Our Management Team

Lawrence Skwarek

CEO & Founder

Lawrence Skwarek has over 40 years of investigative experience in British Columbia and extensive investigative contacts throughout Canada. He served in the RCMP from 1969 to 1982, first as a uniformed officer for approximately three years and subsequently for 10 years in various plainclothes squads.

During the course of his RCMP career, Skwarek worked on a wide range of sex crime cases – including coordinating the Clifford Olsen case – and developed an index system to track sex offenders. He was also in charge of the RCMP’s Richmond Fraud Unit where he trained and managed a group of five investigators. He was considered to be the top interrogator in Richmond, if the not the entire Lower Mainland, and regularly received top ratings as a manager of force members. 

Lawrence has specific training in intelligence gathering as well as training and expertise in interrogation, negotiation, and managing and providing coordination to large units of officers from various police divisions. He also has the distinction of having had the greatest number of paid informants during his tenure in a GIS unit located in the Lower Mainland. 

Between 2001 and 2009, Lawrence served as the Executive Director of the Protect our Children Society, an organization established to assist children and their parents to combat and investigate sexual and drug abuse. The organization was able to assist over 600 individuals during its duration until the financial resources to continue the organization’s work were no longer available.

In April 2013, Lawrence launched Zonta Research Group (ZRG) with investigative reporter John L. Daly.

John L. Daly

Founding Director

John L. Daly is one of the original directors of Zonta Research Group, and continues to serve and contribute regularly on Zonta files and projects. He brings a wealth of contacts in government, industry, and non-profits, and decades of experience investigating frauds, con men, and corrupt officials and police. His greatest asset is his sources.

He was born in New York City and has called Vancouver his hometown since the mid-1970s. He attended CUNY, York, and UBC, and is an active member of IRE (Investigative Reporters & Editors). In 1980, he began working at Global BC, reporting and producing the news, and retired after a successful 33 year career as one of Canada’s leading Investigative Journalists. He now hosts a regular talk show on CKNW Radio in Vancouver: ‘Daly: Back On The Beat’.

John has taught interviewing techniques and investigative reporting at BCIT and UBC Continuing Education. He is frequently an invited speaker for professional organizations and conferences; speaking on the demands of the news media, crisis coverage and management, and where news is headed.

Of all his awards, John is proudest of winning the very first Webster, for the best reporting of the year, in any medium, placing his cameraman, editor, and himself against all other TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers (now there’s a host of categories).

Over the course of his career, John has seen the failures of government controls, checks and balances, regulators, inspectors, investigators, and enforcement agencies. His basic take: “If you want regulatory, Investigative, or enforcement action, you pretty much have to clean, stuff, truss, and bake the turkey, then hand it to the appropriate investigative or enforcement agency. That’s why the work Zonta does is so important.”

Simon Padgett, CPA, CGA, FCCA (UK), CFE, MBA

Director of Forensic Accounting

Simon Padgett is a British-qualified accountant with an MBA from Oxford. He was previously Head of Forensic Services for PwC in Vancouver, Canada, and Head/Director of Forensic Services at Protiviti in the United Arab Emirates. He has also held positions of Head of Internal Audit, Risk Management and Forensic Services for large public companies and has worked for the Big 4 accountancy firms including six years at Ernst & Young in South Africa and KPMG in the Caribbean region.

Simon’s experience crosses the spectrum of forensic accounting, auditing, risk management, corporate governance, and more. His career for the last 20 years has had a focus on forensic accounting, fraud, and corruption investigations.

Mark W. Robertson

Director of Operations & Research

Mark brings extensive management experience and team-building skills gained through a 30-plus-year career running operations for a large, multi-faceted political, government, and small business organizations. His government and political experience spans all three levels of government where he provided strategic advice to Senior Government Ministers (MPs and MLAs) and to elected officials and candidates at the municipal and regional level. He has personally managed more than 50 political and industry campaigns.

Mark has a demonstrated history of exceptional organizational skills and superior team-coordinating skills, including successfully managing large scale communications channels and leading group training experiences. He has regularly been called upon to provide reasoned wisdom and strategic advice to those at the senior level of every organization he has been a part of. His additional areas of strength include record keeping and budgeting, as well as staff recruitment and training.

Mark’s organizational experience and expertise were central to a highly successful direct mail campaign on behalf of Canada’s largest Autowrecker and Dismantler. He helped to develop the strategy and articulate a plan of action while conducting research and leading the implementation phase. The campaign garnered the support of over 800 direct and indirect businesses in the automotive industry and members of the general public. The campaign resulted in the provincial government in B.C. establishing a structural integrity inspection program for automobiles for improved public safety.

Patrick O’Connor

Manager of Communications & Research

Patrick has nearly three decades of experience in public policy research and communications at the provincial and local government levels. His diverse background includes capturing and editing audio, a skill gained years ago while working in recording studios with various local musical acts. He has a degree in Religious Studies from UBC with a concentration on Ancient Near Eastern and Early Christian history and literature. He has also been likened to a walking encyclopedia with a thirst for knowledge and information, and possesses top notch analytical and critical thinking skills.

Patrick has nearly three decades of experience in public policy research and communications at the provincial and local government levels. His diverse background includes capturing and editing audio, a skill gained years ago while working in recording studios with various local musical acts. He has a degree in Religious Studies from UBC with a concentration on Ancient Near Eastern and Early Christian history and literature. He has also been likened to a walking encyclopedia with a thirst for knowledge and information, and possesses top notch analytical and critical thinking skills.

Marta Robertson

Manager of Administration & Quality Control 

Marta has worked in the Administration field for over 25 years, with the last 14 years dedicated to the investigations industry. Her skillset includes experience as a legal secretary. She excels at video intake management and has extensive experience with database management, professional report writing, and training new employees, along with superior customer service skills and a passion for knowledge, which has kept her at the top of her field.

Phill Hynes

Political Risk and Terrorism Analyst Asia

Phill Hynes is an experienced security and risk management and intelligence consultant based in Hong Kong. Has over 20 years’ experience in China, North Asia and South & South East Asia.  He was the management consultant coordinating risk management, information services and security for the major sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He conducted the risk assessment on the 2007 Shanghai Special Olympics and worked on terrorism risk for the Shanghai Expo.

He served over 10 years in the British army, specializing in counter terrorism, intelligence and communications. He also worked as a lead consultant for Deloitte & Touché / Consensia Partnership in Northern Ireland for 2 years recruiting the new Police Service.  During this period he also worked drafting the first community safety strategy for Northern Ireland addressing reconstruction and conflict resolution projects and community development to mitigate the transition from terrorism to organized crime.

Phill was the pioneer of community democracy programs facilitating the integration of paramilitary organizations into the wider civil community during the peace process. Having studied Peace & Conflict and Global Development Management in the U.K. gaining his B.A. from the University of Ulster and his PG Dip, Advanced Dip from the O.U.

He has conducted and managed quite literally hundreds of investigations, due diligences, background checks and risk assessments in China, Mongolia, Myanmar, North Korea, India, Bangladesh, and Thailand and across South & South East Asia. He recognized as a well-placed strategic political risk and terrorism analyst with an unparalleled network of sources in North East, South and South Asia.

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