Hearing Commissioners

Hearing Commissioners

Hearing Commissioners represent a key part of the Alberta Energy Regulator’s mandate. Reporting to the chief hearing commissioner, the commissioners are responsible for the AER’s adjudicative functions, acting as the decision-makers on major applications and conducting hearings. The commissioners are also involved in developing the organization’s hearing procedures and rules. Hearing commissioners are independent adjudicators, and their decisions are generally only overturned by the Court of Appeal of Alberta.

Hearing Commissioner Code of Conduct [PDF]


Alex Bolton, P. Geo., Chief Hearing Commissioner

Mr. Alex Bolton, P. Geo., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time) Mr. Bolton served as a board member of the ERCB, appointed in October 2010. A professional geologist and member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, Mr. Bolton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Sciences and a Masters of Management Sciences in Management of Technology through the University of Waterloo. Prior to joining the ERCB, he was president and CEO of Epicentre Consulting Inc. Mr. Bolton served for four years as Director, Compliance & Enforcement, with the Natural Resources Conservation Board; six years with Anderson Exploration dealing with environmental issues and community and regulatory affairs; and nine years as a senior environment advisor and exploration/development geologist with Home Oil.


Brad McManus, Q.C., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)

Mr. McManus was appointed to the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) in January 2008 and became vice-chair in July 2009, serving recently as acting chair of the ERCB. Mr. McManus joined the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) as a board member in 1995, having served previously as a board member of the Public Utilities Board of Alberta (PUB) for five years. He has been a member of numerous board panels dealing with utility- and energy-related hearings. Prior to joining the PUB, Mr. McManus practiced corporate and commercial law in Calgary for twelve years.


Cecilia Low, B.Sc. LL.B., LL.M., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)

Ms. Low is a well-respected regulatory, environmental, and energy lawyer in Alberta. Professionally trained as both an engineer and a lawyer, Ms. Low has experience in alternative dispute resolution, negotiation, and mediation. She spent her early career as a geophysicist working with energy companies before changing gears and moving to the legal profession, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in law from the University of Calgary. Ms. Low was a partner with Lawson Lundell LLP, worked with Enbridge as a senior regulatory counsel, and served as a fellow with the Canadian Institute of Resource Law. She has practiced in the areas of regulatory, environmental, aboriginal, and energy law and has argued in front of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), the National Energy Board (NEB), the Northwest Public Utilities Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


Christine Macken, B.A., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)

Ms. Macken is an accomplished mediator and facilitator with significant regulatory experience. A past board member with the Environmental Appeal Board, Ms. Macken has previously worked with the ERCB advising the executive and the board on a variety of regulatory issues. Prior to that she spent nearly a decade as a senior manager with the Clean Air Strategic Alliance. Ms. Macken spent her early career working with the Government of Alberta as a senior intergovernmental officer in the Department of Federal and Intergovernmental Affairs. A leader in the field of alternate dispute resolution with a solid understanding of administrative justice, Ms. Macken has been the recipient of two Alberta Premier’s Awards for Excellence and two Alberta Emerald Foundation Awards.


Rob McManus, M.E.Des., B.A., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)

Mr. McManus served as a board member for the ERCB, appointed in December 2010. Mr. McManus holds a Masters of Environmental Design degree in Environmental Science, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and is trained in environmental mediation and negotiation. Mr. McManus has close to 30 years of professional experience, including over two decades of environmental and regulatory management experience and has served as a commissioner and chairman of the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission. Mr. McManus has held senior positions with Calpine Canada, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Shell Canada Limited, and Gulf Canada Resources.


Barbara McNeil, B.Sc., C.M., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)

Ms. McNeil is an accomplished senior mediator, administrative tribunal member, and facilitator. For the past twenty years she has been involved in mediating and facilitating regulatory, municipal, energy, workplace, stakeholder engagement, and land management issues. Ms. McNeil is currently chair of the Banff Development Appeal Board and has previous experience as a board member with the Natural Resources Conservation Board, Alberta Municipal Government Board, and Federal Farm Debt Review Board. A chartered mediator, Ms. McNeil has served as a mediator for Alberta Municipal Affairs, the ERCB, the Court of Queen’s Bench, and the Calgary Police Service.


Terry Engen, Hearing Commissioner (Part-time)

Terry Engen was appointed as a board member of the ERCB in October 2010. Mr. Engen is a fifth-generation farmer in Lacombe County and, prior to his appointment, was the reeve of the county. He was an elected municipal official for several years and has directed and chaired numerous commissions, review boards, and public hearings. He has also worked with several community organizations in senior level positions. Mr. Engen has a diverse background in leadership roles with Lacombe County, the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts & Counties, Hockey Alberta, and his local community. He is recognized for his leadership skills and his ability to build collaborative relationships with government agencies and the community.


Heather Kennedy, B.Sc. (Hons) (Part-time)

One of the Alberta Energy Regulator’s part time hearing commissioners, Heather Kennedy has spent more than 30-years as an engineer working in the mining, energy, and government sectors.

Since March 2013, Heather has been Suncor Energy’s vice president of Government Relations, and has held other roles in operations, projects and stakeholder relations with the company since 1996.

In 2007 Heather was seconded to the Government of Alberta as Assistant Deputy Minister for Oil Sands Sustainable Development Secretariat with the Treasury Board. In this role, she helped create a long term strategic plan for responsible oil sands development and regional planning.

Currently a resident of Calgary, Heather is active in the community. She has lent her leadership talents to many committees and groups including

  • Athabasca University
  • the Calgary Drop In and Rehabilitation Centre
  • the United Way of Fort McMurray, and
  • the Athabasca Oil Sands Area Transportation Coordinating Committee, and
  • the 2015 Western Canada Summer games

John Lawson, MPA, Hearing Commissioner (Part-time)

John Lawson is the president and principal consultant of Lawson Trading Company Limited, and he owns and operates a farm and a ranch outside of the towns of Cowley and Duchess, Alberta. Mr. Lawson received a master’s degree in public administration from Queen’s University and a bachelor of arts degree in recreation administration from the University of Alberta. He spent more than 21 years with the Government of Yukon in various capacities ranging from administrator of corporate affairs to deputy minister and secretary to cabinet for the Executive Council Office. He was appointed as the acting president of the Yukon Energy Corp., owned by the Government of Yukon, and as the deputy minister of several departments, including the Department of Justice. Mr. Lawson currently serves on the boards of the Alberta Environmental Law Centre, the Livingstone Landowner’s Group, and the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society; earlier, he served on the federal government’s Employment Insurance Board of Referees in the department of Human Resources and Social Development.


Jurgen Preugschas, Hearing Commissioner (Part-time)

Mr. Preugschas is a founding shareholder and director of Peak Swine Genetics, Inc., operating out of Leduc, Alberta, which supplies pure- and crossbred swine genes to pig producers throughout Canada and the Pacific Northwest. He has been farming since 1970, and he received a diploma in agriculture from the Agriculture College in 1971. He currently owns and runs a 3000-acre farm outside of Mayerthorpe, Alberta; the farm produces grain, oilseeds, alfalfa, and custom-grazing cattle and provides a 300-sow nucleus herd to Peak Swine Genetics. Mr. Preugschas is involved with several agricultural boards in Alberta and the rest of Canada, including the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, the Alberta Products Marketing Council, the International Meat Secretariat, and Lac Ste.-Anne Woodlands Surface Rights Group. Previously, he served on the boards of the Alberta Swine Breeders Association, Canada Pork International, the Canadian Agrifood Trade Alliance, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, and the Institute for Agriculture, Forestry and Environment.


Lorne Ternes, LL.B., Hearing Commissioner (Part-time)

Mr. Ternes is a lawyer specializing in aboriginal, intergovernmental, and trade law. He is also involved with a consulting and management firm specializing in aboriginal issues; he focuses on resolving questions of aboriginal, government, and resource development interests collaboratively and positively. Early in his career, Mr. Ternes worked as a land agent, acquiring surface and mineral rights throughout western Canada. As an expert legal officer with Alberta Justice from 1989 to 1998, Mr. Ternes provided legal advice and assistance to Alberta on Métis issues, several treaty and specific claims, and general aboriginal and treaty rights issues with clients that have included provincial and federal governments, tribal councils, First Nations communities, and industry.