Got the Edge
A light-hearted Q&A with the people who make the Okanagan work


Raquel Millikin
Okanagan Edge Staff - 6:00 am - Got the Edge

Name: Raquel Millikin

Employer: Nest Design

City: Kelowna

Occupation: Interior Decorator

Tell us about your job: I own Nest Design and I’m one of the lucky ones who loves their job. I am always meeting with incredible clients and helping them design, build, decorate or renovate their homes into spaces they love.

Tell us about yourself: I am a Mother of 3 wonderful children, have a thriving business, a wonderful guy, great friends and family and a sweet dog and kitten. At 43 have I found peace. It’s not always been that way but life is such an incredible journey if you enjoy the ride and learn from your lessons magic happens.

What do you do for fun? I love to be with my family and friends. I love to travel and explore new places. Recently I’ve changed to a pescatarian clean eating diet and have had incredible changes in my body so I’m enjoying finding new recipes and trying them out.

What Winnie the Pooh character do you most relate to? Kanga because she’s Motherly, offers advice and feeds everyone.

Latest movie or book: I’m actually reading a book about teens called “You’re Ruining My Life.” It’s very insightful and shows me the science behind the teenage brain and why they act the way they do and how to handle it. Although my 14-year-old daughter said she saw my book and that it’s not going to work on her, haha.

What’s your go-to happy place? My home: It’s peaceful and cozy and filled with love. If that doesn’t work I close my eyes and go back to Italy.

Karla Kozakevich
Okanagan Edge Staff - Aug 14 - Got the Edge

 

Name: Karla Kozakevich

Employer: Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

City:  Penticton

Occupation: Chair of the RDOS and director for Area E Naramata

Tell us about your job:  For the past five years I have represented Naramata as their elected official at the RDOS board table.  I work hard to look after the needs of the community and the Greater Naramata area, which includes Indian Rock, Glenfir, Chute Lake and Falcon Ridge.

In November of 2016 I was elected as Chair of the RDOS.  The RDOS board of directors is made up of 18 elected officials from eight rural areas and six municipalities stretching from Naramata and Summerland in the north to the U.S. border and west to Princeton and Manning Park.

Tell us about yourself:  I was born and raised in Penticton and moved to North Vancouver to attend Simon Fraser University, where I competed internationally for their varsity field hockey team. My father was born in Penticton and still lives here, along with many other family members and friends.

I also lived in Burlington, Ontario where I managed federal and provincial services for youth and adults with disabilities.  While Ontario provided an excellent employment opportunity, it did not provide the same quality of life as the Okanagan Valley. I have lived in Naramata for more than 11 years and have a 12-year-old son attending KVR’s French I\immersion program. He is currently interested in a career in politics.

What do you do for fun? I enjoy skiing in the winter, and while I say I will get out and golf more each summer, I have yet to make that happen. I enjoy travelling and would like to get out and see more of the world.

What Winnie the Pooh character do you most relate to?  As a child I adored Eeyore, but must say I’m much more like Tigger. I appreciate his friendly enthusiasm.

Latest movie or book: I am currently reading Chaos by Patricia Cornwell.

What’s your go to happy place? Sitting on my deck, overlooking the valley and lake, sipping a glass of local wine.

Peter Teschner
Okanagan Edge Staff - Aug 11 - Got the Edge

Name: Peter Teschner.

What business or organization are you involved with? Cherry Lane Homes Ltd.

What is your role with that organization? President, developer and builder.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? There are many, but one of my favourite thing about living in the Okanagan would be the landscape and scenery. I also love being only minutes away from wilderness, and being able to find peacefulness of nature.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? If I could have lunch with anyone in this world I would choose Elon Musk because I respect his intelligence and want to learn more about everything he is doing.

What’s your go-to happy place? My go-to happy place is spending time with my sweetie in our boat, floating on Lake Okanagan and chilling with a glass of wine.

What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my two sons.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
-A Hot Air Balloon ride in the Napa Valley;
-Go on a trip to China;
-Driving a Tesla across the country.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Cougar meat.

Latest movie or book? A book about Elon Musk.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift ever: an infinity bracelet.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would spend it with the people I love.

Michael Guzzi
Okanagan Edge Staff - Aug 08 - Got the Edge

Name: Michael Guzzi

What business or organization are you involved with? Studio9 School of the Arts

What is your role with that organization? 
Society CEO and teacher

What’s your favorite thing about living in the Okanagan? 
Summer. I love the warmth and how it makes people feel happy. I love the access
to the outdoors in a t-shirt and shorts.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? 
Paul McCartney – better yet, John Lennon – because I find their
musical and life perspectives so interesting and so intuitive. I love the way they see the world around them.

What’s your go-to happy place? 
Underwater, scuba diving. Preferably in warm water and with reefs….but underwater in scuba is good.

What are you most proud of? 
Besides the obvious (my family), I am most proud of the work we have done building Studio9 School of the Arts as a vibrant, safe and creative learning environment for kids who love the arts and want it to be part of their day and learning. We have amassed an incredible group of caring and knowledgeable staff who like to give unconditionally to the students and this Studio9 project.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
-A new campus for Studio9 students with arts and development partners serious about building arts education and participation;
-Diving with whale sharks;
-Diving the Great Barrier Reef

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? 
Chocolate coated ants

Latest movie or book: Beauty and the Beast and the Adobe Premiere Pro Manual.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? 
Life: surviving spinal meningitis with the help of a great doctor

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? 
Scuba diving with the family amidst whale sharks.

Rick Maddison
Okanagan Edge Staff - Aug 04 - Got the Edge

Name: Rick Maddison.

What business or organization are you involved with? Tempest Media.

What is your role with that organization? I’m unemployable so I founded it.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The look on Albertans’ faces the day they have to leave the “Hawaii” of Canada.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Michael Jordan, so he can teach me how to jump. He’s buying though right?

What’s your go-to happy place? Pretty much anywhere my kids are: Ice hockey rink, racquetball court, Harvest Golf.

What are you most proud of? Jack and Tess. Also, volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. We had a great board who, along with a great ED, turned around a very financially devastating situation.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
-Skate with Wayne Gretzky;
-Karaoke with Adele;
-Reprise my movie role as special ops covert operative Agent Honeybee.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Room temperature, three-week-old cookie dough. I have an addiction. I couldn’t help myself.

Latest movie or book? Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? A Calgary Flames practice jersey.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Not filling out a form thats for sure.

Julene Ashford-Koslowski
Okanagan Edge Staff - Aug 02 - Got the Edge

Name: Julene Ashford-Koslowski.

What business or organization are you involved with? Camelot Haven Alpacas.

What is your role with that organization? Owner.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The rolling hills.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Probably my twin brother, as I do not get to see him very much.

What’s your go-to happy place? In the garden among the flowers and birds.

What are you most proud of? The children.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
-Visit the Cook Islands;
-Visit Polynesia;
-Visit the Greek Islands.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Turtle soup.

Latest movie or book? Edible and Medicinal Plants

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Genevieve (Jenny) my Newfoundland dog who saved my life.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would do something that will make a difference.

Leslie Denoncourt
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jul 31 - Got the Edge

Name: Leslie Denoncourt.

What business or organization are you involved with? MOLT Bin Rentals Ltd.

What is your role with that organization? Owner/operator.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The beauty of all four seasons. We moved here three years ago from Northern Alberta and on one of our first walks through the Gellatly Nut Farm we met up with a nice lady that told us Kelowna is the next
best place to heaven. We have managed to find a home tucked away on the farm loop, our very own little piece of heaven.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? My Dad. He passed away before I moved here. He always wanted to live in the Okanagan and would be so happy that I am able to raise my girls here.

What’s your go-to happy place? My backyard, where I can watch my kids swim and play.

What are you most proud of? Being able to break away from the fast pace of oilfield life. We have started living our life closer to nature and with a very different outlook on life. It used to be wishing and waiting for vacation time and days off to run away and travel to better places. I haven’t left the Okanagan since Christmas of 2014, now all my friends and family travel to us.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? Hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu for a second time when my girls are old enough; go on an African Safari; and visit Angkor Wat.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Stinky Tofu at a night market in Tiawan.

Latest movie or book: I’ve been watching reruns of Game of Thrones, getting ready for the new season.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My Husband and children.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Well, so far today, we have swam in the pool, smashed some rocks that we were hoping were geodes that we collected on a hike, and planned a BBQ for dinner. I would finish it off with a big cuddle on the couch while watching a movie or show before bed. Pretty perfect day for me.

Amanda Tak
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jul 28 - Got the Edge

Name: Amanda Tak.

What business or organization are you involved with? Lake Okanagan Realty.

What is your role with that organization? Realtor.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? I love the lakes, the valley, the people, the weather and the lifestyle the Okanagan has to offer.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? If I could have a sit down lunch with someone it would probably be someone along the lines of Tony Robbins.

What’s your go-to happy place? Anywhere by the water.

What are you most proud of? My accomplishments. Having moved here four-and-a-half years ago not knowing anyone and looking where I’m at today.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? To horseback ride on an African safari, purchase a home so the rest of my family could move out to Kelowna and purchase a bare waterfront lot somewhere in the middle of nowhere that we could slowly make our very own paradise.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Cockroaches in Thailand.

Latest movie or book: Wonder Woman.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift ever was the opportunity to work with Lake Okanagan Realty. Working with Alexandra and Jackie is something I truly cherish, and I’m blessed to be a part of such an awesome team of women.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would spend it worry free. I would forget about my materialistic needs and just be a free spirit with whoever would join me.

Dustin Read
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jul 26 - Got the Edge

Valley First Business Portrait

Name: Dustin Read.

What business or organization are you involved with? Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union. I’m also a board member with Festivals Kelowna.

What is your role with that organization? Branch Manager of Valley First’s Downtown Kelowna Branch

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? I like being outdoors on a patio in the summer enjoying the endless
amount of sunshine and warm weather.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? James Corden. I think he is hilarious. I record his show every evening and then watch it the next morning before I go to work. It puts me in such a positive space for the day ahead. I can’t get enough of
carpool karaoke.

What’s your go-to happy place? My home. It’s so nice at the end of a long day or work week to return home to a good meal, a nice glass of wine and to be able to enjoy it with my wife and my dogs.

What are you most proud of? The team I work with every day and watching them develop their skills and grow professionally. Our goal is to provide Valley First members with the best financial advice possible. I am proud of the relationships we have with our members and when they treat us like a partner in their financial journey.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? They are all travel related: I want to visit India, Africa and South America.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Haggis, which was surprisingly good.

Latest movie or book? The movie was Lion. The Book: A House in the Sky. It’s an amazing true story written by Canadian Amanda Lindhout, who was held captive in Somalia for 460 days.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? I was the branch manager at Guisachan Village until I moved to manage the Downtown Kelowna location earlier this year. When I left Guisachan, the staff gave me a mug that reads “Goal Digger,” which I think is very fitting. I use it daily.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? It would be spent with friends and family. It would be a celebration rather than a sad day and it would involve good food and wine.

Raghwa Gopal
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jul 24 - Got the Edge

Name: Raghwa Gopal.

What business or organization are you involved with? Accelerate Okanagan.

What is your role with that organization? CEO.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? It’s natural beauty: the lakes, the mountains and the golf courses. And, of course, the amazing people.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? The Dalai Lama. What a great soul, and such inspiration he is to the world. I would Hope that some of his intellect and wisdom would rub off on me.

What’s your go-to happy place? Outside in nature–a golf course or a nice, quiet walk at the Mission Park Greenway.

What are you most proud of?
A number of things actually:
1. Helping make this community a much better place by doing whatever I can to help;
2. Helping build a great tech community here–which is the fastest growing tech community in the country;
3. And, raising two amazing human beings (my kids)–who are not only smart and humble, but respectful and great contributors to this world.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? This is an interesting one. I have done and seen almost everything I wanted to, but a couple of things that I would still like to do is:
1. Visit to Antarctica;
2. Yangtze River Cruise;
3. Visit Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? A Pig’s stomach at Bazaar Restaurant by Chef Jose’ Andres’ in Las
Vegas. Surprisingly, it was really good.

Latest movie or book? Winners dream – A journey from corner store to corner office by Bill McDermott, the CEO of SAP. It’s a great story, which I can relate to myself as I started my first job at age eleven at a corner store as well.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My beautiful and amazing wife and two kids, and the chance to live in the
best country in the world.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would just sit at home and chat with my wife and kids.

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