The DSBIA is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of local business people and property owners. Board members formulate and oversee implementation of policies consistent with the purpose of the Downtown Surrey BIA. At the Annual General Meeting held Thursday February 19, 2015, the following members were elected to the Board:
Bill Cunningham is District Vice President for TD Commercial Banking based in Surrey, BC. He has previously worked for TD Bank Group offices in Richmond, BC, Calgary, AB and Burnaby, BC, and was the Executive Director and Senior Advisor for the Government of Canada’s Minister’s Regional Office in Vancouver.
He is currently the Chair of Simon Fraser University’s Board of Governors, and is on the Board of Directors of the Down Syndrome Research Foundation. Previously, Cunningham has also served on the boards of the SFU Alumni Association, the Vancouver Society of Children’s Centres, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and the InnerChange Foundation.
He is a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient, and in 2011, he received TD’s Advancing Together national award for community service.
Cunningham holds a Master of Business Administration from SFU, and a Bachelor of Commerce from University of Alberta.
“As District Vice President for TD’s Fraser Valley Commercial Banking District located at our flagship office on King George and 104th Ave, and as Chair of Simon Fraser University’s Board of Governors, I have seen first-hand the positive impact of the exciting development of Surrey’s downtown centre. With the tremendous opportunity ahead of Surrey, we also have important challenges for our downtown community. I hope to help contribute solutions to these challenges and opportunities by being a part of the Board of the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association.”
James Stewart (Past Chair)
Partner at Hamilton Duncan Armstrong & Stewart Law Corporation
For over 36 years, James Stewart has been an integral part of the transformation and evolution of a city he has served, lived in, and loved.
He started his legal career in 1980 in a small office located on 108th Avenue at King George. Now he is the senior partner with the City Centre business and litigation firm of Hamilton Duncan Armstrong + Stewart Law Corporation. He specializes in land development, business law, real estate, wills and estates. His expertise in residential and commercial real estate development business operations, often from land acquisition and development through to sale, has placed him at the leading edge of numerous local and regional projects.
His law firm was a founding business member of the BIA. He served on the board for several years as a director and vice president. He also served three years as president and is the current past president.
Stewart’s commitment to service won him the 2010 Surrey Community Leader of the Year award, honouring his contributions to furthering business, education, sustainability and wellness. Such contributions and involvement in the past have included: member of the City of Surrey Environmental and Sustainability Advisory Committee, Legal Chair – 2012 BC Summer Games, Chair -Surrey Board of Trade, Chair – Centre for Child Development and member of the Board of the Abbotsford Airport Authority. He is currently a member of the Board of Governors of SFU, Chair of the SFU Surrey Community Advisory Council, and a member of the Board of the Health Tech Innovation Foundation.
“This is a very unique and exciting time in Surrey’s evolution. Surrey is a great place to be and the huge influx of families and businesses and flourishing diverse communities proves that. I feel that it is important for everyone contribute what they can to create an interesting, well-thought-out, sustainable community; to be part of its vision, leadership and sense of possibility.”
President, Westlund Group of Companies
A corporate team builder, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker, Andrew brings his drive and sense of adventure to all facets of his life. Living by his “Work hard, play hard” motto, he encourages his hundreds of employees to dream big and follow their vision. From his leading edge, twelve-location APEX Wireless Communications, to THE AGENCY Media Group to SKY Helicopters, resorts and outdoor adventures, Andrew has been creating and running businesses from his North Surrey location for over 25 years.
Besides his dynamic business and family life, Andrew engages in “adventures with purpose,” visiting over 40 countries, indulging his passions in aviation, motocross and long distance cycling, sustainable city life, and volunteering to improve the lives of disadvantaged people.
“I want to do my part and give back to this community through my input with the BIA as a business owner. We are so marketable, so ready to do business and it’s our time to shine on the world stage.”
Bill Rempel (Co-Chair Economic Development Committee)
Vice President & General Manager, Blackwood Partners Management Corp., Central City
After receiving his CGA designation in 1988, Bill has spent over 25 years building a phenomenal real estate portfolio. Upon completion of his BOMI Canada RPA and Queens University leadership education, Rempel joined the Downtown Surrey’s Central City in 2010. Committed to sustainability and ‘green’ business buildings, Bill implemented innovative strategies at Central City in social media, reduced hydro consumption, and state-of-the-art security technology and safety practices. His numerous business and community-related board positions include: President of the Downtown Vancouver BIA, Burnaby Board of Trade President, International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) provincial chair, BC Shopping Centre Association Treasurer/Director, and RCMP Advisory Council. Bill is currently on the Executive of the Light Rail Links Committee.
To honour his community contributions, he has been awarded the Certified General Accountants Community Service Award for British Columbia and named Business Person of the Year by the Surrey Board of Trade. Deeply committed to community and his family, he has been a local resident for over 30 years. Bill looks forward to continuing to be part of the process during a very exciting period in Surrey’s development
Founder & President, Tien Sher Group of Companies
Charan Sethi laid the foundations of his highly successful development career during twenty-two years as one of Metro Vancouver’s top realtors.
Since emigrating from England in 1978, this visionary former machinist, turned real estate development entrepreneur, heads his large-scale land development venture throughout Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island creating varied commercial properties and over 1,800 residential units. He has received worldwide recognition and industry awards for innovating new housing models for shifting buyer needs. These models introduced 299 sq.ft. ‘micro-suite’ condos for transit-oriented downtown markets, demographically inclusive communities of luxury townhomes with one-bedroom starters plus British Columbia’s first six-storey wood-frame condominium building.
Sethi has large land holdings in City Centre. He owns “Quattro” block community as well as over four acres on the “Flamingo” block to develop additional three towers with residential and commercial space generating new jobs in the Heritage Whalley District – Gateway to the New City Centre. Sethi also has a deep commitment to his new community, contributing to many community events, projects and fundraisers, such as Movie under the Stars, Surrey Christmas Bureau and the Quattro Street Fair.
“The City is so receptive to new ideas and development and is working closely with us to build the downtown area and create a brand new neighbourhood that benefits everybody.”
David Pel CGA (Treasurer)
Owner, David Pel & Company Inc.
Lauded as the top one percent of CGA graduates in Canada in 1983, David Pel opened his thriving City Centre accounting practice, David Pel & Company, in 1991. David joined the Whalley BIA in 2001 in the second wave of foundation members and has always believed that real change in City Centre can only be affected by commercial development.
Currently the Finance Committee chair, he has served on the board since its inception in 2003, functioning as Treasurer, Vice President, Finance Committee Member, and Membership Community liaison person. David also serves his community on the SFU Advisory Board and as Treasurer of Classis and the Ministry of Seafarers for over 12 years.
“I got involved to be a part of social change here. I saw that joining the BIA was an opportunity to affect that change – to encourage business to move here instead of away from. I think the BIA has done great work.”
With over 25 years in the banking industry, Donna has worked at RBC, Scotiabank and is currently at Vancity. Having worked in various roles, from teller to Assistant Branch Manager, as well as having worked in different communities, Vancouver to Langley, it has given her valuable knowledge that each community has its own unique characteristics and financial needs.
Working for Vancity has shown Donna the importance of community development and the role financial institutions can play in this regards. She has worked in the Surrey market for the past 5 years and has seen the area change dramatically.
Being part of the Downtown Surrey BIA gives her the opportunity to support the local community that she work in as well as to contribute solutions to the issues in the area.
Donna has lived in the Surrey area for the past 20 years with her husband and son.
Elfie Stumpf (Safety Committee Co-Chair)
Licensed Optician, Whalley Optical Centre Ltd.
Along with countless other community activities, Elfie co-founded the Whalley BIA in 2000 and has served as board secretary in the past and currently as the Safety Committee Co-Chair. Her service to the community, its business sector, and the DSBIA is a lifelong commitment.
A licensed optician, Elfie is co-owner and operator of Whalley Optical in City Centre, a family business for nearly thirty years. Elfie says is most proud of the Safety and Security Committee’s Mobile Patrol work, which she chairs. Acting as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the community, program volunteers patrol local businesses and public areas and report any concerns and suggestions to the BIA office.
“I’m committed to helping people be accountable and the best community members possible. As a proud owner of a small business I enjoy working in this wonderful community full of diverse families that have lived here a long time. There is a lot of history here and we should be proud of it. As a director, I have met countless business people of small and large businesses who all have their own views about how to help the BIA area grow.”
Jason launched Surrey’s first and only co-working space in Spring 2014. Beta is a collaborative work environment that provides affordable office and desk rentals to entrepreneurs, startups, and non-profits. In addition, he hosts and runs several successful professional meetup groups in the City — regularly providing free learning and networking opportunities to the local business community.
“I hope this will be my first of many years of involvement with the DSBIA as Beta Collective continues to deepen its roots in Whalley. And here’s why…
Apart from being a millennial and father of 2 young children, I believe I bring a fresh perspective on what makes a community vibrant, adaptive, and welcoming to both residents and visitors alike. Though the idea of coworking is quite common in cities throughout the world, it’s a concept that didn’t exist in Surrey until Beta opened.
While the City now has a socially innovative space to call its own, it’s but a small piece of what’s making Downtown Surrey a welcoming community to live and visit. I think being elected onto the Board would allow me to bring an even greater contribution to its liveability.”
Simon Fraser University Vice-President, External Relations
Joanne has spent the last two decades championing the connection between universities and its communities. She has served DSBIA members as a Board Director since 2005 and has sat on the Government Relations committee and chaired the Communications and Nomination committees. Joanne’s efforts have resulted in numerous beneficial relationships and projects to support the community and allow the University to use its resources for community betterment. For her efforts in community engagement, Joanne was awarded an Honorary Degree by Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the Business Women of the Year in the professional category by the Surrey Board of Trade.
Joanne is Vice-President, External Relations for SFU. Joanne joined SFU in 1993 and held the position of Director of University of Industry Liaison as well as Executive Director of a national research centre of excellence in online learning. From 2002 to 2013, she was the founding Executive Director at SFU Surrey campus which grew from 200 students to over 7,000 students during her tenure. Prior to joining SFU, Joanne held positions in the banking, consulting, and biotechnology sectors.
Joanne has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Manitoba, a Masters of Business Administration degree from SFU, and a Doctorate in Business (Higher Education) from the University of Bath in the UK.
Larry Fisher (Economic Development Committee)
Founder & President, The Lark Group
Now a cornerstone of City Centre, Larry Fisher and his family-owned and operated company The Lark Group have been developing, managing, and constructing urban projects throughout Surrey, the Lower Mainland, and as far as Quebec for over 40 years.
Originally focused on mobile home projects, their meteoric growth soon included industrial, commercial works, and joint ventures. With over 100 employees, $20 million annually in construction, and over a half-million sq ft of management property, they have further diversified into shopping centres, hockey rinks, and hotels. Their twelve-floor, 180,000 square foot professional tower in downtown Surrey houses their new head office and other companies as part of a power nucleus attracting significant businesses to downtown Surrey.
“We are very proud of being a catalyst for the southern end of the phenomenal Innovation Boulevard and look forward to moving forward with the BIA, and its board to bring the City to the next level. You don’t have to struggle to make positive changes here and Surrey is in an excellent position to draw business.”
Michael Nielsen (Safety Co-Chair)
Sprite Multimedia Systems – Owner / Manager
Mike opened Sprite Computer Systems in 1983 and setup the store in Whalley. It was the only store of its kind on this side of the river. “But I could see even back them that this community was experiencing phenomenal growth and this was the place to be. Beyond managing Sprite I was also very involved in our sales and service departments, always going that extra mile to support our customers and the surrounding community.”
Passionate about our community and always looking to get involved, Mike first joined the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association in 2005. He has served on the board as a director for 8 years and also sat on the safety committee.
Mike is also passionate about the environment, and currently serves as a director with the Burns Bog Conservation Foundation. Ther mandate now that the Bog has been preserved is to raise money for a Nature Center. Mike is also the president of his 93 unit townhouse complex Strata where he has served on the board for 7 years.
“I would like to be a director on the Downtown Surrey BIA as I feel that it’s very important to have a voice in the community in which you work and or live. The association has made a real difference in the downtown core, and although much has been accomplished since its inception, we can all agree there is still much we can do. This has been my place of work for 33 years and I have a genuine interest in making this a successful and thriving area of Surrey.
Michael Wilson (Area Enhancement Chair)
Executive Director, Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society
Michael is the founder and Executive Director of the thirty-million-dollar Phoenix Society which offers integrated addiction services and new hope to people with addictions. With an MA and a PhD in Human and Organizational Development in progress, he helped grow a grassroots social support system for twenty years into its current ground-breaking form.
In partnership with University College and Kwantlen Polytech University, Phoenix also provides education and employment services along with a phenomenal scope of services to support the mind, body and soul. The Society has been honoured with the Surrey Board of Trade’s Business Excellence Award and a VanCity award.
With passionate interest in community development, urban planning, co-operative economy, social housing, workforce development, poverty reduction, and social inclusion, he participates in several professional groups, community committees and task forces on health, housing, crime reduction, and education.
“I’m very excited by the work in Surrey Central and Surrey as a whole. Government partnerships at all levels and the proper alignment of stimulus dollars to this area, is key to the development of City Centre and creating synergies for investment in an emerging infrastructure.”
Bio coming soon
Robert Dominick (Past Chair)
Vice President, the WestStone Group of Companies; President & CEO, Lightyear Digital Theatre (Canada) Ltd.
As Vice President of the WestStone Group, Robert is responsible for driving developments through their land acquisition and development permit stages. WestStone currently has over 1.9-million sqft of buildings under construction or under permit processing in 5 different developments within Surrey City Centre.
WestStone’s city centre West Village development, one block from City Hall, is comprised of high-rises, low-rises, townhomes and commercial/retail outlets all tastefully blended into an urban village setting. West Village will contain over 2,500 homes when completed.
WestStone also has Innovation Village under a development application. Innovation Village will provide some 550,000 sqft of medical facilities and senior’s independent living adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital.
In 2015 WestStone donated $1 million to SFU Surrey Campus and in 2010 Lightyear donated $400,000 to SFU Surrey Campus.
Robert joined the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association as a Director in 2008 and served two terms as President from 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. Robert is the past chair of the Economic Development Committee.
“I have felt privileged to have served as a Director of the Downtown Surrey BIA for the past 8 years. In 2005, in my role as Vice President of the WestStone Group, we had a vision that one day Whalley would become a thriving centre of commerce south of the Fraser and, as such, we acquired land in what is now Surrey City Centre. I have a strong commitment to Downtown Surrey, to see it grow and see it prosper. I also have a strong commitment to caring for the community that we love to work and grow in. I am honoured to serve a further term as a Director and as Chairman.”
Shirley Samujh-Dayal (Secretary)
Shirley Samujh-Dayal was appointed to the Board of the DSBIA in September 2016 to serve until the AGM scheduled in February 2017. She is currently a Senior Advisor, in the Government and Community Engagement Department at TransLink. Shirley served as a Director for the Surrey Board of Trade from 2010-2016 and is also a Director for Surrey Crime Prevention Society. She has been a Surrey resident most of her life.
Shirley has been with TransLink for 18 years this year and has worked on a variety of projects including area transit plans for the Surrey and South of Fraser region. She takes transit regularly and believes that transit and transportation options are vital to life and to business. With two major capital projects like the replacement of the Pattullo Bridge and rapid transit expansion in Surrey she is excited about what this will mean for Surrey and the downtown Surrey Business Area.
Soleman Hashmi (Events Chair)
Soleman Hashmi received his B.Sc. from the University of British Columbia. He went on to complete his Bachelors of Laws from the University of Saskatchewan. Part of his law degree was completed at Oxford University in England. Mr. Hashmi practices Personal Injury, Car Accident Claims, Real Estate, and Corporate Law in Surrey, BC. He is fluent in French, Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi. He also speaks Spanish. Mr. Hashmi is active in the community. Soleman believes in Downtown Surrey. Not only does he have his law practise here but he also owns the property. In his spare time he enjoys going to the gym and exercising too much.
Tako van Popta is a business lawyer, having practiced law at McQuarrie Hunter LLP for the last 25 years. He is currently the managing partner at that firm.
Tako lives in Langley where he has been involved with municipal and federal election campaigns for many years, most recently as campaign co-manager for the Langley-Aldergrove Conservative candidate in the 2014 federal election. He has served as board chair of the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Langley Economic Development Commission, and the Conservative Electoral District Association. Currently he is on the board of the Elim Housing Society which runs a not-for-profit seniors housing complex in Surrey.
McQuarrie Hunter has deep historic roots in downtown Surrey and as managing partner, Tako has worked diligently to carry forward that vision for the firm and for the City of Surrey.
Wolfgang Degemann (Finance Committee)
Founder & Business Consultant, Eurocan Industries
For over fifty years, this extraordinary businessman and visionary is the quintessential immigrant success story. From labourer to restaurateur to developer to business mentor, he continues to balance phenomenal success with commitment to culture and community. A co-founder of the Langley BIA, Wolfgang has built a business legacy in large-scale construction and business/real estate development, consulting and liaising with top international financial and business institutions. He was instrumental in Whistler’s early development and in bringing Vancouver’s Expo 86 to fruition.
City Centre has been his family home and business location for decades, with his new 10,000 square foot Eurocan offices and residential complex providing a wealth of professional services for business owners.
Now semi-retired from his family business, he is a major supporter of local business development through his world-wide contacts and is currently working on creating a European Cultural Centre in the Fraser Valley.
“I am very proud to work closely with all parts of the community, the BIA and RCMP to help transform the neighbourhood and make downtown Surrey a major business centre and economic force.”
LowerMainland and Vancouver Island Account Executive for Philips.
Victor Davis is the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island Account Executive for Philips. He has worked all over the world throughout the past 25 years with the company. His main focus throughout his career has been in the health technology industry. The opportunities to save lives and make people’s experiences in hospitals better has kept him motivated and committed to
his career. Although he grew up in Winnipeg and first got his start with Philips there, Davis has always been drawn to the Lower Mainland. He visited his family here on Canada’s west coast many times throughout his life and always loved the Lower.
Mainland area. What drew him to the west coast was the atmosphere and availability of fresh food. He has now been living in Surrey for four years with his family and has enjoyed every moment of it.
Davis first heard of the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association because the
BIA has been involved in the health technology industry. He was motivated to become more active and involved in the community, and the Downtown Surrey BIA seemed like a good fit.
He is enthusiastic and passionate about enhancing the area. He was on the Marketing Committee for two years before taking on his new position as a Director.
Being a Surrey resident,Davis truly knows what it is like to live, work, and play in Surrey. His entire family enjoys all that Downtown Surrey has to offer. Before living here, the family was worried that they would have to travel to surrounding cities for entertainment and weekend outings. They were happy to find all of the readily available parks, recreational activities, and entertainment opportunities for families in Surrey. They especially love the various sporting events and opportunities for kids. With the diversity that Downtown Surrey offers, Davis is delighted by all of the restaurant options in our city core. His favourites are a large bowl of spicy pho, or Indian cuisine, because those are the foods he can not make at home.
Bruce Hayne (Ex-Officio Director)
Councillor, City of Surrey