Board of Directors

two hands gesturing toward paperwork on a table.

The ACAO Board of Directors are elected by members…

The board of directors governs the ACAO. Because we are a self-regulating body for opticians in Alberta, we rely on members to fill most of those positions. Elected council members are Registered Opticians in good standing; these are your peers in the field, chosen by you, and dedicated to serving you.

Elections…

Each year in May, the ACAO holds an Annual General Meeting (AGM). During the AGM, we have an election for council. Once elected, each council member serves a three-year term. As long as they are in good standing, any Alberta optician can be nominated for the board of directors.

Public Members…

The Government of Alberta appoints public members, who are not opticians, to sit on the council. By including public members, we can gain insight and provide better service to the public. The public members are there to help us connect, but also to make sure that we are accountable to the public.  Because their insight is so valuable to us, there are 3 spots out of 12 for public members.

 

 

Council Responsibilities

a man in a thoughtful pose.

What does the Board of Directors do?

The council is responsible for making sure that the ACAO meets its objectives. With the help of the public members, the board of directors forecasts the long-term needs of the public. In this way, we can determine educational priorities and practice standards for opticians in Alberta. Basically, the ACAO relies on the council to decide how to keep up to date on emerging technology and practices, so that we can better serve the public.

The council works together with the Government of Alberta, other provincial regulatory bodies, and post-secondary institutions. We rely on them to collaborate with registrants and other health professionals in similar fields. Through collaboration, the council can ensure that registered opticians are able to adapt to changes in practice environments, and advances in technology.

Opticians in Alberta can transition to work almost anywhere in Canada because of the relationships we have with other provinces. We are trusted as licensed health professionals because of the council’s cooperation with government regulators. Finally, opticians can be sure that their accredited education and continuing education provide them with all of the skills and knowledge they need, thanks to the council’s work on education standards.

 

Meet the Board

Let us help you put a face to the name! This is your current Board of Directors…

Maureen Hussey
Maureen Hussey
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/REGISTRAR

E-mail: maureen@acao.ca

Maureen Hussey RO, RCLP is the current Executive Director / Registrar of the Alberta Opticians Association. She has worked in various aspects of the optical industry for almost 40 years starting in 1978 with manufacturing contact lenses. She became licensed in 1986 and spent five years as a volunteer on the board of directors before going to work in the Association office in 1993 as Information Director. Maureen has been Executive Director since 2004. Maureen also worked part time in the NAIT program office and taught the contact lens program in Alberta for many years. She has lectured extensively all across Canada on many topics. Maureen was born in Regina and now lives in rural Alberta in the Hamlet of Torrington which houses the World Famous Gopher Hole Museum.
Valerie Pryma
Valerie Pryma
VICE PRESIDENT
Term 1: 2016-2019
E-mail: valerie@albertaopticians.org

Valerie Pryma began her Optical education in 1989, got her License in 1991, and then eventually expanded her education further to include her contact lens license in 2004. Valerie is qualified to perform sight tests, and has worked in a variety of optical environments, including chains, independent opticals, and doctors’ offices. For the last two decades, Valerie has been a preceptor to student opticians and student contact lens practitioners. Working with the association, she mentors students who require extra help. Valerie’s commitment to furthering education and devotion to student opticians makes her an excellent addition to the board.
Dean Thompson
Dean Thompson
DIRECTOR
Term 1: 2016-2019
E-mail: dean@albertaopticians.org

Dean Thompson is an RCLP with 30 years of Optical industry experience. He has worked in big box optical stores, and independent opticals, and has even owned an optical himself. His dedication to helping others has been proven in his activities as a Student Field Supervisor for the ACAO and NAIT, and his philanthropic work in the community and abroad. In addition to being an optician, Dean is a photographer, who uses 50% of the proceeds of his photography sales to help fund his optical missions in needy communities around the world. Dean’s dedication to the public is an inspiration, and it's a trait that he brings with him to the board.
Nola Hornung
Nola Hornung
DIRECTOR
Term 1: 2015-2018
E-mail: nola@albertaopticians.org

Nola Hornung has been working in the optical industry for over 25 years, and is both a registered optician and a registered contact lens practitioner. Nola found that serving on the board of directors in the past was a rewarding experience that offered exciting challenges, and that excitement drew her back in to serve another term. Nola’s vision is for the future of the industry, and her focus on expanding the profession and making sure we continue to be relevant health care practitioners helps carry the ACAO into that future.
Gene Kerns
Gene Kerns
DIRECTOR
Term 1: 2015-2018
E-mail: gene@albertaopticians.org

Gene Kerns has been involved in the optical field for over 30 years. He has watched the profession evolve from a relatively obscure and unknown practice to a well-respected one, and is proud of the role he and others have played in making that happen. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Gene owned 14 dispensaries in BC, and was actively involved with the BC Association of Opticians, and the Opticians Association of Canada. He has also practiced as an ABO/NCLE Optician in Colorado, USA. In 2007, Gene transitioned his practice to Alberta. As a witness to the evolution of the profession, and an established professional himself, Gene brings insights and experience to the table, and is an asset to the board. He is dedicated to continuing the advancement of the profession, and serving members and the public at large.
Randy Bradley
Randy Bradley
DIRECTOR
Term 2: 2016-2019
E-mail: randy@albertaopticians.org

Randy Bradley was born and raised in Calgary, and still lives there. His heart and his home are here in Alberta, and he does all he can to serve the public and the members of the ACAO. Randy became a licensed optician in 1990, and has been practicing for over 25 years. During that time, he has worked in every facet of the profession, from independent opticals, to chain stores, to doctors’ offices, and he has become an expert in the field. Randy’s dedication to service and diligent nature make him a perfect fit for the board of directors.
Jennifer Wheaton
Jennifer Wheaton
PUBLIC MEMBER
Term 1: 2016-2017
E-mail: jwheaton29@gmail.com

Jennifer Wheaton is a public member. She represents the public's interests at board meetings, and offers insights into how the public interacts with opticians.
Judy Todd
Judy Todd
PUBLIC MEMBER
Term 1: 2016-2017
E-mail: judy@albertaopticians.org

Judy Todd is a public member. She represents the public's interests at board meetings, and offers insights into how the public interacts with opticians.
Margaret Cayenne
Margaret Cayenne
DIRECTOR
Term 1: 2017-2020
E-mail: Margaret@albertaopticians.org

Margaret Cayenne began working in the optical field in Saskatchewan, in 1978. Since then she has worked in many positions from retail dispensaries, to optometrists and ophthalmologists offices, to chain stores. She has previous experience volunteering with the College on various committees, most recently with practice audits, standards of practice, and the discipline committee. Margaret would like to learn more about the inner workings of the college, and offer her expertise wherever needed. She has excellent interpersonal skills, and plans to bring forth ideas to keep the college strong and help grow the profession. Margaret has a passion for learning, and she advocates for student development. She has worked as a preceptor for students, and would love to see our membership grow with new, enthusiastic talent.
Mel Findell
Mel Findell
DIRECTOR
Term 1: 2017-2018
E-mail: Mel@albertaopticians.org

Mel Findell has been in the optical industry for 24 years. As a member of council, he looks forward to giving feedback and advice on behalf of the the members, and gaining more insight into the finances of the ACAO. Mel has previous experience serving on the council from 2006-2014. When he’s not busy working hard for the members, Mel enjoys spending time with his family, camping, gardening, and NASCAR.
Erin Clarke
Erin Clarke
DIRECTOR
Term 1: 2017-2020
E-mail: erin@albertaopticians.org

Erin Clarke works at a busy, innovative, independent optometry practice in Grande Prairie. She began her career in the optical industry in 2003. In 2007 she became a licensed optician, receiving the Justin Holmes Memorial Scholarship on the NACOR examination that year. In 2013, she became an RCLP. Erin has a strong desire to help people, and strives to be the very best at what she does. She has an interest in specialty contact lens fitting, and also loves helping patients find their perfect pair of glasses.

Erin volunteers at seniors centres around Grande Prairie, repairing and adjusting glasses and helping residents with low vision aids. In her “down time,” Erin makes sure to pack in a lot of physical activities that she loves, including running and adventure races, hiking, snowboarding, and a variety of motorsports. Erin’s fresh perspective will bring a fun and progressive view to the ACAO council.
Sana Manzar
Sana Manzar
DIRECTOR
Term 1: 2017-2020
E-mail: sana@albertaopticians.org

Sana Manzar currently manages a location of My Optometrist in Calgary. She took the opticians course and fell in love with the profession, and most of all fell in love with helping people through her work. Sana views opticianry as a perfect blend of fun and purposeful; the fashion driven industry helps thousands of people see better, and Sana loves to be a part of that. Sana’s goal for council is to offer a voice for the younger generation of opticians that can help keep the board current with issues in a changing society. For Sana, every day offers a new opportunity to learn and grow, and she is eager to take on the responsibility of helping carry our profession forward with the times.