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:
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 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.”
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
Bonnie has been the Director of HR and Corporate Facilities at Safe Software for the last 19 years. She has spent most of her life in the White Rock area and in Surrey.
She decided to run for the Board of the DSBIA because of the “commitment to promote, conserve and build partnerships to support continued growth of our vibrant community” that she hopes to be an active part of. As a Board Member, she hopes to make a difference in the community, by lending her voice and “being a strong advocate for businesses to consider locating to Surrey.”
The main goal for Bonnie remains “to promote downtown Surrey as a vibrant and sustainable business opportunity with a transit infrastructure that supports it.”
Charan Sethi (Director)
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.”
As the General Manager of the Civic Hotel, Franklin plays a vital role in creating a more connected Surrey. Through the Civic Hotel, Franklin helps bridge the gap among community members. The hotel serves as a site for people to mingle with each other and with businesses by providing facilities and hosting events. The organization also provides employment opportunities for those who live near the Surrey area. An experienced hotelier, Franklin has held General Manager positions for seven years. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Hotel Management and a Certified Hospitality Administrator designation. However, it was his “passion, perseverance, commitment and willingness to learn and grow” that carved the path to where he is today.
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.”
Joanne Curry (Vice Chair)
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.
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 Heeney (Director)
President & CEO at Surrey City Development Corporation (SCDC)
Michael Heeney is the current President and CEO of Surrey City Development Corporation (SCDC) and former Managing Principal of Bing Thom Architects. Most of us see Michael’s work everyday on our way to work or school as we admire the beautiful City Centre Library or examine Surrey Central City.
With over 30 years of experience Michael’s architectural work can be found around the world in Canada, the United States, and throughout Asia. Michael has been long dedicated to the development of urban communities with a focus on Surrey. As mentioned before Michael has had his hand in many projects in the area and continues to work for the community with the SCDC.
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.
The community welcomes Monica Vanderzalm as a new Director of the DSBIA board. Having spent most of her life in Surrey, she has developed close ties to the community and a vision to improve it. Monica hopes to transform Downtown Surrey into a place where businesses thrive. With a degree in Business Management, she spent the early parts of her career working in the real estate industry. Currently, she co-owns the South Surrey Art Knapp Garden Centre, a one-stop shop for plants and gardening tools. She is also a member of the Rotary Investment Club and manages a portfolio of self-owned real estate. Outside of her business pursuits, Monica is an avid ice dancer. She has two Canadian bronze medals and five West Divisional Championships under her belt. Her love for skating extends to the community. Monica has worked with the City to provide competitive ice skating programs for adults and holds a seat on the Ice Allocation Committee.
Robert Dominick (Past Chair)
Vice President, the WestStone Group of Companies; President & CEO, Lightyear Digital Theatre (Canada) Ltd.; President & CEO, Modusteel.
As Vice President of the WestStone Group, Robert is responsible for acquiring land and driving developments through their development permit stages. WestStone currently has over 4-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 a master-planned community 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’s Innovation Village, currently under a development permit application, will provide some 550,000 sqft of medical facilities and senior’s independent living adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital.
WestStone is catering to the demand for rental units and is building two developments that will provide 660 custom rental units in the city. One at Scott Road SkyTrain station and the other adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Adjacent to Surrey Central Skytrain Station, on the old Stardust roller rink site, is WestStone’s “education mega-centre”. This 550,000 sqft development is a partnership with the global education company CIBT. The initial design includes a large amount of commercial space in the podium with college classrooms above, dorm rental units with a hotel component on the upper floors paired with amazing amenity spaces.
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 current chair of the Economic Development Committee.
“I have felt privileged to have served as a Director of the Downtown Surrey BIA for the past 10 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 Chair of the Economic Development Committee.”
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.