Patrick Deakin, Chair
Patrick Deakin is the Economic Development Manager for the City of Port Alberni for the last 10 years. Previous roles have included Manager of Partnerships & Policy Development at the OneStop Business Registry; Economic Development Officer for Oliver & District; Band Manager & Economic Development Manager for the Uchucklesaht Tribe. Have worked in the high tech, environmental, tourism, forestry, mining and retail fields.
Amy Reid, Vice-Chair
Amy has been the Economic Development Officer in Quesnel since 2013. Past projects have included rebranding the community, developing a successful healthcare recruitment program, and completing and now implementing a sub-regional trails master plan and sign strategy. Amy works closely with the forestry, mining, agriculture and tourism sectors in the community and enjoys seeing small business succeed. Amy brings a Cariboo perspective to the BCEDA board, and enjoys working in a small city with big aspirations.
Brian Coombes, Treasurer
Brian was chosen as the Director of Tourism and Business Development for the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation (CEPCO) when it was created in 1998. CEPCO is an economic development corporation owned by the City of Chilliwack that is responsible for the communitys economic growth and marketing. Brians responsibilities included developing and implementing a wide range of programs to help strengthen the economy of the city of Chilliwack, including the management of Tourism Chilliwack, a CEPCO subsidiary.
In 2006 Tourism Chilliwack was incorporated following the same model as CEPCO. Brian then moved into the position of Executive Director and worked closely with a private sector Board of Directors to develop and strengthen the tourism industry in Chilliwack.
In December 2013 Brian returned to CEPCO when he was selected as the new President. Working alongside a Board of Directors that reflects CEPCOs public-private sector make-up, Brian leads a staff team responsible for implementing a range of successful programs and partnerships that have helped CEPCO attract and facilitate economic growth in the city of Chilliwack. Successful projects include Canada Education Park, a 200 acre redevelopment of former CFB Chilliwack lands, and also the new Molson Coors British Columbia brewery, the largest private sector investment in Chilliwacks history.
Trevor Cootes, Secretary
Trevor Cootes was born and raised in Port Alberni. He belongs to the Apwinisath
Trevor is serving his first term as an elected member of Executive Councilor for the Huu-ay-
With 18 years of experience in the tourism
Trevor attended Malaspina University/College (now Vancouver Island University) and took Business Management and Hospitality Management. Trevor had an opportunity to further his skills in tourism by taking a pilot project created jointly with Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and North Island College. The Coast Adventure Tourism certificate trained Nuu-chah-nulth members who are already interested in tourism to be outdoor guides, in fishing, kayaking, sailing and boating.
As a first-term councillor, Trevor looks forward to the challenges his new role with Huu-ay-
Trevor has a keen interest in the outdoors and sports and taking part in our Huu-ay-
John Perrott, Director
John Perrott, is the Economic Development Officer for the City of West Kelowna, managing both Tourism and Economic Development portfolios since 2010. John graduated Okanagan College with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2003 and immediately began a career in Community Development by working for the Downtown Kelowna Association (BIA). While with the Association, John worked as the Marketing Director for three years before being promoted to Executive Director in 2007. From 2006 to 2010, he served as a Director and Vice President of the Business Improvement Area Association of British Columbia.
John joined the City of West Kelowna in December 2010 as the first Economic Development Officer, spearheading a number of initiatives including forming the Westside Wine Trail, Westside Farm Loop, establishing the Economic Development Committee, and managing the rebranding of Visit Westside tourism marketing cooperative. In 2015, Johns dedication to his community was recognized with two awards: 2015 Okanagan College Young Alumni & Top 40 Under 40. Outside of the office, youll likely find John enjoying the best of the Okanagan lifestyle: skiing, golfing, boating, wine touring, and cooking!
Will George, Director
Will George has been the Economic Development, Communications, and Tourism Manager at the City of Merritt since 2015. He works with current and prospective businesses to support a diverse and growing economy while coordinating communications to engage both locals and visitors. To promote the development of Merritt's talent, Will coordinates local entrepreneurship initiatives and mentors youth to assist with City wide projects.
Will has always participated actively and enthusiastically to the benefit of his communities. Before earning his degree in Economics and Political Science from Thompson Rivers University, Will held a leadership role with the Student Union along with several clubs and committees. Most notably, Will brought in renowned speaker, Dr. Jane Goodall, and raised awareness of rising tuition costs. Will remained in Kamloops after graduation and gained experience managing non-profit organizations in the community before traveling North to start his Economic Development career.
After working in Prince George, Lytton, and Wells; Will joined the team at the City of Merritt and quickly connected with his new community. Will is currently involved in several non-profits in the Nicola Valley supporting community growth and enhancement. In his free time, you will likely find Will enjoying one of the nearby lakes, visiting new hiking trails, or exploring rural communities around the globe.
John Powell, Director
John Powell has been the Director of Economic Development and Tourism at the District of Tumbler Ridge since April 2016. Previous to this, he was Economic Development Officer for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen since December 2010.
John has worked very closely with small business throughout the community of Tumbler Ridge as well as with the communitys metallurgical coal mining, forestry, wind energy and tourism sectors. In addition, Johns role has included the rebranding of the community and Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global geopark, the development of an on-line commercial and industrial land sale database and launching the planning and development of Tumbler Ridges first rural residential lot development as well as other commercial and residential subdivisions. Furthermore, he has developed and implemented a signage and wayfinding strategy for Tumbler Ridge and the Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark.
John is also proud to be a director on the Boards of Community Futures Peace Liard and Tumbler Ridges preschool and daycare, as well as Chair of Tumbler Ridges Tourism Advisory Committee. In addition, John has recently co-launched a Teen Support Network that seeks to support teenagers in the community. Current projects include career and university exploratory events and preparing teens for the financial, health and life style challenges of leaving home.
John lives in Tumbler Ridge with his wife, Melinda, two sons Zachary and Ryan and dog, Callie. He can often be found hiking or snow shoeing with his family on local trails, camping and growing food in his backyard. He is also a passionate traveller with a lengthy and ever-growing bucket list.
Rocio Zielinski, Director
Rocio, whose Indigenous background is from Mexico, is dedicated to leading the momentum of the rapidly expanding Indigenous economy in S’olh Téméxw, the Stó:l Traditional Territory, with her strongly connected relationships with Indigenous Communities, businesses and entrepreneurs. Since joining Stó:l Community Futures (SCF) in 2005, and now in her new role as General Manager, she continues to contribute to the social and economic well-being of S’ólh Téméxw, and supporting the development and expansion of the Indigenous business economy.
With the support of the SCF Board of Directors, Rocio has focused the recent activities of SCF on a new grassroots foundation approach to building the business capacity of Indigenous Communities, businesses and Community Members, by linking new and/or existing Indigenous businesses with business counselling, training and financing supports and ongoing aftercare. Rocio and her Team also provide Indigenous community development corporations with the financing and support services to proactively expand economic development projects and Community-owned businesses.
Rocio has successfully held many diverse roles, including Chair of the former Aboriginal Business Services Network, a Provincial Board of Directors; played a key role in SCF’s development and launch of the unique and powerful Brand initiative, STÓ:L MEANS BUSINESSTM, created by SCF in 2014, which was shared on the provincial and national stages. In her previous role of SCF Operations and Loan Manager, Rocio was part of SCF’s 2015 Community Futures of British Columbia Award for Excellence and Innovation as well as the 2016 Community Futures Investment Fund Portfolio Award.
Rocio has expanded SCF’s services by opening Community Satellite Offices throughout S’ólh Téméxw, giving Community Members the benefit of having SCF’s services and assistance within their own home Community. She has facilitated unique and accessible business training programs for Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs, including Aboriginal BEST, Each One Grow One with Vancity, as well as other training sessions in operations, finance, marketing, social media and opportunities in the energy sector and with drones.
Rocio continues her work in leading SCF, by providing capital to start-up and expanding businesses, with funds provided by Western Economic Diversification. Rocio has been instrumental in securing much-needed additional capital through beneficial partnerships, to support the Indigenous economy in S’ólh Téméxw, with the development of innovative Indigenous business lending programs, such as the SCF/Bank of Montréal Micro Loans Program and the Stó:l Community Lending Fund (now the SCF/Vancity Indigenous Impact Lending Program) with Vancity Credit Union.
Jennifer Wetmore, Director
Jennifer Wetmore is the General Manager of Community Futures Boundary, a small business development organization located in the Boundary Region of B.C. She brings over 30 years of professional experience in community economic development, project and people management, training development, and sales and marketing experience. Jennifer holds a BA from UBC, a Marketing Management diploma from BCIT, and recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Workplace Innovation at Royal Roads University. She is passionate about rural communities, is a strong advocate of grassroots community economic development and is very interested in what builds resilience in community.
Stacey Crawford, Director
For the past 12 years, Stacey has served as the Director of Economic Development for the District of Mission. In this role, he is responsible for economic development, tourism and film production services. His current focus is serving as the lead on the Waterfront Revitalization Initiative, a 300-acre master planning effort spanning 3km of the Fraser River shoreline. Stacey is also the lead on the District’s employment lands strategy, which will be completed in 2021.
He began his professional career in real estate and worked as a realtor and part-owner of the business over a period of five years. Following this, Stacey worked for eight years in community development with Community Futures Development Corporation in Mission, Abbotsford and Chilliwack. In this role he managed the environmental, First Nations and business lending and counseling portfolios. Following this, he was a commercial account manager with the Business Development Bank of Canada.
In addition to his professional career, Stacey has an extensive background as a community volunteer that includes past and current board governance roles including the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Mission Midday, Kinsmen Club and Community Futures North Fraser. In addition, he currently serves on the board and is the former board chair of Prospera Credit Union, a $9B cooperative financial institution with presence in the Lower Mainland and Okanagan.
Stacey’s formal educational background includes a Diploma in Business Management from Thompson Rivers University, a Master of Arts in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University, and has his ICD.D designation, having completed the Directors Education Program at the Institute of Corporate Directors. He also studied the Management of Cooperatives at the University of Bologna, Italy.
Maureen Czirfusz, Chair
Maureen began her career at the Houston and District Chamber of Commerce in the fall of 2007 after twelve years in the insurance industries. Her love and commitment to the community brought her to make the career change. In January 2011, her position was restructured to also include the duties of Economic Development Officer for the District of Houston.
During her time at the Chamber, Maureen has worked very hard in growing the Chamber and developing a strong membership. The chamber works closely with the local merchants and successfully runs their shop local program. In 2019 over $79,960.00 was kept in the community with this program.
Maureen was on the board of directors for the British Columbia Chamber Executives (BCCE) from 2012-2014. She was honoured with the Gerry Frederick Executive of the Year in 2013 from the BCCE. Maureen is currently the chair for the BC Economic Development Association and serves on several local boards in her community.