Ralph Lindzon: Chairman of the Board
Ralph is a practicing lawyer, working principally on regulatory matters for participants in the securities industry, financings and other securities regulatory matters. While on contract with the Ontario Securities Commission, Ralph was the principal drafter of the Canadian portion of the multijurisdictional disclosure system, worked with the Securities and Exchange Commission on coordinating the drafting of the U.S. part, and worked with the state securities regulators on drafting corresponding state legislation. Ralph has also worked in Hong Kong as director of take-overs and mergers of the Securities and Futures Commission; Japan, where he worked on large numbers of financings; and London, England, where he worked on a U.K. privatization that included a public offering in Canada. Ralph lives in Port McNicoll and joined our charity as a Director in the spring of 2014.
Connie Cochrane: Vice-President & General Manager
Connie worked at New Leaf Living and Learning Together Inc. for 23 years. Over the years she worked in a variety of residences, dealing with residents with varying degrees of mental, physical and behavioural issues, and scheduling and training staff and volunteers. Connie holds certificates for Developmental Services Worker, Social Service Process, Multicultural and Values from Seneca College. Connie and her husband also raised 3 children and owned and operated a dairy farm, ensuring she learn a variety of practical skills. Once retired they sold the farm and moved to Port McNicoll, where, in the spring of 2014, Connie started volunteering on the Keewatin, working first in housekeeping then moving on to Tour Guide, Deck Lead, Chief Tour Guide, Human Resources, Vice President, Visitor Experience Manager.
Wayne Coombes: President
Wayne Coombes was involved in the Presentation Technologies (AudioVisual) industry throughout his career, attracted by an interest in business communications. Starting on the ground floor with a high school diploma he worked his way through the industry, experiencing content creative sales and production, and growing through increasing levels of responsibility in equipment sales and distribution, taking extension courses in sales and marketing to refine his skills. Ultimately he became the manager of the Canadian branch of the US subsidiary of a Japanese company, moved the office to Midland, began managing the marketing program for North America, and undertook distribution of a second product line in Canada: the branch employed 14 people on his retirement. Wayne lives in Port McNicoll and joined our charity as Marketing & Communications Manager in the summer of 2014.
David Blevins: Communications Director
David is a retired business man who enjoyed a 50 year career in the insurance business. He successfully started and ran two companies which specialized in Employee Benefits as well as the Administration of Benefits and Pensions and combined employed 35 people. The companies were formed in the late 80’s and continue to flourish to this day under new ownership. David inherited his passion for S.S. Keewatin… his paternal family was from Midland, and his uncles were laker captains: Captain Gerald (Jerry) Blevins was Master of SS Starbelle and SS Starbuck, while Captain Lloyd Blevins was Master of SS Mantadoc. To better appreciate the technology of the Keewatin, David attended the first steam school on board the SS John W Brown in Baltimore… one of two operational WWII Liberty Ships left in the world. David lives in Barrie and joined our charity as a “Grease Monkey” in 2017.
John Todd: Historian
John has a lifelong interest in our area’s history and heritage. From an early age growing up in the historic village of Victoria Harbour, he was fascinated by the stories told by older members of the community and their treasured early photographs. John spent several years compiling an extensive photographic collection that he shared with the Huronia Museum.
After graduating from the University of Guelph with a degree in Geography and from Queen’s University with his Bachelor of Education degree, John continued taking university courses including archaeology and the study of Ste. Marie and the Huron Wendat People.
After producing a complete transcription of the headstones in the Victoria Harbour Union Cemetery, John inspired his students to learn more about their past by examining headstones in a Midland cemetery and studying the history recorded on the Midland cenotaph.
During his thirty-one year career in Midland and Penetanguishene and through his retirement, John has continued to be involved with the science fair movement for the past forty-four years, chairing the Simcoe County Science Fair numerous times and representing the county with participating students at six national fairs. John is the recipient of the national ‘Distinguished Service Award’ in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the National Science Fairs program.
In retirement, John devotes much of his time researching the history of North Simcoe County and generously shares his findings through his Facebook page, ‘Huronia’s Past and Present’. The site, active for almost eight years has over 3,200 members locally and around the world. By sharing his passion, he educates and inspires others to take an interest in preserving local history and promotes the area to potential tourists. As the chair of the Tay Township Heritage Committee, John is involved in the recognition and designation of heritage properties and sharing history at local events. The Town of Midland recognized John in 2018 with the Heritage Appreciation Award for his contribution to heritage preservation and promotion.
John’s interest in local marine history stems from his family’s long involvement on the Great Lakes. Many of his relatives, including both grandfathers, worked at the Port McNicoll elevator. All five of his maternal uncles worked on the CPR ships including Lorne ‘Butch’ Belcher who worked on S.S. Keewatin as a stoker and bellboy. His uncle, C.E. ‘Ted’ Belcher sailed on her sister ship, S.S. Assiniboia, as a junior officer eventually becoming a Great Lakes captain with Algoma Central.
Beginning with the arrival of S.S. Keewatin to her homeport in 2012, John has been an unofficial videographer capturing important events. John contributes historic photographs and stories on the Facebook S.S. Keewatin site. Since becoming the Kee’s historian in 2019, John has found cataloguing over 1,300 photographs and print artifacts into the ship’s database an honour and very rewarding.
Chris Tulley: Treasurer
Chis Tulley holds a Bachelor of Arts (with Honours) degree from York University, a Bachelor of Education (Type A) degree from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Education degree from Brock University. His extensive career in the public education system ultimately evolved into the administrative sphere, and he added to his education a diploma in Mediation Dispute Resolution from York University, graduation from the Executive Superintendent Program at the Rotman School of Business (UofT) and took Clinical Rounds Training at Harvard University. He has served in a variety of supervisory officer roles including Human Resources and held the position of Chief Negotiator until his retirement in 2013. His career culminated in being appointed Associate Director of Education, for The York Region District School Board. Chris lives in Tiny and joined our charity as Events Manager in 2019.
Fred Addis: Curator
Fred Addis has been involved in the field of heritage for most of his working life. His specific interest in maritime history has seen him co-author five titles on the subject. He has taught general interest courses on canals and maritime history at Brock University and Niagara College. While in Toronto Fred served as program manager at Harbourfront Centre and The Pier: Toronto’s Waterfront Museum where he co-ordinated the visits of over 100 ships to the Port of Toronto including naval vessels and tall ships . He is curator emeritus for the Leacock Museum National Historic Site in Orillia and he has also served as Arts and Culture Advisor to the Principal at Lakehead University in Orillia. He is a lifetime member of the Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum and a member of the Toronto Marine Historical Society. Fred lives in Orillia and joined our charity as Curator in 2020.