Mr. Leighton I Smith MBA
Chairman Advisory Board
Mr. Leighton Smith currently serves as the Acting Chief Representative Officer at Victoria Mutual Group in London, United Kingdom. Mr. Smith holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans and has over 15 years in the Financial Services sector.
Mr. Smith has held posts such as Retail Branch Manager with GraceKennedy Financial Group, Senior Manager - Advertising & Marketing Promotions with Capital & Credit Financial Group and Assistant Vice President - Sales & Service Victoria Mutual Building Society in Jamaica before taking up his current post in London.
Ms. Valrie Grant MSc, GISP
Ms. Valrie Grant is the founder and Managing Director of GeoTechVision Enterprises Ltd. She earned a BSc. Degree in Geology from the University of West Indies and a MSc. in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Environment from the Manchester Metropolitan University and is also a certified GIS Professional (GISP).
Ms. Grant has over 13 years of experience as a Geospatial Analyst, Spatial Technologies and Policy Consultant with engagements spanning several territories across the Caribbean region. Ms. Grant is the current president of the Caribbean URISA Chapter and was recently awarded the prestigious National Commercial Bank’s “Women in Business” Award for 2013 in Jamaica. She serves as a member of the GIS Management Institute (GMI) Committee and has affiliations and memberships with several other geospatial bodies including URISA, GSDI, Land Information Council of Jamaica (LICJ) and Jamaica GIS Society (JAMGISS). Her geospatial expertise is well respected across the Caribbean and Latin American region.
Mrs. Jacqueline daCosta CD
Mrs. Jacqueline daCosta has held many senior positions in the Jamaican Government. These include Consultant Coordinator Special Programmes and Projects in the Cabinet Office, Technical Advisor to a number of Cabinet Sub-Committees and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Land and Environment, which included overseeing Physical, Urban and Sustainable Development Planning, Land Policy, Administration and Management and Environmental, Watersheds, Disaster Management and Hazard Mitigation, Mining and National Spatial Data Infrastructure. She also serves as the Senior Adviser on Land Policy and Physical Development to the Prime Minister of Jamaica and as a Consultant working in the Private Sector. She has been President of a number of Professional Associations including the Commonwealth Association of Planners, The Professional Societies Association in Jamaica and the Jamaica Institute of Planners.
Mrs. daCosta currently chairs the Land Information Council of Jamaica, the National Best Community Foundation and sits on several Boards and Committees including the Nature Preservation Foundation, the Jamaica Protected Areas Trust and Women's leadership Initiative.
Mrs. daCosta has received numerous awards both internationally and nationally. These include the UN Habitat Scroll of Honour, for her outstanding contribution to the development of shelter strategies both nationally and internationally. She has also been recognized by the Nature Conservancy for her service to conservation of Jamaica’s Natural Heritage; by the IMBAJ for her outstanding contribution to the Construction Sector; by the Government of Jamaica with a National Honour - The Order of Distinction, Commander Class (CD) for her contribution to the Public Sector; by the Commonwealth Association of Planners for her contribution to the organization while she served as its Vice President and the President. She also received a number of Awards from ESRI and URISA for her contribution to GIS development, Land Policy, Administration and Management in Jamaica and the Caribbean region.
Dr. Patrick Wayne Thelwell, Cert. ED. BSc, MBA, CFA, DBA
Dr. Thelwell has over 25 years experience in business financing, accounting and investment management in various public and private sector organizations. His last public sector engagement was that of being the General Manager of the Jamaica Mortgage Bank, a government entity. He is currently President and CEO of the Financial Consulting Company, THELWELL INVESTMENTS LIMITED.
Dr. Thelwell is a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) charter holder with the CFA Institute. He hold a Certificate in Education from Mico University College, a BSc. Degree in Management Studies from the University of the West Indies, a MBA in Finance and Investments from Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New York, and a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from the University of Phoenix.
His passion is Economic Development.
Mr. Greg Babinski MA, GISP
Mr. Greg Babinski currently serves as the Finance & Marketing Manager at the King County GIS Center in Seattle, USA. He holds both a bachelor's and masters degree in Geography from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and has worked as the finance and marketing manager for the King County GIS Center in Washington State for the past 15 years. The King County GIS Center is an internal service entity within the county.
Mr. Babinski is is credited with spearheading a study of the long-term cost benefit of an Enterprise GIS in King County from 1992 until 2010. It revealed that during that 18-year period, King County accrued net benefits of between $776 million and $1.7 billion, with costs totaling $200 million.
Greg is also a long-time associate of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), where he has served in various national leadership positions, including secretary; treasurer; and, most recently, president. Mr. Babinski recently announced the GIS Management Institute (GMI), a new initiative by URISA which will develop resources and services that focus on promoting the advancement of professional best practices and standards for the management of GIS operations.
Mr. John Townend
John Townend is a highly experienced international Development Consultant with almost 40 years experience working in developing countries in the Middle East, South-East Asia and in particular, over the last 15 years in the Caribbean region.
Mr. Townend is particularly experienced in working with development projects of the European Union over a wide range of disciplines. He has managed major EU agricultural diversification and income generation projects in Thailand, before taking up an assignment as Programme Administrator within EC headquarters in Brussels focusing on South and Southeast Asia. Following that assignment, he came to work in the Caribbean on behalf of the EC, accelerating development programmes in Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and later Guyana and Jamaica. Particularly in Jamaica, he provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture, inaugurating an important rural development grant programmes in banana growing parishes, and assisting with the sugar industry restructuring and privatization.
Mr. Townend then became involved in Geographical Information Systems via his work in Guyana, where he engaged GeoTechVision as consultant to implement a Geographic Information System for monitoring the country’s Sea Defences. He currently manages his own consulting firm, Peak Consultants in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.