Meet the exceptional staff that are the soul of Apeetogosan and Pinnacle Business Services.
Michael Ivy – General Manager
Michael is a M.Sc. graduate out of the University of Guelph, Department of Agricultural Economics & Business. His first job out of grad school was to assist the Chippewa of Nawash First Nation in estimating and demonstrating the economic net benefits of the whitefish and chub fishery surrounding Cape Croker and the Bruce Peninsula.
He returned to Edmonton, taking a term position with INAC as a field services officer charged with developing a proposal aimed at improving access to shared technical support services for the communities of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Chipewyan Prairie First Nation, Fort McKay First Nation, and Ft. McMurray First Nation. Under Industry Canada’s NEDP Program (better known as the ABC Program), Michael took on the External Delivery Officer role out of Apeetogosan (Métis) Development Inc. In 7 years he garnered 120 commercial projects gaining approval of $5.2M for Métis and First Nation entrepreneurs seeking assistance with establishing or expanding their business initiatives.
To change it up in 2005 he served as Quality Assurance, Western Region with the aim of improving the delivery of Aboriginal Business Canada’s Grants & Contributions Program and it is here where he became familiar with the extent and market reach of the Aboriginal Capital Corporations across Canada and the level of success in Aboriginal business development that each ACC was achieving. For Michael, “it was impossible to ignore the real and tangible impact that the ACCs were accomplishing in the area of sustainable economic development.” Moreover, the support network of NACCA established an air of comradery amongst all ACCs across the country; a favorable environment for affecting change and economic growth.
In 2008 Michael returned to Apeetogosan with the vision of positioning Apeetogosan as a lender of first resort – a single window of delivery of business services to Métis entrepreneurs seeking the means to attain economic self sufficiency.
Sally Bidin – Sr. Account Manager
Sally grew up in Edmonton, raised two kids and enjoys sports. She has worked for the provincial and federal government and in the many different aboriginal organizations.
She attended the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Business Administration program. Following this she was given an opportunity to work for Apeetogosan (Métis) Development Inc. where she has held several different positions over the last 14 years with the last 10 years in a lending capacity.
She is currently working towards obtaining a Certified Credit Professional designation.
Ken Balcom – Sr. Business Consultant
Ken Balcom is the Senior Business Consultant for Pinnacle Business Services Ltd., the business consulting arm of Apeetogosan. Ken has over 25 years of experience in small business development from retail management to commercial lending and small business consulting. A driving force behind Pinnacle since its inception in 1993, Ken has assisted over 400 Aboriginal entrepreneurs throughout Alberta start, expand and manage their business.
Ken holds a Bachelors of Commerce degree from Dalhousie University and an MBA from the University of Alberta. He is also a member of the Institute of Certified Management Consultants of Alberta.
Cindy Castelletti – Business Consultant
Cindy has worked at Apeetogosan for the past 18 years and during that time she has gained a wealth of experience and insight into assisting entrepreneurs as they develop their business ideas.
She has attended both the U of A and NAIT, with a focus on business and accounting courses. Having been both a loans officer and the External Development Officer for the Aboriginal Business Canada program she has assisted in a wide variety of business start-ups and expansions.
Currently a Business Consultant with Pinnacle Business Services Ltd., her focus is now on providing business support services with a focus on bookkeeping assistance.
Brian Soucie – Development Officer
Brian is from Edmonton, AB. He is a member of the Thessalon First Nations in northern Ontario. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education degree and has completed the CMA.
He has worked for over 25 years with the Government of Canada in Taxation and Indian Affairs. His most recent work experience includes work as a Development Officer with Aboriginal Business Canada (Industry Canada) and assisted many Aboriginal entrepreneurs to launch successful businesses. He enjoys music and the arts and is an avid CFL, hockey and Oilers fan. He has been married for over 22 years and has 1 daughter and one grandson.
Rachel Castelletti – Program Administrator
Rachel has a passion for helping clients go through the process from start to finish in order to receive funding for their business venture. She has worked at Apeetogosan for over six years and during that time has gained a lot of experience for assisting applicants applying for the grant.