The Friends of Medalta Society is a not-for-profit organization established in 1986 which is dedicated to the restoration and development of Medalta Potteries National Historic Site and 150 acre Historic Clay District as a world-class artistic and cultural hub. Within the District are the historic Medicine Hat Potteries, Hycroft China Provincial Historic Resource, The Medicine Hat Brick and Tile Provincial Historic Resource and the National Porcelain Site. Together, Medicine Hat’s clay industries formed one of Western Canada’s earliest and largest industries.
On this page you will find the list of our Board of Directors, our Mission & Vision statements and Honour Roll recipients.
Friends of Medalta 2016-2017 Board of Directors
Dr. Linda Rossler – Chair
Mr. Dave Sherwood – Vice Chair
Dave is currently the Vice-Chair and Past Chair on the Board of the Friends of Medalta Society. This is his last year on the board and previously served as Chair for four years. Currently, he is the General Manager of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group in Medicine Hat (CHAT 94.5, MY 96 FM, CHAT TV, CHATNewsToday.ca), and his career has been in television and radio, both as a writer and a producer.
He and his wife are ten year residents of Medicine Hat, coming here from Central B.C. He is an avid history buff (a favorite t-shirt he owns reads “History Buff—I’d be more interested in you if you were dead.”) and was totally blown away by his first visit to Medalta on arriving in Medicine Hat. He believes that Medalta in the Historic Clay District and all of the Clay Industries sites are important in many ways, but perhaps most in the preservation of memories and artifacts from a formative period in our history, as well as a centre for community activities and education. In his word, “Long may they survive and grow!”
Mr. Drew Jackiw – Treasurer
Drew has been a member of the Friends of Medalta Society Board of Directors since 2014, and has served as Treasurer since 2015. Hailing from Regina, Drew moved to the Medicine Hat area in 2005 and is an active member of the business community as well as the minor hockey community. He serves as a Seminar Leader and Business Mentor with the Medicine Hat College Start Up Company Program as well as coach with the Medicine Hat Minor Hockey Association.
As a Chartered Professional Accountant and partner with the firm Johnston Morrison Hunter & Co, Drew brings a wealth of financial knowledge to the Board of Directors. He values the Community Classroom at Medalta in particular because of the diversity in learning opportunities that are offered outside of the traditional classroom. He is also passionate and committed to the development of tourism locally, provincially, federally, and internationally, valuing the positive impact this has on local businesses.
Mr. James Parsons – Secretary
James has been on the Friends of Medalta Society Board of Directors for a little over 4 years. He grew up outside of Medicine Hat, as his father was in the British Military, but Medicine Hat is definitely now his home. As a business owner of a growing technology company, he understands that having a strong and vibrant community is important; Medalta plays a vital role in that. James and his wife have two young boys (10 and 7) who have been to Medalta many times with their school. It’s exciting to see them connected to Medalta through the education program that Medalta offers. When James is not busy coaching his kids’ sports he likes to travel with his family, and play golf, hockey, and soccer, as well as guitar. He looks forward to serving Medalta through the remainder of his term, and supporting it for many years to come.
Mr. Harvey Fix – Director
Harvey and his wife Loretta have been involved in the preservation and celebration of Medalta, the buildings, and history since the 1970’s. His wife was previously on the board withthe late Bert Hargrave, Dianne Finch and Joanne Taylor. He has been on the board since 2012; he was on the Artist in Residence committee for years and was hired in 2000 to oversee a 3 month rotating residency that year.
Harvey has lived in Medicine Hat from birth through high school, leaving for a short time from 1967 and returning in 1972. Harvey has a personal connection in that during his high school years he worked part of a year at the original Plainsman Clay with its founder Luke Lindoe and his wife Gail. Not only did Harvey have a direct connection to the district, but his Father worked there a short time after he returned from WW2 allowing him time to secure funding for schooling in his profession. Medalta and the rest of the clay factories were secure employment for these returning soldiers.
Having spent 36 years in a communications career, ten years with Canadian Pacific Telecommunications and 26 with AGT /Telus retiring in 1999. At this same time period from 1977 onwards he also embarked on a parallel career in clay, one that continues to this day. Preservation of every portion of the Historic Clay District is of prime importance. It was what an integral part of what built Medicine Hat, and kept it viable.
Dr. Denise Henning- Director
Dr. Henning is the President and CEO of Medicine Hat College. She holds degrees in Urban Studies and Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and a Doctorate from New Mexico State University (NMSU) in educational administration, higher education. Her research includes aboriginal graduate student persistence and completion, aboriginal women’s issues, and reducing the disparity of mathematics, science, and literacy attainment of aboriginal students.
She is an experienced post-secondary executive that has held several positions in both Canada and the USA, as well as visiting distinguished scholar in New Zealand.
Dr. Henning has earned a reputation for cultivating and sustaining positive relationships, building collaborative teams and energizing people in ways that uplift their innovative spirits. As a Cherokee/Choctaw originating from Creek County in Oklahoma, Dr. Henning possesses a deep passion for equity and inclusion in higher education, helping a diverse range of students, faculty, staff, and administrators appreciate the cultural diversity and heritage in our country and world.
Denise K. Henning has served on the Board of the Friends of Medalta Society for 2 years. She is passionate about the work and history of Medalta as both a citizen of Medicine Hat and as a potter. She was honoured to have had a 6-month honorary artist-in-residence with the Medalta program from June to December 2015.
Mr. Kevin Kurtz – Director
Kevin has been on the Friends of Medalta Society Board for three years and has lived in Medicine Hat for the past twenty years. A lawyer at Stringam LLP, having graduated law school in 2009 with Distinction, he was then admitted to the Alberta Bar Association in 2010. He was admitted as a partner of Stringam in 2013 and appointed Regional Managing Partner in 2016. His family is very active in the local sports community; both he and his wife coach soccer and hockey and are big fans and supporters of the SPCA, Medicine Hat Tigers, Medicine Hat Mavericks, and the Medicine Hat Public Library.
Kevin supports Medalta and its efforts to preserve the past as well as provide a window into it. He believes it is important to educate the public about the history and heritage of Medicine Hat and pass that knowledge on to future generations. Medalta achieves this, and provides a glimpse into the areas of Art, Culture, Industry, Development, Transportation, Exportation, and lifestyles of the past. He wants his children to have access to Medalta and the resources it provides in order learn from and celebrate the past. Kevin is proud of the fact that Medalta provides a hub for the community to gather and enjoy the history of this area, the opportunities it provides to learn, and the opportunities for people to participate in uncovering their artistic talents.
Mr. James Marshall – Director
Jim Marshall has been a driving force behind Medalta since he and Jack Forbes first decided to pursue preservation of the site in 1974 and then the founding of the Friends of Medalta Society in 1986. Born and raised in Medicine Hat he has been an active contributing member of the Medicine Hat community and has been recognized for his significant heritage and artistic contributions. Jim’s contributions have been recognized with the Alberta Order of Excellence, the Alberta Historic Resources Foundation Heritage Service Award, the Medicine Hat Civic Recognition Award for Culture, the AGT March of Champions Award for Outstanding Contributions to Art and Culture and the Alberta Craft Council Award of Honour.
Jim has served on several boards throughout his time in Medicine Hat including the Medicine Hat Museum Board, Alberta and local Archaeology society, Grasslands Naturalists, City Sports and Recreation Board, Family YMCA board, Kinsmen Club, Hat Art Club, Historical Resources Committee and the Saamis Rotary Club.
Ms. Jaquelyn Penner – Director
Mr. Roger Sept – Director
Roger is new to the Board of Directors at Medalta. Roger is one of the owners of Saamis Memorial Funeral Chapel and Crematorium and he has been a licensed Funeral Director since 1993. He and his wife Yvonne have three sons, two of which are married and reside in Medicine Hat. They have also recently became grandparents to twins–one of each. Roger is a fourth generation Medicine Hat resident and has a passion for the history of this area. He has been active in his community, serving on the Police Commission, Knights of Columbus, is a member of the Alberta Funeral Service Association, and is a past member of the Kiwanis Club. He has also published three children’s books explaining funeral service to children.
Roger has a passion for heritage and firmly believes Medalta in the Historic Clay District will play a significant role in Medicine Hat’s economic future. He encourages everyone to share and participate in Medalta’s vision of the future, stating “Medalta and the Historic Clay District played a significant role in our history, but it could play an even greater role in our future!”
Mr. Ron Webb – Director
Ron has been a resident in both northern and southern Alberta during his over 35 year career in Public Service and now resides in Medicine Hat. Senior and Executive Management roles within the Provincial (Regional Director, Alberta Social Services) and Municipal Governments (Public Services Commissioner, City of Medicine Hat), as well as extensive community involvements, validate both his experience and interest in Community Development and Public Engagement.
Ron has a Masters’ degree in Social Work Administration and was a sessional instructor with the University of Calgary. Program Management experience includes Recreation and Parks, Cultural Development, Fire Services , Social Development , Children’s Services and Aboriginal Services.
Ron, while retired, continues with an active involvement in the community as Chair of the 2016 Alberta Winter Games Society, Chair of 2018 Under 17 World Hockey Challenge Bid Committee, a Kiwanis member and Director on Medalta Society Board (Historic Clay District).
Ron and his wife Leann have been married for over 40 years and have one daughter who is a French Immersion School Teacher.
Ald. Jamie McIntosh (City of Medicine Hat Council Representative)
Mr. Barry Finkelman – Executive Director
Mr. Aaron Nelson – Associate Director
Ms. Laurie Switzer – Finance and Human Resources Director
The Friends of Medalta Society (the “Society”) fosters an understanding and appreciation of the Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District (known as the “Historic Clay District”), its importance in the development of Medicine Hat, and its impact across Canada through collection, preservation, exhibition and interpretation.
The Friends of Medalta Society is dedicated to developing the Historic Clay District as “A world-class cultural district with a heart of clay”.
Honour Roll recipients have made significant contributions to the Friends of Medalta Society. Many of the Founding Committee members continue to offer their services as advisors and volunteers for the society, as do many retired members of the Board of Directors. Volunteers are selected for the extraordinary effort they have extended, and continue to extend to the society’s various programs, and staff are chosen for their selfless dedication and perseverance in achieving the goals of the Historic Clay District.
James & Lorine Marshall
Bert Hargrave (posthumous)
Dan Taylor (posthumous)