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Mar 15, 2017

Kelowna Chamber Marks 111th AGM with full slate of Directors

Kelowna:  The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual general meeting on Wednesday March 15, 2017 at the Delta Grand Hotel.  A full slate of directors, including three new faces, was sworn in by Mayor Colin Basran. 

Speaking about 2016-2017 as a ‘transition year’ for the Chamber, Board President Tom Dyas thanked the returning directors for continuing on the board for the coming year.  “Stability,” said Dyas, “is important for any organization, and for a business organization with a volunteer board, it is always a critical part of strategic planning and success.”

The board executive remains unchanged in 2017, and Dyas will serve a second year as President, as will all the Executive, acclaimed by the directors.  Executive vice-president Carmen Sparg of Associated Property Management will move into the President’s Chair in March 2018.

“2016 was a successful year for the Chamber, financially, and overall, with membership growth and strong member retention.  Alongside business growth and population increases in the valley, the Kelowna Chamber reflected this strength with an active, engaged membership; with wins on the advocacy side with the support of policies our membership brought forward; and predictions of a strong 2017,” said Dyas.

Returning directors include:

  • Ken Carmichael, BDO Canada LLP: Immediate Past President, Chamber
  • Tom Dyas, TD Benefits: President, Chamber
  • Carmen Sparg, Associated Property Management: Executive Vice President, Chamber
  • Jeff Robinson, Rush Ihas Harwick LLP: Vice President, Chamber
  • Martine Hickman, Business Development Bank Canada: Vice President, Chamber
  • Shelagh Turner, Canadian Mental Health Association: Director
  • Nikki Csek, Csek Creative: Director
  • Andrew Ingenhorst, Grant Thornton, Director


Re-elected directors include:

  • Una Gabie, Touchstone Law: Vice President, Chamber
  • Stuart Grant, Norelco Cabinet Solutions: Director
  • Al Hildebrandt, Luv N Hope Foundation: Director
  • Angela Nagy, GreenStep Solutions: Director

Newly-elected directors include:

  • Ron Cannan, Interior Savings Credit Union: Director         
  • Domenic Rampone, West Manufacturing Ltd.: Director
  • Marek Buryska, Valley First Credit Union, Director



The Chamber also announced three awards at the AGM.  First was the “Director of the Year” which went to Martine Hickman, of the Business Development Bank Canada.  Martine has played a crucial role on the Chamber’s Finance Committee, as well in HR matters, and in helping found the Chamber’s successful Women’s Leadership Network.

The second Award, “Volunteer of the Year” went to a retiring director, Brian Bonsma, owner/manager of SpeedPro Signs Plus in Kelowna.  Brian worked tirelessly for two years on the Member Care Committee, and was the key driver behind a new initiative, Shop the Chamber/Shop Local, which will kick off in the fall of 2017 in a Chamber pilot project. Brian has been a director since March 2014.

The third Award, “Ambassador of the Year” went to two Chamber Ambassadors: Shawna & Kailey McCrea.  Shawna has been a Chamber member for 14 years, and an Ambassador for the better part of a decade.  Kailey, her daughter, is the Chamber’s first Junior Ambassador. Both are firm supporters of business, and entrepreneurs, and they turn up at multiple events, helping extend the Chamber brand throughout the membership family.

2016 was a year of growth for the Chamber.  Highlights included:

  • Awarded national accreditation with distinction, from the Canadian Chamber: a high honour
  • 110th anniversary as a Chamber
  • Membership growth of 3%; 9% since January 1, 2015
  • Event attendance of over 5,500 at 75 events


Looking forward into 2017, the Chamber sees:

  • Welcoming its new Executive Director
  • Thoughtful, engaged responses to policy issues and subsequent advocacy
  • Implementing the Shop the Chamber/Shop Local Pilot Project
  • Launching a new website – today - March 15, 2017

The Kelowna Chamber celebrated its 111th AGM with the launch of a newly designed website, www.kelownachamber.org, set up to serve member businesses in Kelowna and beyond.  The website was designed over the past year by Chamber member Csek Creative and their web-building team, under the direction of Nikki Csek, who is also a Chamber Director. Csek won the re-design contract a year ago in competition with a broad range of firms.

After the Chamber AGM, keynote speaker W.J. (Brad) Bennett, Chair, BC Hydro, spoke on BC Hydro's investments and the company's importance to BC.  Bennett, a well-recognized Kelowna-based business leader, is the past Chair of the University of British Columbia, and holds a number of director positions throughout the province.


For more information:

Tom Dyas

President, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce