President & CEO
Andrea Robertson believes in a very important motto: the more informed you are, the more you realize how little you know.
She’s had a life-long commitment to learning ever since she was a young nurse, and that drive carried her through many academic achievements, from a Bachelor’s in Nursing, to a Master’s in Health-Care Administration, to an executive fellowship from Wharton University and Ivey School of Business, to an executive leadership program at Harvard.
Her drive is a selfless one. These accolades, as well as her many past leadership roles at Alberta Health Services, Foothills Medical Centre and Alberta Children’s Hospital, were all intended to be in service to her community. For Andrea, there is no greater service than helping someone survive a critical illness or injury. Which is why, as president and CEO of STARS, she is right where she belongs. In this role she is responsible for the overall direction of our operations and works to build upon our external relationships with donors, governments and key partners. Strengthening these relationships is vital to our ability to provide the best-possible service our communities.
Andrea’s commitment to continuing education and dedication to providing the best care possible has also leaded her to be an invaluable mentor to many entering the health care field. Formally, she is part of a mentorship program through the University of Calgary. Informally, she works with as many as five young, energetic leaders at any given time. For the students, the reward is Andrea’s wealth of experience and unyielding empathy for others. For Andrea, mentorship is just another opportunity to learn more about the world, through the eyes of her students. It’s through these relationships that Andrea sees education come to life.
Andrea’s leadership and contributions to business and her community have been widely recognized, both as a member of the board of directors of Bow Valley College, Calgary Airport Authority and Canadian Pacific Railway, and as one of WXN’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2015.
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. JN Armstrong has had a long and storied career full of monumental moments.
These moments range from receiving his medical degree from the University of Calgary in 1981, to specializing in, and working in the field of anesthesia for nearly four decades, to achieving multiple aviation licenses including private, commercial, and airline transport.
Among those pivotal moments was a STARS Christmas party in 1990, where JN met Dr. Greg Powell, the founder of STARS, and Greg Curtis, one of the earliest STARS pilots, who convinced him to come on board as a pilot for our organization. In between his time in a blue STARS jumpsuit, JN also worked within the medical community in Calgary, taking on roles such as Clinical and Academic Department Head in Anesthesia for the Calgary Health Region and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary.
The immense breadth of skills and experiences JN gained throughout his career is what made him the perfect fit to take on the role of Chief Medical Officer with STARS in 2013, and Chief Aviation Officer in 2018. As the CMO/CAO, he is responsible for aviation and the medical care delivered by the organization for the transport of the critically ill and injured across six bases and three provinces.
Outside of medicine and aviation, JN spreads his time between running, cycling, reading, and spending time with his four children. He also has a strong interest in aviation and currently holds active Airline Transport Licenses for both Fixed Wing and Helicopters.
Executive Vice President, Foundation & Chief Brand Officer
From the moment Wendy Beauchesne joined STARS, she’s taken our cause very personally.
That’s not surprising, considering her first task was to help bring our life-saving services to Saskatchewan, where she was born and raised. But it wasn’t until the Regina base received their first call, just a few kilometres from her home town, that she truly understood the impact STARS makes.
She’s carried that understanding with her throughout her career at STARS, using it as motivation to tell our story to the communities we serve and allies with whom we partner. As the Executive Vice President for the STARS foundation, she is part of a passionate team focused on developing meaningful connections with our allies in the community and raising the funds needed to keep STARS in the prairie skies.
Wendy has had made many memories during her time with STARS, but one in particular has always stuck with her: watching a certain Very Important Patient (VIP) meet their air medical crew for the first time. The crew had been called out on a mission and weren’t sure if they’d return in time to meet the VIP, so it was a complete surprise when they walked into the hangar earlier than expected. Wendy felt privileged to be a part of that unexpected reunion, and that memory serves as one of many reasons why she’s so passionate about STARS.
Wendy has a BA in Communications from the University of Calgary, and the majority of her career has been spent in health care. Before landing at STARS, she spent more than a decade working with Alberta’s health authorities. Following the formation of Alberta Health Services, Wendy was part of a leadership team tasked with merging and restructuring 12 previously independent communications departments into one cross-functional team.
If you ask Wendy about her hobbies outside of STARS, she’ll direct you to her Twitter bio: a part-time travel junkie, sun seeker, political nerd and tennis lover.
Chief Operating Officer, Provincial Operations
There is nothing more important to Mike than spending quality time with family.
In fact, his career has been driven by a desire to give families as much time together as possible. It has guided him through 20 years of service with STARS, flying over 500 missions as a flight paramedic and making a difference in the lives of his patients and their loved ones.
Mike has worked in Emergency Medical Services for nearly 30 years, graduating from paramedic school in 1990, and honing his skills as paramedic in Cochrane and Calgary before finding his way to STARS.
But Mike wasn’t satisfied with saving lives one patient at a time. His passion for life-saving care led him to manage and launch North America’s first mobile human patient simulation program, which takes STARS’ world-class skills training to EMS professionals all over Western Canada. Because of his many accomplishments, Mike had the privilege of joining the Health Canada team at the G8 summit in 2002. In his current role, Mike is responsible for the operation of our bases across the provinces we operate in, as well as the STARS Emergency Link Centre.
When Mike and his family are not participating in initiatives that support their local community, church, and schools, they enjoy watching live sports and going on adventures in Europe. Mike is also an avid skier, and describes his perfect day as starting on the slopes and ending with a good meal and a glass of red wine.
Chief Financial Officer
One may think that being a designated CPA that Jeff Quick is primarily a numbers person, but it is his passion for helping people, and his alignment to the organization’s mission that brought him to STARS in 2009.
Moving from the for-profit world to a not-for-profit, Jeff brings big business insights to the business of providing hope to critically ill and injured patients. Though his primary focus is on financial and risk management, Jeff is also tasked with the leadership of STARS’ information technology and human resources groups.
After receiving a BA in Administrative and Commercial Studies from the University of Western Ontario, Jeff began his professional career with Price Waterhouse, where he worked for three years in the audit assurance group and seven years in the financial services group. This was the beginning of many professional achievements.
Such achievements include joining AIRMILES, Canada’s premier loyalty program, where he was senior director of strategic planning and business development. In that role, he was responsible for developing new business opportunities – one of his passions. AIRMILES was acquired by Texas-based Alliance Data Systems and Jeff took on a senior leadership role. He soon made the move from VP to general manager, where he directed the consumer database marketing services group and managed a 100 million plus consumer database for the US retailers Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, Abercrombie and Fitch and others.
Jeff believes that it is crucial to give back. Outside of STARS, he devotes his time serving as a community representative on the Bow Valley College audit and risk management counsel. Always looking for more ways to contribute and have fun, he passes on the athletic knowledge and skills he gained from his glory days of university volleyball by coaching Alberta club-level girls. Under Jeff’s guidance and mentorship, his ACE U16 volleyball team finished 8th in the province in 2017/18.
Chief Aviation Officer
Before Dave Harding joined STARS to care for the critically ill and injured in his community, he enjoyed a long career serving his country in the Canadian Forces.
Dave has more than 30 years’ experience in aviation and over 6,500 flight hours, as a helicopter and airplane pilot, both as a civilian and with the Canadian Forces. His love of aviation began early in life while growing up mostly in Newfoundland and Labrador. He was just 16 years old when he earned his first pilot’s license for a glider. He earned his private pilot’s license the following year.
As a child Dave was enthralled by the work of the crews flying search and rescue helicopters, which led to him joining the military where he eventually flew those same helicopters on his first tour. After many years in various flying and supervisory positions, it was this initial inspiration that led to him joining STARS in order to continue to serve the public as part of a mission dedicated to saving lives.
Dave joined STARS in 2011 as one of the first pilots hired at our Manitoba base. He quickly excelled at several different roles, including a captain pilot, aviation base manager and base director. His contribution as aviation lead on STARS’ fleet renewal project has been invaluable. Dave has flown nearly 800 missions to date and will continue to fly STARS helicopters during his leadership tenure.
Not surprisingly, his number one hobby is aviation. But when Dave is not flying, or reading about flying, or making decisions about flying, he is spending as much time as possible on the ground with his family in Winnipeg, MB.