About Taza Development Corp.

Taza Development Corp. is the execution entity for the Taza development partnership and consists of an integrated team of real estate professionals that provide the development, leasing and administrative services to realize the desires and ambitions of the partnership and the broader goals of economic reconciliation for Tsuut’ina. Through these efforts the team at Taza Development Corp. is identifying and providing a framework for all First Nations to achieve their economic and development pursuits.

A better future, together.

William Briscoe

Chief Executive Officer

William empowers Taza Development Corp. as a seasoned and results driven leader with over 25 years of experience in creating and implementing real estate and business strategies for private equity and institutional investors. His extensive background in real estate transactions includes property acquisitions, divestitures, developments and corporate acquisitions in every major city in Canada. William graduated from the University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business in 1994 with a Bachelors of Commerce (Finance) degree and completed an executive program in leadership at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design. He joined Canderel to lead Taza Development Corp. in 2016, bringing with him a successful track record of direct involvement in over $8 billion of real estate investments and developments. Following the creation of this innovative development platform, he continues to find great fulfillment in leading and motivating the team to execute the goals and objectives of the Taza partnership. William has acted as a speaker and presenter at multiple industry-related conferences and forums nationwide.

Dan Van Leeuwen

Managing Director, Development

Dan is at the helm of the development process, strategic planning, team building, acquisitions and negotiations at Taza Development Corp. His wealth of expertise spans from acquisition and joint venture development, to redevelopment and management of urban real estate projects. Before joining Taza Development Corp. in 2017, Dan founded New Urban Development, which operated in partnership with INHOUSE Society to bridge the accessibility gap between the rental and sale market. Prior, he held a number of executive leadership roles with major real estate developers in Canada and the United States. Dan graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Urban Planning, and he is proudly affiliated with the Urban Land Institute and the International Council of Shopping Centers. He is a dedicated volunteer with several professional organizations, the Lusk School of Real Estate and Simon Fraser University. He also sits on the board of Cowtown Opera, an arts not for profit.

Bryce Starlight

Vice President, Development

Bryce has been integral to Taza Development Corp. as a Tsuut’ina representative since 2016, leading the long-term economic development mandate for Tsuut’ina. Bryce’s notable experience in Indigenous consultation stems from a longstanding interest in Indigenous self governance. Prior to joining Taza Development Corp., he guided Aboriginal Relations for a number of major industry players in the development and energy industries. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Political Science) and a Diploma in General Arts from Mount Royal University. Notably, Bryce supported Alberta First Nations testimony at senate hearings for Bill C-11, and he has driven significant progress for First Nations groups through legislative and regulatory framework for commercial development. In his spare time Bryce has a passion for fixing classic cars, playing guitar and fashion design. He shares Feral Fawn, an online clothing company with his wife, with designs that blend traditional Indigenous clothing with a contemporary style.

Kyle Sheard

Director, Finance and Administration

Kyle leads finance and business administration functions at Taza Development Corp., overseeing all capital planning activities, management of investment activities, corporate strategy initiatives, resourcing and reporting. He is a real estate and finance professional with more than 10 years of experience working in property development and corporate finance. Originally hailing from South Africa, Kyle holds a Bachelor of Business Management, Major in Real Estate and Development and Master of Commerce, Applied Finance from the University of Queensland. Kyle is passionate about real estate and seeing Taza Development Corp. projects come to fruition through the collaboration of a close knit, multi-disciplined team. Outside of the office, Kyle looks forward to spending time with his family and various outdoor pursuits, from fishing and hunting, to skiing, surfing, sailing and camping.

Dean Halyk

Director, Project Management

Dean guides and oversees project management for all initiatives within Taza Development Corp. He brings nearly two decades of experience in the real estate development and construction industry to his role, including an extensive focus on office and retail projects. Dean holds a diploma in Architectural Engineering Technology from the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST). He launched his career as a project coordinator and expanded into contract administration and construction management for notable architectural, development and contracting firms. Dean is continuously inspired to foster teamwork and enhance processes at Taza Development Corp. Outside of the office, Dean is an avid fitness and sports fan favouring baseball, basketball and golf as well as a travel enthusiast with a taste for tropical beach destinations.

Cecilia Hyslop

Director, Accounting

Cecilia leads the Taza Development Corp. accounting team with a consistent focus on streamlining processes and improving efficiencies. Her expertise encompasses budgeting, forecasting, property accounting and financial reporting, bolstered by experience in a variety of progressive accounting positions within real estate. She obtained her CPA, CGA designations in 2015 and has maintained an exceptional industry track record. Cecilia is thrilled to work with such a dynamic and experienced team on this iconic development project. Outside of work, Cecilia enjoys travelling and spending time camping and biking in the great outdoors. Cecilia also dedicates her time and talent to the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association as Volunteer Treasurer.

Cieran Starlight

Manager, Communications and Marketing

Cieran plays a key role in the communication and promotion of development updates to build awareness, support and inspiration around Taza Development Corp. projects. Prior to joining Taza Development Corp., Cieran studied at the Alberta University of the Arts (formerly the Alberta College of Art and Design) with a focus on painting. In 2018, she was crowned the Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess and represented the culture of the Tsuut’ina people while educating others on the Treaty 7 First Nations people. As a Tsuut’ina nation member, Cieran takes great pride in Taza’s progression, the development’s representation of her people, and the significant economic opportunity it will empower for generations to come. Cieran enjoys leading a healthy lifestyle and spends her free time working on creative projects, reading, cooking and travelling with her life partner, Matthew, and their daughter.

Linda Laratta

Manager, Legal and Contract Administration

Linda is an essential component of Taza Development Corp., providing legal counsel on all corporate, commercial real estate, construction and land development matters. With more than three decades of experience, Linda is involved in land acquisition and disposition, ownership and transaction structuring, as well as contract and commercial lease negotiations. She is a longstanding member of the Law Society of Alberta and holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta. Prior to joining Taza Development Corp. in 2019, Linda practiced at a number of law firms before serving as legal advisor to several notable real estate groups. Linda was drawn to Taza for its vision to create a positive and lasting legacy for the Tsuut’ina community and appreciates the opportunity to be a small part of this legacy project. She is an active volunteer and has dedicated her time to the Calgary Drop-In Centre for nearly a decade.

Karen Baptista

Lease Administrator

Karen plays a key role as a Lease Administrator in the Legal and Contract Administration division for Taza Development Corp. With over two decades of experience in commercial real estate in leasing and property management, Karen takes pride in her extensive knowledge base that she brings to the project. Prior to joining Taza in 2021, Karen worked with several notable commercial real estate groups. She was drawn to Taza for its vision, creativity and sustainability and to work alongside the Tsuut’ina community. Outside of work, Karen is passionate about learning about people’s stories, cooking, crocheting, yoga, running and traveling with her husband.

Mackenzie Mackay

Sustainability Coordinator

Makenzie leads the development and implementation of the Taza sustainability and ESG strategy. Prior to joining the TDC team, she worked with Inuvialuit and First Nations communities in northern Canada on community-based energy security and climate action research projects. Makenzie is honored to be part of the Taza development, working to advance the ambitions of Tsuut’ina Nation and Canderel through meaningful sustainability initiatives. She holds a Master of Science in Risk and Community Resilience from the University of Alberta, a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Environmental Studies and Geography from Queen’s University, and is a LEED Green Associate. In her spare time, Makenzie enjoys travelling, public speaking, and cheering on the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Shawna Billingsley

Paralegal, Legal and Contract Administration

As a paralegal, Shawna Billingsley plays an essential role at Taza Development Corp. She provides a depth of knowledge with her real estate background of managing the legal aspects of both residential and commercial transactions. Shawna holds a Legal Assistant Diploma from SAIT, Corporate Registry Level 2 Accreditation, and is Commissioner for Oaths in Alberta. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her dogs and participating in activities such as skiing, hiking, camping, and fishing. Shawna’s connection to environment and legal background makes her a great asset to the Taza team.

Andrew Harrison

Senior Director, Leasing

Andrew is responsible for overseeing the leasing at Taza Development Corp., helping develop the strategy, vision of the project, and execution creating a vibrant mixed use project for all to come and experience firsthand on Tsuut’ina lands. Having over 15 years’ experience in leasing, Andrew has predominantly worked on retail and office assets, in several cities throughout Canada. Andrew holds a Combined Honors B.A., Political Science and History, as well as a postgraduate degree in Leadership from the East West Centre located at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, HI, USA. Andrew is also licensed in Alberta and British Columbia as an Associate Broker by the respective licensing bodies. When Andrew is not working, he is either golfing, traveling or chasing around after his 2 kids.

Martha Tinoco

Project Manager, Land

Martha manages the technical aspects of the land development process pertaining to design and construction for Taza Development Corp. Martha holds over a decade of experience in commercial and industrial land development as a civil engineer and she brings with her a strong technical expertise to Taza. Martha’s experience in a variety of roles throughout her career as a designer, contract administrator, project manager and municipal/stakeholder liaison afford her the skills necessary to manage a project from preliminary planning stages, to detailed design, and through to construction completion. Throughout her career she has been involved in notable commercial, industrial and capital works projects including the Deerfoot City Redevelopment, Calgary YWCA Hub, and the West LRT. Martha graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, from the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary. In her spare time, Martha enjoys creating new and unique adventures with her family and friends.

Gerry Merk

Senior Financial Analyst

Gerry guides and oversees the analytics department (analyzing / reporting on development and income producing properties) for Taza Development Corp. He brings nearly two decades of diverse experience in the commercial real estate industry working for institutional owners, including valuations, acquisitions/dispositions, asset management, development and financing of all forms of commercial real estate in Canada. He has underwritten over $10B worth of real estate. Gerry graduated with an Urban Planning Degree. He is a board member of both the Calgary Assessment Review Board and Cornerstone of Hope. Gerry enjoys staying active with hockey, tennis, his automotive passions, as well as spending time with his children.

Kailen Pocsai

Analyst, Development

Kailen is responsible for the creation and maintenance of both land and vertical proformas for the Taza Development Corp. while also working closely with Taza’s development team. His experience in the real estate industry includes the design, development, and leasing of various mixed-use projects. Kailen graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Commerce in Real Estate Development and Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He is passionate about real estate and is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the innovative developments Taza has underway. In his free time, Kailen can be found out west snowboarding, hiking, kayaking, or golfing.

Brandon Hansen

Project Accountant

Brandon plays a key role on the accounting team at Taza Development Corp by maintaining the Accounts Payable, Contract Management, and Administration duties for the company. He obtained his Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Saskatchewan and prior to joining Taza, held a role as Project Coordinator for the Meadow Lake Tribal Council Bioenergy Centre. Brandon is a proud member of the Waterhen Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan and has gained valuable experience in his career with multiple First Nations owned and/or operated companies including the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, Meadow Lake Tribal Council, and currently Taza Development Corp. Outside of the office, Brandon can be found at one of many Saskatchewan lakes, taking in a round of golf, or on the couch cheering on the Green Bay Packers and #12 Aaron Rodgers.

Cole Felske

Assistant Project Manager, Vertical

Cole supports the project management initiatives at Taza Development Corp. by aiding in budget management, schedule implementation, and tenant turnover. Cole holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Calgary, and a LEED Green Associate certification. Before joining Taza Development Corp., Cole gained experience estimating and managing a wide variety of construction projects with a notable contracting firm. He is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute Young Leaders Group, and volunteers his time with ARK Society, a charity that focuses on accessibility renovations for children with disabilities. Aside from that, Cole spends time fly fishing Alberta’s rivers, rock climbing, camping, playing hockey, and working on his own real estate portfolio.”

William Briscoe

Chief Executive Officer

William empowers Taza Development Corp. as a seasoned and results driven leader with over 25 years of experience in creating and implementing real estate and business strategies for private equity and institutional investors. His extensive background in real estate transactions includes property acquisitions, divestitures, developments and corporate acquisitions in every major city in Canada. William graduated from the University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business in 1994 with a Bachelors of Commerce (Finance) degree and completed an executive program in leadership at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design. He joined Canderel to lead Taza Development Corp. in 2016, bringing with him a successful track record of direct involvement in over $8 billion of real estate investments and developments. Following the creation of this innovative development platform, he continues to find great fulfillment in leading and motivating the team to execute the goals and objectives of the Taza partnership. William has acted as a speaker and presenter at multiple industry-related conferences and forums nationwide.

Dan Van Leeuwen

Managing Director, Development

Dan is at the helm of the development process, strategic planning, team building, acquisitions and negotiations at Taza Development Corp. His wealth of expertise spans from acquisition and joint venture development, to redevelopment and management of urban real estate projects. Before joining Taza Development Corp. in 2017, Dan founded New Urban Development, which operated in partnership with INHOUSE Society to bridge the accessibility gap between the rental and sale market. Prior, he held a number of executive leadership roles with major real estate developers in Canada and the United States. Dan graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Urban Planning, and he is proudly affiliated with the Urban Land Institute and the International Council of Shopping Centers. He is a dedicated volunteer with several professional organizations, the Lusk School of Real Estate and Simon Fraser University. He also sits on the board of Cowtown Opera, an arts not for profit.

Bryce Starlight

Vice President, Development

Bryce has been integral to Taza Development Corp. as a Tsuut’ina representative since 2016, leading the long-term economic development mandate for Tsuut’ina. Bryce’s notable experience in Indigenous consultation stems from a longstanding interest in Indigenous self governance. Prior to joining Taza Development Corp., he guided Aboriginal Relations for a number of major industry players in the development and energy industries. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Political Science) and a Diploma in General Arts from Mount Royal University. Notably, Bryce supported Alberta First Nations testimony at senate hearings for Bill C-11, and he has driven significant progress for First Nations groups through legislative and regulatory framework for commercial development. In his spare time Bryce has a passion for fixing classic cars, playing guitar and fashion design. He shares Feral Fawn, an online clothing company with his wife, with designs that blend traditional Indigenous clothing with a contemporary style.

Kyle Sheard

Director, Finance and Administration

Kyle leads finance and business administration functions at Taza Development Corp., overseeing all capital planning activities, management of investment activities, corporate strategy initiatives, resourcing and reporting. He is a real estate and finance professional with more than 10 years of experience working in property development and corporate finance. Originally hailing from South Africa, Kyle holds a Bachelor of Business Management, Major in Real Estate and Development and Master of Commerce, Applied Finance from the University of Queensland. Kyle is passionate about real estate and seeing Taza Development Corp. projects come to fruition through the collaboration of a close knit, multi-disciplined team. Outside of the office, Kyle looks forward to spending time with his family and various outdoor pursuits, from fishing and hunting, to skiing, surfing, sailing and camping.

Dean Halyk

Director, Project Management

Dean guides and oversees project management for all initiatives within Taza Development Corp. He brings nearly two decades of experience in the real estate development and construction industry to his role, including an extensive focus on office and retail projects. Dean holds a diploma in Architectural Engineering Technology from the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST). He launched his career as a project coordinator and expanded into contract administration and construction management for notable architectural, development and contracting firms. Dean is continuously inspired to foster teamwork and enhance processes at Taza Development Corp. Outside of the office, Dean is an avid fitness and sports fan favouring baseball, basketball and golf as well as a travel enthusiast with a taste for tropical beach destinations.

Cecilia Hyslop

Director, Accounting

Cecilia leads the Taza Development Corp. accounting team with a consistent focus on streamlining processes and improving efficiencies. Her expertise encompasses budgeting, forecasting, property accounting and financial reporting, bolstered by experience in a variety of progressive accounting positions within real estate. She obtained her CPA, CGA designations in 2015 and has maintained an exceptional industry track record. Cecilia is thrilled to work with such a dynamic and experienced team on this iconic development project. Outside of work, Cecilia enjoys travelling and spending time camping and biking in the great outdoors. Cecilia also dedicates her time and talent to the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association as Volunteer Treasurer.

Cieran Starlight

Manager, Communications and Marketing

Cieran plays a key role in the communication and promotion of development updates to build awareness, support and inspiration around Taza Development Corp. projects. Prior to joining Taza Development Corp., Cieran studied at the Alberta University of the Arts (formerly the Alberta College of Art and Design) with a focus on painting. In 2018, she was crowned the Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess and represented the culture of the Tsuut’ina people while educating others on the Treaty 7 First Nations people. As a Tsuut’ina nation member, Cieran takes great pride in Taza’s progression, the development’s representation of her people, and the significant economic opportunity it will empower for generations to come. Cieran enjoys leading a healthy lifestyle and spends her free time working on creative projects, reading, cooking and travelling with her life partner, Matthew, and their daughter.

Linda Laratta

Manager, Legal and Contract Administration

Linda is an essential component of Taza Development Corp., providing legal counsel on all corporate, commercial real estate, construction and land development matters. With more than three decades of experience, Linda is involved in land acquisition and disposition, ownership and transaction structuring, as well as contract and commercial lease negotiations. She is a longstanding member of the Law Society of Alberta and holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta. Prior to joining Taza Development Corp. in 2019, Linda practiced at a number of law firms before serving as legal advisor to several notable real estate groups. Linda was drawn to Taza for its vision to create a positive and lasting legacy for the Tsuut’ina community and appreciates the opportunity to be a small part of this legacy project. She is an active volunteer and has dedicated her time to the Calgary Drop-In Centre for nearly a decade.

Karen Baptista

Lease Administrator

Karen plays a key role as a Lease Administrator in the Legal and Contract Administration division for Taza Development Corp. With over two decades of experience in commercial real estate in leasing and property management, Karen takes pride in her extensive knowledge base that she brings to the project. Prior to joining Taza in 2021, Karen worked with several notable commercial real estate groups. She was drawn to Taza for its vision, creativity and sustainability and to work alongside the Tsuut’ina community. Outside of work, Karen is passionate about learning about people’s stories, cooking, crocheting, yoga, running and traveling with her husband.

Mackenzie Mackay

Sustainability Coordinator

Makenzie leads the development and implementation of the Taza sustainability and ESG strategy. Prior to joining the TDC team, she worked with Inuvialuit and First Nations communities in northern Canada on community-based energy security and climate action research projects. Makenzie is honored to be part of the Taza development, working to advance the ambitions of Tsuut’ina Nation and Canderel through meaningful sustainability initiatives. She holds a Master of Science in Risk and Community Resilience from the University of Alberta, a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Environmental Studies and Geography from Queen’s University, and is a LEED Green Associate. In her spare time, Makenzie enjoys travelling, public speaking, and cheering on the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Shawna Billingsley

Paralegal, Legal and Contract Administration

As a paralegal, Shawna Billingsley plays an essential role at Taza Development Corp. She provides a depth of knowledge with her real estate background of managing the legal aspects of both residential and commercial transactions. Shawna holds a Legal Assistant Diploma from SAIT, Corporate Registry Level 2 Accreditation, and is Commissioner for Oaths in Alberta. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her dogs and participating in activities such as skiing, hiking, camping, and fishing. Shawna’s connection to environment and legal background makes her a great asset to the Taza team.

Andrew Harrison

Senior Director, Leasing

Andrew is responsible for overseeing the leasing at Taza Development Corp., helping develop the strategy, vision of the project, and execution creating a vibrant mixed use project for all to come and experience firsthand on Tsuut’ina lands. Having over 15 years’ experience in leasing, Andrew has predominantly worked on retail and office assets, in several cities throughout Canada. Andrew holds a Combined Honors B.A., Political Science and History, as well as a postgraduate degree in Leadership from the East West Centre located at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, HI, USA. Andrew is also licensed in Alberta and British Columbia as an Associate Broker by the respective licensing bodies. When Andrew is not working, he is either golfing, traveling or chasing around after his 2 kids.

Martha Tinoco

Project Manager, Land

Martha manages the technical aspects of the land development process pertaining to design and construction for Taza Development Corp. Martha holds over a decade of experience in commercial and industrial land development as a civil engineer and she brings with her a strong technical expertise to Taza. Martha’s experience in a variety of roles throughout her career as a designer, contract administrator, project manager and municipal/stakeholder liaison afford her the skills necessary to manage a project from preliminary planning stages, to detailed design, and through to construction completion. Throughout her career she has been involved in notable commercial, industrial and capital works projects including the Deerfoot City Redevelopment, Calgary YWCA Hub, and the West LRT. Martha graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, from the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary. In her spare time, Martha enjoys creating new and unique adventures with her family and friends.

Gerry Merk

Senior Financial Analyst

Gerry guides and oversees the analytics department (analyzing / reporting on development and income producing properties) for Taza Development Corp. He brings nearly two decades of diverse experience in the commercial real estate industry working for institutional owners, including valuations, acquisitions/dispositions, asset management, development and financing of all forms of commercial real estate in Canada. He has underwritten over $10B worth of real estate. Gerry graduated with an Urban Planning Degree. He is a board member of both the Calgary Assessment Review Board and Cornerstone of Hope. Gerry enjoys staying active with hockey, tennis, his automotive passions, as well as spending time with his children.

Kailen Pocsai

Analyst, Development

Kailen is responsible for the creation and maintenance of both land and vertical proformas for the Taza Development Corp. while also working closely with Taza’s development team. His experience in the real estate industry includes the design, development, and leasing of various mixed-use projects. Kailen graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Commerce in Real Estate Development and Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He is passionate about real estate and is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the innovative developments Taza has underway. In his free time, Kailen can be found out west snowboarding, hiking, kayaking, or golfing.

Brandon Hansen

Project Accountant

Brandon plays a key role on the accounting team at Taza Development Corp by maintaining the Accounts Payable, Contract Management, and Administration duties for the company. He obtained his Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Saskatchewan and prior to joining Taza, held a role as Project Coordinator for the Meadow Lake Tribal Council Bioenergy Centre. Brandon is a proud member of the Waterhen Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan and has gained valuable experience in his career with multiple First Nations owned and/or operated companies including the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, Meadow Lake Tribal Council, and currently Taza Development Corp. Outside of the office, Brandon can be found at one of many Saskatchewan lakes, taking in a round of golf, or on the couch cheering on the Green Bay Packers and #12 Aaron Rodgers.

Cole Felske

Assistant Project Manager, Vertical

Cole supports the project management initiatives at Taza Development Corp. by aiding in budget management, schedule implementation, and tenant turnover. Cole holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Calgary, and a LEED Green Associate certification. Before joining Taza Development Corp., Cole gained experience estimating and managing a wide variety of construction projects with a notable contracting firm. He is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute Young Leaders Group, and volunteers his time with ARK Society, a charity that focuses on accessibility renovations for children with disabilities. Aside from that, Cole spends time fly fishing Alberta’s rivers, rock climbing, camping, playing hockey, and working on his own real estate portfolio.”
©2022 TAZA Tsuut’ina – Canderel Partnership