EXECUTIVE TEAM

CEO/Director
Jay Wilgar

Jay Wilgar is a seasoned entrepreneur with a proven track record of building value for investors in emerging, highly regulated industries. Prior to becoming CEO of Newstrike, Jay founded, commercialized and successfully sold one of Ontario’s largest renewable energy development firms – AIM PowerGen. Jay holds a BComm from Wilfrid Laurier University.

COO
Kevin Epp

Kevin Epp is a seasoned operations executive with over two decades of experience in operations’ management and management consulting with McKinsey & Co., Union Gas, Reckitt Benckiser, Weston and CPI Plastics Group Ltd. As the Director of Operations for CPI Plastics Group Ltd., Kevin was responsible for the manufacturing of over $200 million of products across six manufacturing facilities and over 1,000 direct and indirect reports in both Canada and the US. Kevin holds a BBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and a BASC from the University of Waterloo.

Operational President
Peter Hwang

As both a founding partner of Up Cannabis Inc. and Director of Newstrike, Peter Hwang has been instrumental in helping Newstrike achieve its major milestones to date. Prior to Newstrike, Peter was co-founder and CEO for Globalfaces Direct, a multichannel marketing agency serving the not-for-profit sector with over 600 agents and 30 offices across North America. Peter led the growth of Globalfaces to be one of the fastest growing companies in Canada over a 5-year period prior to partnering with private equity firm, CPS Capital in June 2018. Other companies Peter has co-founded are: Easylease Corp, EnWise Holdings and Extreme Pita.

CMO
Sylvie Levesque

Sylvie Levesque is a seasoned marketing executive with a 25-year career spanning consumer packaged goods and alcohol beverages in Canada and abroad.  Sylvie joins Newstrike from Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), a leading global wine company, where she was General Manager, Canada, overseeing a portfolio of over 50 wineries.  Sylvie spent close to 9 years at TWE, holding various marketing and innovation roles, including global brand responsibilities on iconic wines such as Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Lindeman’s.  Prior to TWE, Sylvie held senior sales, marketing and innovation roles at Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Molson and Unilever, working on globally renowned brands such as Dove, Polysporin, Listerine, Molson Export and Miller Lite.

Sylvie is tasked with leading the go-to-market strategy for Newstrike as it focuses on bringing a portfolio of new, innovative products to market. She will continue to build on the strong branding foundation developed to date and position Newstrike as a market leader for premium Cannabis products in Canada’s adult use market. Sylvie holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University.

CFO
Sean Byrne

Sean’s career spans over 25 years in senior financial management roles. Most recently, he was CFO at TSX-listed Brick Brewing Limited Co., the largest Canadian-owned brewer in Ontario. He has also held senior finance positions at several NASDAQ and NYSE listed companies including RR Donnelly Canada, Thermo Fisher Scientific, The Scotts Company and Monsanto Corp Inc. Sean holds a Master of Business Administration from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh Business School and holds both CPA and CMA designations.

Chief Strategy Officer
Mark E. Burton

Mark Burton brings an illustrious career spanning more than three decades, with previous roles including CEO of five separate technology companies, two of which were TSX-listed, and three of which were venture capital-backed private companies. Following his operational executive roles, he was a partner at KPMG in Toronto, advising clients on operations and strategy. Prior to his business career he was an Associate at the U.S. law firm Mayer Brown & Platt, before moving on to the prominent Canadian law firm Stikeman Elliott where he was a Partner specializing in corporate law, securities law and M&A. Mark’s mandate at Newstrike includes strategic partnerships, M&A, business development and product innovation, in addition to setting the Company’s overall strategic direction.

Mark holds a science degree (B.Sc. with Honours) from Queen’s University and obtained his law degree (LL.B. with Distinction) from Western University.

Vice President, New Products
Trevor Folk

Trevor Folk co-founded HydRx, one of the first companies in Canada to operate as a Licensed Producer and Licensed Dealer on the same site for the purpose of cannabis derivate product research, development and commercialization. As an early investor and entrepreneur in the cannabis sector, he led the company as CEO until October 2017, after the company achieved its Health Canada Dealer License in October 2016 and ACMPR cultivation license in September 2017.

Trevor specializes in industrial scale “Full Spectrum” cold ethanol extraction technology first developed in the California markets and recently adapted for the Canadian market regulations in advance of adult use edibles, extracts and beverages being launched later in 2019. Trevor will be tasked with leading the production of Full Spectrum and Specialty Isolates that will allow Newstrike to develop innovative and exciting products for launch in 2019 and beyond.

Vice President Brand Strategy & Creative
Liesbeth Teerink

Responsible for creating and launching the Up brand as it stands today, Liesbeth started her cannabis career with Up Cannabis in November 2017. Prior to that, she ran her own brand development consultancy Fly On The Kitchen Wall which she founded in 2011. Prior to entrepreneurship, she was Creative & SVP at experiential ad agency CIM (currently part of Mosaic / Acosta) where she spearheaded campaigns for clients like Pepsico, Microsoft, Loblaws, OLG and Colgate Palmolive, just to name a few. Under her 5 year leadership the Agency doubled it’s bottom line and won 30+ awards for it’s creative body of work.

Prior to CIM she held the position of Creative Director and partner of ad agency EINSTEIN dAdO in Mexico where she developed award winning campaigns for brands such as Ford, Absolut Vodka and Jose Cuervo . Prior to that Liesbeth held the position of Regional Director of Strategic Planning for Saatchi & Saatchi in the Middle East development campaigns for P&G’s Pampers which won the prestigious Proctor and Gamble, Best Business Building Award for the Middle East and Africa.   She got her start in the ad business at Saatchi & Saatchi Poland from 1995-1998 followed by a one year assignment for Saatchi & Saatchi Turkey. Liesbeth is born and raised in The Netherlands where she got her degree in business from the University of Arnhem.

Vice President, Sales
Peter Kirkwood

Peter is a seasoned sales executive with 20 years of experience in senior sales and corporate development roles in the beverage alcohol sector. As partner and  VP of sales at his company, Kirkwood Diamond Canada, Peter was responsible for managing all liquor brand relations as well as leading a national sales team of 35+ territory managers, responsible for world renowned brands such as Jose Cuervo, Mott’s Caesars, Sazerac and Yellow Tail.

Peter holds a BComm degree (honours program) from Guelph University and has completed two post grad courses – Management Development and a Leadership program at Ivey Business School in London Ontario.  In his spare time he enjoys writing, cycling, golfing, and spending as much time as possible at his cottage with his wife and two young children.

General Counsel
Ruth Chun

Ruth Chun is a proven executive with global experience in corporate law. Previously a Director of Africa’s largest law firm, Ruth has also worked with major legal firms in Canada, and the United Kingdom. She has held executive and board positions in the financial services sector. She is admitted to legal practice in Ontario, New York and Namibia. Ruth holds a BA (Hons) and an MA from the University of Toronto, as well as a Juris Doctor from Queen’s University.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Lead Director
Steve Smith

Steve Smith, CPA, CA, has served on the Board of Directors, Audit Committee and the Executive Committee for CST Brands,was recently an Advisory Board member of Jackman Reinvention Inc. and is a member of the Board, and Chair of the Finance and Audit Committees, for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. His Executive experience includes serving as an EVP with the Loblaw Companies Ltd. and CFO, later Co-CEO of Cara Operations Ltd. Steve holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and is a member of the Charter Professional Accountants of Ontario.

CEO/Director
Jay Wilgar

Jay Wilgar is a seasoned entrepreneur with a proven track record of building value for investors in emerging, highly regulated industries. Prior to becoming CEO of Newstrike, Jay founded, commercialized and successfully sold one of Ontario’s largest renewable energy development firms – AIM PowerGen. Jay holds a BComm from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Operational President
Peter Hwang

As both a founding partner of Up Cannabis Inc. and Director of Newstrike, Peter Hwang has been instrumental in helping Newstrike achieve its major milestones to date. Prior to Newstrike, Peter was co-founder and CEO for Globalfaces Direct, a multichannel marketing agency serving the not-for-profit sector with over 600 agents and 30 offices across North America. Peter led the growth of Globalfaces to be one of the fastest growing companies in Canada over a 5-year period prior to partnering with private equity firm, CPS Capital in June 2018. Other companies Peter has co-founded are: Easylease Corp, EnWise Holdings and Extreme Pita.

Nik Van Haeren

Nik Van Haeren is the President of Enerworks Solar Heating and Cooling and Uvalux Tanning & Support, a manufacturer of solar heating equipment and large-scale energy efficient HVAC systems, and Uvalux, Canada’s largest supplier of tanning equipment, products and services to the salon industry. Nik holds a Bachelors Degree from Western University and is a graduate from the Entrepreneurial Masters Program at MIT.

Liam Scott

Liam Scott founded LSI in 1999. LSI leads organizations and individuals through the development and execution of effective internal and external communications, including brand development, sales effectiveness, product launches, employee engagement, and training. Prior to founding LSI, Mr. Scott was a Creative Director at a Toronto-based marketing agency, and was a Special Assistant to the Premier of Ontario, focused on Speechwriting and Issues Management. Liam holds a BA from Queen’s University.

Brett Whalen

Brett Whalen is currently a Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Goodman Investment Counsel, a wholly-owned division of Dundee Corporation. Brett is also President and CEO of the CMP Group of companies, providing capital to the resource sectors in Canada. He has a wealth of investment banking experience earned through senior positions with Dundee Capital Markets and Clarus Securities Inc. Brett graduated in 1998 with an Honours B.A. in Economics from Wilfrid Laurier University and in 2001 he received his Chartered Financial Analyst designation.