Board of Directors
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 Tuesday, February 24, 2009, the following members were elected to the Board:
After 25 years with an award-winning BC real estate portfolio of downtown offices, mega shopping centres and industrial properties, Bill joined Central City in early 2010. His pivotal involvement in the Metrotown development and his CGA, BOMI Canada RPA, and Queens University Leadership education, have been invaluable assets to the business community.
Bill’s numerous business and community-related board positions include Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association President, Burnaby Board of Trade President, International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) provincial chair, BC Shopping Centre Association Treasurer/Director, and RCMP Advisory Council. He sees that many of the challenges and opportunities he worked with in Vancouver and Burnaby are present in downtown Surrey.
As a local resident and equestrian for nearly 30 years, he looks forward to being a part of the process during a very exciting period in Surrey’s development.
Charan Sethi, Tien Sher Group of Companies.
After working as a licensed Machinist in England and BC Charan became first a successful realtor, beginning in 1985 and then added property development beginning in 2001. Since then he has done of single-family and multi-family residential developments and subdivisions in Surrey, Richmond, North Delta and New Westminster, totaling over 1,400 homes. He is a member of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association and the Urban Development Institute. Charan has been a member of the DS BIA’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee for two years. Charan feels that it is important to be involved in the BIA to ensure that the focus and energy required to create a vibrant downtown is maintained.
Cheryl Christensen, Prospera Credit Union
Currently Cheryl works for Prospera Credit Union as a Branch Manager, Surrey Centre as well as the Regional Manager for Surrey and Vancouver (3 Branches in Surrey & 1 Vancouver). She has 22 years in the Financial Services Industry mainly in the Credit Union System. She has held almost every positioning the branch but spent most of her career in Management positions.
“As a Board Member I would bring strong business experience, interpersonal and communication skills with a successful track record in leading strong teams. I have had the pleasure to be involved in The Whalley Festival and Movies Under the Stars and have found the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Centre to be an exciting partner in these events and look forward to working with them in the future.”
David C. Halkett, McQuarrie Hunter
An associate in McQuarrie Hunter since 2003, David brings a wealth of legal, commerce and directorial experience to the board. Specializing in family law for the past 20 years, he is a member of several professional associations, authored a chapter in the British Columbia Family Practice Manual and is a past president of the Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce. He gives legal seminars to a variety of social organizations, served on several chambers of commerce and co-founded two BIA’s in Vancouver.
An experienced lobbyist, David has served on the board for two years as a Director at Large and on the Safety Committee with a view to civic government relations. Besides legal expertise, he offers an exceptional ability to analyze situations and create the best possible solutions for everyone. A hockey buff, he writes a regular website column for the Montreal Canadiens.
David Pel (current board treasurer) ~ CGA, David Pel & Company Inc.
CGA in 1983 in the top one percent in Canada
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. He has served on the board since its inception in 2003, functioning as Treasurer, Vice-president, Finance Committee member and membership community liaison person. He is most passionate about engaging membership through networking events and introductory sessions for non-member businesses to encourage involvement.
He opened his thriving local accounting practice in 1991 and was soon at work on his legendary garden. David also serves his community on the SFU Advisory Board, and as Treasurer of Classis and the Ministry of Seafarers for over 12 years. Along with economic development he looks forward to continuing positive social change in the city core.
Elfie Stumpf (Secretary), Whalley Optical Centre Ltd.
Elfie is a founding director of the BIA. “I am a proud owner of a small business for the past 19 years and enjoy working in Whalley. Contrary to what people will say this is a 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 and member of the Management committee and chair of the Safety committee and “ 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. The BIA is still growing and always changing.”
Garry Romanetz, PEng (Director) Managing Senior Principal, Stantec Consulting Inc.
From Vancouver’s Olympic Village, to the Millenium Skytrain line, to the Seymour Capilano Water Filtration System, this 25-year veteran of major civil engineering contracts brings projects in on time, on schedule, and on budget. With a gift for ‘engineering’ and manifesting great ideas, Garry skillfully leads his teams to keep our City’s inner workings and roadways running smoothly.
As a Senior Managing Engineer in a continent-wide consulting firm, he balances the concerns of feasibility, planning, and maintenance within an urban setting, and brings his multi-sector connections and in-depth local experience to his practical and proactive approach to Surrey’s development.
He has searched for just the right fit to give back to his community, and believes he has found it in the BIA Board. A long-time Surrey resident, Garry loves to work on his “own little version of Stanley Park”.
A founding member of the Whalley Business Association Society (now the Downtown Surrey BIA), Glenda has been a key player in commercial real estate for 25 years. She has overseen Dundee’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.
A Surrey resident for 20 years, Glenda is actively involved in the community through numerous social and athletic organizations and has two children in the Surrey school system. Professionally and personally, she has a keen understanding of the issues facing Surrey and its downtown core.
Why has he put his name forward? “Very simple, I love Surrey and strongly believes that you can’t only take, you also must give back.”
Jay Redmond (Current Vice president) ~ Lawyer, Campbell Redmond, Barristers & Solicitors
With a BA in Economics and Business from SFU and an LLB (legal degree) from UBC, this born-and-bred Surreyite represents community and small business, bringing its voice to the table for the past four years as a BIA board member and past president.
He has practiced law in Surrey since 1991 and in 1994, along with three partners, built the local property where his offices are still located. Jay has served in numerous charitable organizations including the Surrey Food Bank, Surrey Christmas Bureau, two years as a director on the Surrey Memorial Hospital Board, and is currently an active member of the North Surrey Lions.
Jay sees downtown Surrey becoming the next great commercial centre and believes that with a strong, diversified board, the BIA will be a major change agent and force for local redevelopment and growth.
Joanne Curry, Simon Fraser University – Surrey
As executive director of the Surrey Campus Joanne has overall responsibility for campus operations, facilities planning and community relations. Prior to joining SFU Joanne also held positions in the banking, consulting and biotechnology sectors. She worked for 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. When she is not working she plays hockey to relax. Joanne as been a director with the BIA since 2005 and, in addition to her current role as chair of the Communications committee (which also oversees marketing, special events & member services) she has also been on the Government Relations, Management and Nominating committees.
Kathi Thompson, Fraser Health
Kathi is a goal-driven leader with 29 years of experience and a track record of success in strategic communications and marketing, sponsorships, community relations, public affairs and government relations in the business sector and not-for-profit associations.
A strong communicator, relationship builder and facilitator with a passion for business and community development, she has provided numerous presentations to various groups including not-for-profits, businesses and was a keynote speaker at the Conference Board of Canada’s Corporate Responsibility Conference.
For the past four years as Senior Consultant, Government & Community Relations for Fraser Health, Kathi has developed strong relationships with elected municipal officials and other external stakeholders on health issues related to the Authority’s mandate and currently manages Fraser Health’s Municipal Government Advisory Council.
Before joining Fraser Health, she worked for Terasen Inc., now FortisBC, for twenty-three years where in her position as Manager, Community Investment she cultivated and strengthened relationships with provincial, municipal, community and opinion leaders across the province as part of an ongoing key stakeholder relations program through community investment initiatives.
Kathi firmly believes that volunteerism and advocacy is the most effective and selfless means of giving back to one’s community. She has devoted many volunteer hours to such organizations as:
- Vice-President, HR MacMillan Space Centre
- Member, Community Advisory Council, Belkin House (Salvation Army)
- Board Member, King Edward Court Society
- Past President, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association
- Past Chair, Safe Streets Coalition The Safe Street Act was passed into law in 2004, and the DVBIA’s advocacy efforts for Safe Streets were recognized with a Cornerstone of Excellence Award [Government Affairs category] by the Canadian Society of Association Executives;
- Past President, Leadership & Management Development Council of BC
- Past Director, BC Chamber of Commerce
- Past Director, Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce
- Past Co-chair, International Downtown Association 50th Annual Conference
Kelly is the manager and a personal financial planner at the Scotiabank .branch at King George & 102 Avenue. She has been in the Surrey/White Rock area for most of her 30 years with Scotiabank. Through the bank she has participated in numerous fundraising events for various local charities including the Surrey Food Bank and the BC Cancer Foundation – Fraser Valley. Recently Kelly joined a community advisory council for the BC Cancer Foundation and looks forward to raising funds to help improve care for patients from Surrey and the Fraser Valley. Kelly has lived in Surrey since 1965. “I have seen a lot of positive changes in our City and am looking forward to participating on the BIA [Board] in support of future initiatives.
Kevin is an incorporated tax partner at PwC and is the current tax services leader of our Fraser Valley office. Over the last 20 years, he has gained a wealth of experience advising private Canadian companies and their owners on a variety of issues including both domestic and cross-border acquisitions. He has extensive experience in both planning and implementing various reorganization strategies that are focused on maximizing the after-tax returns all the way through the ownership chain. Kevin also has considerable experience planning for and facilitating business succession involving management buy-outs and intra-generational business transfers.
From 1987 to 1993, Kevin worked in the firm’s Audit and Tax practices in both Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. In 1993, he left to pursue an ownership opportunity in a private company start up that was successfully sold to a national acquiror in 1998. Before rejoining PwC in 2008, Kevin was a partner in another national firm during which time he acted both as regional tax practice leader and office managing partner.
Since rejoining PwC, Kevin has continued his focus on the real estate, aviation and agricultural sectors and was recently involved in a private equity transaction for a client operating in the food processing sector.
Michael Nielsen (current board) ~ General Manager/founder, Express Computers
Michael has been a City Centre merchant for almost 20 years and is proud to represent small business and the “regular folks” of the community. A major supporter of local development and business growth balanced by healthy neighbourhoods, he has served the community on the BIA board for the last four years.
His cyber-savvy, computer expertise, and web design skills are invaluable in his plans to help the BIA embrace some of the newer technologies and social networks like Twitter and Facebook to spread the good word about City Centre. With strong partnerships with the City and Surrey Board of Trade, he is working hard to increase awareness of the BIA and the phenomenal potential of downtown Surrey, regionally and globally.
He carries his message of pride, strength, and focused action into every aspect of his daily life in the community.
Michael Wilson, Phoenix Centre
Michael is the founder and executive director of Phoenix Drug an Alcohol Recovery and Education Society. Michael has a MA and is currently a PhD candidate in Human and Organizational Development from Fielding Graduate University. His interests include community development, urban planning, co-operative economy, social housing, workforce development, poverty reduction and social inclusion. He is involved in several professional groups, community committees and task forces on health, housing, crime reduction and education in order to enhance the health and wellness of the community. Michael views the opportunity to join the BIA Board “as an opportunity to bring my strong interests and expertise in the areas of poverty reduction, social housing, substance misuse and workforce development to contribute toward building a safe, healthy and sustainable community”.
Robert Dominick (Immediate Past President) ~ Vice President, Sales and Acquisitions WestStone Properties; President & CEO, Lightyear Digital Theatre (Canada) Ltd.
First as a major force in residential real estate development and then as BIA board President, Robert has lent his considerable voice and expertise to the evolution of City Centre. Along with WestStone’s $1-billion Urban Village he heads a leading-edge digital theatre company based in Beverly Hills and downtown Surrey which has created a world-class theatre in SFU, making Surrey a future hub for a national and international digital broadcast network.
Robert is also BIA board Chairman of the Economic Development and Land Use Committee and a Director of the Arts Council of Surrey. He is a strong advocate and tireless supporter of the community and the exceptional investment potential of downtown Surrey as it steps onto the world stage as the next great metropolitan centre of the Lower Mainland.
Rose Fitzner, Compass Point Inn
Rose has worked or lived in downtown Surrey for over 40 years. After completing her high school she went on to complete her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Simon Fraser University. Rose has worked for seventeen years at the Compass Point Inn starting in the accounting department and for the last five years as the General Manager. She also manages the King George Medical Building and the King George Skytrain Station parking lot. Rose has also been on the Surrey Tourism Board of Directors for the last four years. In her spare time Rose plays tennis, gardens, or rides her motorcycle.
Wolfgang Degemann (current board) ~ founder/business consultant, Eurocan Industries
For over fifty years, this extraordinary businessman and visionary is the quintessential immigrant success story, balancing 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. The numerous awards, gifts, and commemorative plaques in his office speak of his lifelong love of soccer, which he still actively plays and promotes locally and around the world. 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.
From his law office window in the Gateway Tower, James Stewart watches the transformation and evolution of a City Centre he has served, lived in, and loved, for thirty years.
A senior partner with the forty-year 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 pulse-point of numerous local and regional projects.
Stewart’s community service won him the 2010 Surrey Community Leader of the Year award. He is currently serving as immediate Past President and Chair of the Governors’ Council for the Surrey Board of Trade. His community-based directorships include the Child Development Foundation, Centre for Child Development, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada, and the Surrey Board of Trade International Affairs Committee.
Educated at the University of British Columbia, his professional memberships include Canadian Bar BC Branch associations in Elder Law, Wills & Trusts, and Real Property, and the Fraser Valley Estate Planning Council. Throughout his career and community service he has maintained close ties with the Downtown Surrey BIA.
“The partnership between the BIA and the city is very important and I am committed to ensuring that continued interaction,” says Stewart. “The city has a clear and sustainable vision of how this area should be developed and the BIA representing the businesses has a vested interest. We are very fortunate to have such insightful and courageous civic leadership with a broad base of support. My career and home has been here for thirty years and I’m enormously proud of Surrey and to be a part of its phenomenal evolution.”
Marvin Hunt (Ex-Officio Director), Councillor, City of Surrey
Linda Hepner (Ex-Officio Director), Councillor, City of Surrey