Leadership Team

Traci Bednard smiles at the camera.

Traci Bednard grew up around Alberta, also spending time in PEI and Ontario, before making Edmonton home. She went to junior high and high school in Grande Prairie, and then attended the University of Alberta and hasn’t left Alberta’s capital city since then.

That was only the beginning. Traci is no stranger to the tourism sector after working 24 years at the Edmonton International Airport; for more than a decade, she has served as an executive-level leader at EIA. Her most recent position was as Vice President Strategy, Environmental Social and Governance and Corporate Communications. She was responsible for communications, government relations, advocacy and partnerships including tourism and Indigenous tourism partnerships.

Traci is currently on the Board of Directors for the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, giving her powerful insight on the direction of tourism in our country. During her years at the airport, she also travelled extensively selling air services to our city and that gave her the opportunity to view Edmonton and its tourism product through other’s eyes. It inspired her to be bolder and more optimistic about the diverse, authentic experiences Edmonton has to offer.

Traci lives in west Edmonton with her husband Deron and her two daughters Ella and Olive. She also has a French bulldog named Murphy, and a cat named Little Black.

Arlindo Gomes

Vice President, Business Development & Venue Management

Arlindo oversees the strategic operations of the Edmonton Convention Centre and Edmonton EXPO Centre, two of Edmonton’s largest and busiest public venues. He leads a team of more than 1,200 staff to deliver exceptional experiences for venue guests and clients—resulting in the Edmonton Convention Centre and Edmonton EXPO Centre being recognized among the top performing venues in North America.

With more than 25 years of experience in venue management and the live events industry, Arlindo’s background also includes positions with the Northlands, Fantasyland Hotel and Alberta Health Services. Arlindo is a past board member of the Alberta Restaurant and Foodservices Association and has previously served as Vice President of the U.S. based National Association of Concessionaires. He currently sits on the Tourism Industry Association of Alberta (TIAA) and Nina Haggarty Centre for the Arts board of directors.

With a passion for developing a culture of service and in helping others succeed, Arlindo strives to make a difference and ensure Edmonton leads the way among major cities in North America.

Paul Hawes

Paul Hawes

Vice President, Destination Development & Marketing

Paul is the Vice President of Destination Development and Marketing at Explore Edmonton, where he leads the visitor economy teams - responsible for the planning, development, and execution of marketing initiatives aimed at strengthening awareness, appreciation, and visitation of the city. With a focus on aligning messaging with the brand, Paul ensures effective distribution across channels to maximize impact. He drives the implementation of Edmonton’s Tourism Master Plan and coordinates resources to support major sports and culture events, meetings, conventions, and business events across the city.

With over 20 years of experience in the tourism industry, Paul began his career in the Canadian Rockies with Fairmont Hotels' Rocky Mountain Region before transitioning to roles at Travel Alberta and Destination Canada. He then established overseas offices for Destination New South Wales across the UK, Germany, and France before returning to Canada as Chief Marketing & Distribution Officer at Tourism Victoria, where he led a successful brand overhaul.

In his current role, Paul focuses on creating tourism legacies for Edmonton, fostering ongoing and future business, and developing award-winning marketing campaigns. Outside of work, he enjoys swimming, gardening, and cooking, although he admits home life can get competitive with two chefs in the kitchen. A passionate fan, Paul proudly supports the Oilers, sporting their blue and orange colors with enthusiasm. Go Oilers!

Mike Dowler

Vice President, Shared Services

Mike oversees the Shared Services team and its various portfolios, which includes People and Culture and the Finance, Technology and Business Systems teams. These teams provide the foundation for day-to-day business, including governance, advice and support, scalable business solutions, shareholder reporting and creating value for employees by building and facilitating connections across the organization. Under Mike’s leadership this team serves multiple internal customers and is made up of key business enablers and trusted business partners who provide superior customer service through collaboration, innovation, partnerships and leadership to ensure the best possible user experience.

Mike brings over two decades of financial management and business planning experience to the position along with extensive experience working with corporate services teams such as IT, HR and Finance. Before joining Explore Edmonton, Mike served as the CFO and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Internal Services at the City of Beaumont.

His extensive financial management experience includes six and half years as the Director of Budget Planning and Development at the City of Edmonton.

Mike is a born and raised Edmontonian who lives here with his wife Teri and daughter Harper. Mike enjoys watching hockey and partaking in outdoor activities such as running and golf.