Board of Directors & Executive Bios
Board of Directors
Rick joined the Board of Directors of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group on January 1, 2014. Prior to this, Rick served on the Board of Directors of Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company (Lindsay) from 2004 to 2014. Rick has served on numerous committees during his term.
Rick has also served on many local boards including Chair of Finance for the Victoria Halliburton Housing Authority, Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Property Committee for Cambridge Street United Church, Chair of the Board for Riverside Cemetery and Chair of a landfill Public Liaison Committee.
Rick’s business, Blewett Printing has been handling the print needs of businesses in and around Lindsay since 1935. Rick has been the owner/operator since he purchased the family business in 1984.
He is married with 3 children (2 sons and 1 daughter). He spends summers at their family cottage in the Kawarthas where his favourite pastime is waterskiing. During the winter he plays hockey, squash and participates in spin classes.
Cheryl has served on The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group’s Board of Directors since its very first day of January 1, 2014. Previously, Cheryl sat on the Board of Directors of Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company (Lindsay) from 2012 to 2014.
Cheryl is a past Vice President of Human Resources at Sick Kids Hospital. Before joining Sick Kids, she was Vice President of Human Resources at IBM Canada Ltd.
Cheryl is a proven and effective industry leader who enjoys working to support and lead change, build relationships and develop and engage people. Cheryl is currently Chair of the HR Committee of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group.
When not busy leading teams of people and affecting strategic change, Cheryl takes time to enjoy golfing and playing pickleball with her husband Norm.
John joined the Board of Directors of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group on January 1, 2014, after having previously served on the Board of Directors for Glengarry Mutual Insurance Company from 2001 to 2013 in Alexandria, Ontario.
John has served on municipal council in Alexandria and at the County level for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. He is past Board Chair of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry County Library and Glengarry Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. He is also a graduate of Durham College with a diploma in business.
John is currently a Provincial Appointee on the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Police Services Board and a Glengarry Highland Games Director.
John is the owner and President of a commercial property leasing and development company. His other interests include spending time with his family, especially time on the family boat.
Gordon has served on The Commonwell’s Board of Directors since its first day of operations on January 1, 2014. He was previously a member of the Board of Directors for Lanark Mutual Insurance Company, in Perth, Ontario from 2004 to 2013. Gordon served as Board Chair from 2011 to 2012.
Gordon is the owner of Huckabone’s Equipment Ltd., a family-owned dealership of full line Kubota equipment that has served eastern Ontario for over 65 years. Gordon also farms the 250 acres of his 130 year-old family farm. When not managing the business or the farm, Gordon finds time to snowmobile, 4 wheel and travel. Gordon and his wife Lorraine reside in Cobden, Ontario, and have four grown children.
Brian joined the Board of Directors of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group on January 1, 2014 after having served previously on the Board of Directors for Lanark Mutual Insurance Company, in Perth, Ontario.
Brian is a resident of the Upper Ottawa Valley, in Eganville, near Pembroke and a 5th generation dairy/cash crop farmer.
Brian and his wife Marg and have four children the oldest of which continues to be the 6th generation on the farm with his family.
Brian is also past president of Holstein Canada and Eastern Breeders and has volunteered on many hospital and church boards within the Pembroke and area community.
The Board of Directors of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group welcomed Gord on January 1, 2014. Gord was previously on the Board of Directors of Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company (Lindsay) from 2009 to 2014. Gord is currently the Vice Chair of the Board of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group.
Gord is also a past founder and owner of a franchise sandwich shop and a past owner and Vice-President of Lodwick Transport, a medium sized temperature controlled transportation company. Gord is currently serving as Ward 1 councilor for Brock Township and operates as an independent consultant within the transportation industry and is an owner of land and building management companies.
Gord and spouse Darlene live in Beaverton with their two children. In his spare time, he volunteers on various community service boards and enjoys curling and golf.
After serving on Lanark Mutual Insurance Company’s Board of Directors for four years, Allan joined the Board of Directors of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group on January 1, 2014. Allan was Chair of the Board in 2013 during the amalgamation.
Since then, Allan has represented the Perth area for The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group and is presently on the Corporate Governance Committee.
Allan and his wife Donna, together with son Brad, operate a dairy and cash crop farm with particular focus on their purebred Holstein herd. Allan and his family reside in Almonte, Ontario.
Kevin was originally on the Board of Directors for Glengarry Mutual Insurance Company in Alexandria, Ontario, before joining the Board of Directors of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group on January 1, 2014.
Kevin is currently the Regional Real Estate Project Manager for Eastern Canada for Canada Post Corporation. He has occupied this position since 2000. He is responsible for the general management and quality control of all new construction and retrofitting of the Canada Post facilities network. He has 40 years of continuous service at Canada Post.
Kevin is a member of the Board of Directors for Valoris, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to services for children and adults in Prescott-Russell.
Kevin is married to a retired career primary school teacher and has two adult children. He is an active community volunteer and his leadership is widely acknowledged among his peers, colleagues and the business community of Casselman, Ontario. With everything going on, Kevin still finds some time to golf, ski and read a good book.
Terry is currently Chair of the Board of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group. He joined the Board of Directors on January 1, 2014 after having served previously on the Board of Directors of Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company (Lindsay) from 1985 to 2014. Terry served as the Farmers’ Chair twice from 1993 to 1995 and 2003 to 2004. Terry is a past Trustee of the Fire Mutuals Guarantee Fund and a Director of FMRP from 1994 to 2004, serving as Chair in 2001 to 2002. He co-owns and operates Maltheb Farms Ltd. near Janetville, Ontario with his wife Brenda and two sons.
Terry enjoys golf and travel.
Dwight joined the Board of Directors of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group on its very first day, January 1, 2014, after having served on the Board of Directors of Glengarry Mutual Insurance Company, in Alexandria, Ontario, for 3 years. Dwight is currently the Chair of the Investment Committee.
Dwight is the owner of Proudfoot Financial and is a licenced advisor with Manulife Securities. He owned a general insurance brokerage from 1976 to 2000.
Dwight has served on the Prescott-Russell County Board of Education as a trustee from 1980 to 1985. He has been a director on the Children’s Aid Society of Prescott-Russell from 1982 to 1986.He presently is a member of the Building Committee which oversees the administration and property of all the office buildings and group homes for Valoris for Children and Adults of Prescott-Russell.
While busy serving on the Board and various community organizations, Dwight does find the time to go fishing, golfing and travel.
Anne-Marie Thomas has been a member of the Board of Directors of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group and predecessor Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company since 2013. Anne-Marie brings investment, risk management and governance expertise to the Board drawing on senior executive experience from across the financial services industry including as Chief Investment & Pension Officer at one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension funds.
Anne-Marie also serves on the Boards of DUCA Financial Services Credit Union and Habitat for Humanity GTA and the Advisory Board of the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business. In the community, Anne-Marie appreciates volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.
Anne-Marie obtained the Chartered Director designation (C.Dir) from the Directors College and ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors. She earned the Charter Financial Analyst charter and graduated with an MBA from Ivey Business School and BBA from The University of Iowa.
Gerard McDonald joined the Board of Directors of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group on September 6, 2017.
Gerard is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Engineers Canada, the national organization of the provincial and territorial associations that regulate the practice of engineering in Canada and license the Country’s 290,000 members of the engineering profession.
Prior to joining Engineers Canada, Gerard was Registrar of Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), and preceding that he spent over 31 years in the Public Service of Canada working primarily in the transportation sector where he held various positions including:
- Assistant Deputy Minister of Safety and Security at Transport Canada
- Executive Director of the Transportation Safety Board
- Director General of Marine Safety at Transport Canada and
- Director of Regulatory Affairs at the Privy Council Office
Gerard and his wife Norma have five children (four girls and a boy) and spend most of their spare time at their country home in North Glengarry. Gerard enjoys struggling at golf, trying to keep up with his children skiing, cycling and the great outdoors.
Jennifer Baziuk – Vice President Information Technology
Jennifer Baziuk joined The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group as Vice President, Information Technology in May of 2017
Prior to joining The Commonwell, Jennifer spent nearly two decades working in the Property & Casualty Industry for TD Insurance in both Toronto and Montreal. Jennifer has held a variety of leadership roles over the course of her career in Claims, Operations, Sales Effectiveness and Data Management & Data Governance.
As Vice President of Information Technology she will provide strategic direction and leadership for the continued development of an innovative, robust and secure information technology environment throughout The Commonwell.
Jennifer holds a Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Management, Business Management and Marketing from Athabasca University and is in the final year of pursuing her Masters of Business Administration. She is also a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Insurance Professional (CIP) who has volunteered her services to the Insurance Institute of Ontario to review academic programs in an effort to improve the quality of education for students and insurance professionals alike.
Jennifer grew up in Northern Ontario and moved near Lake Simcoe over 13 years ago where she and her husband Paul are raising their two children Paige and Rory. They enjoy the outdoors and spend as much time as possible on Lake Simcoe in both the summer and winter.
Bob Nielson – Vice President of Finance and CFO
Bob is a CPA, CA with over 25 years in senior financial and executive roles in international companies that include Fisher Gauge, KeepRite and Price Waterhouse. Bob brings his experiences and successes from manufacturing, processing, distribution and service organizations with lean and continuous improvement cultures. Other experiences include M&A, valuations, re-organizations and divestitures.
Bob serves as a Board Trustee and Resource Committee member at the Ross Memorial Hospital. Bob also enjoys golf, hockey, history and reading. Bob currently resides in Peterborough with his wife Eileen.
Pat Ryan – Vice President of Innovation & Analytics
Pat has been with The Commonwell since day one, after originally joining the Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company (Lindsay) in 1998. Pat brings many years of experience in the property and casualty insurance field, encompassing both sales and claims adjusting.
Since he joined the Farmers’ family, Pat has held a number of management positions in the underwriting production area. Pat has been involved with the Insurance Institute of Canada and the Insurance and Global Risk Management Institute. In 1998, he obtained his Canadian Risk Management designation (CRM), and was elected Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional (FCIP) in 1999.
Pat resides in Lindsay with his wife and daughter and when outside of the office, Pat finds time for volunteer fundraising with local charities and enjoys hobbies such as boating and camping with the family.
Gayle Whittamore – Vice President of Human Resources
Gayle Whittamore joined The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group as VP of Human Resources in December of 2016.
Gayle brings with her a strong background in strategic HR leadership from a variety of roles with progressive organizations such as IBM, Hospital for Sick Children and SunLife. Gayle will use her skills to lead our people-growth efforts to enable us to meet the challenges of a changing marketplace and society while staying true to our unique history, culture and values as a mutual insurer.
When not working, Gayle serves on the Board of Directors for Unionville Home Society and enjoys running, cycling trips, skiing and spending time with her three children.
David Blodgett – Chief Strategy Officer
David Blodgett joined our Executive Team in the newly created role of Chief Strategy Officer in November 2016. His key responsibilities are to oversee the execution of corporate strategic priorities across the organization and to lead our Information Technology, Innovation & Analytics and Project Management teams.
David joins The Commonwell, in Lindsay, having relocated “back home to Ontario” from Regina, Saskatchewan where he was most recently the President & Chief Executive Officer of Group Medical Services (GMS) and its wholly owned, nationally licensed, P & C subsidiary GMS Insurance Inc. – a leading travel and health insurer in western Canada.
A lifetime insurance professional, David has over 30 years’ experience in the life, health, property and casualty insurance industries having worked across Canada. A significant portion of his career was spent in the group life and health divisions of large national insurance carriers. Prior to joining The Commonwell and GMS, David served as the Vice President, Head of Group Insurance Operations at BMO Life Assurance Company (formerly AIG Life of Canada) where he managed global client relationships.
David is also committed to giving back to both the insurance industry and the community. He recently served on the Boards of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association and the Alzheimer’s Society of Saskatchewan and is a past Chairman of a Regina United Way corporate donation campaign.
Beyond business David is married with two children and lives in lake country in the Village of Haliburton, Ontario. He is an avid golfer, curler and skier and can often be found kayaking with his wife, Melanie, on Lake Kashagawigamog.
Tim Shauf – President and CEO
Tim Shauf is the President and CEO of the newly created Ontario mutual insurer, The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group based out of Lindsay, Perth and Alexandria. This amalgamation brought together Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company (Lindsay), Lanark Mutual Insurance Company and Glengarry Mutual Insurance Company.
Tim graduated with a B.A. in Business Administration from Trinity Western University (Langley, B.C.) Tim started his insurance career with Algoma Mutual Insurance Company in 1992. In 1999 Tim took a position with the former Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company (Lindsay). His 23 year involvement in the mutual insurance industry has included a variety of committee participations and terms on the Boards of Directors of both the Ontario Mutual Insurance Association and Farm Mutual Reinsurance Plan.
Currently, Tim is the Deputy-President of the Governing Council of the Insurance Institute of Ontario, Vice-Chair of the Ross Memorial Hospital Foundation based in Lindsay and while also joining the NAMIC Board of Directors in 2016 where he currently serves on NAMIC’s Membership Committee In addition to other charitable activities, he takes a special interest in reading and learning about leadership and organizational motivation.