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:
Robert Dominick (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 to 2010 and 2010 to 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.”
James Stewart (Past Chair)
Partner at Hamilton Duncan Armstrong & Stewart Law Corporation
For over 30 years, James Stewart has been an integral part of the transformation and evolution of a city he has served, lived in, and loved.
A senior partner since 1983 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 and he has served on the board for several years as a director, vice president, and current 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 include: the City of Surrey Environmental Advisory Committee, 2012 BC Summer Games, Surrey Board of Trade, Centre for Child Development, and Chair of the SFU Surrey Community Advisory Council.
“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 communities proves that. It’s important that everyone contribute to a legacy of an interesting, well-thought-out, sustainable community; to be part of its vision, leadership and sense of possibilities.
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 (Board Treasurer, Finance and Audit Committee Chair)
Vice President & General Manager, Blackwood Partners Management Corp., Central City
After receiving his CGA designation in 1988, Bill has spend 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
Bill Cunningham (Board 1st Vice Chair)
District Vice president TD Commercial Banking
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, 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, and
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.”
HSBC Bank Canada Premier Relationship Manager, Personal Financial Planner, Associate of the Institute of Canadian Bankers.
Barb has worked for HSBC for 34 years and spent the last 15 years in the downtown Surrey Branch where she specializes in helping business owners with complex financial needs grow and manage their family wealth. Through HSBC she has lead and worked on various charity fundraising initiatives for United Way and Children’s Hospital.
As an 18 year resident of the area, she has raised her family here and contributed to the betterment of our schools by being a member of the Parent Advisory Committee. She believes strongly that we should create positive change by being involved in the communities where we live and work.
“I’m extremely excited about the era and pace of change that we are currently seeing taking place in Surrey and I’m looking forward to having a larger role to play with a guiding influence towards an increasingly vibrant, sustainable, safe and liveable downtown.”
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 immigrating from India in 1978, this visionary former machinist, turned real estate development entrepreneur, heads his large-scale land development venture throughout Metro Vancouver, creating varied commercial properties and over 1,400 residential units.
Sethi has two large land holdings in City Centre. He owns the City Centre Quattro tower project, which will bring 5,000 new residents into the community as well as a second four-tower commercial and residential project under development in the Flamingo block. 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 (Board Secretary)
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.”
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.”
Vice President, Property Management Western Canada, Dream Realty
A Founding member of the Whalley Business Improvement Association Society, now the Downtown Surrey BIA, Glenda has been a key player in commercial real estate for 25 years. She has overseen DREAM’s Western Canada operations from Station Tower since 1997, a flagship asset of a one billion dollar portfolio.
She believes that creating a major business hub south of the Fraser River is important to the overall region’s growth, sustainability, and livability. Providing Surrey residents and others with the opportunity to work, live and play in Surrey’s downtown is critical. Professionally and personally, she has a keen understanding of the issues facing Surrey and its downtown core.
“We have an opportunity to create a place that we can all be proud of and it’s exciting to be part of this. One can really feel the momentum continuing to grow.”
Co-Founder, Beta Collective
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 is Vice-President, External Relations for SFU. Until 2013, she was posted at SFU Surrey campus where she worked for 12 years as the founding executive director. Prior to joining SFU, Joanne also held positions in the banking, consulting and biotechnology sectors and was an Executive Director of a national research centre of excellence.
She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Manitoba and a Masters of Business Administration degree from SFU. Joanne has been a director with the BIA since 2005 and is on the Government Relations committee. She has also chaired the Communications committee and Nominating committee.
Kelly Botchar (Marketing Committee Chair)
Branch Manager, Personal Financial Planner, ScotiaBank.
For over 30 years, Kelly had provided financial and banking expertise to the communities of Surrey and White Rock, through the Scotiabank. As long-time manager and a personal financial planner at the Scotiabank branch at King George & 102 Avenue, she has actively contributed to the DSBIA board for over six years as a member of the Finance Committee and Chair of the Marketing Committee.
Through the Scotiabank, she has actively participated in numerous fundraising events for various local charities, including the Surrey Food Bank and the BC Cancer Foundation. She also is on a community advisory council for the BC Cancer Foundation.
A Surrey resident for nearly 40 years, she has seen many positive changes in the city’s diverse communities and envisions a dynamic future for Surrey.
“Working in conjunction with the BIA board and its other committees, I look forward to continuing to promote Downtown Surrey for all the residents, investors and stakeholders to live, work and play in the area.”
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.”
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. Serving 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 Co-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.”
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 (Board 2nd Vice Chair)
McQuarrie Hunter Managing Partner
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.”
Bruce Hayne (Ex-Officio Director)
Councillor, City of Surrey