a. FedDev Ontario).
CFHuron operations are overseen by a 13-member volunteer Board of Directors including 1 County of Huron councillor appointed by the Warden. These individuals represent the various communities and economic sectors of Huron County. In addition to possessing financial, strategic planning and community development skills, board members are committed to improving the local economy through their involvement in community-based business and economic development initiatives.
Our 2021/2022 Board of Directors
Alison Lobb, President
Alison Lobb was involved in economic development in Huron County before Community Futures Huron came into existence. It was through that involvement that she came to be the founding director of Huron Business Development Corporation, now known as Community Futures Huron.
Alison takes community involvement seriously. As well as being a founding director of Community Futures Huron, she sat on the Marketing and Policy & Procedures Committees at the Blyth Festival and held the position of treasurer at the Festival for 10 years. She was treasurer for 3 years and is currently a director of the Centre for Coastal Conservation. Alison was actively involved in both the Centennial Celebrations for Goderich Township in 1967 and was on the executive committee for the Sesquicentennial celebrations in 1985. She has edited and written books on Goderich history, and served as co-chair of the 175th Celebrations of Goderich Township. Alison has served 25 years as a Municipal Councillor.
Alison was born and raised in Toronto and married into rural life in Central Huron. She has five great kids and 6 fantastic grandchildren.
Maureen Agar, Secretary-Treasurer
Maureen Agar and her husband Merv raised four fantastic children on their dairy/cash crop farm in McKillop Township until retirement.
Maureen was born in Stratford and learned all about farming ‘cold turkey’ when she and her husband married. A few mishaps during the initial years of transforming the city girl to a country girl kept many of the ‘seasoned’ farmers entertained.
After taking the Canadian Securities Course, Maureen helped form the ‘Pick Up Investors’ Club’ in the late 80’s, and for over 20 years a group of farmers met to discuss crop pricing, management practices, and financial issues important to agriculture.
As a passionate community volunteer Maureen Agar has been President of Seaforth Minor Hockey, Chair of School Parent Councils, and Director/Secretary of Huron East/Seaforth Community Development Trust.
Maureen now is Chair of the Seaforth Country Classic, Secretary of the Seaforth BIA, and a Director of Community Futures Huron. Maureen loves the community she adopted and recognizes that to have a vibrant community it is very important to be involved.
Jim Fergusson, Vice-President
John Kiser has worked in the financial services industry since 1986, and joined the Libro Credit Union team in 2012. He graduated with a Bachelor of Education in Adult Education (BEd ADED) from Brock University and holds a Business Administration & Marketing Diploma from Fanshawe College. As a Coach, John focuses on helping Owners achieve financial prosperity.
Now retired, Keith Roulston was the founder and long-time publisher of North Huron Publishing Company Inc., a community-owned company that publishes The Citizen, The Rural Voice and Stops Along the Way. He was co-founder of the Blyth Festival.
Myles Murdock is deputy mayor of the Town of Goderich and a county councillor.
Formerly, he taught Business Education (B.Comm.,B.Ed.) at Goderich Collegiate for almost 30 years. He sat on the AMGH Foundation for the past 12 years, chairing it for five years.
Myles, as part of his county responsibilities, sits on the Huron Perth Public Health Board, Finance Committee, and Water Protection Steering. His Goderich responsibilities cover Source Water Protection (10 years), Public Works liaison, and the Community Economic Development Committee. Despite having left teaching, he continues to coach basketball both at the high school and in the town, and is in his 45th year of doing so.
Anita van Hittersum
Anita van Hittersum and her family immigrated from the Netherlands in January 1999 where Anita used to work as a registered nurse.
Together with her family she now owns and operates a dairy farm in North Huron.
Through a variety of volunteer work, courses, and other opportunities Anita has gained a broad knowledge and interest in the rural community.
Anita was elected councilor for North Huron in 2018. She is the council representative at the North Huron Economic Development Committee, the Wingham and Area Health Professional Recruitment Committee and the Cross-Border Service Committee. She is also a board member for the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority.
Anita looks forward to continuing to support the well-being, economic growth and prosperity of farmers and rural residents in Huron County.
Alex Ripley grew up in Teeswater and now hang my hat in Goderich. After schooling in Toronto (HBA University of Toronto) and Halifax (MA Dalhousie University), I worked with the Nova Scotia government and the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, and then spent a few years working overseas before coming back to Canada in 2019. These days I’m Economic Development Officer for Agriculture with the County of Huron, where I’ve managed projects including (but not limited to) AgPrize and the 2020 Municipal Economic Development and Planning Forum. I’m passionate about start-ups and innovation, economic development policy, and am committed to helping Canadian businesses scale and grow their markets at home and abroad. Away from work, I like to travel, entertain, and do various outdoorsy things.
Kathy O’Reilly is a Registered Nurse who has over 37 years experience primarily working in the long-term care sector. Her professional career includes that of being Vice President, Quality and Performance Improvement with Extendicare Canada with responsibilities for quality programs in over 100 LTC homes across Canada. She has also previously held a variety of positions with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care (MOHLTC) including overall provincial responsibility for the management of long-term care home inspection related programs across the province. She is also a past surveyor with Accreditation Canada.
Kathy was the Chair of the Huron County Hospice Palliative Site Development Committee and was responsible for the overall development and commissioning of the residential hospice model currently operationalized by the Hospice. Her interest in hospice palliative care continues to be driven by a deeply personal desire to enhance overall hospice palliative care and services for all residents in Huron County and she remains a volunteer with Huron Hospice. Currently she is employed by the Huron Perth Public Health as a Registered Nurse assisting with the COVID-19 immunization program.
Kathy lives in Egmondville with Greg, her husband of over 42 years and has been blessed with 3 wonderful children and 9 beautiful grandchildren.
Winona Bailey is the Retail Operations Manager and Creative Lead for five one nine prints & frames in Zurich, Ontario, Canada. Previously she was employed at the Hensall District Co-operative as the Public Relations & Brand Ambassador. In her own business, winonab.photography, aside from five one nine prints & frames, Winona offers website services, branding advisement, social media assistance, photography and videography.
Winona graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Bioarchaeological Anthropology and Criminology with a minor in Classical Studies. Her experiences have led her to excel in marketing, advertising and communications. Currently, Winona is enrolled with Western Continuing Studies and working to finish her Project Management Certification. In June 2021, she will be taking the Certified Agile Manager Exam to become a Certified Agile Project Manager (CPAM).
In Zurich and area, Winona is part of many community committees and projects, see below:
- Member, Zurich & District Chamber of Commerce – current
- Vice President of the Zurich Bean Festival Committee – current
- Member, Friends of Hay Township Hall – current
- Member, Friends of the Zurich Library – current
- Member, Zurich Community Committee (aka Social Project) – current
- Chair, Zurich-Hensall Recovery Action Group – 2020
- Member, Bluewater Recovery Action Venture – 2020
- Project: Shift Your Spend (2021)
- Project: Huron County Recovery Assessment Program (2021+)
- Project: Huron County BR&E Volunteer (2021)
- Project: Bluewater Dog Park Association (on hold until further notice)
Other Groups & Activities:
- Ausable Camera Club
- Cultural Collective
Laura Overholt was born and raised in Huron County on a farm just east of Exeter in what was then Usborne Township. She graduated from University of Waterloo and soon after started her married life with her husband Marty in Exeter where they still live today.
Laura’s work experience has been rich with the 17 years with federal government during which time the Huron Business Development Corporation was formed. Later, Laura worked with various other levels of government and agencies to manage projects related to the human resources field. During one such project, Laura had the pleasure of working with the Huron Business Development Corporation on the HealthKick project from 2005 until 2015 as the project manager. This project offered multiple prongs of activities that focused on youth engagement in healthcare career exploration and related work experiences, local training initiatives for registered practical nurses (RPN) and personal support workers (PSW) as well as other types of training. Working with the healthcare community to meet the increasing need for healthcare workers was a very fulfilling and engaging experience.
Now retired, Laura brings a keen interest in the success of Community Futures Huron and its value to the communities it serves.
Al Venner has spent 50 years in the transportation industry and has experienced many aspects of the automotive trade. As owner of Hensall Automotive Ltd., Al has experience in financial planning, personnel, and dealership management. He is also a certified automotive technician and has been a prior automotive instructor at Fanshawe College. With the assistance of the original HBDC Al ventured into the automotive parts business in 1994 which eventually became Hensall Automotive Ltd. Hensall Automotive has supported a staff of 1 to 3 employees and has actively participated in mentoring programs throughout the years. Al has always taken time to provide guidance to anyone looking to educate themselves and be successful in life. As a supporter of apprenticeship programs, Al takes pride in the success of the many graduates he has had the opportunity to assist over the years. With the help of CFHuron Al’s automotive business has successfully been transferred to Reid’s Hensall Automotive fostering the next generation of entrepreneur.