Batawa - Staff Bios

Staff Bios


Sonja Bata, O.C.Chairman, Batawa Development Corporation

Sonja Bata was born and educated in Switzerland, where she studied architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. Her passion for design and love of the planning process combined with her affection for the community that bears her family name and welcomed her as a young bride, motivated her to launch the Batawa Development Corporation as its founding Chairman in 2005.

As Directors of the Bata Shoe Company, Mrs Bata and her late husband Thomas, the company's founder, sat at the helm of this world-wide family company until its chairmanship was handed over to their son, Thomas Junior. Mrs. Bata sits as Vice Chairman of the Bata Shoe Foundation and the founding Chairman of the Bata Shoe Museum, another testament to her passion for design.

Mrs. Bata has served as a director of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a member of the board of Alcan Aluminum Ltd., and on the board of directors of CT Financial. Her role on board of the Design Council of Canada for more than a decade continued her dedication to design and included a three-year period as its chair.

She has devoted much of her life to a variety of social and cultural issues. Since 1989 Mrs. Bata has served as an Honorary Captain in the Canadian Navy. She has been a trustee with the World Wildlife Fund (Canada), of which she is currently honorary chair, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and for almost 20 years was a leading member of the North York General Hospital Board. She has served on the Advisory Council of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, the Council for Canadian Unity and the Canadian Club of Toronto.

Sonja Bata has had a lifelong interest in youth. She was chair of Junior Achievement in Canada and is still an active trustee and Honorary Eurpoean Chair. She has been a trustee of the Mentor Foundation in Geneva, and chair of Junior Achievement of Canada. She sits on the Girl Guides World Finance Committee. She was a founding member of the Toronto French School and a governor or York University. She currently serves on the board of the Royal Military College.

A lifetime of achievements has culminated in a number of prestigious awards. In 1983 she was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada. She has received the BNai Brith Humanitarian Award, the CESO Award for International Development and the Prime Mentors of Canada Award. For her environmental work, she was awarded a medal by the United Nations. She has been honored with a number of honorary degrees from both Canadian and American universities.

Terry Istead,
Property Manager, Batawa Development Corporation
Born and raised in Trenton, Terry's very first job was at the Bata Shoe Factory here in Batawa in 1975. He recalls working for Frank Kosier on the 3rd floor making rubber boots. A short time later, he moved on up to the 4th floor to work for Kenny Lawrence. There at the front of the line, he prepared the 38 North Stars - the iconic white North Stars with toe caps and blue stripes.
Terry later moved to Stearn's Canada Inc. in Trenton, where he worked as a saturator and winder operator. Three years later, he was promoted to lead hand, and two years after that was promoted once again to supervisor. He also worked as health and safety representative and implemented a preventative maintenance program for all machinery. He was involved in R&D for all products during his time at Stearn's. He worked for 22 years at this company, until its closure in 2002.
Terry's talents then took him back to Batawa, where he worked as supervisor at Invar. He was then promoted to general supervisor and made a member of the plant operating committee. True to form it seems, he worked at Invar until its closure in 2010, and then oversaw its property until the facility was sold in 2013.
Coming full circle, Terry finds himself once again in the Batawa fold, joining the team to quickly become property manager for the Batawa Development Corporation in 2013.
Terry is certified by Loyalist College for 'Work Environment Coaching for Success and Supporting the Right Behaviour'. He has 'Risk Assessment and Introduction to PSHSR' certification through Trinus Engineering. He is certified with 'Systematic Cause Analysis Techniques'. He has taken the 'Lockout/Tagout Workshop' through IAPA. He also has a Crane and Hoist Operator permit.
Judi Clark, B.Sc.,
Community Development Coordinator, Batawa Development Corporation
Born in Chatham, the seventh of nine kids to Canadian and Lebanese parents, Ms. Clark knows more than a little something about working as a team. An avid baseball and floor hockey player in her youth, Judi took an interest in curling at the air base after her move to Trenton.
Ms. Clark has a B.Sc. in Nutrition & Food Service Administration from the University of Western Ontario. After completing her studies, she embarked on a career at Libby, McNeil, & Libby, a division of Nestle in Chatham. After five years, she was transferred to the quality assurance department at Nestle's Stouffer factory in Trenton. The majority of her career at Nestle was spent working in various supervisory roles within quality assurance, playing a key role in the growth of the factory after major downsizing in 1992 (when the retail business moved across the border).
Judi moved to Batawa with her seven year old daughter in 2005, where she felt welcomed with open arms into the community. In 2014, she joined the Batawa Development Corporation team as community development coordinator after accepting early retirement from Nestle. Her commute to work has never been shorter! 
Judi is involved with the many social events and outings in the village, enjoys baking and helping the Ladies of Sacred Heart in Batawa whenever possible. She is currently a volunteer for the Military Family Resource Centre and an active member of the Batawa Lions Club.
Dan Asti,
Caretaker, Batawa Development Corporation
Born in Germany, Dan moved to Batawa when he was three years old, and was raised here. He studied at St. Lawrence College in Kingston.
Dan became an apprentice machinist at Invar in Batawa, where he worked for 16 years as a journeyman machinist, later moving up to lead hand.
With the closure of Invar, Dan moved on to Kennametal, where he worked as a machinist for five years. With an opportunity opening in Batawa, Dan was glad to move back home to take on the role of Caretaker with the Batawa Development Corporation in 2014.  
An avid sportsman, Dan learned to ski at Batawa Ski Hill, where he was also part of the Batawa Racing Club for about eight years. He is an avid golfer, married, and has a young daughter and son.