BC Economic Summit 2016


Jun 12 - 16, 2016

Attend the BC Economic Summit - find out how to help support your local economic development goals.  

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Ben Stewart

BC Special Representative in Asia, Province of British Columbia

Bio: Ben Stewart was appointed British Columbia’s Special Representative in Asia on October 28, 2013 by Premier Christy Clark. As B.C.’s Special Representative in Asia, Mr. Stewart acts as the Government’s official on-the-ground representative in Asia, and reports directly to B.C.’s Minister of International Trade and Premier Clark. Special Representative Stewart works to further strengthen British Columbia’s government-to-government relationships in China, Japan, Korea, India and Southeast Asia. Special Representative Stewart represents British Columbia in meetings with government officials, and acts as an official signatory for the Province and leads the development of agreements with other governments. He also works to maximize strategic opportunities resulting from trade and investment missions, and strengthens high-level relationships with companies interested in developing, investing in or exporting B.C.’s natural gas opportunities. Special Representative Stewart previously served as the Minister of Citizens’ Services and Open Government, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Community and Rural Development, Minister of Citizens’ Services and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism and the Public Affairs Bureau. He was the MLA for Westside-Kelowna from 2009 until 2013. As an entrepreneur, in 1989 he founded and built Quail’s Gate into one of Canada’s leading estate wineries and began successfully exporting to Japan and Hong Kong in the early 1990s. Under his leadership as Chair of VQA Canada, the association successfully resolved a number of significant international issues such as trademark protection and international mutual recognition agreements. Special Representative Stewart also has 30 years of extensive experience serving the community as a board member for numerous foundations and is a founding director of a Venture Capital Fund for local business development in British Columbia.

Chloe Smith

General Manager/Co-Owner, Townsite Brewing

Bio: Chloe began her career as a professional brewer in 2003. She worked for many years in breweries of various sizes in Montreal where she met and married brewing engineer Cedric Dauchot. After a brief stint in Saskatoon in 2010 where they shopped around their brewpub business plan, Chloe and Cedric moved to Powell River to open Townsite Brewing in spring of 2012. These days Chloe runs the operational side of the brewery, providing the direction and voice of the company.

Chris Montgomery

Manager, E&P Communications and Outreach, CAPP

Bio: Chris Montgomery currently serves as the Manager, Exploration and Production Communications and Outreach for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Prior to joining CAPP, Chris spent his career in Ottawa providing advice to senior Cabinet Ministers, and serving as a political organizer.

Dale Wheeldon


Bio: Dale joined the BCEDA team in 2008. As the President and CEO he is responsible for leading the association through the development of programs and initiatives to support communities and economic development organizations. With over 24 years of economic development experience, Dale has successfully developed several award winning economic development programs, developed strategies and other initiatives in small and large communities. His excellent working relationships with all levels of government and industry associations have helped to ensure that BCEDA is well positioned to provide member services. Dale works extensively with other organizations including the International Economic Development Council as a course instructor, and with other Provincial economic development associations developing partnerships across Canada.

Derek De Candole

Business Attraction Specialist, Venture Kamloops

Bio: Derek de Candole is the Business Attraction Specialist with Venture Kamloops which is the economic development arm for the City of Kamloops. He earned his Bachelor of Planning Degree from the University of Northern B.C., was an Economic Development Intern for the Northern Development Initiative Trust, and most recently was the Economic Development Officer for the District of Logan Lake. Outside of work, he enjoys outdoor recreation and traveling.

Dr. Alissa Sklar

Director of Marketing, GIS Planning

Bio: Dr. Sklar is a recognized expert in economic development communication, marketing, and social media. As the Director of Marketing for GIS Planning, she works directly with clients to develop and fine-tune marketing campaigns to promote their use of ZoomProspector Enterprise and SizeUpLBI. Using the customized, collaborative approach that has always distinguished GIS Planning’s relationship with its clients, Dr. Sklar works to expand and fine-tune the reach of location brands in the highly competitive field of economic development. With a Ph.D. and M.A. in Communication and Cultural Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Dr. Sklar has worked extensively in both private and academic sectors, serving as a a social media consultant for economic development agencies, full time faculty member at Concordia University’s Department of Communication Studies, a research consultant at McGill University, blogger, and multiple award-winning journalist. The focus of Dr. Sklar’s research and writing has been on information and communication technologies and community cultures. She believes that using these technologies thoughtfully and effectively requires a skillful combination of knowledge, critique and creativity. Dr. Sklar has provided strategic teaching, consultation and training in educational, cultural and business settings for a variety of audiences across North America, synthesizing and presenting complex information in accessible and practical ways.

Dwayne Stewart

General Manager, BC Hop Company

Bio: Dwayne Stewart, 44, was born to the Sumas Prairie. He lived and worked on his family farm as the 3rd generation to dairy farm there. After graduating Abbotsford Senior, Dwayne attended the agriculture program at UFV focusing on business and greenhouse management. He then spent 22 years the construction and development industry. Having left that industry to pursue his passion for Agriculture, Dwayne and his wife of 24 years, Diane, are now the co-founders of their family owned companies Valley Hops Ltd, and the BC Hop Company Ltd. Dwayne has been an active member of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) Vancouver since 2000. He has made 4 appearances on Profit’s Fastest Growing companies lists, including the 99th fastest growing company in Canada in 2007. He was awarded Business In Vancouver's Top 40 Under 40 in 2007, and was nominated for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2009. He is a past board member of EO Vancouver and the Abbotsford Executive Committee, and he is a current board member of the Mount Lehman Community Association and he is also an active private aviation pilot. Today Dwayne is here to talk to you about how the Craft Beer boom is driving a resurgence of hop production in the Fraser Valley and how hops are playing a critical role in preserving family farms.

Ellis Ross

Chief Councillor, Haisla Nation

Bio: Ellis Ross was elected Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation in 2011 and was in 2013 re-elected by acclamation to a four-year term. He has been a full-time Councillor since 2003 when he began to focus on Aboriginal Rights and Title and Economic Development issues. Ellis Ross is also the Chair of the Aboriginal Business and Investment Council. Visit www.bcabic.ca for more information on the Council’s work. In 2012 Premier Clark appointed him as the inaugural Chair of the Aboriginal Business and Investment Council. She also presented him with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for Community Service. BC Business magazine named him to “BC’s Power 50” in 2012, and Canadian Business magazine in 2013 named him one of the 50 Canadians who exert the most influence on the country’s business climate and community. He has worked for the private sector, the public sector and operated his own business in partnership with his brothers through the lean 1990s. He is active in golf, soccer and basketball. Ellis has a passion for seeing Haisla succeed in athletics, school and life. For the past 12 years, he has coached and assisted Haisla basketball teams. He also coached the MESS Senior girls basketball team to a zone championship.

John Perrott

Economic Development Officer, City of West Kelowna

Bio: 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, 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, golfing, boating, wine touring, and cooking!

Mark Eversfield

Economic and Market Research Analyst, Small Business BC

Bio: Mark teaches both primary and secondary market research techniques, guest lectures on market research, provides market research analysis and coaching for small businesses. He's written articles for “Business in Vancouver” on the importance of researching your market before starting your business and what you should have in place before starting a successful business. After graduating from the University of Victoria with a degree in Economics, Mark gained his experience in market research through companies such as MarCon Research, BC Stats, Western Diversification Canada, and Small Business BC. Follow Mark on Twitter @SBBCinsights and LinkedIn.

Sara Clark

Head of Strategic Projects, Small Business BC

Bio: Sara is currently the Head of Strategic Projects for Small Business BC, currently overseeing a number of special programs and government initiatives. In addition to her previous roles of VP and Director of Marketing, she holds a Certificate in Advanced Project Management, a diploma in Marketing Management and a Bachelor's degree from the University of British Columbia, where she was also named an Academic All-Canadian athlete. Sara also contributes as an Advisory Board Member for the Langara College School of Management.

Anya Codack


Bio: With over 20 years of experience delivering marketing, technology and design solutions to municipalities, non-profit and for-profit organizations, Anya has the intuition and ability to transform critical communications aspects into creative, yet practical and effective strategies and tools for marketing. After beginning her career in communications at the City of Toronto, followed by a series of leading design firms in the GTA, Anya was tempted to begin making a lasting impression – thus Yfactor was born. Currently, Anya takes a multi-faceted role providing guidance, inspiration and direction to her dedicated employees. Her education background comprises of an honours graduate degree from the Ontario College of Art & Design in Corporate Communications and a post-graduate diploma from Sheridan College in Computer Graphics. Along with being an active member of IEDC, EDAC and EDCO, Anya also holds titles of Certified Association Executive (CAE) and a Registered Graphic Designer (RGD).

Dave Crenshaw


Bio: Dave Crenshaw is the master of helping businesses triumph over chaos. He has appeared in Time magazine, FastCompany, USA Today, and the BBC News. His first book, The Myth of Multitasking: How ‘Doing It All’ Gets Nothing Done, has been published in six languages and is a time management best seller. His latest book, The Focused Business: How Entrepreneurs Can Triumph Over Chaos, was also a small business best seller. As an author, speaker, and business coach, Dave has transformed thousands of businesses worldwide.

David Rendall


Bio: During the last fifteen years, David Rendall has spoken to audiences on every inhabited continent. His clients include the US Air Force and the Australian Government, as well as companies in the Fortune 500 including, Microsoft, AT&T, State Farm Insurance and Ralph Lauren. In between presentations, he competes in ultramarathons and Ironman triathlons. Prior to becoming a speaker, he was a management professor and stand-up comedian. He also managed nonprofit enterprises that provided employment for people with disabilities. He has more than twenty years of experience leading people and organizations. David has a doctor of management degree in organizational leadership, as well as a graduate degree in psychology. He is the author of three books: -The Four Factors of Effective Leadership -The Freak Factor -The Freak Factor for Kids

Laith Wardi


Bio: Laith Wardi, CEcD, is president of ExecutivePulse, Inc. He has worked in the economic development profession for over 20 years. Laith has comprehensive experience in business retention & expansion that includes outreach to hundreds of value-added client companies, work as a resource provider, and 15 years of regional program management. In 1994-95, Laith pioneered the first web based system for business retention. Today, the ExecutivePulse™ Business Intelligence System is the most widely used database for business retention & expansion in North America. As a founder and President of ExecutivePulse Inc., Laith provides skills training, survey development, technology development and management consultation to clients seeking to implement a systematic and sustainable customer outreach program. He is a regular instructor on business retention for the professional certification program sponsored by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Laith also speaks to community, economic and workforce development audiences throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe on customer retention, one-to-one database marketing and technology assimilation. Laith is a graduate of Mercyhurst College and received his economic development certification through IEDC in 2002. In addition to his work in the field of economic development, Laith has experience in real estate management, media sales, and as a strategic planning consultant for both public and private-sector clients.

Amy Reid

Economic Development Officer, City of Quesnel

Chief Bryce Williams

Chief, Tsawwassen First Nation

Claudia Trudeau

Director Rural Policy and Programs, Rural Dividend Program, Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Craig Jangula

Vice President of Government Relations, BC Craft Brewers Guild

David A. Bennett

Director, Communications & External Relations, FortisBC

Doug Stout

Vice President, Market Development and External Relations, Richmond Chamber/FortisBC

Alissa Sklar

Vice President of Marketing, GIS Planning

Greg Goodwin

Executive Director, BC Provincial Government

Henry Han

Executive Director, International Markets, Ministry of International Trade

John McDonald

Executive Director, Natural Resources, Ministry of International Trade

Joanne Norris

Project Manager, Futurpreneur

John Hankins

CEO, Nanaimo Economic

Marie Crawford

Associate Assistant Director, Union of BC Municipalities

Maureen Czirfusz

Manager/Economic Development Officer, Houston & District Chamber of Commerce

Pat Summers

Director, Small Business Programs, Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction

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