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.
Jason Wassing is the IT Manager for Kelson Group Property Management, a family owned Kamloops company that has been offering quality rental apartments for over 40 years. In addition to his duties at Kelson Group, Jason has also run a web development and custom programming business, Sweetwater Media, since 2000. Jason is a lifelong resident of Kamloops, attending TRU (Digital Art/Computing Science), and has been heavily involved in making the Kamloops technology industry better for over 20 years.
George Petel brings an extensive business law background of over 15 years with experience in the construction, pipeline and mining industries. Some key areas of the practice include: business structuring & governance; partnership & joint venture agreements; project financing; acquisitions & divestitures; and vendor & supplier commercial transactions.
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, CIP CAIB, BCom, has over 14 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 Valley First Insurance Services and is currently an Insurance Broker with Emsland Insurance Services. He currently sits on the board of directors for the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce.
Marketing & Advertising
Jennifer is the 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.
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.
Owner/Teacher - Academy of Dance
Krista Faraday has been part of the Kamloops small business community since 2002 when she first opened the Academy of Dance. She is passionate in providing a positive community for her young dancers, and establishing a business that provides a safe and positive space for them as well. She has helped many young, Kamloops performers dreams come true, by bringing them to perform in Disneyland CA and New York City. She is currently the Vice President of the Kamloops Arts Council.
When not at the studio teaching dance, she can be found spending time with her two kids, 2 dogs and husband!