A man whose long and storied career in forestry brought him to Vernon has been honoured by his industry.
Bob Fleet, who serves as Tolko Industries environment, forestry and energy vice-president, earlier this week received a lifetime achievement award from Forest Products Association of Canada.
Fleet received his accolades during National Forest Week celebrations in Ottawa.
“Bob Fleet’s journey in the forest sector spans decades and numerous provinces,” FPAC president and CEO Derek Nighbor said in a press release. “His remarkable accomplishments, commitment to excellence and visionary leadership have not only propelled his organizations forward but have also contributed to the growth and advancement of the entire sector.
“This award stands as a testament to Bob’s many impressive accomplishments, recognizing his impact and the lasting legacy he leaves behind. As we celebrate his achievements, we also celebrate the power of passion and individual contributions that can shape the course of a sector and inspire generations to come.”
Fleet has been in the industry his entire working life. He graduated with a degree in forestry from the University of Toronto and worked for the Ontario government, Grant Forest Products and then founded BioSynergy Pellets. He joined Tolko in 2011.
“I was so lucky to be able to be part of this great forest industry,” Fleet said. “Working for two different Canadian families we built many, many new mills that helped families prosper, pay for their children’s education and earn living wages. All the while, the forests were managed sustainably, contributing to better forest health and to reducing the negative impacts of climate change.
“I could not have been successful without the support of so many Indigenous friends and colleagues. We are fortunate to have FPAC hold the torch and carry on.”
Penticton’s Jaimie Kidston Law Office has added two new lawyers to its roster.
Lindsey Richardson and Jaicee Payette recently joined the office, which offers services ranging ranging from estate litigation and estate planning, construction and employment disputes to niche areas like equine law.
Richardson was born and raised in the Okanagan, and brings a unique blend of legal expertise and a passion for the region’s wine industry. Richardson developed her skills at Jaimie Kidston Law Office while obtaining her Juris Doctor from Thompson Rivers University. She specializes in civil litigation, personal injury, family law, wills, estates and corporate matters.
Payette, who is also an Okanagan product, returns to the region after completing her Juris Doctor at Thompson Rivers and articling in Vancouver. Payette will specialize in strata and property law, estate litigation, wills and estates and family law.
After a national search for a new executive director, the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra and KSO Music School have appointed Christopher Young as the organization’s top boss.
Young was born in Fort St. John and graduated from the University of Leeds in the U.K. with a master’s degree in music and management.
Young has made governance, management and marketing contributions for regional arts organizations, including Opera North, lEEDS international Piano Competition, Leeds Lieder and Leeds Baroque, according to KSO.
“It is a privilege to step into the role of executive director for the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra and KSO Music School—institutions which hold much importance and opportunity for the community,” he said.
“As a musician and as an audience member, I understand the transformative power of the live music experience, and I am excited to work alongside the KSO’s talented team to cultivate meaningful cultural and artistic experiences for all members of the community.”
KSO said Young’s community contributions also include being a trumpet player and music educator. Young completed his music degree at the University of Alberta and has studied with well-known musicians.
Kamloops Symphony Orchestra president and board chair, John McDonald, said he believes Young’s passion and experience will be vital.
“The board searched locally and nationally for someone with the skills and drive to advance the orchestra and our music school, and deepen their connections with our communities,” McDonald said.
“Chris was our board’s unanimous choice. His energy, relationships with music and musicians, and commitment to diverse programming and audience development are well recognized.”
Young began at the KSO on Monday.
With an annual operating budget of more than $1 million, the KSO is in its 46th year of operation and said it aims to be the premier professional music provider in the B.C. Interior.
Child Advocacy Centre’s executive director is a finalist for a prestigious national business award.
Ginny Becker, who leads the Kelowna centre that helps children impacted by child abuse and neglect, is up for the Social Change Award: Regional Impact honour as part of the 31st annual RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards. The awards are given out by Women of Influence+, an organization dedicated to advancing Canadian women.
The RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards are viewed as the pre-eminent national business awards recognizing the country’s leading female entrepreneurs.
Becker is one of three finalists for the Social Change Award: Regional Impact honour, which is given to a “female entrepreneur who has made a profound and positive impact in their community as an exceptional leader of a registered charity, social enterprise or not-for-profit that is dedicated to their unique brand of social change, at a local or regional level.”
Becker is the Western Canadian finalist.
“It is an absolute honour to be included among this incredible group of change makers from across the country,” Becker said in a press release. “When we work together in pursuit of a greater good, anything is possible. This recognition is a testament to the commitment of our partnership, the dedication of our front line, and the communal strength of all those who stand alongside us in support of survivors.
“United in our vision, we are transforming outcomes for those impacted by child abuse and neglect, one child and family at a time.”
The winners will be announced and celebrated in person at the 31st annual awards gala, on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023 at The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Toronto.
A beloved Penticton businesswoman and brewer is one of three finalists for a 2023 BC Food and Beverage Award and needs votes from the public to make it across the finish line.
Patt Dyck, co-founder and general manager of Cannery Brewing, is a finalist in the leadership award category, which recognizes individuals in the food industry with “dedication, leadership, and inspiration.”
Dyck and her husband, Ron, started Cannery Brewing in 2000 in the early days of Penticton’s craft brewing industry and is described by the awards committee as a “trailblazer for other women in the craft beer industry,” with high standards for inclusivity and diversity.
“Patt is incredibly community minded, and Cannery Brewing helps support so many groups and organizations in Penticton and area,” Cannery marketing director Kim Lawton wrote on social media.
“We need your votes please, to have Patt win this leadership award!”
Voting is open to the public until Sept. 19. Dyck is facing off against fellow finalists Kriston Dean of Purdys Chocolatier and Susan Vann of Konscious Foods.
Find out more, and vote online here.
Wayne Anderson has been named chief administrative officer for the town of Oliver, the top administrative job with the town, and he has a lot to bring to the table.
Anderson has been acting CAO in Oliver since May, filling the vacant position left by Ed Chow, while also working as the town’s chief financial officer. Now Anderson’s positions will be switched. He will be CAO and acting CFO until the town can fill that position.
This is the first time Anderson has officially held the title of CAO, but he has had experience as acting CAO in the past even before stepping into the position earlier this year in Oliver.
He had a five and half year tenure at the City of Merritt as its director of finance and IT immediately prior to coming to Oliver and held the acting CAO position on and off during his time there.
“I was the acting CAO there for a few instances, for example, during the Lytton evacuation in July of 2021,” Anderson said. “I was acting CAO for that. So we were working through the emergency operation.”
Overall Anderson brings 25 years of experience working directly with municipalities or consulting with local government clients while in his former position as director of sales and general manager of Vadim Software based in Kelowna.
All these experiences together prompted Mayor Martin Johansen to say “one of council’s highest priorities is to select a qualified CAO for our community. After a thorough recruitment process, it was clear that Wayne Anderson has the knowledge, experience and proven leadership skills to achieve council’s strategic priorities and continue to advance the Town of Oliver forward.”
Although Anderson has had his fair share of experiences he can bring to this new position, he is not underestimating the learning curve.
“There’s always lots to learn. I’ll be attending the Union of BC Municipalities conference in September with council, and that’s always a good learning experience. You get to meet a lot of industry reps and go into those discussions with council.
“I’ve done that when I was in Merritt as well. I went into discussions with the different ministers and council as well too. So I am kind of familiar with that process, and to get our cases in front of the province,” Anderson explained.
“My history has been a little bit of management as well to sort of more strategic stuff. And that’s kind of what the CAO role is, is working through the council’s strategic priorities, and making sure that staff are executing on those. So being in line with that, policy and bylaws and so forth.”
Anderson has been juggling two of the most important positions in the town for the better part of this summer. Talking about balancing those, Anderson explained that “it’s relying on the team. There’s a good, strong management team here, so delegating a little bit more where I can and especially on the CAO responsibilities and then on the finance side as well too. You know, probably deferring a few things that could wait in that area. But now I do have a backlog, and those need to get worked through. I’m going to be anxious to get a CFO in place to assist with that.”
Anderson explained that on more of a personal note, “one of my earliest jobs in my career was working at BC Tree Fruits as their controller, and it has just kind of come full circle now with that $30 million expansion of the plant here in Oliver.”
The City of Vernon’s point person for communications is moving on.
Christy Poirier, manager of communications and grants, said her last day on the job will be Sept. 28. Poirier has been the city’s lead communications person for the past four years. She and her husband are relocating back to Alberta, where she has accepted a new role.
“My time with the city has been nothing short of incredible,” Poirier wrote in an email to local media. “Over the last four years, we’ve seen a lot of positive change and growth in the community and I am leaving with a lot of gratitude for the things I’ve learned, the things I’ve experienced, and the strong relationships that have been built.”
Poirier says the move is being made for “family reasons.”
A recruitment process for a new manager of communications and grants will begin immediately. In the interim, Josh Winquist will take the lead on media relations.
Thompson-Nicola Regional District didn’t have to look far to find a new general manager for its corporate services division.
In a news release, the TNRD announced Greg Lowis will be joining the regional district as general manager of corporate and legislative services, a role left vacant since former manager Deanna Campbell was hired to be CAO of the municipality of Sun Peaks.
“I’m really looking forward to joining the TNRD and supporting the communities across the region of B.C.’s best,” Lowis said in a statement.
Lowis has served in several roles with the City of Merritt since 2019, including director of corporate services and interim chief administrative officer. According to the TNRD, Lowis brings nearly 15 years of local government experience to the new role.
He was notably the head of Merritt’s emergency operations centre during the November 2021 floods.
Scott Hildebrand, TNRD’s CAO, said the regional district was fortunate to have many excellent candidates for the position and is excited to have Lowis join the team.
“I’m confident that Greg will help us build on positive changes to policies and procedures that we have made as an organization,” he said.
A familiar Vernon communications face has joined the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Richard Rolke is CMHA Vernon’s new manager of fund development and communications.
Rolke was most recently communications and program co-ordinator for the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce and has 28 years of experience in local media.
“We are very excited to have Richard join our team,” CMHA executive director Julia Payson said. “Richard is no stranger to CMHA and has supported many of our campaigns and projects, including as a volunteer member of the capital committee, raising funds for the Foundry.
“Richard is a storyteller and community leader, and he is a wonderful new lead for our communications and fund development work.”
Rolke is currently on the board of directors of the Friends of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park Society and has been active with other non-profit organizations.
“It is a great honour to join the team at CMHA Vernon and support the significant work they do in terms of empowering individuals and families to enhance mental health,” Rolke said. “My goal is to increase community awareness about the importance of mental health and wellness.”
A long-time Okanagan College employee has joined its board of governors.
Cindy Battersby, who retired in 2021 after more than 30 years at the college, is the newest member of the board.
“We’re excited to have someone with such a wide breadth of experience at Okanagan College and in the community join the OC board of governors,” board chair Juliette Cunningham said in a press release.
“Cindy will join our board in guiding the institution’s strategic direction, ensuring its ongoing commitment to providing accessible, high-quality education to students while fostering a supportive and inclusive campus environment.”
Battersby served as a financial awards analyst in the college’s student services department prior to her retirement. She was also the administration vice-president of BC Association of Student Awards Professionals.
Battersby also had a vice-presidential role on the BC General Employees’ Union between 2019 and 2021.