People will tell you that I am an excellent problem solver and successful team leader. I have real-world field experience as a former US non-commissioned military officer; as a conflict researcher in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Haiti, Middle East and Africa; as a senior executive in the Canadian government; as well as in the private sector as a manager in one of Canada’s largest energy companies.
I began my young adulthood as an 18-year old soldier in the US Army Infantry, serving in the 101st Airborne Division and rising through the ranks to become a Sergeant in the 3-502nd Infantry Recon Platoon. Serving in the Army was a great experience and I learned the values of hard work, teamwork, listening to my peers and learning from the best.
After my military service, I attended university and completed my B.A. in Political Science from the California State University at Los Angeles. It was there that I developed a life-long interest in politics and started working on political campaigns. I later earned a Master’s (1994) and Doctorate (1996) in Political Science from The Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.
From Tallahassee, I returned to Canada with a postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University (1997-1998), where I also taught a few courses as an adjunct. I worked at the World Trade Centre Montréal as a Trade Mission Advisor (1998-1999) before landing my fist academic appointment, as an Assistant Professor at Vesalius College in Brussels, Belgium.
In 2001, I received a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) award and returned to my native city of Québec to join the political science department and Les hautes études internationales at Université Laval, where I earned tenure.
Politics called in early 2006 when my friend Jim Prentice – newly named to the federal Cabinet – called and I left Québec City for Ottawa, where I served as his Chief of Staff in two ministries. That was a fantastic experience and really taught this political scientist how policy is made in real life. It also introduced me to the worlds of energy and environment policy and issues management.
From Ottawa I moved to Calgary in the fall of 2008, and for 3 ½ years I served as a Government Relations and Issues Management Team Leader at Imperial Oil, where I immersed myself in energy policy as well as environmental issues.
Since 2012, I have returned to academic life and have been with the outstanding faculty and staff at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy, where I am an Associate Professor and Director of the International Policy & Trade division. I maintained my involvement in politics: I headed the policy team during Jim Prentice's successful run to become Premier of Alberta, and I tried (unsuccessfully!) to run for elected office during the 2015 elections in Alberta.
My recent co-authored book, with the deceased Jim Prentice, was published in 2017, and examines what Canada must do to take advantage of our energy and environmental advantages.