Our Team & Partners | Ontario East

Our Team & Partners

The Ontario East Economic Development Commission works in tandem with city, township and county level Economic Development offices to ensure all of your questions are answered.

Contact us today to discover how Ontario East could be the perfect fit for your business.

Lucy Medeiros, Project Administrator
Ontario East Office, Kingston: 613-634-8569

Jay Amer, Ec. D., Executive Director
Ontario East Office, Peterborough: 613-634-8569

Alysha Dominico, OE-TISP Project Co-ordinator

Julie Savard, WEP Program Co-ordinator

Jody Burns, Financial Manager


Message from the President

On behalf of the Board of Directors, welcome to Ontario East.

The Ontario East Economic Development Commission is the lead regional economic development organization facilitating collaboration, working with investors, supporting members, providing resources and working as a collective voice for economic development in Eastern Ontario.

Now, more than ever, it is essential to support our member communities through regional recovery and investment promotion programming and raise awareness of the unique opportunities available in Ontario East.

If you are an investor or a business seeking information on how to enter our proven business locations throughout our region, Ontario East is your one-stop connection with local economic development professionals ready to assist with the latest information and informed advice.

Our 150+ members and partners work together to bring economic development, growth and prosperity to Eastern Ontario. If you are a member, be sure and connect with us through the website, social media and at our regular meetings (virtual and soon, in person). If you are not a member, email us at info@ontarioeast.ca or give us a call at 613-634-8569 to learn about our successful track record and the benefits of collaboration through regional economic development with Ontario East.

Please subscribe to our newsletter and connect with us through social media for the latest news.

- Chris King


Board of Directors

Chris King, Ec. D., President
Quinte Economic Development Commission
With over 25 years’ experience as an Ontario East member, Chris serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC) where he oversees investment attraction and retention activities for this regional economic development organization that represents the City of Belleville, The City of Quinte West (Trenton) and the Municipality of Brighton. Chris is a Certified Economic Developer (Ec.D.) and has been recognized for his success in attracting many new employers to the Bay of Quinte region in various industry sectors. He has earned several awards at the regional, provincial, and international levels for his work with QEDC. Chris is active on a number of boards and committees and has lead a number of initiatives including: workforce development, investment missions to international locations, and Ontario East team leader food and advanced manufacturing sector, He is a past chair of the Ontario Food Cluster, former board member of Launch Lab and Trenval Community Development Corporation. He is currently past President of the Trenton Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow.
T.J. Flynn, Treasurer
Northumberland County
T.J. is currently the Investment Attraction Officer for Northumberland County and serves as the Ontario East Economic Development Council Treasurer. Prior to these roles, he served in a volunteer capacity for several Economic Development projects, including, the Cobourg Downtown Vitalization Committee, the Cobourg Economic Advisory Committee and the Business & Entrepreneurship Northumberland Faster Forward Coaching program. Before becoming involved in economic development in eastern Ontario, T.J. worked for 30 years in the private sector, his last position as Sr. Vice President, Sales at Transcontinental Media. T.J. holds a B.A from the University of Toronto and an M.A. in Eighteenth Century English Literature from Queen’s University. He has also completed the Queen’s University Executive Program courses in Financial Management. In addition to his volunteer role with Ontario East Economic Development Council, T.J. volunteers as Board Member and Finance Committee member of Northumberland County Habitat for Humanity.
Shelley Hirstwood, Ec, D., Past President
Kingston Economic Development
Shelley Hirstwood, Kingston Economic Development Corporation focuses on Business Attraction and Aftercare support by seeking potential business opportunities and foreign direct investment to encourage businesses to relocate to Kingston. She coordinates those opportunities with government, realtors, site selectors and stakeholders to facilitate site selection and business development for businesses that are interested in relocating to Kingston. Prior to joining Kingston EcDev team, Shelley spent the past 13 years working as an Economic Development Manager in Gravelbourg, SK and Gananoque, ON. Her work has focused on investment attraction, business retention and expansion and community development. Shelley graduated with Bachelor of Science from Trent University, has an Economic Development Certificate from the University of Waterloo, Training for Small Business Counsellors from Acadia University, and completed the Queen’s Executive Program at Queen’s University. Shelley is the past president for Ontario East Economic Development Commission for the term of 2018 - 2020 and has been sitting on the Board of Directors for seven years.
Carole Lavigne, Director
United Counties of Prescott-Russell
Born and raised in rural Ontario, Carole operated a milking farm for 20 years before starting a winery (Château Bourget) and a pick your own orchard in Bourget, also situated in Eastern Ontario. She produced six types of wine and two types of vinegar (malt and cider vinegar). She then completed a course as Chocolatier (graduate from Barry Callebaut Institute) and would conduct Porto and wine tasting at the winery. As well as being the marketing and communication director for the winery, she was responsible for overseeing the planning and planting of different categories of fruit, vines, apple trees. As the first to establish in Eastern Ontario, she became a well-known speaker for vine growing, winemaking, apple cultivation and the sub-produce, marketing of products, and how to successfully grow your produce at the farm and market it. Director of Economic Development and Tourism for the United Counties of Prescott and Russell since 2015 where, with the support of her team, she has structured many aspects of the region’s economy.
Kelley Lemenchick, Director
Renfrew County CFDC
Kelley Lemenchick, Community Development Officer at the Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation has successfully administered programs including the Eastern Ontario Development Program and Rural Innovation Initiative Eastern Ontario and coordinated Community Economic Development activities/initiatives in Renfrew County over the course of the last nine years. Kelley graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University, received her Small Business Counsellors Certification from Acadia University, and she is an EDAC member currently working towards her Ec.D Designation.
Suzanne McCrimmon, Director
Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development
Suzanne is the Director, Business Development with Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED) who previously worked in numerous communities across Canada in various capacities over the past 25 years. With a background in marketing & international trade, she has worked at all levels of government including with Global Affairs and Agriculture Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs and with large cities and rural communities. Suzanne is enthusiastic and motivated to align private and public partners to identify unique opportunities with Ontario East. As a board member, she is committed to ensure communities all work together as regional partners to achieve success in developing a competitive business model, creating a sustainable working environment that will attract new investment and support a dynamic skilled workforce.
Stephen Paul, Director
County of Lennox and Addington
Stephen is the Director, Community and Development Services for Lennox and Addington County. His portfolio includes Economic Development, Tourism, Planning, Public Libraries and Museums. Prior to returning home to Lennox and Addington, Stephen worked for the City of Toronto Tourism Department as a producer of large scale events and festivals. He is a Past President of the Great Waterway Regional Tourism Organization and the Ontario East Economic Development Commission. Stephen is an active member of the community. He is the President of Softball Napanee and has been the Chair of numerous national sporting events that have been hosted in Lennox and Addington. Stephen is a graduate of Queen’s University.
Bob Peters, Director
City of Cornwall
Bob Peters is the Division Manager of Economic Development for the City of Cornwall. He is responsible for overseeing the Economic Development efforts for Cornwall, which includes investment attraction, business retention and expansion, tourism, community improvement programs, resident attraction. This includes marketing the City to prospective commercial investors and new residents via a variety of marketing tactics, including the ChooseCornwall.ca website. Mr. Peters is an active member of the Ontario East Economic Development Commission, helping to promote Eastern Ontario as a good region to invest in. In addition to his current role on the Board, he has previously held the roles of President, Marketing Director and Logistics Chair with Ontario East. Prior to rejoining the City in 2007, Mr. Peters ran WEBtech, a web design company located in Cornwall, Ontario. Mr. Peters has given seminars and workshops to a variety of groups, typically on marketing topics. He has also served as a guest lecturer at St. Lawrence College.
Connor Renouf, Director
Town of Perth
A Master’s graduate of the University of Waterloo’s Economic Development Master’s program, Connor posses a strong knowledge base for practicing economic development in Ontario. Since relocating to Eastern Ontario over three years ago to work for the Town of Perth, he has succeeded in bringing new ideas and positive outcomes to his community. Through partnerships with companies, outreach with businesses, and collaboration with stakeholders, he has been able to deliver innovation and results to his wonderful community in Eastern Ontario. He is a tireless promoter of the opportunity one can find not only in Perth, but in Eastern Ontario as a whole. He has a personal passion for community development, and strongly believes that small towns like Perth can serve as examples for the success active transportation, sustainable development, and denser living can have across the region. To him, Eastern Ontario is a region that knows how to work together and collaborate on initiatives that benefit the entire region. A region full of wonderful people, amazing stories, and incredible communities that he has enjoyed getting to know. Outside the office, you can find him hiking on a trail, paddling on a lake, or exploring a new Eastern Ontario culinary experience.
Bonnie Ruddock, Director
Region 9 Regional Tourism Organization
Bonnie Ruddock is the Executive Director for Region 9 Regional Tourism Organization (RTO9), she has been with the organization since their inception in 2011. Bonnie was appointed to Executive Director’s position in 2017 after 6 years as Operations Manager for RTO9. With a background in finance and a passion for the tourism industry, Bonnie is a true leader. Prior to her career with RTO9, Bonnie was Executive Director for the 1000 Islands Gananoque Chamber of Commerce for 10 years, where she was instrumental in growing membership and launching the first official Bi-lingual Visitors Guide for the destination. Bonnie serves on various committees within South Eastern Ontario and is also a Board member of Festivals and Events Ontario.
Jay Amer, Ec. D., Executive Director & Board Secretary, Non-Voting
Amer and Associates Economic Development
Jay's economic development experience includes twelve years as a senior executive with Peterborough's economic development agency and since 2010, operation of his own professional consultancy, Amer & Associates Economic Development. He has delivered a successful portfolio of work that includes economic development strategic plans, economic research and analysis for investment attraction and trade, marketing communications, government relations and funding programs, as well as organizational development and governance. Prior to discovering his passion for economic development, Jay served in a variety of technical and communications management roles with Ontario Power Generation, and he has also volunteered on numerous non-profit boards. He is a past President of the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC), has been a member of Ontario East since 2000 and is Ontario East’s representative on the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council (EOLC).
Trevor Crowe, Non-voting
Lynne Groulx, Non-voting
Ann-Marie Kelleher-Byers, Ec. D. (F), Non-voting
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario


Our Economic Development Partners



Ontario East Economic Development Commission works closely with the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) and the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus (EOMC) through the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council.

The EOWC includes all counties and lower-tier municipalities across eastern Ontario and are focused on advocating for and improving infrastructure and connectivity, growing the regional economy, and reducing municipalities' operational costs. http://www.eowc.org/

The EOMC includes all mayors representing the separated cities in eastern Ontario from Peterborough in the west to Cornwall in the east and Pembroke to the North. EOMC works to advance municipal priorities important to Eastern Ontario. The EOMC advocate for advancing issues of importance to eastern Ontario's cities.  https://eomc.ca/


The EOLC consists of five major partners that together represent the various sectors across the region. The partnership was launched to tackle issues regarding the economic performance of the region and pursue opportunities to maintain and enhance its economic prosperity. The five partners are: 
Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus, Eastern Ontario Regional Network, Ontario East Economic Development Commission and Community Futures Eastern Ontario. http://www.eolc.info/





The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) is a non-profit, charitable organization that develops leaders, initiates dialogue, supports collaboration and promotes action on issues and opportunities facing rural Ontario. 


The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is committed to success of Ontario's rural communities and its food and agriculture sectors. Ontario East and its members work closely with this Ministry to deliver information and programming in support of our mostly rural region. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/



The Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade supports a strong, innovative economy that can provide jobs, opportunities, and prosperity for all Ontarians. Ontario East works with industry specialists to support key employment sectors in the region and with the Ministry's investment attraction agency Invest Ontario.





The Ministry of Labour, Training & Skills Development provides a variety of workforce related services including supporting apprenticeships, the skilled trades, industry training and employment services in Ontario. Ontario East delivers a workforce development program supported by the Ministry to ensure that the region continues to offer a skilled, available, and dedicated workforce to existing and new employers.






Ontario East Economic Development Commission partners with a network of fourteen participating Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) in eastern Ontario through Community Futures Eastern Ontario. The Community Futures Program (CFP) is a community driven economic development initiative designed to assist rural areas. 
CFDCs are funded through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. 




The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario delivers programs and services to support innovation and economic growth in southern Ontario—Canada’s most populous region. Ontario East partners with FedDev Ontario to promote investment attraction and areas of emphasis including supporting women entrepreneurship in the region.




Invest in Canada works directly with global investors to unlock investment opportunities and facilitate expansion in Canada. We bring industry, community, and government partners together to offer seamless services that make it easy for you to grow your operations in Canada. Ontario East participates in programming and trade missions in support of Invest in Canada's mandate.




Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada supports the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector through initiatives that promote innovation and competitiveness. Ontario East works with this ministry to support its key employment sectors - food & beverage.