Meet the Churchill Wild Family

Mike and Jeanne Reimer, Owners of Churchill Wild.
Founders/Owners

Mike & Jeanne Reimer

MIKE REIMER
Mike’s role in Churchill Wild is twofold; he oversees the future direction of Churchill Wild and is the Ultimate Outdoorsman. His love for all things created led him north after high school to realize his dream of becoming a wilderness guide and outfitter. And realize it he did! Mike is an invaluable asset in the bush. He has paddled, hiked, boated, flown over, dog sledded, snowmobiled, and explored over 100,000 square miles of the subarctic land he loves. Mike is a jack-of-all-trades and master of all. The leadership and management that Mike and Jeanne have provided at the lodges has undoubtedly created the repeat business Churchill Wild is famous for.

JEANNE REIMER
Jeanne is the consummate hostess for Churchill Wild, and also happens to be an incredible chef with an extensive pedigree in the luxury lodge business. Jeanne’s parents founded Webber’s Lodges, and her skills in creating the ultimate home away from home for guests were acquired from early childhood. Her commitment to guest comfort has been unwavering ever since.

Jeanne’s cooking skills are legendary, and an invitation to her table is never turned down. The Arctic culinary sensations that guests experience inside our lodges are as memorable for our guests as their first encounters with the polar bears outside our lodges.

The blend of her husband Mike’s dreams and ambitions combined with Jeanne’s attention to detail has resulted in the ultimate wilderness experience, and Churchill Wild’s four remote ecolodges have become THE destination for wildlife enthusiasts around the world who are eager to hike the tundra and see polar bears and beluga whales in their natural environment, all while being wined and dined in elegantly Arctic fashion.

Adam Pauls, Churchill Wild CEO
CEO

Adam Pauls

Adam has been a part of the greater Churchill Wild family since the age of 14, when he landed a job working at North Knife Lake Lodge, a fishing resort owned by the family of our co-founder, Jeanne Reimer.

He spent a few summers as a do-whatever-needs-to-be-done employee, learning the ins and outs of remote lodge operations, customer service, and family-run businesses.

His own family owned a kitchen and bath company and that soon became his focus. He dove into learning that business, working in the shop, scheduling projects, and crunching numbers in the accounting department. After graduating from the Asper School of Business with an honours degree in finance, Adam continued adding to his responsibilities in the company until ultimately becoming CEO in 2015.

Through his longstanding relationship with Mike and Jeanne Reimer, Adam learned of the opportunity to come be a part of the Churchill Wild team, and after nearly a year of preparations to ensure both businesses would prosper from the move, it all become a reality at the beginning of 2021.

Adam lives just outside Winnipeg with his wife, who he says is the smartest person he knows, and their children Alicia and Owen. He loves nothing more than spending time with friends and family in the great outdoors, making him an excellent fit for our team!

Shari Wright. Churchill Wild. Director of Logistics and HR.
Vice President

Shari Wright

Shari Wright is the master of organization at Churchill Wild. As Director of HR and Logistics, one of her most noteworthy jobs is managing the movement of staff and guests in and out of our remote lodges throughout the season. This is a feat in itself, but she also coordinates freight shipments, hires and oversees training for staff, deftly shifts to Plan B when weather upends plans, and does it all with a cheerful smile. Oh – and did we mention she’s also in charge of supervising our accounting staff?

Shari graduated from Business Administration at Red River Community College in 1991, then began working for her parents’ company, Webber’s Lodges, performing all the various jobs needed to run their northern lodges. Without doubt, this experience has made her the asset she is today. In 1994 Shari moved from Churchill to Thompson and job-shared the role of Director of Finance and Administration at the YWCA with sister Toni.

Shari continued to spend summers at the lodges while raising her four children and by 1997, she returned to the family business as bookkeeper. After moving to Alberta in 2004, she began helping her mom, Helen, and Helen’s best friend Marie, by processing orders for their Blueberries and Polar Bears cookbook series.

In 2009, she joined the Churchill Wild management team and Shari’s role has been evolving ever since. In addition to her office responsibilities, Shari manages North Knife Lake in summer.

Whether it is watching the company grow or the changing tides of the Hudson Bay, Shari enjoys being a part of something so magical in the Canadian North.

VP of Business Development

Jackie Storry

Jackie’s high energy, desire for adventure and general love of people make her a perfect fit as Churchill Wild’s Vice President of Business Development. Jackie has worked in hospitality for over 35 years starting as a server at a small local restaurant. Throughout her career she has managed restaurants, developed food service programs for schools and held senior sales and business development positions in hotel chains including Lakeview Hotels & Resorts and Alt Hotels. Her outgoing personality and positive outlook have a lasting impact on people, contributing to an unprecedented collection of friends and acquaintances.

Jackie has a deep connection with nature and is happiest when gardening, interacting with animals or exploring the outdoors, whether on an adrenaline pumping hike or lounging on the dock with her friends. She loves her family deeply and, as an avid home cook, is often hosting large dinners for them.

Jackie is deeply passionate about Canadian and Manitoban tourism, doing all she can to encourage others to fully embrace what her home has to offer. When not exploring locally, she can be found travelling the world learning what else is out there.

Toni Morberg. Churchill Wild. Leadership Development Coach
Leadership Development Coach

Toni Morberg

Toni grew up working in her family’s lodge and outfitting business alongside younger sisters Jeanne (Reimer) and Shari (Wright). During her formative years, Toni developed the skills, expertise, and penchant for leadership that have served her throughout her career.

As an adult, Toni has operated/managed North Knife Lake Wilderness Lodge, served on the board of Travel Manitoba, owned and operated several successful businesses, and was the CFO of the YWCA in Thompson, Manitoba, among other accomplishments.

Toni was our CEO from 2017 through 2020 and now serves as leadership development coach and overall mentor for the team. These days, she’s busy pursuing her passion for lifelong learning and personal development through Soulaia, a natural health and wellness company she started with her three daughters and one of their close friends.

Toni is a Certified Myers-Briggs Practitioner and an exemplary leader. Her commitment to personal and professional development have been indispensable to us, and we’re happy she’s making time to continue supporting us in this capacity.

Operations Manager

Gord Plew

Gord joined the Churchill Wild team as Operations Manager in May 2022 after serving as Plant Superintendent at a large personal care home in Winnipeg. The opportunity to work at the remote lodges with all the unique and exciting offerings appealed to his “outdoorsman” side.

Gord grew up in Winnipeg spending as much time in the outdoors as possible; fishing, snowmobiling, dirt biking, playing sports and camping. He loves to spend time in the Whiteshell enjoying the Canadian Shield with his wife and kids. Fishing is his passion and he enjoys exploring new water and the challenge of finding where the fish are. Sitting by a fire either at home, lake or lodge is also one of his favourite things.

Gord has always enjoyed working with his hands and has worked in the maintenance/construction field throughout school and university, deciding to stay on that path for his career. He obtained his 5th class power engineering ticket, became an electrician, started an electrical contracting business with his friend and moved over to the care home maintenance department years later.

Gord enjoys the fast pace aspect of his job, working in awesome locations with amazing people, all while getting to know people from around the world and hearing about their unique stories. Seeing the wildlife in their natural habitat is a privilege as well. Gord looks forward to the projects that will enhance and contribute to the guests' experiences with Churchill Wild.

Sue Brown. Churchill Wild. Office Admin and Graphic Design.
Sales Manager

Sue Brown

With an artistic flair and an enviable head of red hair, Sue Brown fills the roles of Graphic Designer and Sales Assistant for Churchill Wild. Since 2014, she has been instrumental in putting Churchill Wild’s best foot (paw?) forward as the first point of contact for many guest and partners.

Sue can always be counted on to create flow and harmony throughout the company and this is invaluable during our busy season. It’s no surprise that multitasking and adaptability are two of her strengths, but it’s her creativity and cheerful demeanour that make her an irreplaceable team member.

After being a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful girls for more than 12 years, Sue went back to school to study graphic design, something we benefitted from when redesigning our logo, while creating print and digital ads, and throughout countless other projects.

During her third year with Churchill Wild, Sue travelled to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge and had her first polar bear encounter. Even after the thousands of photos she’s seen come across her desk, the real thing still left her speechless.

Maggie Cole. Marketing Manager. Churchill Wild.
Marketing Manager

Maggie Cole

Maggie Cole is Churchill Wild’s new Sales and Marketing Manager, and we’re happy she
found us! The 27-year-old arrives in balmy Manitoba from Dunnville, Ontario, on Lake
Erie, where she oversaw sales, marketing, and management at her family’s restaurant.

Maggie worked her way up through the ranks at her family’s business and understands
customer service the way only someone who has done it can. She started out busing
tables, progressed to serving, moved up to management and then on to marketing,
where her customer relations skills really began to shine. Maggie was the face of her
family’s business for seven years, bringing their brand to the forefront with an enhanced
web and social media presence, and specializing in interacting with customers both
online and offline. There’s a real art to taking the tone and warmth of great customer
service online, similar to what we have done at Churchill Wild, and Maggie is a perfect fit!

An avid snowboarder and a certified makeup artist, Maggie also loves animals, as her
Great Dane, Silver Labrador and cat will tell you. Her sister lives in Winnipeg, and she’s
excited to discover what Manitoba has to offer.

Gaylene Doerksen. Administrative Assistant. Churchill Wild.
Administrative Assistant

Gaylene Doerksen

It's not often that you apply for a seasonal position as a server and end up full time at the office as the Administrative Assistant, but that's just what happened when Gaylene applied at Churchill Wild. And with two decades of experience in the travel industry, she turned out to be the perfect fit.

Although her many duties keep her on her feet throughout the day, she still manages to make it back to her desk to answer the phone every time it rings (maybe it's a superpower of hers?). Her primary responsibility is making sure Churchill Wild always leaves a great first impression, and her cheerful attitude and bright smile guarantees that happens. Besides managing office details, handling incoming inquiries, and keeping everyone on track (she creates the calendars after all!), she also helps fulfill orders for spices, cookbooks, anniversary books, clothing, merchandise, specialty food items, and, and, and! It's the year end staff party where she really gets her groove on, and the shindig wouldn't happen without her.

When she's not hard at work (though she makes it look easy!) at the office, she fills up on sunshine and fresh air, enjoying camping, fishing, playing baseball and skating. She is Auntie Extraordinaire to her nieces and nephews and regularly has stories to tell of her adventures with them.

Her lodge initiation started at Nanuk, where her niece happened to be working as a server! Besides spending time with family, her favourite lodge experiences (if she absolutely had to choose) were enjoying the beautiful fall colours out in the Rhinos and watching the wolves and hearing their spine-tingling howls from only yards away! Gaylene started in 2021 in her administrative role, but it's a dynamic business. Who knows? She may get her chance serving up at the lodge yet!

Nolan Booth. Churchill Wild Director of Operations
Lodge and Operations

Nolan Booth

Nolan Booth comes from a family of outdoor adventurers, which has served him well in his role as our Director of Operations. Nolan is a cousin to our co-founder, Jeanne Reimer, and growing up in Churchill, he spent a lot of time at Dymond Lake Lodge, which was owned at the time by Jeanne’s parents.

Officially, Nolan has been with us since 2008, when he started part-time as a lodge manager, joining his wife Doreen on the Churchill Wild team. In 2013, we brought him on board full-time in his current role.

His early work background guiding beluga whale tours for a company in Churchill, working construction and dabbling in electrical lends itself well to his current role. In his teen years he did odd jobs repairing snowmobiles and cars. And later in life worked for MTS on communications systems, all which make him well suited for his career at Churchill Wild.

Shortly after Nolan joined the company, Mike and Jeanne purchased our newest and most remote property, Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Nolan was the brains—and some of the brawn—behind Nanuk’s rebuild, which spanned two seasons. Nanuk is a beautifully designed lodge and Nolan’s proudest professional accomplishment.

He’s currently focused on learning all he can about power systems so that he can quadruple our capacity for solar power. In the off-season, he plans renovations and enhancements that will improve the guests’ overall Churchill Wild experience.

Despite all the logistical and operational challenges that come with running remote northern lodges, when asked about his career and which job has been his favourite, there’s no hesitation. “This one.”

Nicole Spinks. Churchill Wild. Lodge Manager.
Manager, Seal River Heritage Lodge

Nicole Spinks

Nicole is bubbly, enthusiastic and an organized go getter, which makes her ideal for her position as lodge manager at Seal River Heritage Lodge. Previously a competitive gymnast and a national cheerleading competitor, Nicole pursued a career in Developmental Psychology working with young adults with autism. She then jumped professions and became a dining room manager at a fishing lodge and an onsite manager at a wilderness lodge in Tasmania, Australia.

Nicole joined the Churchill Wild team in 2018, and alongside Ben, they create the ideal balance of work and play. Keeping staff and guests happy is not always an easy task, but she handles it well.

Nicole has a true heart for the wilderness. She loves the absolute remoteness of the lodge and the feeling that you’re the only one who has ever stood in that place. “The landscape is breathtaking and is constantly changing. Watching the tide change what the coastline looks like is incredible.”

“The first time I saw a polar bear I couldn’t believe that this was my life; that I would get to enjoy this privilege on a daily basis. Watching the bears in their natural habitat is indescribable and really reminds me that we are insignificant beings in comparison,” Nicole says.

Ever active, she lives for anything that gets her outdoors and, in the off-season, enjoys snowboarding in Alberta and surfing with Ben in Australia.

Ben Lawrence. Churchill Wild. Lodge Manager.
Manager, Seal River Heritage Lodge

Ben Lawrence

Ben began his journey as lodge manager at Seal River Heritage Lodge in 2018 and has taken to the job like a polar bear to the first ice floe of the season. With a history in the military, Ben brings a great sense of humour along with his no-nonsense work ethic.

He began his working career in hospitality in small cafes, but soon sought more of a challenge and began serving in the Australian Army for five years, working primarily as a parachute rigger. He later certified as a personal trainer, wanting to help people reach their goals and find a healthier way to live life. His iron will is an inspiration to all of us! One of the few people not tempted by Churchill Wild’s divine desserts, he leads by example and doesn’t eat sweets. However, it’s been witnessed that he is still a lover of food and fully enjoys pizza, pasta and everything else delicious in the savoury world.

His love of an active and adventurous life led him to run a gym on a cruise ship for a year, and then to working in remote mining sites across Australia. When he met Nicole, they moved on to working and managing high end lodges across Canada and Australia.

What made him look to working with Churchill Wild? “I never thought I would get to see a polar bear in the wild so we couldn’t pass up the chance to work with Churchill Wild. I love how remote the lodges are and the challenges that come with it,” he says.

Wild Guide

Adam Reimer

Born in 1998, being the youngest of the Reimer family, Adam has had the pleasure to learn from many years of experience held by those who came before him; his grandparents, his parents, and his 3 wonderful sisters.

Growing up in the business exposed him to many aspects of operating a lodge. From guest relations, dishes and baggage handling to construction, vehicle maintenance and power management.

Adam always shared his dads passion for being out on the land and after a few years hiatus from the business attempting other endeavours, he returned to Churchill Wild in late 2021 going from maintenance worker to full time wildlife guide.

Adam's favourite part of the job is creating new friendships with the guests and staff. Seeing the joy that his work can bring to those around him, as they get to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience is extremely rewarding for him!

Wild Guide

Emri Canvin

Grew up with a deep appreciation of all things wild from diving with the creatures under the sea to walking with those that wonder the vast arctic. The boreal forest imprinted him at a young age and his first visit to the treeline of Canadas north at the age of 12 opened the door to keep exploring all things towards the pole.

An avid outdoorsman, wildlife guide and expedition leader who's goal is to make you feel at home in the wildest of places while embracing the beauty that surround you.
Emri has been with Churchill Wild since 2014 and learned how to walk with polar bears with the best in the industry.

Terry Elliot. Churchill Wild guide.
Wild Guide

Terry Elliott

Terry’s spends his days with polar bears and other iconic Canadian wildlife while guiding our safaris, but his favourite experiences are on the Barren Lands during our Arctic Safari. “Part of it is knowing how remote you are, how vulnerable you are. It takes a few days of isolation but then you get in tune with the place and it’s a very primitive, very primordial feeling. You’re in a place where you can hear your heart beating. It touches you very deeply.”

Terry works almost nonstop for five months. He wakes up early to check for wildlife and helps develop the day’s itinerary. He leads excursions morning and afternoon, and frequently gives evening presentations. Then, he periodically wakes up during the night to rouse guests if the aurora is dancing.

He credits his parents for his love of the outdoors. His dad took him camping and fishing and his mom encouraged him to learn about the things he loves. This is probably why he’s got what he calls a “self-taught master’s degree in Life in the Arctic.”

As a naturalist, Terry is well versed on the geography, geology, plants, birds and wildlife of northern Manitoba. There’s not a plant at Seal River Heritage Lodge that Terry can’t identify; he’s even found two species that were undocumented for the area.

He has an extreme profession, but he spends the off-season honing his golf game and gardening at his Vancouver Island home—a home that he built. There, he recharges his batteries alongside his wife Kirsten of 14 years and their two dogs.

Wild Guide

Jerritt Boomer

Boomer (don’t ask where the name came from), hails from the Yukon and North West Territories, but now calls Vancouver Island his home. A professional photographer for over 25 years, Boomer now dedicates his time between guiding in the Hudson Bay area, Antarctica, Svalbard, and off the West Coast of Vancouver Island driving whale watching boats.

His photography experience has him filling the role as not only polar bear guide but also a photo leader, helping to facilitate those “ahhha” moments when a technical camera setting or new photo technique has the photographer off to the races and excited to capture new images! At home, Boomer delves into his work as an artist, whew, too many hats!

“One of my most poignant Polar Bear experience’s is being on the bow of our ship pushing into the ice and experiencing with a guest her first Polar Bear sighting, she looked at me afterwards with tears in her eyes and was unable to speak other than to give me a big hug”, Boomer has been working with Churchill Wild since 2019 and having learned from the very best, now fills the role as one of Churchill Wild regular guides.

Wild Guide

Norman Gregoire

Norm grew up on an organic vegetable farm in south-eastern Manitoba. As a youngster he fell in love with everything outdoors-related, spending every free moment hiking, identifying plants and birds, fishing, or picking berries and mushrooms. He knew that as an adult he wanted to work in the outdoors and had a dream of one day working with polar bears.

Norm graduated from college with a diploma in Outdoor Education, which he used to gain experience in the guiding industry for over a decade. This work has brought him from coast to coast in Canada and even some international work.

In 2018, Norm was welcomed to the Churchill Wild team. On his first flight to Seal River Heritage Lodge, his dream came true as three polar bears were seen immediately after landing - seeing those first bears is an experience he won’t ever forget. As a guide, Norm's favourite part of the job is looking at guests faces when they realize their dreams have come true as well.

Norm’s goal is to pass on his love of nature and share how great the outdoors and the wildlife that call it home can be. When not working with Churchill Wild, Norm works in conservation and this is a passion he intends to share with others as well.

Andy MacPherson. Churchill Wild guide.
Wild Guide / Guide Manager Memorial

Andy MacPherson

Andrew “Andy” Charles MacPherson, who was widely acknowledged as the world’s top polar bear guide, and a major force behind the evolution of polar bear safaris and walking tours at Churchill Wild over the past 15 years, passed away suddenly and peacefully at the age of 51 in his home in Ucluelet, B.C. on January 30, 2022.

Regarded by his peers as the most knowledgeable and experienced polar bear guide in the world, Andy was heavily involved in the development of Churchill Wild’s industry-leading safety program for walking with polar bears. He was among the first people ever to witness polar bears hunting beluga whales during the summer, and was one of the lucky few to observe true romance among polar bears, but his wilderness experiences were not just limited to the great white bears.

Andy’s guiding adventures included viewing grizzlies, black bears, whales and wolves on Canada’s West coast, stalking muskox in the Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary, paddling with manatees and looking for jaguars in Belize, leading photo-ops for penguins in the Antarctic, exploring for narwhals in the high Arctic, dancing with caribou and howling with wolves on the tundra, and finally, walking with polar bears on the Hudson Bay coast — where he trained numerous guides to do the same — and fell in love.

Andy had a rare intuition for understanding and communicating with all living things. He understood how everything in nature was connected, from the tiniest tundra flower to the largest land predator on the planet, to family, friends and guided guests.

“While Andy loved wildlife and the great outdoors, it was his ability to connect with people that made him even more special,” said his online memorial.

Andy’s passing leaves a huge hole in the lives of many people, including all of us at Churchill Wild. He is survived by his love Jody, his parents Al and Sherron, his sister Dawn and brother-in-law Wade, his niece Sarah and nephew Stefan, as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins, life-long friends, new friends and colleagues too many to name or count.

“He will be sadly missed by so many,” said Churchill Wild owners Mike and Jeanne Reimer.

Maintenance Man

Tyler Warkentin

Tyler grew up in the countryside just south of Winnipeg Manitoba. He spent his time helping on his grandparents farms and spending every minute outside. He is an avid canoeist and spends over a month each spring paddling before he heads to work at the lodges for our summer season.

Tyler started working for Churchill Wild in 2019 as a maintenance man for Seal River Heritage Lodge and has since worked at all of our lodges and outpost in some form or another. He has grown to love the north and enjoys the adventure and challenges that entails. He keeps the lights on and the water hot for guests from around the world!

Karli Friesen. Prairie Wild Operator. Churchill Wild.
Operators, Prairie Wild

Riley & Karli Friesen

After a combined total of 45 years with Churchill Wild (Karli’s childhood counts, right?), Riley and Karli have held a variety of positions with the company. Riley has worked in maintenance, had a hand in building each lodge and numerous camps, spent several years in lodge and camp kitchens, and guided film crews. Karli officially started her career as a server/cleaner, then as assistant chef, and finally head chef at Seal River. After years of dating and working together, the two were married in 2013. Since then, Karli has worked in both HR and Sales at the office, and they continue to work together in their latest venture, Prairie Wild.

Over the years of working in the kitchen, the two gained an appreciation for quality, locally grown produce, and along with Mike and Jeanne, launched Churchill Wild’s first regenerative agriculture branch in Kleefeld in 2019. Along with their three kids, Riley and Karli tend Prairie Wild’s 3-acre orchard and market garden, growing close to 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables. They supply the lodges with fresh produce during the summer and fall months, and sell locally through markets, grocery stores and a vegetable subscription service.

When they’re not busy raising fruits and veggies, Riley and Karli spend their time planning which fruits and veggies to raise next year. (No, really!) Riley spends his winters building furniture and tending their flock of chickens, while Karli keeps busy writing, homeschooling and finding new ways to get their kids to eat vegetables. Together they enjoy traveling, all outdoor winter sports and activities, and raising their kids Wild.

Allison Francoeur. Churchill Wild Expeditor.
Lead Expeditor

Allison Francoeur

Allison is Churchill Wild’s lead expeditor and logistics coordinator. As one of Mike and Jeanne’s daughters, she has held a lot of different positions in the company. From a young age, she acted as co-hostess at the lodge, charming guests with her delightful chatter. By age 12, she’d transitioned to dishwasher and continued her quest for the perfect position from there, graduating to head server, dabbling as assistant chef, and even filling in as a construction helper during lodge renovations.

In 2016, Allison started a two-year program for Business Administration, majoring in marketing and working for Churchill Wild during her summer breaks as an HR and marketing assistant. After graduating, Allison joined the team full time in early 2019. She splits her time between working in our head office for the first half of the year and expediting in Churchill from July through November.

According to Alli, standing on the shores of Hudson Bay with a cup of hot chocolate in her hand, watching the northern lights dance is one of the best incentives she could ask for in a job. (Don’t worry, we pay her too.)

Allison loves to spend her downtime traveling, hiking and exploring alongside her husband, Jason and their dog, Kita.