About Us

Why we do what we do?

Who we are

“For thousands of years the Buffalo has provided Indigenous First Nations people across Canada with food, clothing, shelter, tools & medicine. In the 21st Century, Technology is the New Buffalo!” - Raven Buffalo

Buffalo Rains Network is a technology and consulting services social enterprise that has been established to provide an easy to use, secure, reliable and affordable leading edge green technology solutions for the preservation of language, culture and business assets of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada.

Our experienced Management Team, Community Associates, Technology Partners and Advisory Team work collaboratively for the purpose of empowering Indigenous communities with knowledge and green technologies that encourage self-reliance, self-governance and self-sustainability, resulting in the creation of new jobs, business opportunities and programs, on and off traditional lands and territories.

We provide technology and skills based training on the implemented technology solutions so that our collective First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada are empowered to become self-reliant, proud and have knowledge to improve their health, wealth and quality of life.

Management Team

Rick Sparks

Rick Sparks

Executive Director

Rick Sparks is the Executive Director & Founder of Buffalo Rains Network. Rick is a member of the Eastern Woodland Métis Nation, Shades of Colour Clan. He is very passionate and committed to providing leading edge technology solutions that benefit Indigenous communities in Canada, the Caribbean Islands and Nations of the African Diaspora.

Rick is an experienced IT Project Management Consultant that has more than 25 years proven success record planning, designing, implementing and managing diverse information technology projects for small to medium sized businesses, multinational corporations, non-profit agencies/organizations, K-12 independent private schools, public schools, including colleges and universities across North America. Rick has solid credentials including an Information Technology Degree, Networking and Support Engineer certification and Professional Contracting & Consulting Certification.

Rick is a highly respected IT expert with a clear, focused direction and has seen notable throughout his career. He has been instrumental in consistently delivering innovative world-class information technology solutions for business owners. His notable clients include Apple Inc.,Cisco, Motorola Wireless Data Group, TELUS, Metafore Technologies Inc., Minuteman Press, GERON Corporation, St. Paul’s Hospital and TELUS.

Rick has perfected his consulting skills in planning and implementing complex projects during his 8 years consulting (1999-2007) in the San Francisco Bay Area (Silicon Valley). As result of his successful IT projects within high-tech corporations in Silicon Valley. Rick was recruited by corporate executives to provide IT management and leadership at several prestigious wealthy private independent schools in the heart of Silicon Valley, California. Rick also developed curriculum and taught Digital Video Multimedia courses at Stanford University and at Apple Inc.

Rick understands that high achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation. He has a strong understanding of the relationship between technology and strategic business interests to increase profit growth opportunities, productivity and competitive edge while simultaneously delivering significant reductions in the cost and ease of doing business.

Community Associates

Mr. Charles Burke

Mr. Charles Burke

Elder & Government Liason Associate

Mr. Charles Burke is our Elder in residence and International Government Liaison Officer. He was born in Montreal, Quebec with family roots on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. Mr. Burke has a diverse career background in Music, Film and the Arts across Canada and the United States.

Mr. Burke owned and operated the famous Black Bottom Club in Montreal Quebec during the 1960s. It was a Jazz and Blues Cabaret Nightclub presenting such as Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Oscar Peterson and Muddy Waters to name a few. Mr. Burke is a musician that plays the flute and percussion. He has managed several musical groups during his career.

Mr. Burke is a member of the Studio Actors Guild and and active ACTRA member. He has studied Music, Film Broadcasting & Photography at New York University and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. He has acting credits in several major Movies, TV Series and Commercials in Canada and the United States.

Mr. Burke in his role as International Government Liaison Officer, will facilitate the engagement of Government Officials and Community Leadership to develop an Arts, Film & Computer Academy in the city of Micoud, St. Lucia. In addition, he will be assisting our team working with Government Officials in African countries for the planning of community technology projects.

Yvonne Nsenga

Yvonne Nsenga

Community Projects Associate

Yvonne Nsenga is our newest team member of Buffalo Rains Network. Yvonne is our Community Projects Coordinator. Yvonne has extensive experience planning local community events and international experience facilitating events in her home country of Rwanda, Africa. Yvonne is a life coach, gatherer of people and preparer of Indigenous community spaces.

Yvonnes' talents help create an empowering atmosphere for individual growth for Indigenous Communities and their families by listening to their needs and wants. She will work closely with Amy Jean and Mr. Burke to coordinate special events and traditional balanced ways of connecting with communities to determine their unique requirements.

Yvonne will be instrumental in coordinating Last Mile Community Broadband Network projects in Rwanda, Africa.

Lyle Fabian

Lyle Fabian

Associate Project Manager

Lyle Fabian is a highly accomplished, versatile and respected member of the Katlodeeche First Nation, located in the North West Territories. Lyle is a Senior Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) Project Management Consultant with over 12 years combined experience in technical knowledge, skills, delegation of authority, designing, planning and controlling successful projects. Lyle has met strategic goals of organizations and used projects to meet those goals and worked within the organizations policies and procedures. Creative and innovative manager, administrator, public speaker, and entrepreneur, taking pride in ability to develop and launch new and diverse products.

Lyle has senior data networking experience primarily as a local area network (LAN) Administrator, utilizing knowledge of wide area networks (WANs) and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for various First Nations administrations. He has earned designations as a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Fiber Optic Certification (CFOT) from the Fiber Optic Association (FOA).

Lyle has a proven record of project management success evaluating, installing, and supporting all areas of the network and ensuring appropriate resolution of problems during network outages and/or periods of reduced performance. In addition, he has expertise in supporting software and hardware systems, which includes installing, configuring, modifying, and troubleshooting Windows Server 2008, Windows XP/ 7 /8 operating systems and website setup and development.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Technician with over 12 years information technology experience in the digital cartography and GIS for First Nation, Industry and Government. Excellent technical, communication, presentation, traditional knowledge gathering skills for ESRI Mapping Software. Lyle is a very resourceful problem solver with proven ability to bring quick resolution to challenging situations. He has developed strong relationships with First Nation communities, Industry and Government through the use of Traditional Ecological Knowledge databases and GIS systems.

Our Advisory Team

Mr. Mark Betteridge

Mr. Mark Betteridge

Business Advisor

Mr. Betteridge is the Executive Director of Discovery Parks in Vancouver. He manages complex real estate projects in the public and private sectors
in Vancouver, BC. Under his leadership, Discovery Parks Vancouver has built 2 million square feet of high tech
offices and labs for every size of technology firm. Mr. Betteridge manages and operates The Generator (free space for one
year), the Commercialization Centre (turnkey offices for early stage firms), Next Gen on the Great Northern Way
Campus and provide access to mentoring and other support services. Discovery Parks provides high level executive
training through ACETECH, BCTIA, Life Sciences BC, Wavefront, SFU, BCIT and UBC. Mr. Betteridge is involved in various organizations; BC Technology Industry Association, Director Covenant House Vancouver, past Chair of the Board
Vancouver Economic Development Commission, past Vice Chair Member, Planning Institute of B.C. BC Agri-Food
and Bio-Products Advisory Group, Chair Member and Lambda Alpha MITACS Industry Advisory Board.

    Dr. Peter Payne

    Dr. Peter Payne

    Business Advisor

    Dr. Payne is Director & Executive-In-Residence in the Centre4Growth Program at the British Columbia Technology Industry Association.
    Dr. Payne has established and run a variety of companies since 1978 from the early days of electronic publishing, to
    medical devices successfully marketed in Canada, the USA, Europe and Asia. Dr. Payne has been involved with
    government organizations, private and public companies, reverse take-overs, venture capital corporations and notfor-
    profit groups. Dr. Payne holds a Ph.D. (Pathology) from the University of British Columbia and is active with the
    Faculty of Medicine’s Problem Based Learning program. Dr. Payne has been an invited speaker at international
    conferences, holds a number of patents and has received several awards for his work.

    Our Professional Industry Memberships

    • British Columbia Technology Industry Association

      Centre4Growth Program
      Member since September 2012

    • Discovery Parks Vancouver

      Generator 2.0 Invited Tennant - Technology company incubator
      Our offices were located at Discovery Parks for six months (October 2012 - March 2013)

    • BC Aboriginal Business Association

      Member since March 2014

    • Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB)

      Registered Goods & IT Professional Services Supplier February 2013

    • Industry Canada

      Registered Goods & IT Professional Services Supplier February 2013

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