External Community Advisory Council

Chair: Professor Deborah Buszard

Professor Deborah Buszard is UBC Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Okanagan campus.

Before coming to UBC in 2012, Prof. Buszard was a professor and member of the College of Sustainability at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, NS. She coordinated the academic sustainability project at Dalhousie which led to the creation of the College of Sustainability in 2008.

Prior to joining Dalhousie in 2006, she was Professor of Plant Science at McGill University and she served as Dean of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Associate Vice-Principal of the Macdonald Campus from 1996 to 2005.

A plant scientist and strawberry breeder, Prof. Buszard is author of numerous refereed scientific and technical publications on agriculture, fruit physiology, breeding and management. Her current research interests include institutional innovation and sustainability.

Prof. Buszard was born in the UK and earned her PhD from the University of London.  She has published research on plant physiology, strawberry breeding and horticultural crop management. She has been an active member in her community, including serving as Chair of the Board of Vanier College and President of the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science.

Back to top 

Co-Chair: Theresa Arsenault

Theresa Arsenault is a prominent lawyer within the Okanagan community, serving as a Partner of Pushor Mitchell LLP since 1986 (Managing Partner from 2000-2004).  In 2009, Ms. Arsenault was appointed as Queen’s Counsel (QC), an honorary title to recognize exceptional merit and contributions to the legal profession.

Ms. Arsenault has served on an extensive list of committees and professional organizations, past and present.  Among them, she served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors from 1986-1989.  She was a founder (and chair) of Friends of Okanagan College, in addition to serving as Vice Chair of the Okanagan University College Board of Governors.

Ms. Arsenault is a UBC alumna, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and later with a Bachelor of Laws.

Back to top 

Nick Arkle

Nick Arkle is the Chief Forester of Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd.

Lauded as one of Kelowna’s leading humanitarians, Mr. Arkle has committed himself to a number of local, national and international endeavors.  Of note, Mr. Arkle serves as the Director of Hope for the Nations (HFTN), a not-for-profit organization directed at children at risk in the developing world and, with his wife (Louise) who is also a UBC graduate, oversees the projects they are involved with in the Himalaya.  HFTN is more than a rescue operation and is committed to starting the process of change.  With HFTN, Mr. Arkle also serves as a United Nations Liaison.

A UBC alumnus (Bachelor of Science in Forestry, 1984), Mr. Arkle serves as Co-Chair of the Okanagan Partnership Society, acting as a steward for forest industry interests and sits on the UBC Faculty of Forestry Advisory board as well as numerous other regional and provincial forestry industry related committees.

Back to top 

James Baker

James Baker is the Mayor of Lake Country and serves as a Director on the Regional District of Central Okanagan Board.

Mr. Baker was influential in the development of policies and procedures for the Lake Country community through his election to the first District of Lake Country Council.  His involvement with the RDCO board has resulted in a number of remarkable improvements for Lake Country, including the establishment of the Carr’s Landing Fire Department and the founding of the Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society, to name a few.

Apart from his involvement in civil matters, Mr. Baker has been a professor of Anthropology for approximately three decades (with Langara Community College and Okanagan College).  In 2007, UBC’s Okanagan campus named Mr. Baker an Associate Professor Emeritus of Anthropology.

Back to top 

Colin Basran

Colin Basran is the Mayor of Kelowna. He spent his childhood in Rutland attending the Belgo and South Rutland Elementary Schools, Rutland Junior Secondary, Rutland Senior Secondary and KLO Secondary Schools, graduating in 1995 from KLO Secondary.

From 1995 to 2000, Colin attended Okanagan College studying English and History. After leaving Okanagan College, Colin entered the Broadcast Journalism Program at BCIT and graduated in 2002. Colin then married Leanne and they now have two children: daughter Nyah, born in 2010 and son Keenan, born in 2012.

Mayor Basran’s parents, George and Donna, raised him to love his community and instilled the very values that guide him today. The amazing journey of the Basran family, in search of new opportunities, led them to settle in the Okanagan and become one of the very first East Indian families in the area. His grandparents Jaginder and Naseeb Kaur Basran helped found the first Sikh Temple in Kelowna, while Joe and Julia Rieger were very active in Rutland as volunteers with Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Women’s League.

Back to top 

Dr. Pat Bowen

Pat Bowen is a whole-plant physiologist and viticulture researcher at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre (PARC) in Summerland.

An Associate of the UBC Wine Research Centre, Dr. Bowen’s research is directed towards understanding vineyard ecology.  She led the development of a geographic information system for viticulture in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys.

A UBC alumna, Dr. Bowen completed her Ph.D. in Ecology and Viticulture at the University of California, Davis.

Back to top 

Laurel Douglas

Laurel Douglas is CEO of the Women’s Enterprise Centre, which provides business loans, advisory services, resources, training and mentors to women business owners throughout BC. She was the founding Executive Director of the Science & Technology Council of the Okanagan (now Accelerate Okanagan).

She has a background in technology, finance and economic development, and an interest in post-secondary education. Laurel posses a BBA from Wilfrid Laurier University (1983), an MBA from INSEAD (1987), and a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Community Economic Development from SFU (1995). Laurel received the ‘Order of Entrepreneurship’ in 2008 from Small Business BC for her contributions to supporting small businesses in the province, a silver medal for ‘Economic Developer of the Year’ from the Economic Development Association of BC in 2009, and was named one of the ‘World of Difference 100 Award’ winners by The International Alliance of Women in 2011.

Back to top 

James Eccott

James Eccott is the Chairman and Director Northern Air Support Ltd. and Canterra Minerals Corp.  In addition, Mr. Eccott serves as a Director of Prism Resources Inc. and Sun-Rype Products Ltd.

Mr. Eccott has a long-standing history with UBC.  A UBC alumnus, he graduated from UBC’s Bachelor of Commerce program in 1955.  He also recently completed a six-year term on the UBC Board of Governors.

Prior, Mr. Eccott formed Eccott Building Supplies Ltd., following employment with Crown Zellerbach Canada Ltd. in Vancouver and Conklin Lumber Company Ltd. in Kingsville, Ontario.  Following the sale of Eccott Building Supplies, Mr. Eccott became an independent lumber broker until joining Dia Met Minerals in 1992 (he retired in 2000 with the sale of Dia Met to BHP Minerals Ltd.).

Back to top 

Amal Alhuwayshil

Amal Alhuwayshil is President of the UBC Students Union Okanagan (UBCSUO), a TEDx speaker, and a fourth year Management student.

Back to top 

Doug Findlater

Doug Findlater is the Mayor of the City of West Kelowna.  In addition, Mr. Findlater is a Director representing West Kelowna on the board of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, and a Director to the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

Mr. Findlater served as a Councillor on the first Council when West Kelowna was officially incorporated in December 2007.  Prior, he chaired the Westside Governance Committee for four years leading up to the governance referendum held in June 2007.

Mr. Findlater studied and completed degree programs and a post-graduate diploma in public sector management at Notre Dame University of Nelson and the University of Victoria.

Back to top 

Dick Fletcher

Dick Fletcher, P. Eng., is a partner in the Kelowna offices of Urban Systems Ltd., one of Western Canada’s leading multi-disciplinary consulting firms that provides expertise in the fields of civil engineering, community planning and landscape architecture.

Following the completion of his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (University of Saskatchewan, 1969), Mr. Fletcher worked as a city engineer and consultant throughout Western Canada.  He is a past President of Engineers Canada (2008-2009), the Association of Professional Engineers of British Columbia (2002-2003) and also served on the advisory board for Okanagan College’s water quality technology program.

Mr. Fletcher serves on the Board of Engineers Canada and chairs the International Committee.  As co-chair of the Okanagan Partnership, Engineering Advisory Committee, Mr. Fletcher was instrumental in assuring that the newly formed Okanagan campus of UBC developed full-degree engineering programs.

Back to top 

Corie Griffiths

Corie Griffiths is Manager of the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC).

Originally from California, Corie emigrated to the Okanagan in 2002. Following an assignment with the Regional District of Central Okanagan in the Parks department, she joined COEDC as the Marketing and Research Assistant in 2006, moving to Business Development Officer in 2010, and taking on the lead role of Manager in 2015.

Corie is a key resource for business retention and attraction initiatives, leading projects such as Canada’s first Business Walks and the inaugural Okanagan Valley Economic Profile and Site Selection Toolkit. She represents the COEDC as a member of the Economic Development Association of British Columbia (EDABC) and has also served on the EDABC Executive. She has served on the Okanagan Valley Economic Development Society (OVEDS) executive since 2008 including two terms as chair from 2010-2012. As a committed economic development practitioner she is working towards accreditation as an International Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council. Corie is very proud to have received her Canadian Citizenship in 2009.

Back to top 

Andrew Jakubeit

Andrew Jakubeit is the Mayor of Penticton. He was elected in November 2014 following two terms on Penticton City Council.

Born in Toronto, Andrew and his family moved to Kelowna where he grew up, graduated from KLO Secondary and attended Okanagan College. He started his own wholesale company distributing CD’s which is how he met his wife, LeAnne 23 years ago. Together they have raised two children, Dustin and Ronni and two dogs, Floyd and Ozzy.

Andrew moved his business to Penticton 22 years ago and together with his wife they operate the Grooveyard CD and clothing company in Downtown Penticton. Andrew also started a video production company (Groove-V Productions) that specializes in web streaming of sporting events, business and product promotional videos.

Past accomplishments include being President of the Downtown Penticton Association where he lobbied for the 1 hour free parking and championed the Community Market in the 200 block of Main Street. Andrew is the organizer of the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Classic. He also helped to negotiate a deal to bring Axel Merckx Gran Fondo to Penticton. Andrew has 20 years volunteering with Minor Hockey with the last 5 of those years on the BC Hockey Executive Board. Andrew currently is a liaise for Trails of the Okanagan Society and member of the Okanagan Film Commission.

Back to top 

Al Klar

Al Klar is the President of R&R Plastics Ltd., the Owner and President of Klar Global Distribution Inc., and part of the family chain of Canopy West Truck Accessories (in Canada and the United States).

Additionally, Mr. Klar owns and manages a family orchard in Keremeos (for over thirty years), and is a Principal in Top Five Developments Inc., an Okanagan development company lauded as an innovative force in the Okanagan construction sector.

He is a former President of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce and Director of the Okanagan Valley Fruit Authority (an appointment that he has served for four consecutive terms).  Mr. Klar was also a Director for the Okanagan Partnership, South Okanagan.

Back to top 

Douglas Manning

Douglas Manning is an Educational Consultant for Bridges Transitions Inc., a leading provider of software-based and online education planning, career exploration, and high school/college test preparation resources.

Mr. Manning has been deeply involved in education, having been a teacher, school counselor and district administrator of career programs.  He co-founded Bridges Transitions Inc. in 1994, which has subsequently been acquired by Xap Corporation in 2006.

In 2006, he left his post as Bridges President in order to invest greater time in a more proactive role as an Educational Consultant.

Back to top 

Lorraine McGrath

Lorraine McGrath is a director of the Interior Health Authority, director of Paragon Pharmacies Ltd. (publicly traded).  In addition, she held the position of Advisory/Director for the Okanagan School of Business and Regional Advisory for Okanagan College.

Ms. McGrath has an impressive background in financial services, having served with the Bank of Montreal for 18 years and more recently with Prospera Credit Union.

She has been actively involved in the Okanagan community, having served as President of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Director of the BC Chamber of Commerce, Director of the Okanagan Partnership, and a Director of the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission.  Ms. McGrath was recognized with the Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 and more recently as the 2007 Kelowna Woman of the Year.

Back to top 

Tracy Medve

Trace Medve is the President of Kelowna Flightcraft.

Ms. Medve has been involved in the aviation industry since 1985.  She has held various senior management positions prior to co-founding C.T. AeroProjects in 1992.  C.T. is an air transport resource management and consulting company which provides both strategic planning and hands-on services to a variety of air carriers and others with aviation investments and interests (both in Canada and abroad).

Ms. Medve graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1981 (Law) and earned her Global Aviation MVA from John Molson School of Business in 2008.  She sits on the Boards of the Northern Air Transport Association and the Air Transport Association of Canada and is a past member of the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada.

Back to top 

Akbal Mund

Akbal Mund is the Mayor of Vernon. He was elected in November 2014.

Prior to his election Mr. Mund operated a Wendy’s franchise. He has been involved in a variety of community organizations, including as a board member of VantageOne Credit Union, President of the Vernon Soccer Association and President of the Greater Vernon BC 2012 Winter Games.

He is married to Tania and they have two children.

Back to top 

Jason Neale

Dr. Jason Neale is the past CEO of Accelerate Okanagan and a serial entrepreneur.  He founded OmniGlobe, the fastest growing technology company in 2007, ranked in the Top 10 Deloitte Fast 50 Technology companies in 2010.  He also founded Lynx Mobility, a spectrum holding cellular company and TSA, a UK consulting company.

Jason holds a PhD in Electrical Systems Engineering from the University of Essex, UK, as well as MBAs from London Business School, UK and the Columbia Business School. In 2009, he was the recipient of an Ernst and Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award, as well as the Canadian National Ernst and Young award for Design and Innovation.

Back to top 

Edna Terbasket

Edna Terbasket is the Executive Director of the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, a non-profit organization working with and for First Nations people and the Okanagan community at-large. She also serves on School District #23’s Aboriginal Education Committee.

Earlier, Ms. Terbasket served as an appointed member on the Board of Okanagan University College.

Back to top 

Renée Wasylyk

Renée Wasylyk, CEO of Kelowna-based Troika Group, leads an organization including commercial and residential development projects and construction companies. Troika has projects in three provinces including commercial buildings, residential developments, and master-planned communities on over a thousand acres.

Renée was recognized as 2012`s Maureen Enser Future Leader Award winner as well as one of CHBA Canada`s Top 20 Most Influential People in Residential Development. Additionally, Renee was 2008’s Business Excellence Award recipient for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under  40 award as well as all of her projects achieving Tommie recognition. In 2007 Wasylyk was a finalist for the Sarah Donalda Treadgold Memorial Award for Woman of the Year in Kelowna and Kelowna’s Business Excellence Award. Troika Developments has won six silver Tommie awards from the Kelowna CHBA: including Large Volume Builder of the Year.

Wasylyk is President of the Urban Development Institute (Okanagan), the Past-Chairman of the Economic Development Commission, and on the Breakfast Clubs of Canada National Board. She has been a member of the UDI Sustainability and Affordable Housing committees, the City of Kelowna Water Conservation Committee and Task Force, and the Wireless Power and Light Steering Committee.

Back to top