Meet Our Staff

Cornelia Kreplin, DVM, PhD

Interim CEO

Originally from Ontario, Cornelia has spent the bulk of her professional life in Alberta, first as a veterinarian, then in a series of increasingly senior roles with government and at Alberta Innovates, from which she “retired” in January 2021 as Executive Director of the Smart Agriculture and Food (SAF) division. While leading SAF she was asked to spearhead the planning, development, and launch of CAAIN, eventually assuming the mantle of interim CEO, a role she relinquished in April 2021 upon the hiring of a permanent chief executive officer. A skilled strategic and operational planner, Dr. Kreplin brings decades-worth of provincial, national, and international agricultural experience and connections to her return engagement as CAAIN’s interim CEO, providing operational and strategic guidance while growing the network.

When not contributing to various boards and advisory committees, Cornelia occasionally stops to spend time with her veterinarian husband and their Jack Russell Terrier.

Cornelia can be reached at

Tracy Bowers

Executive Assistant

Tracy Bowers, our remarkably competent Executive Assistant, sees her position with CAAIN as a return to her roots (pardon the ag pun). After all, she’s an Edmonton-area farm girl who launched an eventual 30-year Government of Alberta (GOA) career with the department of Agriculture as a summer student. Her broad practical experience, which includes stints with the GOA’s Agricultural Research Institute, Livestock and Meat Agency, and the ministries responsible for Pensions and Children’s Services, has been bolstered by certifications in human resources, benefits, and project management.

A firm believer in the importance of family and work-life balance, late in her government tenure Tracy took a year off to travel the rodeo trail with her teenage daughter. Which brings us neatly back to her personal and professional agricultural background and the impetus of a decision to leave the GOA in favour of Team CAAIN—a move we wholeheartedly applaud. Tracy grew up on a farm, and she lives on one now with her husband of 20 years, a daughter, two stepsons, and a menagerie that includes 13 horses, four goats, three dogs, an alpaca, a cat, and her “baby” Taco, a 136-kilogram micro mini pig. What more proof of her love of agriculture do we need? Right? Right!

Tracy can be reached at

Garson Law, MSc

Program Manager

Garson Law has spent his entire adult life in a range of positions across the research continuum. His impressive portfolio includes diverse roles, ranging from graduate student to funding program administrator, with stops in between as academic researcher, industry funding partner, and project lead. Being active throughout the research spectrum has instilled in Garson a strong appreciation for, and deep understanding of, the needs and qualities of stakeholders along the innovation value chain, which makes him a valuable member of Team CAAIN. When not working, he enjoys exploring the great outdoors at home and abroad, as well as chasing balls, pucks, and curling stones.

Garson can be reached at

Patience Palmer, PhD

Program Manager

To say that Patience Palmer is highly qualified for her role of CAAIN Program Manager is to state the obvious. Born and raised in the West African nation of Ghana, the Edmonton resident boasts superb academic credentials, with master’s degrees in Animal and Food Science earned at universities in Sweden and Finland, respectively, as well as a PhD in Animal Science from the University of Alberta.

Dr. Palmer’s professional background is no less impressive, including early experience with Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority and the country’s Cocoa Board. While completing her doctorate, she joined the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as a Developmental Meat Inspector. When she finished her studies, she remained with CFIA, working at slaughter and processing plants in Lacombe and Edmonton. From there, she transitioned to CAAIN, which she sees as a natural progression, leveraging, as it does, her significant livestock project management experience, while keeping her involved in agricultural innovation and satisfying her passion for ensuring the efficiency, safety, and quality of our agri-food sector.

Away from the office, Patience prioritizes faith and family, volunteering as a Sunday school teacher and cooking for, and spending time with, her husband and their two daughters.

Patience can be reached at

Julie Thibeault, BBA

Finance Manager

Julie’s 25 years of public- and private-sector experience in all things finance and accounting make her the perfect person to develop, implement, and maintain CAAIN’s financial management tools, functions, and procedures. Her duties require that she work closely with the members of our funded projects to ensure their compliance with Government of Canada fiscal reporting requirements. Julie holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Corporate Finance. Fluently bilingual, she moved to Alberta from Quebec 15 years ago.
Julie can be reached at

Eric Morin, CMP

Communications & Marketing Manager

Fluently bilingual and a Certified Communications Management Professional, Eric has spent the bulk of his 30-year career working in and for not-for-profit and public-sector organisations. A generalist skilled in project planning and management, writing and editing, public and media relations, crisis communications, and stakeholder engagement, he believes passionately in the intrinsic value of his profession. When not communicating at work, he enjoys doing so at home with his wife, Kathy, their two teenagers, and the family’s beloved Rottweiler-Coonhound cross, Dexter.

Eric can be reached at

Ryan Furtas

Business Partner, Knowledge & Networks

There are four reasons why Ryan Furtas is perfectly suited to be CAAIN’s Business Partner, Knowledge & Networks. First, he grew up helping his parents on the family’s mixed grain and cattle farm in east-central Alberta, so agriculture is in his blood. Second, he has a BSc in Agriculture Economics, which is pretty much self-explanatory. Third, the bulk of his career has been spent marketing and selling Alberta crops and dealing with primary producers in the Calgary and Edmonton regions, so he gets the issues of importance to the agricultural sector. And last but not least, in addition to being highly competent, he’s a really nice guy, which makes him ideally suited to build our network and grow our brand with a diverse range of stakeholders. Don’t believe us? Just ask the friends of his adolescent kids whom he coaches in minor hockey and baseball. Better yet, send him an e-mail and set up a meeting, and you’ll realize what the rest of his team members do: that we’re lucky to have him, and that he really is the perfect person for the job.

Ryan can be reached at