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Metrolinx Senior Management Team

Biographies

Phil Verster, President & Chief Executive Officer

Phil Verster is the President & Chief Executive Officer at Metrolinx.

Phil oversees a team committed to transforming transportation in the GTHA. With a strong community and customer service emphasis, Metrolinx is delivering quality transportation services on time and on budget, and working collaboratively with our partners – all key elements to delivering on the promise of Metrolinx’s Regional Transportation Plan.

Prior to joining Metrolinx, Phil was one of the UK’s rail leaders, having managed train operations, infrastructure builds and infrastructure management for passenger rail systems in England, Scotland and Ireland.

An engineer by training, Phil began his career in the electricity sector in his native South Africa. From 2001 to 2003, he was Depot Manager and Production Director for a UK division of Bombardier Rail. In 2003, Phil moved from the supplier side to passenger rail operations at Southeastern Trains. He then spent five years at Irish Rail, where he served in different roles, including Deputy CEO.

In 2011, Phil joined Britain’s Network Rail. His first assignment was Managing Director London North East and East Midlands Route , the second largest route in the Network Rail system. He pioneered a new approach to structured continuous improvement that delivered improved safety and train performance as well as an enhanced passenger experience. Phil put the same innovation and discipline to work in his subsequent assignment for Network Rail running Scotland’s ScotRail passenger rail service, from 2015 to 2017. In early 2017, Phil served as Managing Director of Network Rail’s East West Railway.

Phil has a Bachelors of Engineering and a Masters of Engineering, both from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He has an MBA from the University of Newcastle Business School and an LLM Post Graduate Diploma (Commercial Law) from the University of Northumbria, both in the UK.

CEO@metrolinx.com

Lena Azzou, Chief of Staff
Lena.Azzou@metrolinx.com
416-202-5999

Alba Briceno, Executive Assistant
alba.briceno@metrolinx.com
416-202-5908

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Matt Clark, Chief Capital Officer

Metrolinx is undertaking the largest transit build in Canadian history by delivering tens of billions of dollars’ worth of projects in communities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The capital program includes the GO Expansion initiative to transform the regional rail network, planning and construction of multiple new Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines, and improvements supporting enhanced GO Bus service.

As Chief Capital Officer, Matt Clark leads the Capital Projects Group, a strong team of Metrolinx employees integrated with partners from Infrastructure Ontario and the private sector. Matt and his team are responsible for ensuring Metrolinx’s large and growing program of transit expansion projects is delivered safely, on time, on budget and on benefit.

Matt has successfully overseen complicated transit projects on three continents. He has extensive technical and project leadership expertise and a proven track record in managing productive contractor-owner relationships and challenging stakeholder interfaces.

For over two decades, Matt led teams from multinational construction firms as they built complex projects in operating rail environments, ranging from the expansion of multiple mainline and Underground stations in London, England to major projects for the South West Rail Link in Sydney, Australia. Prior to joining the Metrolinx Capital Program in 2018, he served as Operations Director for Laing O’Rourke Infrastructure with responsibility for the company’s entire multi-billion-dollar portfolio of work with Network Rail (U.K.).

Matt has an Honours Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Nottingham.

matt.clark@metrolinx.com

Paula Cadorin, Executive Assistant
paula.cadorin@metrolinx.com
416-202-3520

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Mark Childs, Chief Marketing Officer

Mark Childs

An inspiring marketer with a passion for breakthrough innovation and business growth, Mark has a proven track record of building vital brands that resonate with consumers. As Metrolinx seeks to build revenue, ridership and reputation, Mark oversees the Marketing team’s development of strategic fare, non-fare sales and communication plans in support of the GO, PRESTO, UP Express and Metrolinx brands. Data-driven customer analytics and insights inform, guide, and prioritize efforts to build the brand and loyalty through improved customer experience, integrated communication and innovative products, services and partnerships.

Prior to joining Metrolinx, Mark served as Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung Electronics Canada Inc., where he led the organization’s strategic brand and marketing initiatives, overseeing Brand Marketing, Public Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility, Digital and Social Media teams. In 2017, Samsung ranked top 10 in Ipsos Canada’s Most Influential Brands in Canada and Leger Marketing’s Most Admired Brands in Canada. Mark has also held senior leadership roles as Vice President of Marketing at Campbell Company of Canada and Kellogg Company.

Recognized as an inspirational team leader, Mark actively cultivates marketing talent and ‘best practice’ within the industry. In addition to his passionate support of AToMiC and the Strategy Awards, he champions the Canada Young Lions Marketers initiative and has contributed professionally to the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA), Advertising Standards Canada (ASC), Enactus Canada and was Creative Chair at Concerned Children's Advertisers. Mark was recognized with the Marketing Hall of Fame Impact Award in 2012.

A role model in the LGBTQ community, Mark pioneered the launch of PFLAG Canada’s 2012 awareness campaign while volunteering for the organization, winning a Cannes Lions award.

mark.childs@metrolinx.com

Averil McIntyre, Executive Assistant - Marketing
averil.mcintyre@metrolinx.com
416-202-5612

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Jennifer van der Valk, Chief Communications Officer (A)

As Chief Communications Officer, Jennifer brings a 20-year background in strategic communications and marketing from both public and private sector environments.

Throughout her career, Jennifer has successfully steered the transformation of integrated, multi-functional teams, most recently as VP Principal Sponsor and then Acting CPO within Metrolinx’s Planning, Design and Sponsorship division.

Jennifer’s previous roles include senior management positions with Cabinet Office Communications for the Government of Ontario. Her team served as a centre of excellence for the Ontario brand, establishing enterprise-wide standards while pushing boundaries through insights-driven public education and communications programs. Working across all provincial ministries, Jennifer spearheaded award-winning campaigns for the ministries of Health, Education, Economic Development and Tourism, Culture and Sport and Foodland Ontario.

Prior to that, Jennifer led the vision for brand, digital and marketing strategy at Metrolinx as Director of Brand and Marketing. The goals: help residents spend more time living and less time commuting and build public support for the largest transit infrastructure development in Canadian history. With marketing oversight of GO Transit, UP Express and PRESTO, Jennifer played a key role in driving a brand-driven approach to customer experience strategy with a focus on corporate reputation, customer satisfaction and long-term revenue generation.

Jennifer’s diverse expertise spans corporate communications, community engagement, brand and marketing strategy, digital transformation, PR, and issues management. She is fueled by a passion for relationship-building and people-leadership, a determination to build responsibly brave brands and a commitment to clear, transparent communications.

Jennifer.VanderValk@metrolinx.com

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Jennifer Gray, Chief Financial Officer

Jennifer Gray is the Chief Financial Officer at Metrolinx.

Jennifer is responsible for leading financial planning, analysis, reporting and accounting, along with procurement services, internal audit, enterprise risk management, and insurance. Jennifer joined Metrolinx in 2013 to lead the business planning process. Since joining Metrolinx Jennifer has successfully implemented a more robust Enterprise Risk Management program as well as management financial and KPI reporting to measure progress, drive accountability and increase the focus on business results across the organization.

Jennifer has worked with Planning and Development to embed business cases in Metrolinx business processes. Jennifer also led the implementation of executive decision support for projects through the creation of the Investment Panel. The Investment Panel provides approval for projects to move through stage gates and monitors and approves changes to project benefits, costs and schedule.

Prior to joining Metrolinx, Jennifer worked for more than twelve years in the Ontario Government in the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Infrastructure. While at the Ministry of Finance Jennifer contributed to the development of many Provincial budgets, including leading analysis and policy advice related to income support programs, tax-based benefit programs and income-tested programs. While at the Ministry of Infrastructure Jennifer led the Strategic Policy Unit responsible for providing advice on the Province’s capital investments and leading the development of Infrastructure related content for Provincial budgets.

Jennifer holds an Honours degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Business Economics both from Sir Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo.

Jennifer.Gray@metrolinx.com

Antoniella Ranga, Executive Assistant (A)
Antoniella.Ranga@metrolinx.com
416-202-5930

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Helen Ferreira-Walker, Chief Human Resources Officer

Helen Ferreira-Walker is responsible for human resources programs and services that help Metrolinx meet its strategic goals. This includes HR strategy and execution, equity and inclusion, employee engagement, total rewards, health and wellness, leadership and organization development, employee and labour relations, workforce planning, staffing and employment. In 2019 her portfolio expanded to include the accountability for two new enterprise centres of excellence: Lean and Project Management.

Helen has more than 25 years of HR experience in the public sector. In 2010, she joined Metrolinx in 2010 as Director, Human Resources and was promoted to Chief Human Resources Officer in 2015. Prior to joining Metrolinx, Helen was the Executive Director, Human Resources at the Corporation of the City of Brampton (Ontario) where she had accountability for overall management, leadership, direction and support for delivering programs and services designed to enhance business performance in the areas of leadership development, health and safety and labour relations. She has also held progressive positions at the University of Toronto and Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Helen holds a Master of Science, a post-graduate certificate in Industrial Relations from Queen's University, and has earned both the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) and Senior Human Resources Professional (SHRP) designations.

helen.ferreira-walker@metrolinx.com

Liezl Magarro, Executive Assistant (A)
Liezl.Magarro@metrolinx.com
416-202-0323

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Ian Smith, Chief Operating Officer

Ian Smith is the Chief Operating Officer at Metrolinx, responsible for leading GO Transit and UP Express operations, and contributing to the leadership and strategic direction for Metrolinx.

He brings 28 years of experience in both the freight and passenger rail industry. Prior to joining Metrolinx, Ian spent seven years as Executive Director of East Midlands Trains, which operates high-speed trains to and from London and regional train services across the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, U.K. During Ian’s seven years in the role, he had oversight for both Operations and Safety.

He is a proven industry leader having been a group lead for the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) Operations Council, a former chair of the RDG Operations Standards Forum, and chair of the National Suicide Prevention Duty Holders Groups for UK rail.

With safety, customer satisfaction and on-time performance being Metrolinx’s highest priorities, Ian’s experience will further strengthen the Metrolinx team.

Ian holds an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of London, Royal Holloway College.

Ian.Smith@Metrolinx.com

Gayle Locatelli, Executive Assistant
Gayle.Locatelli@metrolinx.com
416-202-3157

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Karla Avis-Birch, Chief Planning Officer (A)

As Chief Planning Officer, Karla extends her tenure at Metrolinx and builds on her executive leadership and award-winning, multi-billion-dollar project delivery experience.

Throughout her career, Karla has overseen the construction and completion of countless instrumental infrastructural pieces and has accelerated the delivery of service. In her previous role as Vice President, GO Stations Capital Delivery, she established Metrolinx’s first Project Controls & Design Standards Office, partnered with Infrastructure Ontario on the procurement of P3 projects, and was accountable for the delivery of transformational GO Expansion programs.

Karla is a Civil Engineering graduate from Ryerson University. Karla’s proven record of excellence garnered her a feature in the Women of Influence “Meet and Role Model” article and a spot amongst the 2020 Women in Infrastructure Network (WIN) Outstanding Leaders short list. She also served as the 2017 and 2018 President of the Women in Transportation Seminars (WTS) Toronto Area Chapter. She has been federally appointed by Infrastructure Canada to serve on the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) Board of Directors to oversee the construction of the Gordie Howe bridge.

As Chief Planning Officer, Karla will guide the planning and benefits of the regional transportation network and support practical advancement of the Regional Transportation Plan and evidence-based decision making in the delivery of transit projects. She is deeply passionate about forging end-to-end transit solutions from vision to reality, region-wide, tomorrow, and for decades to come.

Karla.Avis-Birch@metrolinx.com

Kym Gallardo, Executive Assistant
Kym.Gallardo@metrolinx.com
416-202-5773

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Martin Gallagher, Chief Safety Officer

As the Chief Safety Officer, Martin Gallagher has an enterprise-wide oversight of construction, operational, occupational, and customer safety, and regulatory oversight as Metrolinx assumes a greater role in the regulation of the rail corridors on which its service operates. Martin leads the journey to the development and ongoing improvement of a world-class safety culture; and, implementation and delivery of the safety management system for both operational and construction safety in accordance with best practices and regulatory requirements.

Martin has chaired the United Nations expert committee on rail safety since 2013 and delivered the UN international rail safety program to over 60 member states. Prior to joining Metrolinx he also served as national head of safety with Network Rail in the UK for ten years where he led a safety transformation program across England, Scotland and Wales that improved safety performance by 31% and contributed to the UK being ranked by the European Rail Agency as having the safest rail network in Europe. He has also delivered safety programs for organizations in Japan, Italy, Norway, Finland and Australia.

Martin has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and a Master of Science, Safety & Risk Management from the University of Strathclyde. He is also certified in engineering safety management, construction safety, construction design management and safety management systems.

Martin.Gallagher@metrolinx.com

Lana Dajani, Executive Assistant
Lana.Dajani@metrolinx.com
416-202-4841

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Heather Platt, Chief Legal Officer

Heather Platt is the Chief Legal Officer at Metrolinx. In this role, Heather provides strategic legal advice to all business units at Metrolinx, with a focus on rail operations, safety, and regulatory matters. She has significant experience in complex commercial matters, and has led the negotiation of several material agreements: including critical agreements with CN, CP and TTR; the master supply and services agreement with Accenture; the maintenance and crewing services agreements with Bombardier; and the agreement for the replacement of the USRC signalling system.

Heather started at GO Transit in 2005. Prior to joining Metrolinx, Heather was a partner at Davies, Ward, Phillips & Vineberg LLP, practicing corporate/commercial and information technology law. Heather is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2001.

Heather.Platt@metrolinx.com

Kristen Reveler, Executive Assistant
Kristen.Reveler@metrolinx.com
416-202-5579

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Annalise Czerny, Chief PRESTO Officer

As Chief PRESTO Officer, Annalise Czerny is focused on connecting communities and unifying Ontario’s fare systems through the PRESTO fare card system.

Annalise oversees the many projects and programs that help enhance the PRESTO system, and is focused on increasing access to travel for everyone – students, seniors, low-income families, visitors, local travellers and regional travellers.

PRESTO is currently available across 11 transit agencies in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and Ottawa, and offers customers lowest fare prices, pay as you go or period (monthly) passes, loyalty program discounts, and co-fare discounts with GO Transit.

Annalise has been part of the PRESTO team since 2013, where she has worked with senior Metrolinx and Provincial stakeholders to build the PRESTO strategy group and program, codify the organization’s mandate, create the first business strategy, and articulate a vision for PRESTO’s transition from a project focus to a governor of the PRESTO payments scheme. Annalise became the Director of the PRESTO Payment Scheme Management Group in 2017 and is now the Executive Vice President.

Prior to coming to Metrolinx to work within the PRESTO group, Annalise worked in strategy consulting for the Monitor Group in the United Kingdom before making the move back to Canada.

Annalise has an Engineering Degree from the University of Guelph, a Masters in Energy and Material Sciences from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, and an MBA from the London Business School.

Annalise.Czerny@metrolinx.com

Jennifer Mandilag, Executive Assistant
Jennifer.Mandilag@metrolinx.com
416-202-3211

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