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


Justin Amis
Okanagan Edge Staff - 6:00 am - Got the Edge

Name: Justin Amis

What business or organization are you involved with? 
Kelowna Chrysler Dodge Jeep

What is your role with that organization? 
Fleet manager and sales representative

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? 
I would say the biggest draw of the Okanagan for me was the work lifestyle balance that we enjoy here. I am lucky enough to have a job doing what I love, and when I’m not at work it is so easy to get to the beach or the mountains, or even just to have a relaxing lunch at a local winery.

When you live in the Okanagan, every day feels like a vacation and you just can not beat that.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? 
Of all the people in the world right now, the person I would be most interested to have lunch with would be Elon Musk. He is an extremely inventive and ambitious entrepreneur who I admire very much and I would love to talk to him more about his vision of the future.

What’s your go-to happy place? 
It is hard for me to pick one go-to happy place; I really enjoy a lot of great places. If you made me pick one, though, I think it would be my condo in the Glenmore area of Kelowna. After all, it is difficult to beat a place you can call you very own.

What are you most proud of? 
When I think of what brings me the most pride I immediately think of the praise I get from my clients about the quality of the service they receive. Specifically, what I am most proud of is my wall of reviews in my office at Kelowna Chrysler. I am blessed to have so many wonderful reviews from my past guests and I love reading them every chance I get.

It reminds me of not only the great people I’ve met but also the fact that I’m making a difference. I am also very proud of my recent promotion to fleet manager, delivering 19 fleet vehicles in the Okanagan last month and helping local business’ with their commercial vehicle needs.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
The number one thing on my bucket list is to one day drive a Dodge Viper on a closed track where I could really see what it is capable of. Another experience on my bucket list I have always wanted to try and hope to check off soon is to go deep sea fishing with my Dad.
Finally, I’ve always wanted to own a Jeep Wrangler so I definitely plan on getting one as soon as possible.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? 
I was always a picky kid growing up and even now I’m a bit hesitant of trying weird foods. The furthest I’ve ever gone would probably be escargot, which I actually really enjoyed and have had a few times since.

Latest movie or book: My girlfriend and I just re-watched all of the Fast and Furious movies in preparation for the new one coming out on April 14th, so you could definitely say that we are excited to see that when it comes out.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? 
This is kind of a weird one, but the gift that sticks out most in my memory is one I got from my grandfather when I was only about six years old. He had a collection of old guns and swords and he gave me a replica sword that looked like it was from medieval times for my parents to hang in my bedroom.

My grandfather passed away a few years ago around Christmas and I still have the sword to this day, it’s definitely a gift that is very sentimental to me.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? 
If today were my last day, I would choose to spend it here in Kelowna with all of my friends and family, going out on the lake and enjoying the Okanagan sunshine. I would also want my Mom to make her famous bouillabaisse as my last meal because it is my absolute favorite food.

Ginny Becker
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 20 - Got the Edge

Name: Ginny Becker

Employer: Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT)

City: Kelowna

Occupation: Program Manager – Business Advisory Service

Tell us about your job: I consider myself very fortunate. I work for an amazing not-for-profit organization and I get to go home every day feeling like we are doing good, contributing to the economy and to the community.  Specifically, I manage a division of SIDIT that aims to assist growth-stage companies build success through access to executive level support and mentoring.  Our goal is to see these entrepreneurs achieve success and grow their businesses in a profitable and sustainable manner. It is a very rewarding role.

Tell us about yourself: I am a working professional and a Mom.  My husband and I have two little girls that make life interesting and rewarding every day.  I am deeply passionate about the Okanagan, having lived here for most of my life.  We try to take in all that the valley has to offer as often as possible: the wineries, the activities, the events, all of it. I love to travel as far and as often as possible.

What do you do for fun? My husband and I love to entertain. Having friends over for great food and big laughs is our favourite thing to do on the weekends.  We also love to camp and we never have to go too far, the Okanagan is full of amazing camping opportunities.  A campfire, a good book and a glass of wine is about as perfect as life can get.

What Winnie the Pooh character do you most relate to: T.I G.G.E.R!

Latest movie or book: I recently watched Rogue One, our little family is pretty dedicated to Star Wars.

What’s your go-to happy place? My home. It sounds funny but home is a little piece of paradise where the rest of the world disappears.  At home with my family is the best place I can think of to be.

Katie Balkwill
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 18 - Got the Edge

Name: Katie Balkwill

Employer: Big White Ski Resort

City: Kelowna

Occupation: Sales and marketing manager

Tell us about your job: I love my job!  There’s never a dull day in our office and many of my meetings take place on a chairlift. I’m responsible for Big White’s sales and marketing initiatives in Western North America.  The hardest part of my job is getting someone to Big White the first time, but once they’ve experienced everything we have to offer they are sure to return.

Tell us about yourself: I’m always up for an adventure, and live by a work hard, play hard mentality. There’s so much to enjoy in the Okanagan and so many great people to enjoy it with.

What do you do for fun? In the winter you’ll find me on the slopes and enjoying some of the Okanagan’s great culinary and craft beer creations!  Summer is all about embracing the outdoors and the natural beauty of the Okanagan: biking, boating, camping, and more.

What Winnie the Pooh character do you most relate to? Tigger! I tend to walk with a bounce in my step and full of energy.

Latest movie or book: I’ve been binge watching Sons of Anarchy.  I’m a little behind in the series but finally catching up to everyone else.

What’s your go-to happy place? Big White! On a champagne powder day you’ll find me on my snowboard riding through the Enchanted Forest and Thunder Glades.

Charmaine Scherck
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 16 - Got the Edge

Name: Charmaine Scherck

Employer: The Mortgage Centre

City: Vernon

Occupation: Owner and mortgage broker

Tell us about your job: I have been in the mortgage industry for more than 27 years. I started my career with Scotiabank in 1990 but left in 2003 to advance my career as a mortgage broker and focus on what I love, which was helping people fulfill their dream of home ownership. I purchased into the Mortgage Centre franchise almost eight years ago and am so grateful to be where I am today as a business owner.

I truly love my job and love the people I get to work with each and every day. My success today is built on integrity, hard work, building long-term relationships with my amazing clients and referrals.

Tell us about yourself: I am a mother of a beautiful 19-year-old girl Hannah and my son Jordan, who is almost 17. I am so blessed to have the career I have today which I love so much. I enjoy running my own business and being my own boss, it has allowed me freedom to enjoy life, as I believe in a happy well balanced life style.

What do you do for fun? I love to hike and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us in nature. I also love to travel and experience new cultures. I love adventure and meeting new people and enjoy dining out.

What Winnie the Pooh character do you most relate to? Kanga. She was kind-hearted, calm and patient. She kept things organized and was protective of Roo. She had a great sense of humour and used kind words.

Latest movie or book: The Five Love Languages. It’s a book based on discovering another’s love language and how people express love to one other. A great book to read in all relationships of life.

What’s your go-to happy place? Definitely my home, my kids and my friends. I love the peacefulness and calmness of my home. I always love and enjoy going home to see my kids after a day of work and my friends always put a smile on my face.

Brad Perepolkin
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 13 - Got the Edge

Name: Brad Perepolkin

Employer: White House Mortgages Dominion Lending Centre

City: Vernon

Occupation: Mortgage broker

Tell us about your job: There are generally two ways to get a mortgage in Canada: From a bank or from a licensed mortgage professional.

While a bank only offers the products from their particular institution, licensed mortgage professionals send millions of dollars in mortgage business each year to Canada’s largest banks, credit unions, trust companies, and financial institutions; offering their clients more choice, and access to hundreds of mortgage products.

As a result, clients benefit from the trust, confidence, and security of knowing the are getting the best mortgage for their needs.

Tell us about yourself: I moved to Vernon in 1993 and have been registered as a Mortgage Broker for 16 years.

What do you do for fun? Some of the things I like to do are boating, dirt biking, skiing, scuba diving, camping, travelling, and hanging out with my dog.

What Winnie the Pooh character do you most relate to? Christopher Robin

Latest movie or book: Kong: Skull Island

What’s your go-to happy place? A getaway in the Kootenays.

Kamel Abougoush
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 10 - Got the Edge

Name: Kamel Abougoush

Employer:  The Grateful Fed

City: Kelowna

Occupation: Pub owner

Tell us about your job:  It’s a great job in the hospitality industry, serving people and making their visit enjoyable so they will want to come back.

Tell us about yourself: I’ve been in the industry way too long, but I still enjoy most aspects of the business. I graduated from the University of Alberta 1973, and am now married with two children. My son Ryan works with me, but he pretty much runs everything and makes most of the decisions and that makes me happy. I love hockey, skiing, golf, camping, fishing and spending time with great friends.

What do you do for fun? All the above and much more: dinner parties, watching the Okanagan Sun or the Kelowna Rockets.

What Winnie the Pooh character do you most relate to? I am not that deep .

Latest movie or book: I read biographies of musicians, from Paul Anka to Kieth Richards, but mostly love stuff about the Grateful Dead. I’ve been to lots of their concerts.

What’s your go-to happy place?  Being with my family or close friends always cheers me up.
Kim Heizmann
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 06 - Got the Edge

Image: Contributed

Name: Kim Heizmann

Employer: Century 21 Executives Realty

Occupation: Realtor

Tell us about your job: I help people buy and sell homes, guide them through the process, try to make it as stress-free as possible, and make the whole thing a fun process.

Tell us about yourself: I’ve been married for 25 years, and a realtor for the last 10. I also have two grown boys who are 23 and 24.

I Found my passion when I started in real estate. I strive to be professional on a constant basis; respect my follow colleagues locally and nationally; always educate myself to stay on top of the latest trends, real estate tips and professional services to offer my clients.

I love our community and enjoy participating and supporting community events and fundraisers.

What do you do for fun? I hang out with friends, family, travel, and scuba dive.

What Winnie the Pooh character do you most relate to? Tigger, although I don’t like to bounce on anyone or become overconfident. My assistant says I’m a mix of Owl and Tigger, though.

Latest movie or book? Movie: Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It’s very corny with some funny parts, but not as good as the first one.

The book I can’t mention because it’s x-rated… I’m kidding! I don’t read a lot as I don’t have a lot of time to sit still.

What’s your go-to happy place? The beach, under the ocean, travelling the world with my hubby, or anything where there is water nearby.

Conan Ackert
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 04 - Got the Edge

Name: Conan Ackert

What business or organization are you involved with? Total Restoration Services Inc.

What is your role with that organization? As an owner and manager of the North Okanagan/Shuswap branch I help provide property damage expert advise to homeowners and business owners that have experienced water, sewer or fire damage to their property.

What’s your favorite thing about living in the Okanagan? Enjoying this great place with our family.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Jimmy Fallon, because I would believe there would be a lot of laughing going on.

What is your go-to happy place? On the floor with my kids jump attacking me.

What are you most proud of? My brother. He experienced a high-level spinal cord injury 11 years ago and has been an inspiration to me and my family.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? Spending as much time playing like a kid with my kids; a trip to Europe cycling with my wife; snowboarding in Japan.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Maybe not the weirdest but most frequent – Chicken liver at one of our great local Greek restaurants.

Latest book or movie? Moana, and it was awesome!

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My two kids.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? With friends and family, maybe kicking a soccer ball around or something else outside, and for sure laughing.

Daniel and Ana Gutierrez
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 02 - Got the Edge

Name: Daniel and Ana Gutierrez

What business or organization are you involved with? Mr. & Mrs. G Cleaning Services

What is your role with that organization? Owner/operators

What’s your favorite thing about living in the Okanagan? We would have to say the tranquility and beautiful and breathtaking views of The Valley.

Coming from a country like Colombia we really missed the mountains, therefore we decided to move to this beautiful area of Canada.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? It would have to be our whole family. Our families are dispersed around Canada and our parents have retired back to Colombia. So we would love to have our family all together.

What’s your go-to happy place? Anywhere where we can be together alone. We usually are surrounded by people, but we are so happy when we can just talk the two of us.

What are you most proud of? We are very proud of our parents, who left their good life in Colombia to come to Canada to give us better lives. Colombia was a very dangerous place and they left many material things and came to live a humble life. We are so proud of them!

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Visit Australia;

2. Run a full marathon;

3. Visit Everest!

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? It definitely has to be the scorpions and bugs at the Beijing night market.

Latest movie or book: The Golden Son

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Being able to be married to each other!

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Having a nice warm breakfast in bed and then going for a nice walk by
the water with our dog – and then enjoying good sushi. As long as we spend it together, it is always the best day!

Krista Berrigan
Okanagan Edge Staff - Sep 27 - Got the Edge

Image: Contributed

Name: Krista Berrigan.

What business or organization are you involved with? Co-owner of Rifle Caddy Ltd. and Leto-apparel.com.

What is your role with that organization? VP and co-founder.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The lake, Big White, the weather and the wine.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Kevin O’Leary. I admire his strength and tenacity.

What’s your go-to happy place? The Okanagan Lake on the boat.

What are you most proud of? My three amazing daughters.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? To play Cello, to learn Spanish and to learn the way of the sword.

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

Latest movie or book? Wind River?

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

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? On the lake with my partner, girls and dog.

All Got the Edge Stories