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Events Calendar

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Manitoba Precision Agriculture Workshop

Save the date for the second annual Manitoba Precision Agriculture Workshop at Southport! To inquire about sponsorship or being an exhibitor, please contact us.


The agenda may be updated as we fill in the remaining speakers. Interested in speaking? Contact us.

Speaker Biographies

Shawn Schaerer, Northstar Robotics

Is the founder of Northstar Robotics Inc. He has over 18 years experience developing robotic systems and has held senior management and CTO positions for surgical robotics, medical imaging and robotics companies. Shawn has been involved in several successful early stage technology companies and was co-founder of Lumoplay Inc and Cogmation Robotics Inc. He also led the development of IMRIS Inc’s neurosurgical robotics system, SYMBIS / Neuroarm. Shawn has considerable experience in
the development of systems and software for Surgical and Industrial Robots, Medical Devices and Image Guidance Systems.

Don Campbell, ROGA Drone

ROGA Drone is a start up company and is honoured to be the first company to receive a Special Flight Operating Certificate from Transport Canada for aerial application of pesticide and fertilizer by UAV. Don Campbell is the owner of ROGA Drone and was raised on a mixed farm in South Western  Manitoba. He became a pedigreed seed grower and started Southern Seed, a farm based seed processor and retailer. He has also worked as a real estate agent in the agriculture industry. Don will give a farmers perspective on the process of obtaining the SFOC for aerial application as well as some of the regulations and costs involved. He will also touch on some of the equipment available and the UAV he is currently using.

Derek Yakielashek, NAV Canada

Derek Yakielashek applied and was accepted for training as an Air Traffic Specialist in 1989, and completed that training in 1990. Derek has endorsements for the Aviation Weather Information Service (AWIS), the advanced Pilot Briefing Service (PBS) and is a certified On-the-Job Instructor. He has an in-depth knowledge of the multitude of services that Flight Service Specialists provide to the aviation community. He is currently the Airport Operations Specialist for FSS in the Winnipeg FIR providing advice and guidance on air traffic standards and procedures for 11 Flight Service Stations, one Flight Information Centre, 11 Remote Aerodrome Advisory Sites and one Area Control Centre.

In 2012, he created the first UAV database and UAV operational protocol at NAV CANADA and is responsible for all drone and unmanned aerial vehicles coordination in the Winnipeg Flight Information Region. He also attended the 2016 Unmanned Systems Canada Student UAV Competition held in Southport as a judge.

Mark Aruja, Unmanned Systems Canada

Mark Aruja is an engineering graduate of the Royal Military College and has over 40 years of experience in the government defense industry and the non-profit sector. His 32-year career in the Canadian Armed forces included a number of senior appointments including Wing Command. He was then selected to be the first Commandant of the Canadian Forces Experimentation Centre.

He began experimenting with UAVs, and facilitated the first UAV fleet procured by the Canadian Forces. He first interacted with Unmanned Systems Canada as a participant at a conference, and viewed the association as an invaluable initiative to be to bring together the parties necessary for to create transformational

change. When he was voted to the board, he championed the strategic focus of the association on civil and commercial UAS opportunities. He was elected Chairman of the Board in 2015 and re-elected in 2017.

Trevor Thornton, Crop Care Consulting

Trevor grew up on a hay farm near Fortier, MB and graduated with a BSc (Ag) from the University of Manitoba with a crop protection major. After this, Trevor worked for a consulting company in Alberta for 4 years. He returned to Manitoba and worked in Ag retail before moving back into consulting in 2002.

He currently works with potatoes and grain production and does variable rate work and research. He started Paradigm Precision in 2006, which provides VRT support to consultants. He has worked on UAV projects for 12 years and currently flies two fixed wing UAV and one quadcopter. He is also the first company in Western Canada to be using the Soil Optix high resolution topsoil mapping system.

Simon Knutson, Vantage Manitoba

Simon Knutson has over 15 years of GIS experience and holds a Master of Science (Geographic Information Systems) and a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Protection). He has an extensive background in Water Management and was the President\Co-Owner at Northern Plains Drainage Systems prior to joining the Vantage Manitoba Team.

In addition, Simon has gained years of Precision Agronomy experience and extensive training as a former Agri-Tend Geo-Coach. In his current role as a Precision Agronomist with Vantage Manitoba, Simon delivers a variety of Precision Ag Consulting services to farmers. For example: variable rate zone creation, drainage consulting, profitability mapping, and data management.

Simon continues to be passionate about precision agriculture and about maximizing farmer profits and improving farm efficiency.

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