Board of Directors

Brian Coombes, Chair, Director for Lower Mainland/Southwest

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.

Amy Reid, Past Chair, Director for the Cariboo

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.

Rocio Zielinski, Vice-Chair, Director at Large

Rocio is dedicated to leading the momentum of the rapidly expanding Indigenous economy in S‘olh Téméxw, the Stó:lo Traditional Territory, with her strong connections and relationships with Indigenous Communities, businesses, and entrepreneurs. Since joining Stó:lo Community Futures (SCF) in 2005, as Operations Manager and now in her role as General Manager since 2019, Rocio contributes to the social and economic well-being of S‘ólh Téméxw, by supporting and advancing the development and expansion of the Indigenous business economy. 

With the support of the SCF Board of Directors, Rocio has focused the activities of SCF on a 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, 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, whose Indigenous background is from Mexico, 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:LO MEANS BUSINESSTM, created by SCF in 2014, which was shared on the provincial and national stages. Rocio played key roles in SCF‘s 2015 Community Futures of British Columbia Award for Excellence and Innovation as well as the 2016 Community Futures Investment Fund Portfolio Award. With her leadership, SCF was recognized by the Indigenomics Institute Inc.‘s 2020 Indigenomics 10 to Watch List, for organizations that have demonstrated excellence, innovation, leadership and committed action towards the growth of the Indigenous economy. 

Rocio has expanded SCF‘s services with Community Satellite Offices throughout S‘ólh Téméxw, giving Community Members the benefit of having SCF‘s services and assistance within their own 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 Micro Loans Program and the Indigenous Impact Lending Program partnership with Vancity Credit Union. Rocio is a new Board Member of the BC Economic Development Association Board of Directors, and continues to build partnership on a provincial and national level with organizations such as NACCA, New Relationship Trust and CANDO.

John Perrott, Treasurer, Director forThompson-Okanagan

John Perrott, is the Manager of Economic Development and Tourism for the City of Vernon, beginning in June 2021. Previously, John worked as the Economic Development and Tourism Manager for the City of West Kelowna (2010 – 2021) and for the Downtown Kelowna Association as the Director of Marketing (2003 – 2007) and Executive Director (2007 – 2010). Throughout his career, he’s been actively involved in his profession by serving on the boards for the Business Improvement Association of British Columbia and British Columbia Economic Development Association. Outside of his professional roles, John has contributed to his community through serving on numerous community not for profit boards and advisory committees.  

John is proud to have attended both Okanagan College (Bachelor of Business Administration, 2003) and the University of British Columbia (Master of Management, 2019) in Kelowna, BC. In 2015, John’s dedication to his community was recognized with two awards: 2015 Okanagan College Young Alumni & Top 40 Under 40. Outside of the office, you’ll likely find John enjoying the best of the Okanagan lifestyle: skiing, cycling, boating, wine touring, and cooking!

Will George, Secretary, Director for Northwest/Nechako

Will George is the Project Manager with the City of Coquitlam as of June 2021. Before that, Will was the Economic Development, Communications, and Tourism Manager at the City of Merritt from 2015 - 2021. Will has worked on downtown revitalization initiatives, industrial land projects and tourism product development. To promote the development of BC’s talent, Will coordinates local entrepreneurship initiatives and mentors youth to assist with Citywide 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 travelling North to start his Economic Development career.

After working in Prince George, Lytton, and Merritt, Will joined the team at the City of Coquitlam and quickly connected with his new community. Will is currently involved in several non-profits 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 creative community initiatives around the globe.

Stacey Crawford, Director at Large

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.

Kate Mulligan, Director at Large

Kate Mulligan is the Economic Development Officer for the District of Squamish, one of Canada’s fastest-growing municipalities. Kate leads the district’s economic development efforts to achieve community outcomes aligned with social, environmental, and financial objectives. Since joining the District, Kate has helped propel 29% firm growth and 6% employment growth in the last five years by designing strategy, leading implementation, executing business and partnership development, strategic promotion, business programming, research, and service development.

Before joining the District,  Kate held various roles with Canada’s international tourism marketing organization, Destination Canada (DC), overseeing the creation of the award-winning Millennial Travel Program in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, forging over 20 strategic partnerships and the development of multi-million-dollar media and production agreement with Bell Media. During her time with DC, Kate fortified corporate relevance among key Canadian tourism stakeholders across private, non-profit, and public sectors, spearheading special projects for senior management, including Canada’s first crowdsourced travel video, 35 Million Directors.

Kate is the Board Chair for the Squamish Sustainability Corporation, Board Director and Secretary of the Sea to Sky Outdoor Adventure Recreation Enterprise Society (SOARE), and Director at Large for the BC Economic Development Association.

Kate holds certificates in Executive Management and Essential Management Skills from the UBC Sauder School of Business, a Project Management Certificate from McMaster University, and a Diploma of Technology with a specialization in Marketing Management, Small Business and Professional Sales from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Deklan Corstanje, Director for Northeast Region

Deklan Corstanje is the Manager of Economic Development at the City of Terrace and is responsible for supporting economic growth and diversity for his community. His strengths in strategic planning, relationship building, research, and project management help him achieve his Council’s goals of optimizing Terrace’s investment readiness, improving Terrace’s position as an economic and cultural hub, and increasing and maintaining Terrace’s industrial tax base.

Deklan’s career includes some early achievements including two BC Economic Development Awards, one for Economic Resiliency and Recovery and one for Marketing Innovation; both awards were the result of collaborative initiatives fostered through his relationships with local and regional partners.

Proudly born and raised in northern BC, Deklan has his degree from the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George and currently lives in his hometown where he and his wife are raising their young daughter and taking advantage of the endless outdoor activities the region has to offer.

Pete Bourke, Director for Kootenay

With over 20 years of senior management experience throughout tourism, hospitality, non-profit and customer service sectors, Pete is a culture focused leader with a coach approach mindset.  He understands the value of enhancing organizations, managers, and leaders with the tools to succeed.  Having owned his own business and worked in senior roles with some of the larger employers in the East Kootenay region, Pete has a firsthand appreciation for what it takes to be successful in rural areas.  Pete places high importance on building a sense of community and giving back to others, as evidenced through his continued commitments with board roles and supporting non-profit organizations.

An alumnus of Royal Roads University, he holds a Graduate Executive Coaching Certificate (CEC) and is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF).  Pete is also EQ-i2.0 & EQ360 certified for Emotional Intelligence and undertaking his Masters in Business Administration.

Pete is the Executive Director for the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce, and along with his Chamber team they are the contract provider of the Columbia Valley Community Economic Development Office, a service of the Regional District of East Kootenay.

Rose Klukas, Director for Vancouver Island/Coast

Rose Klukas, Ec.D. is the City of Campbell River’s Director of Economic Development and Indigenous Relations.  In her role, Rose provides leadership and strategic direction, collaborating with key stakeholders to make Campbell River a compelling choice for businesses to grow.  

Rose is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction in economic development, tourism, airport operations, indigenous relationships, and corporate leadership within a growing municipality. Work done in economic development distinguishes Campbell River as an investment friendly community.  

Recognizing the importance of regional and national partnerships, Rose sits as a Director on BC Economic Development Association and the Economic Development Association of Canada and is President of Vancouver Island Economic Development Association.

Developing excellent working relationships with all levels of government, community and business groups is a priority for Rose and key to creating sustainable economic development opportunities. 

Terése Finegan, Director at Large

In January 2021, Terése Finegan assumed the role of Director of Economic Development and Tourism in the District of Tumbler Ridge, Northeast BC. Having spent 13 years residing in Australia, she brought with her a wealth of experience from both the private sector and local government. During her time in Australia, Terese served as a Tourism Recovery Officer for the Southern Downs Regional Council, participating in the Australian and Queensland Government Tourism Recovery Officers program. This initiative aimed to assist tourism-dependent areas affected by the devastating Queensland bushfires which occurred between September and December 2019, with a particular focus on the heavily impacted region of the Southern Downs.

Prior to her role as a Tourism Recovery Officer, Terese worked as a Business Development Facilitator within the Economic Development team at the Sunshine Coast Council in Queensland. During her tenure, she spearheaded the Commercial Precinct Activation project in Caloundra. This undertaking sought to bolster the collective resilience of the local business community while enhancing the attractiveness of the precinct as a destination.

Terese's professional background also includes positions at the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce, as well as running her own digital and marketing business. Additionally, she has owned and operated various businesses, including ventures in water feature design and a health shop, both in Australia and South Africa.

Terese has acquired a certification through Economic Development Australia and holds a Business Analytics certificate from the University of Cambridge. Her dedication to making a positive impact on the communities she resides in led her to relocate to the Township of Esquimalt, where she will launch the newly formed Economic Development Department.