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Fall 2012 Edition


“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” — Aristotle Welcome to the inaugural edition of Profiles of Excellence, a very special publication of the Kamloops Daily News. The women and men profiled in these pages come from a wide variety of backgrounds, education, experience and expertise. What they all share is what Aristotle describes in the quote above: a commitment to excellence – an attribute that is not born, but bred in training and repetition, in years of service to their profession and to their community. The awards these business leaders have earned are hallmarks of excellence, but the most important mark of excellence is the respect and loyalty of their customers. As you will discover in these pages, Kamloops is a community steeped in excellence in a great many fields. We are very proud to present these Profiles of Excellence and look forward to many more editions in the years to come. Tim Shoults Publisher, Kamloops Daily News

Fall 2012 Edition


Inside Hough Brothers ......................................................... 3 Glover’s Medicine Centre Pharmacy......................... 5 Thompson Rivers University .................................... 7 Kamloops Harley-Davidson ...................................... 9 Dr. Michael Hansford . ............................................. 11 Best Western Plus, Kamloops.................................. 13 CSC Electric .............................................................. 15 Portfolio Interiors . ................................................... 17 Excel Personnel ....................................................... 19 Harper’s Trail ............................................................ 21 Urban Systems ........................................................ 23 Canadian Tire ........................................................... 25 Dr. Preety Desai ....................................................... 27 Berwick on the Park ................................................. 29 Chahal Priddle LLP .................................................. 31 KMS Tools................................................................. 33 Rapid Cool Mechanical ........................................... 35

Stories by Robert Koopmans Photography by Kelly Funk Design by Jennifer Poohachoff

Director of Advertising: Kevin Dergez Director of Creative Services: Jacqueline Davidson Manager, Specialty Publications: Keshav Sharma



The Hough Brothers I

t took Tyrel and Torrey Hough a couple of years to convince people they were more than kids doing grown-up work. Seven years after they started selling real estate in Kamloops, however, few will doubt their credentials. The brothers — now 27 and 31 years old respectively — have sold more than 200 homes, with no end in sight. “When we first started, people were like, ‘Who are these baby-faced kids? What are they doing in this business?’” says Tyrel. “We had a hard time explaining to someone with kids older than we were how we could sell their house.”

Those days are history, and the Re/Max duo is now in Kamloops’s top 10 per cent of realtors for overall sales volume. They credit their success to three key things — an aggressive marketing plan, a passion for service and a desire to help people realize their dreams in what usually amounts to the biggest purchase of their lives. “I get shivers just thinking about it,” he says.

Torrey is quick to add one more factor critical to their success — the support of a devoted mother who instilled in both her sons discipline and a strong work ethic.

“We still seek advice from her,” Tyrel quickly adds, almost seamlessly finishing his brother’s train of thought. “We filter a lot through her.” That sense of two-working-as-one can’t be missed. The two brothers, with their constant smiles and upbeat attitude, continually exchange thoughts and complete sentences for each other as they discuss their business. They may not be twins, but they seem close to it. Torrey is quick to acknowledge good teamwork is a critical part of their business advantage. Clients get twice the service, as the brothers make sure one of

them is always available to field calls and deal with the sales process.

Both concede the real estate marketplace in Kamloops is competitive, with more than 300 realtors seeking buyers and sellers, in a market not as strong as it once was. To ensure they offer their clients value, the Hough team is always on the hunt for new and better marketing approaches, better ways to get a house noticed. Both agree there is a key “honeymoon phase” when a property is first listed that sees the listing get a lot of early attention. If the house is properly priced and prepared, a quick sale is extremely possible, even in a tough market. Houses that are priced too high or not ready for sale will linger, and be caught “chasing the market.”

“We have established a strong marketing platform, and we are always evolving that program. It has been proven to work.”

To capitalize on that honeymoon phase, the Hough brothers take a number of preparatory steps with new listings. Homes are professionally photographed; the days of Tyrel snapping pics himself are over. As well, the brothers hire a home inspector and if needed, a staging expert, to make sure a house is in prime show condition the instant a listing goes live. “The preparation is key,” Tyrel says.

The team also maximizes online visibility by optimizing keywords so listings are more easily found by search engines. Such optimization often puts a listing on the first page of a search for Kamloops properties.

For the brothers, there is no such thing as putting up a For Sale sign and waiting for the phone to ring.

258 Seymour Street Kamloops, BC 250.374.3331 Torrey: 250.320.4833 Tyrel: 250.819.4833

“It’s important to aggressively market and differentiate a listing,” Torrey agreed. “We have established a strong marketing platform, and we are always evolving that program. It has been proven to work.”

PHOTO: Tyrel and Torrey Hough. Right, the Hough brothers with their mother Trudy.





Glover’s Medicine Centre Pharmacy H

elping people improve the quality of their lives is Aaron Glover’s most important goal.

The owner of Glover’s Medicine Centre Pharmacy in Sahali says being able to create the right medication for individuals — medicines they might not be able to get at chain or big-box retail pharmacies — is hugely rewarding.

of less popular medications. Changes to generic drug pricing schemes have reduced the profitability of some drugs to the point big manufacturers don’t make the same quantities.

“It’s about making someone feel better, giving them the ability to enjoy life more. I enjoy going to work.”

As well, chain or big-box pharmacies often don’t carry the less popular medications, and have no ability to concoct something special as needed. Those pharmacists dispense manufactured drugs and medications only.

Glover opened his store in 2005, after several years working at other local pharmacies. He has always wanted to run his own pharmacy, and has worked towards that goal since his graduation from UBC in 1997.

Glover says another key focus for his store is customer service and education. It’s important for him to know his customers truly understand what they are taking, why they are taking it and how to take a medication properly.

As a compounding pharmacist, Glover says he is able to manufacture unique preparations, suspensions, capsules, liquids, injectable medications and creams, all from scratch.

He says he gets to know his customers personally.

The ability to customise medicines, antibiotics and other drugs gives him unique ability to help those who most need it.

Many times, doctors (and veterinarians — Glover’s lab also prepares medications for animals and vet clinics) call him with inquiries or prescriptions for medicines that requires unique amounts of specific drugs, or a special means of delivery.

“We take the raw ingredient and make up something from them,” he said, adding compounding is only required when drugs do not exist in ready-made form already.

“It’s about personal service. Everyone can say that, but 90 per cent of my customers, I know by name. I don’t think most pharmacists can say that.”

“It’s about personal service. Everyone can say that, but 90 per cent of my customers, I know by name. I don’t think most pharmacists can say that. We give personal service that is unmatched. If there is a problem we fix it. It’s all about service.” Glover says he is proud to live and work in Kamloops, and has long believed in the importance of community. “A big part of my business is giving back to the community,” he said, adding he sponsors many teams and events, with new ones being added all the time. “I do a ton of community stuff. I support the community, the community supports me.”

10-1380 Summit Drive Kamloops, BC 250.851.3131

“We don’t reproduce something already out there,” he says.

Such service is important these days as more drug companies curtail production

PHOTO: Aaron Glover, owner of Glover’s Medicine Centre Pharmacy.





Thompson Rivers University T

hompson Rivers University knows educational excellence is not stumbled across by luck.

That’s why the university has developed a specific action-oriented Academic Plan to ensure TRU is recognized across B.C., Canada and around the world for what it is — a first-rate institution offering high-quality education in a wide variety of programs. Dr. Ulrich Scheck, TRU’s Provost and Vice-President Academic, says the plan is based on three critical pillars that capitalize on TRU’s skills and people.

First, TRU is determined to provide a top-quality undergraduate educational experience in “face-to-face” learning situations. Undergraduate and graduate programs, trades, and career education, are a cornerstone for TRU, Scheck says. Providing important foundational learning opportunities for students will always be a priority.

Next, Scheck says TRU will continue to develop its ability to provide education in non-traditional ways, including Opening Learning platforms that take advantage of online technology and distance learning to deliver flexible classes. Also important, TRU will seek out opportunities to deliver international educational opportunities, and continue to strive to set a “gold standard” for service to international and domestic students who choose to study here, he says. TRU is unique to post-secondary institutions in many ways, Ulrich says. Few schools offer as diverse a range of study opportunities as TRU.

“We have everything from a Faculty of Law to a School of Trades and Technology on the same campus,” he said. “We offer university preparation courses and open and distance learning. We are envied for the fact we have such a

strong international arm in TRU World. We are kind of a model for how to build an international education program and are known for providing excellent service to students.” Scheck says he considers this third pillar of TRU’s overall plan especially exciting, as students have long said they value the opportunity to study abroad as part of their educational experience. To that end, TRU is looking at ways to create even better partnerships with overseas universities beyond simple exchange programs. The TRU Academic Plan envisions the creation of true partnerships with other schools leading to dual and joint degrees. For example, a four-year program might include one year of study at a foreign university, leading to a degree in the name of both institutions. Such a degree will make TRU grads more competitive in what is increasingly a global environment.

“Our biggest strength is that we have people who share the vision, and that we continue to build the infrastructure that will allow us to develop these innovative approaches.”

“We will be leaders in (educational) innovation and excellence, leading to truly global perspectives as education outcomes,” says Scheck. “We want to increase our profile as a destination university in Canada.” Other initiatives will include the development of an accelerated BA program that will allow motivated (and hard-working) students an opportunity to obtain undergraduate degrees in three years instead of four, by studying through the summer and through Open Learning. TRU’s academic vision is more than just an on-the-shelf plan, he adds. The plan envisions action on many key components in five years or less. Ulrich says he expects TRU will have its first international dual- or joint-program agreement in place in less than five years, with more to follow.

900 McGill Road Kamloops, BC 250.828.3000 fax 250.371.5960

PHOTO: Asst. professor Dr. Bruno Cinel talks with student Alexa Manuel. Right, TRU’s Brown Family House of Learning. 7




Kamloops Harley-Davidson H

arley-Davidson is more than a motorcycle, it’s a way of life.

And increasingly, it’s becoming a digital lifestyle as well. Harley owners, long known for their strong sense of on-theroad connection with other riders, also connect with each other online, says Kevin Chow, the marketing manager for Kamloops Harley-Davidson.

It’s one of the things that sets the Kamloops dealer apart from other dealers, Chow says. For the past couple of years, the dealership has used the Internet and social media to reach out to, find and service customers.

“(Buyers) do their research on the Internet, and many leads come in through email or by phone. So many people are shopping on the Internet now; everyone is doing their research on the net. It’s not uncommon for many of our customers to know more about small specifications on our products than we do,” he says jokingly. “They know what they want. They are looking for something special.”

Chow says he also uses online classified sites like Craigslist and AutoTrader as well as social media sites like Facebook to buy and sell bikes to riders. The evergrowing importance of digital marketing makes the local effort more important — and more successful — as time passes.

Kamloops Harley-Davidson has been serving Interior riders since 1977, long before the Internet emerged on the scene as a powerful communication force. The store has had numerous locations in Kamloops, but now sits at 1465 Ironmask Road, in a recently expanded showroom and service facility. The dealer stocks more than 100 new and used bikes at any given time, and sells more than 500 bikes a year. That’s an impressive number considering the average Harley these days costs around

$20,000, with some pushing $40,000.

There are 27 staff at the Kamloops dealer, many of whom have worked at the store or in the shop for years. With employee continuity comes better customer service, Chow says. It’s no coincidence buyers come a long ways to purchase their bike at the Kamloops dealer. The local shop has a reputation for knowledgeable customer service and this fact has spread widely through the Harley community. “Staff longevity often means that they are enjoying their job. If you have lots of turnover, it may mean that people do not like their job. Harleys are a great product but you need great customer service to keep your customers.” Since Kamloops Harley-Davidson specializes only in motorcycles, training for employees becomes more focused. “When you carry quads, snowmobiles and watercraft in one business, you can easily lose that core customer you’ve worked so hard to keep,” Chow says.

Kamloops Harley-Davidson is also committed to giving back to the community, giving more than $50,000 a year to charity through donations or sponsorship of groups and special events, he adds. Another area the Kamloops dealer is extending its presence into is the motorcycle rental market with EagleRider Rentals. The dealership has a fleet of rental bikes available to people for testing or just pure enjoyment. Some people want to spend a day or two with a bike before they spend $25,000, Chow says. Renting a Harley-Davidson for several hours gives people a better feel than what can be experienced in a onehour test ride. The rental program is also popular with tourists from all over the world who come here to tour B.C.’s spectacular wilderness highways.

“Owning a HarleyDavidson is not just buying any bike, you’re buying into a strong line of motorcycles that have been around since 1903. There is a powerful, intangible feeling of ownership, of being accepted into a group of motorcyclists larger than no other.”

1465 Iron Mask Road Kamloops, BC 250.828.0622 KamloopsHarleyDavidson

PHOTO: Harley-Davidson marketing manager Kevin Chow. Right, social media sales are taking off these days.





Dr. Michael Hansford D

r. Michael Hansford is determined to change people’s minds about visiting the dentist. Too many people remain convinced dentists must be avoided, that a trip to the dentist’s office will inevitably be a painful and traumatic journey, he says.

It doesn’t need to be. As evidence of how far dentistry has come, he offers up what he calls the “teeth-in-a-day” program, an amazing concept that’s well past what many people believe is possible with tooth replacement.

For those who need new teeth, either because of age, accident, disease or decay, getting false teeth or implants has long been an arduous process. Now, however, people can get new teeth — including pulling of old teeth and installation of implants — in a single visit. As well, the process of getting it done is painless — both physically and emotionally — thanks to intravenous sedation that leaves most people with little or no memory of the procedure. Hansford says he is able to offer this kind of patient care because of the investment in state-of-the-art technology he has made in his Valleyview clinic. He has a CT scanner, for example, a critical piece of equipment needed for implant surgery. A CT scanner creates a three-dimensional view of jaw and teeth, which allows Hansford to accurately assess bone structure for proper implant placement. In the past, people had to go elsewhere to get a CT scan, which added time and expense to the process. Hansford says he is able to make CT scans as needed — in the midst of a surgery even. “It’s invaluable to have these tools,” he says. “This is all about convenience, and treating patients comprehensively, to strive for the best level of care possible.”

meaning people who need a crown installed on a needy tooth no longer have to live two or more weeks with a temporary crown. They come in and leave 90 minutes later with a permanent crown, custom made on site.

All of the examination and procedure rooms in his clinic are fitted with the latest in computer display and diagnostic equipment. The chairs are stylish and designed to maximize patient comfort. There are in-ceiling displays to occupy patient attention. A glass-and-rock wall, complete with waterfall, greet people when they come in. Leather seats in the waiting area are big and comfortable. The clinic looks and feels more like a luxury spa than a dentist’s office.

And for those who truly do not like going to the dentist, there is sedation. The intravenous system is a huge boon to those who are truly frightened of being in the dentist’s chair. Hansford pointed out sedation is not the same as being put under. This is known as “conscious sedation,” although most people have no memory of being worked on when it is over. He has sedated more than 2,500 people, and many have nothing but glowing praise for the experience.

Some patients come to the clinic and get all their dental work done at once — from cleaning to crowns — while sedated, he says. They leave after an appointment with a new mouth and no bad memories. Giving people a new kind of experience in the dentist’s chair gives him tremendous satisfaction, he added.

“I realized one day I needed to relearn what it means to be a dentist, I had to learn to better meet people’s expectations. Patients were coming to see me, and they expected the best. We treat people well.”

65 - 1967 E.Trans Canada Hwy Kamloops, BC 250.374.2615

“I’m proud of what we can offer. I enjoy the process and the lasting relationships being created with patients, and I enjoy generating new relationships.”

Other technological improvements in his office include a crown milling machine,

PHOTO: Dr. Michael Hansford in his Valleyview clinic.





Kamloops Best Western Plus W

hen they broke ground for the Kamloops Best Western Plus hotel in November 2008 and opened in March 2010, owner John Hampel and general manager Tim Rodgers had a simple goal — build an affordable three-star hotel that felt like a four-star. More than two years later, Rodgers is certain they succeeded. The 80-room, four-storey Columbia Street hotel offers amenities found only in more expensive lodgings. Things like radiant heating in tiled floors and granite-topped counters, cabinetry and tables in every room.

And the ratings from his guests supports his belief. The hotel is consistently highly rated by consumer-based web sites like, which allows guests to leave comments about their experiences in hotels they visit.

Rodgers says the Kamloops Best Western just this year received a tripadvisor. com Excellence Award, based on the cumulative ratings of guests. As well, the hotel won the 2011 Kamloops Chamber of Commerce Hospitality award, and is nominated in this year’s Chamber awards in the Green Business category. “We didn’t just want to be just another mid-market (hotel) brand,” says Rogers. “Our standards are anything but.”

In fact, the only thing keeping the Best Western from having a four-star rating is the lack of an on-site restaurant and bar. If the establishment had those, it would fall in the highest ranks of Kamloops lodgings. Rodgers says the decision to build a new hotel was made by the Hampels, who have been involved in the Kamloops hospitality industry for decades. The family owned the Sagebrush Motel, the Best Western’s predecessor, in the same location. It was torn down in 2008 to allow for the new construction.

allowed them to build to the highest quality possible. The hotel uses 40 per cent less electricity and natural gas than other hotels as a result. Other key “green” features are the indoor saltwater pool and hot tub (saltwater uses significantly less chemicals) and the ozone-based room cleaning systems that require no harsh chemicals. Internal tests prove rooms cleaned with the new eco-friendly system are cleaner than those cleaned by traditional chemicals. But more important than the physical accoutrements is the real key to the hotel’s success, says Rodgers — its customer service. Just as building from scratch allowed for high-end construction, it also allowed the owners to build better customer service systems.

“We have excellent staff. They are caring, and willing to try to accommodate any request.”

“We want people to come here and have it feel like a home away from home. It gets down to the staff,” he says. “The staff want to (provide good service), you just have to empower them.” As an example, Rodgers tells of one outof-town couple that stayed at the hotel recently. The husband was recovering from eye surgery and needed complete room blackness, as well as almost constant care from his wife. The hotel upgraded the couple to a 660 Columbia Street West suite to give them more space. More Kamloops, BC importantly, however, Rodgers says the 1.877.302.7878 staff took it upon themselves to shop for food for the couple so the wife did not need to leave her husband’s side. Rodgers says he is also proud of the hotel’s citizenship. The Best Western believes in giving back to the community, and sponsors many events in Kamloops. The hotel is also working on a new program, he added, that will allow employees to volunteer their time at agencies in Kamloops while being paid their wages.

Rodgers says building from scratch PHOTO: Best Western Plus general manager Tim Rodgers. Right, one of the hotel’s well-appointed rooms.




CSC Electric W

hen it comes to working with highvoltage electricity, there are no second chances. As a result, Clayton Scott has built a company that prides itself on doing things right the first time, to ensure that his workers and clients get the kind of safe experience and quality service they deserve.

CSC Electric has been in operation in Kamloops for more than 11 years. Scott’s company now works almost exclusively for the mining industry. New Gold Inc. is a big client and most recently, the Huldra Silver mine near Craigmont in the lower Nicola has come on board. Scott became an electrician later in life, after several years in the military and a stint as a long-haul driver. He decided to go back to school at 30 years old, and attended the electrical trades program at Thompson Rivers University. He got his ticket in 1995.

Scott says he was lucky to have had the tutelage of a first-rate journeyman electrician, who “taught him everything.” He worked for a private company starting out earning $8 an hour, then decided to go into business himself. Scott now employs nearly 50 electricians and works primarily on high-end industrial jobs, like mines.

At New Gold, CSC Electric ran 14 kilometres of high-voltage industrialgrade electrical cable tray, installed high-intensity interior lighting, and the perimeter grounding. The work continues with ongoing maintenance.

As a result, Scott says he finds businesses seeking out his services, not the other way around. He turns away a great deal of work these days and is happy to focus his company’s efforts in servicing the Interior’s ever-growing mining industry. “The new (silver) mine, they came after us,” he said, acknowledging his reputation gives him a great competitive advantage. Scott is extremely selective in hiring his electricians, looking for individuals with the right personalities as much as the right credentials.

“We always do quality work and we stand by that. We strive to set a very high standard.”

“We always have. I have turned down some impressive resumes because they didn’t fit. You have to fit in the family,” he said. “We know all their names, there is still a small business feel here. It still has a nice feel. People like to work here.” Scott is also active in the community. He spoke last year at the aboriginal trade forum in Kamloops, and is fast becoming a recognized business leader in the First Nations community. Last year, he won the B.C. Aboriginal Business Award, as well as a similar Kamloops Chamber of Commerce award, and will serve as a judge for this year’s awards. CSC Electric also sponsors many community events, from sports teams and tournaments to the Kamloops Powwow and Project X Theatre.

6 - 452 Dene Drive Kamloops, BC 250.851.6225

“It’s important to give back.”

Scott says he prides himself on quality of workmanship.

“We always do quality work and we stand by that,” he says. “We strive to set a very high standard.”

PHOTO: Clayton Scott at the New Gold mine site.





Portfolio Interiors E

thical furniture? You bet, and Portfolio Interiors in Kamloops considers it a specialty.

store can be customised. Buyers can order the colours, fabrics, wood finishes and the density of cushion foam.

In the world of home decor and furniture, there are manufacturers that pay more attention to issues like environmental sustainability, recycling and employee health and safety than others.

To make sure people get what they need, Portfolio Interiors has consulting staff to help choose what is best for individual living spaces. Typically, it takes four to six weeks for a piece of furniture to be built, assembled and delivered to Kamloops.

Portfolio Interiors, owned by Dan Pan and managed by Kathy Underwood, is always looking for those companies; manufacturers that make furniture with more than profit in mind.

The Battle Street store, formerly known as Black and White Decor, has been open almost two years. Pan and Underwood say the store changed names recently to better reflect its maturing character, including the fact the store sells a lot more than just black and white; there is a great deal of colour to be found at Portfolio Interiors. The store has made many improvements in two years and the time had come to have a name that reflected the growth. “We want a name that reflects what we are now, a name that will carry us into the future,” says Underwood. “Portfolio Interiors does that.”

The new name aside, the store’s key mission remains the same — provide Kamloops high-quality, custom furniture across a wide range of prices. The store deals almost exclusively with Canadian manufacturers, as their experience has found that Canadian companies build top-notch furniture.

The team visits factories and warehouses before agreeing to sell a line, in order to ensure standards meet expectations. Doing so also ensures a manufacturer is able to back up its products with service.

Another key aspect of Portfolio Interior’s selection of furniture lines in the ability for customers to choose their own fabrics and finishes. Almost every piece in the

“We’re not a big box store. You get what you want, what you need. Customer service is number one. We want people to know they don’t have to drive to Vancouver or Kelowna to get custom furniture.” In order to back up the claim, the store recently closed up for a day and took the staff on a trip to Kelowna to check out what is available there. They came away from the research junket knowing Kamloops is well served by what Portfolio Interiors has to offer. “We have all the same suppliers. You don’t have to go to a bigger (centre) to get what you need,” Underwood says. “It’s all about knowing what the customer needs, not just what is on sale that day.

“We didn’t have a rule book on furniture stores when we opened, so we built (a store) on how we want to shop. We didn’t build it based on the typical retail model. We operate based on how we want to be treated, and what we want to see in a store in Kamloops.”

“We are always looking for different price levels. We have something for everybody, we have sofas that can fit every budget. We are not just $5,000 sofas. We have one on the floor right now for $700.” Underwood said Portfolio Interiors is a store that reflects the passions, values and personalities of those who work there. The approach they take to the business is different than the typical retail furniture model. “We want happy customers who will come back. People know what is important to them when they are shopping,” Underwood says.

1216 Battle Street Kamloops, BC 250.372.5045

PHOTO: Clockwise from bottom left, Eve MacDonald, Stevee Belli, Dan Pan and Kathy Underwood, of Portfolio Interiors.





Excel Personnel A

passion for people — for bringing individuals together with companies that need their expertise and abilities — drives Karen Watt.

For more than 20 years, the Kamloopsbased executive has operated Excel Personnel, an employment-recruiting firm that serves all of B.C. In May 2011, Excel expanded with branch offices in Prince George and Kelowna. Increasingly, however, Watt finds her services in demand from further afield, with clients now coming from across Western Canada. The demand for her services is testament to her approach to business, one that puts clients first. “We are not just about putting a warm body into a position, just to get the fee. We make sure it is a good fit the first time,” she says.

That means she considers the needs of job seekers as well. In Watt’s world, the perfect scenario is one that sees highly qualified people matched up with the employers and the jobs of their dreams, to the betterment of both parties. “We have the passion to place people in the right fit,” she says.

Watt came to Kamloops in 1987 and started her business in 1992, after being downsized from a corporate job. She saw an opportunity to help others in similar position to her, those who had lost jobs as part of restructuring. They were lean times to start. Watt says she started with $30 and soon after needed a $1,000 loan from her mother to cover wages for her first placements. The business grew, however, and today Watt sits atop a wildly successful operation that employs six people. On her desk at any moment are open files equivalent to 25 clients. She has placements on more than 30 job boards, and manages an average of about 75 job searches at any given time.

Scores of people apply.

She and her team look at all the references and interview others as needed, including a person’s co-workers and friends, in order to assess an applicant’s suitability for a given position. “We guarantee (to an employer) the length of service the person will provide. That’s a guarantee we put behind each and every one of our placements, to give value to our placements.” Mining companies represent a growing market for Watt. The firms contract her to find skilled workers who are able to change locations and fill high-paying incamp positions. Watt says much has changed in her industry since she started, including the rapid growth of the Internet. When she started, the electronic typewriter was still the predominant office tool. Today, applicants apply for jobs and are pretested on online platforms.

“My key to success? A passion for people. As well as holding a very high integrity for clients and applicants. We have always led with the highest level of integrity. We can fix a mistake, we can’t fix a lie.”

Social media and electronic tools have changed the way she seeks job applicants, as well as how far afield she can look. In the past, it was difficult to search much past regional boundaries but today’s tools allow her to hunt around the world. What remains most important, however, is maintaining a focus on people, Watt says. Watt says she empowers her staff to make key decisions, and stands behind them when they do. The team firmly sees the importance of building long term relationships with people. Through the years, Watt says she has placed too many workers to count, and many of them continue to work in the same jobs they were hired for years ago. “There have been so many successes. Thousands. Thousands. It gives me goose bumps.”

PHOTO: Karen Watt is flexible, and prepared to do business anywhere.

600 - 235 First Avenue Kamloops, BC 250.374.3853





Harper’s Trail T

here was a moment several years ago when the Colletts’ passion for wine took on new meaning.

Ed and Vicki were sitting on the deck of an Okanagan bed-and-breakfast, looking over a landscape of growing grape vines, when they realized their love of wine required more than just an appreciation for it. They decided Kamloops needed its own winery and vineyard, and Harper’s Trail was born. They found their dream property soon after, a lovely 125-acre spread of riverfront land on the north side of the South Thompson River, and started developing.

Today, Harper’s Trail’s grapevines cover approximately 18 acres, running in a north-south orientation not far from the base of the area’s dramatic silt bluffs. The 2011 harvest produced about 10 tons of grapes, which were handpicked and delivered to an Okanagan facility for pressing and fermentation.

This summer, their winery’s first 7,000 bottles hit store shelves, proving to them and others that Kamloops was, in fact, wine country. Ed believes Harper’s Trail could be the first of many local wineries, and hopes their pioneering will open up a new industry. “People are seeing (Kamloops) as possibly a brand new wine region. Everyone is watching to see how it goes here,” he says.

Ed says there is little room for expansion in B.C.’s Okanagan, the traditional wine region for the province, because land is too expensive. There are many locations in Kamloops suitable for vineyards, however, and now that people see it is possible, he thinks others will follow.

Kamloops excites the Colletts as much as their wine. Both see it as a great way to give back to the community they have loved for years.

In the meantime, however, the Colletts will continue to build their dream, starting with more vines. Next spring the Colletts plan to double the size of the vineyard, with further plans to increase the size again in years to come.

The Colletts take great pride in the fact their wines are made entirely from grapes grown here.

“We want to taste the wines that are produced from our own terroir,” she says.

“People are seeing (Kamloops) as possibly a brand new wine region. Everyone is watching to see how it goes here.”

With time, the pressing, fermentation, bottling and other processes will also move to the Harper’s Trail property, making the site the first fully functioning winery in Kamloops.

They expect the mature vineyards will produce as much as 300 tons of grapes capable of generating 200,000 bottles of wine a year. By then, they hope to have also built a visitor’s centre and wine-tasting facility, allowing people the chance to tour the site and appreciate the first truly local wine.

Ed says the project is more a labour of love than a business opportunity. He relishes the chance to become more involved in making wine — from digging his hands into the property’s lime-rich soil to maturing a quality Riesling — as he considers retirement from his mining equipment business that has brought him so much success.

2720 Shuswap Road Kamloops, BC @HarpersTrail

“There is so much to learn about this,” Vicki agrees. “We love the challenge.”

The idea they might be at the forefront of a new economic opportunity for

PHOTO: Vicki and Ed Collett, in their Kamloops vineyard. Right, bottles from the first vintage.




Urban Systems A

daptability. Resiliency. Integrity. Those terms define Urban Systems’ approach to business and dealing with clients, something that’s helped the privately-held company to thrive over the past 37 years.

Urban Systems provided engineering disciplines that New Gold either didn’t have on site or didn’t have a full-time need for. Today, Urban Systems has staff on site at New Gold two to three days a week.

Urban Systems was born in Kamloops in 1975, through the hard work and cooperation of a small group of engineering professionals. Today, the firm employs more than 300 people in various professional disciplines working out of eight offices in Western Canada. Offering a host of services related to engineering, strategic planning, urban design, and environmental science, the firm has a long-standing history of providing consultation to both private and public sector clients.

“When we’re working with the clients, we tailor an approach,” says Zulinick. “We work with them to figure out what is required. We are in it for what is best for the client. We are not just about scientific approaches.”

Planning consultants Therese Zulinick and Dylan Houlihan, who both work out of the Kamloops office, say the firm has seen a recent surge in work related to the mining and resource sector. “The work we do for the resource sector relates not only to infrastructure development, but also planning for the environmental and social impacts of such development on nearby communities,” says Houlihan.

Locally, Urban Systems has been providing engineering and infrastructure development services to New Gold Inc., the operator of the New Afton Mine near Kamloops. The New Gold project is a great example of Urban Systems’ ability to adapt and provide the kinds of services that larger consulting firms do not, says Zulinick.

Initially, Urban Systems was contracted for only a small project at New Afton Mine, a job many larger firms would have likely considered too small to bother with. Urban’s work on the project, however, impressed New Gold management and additional contracts followed.

Urban Systems’ people-focused approach allows the company to get a better sense of what is required on a project and to define the clients’ goals and objectives. “Our approach is folks helping folks. We deal with our clients as people first,” she says. The engineering consulting industry is a competitive field, and the ability to be resilient has also helped Urban Systems develop as an industry leader. Part of the firm’s resiliency — its ability to weather tough markets and everchanging technological times — stems from its people, many of whom have been with the company for years. Zulinick describes Urban Systems as a “living company,” meaning the firm plans for longevity by thinking of the next generations of employees, not just about profitability in the moment. People are given opportunities to expand their interests and develop new competencies, something that ultimately benefits the company as well as its clients. “Our core competencies still consist of what they were in 1975,” says Zulinick, “but we’ve added in other professions and specialties along the way, allowing us to address clients’ needs from many different perspectives. For example we have developed a strong environmental practice that really complements the more traditional engineering and planning services.”

“Our core competencies still consist of what they were in 1975, but we’ve added in other professions and specialties along the way, allowing us to address clients’ needs from many different perspectives.”

200 - 286 St Paul Street Kamloops, BC 250.374.8311

PHOTO: Jim Faulkner, New Gold’s senior projects engineer, chats with Urban System’s engineer Jarret Grant.




Canadian Tire Kamloops J

ack Juusola doesn’t see retirement on the horizon.

The owner of two Canadian Tires outlets in Kamloops and the store in Salmon Arm, the 67-year-old businessman says he is having too much fun being part of the retail chain’s operations and management to even think about slowing down. “Retailing is a super interesting environment to work in,” he says from his office over top the sales floor of the Hillside Drive store. “It’s always active, there is always something to learn. The days just fly by.”

In addition to running his stores, Juusola is very involved with developing training and recruitment programs and other efforts for staff in the entire chain of 480 stores across Canada. “I have too much fun doing this. I enjoy this,” he says.

Juusola took over the Kamloops stores in 1985, at a time when the economy in Kamloops was near rock bottom, and the stores were losing money. “Nobody else in Canada wanted Kamloops,” Juusola says. “(Canadian Tire) came to me, the youngest newest guy in the chain, and asked if I would take Kamloops on.”

He saw an opportunity in Kamloops despite the gloom, threw himself into it.

“Every time (other Canadian Tire retail opportunities) came up — business opportunities in other cities that were better — I turned them down. By then, I had fallen in love with Kamloops. I knew it would get better. And it did.” Prior to his retail career, Juusola was a chemical engineer with a doctorate. In the mid-1970s, he worked for Inco to build from scratch a multi-million-dollar nickel mine and smelter in the jungles of Guatemala.

When it became apparent the mine could not continue operating because of the economy, Juusola returned to Canada, unsure what the future would hold. On a vacation to Prince Edward Island in 1983, however, he spoke with a former classmate who had just joined Canadian Tire as an owner-operator. It was then he and his wife decided to make a break from Inco and pursue an ownership opportunity with Canadian Tire. In his 27 years in Kamloops, Juusola has renovated and remodeled his stores five times, the most recent being the Aberdeen store two years ago. In fact, Juusola is planning an expansion and complete remerchandising of his North Shore store, which is expected to be finished in the spring.

Over the years, Juusola has been recognized several times for his entrepreneurial efforts. He received the Pace Setter Award from Canadian Tire and the Award for Excellence for Retailing, Customer Service, and Store Presentation for all stores across Canada. Juusola has also been actively involved in the community over the years, and he received the very first Community Involvement Award presented by Canadian Tire Corporation. Juusola was a member of the Canadian Tire board of directors for Jumpstart Charities for 18 years, Canadian Tire’s charitable organization that helps families and local kids in need to participate in sports and recreational activities. The charity has helped out more than 1,100 kids in Kamloops.

Above all else, Juusola believes in empowering his people to help others and themselves. He says his stores have launched many employees on productive careers over the years, including six who have become Canadian Tire store owners.

PHOTO: Jack Juusola, at the Aberdeen Canadian Tire.

“Retailing is a great career for a lot of people. The work is challenging, interesting and fastpaced. Opportunity within my stores, or others across Canada or the corporation, is huge.”

1441 Hillside Drive Kamloops, BC 250.374.9747





Dr. Preety Desai T

he decor in Dr. Preety Desai’s McGill Road office gives a good hint about the kind of experience the Kamloops periodontist strives to provide her patients. The walls are a vibrant, cheerful green, the leather-bound chairs match the walls and the modern, abstract art ties it all together. Even the computers complement the decor, making the environment feel clean, bright and professional.

It’s all part of a conscious effort to change an image many people have long held, one that suggests a trip to the periodontist is going to be unpleasant.

Historically, periodontists are associated with gum disease, Desai says. Decades ago, people sought the services of the oral health specialists when the state of their gums deteriorated to the point they needed professional help. The work required was often not pleasant. Today, however, the practice of periodontology has changed a great deal. New techniques and technology, combined with advances in sedation, make a spell in Desai’s chair memorable for reasons other than pain. Oral health contributes to overall wellbeing and self-esteem in many ways. It’s been proved that poor dental health contributes to increased rates of heart disease and strokes, related to the presence of bacteria in the mouth. Desai says her lab is equipped with the latest in laser and biostimulation technology after surgery to expedite healing of the mouth. Patients treated by laser recover faster with less pain than those who suffer through older mechanical treatments.

“It’s like magic, you just see new gum.”

Desai says she does far more than just heal sick gums. A substantial part of her practice involves preparing a mouth to

lay the groundwork for other kinds of dental work, including implants, veneers and crowns and bridges.

A dental implant is a titanium screw that replaces the root of the tooth. A false tooth or a denture is fixed to the top of the post. The titanium screw is sunk into the bone, forming the crucial foundation for the false teeth that follow. As well, Desai says she does various procedures in preparation for cosmetic dentistry like veneers. Once again, all dental procedures are better performed on a solid foundation of healthy teeth. And all of the work can be done under sedation, she noted, which is perfect for those who don’t like dental work no matter how high tech and modern it is.

Desai says her work is extremely rewarding. She loves to see people come to her and leave with a new mouth, once again able to enjoy simple things like smiling or eating an apple.

“It was a great experience to work overseas in periodontics as well. It made me realize I love what I do. And it made me realize we live in a damn good city. It reiterated my decision to stay in Kamloops.”

She tells the story of one 65-year-old woman who came to her and wanted implants after years of living with poorly fitted dentures. The change to the woman’s life and sense of well-being after the implants were finished was remarkable.

“She says she never been able to eat an apple because of her dentures and now she can. She can eat corn on the cob and all fruits and vegetables.”

Not long back from a yearlong sabbatical, 101-775 McGill Road Desai says the absence reaffirmed in Kamloops, BC her mind the value of small-city living. 778.471.6001 During her year off, Desai travelled to New Zealand and Australia and worked in periodontal clinics there, gaining new perspective on her chosen field. She just opened a new office in Sahali, replete with “green” technology designed to save energy and water, as well as paper. Much of the office is built with recycled products.

PHOTO: Dr. Preety Desai in her Sahali clinic, designed to be eco-friendly.




Berwick on the Park I

t’s the sound of laughter that convinces Bev Graham that Berwick on the Park Retirement Community is a great place.

“Do you hear that?” she says smiling, as one of the staff laughs loudly from the lobby below the balcony of Berwick’s country kitchen. “That’s Paula. She has a great laugh, everyone knows it. “There is so much life here, people are happy,” Graham continues. “I love coming to work, it’s a really great place to be.”

The attitude of the 85 people who work at Berwick on the Park in Kamloops is central to its success. All who work here have an infectious attitude that is soon picked up by residents and visitors. The positive mood permeates the environment, and is as important and soothing an element as the large saltwater aquarium in Berwick’s lobby. (It too, is very popular, especially with visiting grandkids, says Graham.)

The atmosphere, combined with the spectacular surroundings, excellent food and first-rate services, defined Berwick as “the” retirement community in Kamloops, Graham says. Berwick has been open in Kamloops for 10 years. It’s one of five Berwick-owned retirement communities in B.C., all of them operated by Gordon and Chris Denford, a Victoria-based father and son team. They opened Berwick House in Victoria 23 years ago. A sixth community is scheduled to open in Campbell River in 2014.

There are 120 independent living suites at Berwick and 32 residential care rooms. Just recently, Berwick added their Enhanced Living Program which offers assisted-living care for residents, a service that bridges stages of life. As people age, they may sometimes need just a little extra help. Graham says Berwick wanted to make

sure they offered residents access to things like medication monitoring, bathing assistance, personal laundry, rise and shine and turn down services. The program offers choice, independence, respect, privacy and individuality. The predefined supportive living services are registered through the Office of the Assisted Living Registrar and are designed to make life more comfortable. This extra attention bridges the gap between the independent living suites and the 32 rooms that are devoted to nursing care. Berwick on the Park residents will always be able to get whatever level of service and care they need.

“I love coming to work, it’s a really great place to be. I love bringing in people to show what we have to offer.”

“We don’t want you to have to leave if your needs change, we want our residents to be able to progress through the stages of their lives naturally,” says Graham. While the environment is paramount, Berwick’s amenities cannot be ignored. The building is luxurious, with large panoramic windows overlooking the North Thompson River. There are wellappointed sitting areas and common areas throughout the building. Especially noteworthy are the outdoor gardens and walking path complete with a running brook, waterfall and pond. Graham says the gardens are always popular. “I love bringing in people to show what we have to offer,” Graham says.

Throughout the conversation, however, Graham is always drawn back to talking about people, both the staff and residents. She knows the residents by name, suggesting working at Berwick is like having “150 extra parents.”

60 Whiteshield Cres. South Kamloops, BC 250.377.7275

The Berwick organization is also wonderful, she adds. The Denfords respect their workers, and recognize and reward effort and achievement. “I love the people we work for. They know it’s their employees who make this a great place for residents.”

PHOTO: Bev Graham, centre, visits with Berwick residents. Right, Berwick’s lovely garden ponds.





Chahal Priddle LLP W

hen it comes to personal injury law, the best lawyers are not the loudest or most aggressive. The best legal counsel are those with expertise in what is a complex and detailed area of the law, the ability to see what is in a client’s best interest and the conviction to act accordingly. Kerri Priddle and Hardeep Chahal have specialized in just such an approach. The Kamloops-based lawyers have been actively building a practice as partners since 2010, with a satellite office in Merritt to better serve the surrounding community.

The two are trial lawyers focused extensively in personal injury litigation. In B.C., that largely amounts to working with people who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. Uniquely, they have chosen to act only for plaintiffs — never defendants — which are almost always insurance companies like ICBC.

Both say the “plaintiff-only” approach is important, as it sends a message to clients that they are able to act fully for them without any possibility of the potential conflicts that can emerge when a law firm acts for both plaintiffs and defendants. “A lot of our clients are pleased that we do not act for defendants,” says Priddle. “We can fight as hard as we need to for our client against the defendant because we are not worried about protecting a contract (with ICBC).”

Chahal says he and Priddle always work in the full interests of the client, including aiding in efforts to seek recovery and healing. Most importantly, however, the firm works to ensure that people who have suffered in a crash are treated fairly by the Crown corporation and receive all the benefits they need or are entitled to in order to get on with their life. “Our client’s job is to get better, our job is to take care of the rest of the process,” says Priddle.

Most people need help after they suffer a serious crash, both with recovery and to work their way through unfamiliar, complex and lengthy legal and insurance processes that follow. People have nothing to gain — and possibly much to lose — by settling too quickly with ICBC or without legal advice, both lawyers agree. Once someone settles with ICBC, there is little lawyers can do after the fact if the settlement proves insufficient. History shows those who proceed with legal advice end up with larger payouts from ICBC than those who do not. Another key reason why it’s important to talk to a lawyer before dealing with ICBC is the possibility matters can be made worse. If there are issues of fault, at times it is best to not proceed with litigation.

“Our duty is to act in the best interest of our client. The consultation process is very important, especially when issues involve questions of liability.”

“Our duty is to act in the best interest of our client. If (someone) will be in a worse position by litigating a matter, we advise on that early on,” says Chahal. “Those kinds of risk assessments are important. The consultation process is very important, especially when issues involve questions of liability.” In addition to personal injury work, both lawyers also practice other areas of law. Chahal practices business law in Kamloops, providing a full range of services to clients including incorporations and corporate reorganizations, asset purchase agreements and subdivisions.

460 Victoria Street Kamloops, BC 250.372.3233

Priddle practises estate planning and administration, including probate and the preparation of wills and powers of attorney. Both act for clients regarding commercial and residential conveyances as well as the preparation of representation agreements, which give people the ability to assign control over personal matters to someone else should they become unable to make their own decisions.

PHOTO: Kerri Priddle and Hardeep Chahal. Right, the law firm’s staff.





KMS Tools I

t’s a toss-up what Rod Tiessen likes better — golf or cars.

Thankfully, KMS Tools allows him to enjoy the best of both worlds. In the store, he is surrounded by tools and others who share his passion for vehicles and restoration, and the retail environment is flexible enough to allow him a few hours a week on the golf course.

Tiessen opened KMS Tools in Kamloops in January 2005. The store is located on Versatile Way, just up from Costco. The 15,000-square-foot store stocks all kinds of tools for both the working professional and the home handyman. There is also KMS C.A.R. Parts (which stands for Custom And Restoration) for the hot rodders and classic car enthusiasts. Tiessen says he originally came on board with KMS Tools in 1986 in Coquitlam, around the time the company was just starting up. After 10 years with KMS he decided he wanted to return to Kamloops, and eventually opened the third KMS outlet here. Since, he has witnessed the chain grow to include nine stores in B.C. and Alberta. He employs 11 people and serves a wide-ranging clientele from across the Interior. “I’m a Norkam grad, I’m from these parts. My first car was a ’57 Chev. We spent a lot of summer nights hanging at the A&W. For us, the timing was great to come back and raise our kids here rather than on the coast. This is a great community.” Tiessen’s store stocks an extensive selection of tools and auto parts, including some specialty tools; for example a car rotisserie — a large turntable like tool that attaches to a vehicle to allow for proper restoration work. This rotisserie will even allow someone to flip the car upside down

in order to work on the undercarriage. Another unique item to KMS is the Saw Stop line of table saws. These saws have a safety feature that will brake immediately and retract into the table if it senses it is about to cut into something it shouldn’t, like a finger. More important than stock, however, is customer service. Tiessen says his staff’s knowledge of parts, tools and techniques is unparalleled. It’s why customers make the drive to the store for a $5 part instead of stopping at the first big-box retailler along the way. Customers make the work enjoyable, Tiessen adds.

“KMS Tools believes in giving back to the community, creating a positive working atmosphere and, above all, providing superior customer service.”

“I am so grateful to the people, the customers. We have some really good loyal customers. Some of them just come (to the store) and hang out.” Tiessen enjoys the opportunity KMS gives him to be part of the community. The store has been a supporter of New Life Mission since opening. “Once a month, we provide the mission with smokies and pop to offer to our customers. They do a great job of cooking and serving and receive all the proceeds from the donations. “We support a number of local events; we have been a title sponsor for Hot Nite in the City and King of the Hill Golf tournament.” Other sponsorships include Men’s night at Eagle Point and Tobiano golf courses. In addition, KMS sponsors an award for the top automotive student at South Kamloops Secondary School.

1780 Versatile Drive Kamloops, BC 250.374.7300

“KMS believes in giving back to the community, creating a positive working atmosphere and, above all, providing superior customer service,” Tiessen said.

PHOTO: Rod Tiessen, in his store, doing what he loves best.





Rapid Cool Mechanical B

oth Steve Warner and James Carr know about working late. The owners of Rapid Cool Mechanical in Kamloops, they are often called out in the middle of the night to fix a broken furnace, water line or a malfunctioning refrigeration unit on a tractor-trailer.

It’s all part of the job, they say, part of what it means to run a community-based customer-oriented business. Customers need help when they need it, not the next day.

“We strive for great customer service with competitive rates and licensed tradesmen,” says Warner. “Our team can be trusted to know their stuff, that’s why we have repeat customers. We are proud of our workmanship and our reputation.” The team at Rapid Cool is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Warner tells of one instance last Christmas when an elderly customer called at 2 a.m. because her furnace was not working, and the house was getting uncomfortably cold. He had the furnace going in short order. “Tthe pilot light had gone out, and it was a quick fix,” he says. Likewise, Carr has had his share of midnight calls, often repairing transport refrigeration units during the bitter cold or extreme heat, when the units are most likely to break down.

“I love my job,” says Carr. “It’s important to have a passion for whatever field you’re in, I feel very fortunate to have picked a trade I enjoy.”

Weyerhaeuser. When he realized his part-time business was earning almost as much as his full-time job, he asked his wife if it was time to become an entrepreneur. She agreed. Warner joined the business in 2005 bringing his expertise in plumbing and mechanical contracting.

While Rapid Cool started largely by servicing the refrigeration and heating needs of the heavy equipment industry, it has expanded to include home and commercial heating and cooling as well as plumbing and gas fitting.

Today, installing and fixing heating and air conditioning systems forms the larger share of the company’s work. Rapid Cool employees 17 plumbers and technicians; they travel throughout the Interior doing installation and repairs. Warner says he loves the challenge the business offers.

“No home or commercial office is the same, meaning problem solving and critical thinking is always needed. I like the uniqueness of our trade, it’s not cookie cutter, every system is not the same, every house is not the same.”

“No home or commercial office is the same, meaning problem solving and critical thinking is always needed. I like the uniqueness of our trade, it’s not cookie cutter, every system is not the same, every house is not the same.”

Carr says he believes the company’s success comes from its team of employees. They all believe in perseverance, hard work and commitment to our customers. “We provide excellent service and stand behind our work,” he says.

Carr started Rapid Cool in 1992 as a part-time job while working at

PHOTO: Steve Warner and James Carr, with heating and cooling equipment on the roof of a local business.

765 Notre Dame Drive Kamloops, BC 250.374.6858



Kelly Funk

P “Settle for nothing less than perfection.”

That motto drives Kelly Funk’s photography, as well as his approach to serving clients. Funk has extensive commercial experience and has developed a long client list, from large corporations, advertising and tourism agencies to stock companies. As well, he has hosted many instructional workshops for amateur photographers. A lifelong resident of B.C., Funk’s images have brought him national awards and praise. He is also the ‘Turning Pro’ columnist and feature writer for Outdoor Photography Canada Magazine. Funk now lives and works in Kamloops. His work can be seen at


For inquiries regarding the next edition of Profiles of Excellence, please contact the Kamloops Daily News advertising department at, or by phone at 250-372-2331.

Fall 2012 Edition

Kamloops Profiles of Excellence  

Kamloops is a communitysteeped in excellence in a great many fields. We are very proudto present these Profiles of Excellence and look forwa...

Kamloops Profiles of Excellence  

Kamloops is a communitysteeped in excellence in a great many fields. We are very proudto present these Profiles of Excellence and look forwa...