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2011 Lions

MC: Nick Bontis

Dr. Nick Bontis is a leading expert on intellectual capital and its impact on business performance. He is ranked among the top 30 management gurus and the top 5 management keynote speakers world-wide.  He is currently an award-winning professor at the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University where he advises budding entrepreneurs with their latest new ventures.  He was recently recognized as a 3M National Teaching Fellow, an exclusive honour only bestowed upon the top university professors in the country.  He has won over a dozen teaching awards and is the only faculty member to simultaneously hold outstanding teacher and researcher of the year honours.  Maclean’s Magazine has rated him as one of McMaster University’s most popular professors for six years in a row.

Nick received his PhD and HBA from the Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.  He is a widely-cited author of hundreds of articles and several books including the most recently published Information Bombardment: Rising above the digital onslaught (www.InformationBombardment.com).  He currently owns a consulting firm in Ancaster, and a software company in Vancouver.  He is also on the Executive Board of Harvest Portfolios, an investment fund company in Oakville.  His advisory services have been sought after by leading organizations such as the United Nations, Microsoft, Health Canada, Royal Bank, Telus, Accenture, Enmax, Manulife, Mitsubishi, the US Navy and IBM.

Within the local community, Nick is a dedicated volunteer coach in soccer and basketball.  His volunteerism was nationally recognized when he was selected as a 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Torchbearer.  Hamilton Magazine recognized him as one of the top 25 most influential people in the city.  He also donates his expertise through his weekly show Bontis on Business on CHCH TV and in The Hamilton Spectator.  In 2012, Nick will be the Chair for the United Way Campaign of Hamilton.  Nick resides in Ancaster with his wife Stacy and their three children (Charlie, Dino and Tia Maria).


P.J. Mercanti

P.J. Mercanti is the President of Carmen’s, a name synonymous in Southern Ontario with celebrity events, weddings, catering and dinner theatre. He is also a managing partner at the new C Hotel by Carmen’s. A University of Notre Dame business graduate, PJ worked for ESPN before venturing back to Hamilton. He is the founder of GenNext United Way and is involved with many community organizations such as The Charity of Hope, The Good Shepherd, and Hamilton Community Foundation. PJ is also a label executive of Rat Pack Records, a venture he co-founded with Canadian Idol winner Brian Melo. He has organized events featuring Academy Award Winners Al Pacino and Michael Douglas, U.S. Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin and Emmy Award Winners from The Sopranos.


Ron Foxcroft

Ron is the Inventor of the Fox 40 Peasless Whistle which is now sold in 140 countries and is sanctioned by almost all major sports worldwide. Fox 40 International, a Canadian company, proudly dominates the world whistle industry and thousands of Fox 40 Pealess Whistles are manufactured in Canada each day. Safety professionals who are involved in air, land and water search and rescue missions also use Fox 40 Whistles worldwide. The Fox 40 product line has grown to include a wide range of items for the sports industry from mouth guards to coaching boards to marine safety products. Starting in 1982, Ron built Fluke Transport from three trucks to 126 trucks and 475 trailers; If it’s on Time, It’s a Fluke… is not just a slogan, but a guarantee. As chairman of the board at the John C. Munro International Airport, Ron has played a key role in making the Hamilton facility the largest courier/cargo airport in Canada. Ron was named by Profit Magazine as one of the “10 Top Canadian Entrepreneurs of the Decade” and was inducted into the Burlington Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

Ron was named by Referee Magazine as one of the 52 most influential referees in North American officiating history. He is the only Canadian NCAA referee who also officiated over 1500 international games in 30 countries. He officiated both the Gold Medal Game in the 1976 Montreal Olympics and the 1998 NCAA Sweet 16. He is an inductee of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, 10 other Hall of Fame, and is currently employed by the NBA to evaluate the performance of their referees.

Ron received an Honorary Doctor of laws Degree from McMaster University, was named Hamilton’s 1997 “Distinguished Citizen of the Year,” and was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction in 2005. He provides his time and advise to numerous business boards and charities (who he also provides financial support for). Ron is also a much sought after motivational speaker.


Edward Minich

Ed retired as President and C.E.O. of Otis Canada, Inc. in 2004 after a thirty year career. He obtained his

B.Sc (’72) and M.B.A. (’74) degrees from McMaster University. A Chartered Director (C. Dir. 2005), he serves on the Board of: Horizon Utilities (Chair, Audit Committee), Hamilton Utilities Corporation, Hamilton International Airport (Chair, Audit Committee), Hamilton Port Authority (Vice-Chairman), and New Oakville Hospital Campaign Cabinet.

He has been a lecturer in “Strategic Management” at the DeGroote Graduate School of Business at McMaster University from 2005-2011. Currently, he is a group leader at CEO Global Network – coaching / mentoring CEOs. In 2004 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from McMaster and in 2007 was named an Honorary Governor Emeritus of McMaster, in recognition of his twelve years as a Board member, two as Chair.

His interests include golf, chess and collegiate athletics. He and his wife Siân reside in Oakville. They have three children, all McMaster grads.


Connie Smith

Connie Smith has been one of the most recognizable and engaging personalities on the air and behind the podium in Southern Ontario for more than 30 years, known for her integrity and compassion.

Always attracted to stories and interviews that inspire and offer hope in the face of issues and challenges of our time, together with her husband/director Dave Wilson, after 30 years in conventional television news, she created “Always Good News”, a daily program airing nationally on CTS Television that has been resonating with more and more Canadians, and is gaining attention worldwide both on television and the web. Other on-air credits include anchoring, reporting and producing for CHCH-TV Hamilton (30 years), CKVR-TV (“A” Channel”) Barrie, CKOC-Radio (Oldies 1150) Hamilton and CFRB-Radio Toronto, where, ironically, she landed her first full-time job in broadcasting as a “Good News Reporter.”

During her years at CHCH-TV, Connie covered politics, current affairs, education, entertainment and weather from the field and from behind the anchor desk breaking events that shaped the world and the community including Royal Visits, two Gulf Wars and 9-1-1.

Connie co-hosted the annual McMaster Children’s Hospital Celebration telethon for 17 years, which earned her the prestigious Hamilton Health Sciences Cornerstone Award. She is also the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, a Premier’s Award nomination, the Ontario Association of Broadcasters’ Howard Caine Memorial Award and the CanWest Community Spirit Award.

She is a member of Nelson High School and Mohawk College’s Alumni of Distinction, has been named a Hamilton and Halton Woman of the Year, received the Zonta Club of Hamilton II ‘s Founder Award in 2007 and in March 2009 was named a Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International’s top honour for public service. Sertoma Hamilton’s “Service to Mankind” Award followed that same year. In 2011 Connie was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction.

Together with her husband, producer/director Dave Wilson, Connie co-produced, the documentary special, Elizabeth’s Hope, which has been seen in countries around the world and won the ALS Society of Canada’s National Public Awareness Award.

Connie remains a committed community volunteer. A “St. Joe’s Baby”, she is vice chair of St. Joseph’s HealthCare Hamilton’s International Outreach Program and volunteers her time with numerous other charities including Ronald McDonald House, the YMCA Peace Medal program and the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada. Her most current project is Chairing the 2011 Hamilton United Way Campaign.


Bill Kelly

Bill Kelly has a solid background in media. He has over 30 years of broadcast experience and a wealth of market knowledge and passion that he will bring to the program daily. He has hosted a daily, nationally broadcast, interactive political talk show for 5 years on CHTV, worked as a host on CHML from 1988-1997 and was a stadium announcer for the Hamilton Tiger Cats for 13 seasons.

Bill also held a council seat in Hamilton for 9 years from 1997-2005. Bill is a graduate of Mohawk College in Hamilton.