Winners 2012

2012 Top 20 Winners

At 28 years old, Amelia Warren, CEO of Epicure Selections, is one of Canada’s youngest female CEOs of the largest Canadian direct sales company and one of the largest women-led businesses nationwide. Under her daily guidance the business continues to grow exponentially. Amelia thrives on being innovative and her strength lies in her purpose of vision along with her strong desire to learn. Amelia embraces every opportunity to give back through the Epicure Foundation while volunteering herself and providing opportunities for others to do so through events in her community and across the country. Since serving as CEO, Amelia and the company have been recognized with several recognition and awards.

Andre Sullivan’s interest and commitment to improving and betterment of Nanaimo earned him a full University Scholarship to Bishop University where he received his BBA. While at Bishop he formed the fi rst nationwide association of business students, played rugby and took on summer positions with the TD across Canada. On his return to Nanaimo, Andre Co-Founded the Young Professionals of Nanaimo (YPN), was president of YPN, Co-Lead to restore Nanaimo’s Train Station, participated on the Planning Design and Development Committee, Vice-Chair of NEDC and Sponsorship Director of Connect VI 2012 & 2013 all while purchasing and successfully running the family business.

Andrew Gower is a leader, both in his professional capacity, and in his community. As one of the founders of Imagine Comox Valley, he was the champion of Car Free Sunday, bringing this world- wide phenomenon to his hometown. He was instrumental in starting TEDx Comox Valley. Andrew is a Director at the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, the driving force behind the highly successful Top 40 Under 40 recognition program, and he helped to develop two new community awards, the Youth Leadership Award and the Young Entrepreneur Award. In addition to his professional role and volunteer activities, Andrew is a professional musician, and a freelance sports journalist.

Andrew Higginson is a highly respected and sought-after Engineer and Project Manager. His company has grown quickly, given his exceptional talent and professionalism. Andrew’s ability to lead and motivate people of various backgrounds and ages is a testament to his energy and talent. Andrew is well respected and known for his generosity to community. He is a team leader with Cowichan Search and Rescue, and a member and volunteer with the South Cowichan Rotary Club. Through the Rotary, Andrew, frequently leads projects and also gives generously of his time to raise funds for international projects. He is also the founder of the Mill Bay Residents Association.

Bob Wells is a committed and dedicated person and has ensured that My Tech Guys is an integral part of the community, both as a business owner and a citizen. He has volunteered on various non-profit organization boards such as CYMC (President) and the Rotary, and as a proud supporter he has off ered his computer equipment and computer support and service for diff erent charity events. Bob has been invited to the UBC Sauder School of Business as mentor to give advice on Marketing, Business Visioning, and other aspects of business. Due to his success he is the recipient of both BC’s and Comox Valley’s Top 40 under 40 awards.

Britton Coulson started working at CAL at the age of 14 cleaning helicopter parts and has grown into a highly experienced Aviation Manager. He has demonstrated an ability to lead diverse teams of professionals to new levels of success. Under Britt’s management the company has been transformed into a premier word class manufacturer and maintenance option for the Sikorsky S61 fl eets of helicopters. As a member of the Coulson Group’s management team Britt has a role in working with more than 20 causes plus three major facilities have benefitted from the company’s generosity: the Multiplex, the Alberni Athletic Hall and the Pacific Coast University of Workplace Health Science.

Catrina Elliott is the President of Elite Image Software Corporation, a rapidly expanding software and marketing fi rm from Nanaimo that was founded in the basement of her home two years ago and is always innovating diff erent products/services to be in the forefront. She leads by example and inspires her team with vision, drive and enthusiasm. Catrina finds time to actively support local groups, such as Canadian Home Builders Association, Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, BCSPCA, Vancouver Island Raiders Football, Loaves & Fishes, VIU Festival of Trees, Nanaimo Clippers Hockey, Hearts of Love Dog Rescue, Young Professionals of Nanaimo, as well as many others.

Chris Gillen founded the fi rst computer company in Victoria focused exclusively on in-home and on-site repair. His leadership has turned Dial-A-Geek from a two man operation into a multiple location, multi million dollar company. In the last few years he has moved into project management and business development. More recently he has had the opportunity to create, pitch and launch a show, The Hard Way, which focuses on helping small businesses in trouble and him with a team of mentors help turn13 local Vancouver businesses around. Currently, he serves as a Director for the BC Cancer Foundation Vancouver Island, RDC and the Better Business Bureau Vancouver Island.

Christy Smith, the marketing whiz behind Spice Creative, is passionate about business strategy, philanthropy, inspiring others and getting results. As a survivor of sexual assault, Christy ran a half marathon to raise awareness and resources for the Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre. Harnessing the power of social media, her campaign earned $10,000 in the fi rst ten days and ongoing eff orts have raised over $50,000 to date. Christy appeared on Canada AM and in Elle Magazine as a ‘Leader Striving for Change’ after being selected as one of 3 Canadian ‘Smartgirls’ who were given a trip to Rwanda with Plan Canada.

Anton Rabien’s passion for medicine took him to various cities and towns in BC, the Territories and New Zealand. After his return home to Sooke and starting a family medicine practice he spent the last six years, with his local colleagues, to successfully lobby VIHA to select Sooke as an Integrated Health Network and provide specialist care to the patients. Anton is also involved in the provision of community-based palliative care in the region. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC and volunteers as a mentor with the Island Medical Program. Anton is also a developer of environmentally friendly West Coast homes.

In the 9 short years since receiving his CA designation, James MacIntyre has proven leadership, business acumen, marketing skill and community involvement. As a business owner James is a knowledgeable and savvy marketer and has enjoyed much success and growth of Studio Kitchens and Pi Granite and has received the Sterling Award for his efforts in the last 14 months. He currently serves as a Director on both the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Home builders Association. James always conducts himself in a professional, courteous and energetic manner and goes out of his way to contribute to the community.

By day, Ken Puls, CMA is the Controller/Director of IT at the Fairwinds Community & Resort on Vancouver Island, BC, but by night he runs Excel guru Consulting Inc. A company dedicated to helping users get the most out of Microsoft Excel. Ken has been an active participant in many Web forums since 2002, and hosts his own website, blog and free help forums at Ken is one of less than 10 individuals in Canada to hold the prestigious Microsoft MVP – Excel award, a distinction he has held since October 2006. He enjoys coaching his daughters’ soccer team as well.

At the age of 31, Levi Sampson has reached many “unreachable” goals. He is president and part owner of Nanaimo’s largest private employer, Harmac Pacific and he was instrumental in saving it from being permanently shut down. He is also part owner of CHEK Television and sits as Chairman of the Board. Due to his many successes from his innovative approaches, Levi has received accolades in every major media outlet in the country. Levi is active in a variety of community and charity events. He has a strong belief in the power of people and empowering them to achieve higher goals.

Since Micayla Hayes opened “The London Chef”, it has become established and a successful award-winning business with a retail storefront in Victoria. What started as a big idea on a napkin is now an exciting and thriving business employing eight full time staff , and growing rapidly. Community participation has been a tenet of her life from a young age. She is the Chair of the Board for Restorative Justice Oak Bay, sits as a Director on the Board of Big Brothers and Big Sisters and volunteers as a Network Manager assisting with independent living for a person who lives with autism.

From a young age, Michelle McKinnon had that entrepreneurial spirit. From holding down several jobs, while attending school and participating in completive Synchronized swimming to becoming the top salesperson selling vacuums door to door one summer, she had the ability to succeed at whatever she put her mind to. She progressed quickly into a senior management position at BMO due to her exceptional leadership skills, self-motivation and a genuine willingness to help people, which resulted in her winning several awards. Michelle is also involved in community and charity work: BC Children’s Hospital, since the age of 12, Kids Help Phone, Member of YPN, Director of Blair McKinnon Foundation, as well as many other worthy causes.

Michael Delvers is a CGA serving as a Senior Manager and Business Advisor with MNP. He has 17 years of experience delivering personalized accounting, consulting and tax solutions to a wide range of small businesses, not-for-profi t organizations and forest industry clients. Approachable and committed to the community, he is the Board Chair of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and past-treasurer of the Young Professionals of Nanaimo. Michael is also a member of the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association Planning, Design and Development Committee, Serauxmen Service Club and Treasurer and Past President of the Nanaimo Business Exchange.

Mira has helped create an award-winning sports department with strong ties to island communities, a commitment to amateur sports, and a focus on local coverage. She’s the station’s Senior Sports Anchor. You’ll find her on the anchor desk weeknights or live on location broadcasting from local sporting events. Mira is very community-minded and goes above and beyond for the community donating her time to many local charity causes, including Cops for Cancer as a media rider. Mira is highly in demand as an MC for local events due to her outgoing and personable nature. She demonstrates exemplary leadership skills and always presents a positive attitude.

In the few short years after Sharie Francoeur chose to return to Port Alberni to begin her family and pursue her business interests, the community has definitely benefited. She started as a broker at 21 without any business experience and has taught herself how to source business, market herself and run her business efficiently. At age 24, Sharie has 12 brokers working under her, created a program to train new mortgage brokers, speaks at various seminars, has won awards and started an online children’s clothing store. She is a member of Women In Business, a founding member and on the executive board of YPAV, and attends all chamber meetings, community events and meetings to stay involved.

Troy Wilson has truly found his niche in life. Troy started his business while holding down a full-time job, enduring many challenges along the way. Working with Autistic children during the day would be enough for most people but Troy finds the time and energy to start a unique barber shop. His magnetic charisma allows him to draw in young people where he imparts his wisdom and encourages them to learn a trade or apprentice under him. Winner of BEST OF THE CITY Barbershop in 2012, he still volunteers his time to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Victoria, Senior basketball instructor, Youth Advisor for ROCK SOLID.

As the owner of Cinnabar Valley Farms Ltd., Tyler Heisterman had the vision and leadership to create the foundation to expand the business from 250 to almost 6000 product lines. Over the 10 years his revenues have grown from $400,000 to $5.5M and the staff has increased from 10 to over 40 employees. Tyler has become a principal distributor on Vancouver Island for numerous national brands in the lawn and garden industry. He has been a long time member and leader within the Nanaimo Track and Field Club and played a role in expanding the club to be one of the largest and most successful in BC.

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