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About: Headliner

About Dragonetti Group

Dragonetti Group teaches Public Operations Training across Canada. We consist of a group of dedicated educators with combined expertise across all sections of Public Works. Our cohort of 9 educators is organized and led by Darcy Dragonetti, allowing us to provide flexible scheduling in both virtual and in-person classes. 


Darcy Dragonetti

Darcy is the founder and principal instructor/developer of the Dragonetti Group, Public Operations Training and Consulting Services. Having served the public for over 3 decades, Darcy Dragonetti is a highly accomplished industry leader in the area of Public Operations and staff development.​

Attaining his professional designation as an Applied Science Technologist by the mid-‘80s, Darcy has since been engaged in numerous senior managerial roles throughout western Canada including positions such as Waterworks Superintendent, Sewers Superintendent, Landfill Superintendent,  Manager of Public Works, Manager Sustainable Operations, Manager Solid Waste and Manager Underground Utilities to name a few, eventually concluding a very successful career as the Regional Director Environmental Services until retiring in 2016 after nearly 33 years of public service.

Darcy is well recognized as one of the best instructors the public works industry has to offer. Since the early ‘90s he has been a primary contributor in developing training programs in the field of public works.  Other professional accomplishments include: 

  • Director of Operations, Western Canada Summer Games - Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

  • Chair, Board of Examiners - Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC

  • Business Continuity Professional - Disaster Recovery Institute of Canada 

  • Accredited Instructor with the Environmental Operators Certification Program for BC and Yukon

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“Darcy knows how to spice up the class and keep everybody interested on the topic."


About: Michael ippen

Michael Ippen

Mike has worked in local government operations for over 40 years. He started with the District of North Vancouver Utilities in 1977, working his way up to Deputy Superintendent. In Saanich Mike worked as Waterworks Manager, Human Resources Manager, and Senior Manager, Public Works before moving to the City of Victoria as their Utilities Manager. Since retiring in 2017 Mike has consulted in public works operations across BC and Yukon for local governments and First Nations. 

Mike graduated from Simon Fraser University with a degree in History and obtained a BC Teacher's Certificate from UBC. Sine 1991 Mike has been involved with Operator Education through the BCWWA (BC Water and Waste Association), BCPWA (BC Public Works Association), BCIT, the Columbia Basin Trust, Environmental Operators Certification Program, and OCWA (Ontario Clean Water Agency) developing operations and management curricula and facilitating classroom and field workshops. He has served on the Boards of BCWWA, BC PWA, and BC 1 Call.  Mike lives in Victoria, BC with his partner Stephanie.

Michelle Heinz

Michelle Heinz has over twenty years experience with local government operations and the private sector in manufacturing and construction. Currently she is the Administration Manager for the City of Victoria’s Engineering and Public Works Department. Prior to that she managed their trades section, responsible for maintenance of public facilities and culturally significant structures. Originally from Vancouver, Michelle specializes in the design, fabrication, and installation of custom architectural metalwork.

Michelle received her B.A in Anthropology and Sociology from UBC, her B.Ed. in Multicultural and First Nations Students from Lakehead University, and her MBA from the University of Victoria. She has instructed learners of all ages, backgrounds, and skill sets, and found her calling sharing her expert knowledge through instructing industry professionals.

Her current research focus is institutional decision-making, including the complexities of multi-factors that influence the decisions leaders make in the workplace. She and her husband have three grown children, so as empty nesters Michelle and Peter escape on surfing trips on Vancouver Island to enjoy the wild beauty of British Columbia’s west coast.


Kevin Ramsay

With the City of Surrey, District of West Vancouver, the City of Vancouver, District of Squamish and the City of Port Moody, Kevin held a total of 19 different local government positions including Waterworks Superintendent, Manager of Safety & Training, Yards Superintendent, Manager of Waterworks, Manager of Streets, Manager of Sanitation, Director of Emergency Management, General Manager of Human Resources, Chief Administrative Officer, and City Manager.  In 2016, after 34 years in local government, Kevin retired from the City of Port Moody and incorporated the Innova Strategy Group.

Kevin excels in leading-edge performance enhancement, maximizing leadership capacity, and core service reviews in local government.  Much of his success is related to restructuring supervisory/management groups and team building, with an ongoing focus on leadership values.  He has provided keynote addresses, seminars, curriculum training, and one-on-one mentoring on leadership, change management and core service reviews.  Kevin has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to present, instruct and mentor his leadership values throughout the world.

Kevin has become a Canadian expert on organizational reviews and has provided numerous presentations and papers to organizations across Canada.  Overall, Kevin has led over 25 core service reviews resulting in approximate savings of $15 million in operational efficiencies.  Kevin’s approach is different from most financial auditors who take a top-down approach.  His bottom-up approach ascertains the real problems and concerns inherent in most organizations.  This “organizational friendly” methodology has now been adopted in many other local government organizations.

Kevin's leadership has also encompassed a number of related organizations as he currently sits, or has sat, as President, Chair, and/or Director for the BC Water & Waste Association, Canadian Water & Waste Association, BC Environmental Operators Certification Program, American Waterworks Association, Water Environment Federation, Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of BC, Canadian Council for Human Resources in the Environmental Industry, BC One Call, the Public Works Association of BC, the Pacific National Exhibition, the Pacific Northwest Preparedness Society, Water Environment Federation,  LGMA MATI, and recently ended a term as Vice-Chair of Work Safe BC.

Kevin Ramsay
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David Kidd

Dave has a passion for growing others with a focus on increasing organizational leadership capacity at all levels of organizations. He has a B.Sc. and an Associated Certificate in Leadership and has spent over two decades leading and supervising employees in various municipalities. Dave has held several senior managerial roles with various municipalities such as Superintendent of Streets, Superintendent of Operations, Manager of Public Works and Director of Parks and Public Works.

Dave has presented on the topic of leadership development and change management for associations such as Public Works Association of B.C. (PWABC),  American Public Works Association (APWA) and the Local Government Management Association of B.C. (LGMA) Over the years,  Dave has been or is currently instructing for various educational institutions such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), and also served as a member of the PWABC education committee.

As well as leading and managing employees in Public Works Dave is a managing partner of Manage to Engage, a leadership development company that specializes in delivering customized leadership development programs and manager training predominantly for municipal environments and operations-based workplaces. Dave brings his passion and expertise spending nearly two decades leading various Public Works Departments in various roles including Unionized Supervisor, Exempt Manager and Director in both small and large organizations.

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Don Degen

Don has spent over 35 years in the water, wastewater, and solid waste industry. His career with the City of Edmonton and the City of Kelowna included roles as the water treatment Plant Supervisor, Water and Wastewater Superintendent, and Utility Services Manager. Don’s extensive involvement in the water and waste sector includes time as Chair of the City of Kelowna’s Energy Management Committee, Director for the BCWWA and AWWA, Vice President of the AWWA, and President of the BCWWA. He is a current Director with Water for People Canada.

Don is an experienced instructor in the disciplines of water treatment, utility management and communication. Among the many awards and recognition received throughout his career Don is the recipient of the prestigious AWWA George Fuller Award for outstanding service to the water industry.

Don lives in Kelowna, BC.

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Ron Ems

Ronald Enns

Ron started in the public sector in 2002 at the City of Vancouver - Engineering Department working in many positions over the years he began to take an interest in safety and instruction. He soon became the A/Superintendent of OH&S and began teaching part time for BC Water & Waste Association, World Water & Wastewater Solutions. Recently he was part of an instructional team training in the Caribbean with the Belize Water Service through Operators without Borders.

Ron was soon recognized for his passion for better education in BC and was asked to join Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2015 to develop and manage the Water & Wastewater Education in BC & the Yukon. He is currently the Superintendent of Wastewater Operations with Metro Vancouver.

Ron is currently a Board Member on the BC Common Ground Alliance, a member of their Education Committee and presenter for their BC Ground Disturbance Seminars and he is also a member of the BC Water Sector Development Committee.

Summary of accomplishments:

  • Adult Instructor Development Certificate from CityLearn

  • EOCP Certified Instructor 

  • BCWWA Instructor and past Education Advisory Committee Member

  • JIBC Trench Rescue & Structural Collapse Rescue Course Designer, Instructor & Evaluator 

  • INSARAG CAN-TF1 Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Instructor

  • CAN-TF1 HUSAR Citation Recipient 

  • FEMA Task Force Leader

Ron’s passion and commitment for more accessible quality education has become his focus and he will continue to work collaboratively with all sectors in the Water & Wastewater Industry.


Brian Kidwell

Brian Kidwell is a senior consultant recognized industry-wide for his expertise in training and the promotion of underground utilities locating and working safely around buried and overhead infrastructure. He has instructed throughout BC for agencies such as the BCWWA, Public Works Association, Public Works Alliance and BC Common Ground Alliance. He has been a board member for the Common Ground Alliance, dedicated to promoting safe work practices in both private and public sectors.

Brian is a popular speaker at DigSafeBC! conferences and has extensive experience developing certification programs such as the Utility Grade Person Certification for the BC Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Associations. Brian is an ASTTBC-certified instructor and is part of the WorkSafeBC Utilities Locator Specialist certification program.

In his spare time Brian enjoys spending time in the outdoors fishing, boating, kayaking, snowshoeing, hiking, and cycling.


Eric de Jong

Eric de Jong found his way into public service during the recession of the 1980’s when his career as a Stationary Engineer at the Prince Rupert pulp mill became unreliable. More than 3 decades later, working as the Superintendent of Public Works for the City of Colwood, he was hesitant to retire but he
realized there were too many things he wanted to do and full time work was getting in the way, so he started to collect his pension.

Over those 33 years Eric acquired almost all the certifications related to his work, including a level 4 in WD and WWC. In the first half of his Municipal career, Asphalt, Concrete, Heavy Equipment and Waste Management were his focus after which he settled into Water and Wastewater.

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Brian Kidwell
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