Robert (Bob) Gilmor Roehle grew up on a grain and dairy farm at Blackdale, Manitoba. Following his education at Irwinton, West St. Paul and Stonewall Collegiate, he attended the University of Manitoba where he earned a B.S.A. in 1968 and an M.Sc. in agricultural economics in 1971. In 1968, he married Judith McKillop, a business education teacher; she has been his constant support and adviser. They raised their children, Candace and Kenton, in St. Norbert where they have resided since 1971. They have five grandchildren.
Bob worked for the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) in market analysis and development and public relations for 29 years, including two years in Japan developing Asian markets. He was seconded to the Grain Marketing Office of Industry, Trade & Commerce in Ottawa, the Grain Transportation Agency in Winnipeg for the first review of the Western Grain Transportation Act, and later to Prairie Pools Inc. in Winnipeg. He worked on the 1998 transition of the CWB from five federally appointed commissioners to a conventional board of directors with a majority of elected farmers. Following retirement in 2000 as VP, Corporate Communications, Bob accepted contracts with Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, and the University of Manitoba as a lecturer in agricultural policy.
Bob initiated the Grain World Outlook Conference in 1991 and the Winnipeg International Grain Fest in 1992 as a salute to Canada 125. He is past president of the Red River Exhibition Association (RREA) and its foundation, the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame, the St. Norbert Foundation and the CWB Retirees’ Association. He is co-chair, Group’Action St. Norbert, VP, Pembina Active Living (55+) and director, St. Norbert Business Improvement Zone and Pollock Island Conservation Group. Bob sits on the RREA’s Farm Family of the Year and Harvest Gala committees. He is a past director of Heritage Winnipeg and past co-ordinator of the Friends of the CWB. He served on the St. Andrew’s Society Agriculture Committee celebrating the 2012 Bicentenary of the Red River Settlement.
In 1988, Bob initiated Le Marche St. Norbert Famers’ Market Co-op Inc. and served as its founding president until 1995. He was also the founding president of Farmers’ Market Co-op of Manitoba.
Bob has received a number of awards: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service and the Mayor’s BIZ Award in 2012; Certificate of Merit, Manitoba Agriculture Graduates’ Association in 2008; Distinguished Service Award, Canadian Association of Fairs & Exhibitions in 2010.
Vision, commitment and an enabling leadership style have made Bob’s contribution to the agricultural industry and Manitoba community organizations significant and lasting. These traits have also earned him the respect of colleagues, producers and the voluntary sector.
Nominated by faculty of agricultural and food sciences, University of Manitoba – 2015