There are judges representing each of the five regions identified on Vancouver Island. Regional judges vet submissions from the public and work to encourage nominations in each of their communities. They will approve up to 100 nominations from all of the submissions received for all of Vancouver Island, and refer these to the Judging Panel with recommendations.
Roger McKinnon, Owner of Signage Nanaimo/Comox Valley
With a background in real estate sales and development consulting, as a developer with a diverse background in management in a variety of fields, Roger is widely known for building successful relationships. His leadership traits became obvious in the first graduating class of VIU (then Malaspina College) in 1977. After years of record-setting real estate sales, he started his own firm which eventually led to his building the award-winning Old House Village Hotel & Spa in Courtenay. Along the way, he has accrued community accolades as VIREB Realtor of the Year, Business Person of the Year, Community Leader of the Year and is past chair of the VIU Foundation, BC Childrens Hospital and Big Brothers and founding director of Oceanside Rotary in Nanaimo.
Michael O’Connor, QC. Founding Partner of McConnan Bion O’Connor & Peterson
Working on numerous galas and charity fundraisers, O’Connor is a senior partner at McConnan, Bion, O’Connor & Peterson. He chaired the highly successful “Together We Care” capital campaign of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, raising 17 million dollars for urgently needed medical equipment in the three main hospitals on Southern Vancouver Island. He was Co-Chair of the David Foster Foundation’s highly successful 2012 Gala that raised $4.6 million. O’Connor is a known community builder and President of the British Columbia Government House Foundation. He was the recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for 2012 for outstanding and exemplary contributions to his community and to Canada as a whole.
Keith Dagg, Keith Dagg Consulting Inc.
Keith was a partner in C-FAX Radio from 1965 through 1980 prior to becoming a founding partner in Copeland Communications which he sold in 2009. He is currently CEO of Keith Dagg Consulting. He was a founding director of the Vancouver Island Open Golf Society in 1981 and where he remains on the board and operates the $150,000 Times Colonist Island Savings Open Golf Tournament. Successfully chairing the 2005 World Curling Championship in Victoria earned Keith a repeat turn at the 2013 event. He chairs the Victoria Curling Legacy Foundation and was a director of 2007 World FIFA Soccer. He is a Director of Highlanders Soccer and the Telus Community Board.
Troy-Anne Constable – Owner of Island West Coast Developments Ltd.
Troy-Anne and her husband Greg have successfully operated IWCD (Island West Coast Developments Ltd.) since its inception in 1986. IWCD specializes in design-build commercial construction and has completed many projects on Vancouver Island. Troy-Anne manages the accounting, HR and Safety departments at IWCD, and is proud of IWCD’s latest recognition becoming one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies. In her spare time, Troy-Anne enjoys snowboarding, hiking, golf and travel. Troy-Anne volunteered at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler working on the ladies downhill track, and most recently volunteered with Fundraising committee for the BC Summer Games in Nanaimo.
Mayor Paul Ives – Mayor of Comox
Mayor Paul Ives has been the Mayor of Comox since 2008 and prior to that served as councillor from 2002-2008 and on the Comox Valley Regional District Board from 2005-2011. He was first elected to the ICET Board of Directors in 2014 and elected treasurer in 2015.
Born in Halifax and raised in a military family, Paul has lived on both coasts and in Ottawa. He obtained his BA at Queen’s University and graduated from Dalhousie University with a law degree in 1987. He practiced law at a national law firm in Vancouver prior to establishing his own practice in the Comox Valley in 1992. He is currently a partner at Ives Burger Law Firm.
Paul has been actively involved in the community serving as Board Member and Chair of the Comox Recreation Commission and Comox Rotary Club. He was also involved for many years as a coach in minor hockey, baseball, basketball and soccer.
Lynne Henderson, Director and Co-Owner of Carlyon Developments Ltd
Co-Owner and Director of Carlyon Developments Ltd, Lynne is also presently a Director with the Victoria Airport Authority, Past President and Co-founder of Coats For Kids, and an inaugural fellow of Royal Roads University. In the past, she has held the Vice Chair of the BC Cancer Foundation “Inspire the World” Campaign, Chair of the University of Victoria Foundation and many other board positions with a number of ‘not for profit’ organizations. Lynne was the first recipient of the University of the Victoria Community Leader Award, CFAX Radio Citizen of the Year, Merit Award and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for community and volunteers work.
Stewart Young – Mayor of Langford & Owner of the Alpine Group
Mayor Stewart Young grew up and attended school in Langford and is now a local business owner. Mayor Young was a Councillor when Langford was first incorporated in 1992. He was elected Mayor in December 1993, and has been declared Mayor in the following seven elections. Mayor Young is a member of the Westside Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery Select Committee.
Tom Sponarski – President – SpinTec Corporation
Tom spent years in the broadcast sales business in Vancouver both in radio and TV. When Pat Quinn was hired as President of the Vancouver Canucks, he became the Director of Marketing for the Vancouver Canucks. When the Canucks ownership acquired an NBA Franchise Vancouver Grizzlies. GM Place was built under a new partnership called Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment. Tom played a key role in the Senior Management Team specializing in generating revenue and marketing for both teams. After leaving Orca Bay, Tom became a company turn-around specialist and turned around three companies. Currently, he is President of his own company, Spintec, which produces workwear clothing internationally for large Canadian and American Companies.
Randy Bertsch, President of Island Savings
Randy Bertsch serves several communities on Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands as the president of Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union. He oversees this region’s retail banking, commercial banking, insurance and wealth advisory services, including 450 staff and 16 branches. Island Savings was recognized as one of Aon Hewitt’s Best 50 Employers in Canada for five consecutive years—a testament to the organization’s unwavering focus on leadership development in the name of continuous improvement. Randy began his career in the financial industry in 1978, joining Island Savings in 1995 as the Chief Operations Officer until he became president in 2015. Building on natural leadership strengths at every level of an organization with dedicated training and focused coaching has long been a priority of Randy’s own work leading businesses that focus just as much on people as they do on results.
Dan Dagg, President, Hot House Marketing
Dan is the president and CEO of Hot House Marketing and H2 Digital, with offices in Victoria, Comox and Toronto. Hothouse has a staff of 16 and a client base that includes local, regional and national clients such as Monk Office, The Oak Bay Marine Group, DC Bank, Tourism Victoria, Tourism Nanaimo and Mount Washington.
A UBC graduate, Dan is also a Certified Advertising Agency Practitioner through the Institute of Canadian Advertising Agencies and a trained facilitator of the Pacific Institute’s Investment in Excellence program.
Prior to joining Copeland in 1994, Dan spent six years at Palmer Jarvis Advertising’s Vancouver office. While there, he developed his strategic capabilities, working with clients such as Canada Safeway, Woodward’s Department Stores, Quest Vitamins, McDonald’s Restaurants and others.
Dan is the Chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and is the Founding Chair of the South Island Prosperity Project – a public/private economic development collaboration for the South Island. He is also a Director of the Vancouver Economic Alliance, where he chairs the Vancouver Island Brand Committee. Dan also held the position of Executive Director and Treasurer for the Advertising Agency Association of British Columbia for three years.
Al Hasham, Owner of Maximum Express Courier
Al Hasham, owner of a family owned and locally operated Courier & Furniture Company doing business as Maximum Express Courier, Freight & Logistics and Max Furniture. Through his involvement with the local business community and his dedicated commitment to the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Al has seen his companies excel and achieve tremendous success. Built on the basic philosophy that all business should aspire to, “provide total satisfaction to the customer and be competitive through customization of services and rates that are catered to the unique needs of the customer” Al has believed success will follow.
Ed Mayne, Owner Tim Hortons – Parksville & Nanaimo
Ed Mayne is a successful business owner/operator in the Parksville and Nanaimo area, employing a staff of 100. Prior to coming to Vancouver Island to develop these businesses, Ed was Senior Vice President with Tim Hortons. As well overseeing the family businesses with wife, Lilian Mayne, Ed served as Mayor of the City of Parksville and also serves on a number of nonprofit organization boards. In addition to work and volunteer day-to-day duties, he plays in a rock band whose sole purpose is to raise money for local charities. Ed spends a great deal of time working with and mentoring young entrepreneurs to develop their business.
Paris Gaudet, Executive Director, Innovation Island Technology Association
Paris is a skilled community builder with more than 15 years’ experience in economic development, having held management and leadership roles in both public and private sector organizations. Before her appointment as Executive Director in 2010, Paris served as Innovation Island’s Programs Manager, with responsibility for designing and implementing programs and services to assist early-stage technology companies. While some people may ask “why”?, Paris asks “why not”?. She is constantly looking to create opportunities that redefine community success and empower entrepreneurs to achieve more than they ever thought possible. Her personal motto is “Be daring, be different, be impractical; be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the Ordinary.” – Cecil Beaton.
Susanne Jakobsen, Director of Coastal Community Credit Union
Susanne is the Director of Coastal Community Credit Union for 14 years and currently serving her fifth year as the Board Chair. Graduate of Institute of Corporate Directors, ICD.D, September 2015. Graduate of ICD-Rotman, Directors Education Program, June 2015. Committed to the many aspects of Board Governance and the Board’s role in fiduciary responsibilities, including audit, strategic planning and risk. Keen interest in the evolving role and development of directors in financial institutions. Lifelong resident of Nanaimo, and Member of Nanaimo business community for 28 years and currently Manager of a local retail business. Community involvement includes Director of Crimestoppers, Cancer Society volunteer and Executive Director and Treasurer of a local yacht club.
Michelle Stilwell, MLA, Parksville-Qualicum
Michelle Stilwell is serving her second term as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for Parksville-Qualicum and she is the Opposition Critic for Tourism, Arts and Culture.
Michelle is also a six-time Paralympic gold medalist in both basketball and track, nine-time World Champion, and the world record holder in the 100m, 200m and 800m events in the T52 class.
Michelle is passionate about healthy, active living and advocates for people with disabilities and children with special needs. She has been an ambassador, spokesperson, business owner and most recently honoured to be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in May.
Michelle’s determination, perseverance and discipline has allowed her to triumph over any obstacle on her journey to success purely for the fact she does not see limits, only challenges.
Michelle lives in Parksville with husband Mark and son Kai.
Port Alberni & West Coast
Mike Ruttan, Mayor of Port Alberni
Mayor Mike Ruttan was born and raised in the Alberni Valley. He attended the University of British Columbia Simon Fraser University, and in 1983 completed a Masters of Education Administration at the University of Victoria.
Mike and his wife Bonnie started teaching in Whitehorse, Yukon, and after 4 years returned to Vancouver Island in 1979 where Mike was the teacher/principal of Eric Godson School in Bamfield. After 3 years in Bamfield they returned to Port Alberni where Mike served as vice-principal of EJ Dunn Junior Secondary. In 2005 Mike joined Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) as vice-principal and later principal, a position he held for 6 years before retiring.
Mike is most proud of his work at ADSS creating a culture that was consultative, respectful, and inclusive. This approach was particularly valuable during the construction of the new ADSS, a multi-year School District 70 initiative. His role involved chairing planning and design committees, communicating regularly with Ministry of Education officials, and working with staff to ensure a smooth transition to the LEED Gold building.
Mike is a strong advocate for volunteerism and served for 10 years as chair of the Alberni Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Service (ADAPS).
Josie Osborne, Mayor of Tofino
Josie Osborne is the mayor of Tofino, chair of the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District and a self-described “child of small business.” She grew up on Vancouver Island immersed in her parents’ small businesses. After a first career as a fisheries biologist, today, she and her husband own three small tourism-based businesses in Tofino. In her role as mayor, Josie is very committed to building a resilient Tofino economy that sustains local livelihoods, promotes human well-being, and supports community development. She serves on the board of directors for Tourism Tofino, and the board of the Island Coastal Economic Trust.
Wayne Coulson, President of the Coulson Group of Companies
Wayne Coulson is the President and CEO of the Coulson Group of Companies which was founded in 1960 by his father, Cliff Coulson. Along with Wayne’s two sons, the tradition continues as a family owned and operated company based out of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The Group of Companies comprises forestry, lumber manufacturing, aviation and gaming management. The Coulson Group was honored with the Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 2004 and continues its level of excellence in customer satisfaction.
Comox Valley & Campbell River
John Watson, Executive Director Comox Valley Economic Development
John Watson is the Executive Director for the Comox Valley Economic Development Society (CVEDS). CVEDS is the regional provider of economic development services for the CV Regional District which includes the City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, and Comox Valley Regional District Areas A, B, and C.
Don McRae, Former MLA Comox Valley
Don McRae is a former Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly for the riding of the Comox Valley in the 2009 provincial election. After serving nearly 2 years as a private member, he was appointed Minister of Agriculture on March 14, 2011, in Premier Christy Clark’s first cabinet. On September 5, 2012, he was appointed as the Minister of Education. From May 2013 to January 2014, Don served as Minister of Social Development and Social Development before stepping down to spend more time with his family. In addition to his ministerial roles, he was a member of the Environment and Land Use Committee and the Cabinet Committee on Open Government and Engagement.
Prior to serving in the provincial government, McRae worked as a secondary school teacher at Georges P. Vanier Secondary School. He spent seven years on Courtenay’s city council, having successfully run in the 2002, 2005, and 2008 municipal elections. He was appointed as a director of the Comox-Strathcona Regional District and later the Comox Valley Regional District.
After leaving politics, Don has returned to his career as an educator but continues to consult as government relations specialist for companies and organizations across the province.
Jeremy Dunn, Executive Director, BC Salmon Farmers Association
Jeremy has served as the Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association since March 2014 and has over 15 years of experience in communications, strategic planning, issues management and stakeholder relations. Jeremy has a great interest in aquaculture practices, scientific research and is an avid consumer of farm-raised salmon. Jeremy is born and raised in B.C., originally from Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and proud to work with salmon farmers in B.C. who are raising some of the world’s best fish.