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Director, Agriculture and Food – Northlands


Northlands was founded in 1879 as an agricultural society by a group of entrepreneurial farmers and ranchers. It hosted its first exhibition (now known as K-Days) on October 15, 1879, and has since been operating in Edmonton for more than 137 years. Northlands is older than both the City of Edmonton and the Province of Alberta.

The organization currently has over 1,800 full and part-time employees as well as 1,200 active volunteers. Northlands hosted and produced 520 events in 2015. The 160-acre Northlands campus hosts three million visitors annually and has an estimated economic impact of $1 billion to the local economy. Additionally, the organization takes a leadership role in agriculture in Northern Alberta.

Northlands is continually improving and enhancing their facilities to anticipate the future needs of the community. Northlands remains at the forefront of business, entertainment, and sports programming and has attracted diverse, cutting edge users to Edmonton by understanding the long-term value of their facilities, providing high-calibre services, and staying connected to the people they serve.

Not only is Northlands one of the largest social-profit organizations in Edmonton, they are also a leader in agriculture and entertainment. Through their new Vision 2020 plans, Northlands will continue to evolve and maintain their status as a world-class destination for generations to come, building for their next century of success.

Mission (The business we’re in…)

Northlands is:

  • A place where cultural entertainment and sports experiences happen every day.
  • A link between modern urban living and our agricultural future.
  • A financially sustainable social entrepreneur and leader in the not for profit community.
  • An organization committed to our region’s collective quality of life.

Vision (What we aspire to…)

Deliver brilliant experiences 365 days a year for Edmonton, Northern Alberta, and the world.

Values (What we believe in…)

  • Fun: We create joy, and have fun doing so.
  • Innovation: We lead with creativity, a focus on the future, and a commitment to learning.
  • Respect: We treat communities, the environment and all people including guests, employees, and volunteers with integrity.
  • Safety: We have a relentless commitment to making every Northlands experience a safe one.
  • Trust: We do what we say we will do. We are ethical, transparent, honest and forthright in all our dealings

For further information about Northlands, please visit their website at



Reports to: Vice President, Corporate Development

Direct Reports: 6 (Agriculture Education Specialist; Event Coordinator; Administrative Assistant; International Marketing Manager; Local Food Associate; and Event Manager)

Location: Edmonton, Alberta



The Director, Agriculture and Food is responsible for the direction and coordination of Agriculture Department initiatives to support the achievement of Northlands’ growth goals and objectives as an Agricultural Society. The primary purpose of the Director, Agriculture and Food is to manage the department staff and direct the economic development & market access strategies; educational, urban engagement & event delivery requirements to meet Northlands’ strategic and business plan objectives and act as an advocate for agri-business in Alberta as well as throughout Canada. In the coming years, Northlands hopes to be a leader in food innovation, connectivity, security and sustainability, as well as continuing to provide great food experiences in all events.



The position will include the following responsibilities:

Department Management

  • Prepare the Agriculture Department business plan & operating budget as requested by the Vice President, Corporate Development.
  • Work with the Department team to establish the annual Departmental operational objectives and priorities.
  • Provide suggestions to the Vice President, Corporate Development for changes in direction or priorities during the business year; provide direction for necessary modifications to the business plan or operating budget as required during the fiscal year.
  • Participate in monthly Northlands Leadership Team (NLT) meetings to review progress on the strategic and operational goals and results, prepare appropriate commentaries for the NLT members to understand Agriculture department performance.
  • Lead monthly meetings of the Agriculture team to review progress on the business plan initiatives – prepare agenda and focus for these sessions.
  • Engage in market & industry scanning, gathering intelligence, industry awareness, competitive activities, and keeping abreast of Northlands events (current and future), as well as agricultural trends, to identify new business opportunities; provide on-going recommendations to the Vice President, Corporate Development for appropriate Northlands responses or new initiatives.
  • Monitor & identify trends in the industry, local & regional economies, and provide input and recommendations for direction or priority changes for appropriate corporate consideration.
  • Prepare periodic or special reports as requested by the Vice President, Corporate Development.
  • Stay abreast of current developments and trends in all relevant technical/professional knowledge areas, i.e. industry development, grant opportunities, agriculture technology and emerging trends, etc.
  • Continuously analyze and evaluate new grant application opportunities; oversee the grant application process and ensure grant funding is allocated and expenditures are tracked and measured.
  • Liaise with educational institutions to identify & create new programs and coordinate the implementation of curriculum and programs in order to deliver to the community.
  • Ensure that municipal; provincial; federal and other agencies codes, regulations and standards are met and/or adhered to. These include but are not limited to: Provincial & Federal Grant Funding Applications; Alberta Health Services – Food Handling/Safety Standards; Biosecurity Policies & Procedures; Livestock Identification & Commerce Act; Urban Agriculture Development Permitting; Urban Hen Keeping Procedures & Guidelines; Animal Licensing & Control By-Law; Bee Act and Regulation; Alberta Gaming & Liquor Control; Raffle Licensing, Eligibility and Guidelines.
  • Maintain targeted communications to enhance/apprise Northlands staff of ongoing Agriculture Department initiatives & changes, program activities, staff additions, etc.
  • Lead in the development & promotion of advocacy and industry relations in agricultural initiatives.

Education & Urban Engagement Management

  • Manage and implement the development of educational & urban engagement plans & programs, both short & long range, to ensure connectivity between the community and Northlands.
  • Reviews the analysis & evaluation of current/historical program(s) & streams to identify trends for future opportunity development and areas for additional leveragability.
  • Lead in the research of programs and initiatives, i.e. geographic, joint ventures, etc., and prepare plans/strategies for program development.
  • Work with the Agriculture Education Manager, in the development of support materials/presentations to assist Agriculture department staff in event development & delivery.
  • Provide input to the corporate website design/content and recommend updates/revisions to as it relates to creating Agriculture programs to better position Northlands in the agricultural community.
  • Personally oversee the implementation of “coordinated” community involvement initiatives to reflect Northlands’ corporate citizenship responsibility and to enhance Northlands’ business development & growth initiatives.

Economic Development & Market Access Management

  • Oversee the development of agriculture plans & programs, both short & long range, to advance the industry.
  • Oversee the process to increase the number of small & medium sized enterprises (SME’s) supported and/or incubated; improve participation and promote innovation, technology development and development of new practices.
  • Lead in the research of new programs, i.e. geographic, vertical, joint ventures, etc., and prepare plans/strategies for entry as requested by the Vice President, Corporate Development.
  • Lead in the development of possible new agriculture expansion projects as requested by the Vice President, Corporate Development.
  • Create opportunities to provide increased market access to agribusinesses.
  • Participate in industry events locally, regionally, domestically and internationally that promote the economic development of Canadian agricultural capabilities and opportunities.

Event Management

  • Participate in Northlands events (on and off-site) as requested by the Vice President, Corporate Development.
  • Oversee communications between Agriculture Department staff and other departments as determined by the Event Manager for events and promotions.
  • Leads in the preparation, organization and event coordination with Operations Department.
  • Works with the Marketing Department to coordinate internal resources necessary for event promotion and delivery.
  • Coordinates and schedules department participation and attendance at Northlands events.
  • Works closely, as required, with event participants, industry stakeholders, and government (municipal, provincial and federal) officials to promote strong community relations with Northlands.

Human Resource Management

  • Responsible for the review & approval of hiring, promotions, dismissals, discipline and compensation reviews for all direct reports.
  • Provide written & verbal performance evaluations for all direct reports (after consultation with Vice President, Corporate Development).
  • Recommend direct reports’ compensation & incentive payments to Vice President, Corporate Development for approval.
  • Review & approve the Expense Reports of all direct reports.
  • Lead and participate in the orientation, training and mentoring for all new Agriculture Department staff.
  • Create individual performance plans for direct reports to expand industry and functional knowledge and to increase performance levels. Support and develop the competencies & skills of direct reports.
  • Monitor staff satisfaction levels and ensure ongoing improvement to facilitate productivity, retention and high morale.
  • Identify potential gaps in talent in the department and initiate short/long term strategies to ensure ongoing qualified personnel are being recruited and developed for sustainable corporate growth.
  • Ensure the corporate values / standards of business conduct / human resource philosophy is understood, embraced and implemented throughout the firm; and personally demonstrate them in daily interactions and relationships.
  • Demonstrate and practice the avoidance of silo thinking and behaviours between Departments – reinforce the priority of overall organizational success.
  • Participate in selected NLT team functions in order to build collaborative relationships with all other members of the NLT to facilitate orderly operation of the overall business.
  • Conduct personal growth initiatives for ongoing improvement & understanding of: leadership, management, marketing, event management, planning, grant application & fulfillment and communication.



Success in the first year will be determined by the candidate’s ability to:

  • Successfully position the Agriculture portfolio in a priority role within K-Days
  • Re-engineer Farm Fair International resulting in higher political awareness, a more effective business model, and establishing a local food experience; and
  • Establish a 10-year strategic plan for the Agriculture portfolio that will include more signature events and will focus on growth and innovation.



The successful candidate will have the following:


  • A Bachelor’s degree in a related field or related education. An MBA is welcomed.


  • Minimum of 5 years in a senior leadership role;
  • Demonstrated experience contributing to a culture of accountability within a results-oriented environment;
  • Experience interacting with multiple internal and external stakeholders including all levels of government, agriculture-related business partners, producers, and the public;
  • Measurable career success in an agriculture or agriculture/events organization; and
  • Prior success in the leading a department to a position of prominence within an established organization.


  • Comprehensive management skills and experience are required, including, but not limited to, short and long-term planning, evaluation, directing and motivating staff, and oral and written communication skills;
  • A proactive leader who can initiate and manage change effectively and who knows how to engage and lead others through change;
  • An effective, people-oriented leader with a high sense of urgency and an orientation towards action;
  • A long range, visionary leader who develops a shared vision that provides clear direction, goals, and priorities;
  • Superior interpersonal and communications skills, both written and verbal; the successful candidate listens well, respects diverse opinions, and has an open communication style with all stakeholders, both internal or external;
  • Ability to multi-task and remain connected to the day-to-day operations while maintaining focus on the overall corporate objectives and priorities;
  • Proven ability to work at all levels to execute operating plans within budget, quality and time requirements; and
  • Determination to succeed, combined with a strong personal work ethic that sets a positive tone within the organization and embodies leadership by example.



An excellent compensation package awaits the successful candidate.

How to Apply:

Please send your resume in Word or PDF format to: Copy and Paste the following job title and code and place it in the subject line of your email so we can identify the job and confirm receipt of your application:
AKUQ-007164 Director, Agriculture and Food – Northlands, AB – Edmonton and Area (CRPAPPLY)

Please note that only those candidates meeting the selection criteria, established by our client, will be contacted further. Although we may not contact you directly for this particular role, all applications will be reviewed as we would like to consider you for future opportunities that may be appropriate. We encourage you to continue to visit our website at as our opportunities are updated on a regular basis.

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