40 under 40
TOP 2014 PRINCE GEORGE
inside The young leaders of Prince George share their stories of success, ambition, and entrepreneurialism.
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Contents Page 3 Changing the Landscape
a message from PG Chamber of Commerce CEO, Christie Ray
Captains of Industry a message from PG Chamber of Commerce President, Derek Dougherty
Prince Georgeâ€™s Top 40 Under 40 Reza Akbari ................................................................. 4 Arvinder Billing ......................................................... 4
Jennifer Brandle McCall ............................................ 5 Tyler Burbee ......................................................... 6 Alex Castley ........................................................ 6
Shiloh Carlson ................................................... 7 Sufey Chen ...................................................... 8 Jacki Collyer .................................................... 8 Allison Fedorkiw .............................................. 9
Taylor Grafton.............................................. 10 Jodyne Green .............................................. 10
Marnie Hamagami ........................................ 11 Travis Holyk ................................................ 12
John Kason .................................................. 12
Chris Kinch ................................................... 13
Cory Klein ...................................................... 14
Andrew Kurjata ................................................. 14
Candice Manahan Coyne ....................................... 15
Jillian Masson ....................................................... 16
Catherine McCarthy ................................................... 16
Joel McKay .................................................................17 Scott McWalter..........................................................18 Jason Morgan.........................................................18 K. Travis Morgan...................................................19 David Mothus.....................................................20 Sabrina Mowbraw-Angus.....................................20 Bryan Paice.....................................................21 Gaurav Parmar.................................................22 Miranda Paterson............................................23 Lauren Phillips...............................................24
Jessica Quinn.................................................24 Mike Ray.......................................................25
Join the Chamber What does the Chamber do?
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Think of the Chamber as a catalyst – a common vehicle through which business, professional, and individual men and women work together for the common good of the community. A better community means better business conditions.
1) Membership Directory & Buyers’ Guide has a distribution number of 2,000 copies and is delivered to all members, hotels & motels (in the rooms) and businesses in Prince George. Complimentary Online interactive version is updated throughout the The Chamber: calendar year. • Works at creating a strong, supportive economic climate. 2) Sponsorship opportunities to profile your business. • Understands that a healthy business community is necessary to 3) Website Opportunities ... check out the great rates, produce all the other benefits we enjoy in Prince George. consider the benefits! • Speaks on behalf of business wherever and whenever needed.
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Networking Opportunities, Information and Services:
• A complete cross-section of businesses, industries and professions in the Chamber’s membership. • A broad membership that includes large corporations, small business, home business, non-profit and charity organizations. • The Chamber also encompasses individual members with no corporate affiliations.
1) Authentication of papers, certificate of origin and other similar materials are provided by the Chamber at minimal cost to members. 2) Resource Centre – The Chamber provides access to directories, listings, trade data, product information and other reference materials. 3) Government Relations & Lobby – The voice of the business community is represented at local, Being a member means… provincial and federal Government levels through the Chamber of Commerce. You have access to all the Chamber benefits: Group Insurance 4) Speaker Series Breakfasts and Luncheons, Plan – Small business can optimize the cost of Insurance Coverage Speednetworking and ‘Business After 5’ networking through the mass purchasing power of the Chamber. Merchants’ events. Visa, MasterCard, Interac, Web page hosting and design, Cellular and Long Distance Discounts, Natural Gas Discounts, Payroll Services, Vehicle Gasoline/Propane/Diesel Discounts, Hotel and Rental Cars discounts and more ...
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Changing the Landscape... These are not just leaders of tomorrow, but also leaders of today. One of my favourite quotes is by a famously successful young leader, Wayne Gretzky. “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.” In Prince George, it feels easy to take shots.
As someone who falls into the “under 40” category, I am lucky to consider this group of amazing individuals to be peers. In a community poised to experience tremendous growth in the near future, these are the people who are changing the landscape. Business, politics, education, culture…young people are coming together to create positive change.
There are great jobs and volunteer opportunities available. Relationship building is high priority across the community – a situation which inadvertently supplies opportunity to all of us who want to enhance our networks. There exist world-class educational facilities and cultural venues minutes from our homes. And our backyards are made up of some of the most stunning natural “playgrounds” in the country for our families to enjoy.
The forty exemplary young community members profiled in this publication are all taking the shots – and they are not missing! They are working together to create a better Prince George. And, in the process, they are recognized as leaders. As a Chamber of Commerce, we strive to grow and change with our leaders. We are not only the place for traditional business, but also the “home” for entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation in business. We want ideas, innovation and leadership…and we want to work with you to achieve great things for Prince George.
Christie Ray, CEO Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Captains of Industry... On behalf of the Chamber and businesses all across Prince George, it is my honour and pleasure to help showcase our city’s new “40 Under 40”. While I am a numbers guy by trade, I can tell you that the positive, multi-faceted contributions made by this group to our local economy and business culture add up. With each person’s story, you will see them raising the bar and effecting change. On the white board at the Chamber, I’ve scribbled down one of my favorite quotes (courtesy of William A. Ward): “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” (It’s still up there, so perhaps others like it, too!) Without exception, each person on the list has grabbed the helm of their ship with unparalleled optimism, while at the same time leveraging their skills to adjust in stormy weather and navigate forward. As for pessimism, “what’s that?” More importantly, these individuals should be recognized for the greater role they have to play in the development of Prince George and
our growing reputation as an amazing place to live, work and play. Each one is a captain of his/her own industry and has chosen to lead by example. While anyone can adopt a glasshalf-full attitude, they remind us that we must actually drive the change we want to see. This applies not only to business in Prince George, but to natural resource development, care of our youth, care of our seniors, downtown revitalization, road conditions…(insert your “beef” here)…and the list goes on. Ultimately, there are lessons contained in each and every story as to how we can all make our own positive contributions to Prince George. As for me, I am glad I made the choice to call this city my home. The business climate is very exciting and the opportunities here for me and my young family are amazing. My sincere thanks to all the past, present and future “40 Under 40” over-achievers who help to keep Prince George moving in the right direction.
Derek Dougherty, President Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Top 40 Under 40
Title: Owner Company: Shiraz Café and Restaurant Age: 30 Persian food is not an ethnic cuisine at the top of most consumers’ thoughts. Chinese, Italian, Thai, East Indian and the like already had strong footholds in Prince George when Reza Akbari felt this was the place to attempt his dream of a commercial Persian kitchen. It worked. Shiraz is now one of the city’s most popular dining spots, and in its first year is already an award winner (Reza won New Entrepreneur of the Year at the Business Excellence Awards). “I believe that I am a true reflection of someone who has experienced success when they started with nothing,” he said. “I came to Canada as an immigrant without the ability to speak English. I pursued my education and business dream in Prince George. I am a product of the postsecondary institutions of Prince George and reflect the diversity of the city.” He admits that “opening the first Iranian (Persian) restaurant in Prince George was not
easy at all.” Part of the challenge was convincing an audience to try an unfamiliar style of food. Part of the challenge was the mundane slate of roadblocks “every new business faces.” This was his first business startup, but he had a Commerce degree from UNBC (working on his Masters) to work with, and he certainly had drive. “I was the top salesman in Canada for Coca Cola,” he reported, proving his abilities to work effectively in the food and beverage industry. “I have been in Prince George for eight years. I always said to myself, if I stay in Prince George, I will bring something new and different to Prince George.” He is especially proud of his family for helping the venture, the community supporters like musicians and poets who perform there, and his staff who knew nothing of Persian food prior to Shiraz but are now pros with an Iranian menu.
Title: Coordinator - Settlement Workers in School Program / President & CEO Company: School District No. 57 / Success International Education Consultants Ltd. & Digitized Office Solutions Age: 37 Helping new Canadians plug into Prince George life also helped Arvinder lock into his chosen home city. He moved to Canada from India in 2002 and has been using his experiences to support new arrivals from everywhere on the globe. He does this via his regular position with School District 57, but he expanded that by opening his own company – Success International Education Consultants Ltd. & Digitized Office Solutions – to deepen the mentorship he can offer a new Canadian. He sees the overall community value to the services and experiences he offers. He lists the related assets as “strong business to business relationship building and intercultural communication skills, experience in managing multi-departmental roles with strong background and understanding of different business functions of finance, operations, human resources and marketing.”
part of the launch of the SD57 program five years ago and saw it through its growing pains before he was named coordinator. He was also involved in the real estate and food services business sectors, as he learned Canadian business culture and social structure. He then turned to entrepreneurship with some key numbers to support his sense of success. When CNC hired his company in 2010 to recruit students from India the college had none. Now there are about 100. “It has been an amazing journey so far and I firmly believe that Prince George is the best place to raise and grow a family,” he said. That proactive community spirit (he is also heavily involved in the upstart Prince George Cricket Club, the Punjabi Canadian Seniors Society, Sikh Vaiskahi Parade, Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society, the Innovation Central Society, etc.) brought him to the attention of the Chamber of Commerce as one of their six Consider Prince George ambassadors, using their personal stories to attract new Canadians to our city.
It was a methodical process for Arvinder. He was
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Jennifer Brandle-McCall Title: Principal Company: JBM Communications Age: 39 A business and community development background was not overlooked by Prince George. When Jennifer Brandle-McCall moved to this city, it didn’t take long for her skills to be recognized. She parlayed her years of study at the University of Victoria, UBC, Sauder School of Business and Royal Roads University into the position of CEO of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce. Over the course of the next three years, she was a change agent for that organization, seeing it through its 100th anniversary activities and reinvigorating its community mandate. So effective was her work with the Chamber that when she resigned in order to focus on her young children, the Chamber nonetheless retained her on contract as communications director on a basis that fits her family needs. “Prince George affords young people the chance to make real differences in their community and that is why I’ve chosen to live here,” she said. “I feel privileged to have as many opportunities
to lead and influence my community as I’ve had in the 8 years I’ve lived in Prince George. I am honoured to also be in the company of such strong, intelligent, and influential women as we have moving many community initiatives ahead (Janine North, Shari Green, Beth James, Colleen Sparrow, etc.).” Jennifer also adds an international perspective to the city’s economic prospects. She spent a year living in Korea and made that a large part of her university studies, and was also chosen to participate in the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program in 2013, touring 5 American cities over 3 weeks to gain cultural and political liaison knowledge. She advances business and community interests locally as a columnist with the Prince George Citizen and a regular roundtable panelist on CFIS Community Radio. Jennifer is also a supporter of many community charities and volunteer initiatives.
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Top 40 Under 40
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Title: Owner / Operator Company: The Copper Pig Bbq House Age: 39 A Prince George boy grew up, moved away to Vancouver for years, then came back to breathe life into a dead space on the city’s most historic thoroughfare. Tyler Burbee opened The Copper Pig Bbq House and it is already a go-to dining spot and one of the key points in a network of modern cafes and restaurants downtown. “This is my first entrepreneurial venture, and it is with a cause,” he said. “This year we have given life to an abandoned building in the darkest corner of Prince George. We have brought people and profits to downtown and have created a thriving business which is contributing to the revitalization of the central core. The Copper Pig Bbq House, within a year, has been mentioned by the Food Network, The Globe & Mail, internet postings, and many local news mediums.”
also has a “shop local” and “BC only” purchasing philosophy, plus an aggressive recycling and composting program. “We are not only surviving, but thriving downtown,” he said of the results. “The Copper Pig has 20 staff members. We spend a significant amount of money in supporting other businesses in town. We have increased value in surrounding businesses. We are magnifying the incredible food industry Prince George has. We work with Tourism PG, the theatres, and the arts. We are bringing people back downtown again, which is the cause of this entrepreneurial venture.”
Tyler is also collecting money in the Piggy Bank Foundation to donate to downtown. More than $3,000 has already been raised in year one to purchase public bike racks for the city core. He
Title: Employee Engagement & Communications Manager Company: Integris Credit Union Age: 29 With gymnastic business dexterity, Alex Castley changed directions in life. He managed to leave one profession for a completely different one, but remains standing on the foundations of that first career now that he is thriving in his second one. Castley wears a suit and tie to work these days, in the Human Resources department of Integris Credit Union. He has a fresh degree from UNBC in Commerce (specializing in Human Resources and General Business), and an even fresher designation as a Certified Human Resources Professional. All this has come in the past year. But his collar was much bluer when he first began his post-secondary pursuits. He completed a four-year CNC / Industry Training Authority electrician’s program. He said it wasn’t an easy transition, and he encountered some backlash, when he changed professions. “I want people to know that there is no shame in realizing that your chosen career path isn’t aligned with your personal values and passion. It’s never too late to go back to school. And if you do, you can succeed above your own
expectations and the expectations of others,” he said. He also lived it. Since switching gears he has won six scholarships or bursaries, won the Governor General’s Silver Medal for having the highest grade point average at an undergraduate level in his graduating class at UNBC in 2013, and was granted membership into the Golden Key International Honour Society. While working on completing his degree, he achieved again while employed by Bell Mobility Canada. “I made it a personal goal to be a top-selling representative by using best practices and ethical sales strategies. As a result of my commitment to customer service, I was named a ‘Bell Top Performer Recipient’ in 2010.” Now he is turning his skills and attention to the internal and external corporate branding of Integris Credit Union, as well as volunteering. Alex is involved in the B.C. Human Resource Management Association’s Northern Advisory Council, plus a variety of local charities.
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Title: Project Manager / Geotechnical Engineer Company: McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. Age: 34 Shiloh Carlson has led by example at almost every turn in her burgeoning career as a geotechnical engineer. Although she left Prince George for her degree (PG has no engineering undergraduate program yet), she bucked the trend and returned once she earned her qualifications. The engineering field is famously dominated by men but she was on the vanguard of women entering the field in numbers. She was also the first to occupy her position in the Prince George field office of McElhanney Consulting, a challenge and honour in itself. “Since joining the company I have developed the geotechnical engineering and material testing department in the Prince George office and have also been one of the key players in developing the geotechnical engineering capabilities within the company,” she said. “My home base is Prince George and although the majority of my work is here, I also work closely with our other branches such as Kitimat, Terrace, Smithers and Calgary. I currently have two full-time staff working directly
with me. However, I also provide mentoring and share knowledge with more within the office and other branches.” She and her company share a passion for urging young women to consider the geosciences and engineering fields of study. She sits on a task force dedicated to gender diversity in these professions. Fostering the physics fascination in all youth is why Shiloh also volunteers with the Central Interior Science Fair, with the Northern Technology and Engineering Society, and at various career awareness outreach opportunities. The annual bridge building contest for kids is one of her favourite events. She is also one of the leading voices from the north to the provincial government lobbying for more engineering classes at CNC and UNBC. “I had to make the decision to leave my community for education and would love if one day my daughter could study close to home if she chose to do so,” she said.
“CNC provided the springboard for both my educational and professional career as a Certified Financial Planner and business owner.”
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Top 40 Under 40
Title: Digital Marketing Coordinator / Yoga Entrepreneur Company: Tourism Prince George / Various Partner Agencies Age: 19 Sufey Chen is by far the youngest inductee into the Top 40 Under 40, a position to which she is accustomed. Prince George’s 2010 Youth of the Year has been winning respect beyond her years in all sectors of society and all over the world. If it isn’t tourism marketing, it’s yoga, debate, music, figure skating…and the Sufey list goes on. Her financial bread and butter at the present time is measured between Tourism Prince George and her flowering yoga enterprise. “Since launching my yoga business around April this year, I have received 50-plus independent contracts to teach within PG and internationally,” she said. “Though I am only half a year into this business, I make a profit parallel to my day job at Tourism PG, with new requests to teach daily.” Her entrepreneurial fires were sparked at about 14 when she taught piano for money and also dreamed up and executed the first PG’s Got Talent contest showcasing local performing artists. That event carries on today.
At 15 she entered university, majoring in biomedical studies. While at UNBC she formed the university’s first debate club, a discipline in which she was a qualified instructor. The club raised $20,000 with no track record and dispatched many members to competitions near and far, plus held a high school tournament. At 17 she was enticed to move to Asia to teach debate to master students and instructors. While based in Thailand “I found angst, uncertainty, and yoga.” Yoga she dove into, attaining instructor’s level certifications in Hawaii and New Mexico within a year. She moved back to PG due to her family ties and was hired by Tourism PG for her international experiences and track record of project management. On the side, “my yoga business boomed, I bought a house and car and life was (is) pretty good.” This is only a sketch of Sufey Chen, but it is conceivable that she might appear again on this list any number of times between now and 2034.
Title: Owner / Master Stylist Company: Shine Salon Age: 33 “My company has grown from a tiny home based business to a leading salon in Prince George in just 1.5 years,” said Jacki. It emigrated from her basement to an elegantly designed storefront operation with four employees. It is now four years old. The swift growth was based not only on business ambition but a spirit of community stewardship. Special discounts for elders is a Collier priority because it “seems that respecting and helping our elders is a dying part of the customer service industry,” and she also insists on treating her employees like partners. “I guide and encourage my employees to perfect their skills in the beauty industry. Our salon has educators come from all over BC to teach the staff new trends and skills. I find satisfaction and happiness in watching my staff grow skillfully and personally. Since working at Shine, I can see that each of the girls in the salon has strengthened and improved their skills immensely through
education and by just being in a positive and supportive work place. I can see that they love what they do and that they truly care about each client that walks in our door. I love working with them.” She also provides staff with a strong benefits package and encouragement to give back to the community. Environmental awareness in business is one of the ways she lives her philosophies. She focuses on eco-sensitive products, she has a shampoo and conditioner refill program for customers, and recycling everything including hair foils is done throughout the operation. Jacki also targets key causes to put the salon’s name behind. They include the Elizabeth Fry Society, the Festival of Trees, the Black and White Soiree, Hospice House, and especially cancerrelated initiatives.
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Title: Community Relations Supervisor At only 30 years of age, Allison is already a Company: Endeavor Mining veteran of international business. She has already Age: 30 worked from the platforms of major corporation, not-for-profit agency and sole proprietor startup. Allison’s main profession is liaising between her company and the local communities in its African work area. “My most recent achievement has been the implementation of a resettlement action plan in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa, which was done in preparation for the construction of a gold mine,” she said. “We relocated 200 people into new homes, compensated 500 people for their farms, and launched sustainable community development initiatives in five mining-affected villages over a period of 16 months. I was proactive in ensuring that employment with the mine was given to local villages, when possible, and that women were given an equal opportunity to enter in the job competition.” Fedorkiw was trusted for this position because of her years of development work in the same region. As the founder of the Prince George-based society 27 Million Voices, she became a leading voice globally in the fight against the “blood chocolate” industry and to ensure safety for thousands of its enslaved children.
Fighting back against human trafficking in West Africa required deep and careful partnerships in the affected areas. Identification of nameless children, family restoration, education, and developing life prospects were part of her work. Relief work was also the thrust of The Humanity Exchange, another international charitable enterprise Allison founded in Prince George, saw through to ongoing success, then sold. Through her University of Alberta BSc in Human Ecology (specializing in International Community Development), her Masters degree from UNBC’s International Studies department (thesis: Child Slavery and Corruption in West Africa), and her experiences shuttling between Canada and Africa doing development work, Fedorkiw won the admiration of the mining company. “My role was to ensure that communities played an active role in decision-making that affected them and that communities were treated fairly during the construction phase,” said Allison. “My work is varied, but the reasoning behind what I do remains the same. I have seen the goodwill of people and companies alike, and I recognize the potential for businesses to positively affect the communities in which they operate. A drive to improve corporate social responsibility is what motivates me in my career path.”
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Top 40 Under 40
Title: Projects Coordinator Company: Bar K Ranch Age: 29 Farmers are, by necessity, jacks of all trades. Taylor Grafton grew up on the largest cattle ranch in northern BC, a place that was always humming with diverse businesses and enterprises within. “I was on the payroll before I was 12 years old,” and he continues to carry on the family tradition of hard work, hard study, and innovation. In Saskatoon he studied animal science and veterinary medicine, including the rare practice of endoscopic ultrasonography, plus co-authored two peer-reviewed scientific articles. He came back to implement his knowledge on the family ranch, although he is still taking courses with Texas A&M University. “The demographic of ranchers in Canada is made up of individuals with an average age of over 60 years, and is predominately made up of males,” he said. “In my first year as a supervisor, I broke from this convention and hired three young women as ‘cowboys.’ I then designed systematic training programs with media components to expedite the learning process and they were able to learn in a year what normally takes two or three. The training programs are part of our larger
Health and Safety program that I coordinate, which has been called a leader in our industry by a Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA) representative.” Every ranch looks for income multiplicity, but none in BC history attempted Taylor’s solution. “Although I had no experience in raising fish, in 2012 I imported eggs of Arctic Char - a rare, valuable, and sustainable species ideally suited for growth in a northern climate. I then hatched and grew them out in a system that I designed and built myself working largely from scientific literature, and out of cattle watering troughs due to budget constraints. I have since been working with the Northern Beetle Coalition to present this business as a potential economic opportunity for other Northerners.” A ranch is an interesting classroom, and the farmer’s industry is the public’s nutrition so Taylor has also volunteered for many forms of outreach and awareness of agriculture. There was also the deaf collie he taught to be a herding dog, but that is yet another story on the Bar K Ranch.
Title: Proprietor, Veterinarian Company: Green Mobile Veterinary Services Age: 32 An entrepreneur and academic, Jodyne Green is also the one rushing in to help many local families in their pet’s and livestock’s time of need. Jodyne has achieved membership in five national and international professional associations, on top of her vet’s qualifications (with distinction) from the University of Saskatchewan. She deepened her professional standing by coauthoring a number academic papers presented at peer conventions in Florida, Texas, Colorado and other locations. She was mindful also of the business side of her profession. She founded a mobile, large animalfocused vet service in Prince George in 2010 and since then has been honoured with the Micro Business of the Year Award presented by the Chamber of Commerce. “The practice began with no employees, operating our mobile practice from a home based office,” she said. “The business has flourished thanks
to support of our clients and the hard work and dedication of our staff. We now have three fulltime employees and operate the mobile practice from a great office on 15th Ave. The company is growing leaps and bounds but has never wavered from its foundation of high quality veterinary care, in a mobile setting and dedicated to large animals.” Although she supports many charities and causes, there is one that stands highest for Green. “I am grateful for the skills and opportunities I received through the 4-H program,” she said. “Now as an adult I feel it is my time to give back to an organization that has given to me. It is great to see the young members succeed. I am very grateful to give back to the 4-H program and our youth of today. They will be our leaders of tomorrow.” In her specialized profession, she is a leader today.
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Title: General Manager Company: Prince George Symphony Orchestra Age: 31 Less than one year as a Prince George resident and local culture is already taking note of Marnie Hamagami. The rookie general manager has done what few Prince George Symphony Orchestra general managers have been able to accomplish: audience growth, black ink on the ledger and labour peace at the same time. “During my time at the PGSO attendance has jumped 15 per cent, and I closed our last season with a modest surplus. I have piloted three new and successful programs aimed at youth and community engagement: Sistema Prince George, Two Rivers Gallery Free Family Concerts (once a month), and a chamber music series in partnership with a local small business (Ohh Chocolat).” Sistema is an after-school music program piloted at Quinson Elementary School in which free violin lessons are given (plus a snack) five days a week.
that was the decision made by Hamagami, in conjunction with the board of directors, to expand the professional core by two new instrument positions, and to raise money ($7,500) specifically for a new set of musicians’ chairs. “When times are as hard as they were for orchestras across Canada during the economic crisis, it is absolutely essential to innovate,” said Hamagami. “That means, though, that the entire world of possibilities opens up to you. Buying special chairs and expanding the pro core may not seem exciting, but these are important steps to have more assets and do a better job, and capitalize on the audiences and sponsors that are returning in force.” She credits artistic director/conductor Kevin Zakresky and concertmaster Jose DelgadoGuevara as being particularly helpful in her quest for PGSO success.
She also took part in smooth labour negotiations that resulted in a new collective bargaining agreement with the musicians. Related to
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Top 40 Under 40
Title: Executive Director, Research and Policy Development / Adjunct Professor Company: Carrier Sekani Family Services / UNBC Age: 38 Knowledge is power, and Travis Holyk has made it a mission to ensure the professionals working in the knowledge industry study the best data in the most rigorous ways when it comes to aboriginal intelligence-gathering. Holyk holds a doctorate (Education) from Simon Fraser University, a masters (First Nations Studies) from UNBC and his undergraduate degree (Sociology and Anthropology) from Okanagan University College. He was born in Fort St. James and is now dedicated to fostering the understanding of his home region. “Under my leadership, the research department at CSFS has grown from two employees in 2005 to 10 in 2013,” he said. He has also written grant proposals that attracted multiple millions of dollars in funding to this region (topics: youth mental health, youth suicide research, child welfare governance, etc). “I have been involved in a number of projects that are the firsts for the region,” he said, including the establishment of the first aboriginal community-
led research department in BC, the writing of a model code of ethics for aboriginal research, he investigated traditional forms of justice among local First Nations and “this research was then shaped into five courses at UNBC and over 30 students have been trained in Family Dispute Resolution.” Those students are now in the field, shifting the paradigm for child protection and family mediation. Those efforts resulted in a Premier’s Award nomination in the Partnerships category. “As a researcher I have presented at over 20 conferences, produced four peer-reviewed journal articles, one book chapter and numerous community publications,” he said. He is also an adjunct professor at UNBC. Another aspect of his work at CSFS pertains to healthcare delivery, with recent improvements in attracting healthcare professionals to remote communities, and better information sharing systems to save time and improve outcomes for remote residents.
Title: Certified Financial Planner / Entrepreneur Company: Global Securities Corp / Business2Mobile Communications Age: 39 John Kason has been a financial advisor for years, accruing a $65 million client asset base. He has volunteered as a mentor in his field, he contributes to media commentary on the financial industry, he is one of the Top 5 advisors in Global Securities’ team of advisors, and went to Russia on a College of New Caledonia economic mission to facilitate entrepreneurship there. Those would be achievement enough, but a second side of John has the city buzzing. His entrepreneurial ventures are winning acclaim. He developed a local property development and management company; founded a social media and advertising company that had two employees and revenues of more than $100,000 after one year (he sold it, but it is still succeeding today); and his third company has garnered widespread attention for its innovation. “I cofounded [with Bart Wagner] Business2Mobile Communications a company focused on building dynamic data management platforms that allow businesses to take advantage of mobile technology allowing better health and safety,
inventory and crew management,” he said. As mentor, Kason has also gone deep to bolster his community and hone his business acumen. He has loaned his expertise to the Business The Next Generation program through Community Futures and CNC, he has taught business modules to grade-school students via the Junior Achievement program, and as a Rotarian helps organize the Big Blue Ball and takes part in international exchange opportunities with his family. “Our passion for international travel and experiencing many different cultures and belief systems proves to be an asset when working in the community,” he said. “It provides me with global perspective and appreciation that I am able to bring back to Prince George.” He has won Rotarian and mentor of the Year honours for his contributions, and is appearing for the second time on the Top 40 Under 40 list.
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Title: Director of Membership and Programs Company: YMCA of Northern BC Age: 31 Volunteering for the YMCA is a cause many people feel passionate about. Chris Kinch was so dedicated to the values of the region’s Y that he joined the management team. There is no shortage of files to work on within the Y. Kinch lists some of his personal favourites as the new childcare facility at the former Highland Elementary School that required $750,000 in new fundraising, implementing the new Healthy Kids Day event coupled to the annual YMNC Road Race, adding the family rec room to their main facility and attracting 10,000 visits in its first year alone. In 2004, freshly moved to PG to attend UNBC, Chris started out like most others associated with the Y – by doing a small task. In his case, it was teaching kids to skate. He became the skating program coordinator. He led some key projects. He was hired as their community relations contact. It was a progression as meteoric as the Y organization itself.
All the while, Kinch was working on his History degree and added a two-year YMCA Canada leadership course. “Most recently I lead the development and implementation of a new flexible membership structure designed to provide greater accessibility for families and children to engage in YMCA activities at the Massey Facility,” he said. “This process required a complete overhaul and rethinking of our service delivery model for programs and services to align under the new structure. Membership grew by over 20 per cent over the prior year and we increased our annual retention by more than 5 per cent. Furthermore, registered programs grew from 1,500 participants to over 3,000. One third of our overall registered program participants were youth, which increased from 245 participants to just over 1,000 participants last year.” He still finds time to coach minor hockey and volunteer with the United Way, plus enjoy his young family.
Top 40 Under 40
Title: Vice President Company: R.F. Klein & Sons Ltd. Age: 26 Don’t tell Cory Klein there was an economic downturn. His family enterprise has seen a number of ups and downs over the decades they’ve been involved in Prince George industry. He might be too young to remember most of those ups and downs, so he just forged ahead with his next generation plans. And it worked. “I worked in the civil construction industry for the last 11 years working from the ground up,” said Cory, and at 26 years of age you can do the math on his start-time. “After finishing school at BCIT - Bachelor of Technology Degree in Construction Management - I became project manager / estimator for R.F. Klein & Sons Ltd., where I was responsible for the larger projects. I was also tasked with modernizing the company with respects to safety, environment, equipment, software and human resources. I was given the role of Vice president about a year later and am now the head person in the organization, with the president, Roger Klein, working on retirement. Under my direction we have added a gravel crushing division, buying out
a local business who has retired, and a landscape supply business to complement our company’s profile. In the last year the company has grown over 35 per cent in revenue, with over 35 fulltime employees (45 people at peak times of the year).” In addition to BCIT, he also got his Business Management diploma at CNC and his Gold Seal Intern certification by the Canadian Construction Association. Although barely out of his own schooling, he is already working on helping others achieve trades training. As an active director of the Prince George Construction Association he is a driving force behind the Heavy Metal Rocks initiative giving hands-on industrial experience to high school students, and also the Scholarship and Bursary Committee. He looks forward to celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary and striding into the next halfcentury.
Title: Host, CBC Daybreak North Company: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Age: 28 A voice known across the north, Andrew Kurjata is certainly one of the most recognizable of this year’s Top 40 Under 40. A host on CBC Radio’s popular Daybreak North morning news and culture show, he has become as much a part of the audience’s day as coffee. His climb has been swift. “Four years ago I had absolutely no experience in radio,” he said, but his sense of student duty at UNBC changed that. He was already editor of the campus paper, Over The Edge, and down the hallway was the campus radio station in need of a manager. “I took over management of CFUR Radio and took on a transitional role - settling outstanding debts, balancing the budget, transitioning to a new board, updating the constitution and bylaws, and adding a podcasting component.” Soon he was also working part time for the national public broadcaster and not long after that was offered the host’s chair on one of the region’s flagship morning shows.
Just like his eclectic and topical radio program, Andrew invests volunteer time in a similar fashion, working with organizations as varied as Crime Stoppers and Cold Snap Music Festival. He also mentors aspiring journalists. “I am a strong believer in Prince George,” he said. “I was born and raised here, and one of the best decisions I ever made was to seek out my professional career here. In fact, when seeking out a job I made it very clear in every interview that I was not interested in moving elsewhere. My profession and my passion is sharing the stories of the city and the surrounding region, and some of the most rewarding stories are those of people investing their time and energy in creating new businesses here: restaurants, specialty shops, technology, new industry. I’ve seen first-hand how transformative they can be to the local culture, and to people’s perceptions of the community.”
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Candice Manahan Coyne
Title: Regional Manager, Decision Support Tools Company: Northern Health Age: 35 With so much attention in recent years on health education in the north so as to retain northern health trades, the public focus was on doctors and nurses. Candice Manahan Coyne is the poster girl for why it is important across all health professions. “I am originally from Hixon and grew up in Prince George. I completed high school at PGSS, finished my Bachelors and Masters degrees at UNBC. My topics of study focussed on health services issues that are important to Northerners,” she said. Her education got funding boosts from several significant scholarships, most notably the British Columbia Medical Services Foundation Annual Graduate Scholarship in Health Sciences ($5,000), the and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Junior Trainee ($45,000). That investment has come back to the area exponentially through Candice’s own fundraising efforts. “I managed the partnership between UNBC, Northern Health and the BC Cancer Agency to create a joint research infrastructure to prepare for the Cancer Centre opening. As part of that role, I facilitated the development of a team to
submit a partnership grant focussed on cancer prevention that was funded $1 million dollars.” Even when working for an agency outside the community – University of Victoria – she was adding to the northern context. Her position at UVic was focused on aboriginal early childhood research and partnerships. “Through these collaborations, I helped aboriginal fathers to voice their needs and coauthored two books - one for other fathers and one for community child care organizations,” she said. She has also authored or co-written other major articles profiling northern health issues, plus taught at UNBC. Also on her schedule are meetings for committees and boards focused on physician recruitment, provide peer review, advance family health and remote health, and many other topics. “My career has been dedicated to improving health services in our region and I continue to look at new ways to support our health care providers in the amazing work they do - keeping our friends and family healthy.”
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Top 40 Under 40
Title: Owner / Creator Company: Princess Parcel Boutique Age: 28 Jillian Masson was already a young achiever when she moved to Prince George with her young family. The former Miss New Brunswick and recipient of a Premier’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Province of New Brunswick came here for UNBC opportunities and quickly turned that into something completely unexpected. “I knew that I wanted to become an entrepreneur,” she said after attaining a Masters in Disability Management. “This MA program surprisingly led me to have a keen interest in corporate culture, and I decided that I wanted to build my own company where I could be surrounded by positive energy and creativity. I have always had a passion for fashion and design and since I am a mother of two and often surrounded by children, I decided to create Princess Parcel.” She is also a mental health and addictions clinician for Northern Health, but created a business as Prince George’s own fairy godmother. Princess Parcel Boutique is an online store for the loveliest in fashions and accessories for the Cinderella in every child.
Or at least, that’s how it started. She recently bloomed into a physical boutique. “I have from the planning that will said.
had such an overwhelming response community that I am in the process of major renovations for a larger location be very unique to Prince George,” she
She added that, “Every single aspect of this company has been developed from scratch,” and advised entrepreneurs with a family focus to cut no corners on research and product testing. It is a bigger time and perhaps cash investment at the start, but will streamline the business ever after. “As a ‘one woman show’ it has been an incredible learning experience and I know that this is only the beginning,” she said. “I have so many new ideas to introduce to Prince George and I am thrilled to be a part of our downtown business community.”
Title: Broadcaster Company: Jim Pattison Broadcast Group (CKPG TV) Age: 39 McCarthy is a household face in Prince George, and unlike most broadcasters at any notable B.C. station, she is home grown in the town she reports on. McCarthy returned to her hometown after completing the Musical Theatre program at Sheridan College and BCIT’s storied Broadcast Journalism program. Now back in Prince George, she brings both those diplomas to life. Audiences see her on the local television news shows and also on theatrical stage. She has won acclaim as a lead or featured performer in shows like Cabaret, West Side Story, Chicago and most recently Les Miserables. Her singing voice and stage presence never fail to earn rave reviews.
relied upon to train and help new employees. I am also responsible for helping produce local programming for CKPG-TV, and over the past couple of years have begun to specialize in longer-form documentaries including this falls ‘Path to PG’, the story of the Sherbrooke Summer Games in relation to the Winter Games that will be here in 2015.” Fearless in public settings and passionate about her home city, Catherine is often at the centre of community initiatives large and small, from the Red Cross’s Evening In Chocolate, to the Festival of Trees, to volunteering at her children’s school or the College Heights Community Association. Anyone wishing to see a community advocate in action can tune in daily.
“I am also a music theatre teacher at the Judy Russell dance studio and I often adjudicate at area Speech Arts festivals,” she said. “As a seasoned member of the media, I am often
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Title: Director, Communications Company: Northern Development Initiative Trust Age: 29 McKay literally became the poster boy for Prince George living. As drivers approached BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, his was one of the faces towering over the freeway urging Lower Mainlanders to do as he did and move to a more affordable, upwardly mobile life in Prince George. He is also the one telling that story to all northerners. As the face and voice of NDIT, he is rolling out the word on the best and most innovative economic development initiatives in the top half of BC. In only two years he has seen more corners and crannies of our region than many lifelong residents. He has direct contact with 50 municipalities and 88 First Nations while representing a $200 million not-for-profit development office.
Busy and widespread are two words that also apply to his off hours. He is a volunteer for the Cold Snap Music Festival, Kiwanis, “I am also an active member of the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club, the Prince George Rod and Gun Club, the Northern Sport Centre and the local Canadian Public Relations Society Northern Lights chapter. I am also about to be enrolled as a primary reserve member of the Rocky Mountain Rangers army infantry unit in Prince George, fulfilling a life-long dream to be a member of the Canadian Forces.” Prior to his arrival in Prince George he was an award-winning journalist and editor in Vancouver, adding that background to local culture as well.
A big part of what he does for NDIT is develop the north’s communication strategies and professionals from within. He trains aspiring PR practitioners and works with communities large and small to both take onerous PR work off their hands and build their capacity for the future.
Top 40 Under 40
Title: Marketing & Communications Officer, Ancillary Services Company: University of Northern British Columbia Age: 29 If Scott McWalter embodies a single philosophy it is: be an asset to your community. He has already found several ways to be a Prince George asset himself. Foremost is his dedication to profession. He is a graduate of UNBC’s Commerce program and is now working on a Masters. In the interim he is one of UNBC’s communications officers – a grad, student and employee simultaneously. While many go to school to discover their path, Scott’s studies are to put theoretical walls on the experiential foundation he already built for himself. “I paid for my entire degree selling custom soccer jerseys to teams and associations across Canada,” he said. He also spent time in Prince Rupert managing a shopping centre, and Vancouver as a small business advisor with TD Bank. “The prospect of learning and working at UNBC is what brought me back to my home city,” he said. “I’ve always appreciated the opportunities
Prince George has to offer; however, this became extraordinarily enhanced after spending time away from this great city of ours.” He also spent time away to maximize other community asset skills. He and his father Dave have been to Cambodia and Indonesia building badly needed structures in economically challenged regions. Being the best he can be also includes playing, coaching and volunteering for soccer. He was a provincial champion in his early playing days, played varsity, coaches and helps manage several of the city’s recreational leagues. It symbolizes his philosophy of doing what you love to the best of your abilities. “It’s no secret that challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. You are solely responsible for the successes you experience in life and it is incredible how by writing down your goals, you’re so much more likely to accomplish them.”
Title: Executive Director Company: Lheidli T’enneh First Nation Age: 38 Jason Morgan has touched most of the First Nations interests in the territories in and around Prince George. He has been a part of stabilizing, developing, and even shaping the law around First Nations on behalf of the region. For the small, remote Tsay Keh Dene Band north of Prince George he was the director of education. For the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council coalition of bands he was general manager for six years. He is currently the executive director of the city’s resident First Nation. In each of these situations he strove to implement a management structure in keeping with his Business Administration degree and related course work. “It is one thing to be focused on policies and procedures to guide and shape organizational structure and ‘norms’ but I believe being a leader is also the ability to shape corporate culture,” Jason said. “The goal for Lheidli T’enneh is to have an organization / administration that clearly shows a caring and service- delivery administration, while building the capacity of the managers and portfolio coordinators to have the
skills and experience within their departments to assert the jurisdiction at any local, regional, provincial, or national level for the betterment of Lheidli T’enneh.” Jason has been an intrinsic participant in major events like this year’s BC Elders Gathering hosted by the Lheidli T’enneh duringthis, the 100th year since their relocation from Prince George lands, and on several aboriginal strategy committees. He was part of national history when he acted as agent for the appellant in the landmark Carrier Sekani Tribal Council vs. Minister of National Revenue that won the point that elected First Nations representatives are indeed engaged in activities qualified for employment insurance benefits. Jason listed all Lheidli T’enneh leaders with whom he has worked as sharing the responsibility for his leadership success. “The leadership at Lheidli T’enneh have had a vision for their community, and I am glad to have been a part of the process.”
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Putting the meat on the bones of a business is becoming K. Travis Morgan’s forte, although the health field is still his foundation both personally and professionally. He is one of those people who heeded the call to go into the sector that was also his passion. Fitness, healthy living, helping people, problem solving, living a very active lifestyle, it all fit into his chosen career path, but it didn’t all fit in one company. The first venture he started was a direct result of his education and training. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 2005. He was admitted to the Pi Tau Delta Chiropractic Society for Academic Excellence and registered in B.C. as a certified chiropractor. He hung out his shingle and hoped patients would knock at Prince George Family Chiropractic. They did. “I am proud of the fact that I brought my practice from nothing to the success it is today. It didn’t happen overnight, it happened by doing what was right, one patient at a time,” he said. Chiropractic patients have a need for a core menu
of services, but Morgan also saw ways to add value to their health regimens. “I developed a wellness program for patients that included diet, exercise, chiropractic care,” he said. “The program was so successful [it even won an award: Health and Wellness Innovator of the year, 2011] that it had to stem off into a separate business. I started both my practice and CrossFit Prince George myself, I opened the doors with zero patients and am now one of the busiest practices in the city.” He invested philanthropic time as well, serving actively with Rotary and on the board of the Hospice Society (a thrift store was opened by the latter organization during his tenure, so he was in fact involved in developing a third business). He is also an active athlete and helped run the PG Wrestling Club. He is also a husband and father of two. “My vocation and passion is helping people achieve their health and wellness goals. With some it is a 400-pound dead-lift; with others it is being able to play with their grandchildren or get through the day without the need for constant medication,” he said.
Congratulations to our own Champion!
We are very proud of Chris Kinch and his selection as one of the 2014 Top 40 Under 40!
C aring Honest Respectful I ntegrity S uccessful
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DIRECT RESERVATIONS 1-800-663-8239 Top 40 Under 40
Title: Owner Company: Entertainment Group Age: 37 David Mothus likes to have a good time. In fact, he does it at a professional level. In the early days of the deejay and event-host company in the 1990s, they merged and expanded to the point there were only five other independent live party companies in the north. He owned his own nightclub for a time, worked in-house for others, and decided to go to post-secondary with the purest of motivations: personal development.
24-Hour Relay For Life, the Midsummer’s Dream Arts Festival, and many more. The company does as much as 25 per cent of any month’s business for free. He also sits on the local SPCAs board.
“I have three years at UNBC completed in no particular field. I went for fun and took everything from calculus to religious philosophy,” he said.
Still dancing to the beat of his own drummer, he expanded into a completely separate career at the same time, and turned that into a simultaneous success. He became a Sun Life agent.
But this fun was also serious. Mothus ran his enterprise on a fiscal model that won them the Home Based Business of the Year Award, and he insisted his company give back to the community by coordinating the entertainment at fundraising functions, notably the late-night music for the
This won him nominations for the city’s Corporate Citizen of the Year and Community Booster in recent years at the Chamber’s Business Excellence Awards.
“In Sun Life I won almost every award you can win in my new career since 2011 - convention qualifier, diamond-level order of merit, top sales in northern BC in 2012, I am second in all of BC for new advisors and 28th in the nation,” he said.
Title: Human Resources Advisor Company: Sinclar Group Forest Products Ltd. Age: 31 Sabrina was born and raised in Prince George and it took planes, trains and automobiles to get her back to PG and into her current profession, but once ensconced at the Human Resources desk at Sinclar Group that winding path was given special meaning. Her first career choice was in the tourism and hospitality industry, with credentials from CNC. She worked aboard the Rocky Mountaineer trains in BC and Alberta, but feeling that she was “still searching for something more,” she headed back to CNC for HR training and worked for an aviation company in the interim. Then, Sinclar and fate came calling. “I have been faced with many challenges professionally – some a welcome challenge, others an unimaginable test of faith and persistence,” she said. At first it was simple HR house-ordering she was assigned to but “I was soon faced with a task of epic proportions.” On April 23rd, 2012, Lakeland Mills suffered an explosion that killed two, injured many, and left 160 people without a jobsite. “It was the most difficult work of my life,” she said, pointing the finger of credit at Sinclar’s
management team and resilient staff. “I will not go into too much detail regarding the work that has been done since, but to this day I still oversee much of the management and support that assists those 160 hourly employees that were employed with Lakeland at that time of the incident. We continue to learn from each other and build our strategy for the future Lakeland Mills.” Her efforts were rewarded with the BC Human Resources Management Association’s Rising Star Award. The association stressed that her name was written on the trophy due to much more than the Lakeland incident. She and her BC HRMA mentor worked exhaustively on a program to help not-for-profit organizations (more than 100) with their HR needs. She implemented a wellness and fitness program for the 500 Sinclar employees across their corporate group. She is on the front lines of recruiting skilled workers in a job-rich industry. She also volunteers with charities, helps husband Chris with his business (the Twisted Cork Restaurant), and together they welcomed baby Callum into the world in 2013 – the most important Human Resources job of all.
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Title: Operations Manager Company: Load ‘Em Up Contracting Ltd. Age: 24 When Load ‘Em Up Petroleum was already a regional leader in fuel distribution across the region, but one of their largest areas of growth is a new subsidiary company led by Bryan Paice. For three years, Load ‘Em Up Contracting has been redefining the area’s petroleum recycling and safety sector.
Responding to spills and offering storage and containment solutions for petrochemicals is one aspect of Paice’s business, but he also saw the value in partnering into the mining sector. They have been an intrinsic part of the Mount Milligan Mine development that came online this past October.
“We have tripled our business and gross revenue every year since 2010 when we started,” said Paice, a UNBC Bachelor of Commerce student who juggled school and the business simultaneously.
“I have also initiated an infrastructure development here in Prince George for our company to build and operate a hazardous waste storage and processing facility which will create jobs and offer public solutions for their environmental hazardous sensitive activities,” Paice said.
“I operate my company with the attitude that I would never get one of my employees to do something that I wouldn’t do,” he said. “Not only do I do most of the financial aspect of a business in the background, but I also work on the front line operations with our Vac trucks, go on spill response, and travel to do site visits with our employees at our customer sites. I have led our growth to be rapid and continually changing operation, all while still being able to concentrate our operations to be ISO 14001 certified.”
Top 40 Under 40
In addition to fostering awareness of the petrochemical industry through trade shows, Load ‘Em Up is also a contributor to Canadian Cancer Society causes, Community Policing sponsorship and other ways of giving back to Prince George.
Title: Partner Company: Heather Sadler Jenkins LLP, Lawyers Age: 39 One of the few to make the Top 40 Under 40 list twice, Parmar is a proud to be raised in Prince George and come back for his profession. A star athlete in high school (volleyball and especially basketball where he was CNC team captain and played with Steve Nash on the BC high school all-star team), the city gave him exciting opportunities growing up and he wished to raise his own family in the same environment. His profession had plenty of openings when he came home fresh out of the University of Saskatchewan law school (also two degrees from Simon Fraser University) in 2004, and by now he is one of the senior legal counsels in the city and partner at one of the region’s major law firms (60 overall employees). “I wanted to give back to the community and network with the business community so I ran for and was elected to the board of directors for
the Chamber of Commerce. I served five years on the board and was the Chamber’s centennial (100th) president in 2011. I believe I am the first president of the Chamber of East Indian decent and the first visible minority.” He has been a champion of the Indo-Canadian community in Prince George, and for the city as a whole. In addition to his large commitment to the Chamber, he has also instructed business and law courses at UNBC and CNC, plus coached basketball at the high school level and is currently the commissioner of the YMCA-based city men’s league. “I can say that as I have grown up in PG that the city has changed and matured. Educational opportunities in Prince George are easily accessible and first rate from Kindergarten to university. Above all the city has ample opportunity for people to build successful and rewarding lives.”
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Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Title: Partner / Owner Company: DMC Dean Mason & Chartered Accountants Inc. Age: 35 Personal growth on her own terms was Miranda Paterson’s goal and those were terms her employer, DMC Dean Mason & Chartered Accountants Inc., also believed in. Together they have spent more than 14 years expanding as a business professional and a business. She started out with the firm in 1999, and at the same time worked her way through UNBC’s Commerce department, finishing in 2002. In 2004 she added her Chartered Accountant’s qualifications. The next year the company made her a senior manager. Today she is a full partnerowner. “Balance of work-life is very important to me in my career path,” she said. “DMC has provided me the opportunity to enjoy progression through the firm while maintaining a balanced schedule. This has allowed me to grow in both my career and personal life, ensuring that professional and personal relationships are maintained and strengthened.”
The strongest of these is where she invests her volunteer time – at her children’s school. She also enjoys running and cycling, she helped found the Martini Mixer Women’s Networking Group, she helped coach a UNBC Tax Team competing in the JDC West business competitions, and she sits on other philanthropic organizations. Growing yet again in business, Miranda is also a shareholder and Chief Financial Officer in her husband Drew’s company PRO-COMP Advanced Composites Inc. “The company specializes in structural aviation repairs and the development of after-market carbon fibre products,” she said. “The company has been in business since February, 2012 and has been growing since its inception.” Back at the DMC office she is managing the accounting and taxation team, including staff training and strategic directioning.
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Title: President Company: OVERhang Education Center Ltd. Age: 32 No one likes to hang out in Prince George more than Lauren Phillips. She and husband Dean Price see this region as one of the world’s best playgrounds and they encapsulated that in the city’s newest recreation facility – a climbing gym and then some. OVERhang is a hardcore climber’s indoor oasis, a new climber’s vertical classroom, a kids’ fitness paradise, and a revamping of the Prince George Golf and Curling Club facility all in one complex. It has been open less than a year and already the enterprise has netted Phillips a nomination for Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2013 Business Excellence Awards. At the end of their first month, said Lauren, “I am pleased to report that we have had 1,374 climber visits and many are repeat customers, as we have sold 62 memberships, 23 10-punch passes, and 401 day passes. We have 96 belay tests. OVERhang has hosted 14 birthday parties, four school groups, and one randomly awesome hula-hooping event.”
It’s not all fun and games, either. Lauren and Dean together form a dynamic team involved heavily in the city’s Search and Rescue organization, and teaching ice rescue, avalanche awareness and swift-water safety courses, among other wilderness survival skills. Lauren is a professional forester as well. “OVERhang has directly created at least 14 new full-time equivalent jobs in our community, and supported a great many local businesses,” Lauren explained. “I intend to put PG on the map for adventure tourism, and create a hub where people can meet, take courses, buy safe gear, and be part of an exciting community. My husband and I have been working hard for over four years to do our homework and build a unique business model unlike any other.”
Title: Regional Manager, Health Promotion and Community Engagement Company: Northern Health Age: 31 The health of local citizens and the health of the Prince George economy are the two driving passions of Jessica Quinn. For the past five years she has been one of the leading voices in the delivery of the Northern Health message, specializing in social media. “I take pride in the fact that my job focuses around creating better accessibility to health awareness, tips and advice for the general public,” Jessica said. “I initiated and executed the Northern Health social media strategy and have created many social media campaigns that have been very successful in engaging hundreds of northern BC residents to think more actively about their health and wellness. Other BC health authorities and organizations often approach me for advice and assistance with their social media strategies.” Other public relations professionals do as well. Jessica is one of the leaders of the local chapter
of the Canadian Public Relations Society and volunteers her services for community causes, especially the Run For the Cure event for breast cancer. She branched into entrepreneurship about a year ago. “I started my own social media marketing consulting business as a way to both share my expertise and further develop my skills,” she said. “Social media is one of my passions and I hope to share my excitement for it with businesses in Prince George through consulting, workshops, etc.” She holds a Masters degree from Royal Roads University, but her undergrad is from UNBC, in the town she holds dear. “I am a huge advocate for Prince George and everything is has to offer, from food to outdoor recreation,” she said. And she writes about it constantly, as a blogger for Destination BC on the Hello BC website, where she extols the many assets of the local region.
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Title: Co-founder Company: ABC Charity Services Ltd. dba ABidForChange.org Age: 30 Most conscientious people work at a profession and try to find time for charity. Mike Ray’s profession is charity. He is the co-inventor of an online auction system that boosts the bottom line of community causes and partner businesses alike. It took awhile to develop. He was in Victoria becoming a teacher, photographer, graphic designer, web designer, video producer and other skills. He won a Canadian Home Builders Award for a website he designed for a construction firm in Victoria, and fostered two businesses – first, Mike Ray Design, which morphed into Inspire54 as some of his many aptitudes shifted. Always, though, he had a pet project. He called it ABidForChange.org. It was more of a hobby, but when the soft launch in May of 2013 (by now he and wife Lindsay were living in Prince George) met all his expectations, its parent company ABC Charity Services was born.
Alex Castley BComm General Business and Human Resources Management, 2013 Allison Fedorkiw MA International Studies, 2009 Andrew Kurjata BA Joint International Studies and Political Science, 2008 Candice Manahan Coyne BSc Psychology, 2001 and MSc Community Health Science, 2009
“It is an achievement to be able to blend your professional expertise and your passion to serve your community and create an organization that does both simultaneously,” he said. “My heart was stirred by the possibility of connecting my design and marketing background with my heart for local charities and helping local people.” He is frequently on stage at Westwood Church leading the music team, and he has been a supporter of Ness Lake Bible Camp. With his two degrees – Arts and Education – he strengthened his two natural talents of creativity and leadership. Now he is leading a creative new company that is starting to take on employees and attract client charities.
“ABidForChange has the incredible potential to change our local community,” he said. “We have had rave reviews from not only the end user, bidding on items through our online charity auction, but also from the businesses that are partnering with us. We have the ability with this organization to make huge waves in PG, so watch out!”
Chris Kinch BA History, 2007
Miranda Paterson BComm Accounting, 2002
Jeremy Stewart BA English, 2005 and MA English, 2010
Reza Akbari BComm Marketing, 2010
Jessica Quinn BA English, 2005
Scott McWalter BComm Marketing, 2008
Jillian Masson MA Disability Management, 2011
Tiina Watt BSc Environmental Planning, 2002
Kaleena Ross BComm Accounting and General Business, 2011
Travis Holyk MA First Nations Studies, 2002
Congratulations to the UNBC alumni who are part of this year’s Top 40 Under 40. Top 40 Under 40
Title: Physiotherapist, Certified Hand Therapist Company: Victoria Sports Physiotherapy Age: 36 As a professional, Dustin Robin has drawn a map for personal growth in Prince George. In 2004 he was hired at Victoria Sports Physiotherapy and by 2006 he owned it. The next two steps were to expand the business and himself, qualifying in the rarely practiced but highly demanded discipline of Certified Hand Therapist - the only CHT north of Kamloops. “At the time of purchase the clinic employed one full-time physiotherapist and four staff,” he said. “We have expanded over the years to employing two full time physiotherapists and six staff. We have expanded our service provision over the years to now include pre-employment fitness assessments as well as drug and alcohol screens. Recently we have been awarded a contract to provide Hand Therapy services. Putting this in perspective Prince George and the northern region has never had a Hand Therapy program or CHT. Previously all complicated and/or significant hand and upper limb injuries were referred to Kamloops, Kelowna, or the Lower Mainland
meaning the patient would be forced to be away from his or her family for a prolonged period of time during treatment and rehabilitation.” Who but a grad of the University of Manchester would be such a booster for northern BC? Dustin is an ambassador for his new home region in a number of ways past the retention of patients, as if that weren’t significant enough. He is on the board of the Spruce Kings hockey club where “we have made Prince George and the Spruce Kings organization a desirable place for young athletes to play and live.” In his activities within his professional associations, “I believe we increased the appreciation and understanding of what it is like to live and work in the north and as a result have increased the number of professionals working in and considering work in the north.”
Title: Owner / Designer Company: Ikspres Media Age: 27 Kaleena Ross has organized a new career for herself, and it is organizing other people’s events and activities. She is even helping to organize the business future of Prince George. After years doing marketing, graphics and web design on the side of her business studies at UNBC and CNC (earning admission to the Golden Key Honours Society and winning 1st place in the Business Strategy category of the 2011 JDC West university business competitions), she recently launched her own full-time company. Ikspres Media is a full-service business development shop. Although her own venture is only one year old, it is part of a long resume of business development projects that made Kaleena one of the busiest and best-connected young entrepreneurs in the city.
said. She finished that one-year position and immediately joined the Youth Mean Business program through Community Futures which did double duty: taught her new business skills while honing her own entrepreneurial project. It attracted clients as soon as it was open. Under the wing of acclaimed Prince George business development personality Shauna Harper, Kaleena is also one of the main thrusts behind much of the StartUp Prince George initiative, organizing mentorship events like StartUp Weekend and Mentor 2 Mentor. She is also a key part of StartUp Prince George projects yet to be announced. Her focus on two-way education and communitybuilding philanthropy, while nurturing a new business of your own, demonstrates that you are never too advanced to learn and simultaneously never too young to teach.
“I completed the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s economic development internship and found an early placement with the North Peace Economic Development Commission,” she
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Title: Marketing and Development Officer Company: Theatre North West Age: 31 Musician, poet, mentor, impresario, author, academic, and theatre company official… Jeremy Stewart’s list of titles is long and literally creative. He was producing local concerts at the age of 15 and hasn’t stopped this activity, adding poetry readings and experimental music festivals to the list, among many other activities. His work has not just been yeoman’s, it has been quality. He holds a Masters degree from UNBC (with distinction), he is a three-time nominee for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, he is the winner of the Barry McKinnon Chapbook Award, he has been published by Caitlin Press, and is frequently tasked with lecturing or performing. “I have worked tirelessly and devotedly to the enrichment and celebration of Prince George’s unique arts scene since I was in junior high,” he explained. “I have performed or had a hand in producing performances at almost every venue in the city. It has been a singular pleasure for
me to contribute in this way, and in many ways, it has defined my life. I even met the woman who would become my wife at a concert I was playing. I believe passionately in the cultural life of this community, and I have never hesitated to participate and take the lead, doing whatever is necessary, and seeking out new ways to keep that scene vivid.” All these things are appendages to his chief job, attracting financial support to Prince George’s professional theatre company. There, too he has excelled. “I have set the all-time records for fundraising and sponsorship at Theatre North West.” He deliberately looks for holes in the local arts fabric and attempts to fill those voids, he said, and that applies also to his business approach at TNW.
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Top 40 Under 40
Title: Partner, Lawyer LLP, Lawyers Company: Heather Sadler Jenkins Age: 36 Roberta Stewart found a pair of passions within her profession. The partner at Heather Sadler Jenkins, northern BC’s largest law firm, is a solicitor specializing in the legalities of commerce. She was an honours student at the University of Saskatchewan’s law school, and a consecutive name on the principal’s list on her way to a double-major in Finance and Economics.
closely with the students during their articling year to ensure that they obtained work in all practice areas. I was responsible for ensuring the students were capable of practicing law upon completion of their articling year by helping them develop the skills necessary to practice law and the skills necessary to understand and succeed at the business of law.
She was called to the BC bar in 2004 and her first position was at HSJ where she continues today. But she does more than practice the law. She is also a valued mentor and office organizer.
“As supervising partner for two of our associates, I am directly responsible for ensuring the associates have a sufficient amount of work as well as being available for all questions involving practice, ethical and management issues.”
“As a member of our firm’s Associate Committee, I work closely with our associates (there are currently 6) to identify and deal with issues, develop strategies for the associates to reach their targets, encourage the associates when they are doing well and work with them when they are not,” she explained. “As a principal to two articling students, I worked
These tasks could be all-consuming, but Roberta makes sure to connect herself with the community as well. She has taken on substantial volunteer roles with the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Crime Stoppers, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Rotary, The YMCA of Northern BC, and oh yeah, she is also a marathon runner who coaches other runners.
Cindy Thomson Title: Partner Company: Deloitte LLP Age: 37
Cindy Thomson is the reason UNBC was conceived of and she has repaid the university’s mandate by staying in the north following her graduation in 1998, one of the school’s first grads. She was living in Quesnel and had no viable alternatives, she said, but for UNBC. Today she has a Bachelor of Commerce degree, an honours diploma in Accounting and Finance from CNC, she is a chartered accountant, is a veteran of the region’s business sector and two years ago was made a partner with Deloitte LLP. “As the youngest leader in our practice, I was promoted based upon my ability to work with staff and approachability,” she said. “I lead the learning for our office, and also facilitate learning sessions across the BC region for practitioners in our other offices. I have always been innovative in finding ways to encourage participation by our team in different activities outside of work to help build a cohesive and happy group.” When times got tough in the mid-2000s, many regional firms turned to Thomson for guidance. “I have had the opportunity to work with some
of Prince George and the surrounding area’s most successful businesses,” she said, and many grew even under the harsh economic conditions of the time. “As we work to transition Prince George business into the future, help the next generation take the reins and see opportunity on the horizon, I cannot think of a better place to be.” She is also an active Rotary member, and shares with her husband the organizing of about 25 cycling events in the area each year. In order to help with the PGSS Outdoor Recreation course, she became a certified flat-water canoe instructor on top of hiking Mount Robson, winter camping, etc. “I am a full time wife, a full time mom and a full time partner at Deloitte. Being able to balance all of those and still have time for me is a regular challenge. None is more important than the other, each takes priority at different times for different reasons, and that works.”
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Title: President Company: Seth Tobin Jewellers Age: 38 In businesses built on creative arts, experience is paramount. Seth Tobin has achieved a sterling reputation despite lacking the numerical asset of age. Although still south of 40, he has been designing and crafting original jewelry for more than 20 years, becoming a Prince George commercial institution in the process. More remarkable, his showroom / workshop has been open since only 2008. “Seth Tobin Jewellers is a continuation of a 40-year family tradition,” he said, learning the goldsmithing craft from his father and grandfather who operated the National Jewellers chain of stores. His tools have shaped an award-winning career out of precious metal and stone, most notably making the JCK Magazine Top 50 list for North America’s designer-retailers in 2009.
during the downturn. He reported sales increases of 50 per cent over the past two years and he invested in his business by implementing a CAD jewelry design system for precision crafting. He is also currently training an apprentice goldsmith to add more creative and business capacity to the Prince George region. Customers come to Seth for custom items for the sake of luxury, investment and first-generation heirlooms, but he also uses his talents for community benevolence. He has donated thousands of dollars in hardware and time to numerous charities and causes. As a philanthropist, entrepreneur and craftsman, Seth Tobin finds a way to shine.
Hard economic times, globally, had their effect on many local businesses but Tobin was expanding
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Top 40 Under 40
Few people have the direct impact on the physical environment in Prince George than Tiina Watt has. In her position in the planning department at City Hall, she has helped shape and develop the Official Community Plan (OCP) and works closely with the community’s myPG Sustainability Plan (myPG). This OCP guides everything from where homes and businesses are built, where roads and pipes are installed, air quality improvements, climate change actions, green energy, downtown vitality, suburban connectivity, i.e. growth management; almost anything that concerns Mayor and Council. When local government sets out to do the myPG Plan or an OCP, community engagement is critical. Tiina took this engagement to heart, using everything from photo contests to community event appearances to social media to stimulate more involvement and input. “Our community continues to speak of the myPG work as an example of valued open and transparent engagement efforts. These engagement efforts inspired the OCP process to gather input in unconventional yet affective ways,” she said ‘’we continue to explore what alternative ways we can engage with community that go beyond legislative requirements” This applies to smaller scale projects as well. She led the Visitable Housing project for the City with many valuable community partners to address the ever-increasing housing demand for basic levels of accessibility in new construction. Thanks to this collaborative effort, this project received the
2011 Measuring up the North Award of Excellence - President’s Award for Leadership & Innovation at the North Central Local Government Association conference. Since graduating in 2002 with a B.Sc. Environmental Planning from UNBC, her involvement as a Registered Planner within her professional organization has ranged from chairing the annual provincial planning conference (PIBC) in our city, to representing our provincial affiliate PIBC in drafting the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) Policy on Climate Change. Tiina’s other community involvement includes guest lectures and committee work at UNBC, including a previous 5 years as a UNBC Alumni Association Board Director, and an active member at the Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable (PGAIR). Although UNBC is credited as one of the many reasons she chooses Prince George to work, live, and play; she also credits the recreational opportunities that abound here to provide a work-life balance for her and her family. Examples of new wide array of recreational skills she acquired in PG over the years that may not have been available in other locations include soccer, skate skiing at Otway, boxing, snowmobiling, geocaching, hiking, wrestling, track & field, volunteer coaching, etc. “It’s the innovative thinking, entrepreneurial energy, and general sense of adventure that exists in this community and its’ people that continually inspire me to work towards our shared future”
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Title: Announcer / Music and Assistant Program Director Company: Vista Radio Broadcast Group Age: 33 Kyle Wightman started out doing the Community Cruiser segments on local radio, and is now in management while also co-hosting (with Carol Gass) one of the most popular morning shows in the market – one of the best respected country shows in BC. “I am now in charge of the music for 6 country music radio stations: Prince George, Vanderhoof, Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile House and Bonnyville,” he explained. “My speciality is in the music programming department where I train and assist co-workers with the computer software used to schedule music here in Prince George and throughout the province and country within Vista Broadcasting.” He is a graduate of the well known broadcasting program at BCIT, and started his broadcast career in Vancouver entry-level positions. He took his next step to Smithers, then to CIRX/CJCI in Prince George, expanding his responsibilities all
the while. Mentoring many of BC’s best-known broadcasters has been one of his favourite duties. Ten years in Prince George has made him one of the most recognizable names and voices in the city, and he is never shy about applying that reputation to charitable causes. The list of community development events and initiatives he has aided is too long to list. “I grew up in Vancouver and I am proud to tell the world that Prince George is my home,” he said. “My wife Carla, and two children Grace and Thomas, love Prince George and I enjoy having a high profile job in this community that allows me to showcase all the great people found here. I have been very fortunate to have made so many friends and business relationships from being out in the business community and meeting listeners in town through this occupation.”
Congratulations to Shauna Harper, 2013 recipient of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year award, and an amazing example of an “under 40” making a difference in our community. Shauna is a digital communication specialist and co-owner of Live Work Communications. She serves on the board of NTES and Community Futures. In 2013, she volunteered to lead the Startup PG movement as they organized 17 events to rally up the entrepreneurial spirit in our city.
Top 40 Under 40
Congratulations to the top 40 young people who have taken advantage of opportunity and affordability in Prince George
A special congrats to Arvinder Billing for being one of the top 40 under 40 this year. He shared his story as one of the six champions from our project. Visit our website to see why he decided to Consider PG. www.ConsiderPG.com
The Consider Prince George project is made possible by the Immigrant Employment Council of BC. Funding is provided by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.
Prince George Chamber of Commerce
Building B.C.’s Industrial Supply Chain Connecting northern B.C. industrial service and supply companies
The Prince George Top 40 Under 40 publication not only promotes young professionals in our community, but also highlights Prince George’s strong business climate. We recognize PG’s outstanding professionals, and students.
Candidates were nominated from the general public and winners were chosen based on professional achievements, experience, leadership, and community involvement. We hope to continue this project as an annual publication featuring this great City and our residents. Thank you to participants who nominated a candidate, the nominees themselves, our judges, and advertisers who made this financially possible. This publication is the property of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce. No content may be reproduced except with the permission from the Prince George Chamber of Commerce. All efforts have been made to ensure accuracy of this publication; however the publisher or its contractors accept no responsibility for errors or omissions. Cover & Bio Photos: David Mah Cover Design: Christine Blok Layout & Design: SpeeDee Printing Solutions Biography Write ups: Frank Peebles
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