John Howard Society

I am deeply proud of my involvement at the John Howard Society of Brandon.
I joined the volunteer board of directors of the John Howard Society of Brandon (JHSB) in 2016 and became the President in 2018.
Every member of the board, every staff member and every volunteer at JHSB has their own description of what we do and why we do it based on their perspective and personal goals.
My focus has always been to repair the harm caused by crime and create a safer, healthier community.
But my job as President isn’t about pushing just my priorites. As a leader, my job is to make sure everyone contributing to our combined success gets some of their priorities met, to create a stable and healthy organization that can weather the bumps and bruises we know the future holds without knowing exactly what they will be and to represent the organization’s values in my everyday actions.
Most of the success we’ve enjoyed over the years can and should be attributed to our staff and volunteers. They provide the ideas, the labour and the passion that fuels us.


Small towns in rural Manitoba all too often become dumping grounds for unwanted pets, especially cats. Stray cats had always been a part of my time in Douglas but in 2019 it really became an issue.
I had a cat or two as part of the family since I was little. Sharla claimed she was a dog person when we met and even told me early in our relationship that she wondered what kind of a single grown man has cats….
It didn’t take Sharla long to expand her sphere of love to include cats.
For the first time in 18 years I was without a cat in the summer of 2019. The last of my old girls passed at the age of 19. Shortly thereafter I got a call from Wheat City Vet Clinic asking if we’d be interested in rehoming a cat that needed a new family. Toby came to live with us and even got the title of Summus Shop Cat.

Face Shield Project

There are so many parts of the face shield project I’m proud of. There’s the fact Creation Nation was equipped and available for the task. There’s the volunteers that came together with complimentary skills. We had local businesses support us with donations of money, raw materials and services. We had creative problem solving and dedication to learning on the fly. We supplied about 2000 face shields to the community, many of them at no cost to people who’s jobs put them at high risk but were essential to our community’s safety. We raised $17,000 for Creation Nation Makerspace and attracted donations from community groups like Rotary that supplied new 3D printers and other equipment to CNM….
But for me there’s a part of the back story that almost no one knows that means the most to me.

Cast Your Vote

Democracy is a participation event.
Months prior to a general election you can participate in the selection of the candidates for each party.
The deadline to purchase a membership in the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba to vote in the nomination election for the Spruce Woods riding is Feb 10th at 5pm.
To be eligible to vote you need to:
Be 14 years or older
Be a resident of the Spruce Woods riding
Purchase a membership in the PC MB party for $20 at
You still have 2 weeks to speak to each of the candidates and then come to the Wawanesa and District Community Hall on Feb 25th from 10am to 3pm to cast your vote.

Wifi Community Building

It’s easy to assume that everyone enjoys the same privileges and opportunities we do. But that’s not the case.
When schools across Manitoba went to a remote learning model in 2020 we quickly realized many of the students in our home town didn’t have access to quality internet services. Our business had a fiber connection that gave us bandwidth to spare. We had the capacity to share the privileges and opportunities we had with our community to help level the playing field.
Over the course of 72 hours we built the infrastructure to create a WIFI park in front of our building. This isn’t a complicated idea. We had extra so we shared.

The success of this experiment in community building would lead to more experiments over the coming years.


July 1st 2000 Summus Inc. opened its doors in Brandon.
I was 23 years old and in for a steep learning curve. If I could give that young version of me any advice it would be: In theory, theory and practice are the same thing. In practice they are not.
From 2000 to 2007 I ran my business in line with how I saw everyone else in the industry running their businesses. That style of business was very transactional. It pushed risk on to the customer and made the relationship an unequal one between client and provider.
In 2007 a choice was made to completely change how Summus related to our customers. We were going to value relationships over transactions. We were going to align our best interests with our customers. Most importantly, we were going to accept the fact that we weren’t entitled to anything, every single month we had to earn our clients business all over again. We took a big risk in the hopes there was a better way to do business.

A Great Partner

Sharla came to Brandon in July 2011 on a 3 month term contract to work at the brand new Western Manitoba Cancer Centre. Sharla had worked all over Canada and even some time in the Bahamas as a Radiation Therapist at various Cancer Centres as she waited for the job she wanted, in Barrie Ont., at the Cancer Centre closest to her home town of Espanola.
Brandon was supposed to be her last term job. Barrie was constructing a brand new cancer centre and she had a job waiting for her there when it opened.
In the last two months before she was scheduled to depart we met.
Not only did Sharla have a job lined up in Barrie, she even had a condo sitting by ready for her arrival. On the very last day of her term in Brandon she was offered a full time job, decided to stay and had tough call to make to her parents to explain how she met a boy and all her plans were changing.

My Roots

I trace my roots in the Spruce Woods area back to 1881. My Great Great Grandfather, Richard Brandon, was working on the construction of the railroad. When the tracks reached Douglas Manitoba he decided to homestead north of Douglas and become a farmer.
One of Richard’s children was Mathew Brandon. Mathew continued the farming tradition and raised his own family on his farm site which today is 1 mile east of the the junction of highway #1 and highway #10.
Mathew’s children included Eileen. Eileen was born in 1920 and is my maternal Grandmother. on January 29th 2023, Eileen celebrated her 103rd birthday. At some point in the early 1970’s Eileen’s first few grandchildren were old enough to talk but young enough to trip over their words and “Grandma” came out as “Bumbi” (pronounced Bum-Bee). Her husband Keith, loved the nickname and made sure it stuck. For the last 50 years Eileen has been better known as Bumbi.