Meet the Panel
Listed are members of the VK Venture Advisor Advisory Panel. These local business and industry leaders meet on a monthly basis for entrepreneurs to present their ideas for starting or growing their business and offer constructive feedback. Pitching your idea will not only give you some great insight on where to go next, but will introduce you to an incredible network of contacts.
Mario Piroddi is an assurance partner in the Kamloops Office. He brings a working knowledge of assurance and related services that he has accumulated since 2001 in working with both the Vancouver and Kamloops BDO offices. He has significant experience with providing assurance, accounting, and taxation services to various businesses, not-for-profit organizations and municipalities. Mario has been involved with the audit training of professional staff on an office, regional, national and international level along with lecturing on topics such as audit methodology and financial statement analysis. He has also been active in working with BDO’s national office in providing commentary on assurance methodology changes and responses to exposure drafts issued by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Bryce Herman, DMATP (Distinguished Member in the Association of Tourism Professionals) CHS (Certified Hospitality Supervisor), has 40 years of experience in the Food & Beverage, Hospitality and Tourism Industries. Bryce is currently President & CEO of Advance Hospitality Consulting since 1996. The company provides management, leadership, fundraising, and consulting services to organizations, companies, individuals and not for profit groups in the hospitality, hotel and facilities, financial, education, tourism and community interest sectors.
Frank Rossi (personal real estate corporation) is a licensed real estate agent that has been serving the Kamloops area since 1978. Frank has carved a niche for himself, specializing in commercial real estate sales, leasing, land development and project marketing. During this time Frank has played a very active role in the business community, and has participated on various boards including, but not limited to: Business Cares Committee (City of Kamloops), Kamloops Blazers Sport Legacy Fund and the District Real Estate Association.
Lincoln Smith PhD
Lincoln Smith PhD (Computational Neuroscience), BSc (Biological Sciences), is an experienced academic and industrial researcher with a broad scientific background. Lincoln currently holds a dual role as Director – Research Partnerships and Enterprise Creation at TRU and Executive Director at the technology accelerator Kamloops Innovation. In these roles, Lincoln helps Industry access the research expertise and capacity at TRU, and through entrepreneurial mentorship and business advising, his offices support the commercialization of innovative products and services coming out of TRU and from our region.
Kamloops Chamber of Commerce
Deb McClelland, Executive Director of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, has over 13 years of chamber experience and mentors chamber staff and boards across the province. Deb currently serves on the boards for the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada and the BC Chamber of Commerce and is Past President of the BC Chamber Executives. The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in Kamloops, and has consistently delivered networking and educational opportunities, money-saving benefits and advocacy to a diverse local business community since 1896.
Ken White, FICB (Fellow Inst. of Canadian Bankers), ATCI ( Assoc. Trust companies Inst.), RIBC (ret’d), 40 years commercial/industrial banking experience with a focus on forestry, tourism and real estate. Most of his banking history was with the Business Development Bank. Ken has 26 years of experience as a volunteer director with Community Futures including 4 years as chair of Community Futures BC and 3 years as chair of Community Futures Network of Canada.
Insurance and Small Business Advisor
Paul Ross, CAIB, CFP, has over 9 years of experience advising business in Kamloops and area. Paul began his career as a Small Business Advisor with TD Canada Trust, was a risk advisor selling property and liability insurance with Simmons, Black and Emsland Insurance Services and is currently the Commercial Account Manager for Valley First Insurance Services. He currently sits on the board of directors for the Chamber of Commerce and Community Futures Thompson Country.
Marketing & Advertising
Jennifer is the co-owner of Fresh Inc., a full service advertising agency in Kamloops that has been in operation since 2004. Jennifer enjoys the opportunities that the agency provides to help businesses market themselves for long term, sustained growth. She has been nominated for Business Person of the Year with the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards four times and was honored with the Val Anderson Memorial Award from the Premier of the province for volunteerism.
Frank was born, raised and still presides in the great city of Kamloops where he is the Chairman and founder of The Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame, Owner/Partner of Frick and Frack Tap House, Owner/Partner of Frankly Coffee, President of Nevada Holdings Ltd. and the Managing Partner of FRF Holdings. During this time Frank has carved himself a nice niche in the hospitality industry in Kamloops and continues to be an industry leader and serial entrepreneur.
Human Resources Manager
A long-time resident of Kamloops, Lisa joined the KGHM International team in Kamloops as the Ajax Project’s Human Resources Manager. Lisa grew up in Kamloops and has worked as a human resources leader for large, complex organizations within healthcare and gaming in B.C. She has also worked in project management. Lisa has more than 20 years of human resources experience in union and non-union environments and believes in building strong relationships with everyone she works with. She is committed to the personal growth of both herself and her profession and is a director with the B.C. Human Resources Management Association. Lisa is passionate about Kamloops and works regularly with a variety of community organizations.
Ryan is a very active community member and is currently engaged in organizations such as Rotary, The Chamber of Commerce, the Curling Club and the TRU Alumni Association. Ryan is a partner in Forward Law LLP practicing in the areas of: Aboriginal Business, Business and Commercial Law, Real Estate Law, Wills and Estate Planning and Ranching. Ryan’s qualifications include: LLB from the University of British Columbia in 2010 and a Bachelor of Tourism Management from Thompson Rivers University in 2007.
Paul Blair is a 25 year veteran in the Financial Services Industry for 25 years, centered in Financial Planning, Retirement Planning and Small Business lending. Paul is a General Manager with CIBC, and manages a team of Financial and Business Advisors, dealing with the banks top 10% of clients. Additionaly, over the last 15 years Paul has also owned and operated two small businesses, one being a successful Security Company, and the other being a successful Internet Business. Paul has been a resident of Kamloops for over 17 years, with his wife, daughter and dog. When he isn’t glued to the newest technology or gadget, Paul is an avid mountain biker, average golfer, and enjoys vacations in the sun.
Business Regulation Specialist
Don is the retired Business Licence Inspector for the City of Kamloops and had been part of the Development and Engineering Services Department since 1981. In addition to approving new business applications throughout his career he was involved in bringing regulatory and business process change to government. Don has worked extensively with other local, Provincial and Federal Governments across the country and several universities on international research. As part of this work he has received the Federal Government Canadian Public Service Award of Excellence and the British Columbia Premier’s Award for Partnerships promoting innovation and excellence.
Regional Manager, Economic Development, Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
As the Regional Manager for the Thompson-Okanagan, Myles has been engaged in economic development with the provincial government since 1999. He works closely with local government staff and economic development professionals on economic development and investment attraction initiatives both regionally and provincially. He works with communities to foster business development, helps them to resolve strategic issues, and provides a key liaison into provincial government programs and services. From his office in Kamloops, Myles supports and promotes Thompson-Okanagan businesses looking to develop new markets or products, mentors and assists entrepreneurs and start-up companies, supports businesses with labour force and business succession issues, and helps to connect international investors with local businesses seeking investment equity or venture capital. Myles has a passion for international trade and investment attraction and he works closely with the Province of BC international trade and investment offices in China, India, Japan, Korea, Europe, and the US.
Peter Cameron-Inglis is currently the President of the Interior Technology Industry Association and the founder of Canada’s Mastermind Development Corporation. CMDC is a business incubation, acceleration and venture capital firm focused on the tech industry in BC. Peter was the founder/VP of ASL Internet, a division of Sun Media – A Quebecor Media Company. In 2009 ASL was chosen by Industry Canada as 1 of 3 top innovative technology firms to represent Canada at Communicasia, the world’s largest ICT conference in Singapore. Peter is known as a serial entrepreneur & successful businessman who leads by example, & conducts himself with honesty & integrity.