SPEAKER BIOS

Key Note Speaker

Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of Canada Green Building Council

Thomas Mueller is a Founding Director of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and became President & CEO of the Council in 2005. As Chief Executive, he leads the Council's national green building strategy, programs and standards along with advocacy and policy initiatives.

As a member of the Board of Directors of the Green Business Certification Institute (GBCI) and the Cornerstone Standards Council (CSC), and as an immediate past Board member of the World Green Building Council (WGBC), he supports the transition toward green building, neighbourhoods and cities at home and globally.

Thomas is a well known advocate for green buildings and sustainable community development. He participates frequently in government and industry consultations on green development and is a nationally and internationally recognized authority and speaker on green buildings.

He is currently participating in a number of initiatives and groups including the WGBC Americas Network; and City of Vancouver's Green Building Advisory Committee. In January 2014, he joined the Advisory Board of CIRS (Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability) at the University of BC.

Thomas has an Undergraduate Degree in Geography, Planning and Applied Ecology from the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, and holds a Master's Degree in Regional Planning & Resource Development from the University of Waterloo, Ontario.

For his green building work, Thomas received the 2000 and 2002 Innovation Award from the Architectural Institute of BC and the 2005 FCM - CH2MHill Sustainable Community Award. He is a Fellow of the Cascadia Green Building Council and a recipient of Canada's 2015 Clean50 award.
 

Breakout Session #1:

Speakers for The Future of Technology and Real Estate Development: 

Dr. Kim Dotto, Dean, Applied Research British Columbia Institute of Technology 

Dr. Kim Dotto is Dean, Applied Research at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Canada.  Dr. Dotto received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of British Columbia and has over 30 years of experience in Software/Hardware Research and Development, Engineering and IT, in both the private and academic sectors.  He also holds degrees in Chemistry, Oceanography, Engineering Physics and Biomedical Engineering.  He is also a registered P.Eng. with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia.

 

In his previous positions at BCIT, Kim has served as faculty, Program Head Associate Dean and Dean in the School of Computing & Academic Studies and Dean for the School of Transportation. He has also taught in industry, has extensive industry experience in the private and public sector and as a consultant both locally and internationally and sits on the Graduate Program Committee for the joint Masters of Digital Media program.

Andreas Boehm, Intelligent Cities Manager, City of Kelowna

Andreas Boehm is the new Intelligent Cities Manager at the City of Kelowna. The City is looking to develop an Intelligent Community ecosystem that leverages technology and innovation to address today’s challenges and creates tomorrow’s opportunities through collaboration between citizens, industry, academia and government. Andreas has a Master’s of Public Policy degree and has managed Economic Development Initiatives for the District of Summerland and the City of Surrey.

Ben Rawlinson, Branch Manager, Aplin Martin (Moderator)

Ben Rawlinson has been very fortunate to be a part of very diverse teams often from remote locations that have proven successes. Ben have been invited by International and local firms to author and facilitate discussion on optimal uses of technology for the implementation and execution of designs in Land Development, Municipal, Provincial and National governing bodies. He is also deeply rooted locally through public, land development, industrial, commercial, mixed used and residential applications and has a passion for connected communities. 

Ben is very proud to be involved here at home in some great organizations such as; UDI, ACEC, District of Lake Country municipal liaison Committee, UDI Technical Issues Committee, Kelowna Jaycees, Okanagan BIM user group and through various other community initiatives and volunteer opportunities.

Speakers for The Future of Transportation:

Mayor Colin Basran, City of Kelowna 

Mayor Colin Basran was elected Mayor of the City of Kelowna in 2014.  He has previously served as Councillor for the 2011-2014 term and is a former Realtor at Royal Lepage Kelowna.  He is active in his community, including but not limited to being a founding member of the Okanagan Young Professionals, sitting on the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Task Force in 2011, being a member of the United Way’s GenNext and hosting an annual charity golf tournament raising money for various charitable organizations.  He has also served on a variety of Boards and Committees as part of his political commitments.

Christian Brandt, Regional Fleet Manager, Modo

Dr. Gord Lovegrove, Associate Professor, School of Engineering, The University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus (Presenter)

Dr. Lovegrove is passionate about sustainable communities and is one of the School of Engineering’s experts in applied sustainable civil engineering - he is currently working with the Canadian and American Societies of Civil Engineers (ASCE/CSCE) on the release of a new reference textbook for practitioners and students-alike on civil engineering practices "Toward Sustainable Communities" (working title). His sustainability expertise stems from over 30 years of hands-on professional engineering experience and innovative, rigorous science-based research.

 

In addition to his valuable contributions to the School’s teaching and research programs at UBCO, Dr Lovegrove works hard off campus as a volunteer to promote sustainable lifestyles, government, and built form in Kelowna and globally. He has served as a Director of Kelowna's Fresh Outlook Foundation (freshoutlookfoundation.org), charter Director of Kelowna's Okanagan Car Share Co-Op (OGO.ca), Christian Service Brigade (christianservicebrigade.ca), TRB Bicycle Committee (ANF20), among others.

Dr Lovegrove's contributions, expertise, and reputation have been recognized by his peers as worthy of several distinguished grants, including: a Natural Science & Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grant, a Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Grant to equip his Sustainable Transport Safety (STS) Research Lab, and NSERC Engage Grants to solve emerging industry problems. His STS Research Lab researches and develops knowledge based technologies and systems for more sustainable and safe communities, including ways to measure and predict sustainability metrics for community planners and engineers.

Andrew Gaucher, Vice President, McKinley Beach (Moderator)

Andrew brings over 10 years experience with a creative perspective and strong communications skills to real estate and land development, affording a unique approach to launching and executing development projects. Andrew currently holds roles as VP at McKinley Beach and President of Dynamic Constructors.

Andrew's specialties include: Real estate technology, Sustainable development practices, Municipal, Provincial and Federal application management, Marketing and Sales Solutions, Sales Management, LEED Management and Certifications, Project Envisioning, Performance management, Strategic Planning, Business Systemization, Brand Development, Project Budget, Scheduling and Financing.

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Speakers for The Future of Architecture and Cities:

Marianne Amodio, Architect AIBC LEED AP, MA+HG

Marianne holds a Masters Degree of Architecture (honours) from the University of Manitoba, is a registered Architect with the Architectural Institute of British Columbia and a LEED Accredited Professional. She is currently the Chair of The City of Vancouver's Creative Advisory Panel for Housing Innovation and a member of the City of Vancouver Mayor's Advisory Committee for Housing and the Mayors' Advisory Committee for Permitting and Process.  Marianne launched marianne amodio architecture studio in June of 2010, working out of her living room before opening the Chinatown studio in 2013.

Harley Grusko, Architect AIBC LEED AP, MA+HG

Harley holds a Masters Degree of Architecture (honours) from the University of Manitoba, is a registered Architect with the Architectural Institute of British Columbia and a LEED Accredited Professional. Harley joined Marianne Amodio Architecture Studio in October of 2016, after a decade devoted to design excellence at Perkins+Will Vancouver. There, he worked on a number projects focused on quality design and high-performance buildings. As the Project Architect of the award winning VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre (LEED Gold, Living Building Challenge Petal Certification), Harley was involved in the project from the earliest concept sketches through to the digital 3D computational design and through construction. He was also the project designer for the new Student Union Building at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, the first significant building to be constructed along Convocation Mall in the heart of the Arthur Erickson designed iconic SFU Campus since Erickson’s original Campus plan.

Stoke Tonne, Principal, Meiklejohn Architects Inc

With a focus towards excellence in design and sustainability Stoke a Principal at Meiklejohn Architects; an office that has been creating great buildings in the Okanagan for over 60 years making it the oldest firm in the Valley. His personal focus is bringing together engineering and architecture to allow for the constant cross pollination of ideas with the goal to make buildings both beautiful and intelligent. 

Stoke’s work in the Okanagan began almost 10 years ago with my involvement as project designer for the medical school at the UBC Okanagan campus in Kelowna, a LEED gold research laboratory project. Since relocating to Kelowna in 2011 he has been fortunate to work on several key projects for the downtown core starting with the iconic design of the new Kelowna Yacht Club clubhouse and more recently completing the very innovative, and appropriately titled, Okanagan Centre for Innovation.

Rob Fershau,  Director of Planning, Landscape Architecture + Urban Design, WSP (Moderator)

Break out Session #2

Speakers for  Addressing Housing Affordability:

Armin Amrolia, Associate Vice President of HousingHub, BC Housing

As the Associate Vice President for the Development & Asset Strategies branch, Armin Amrolia draws on more than 28 years of experience at BC Housing with over 19 years in a senior leadership position.  She has a strong background in stakeholder relations liaising with Health Authorities, private and non-profit housing providers, Indigenous groups, resource groups and industry professionals.

Some of Armin's key accomplishments include the delivery of affordable housing across the housing spectrum that results in the completion of over 2200 units annually.  She leads a team that also oversees several key program funded initiatives as well as the Community Partnership Initiative financing program.  One of Armin’s new responsibilities is to head up a new division within BC Housing called the HousingHub.  The Hub will work in partnership with the private sector, local government and non-profit societies to develop affordable housing targeted to the missing middle. 

 

Armin holds a degree in Political Science from Simon Fraser University. 

Raymond Kwong, Provincial Director of HousingHub, BC Housing

Raymond has worked in the real estate, development and construction industry across Western Canada for over 20 years.  His experience in Development encompasses commercial, residential & mixed use developments; Projects span from single family home construction and development to multi-phased master planned projects.  During the last 11 years, Raymond’s role at BC Housing has evolved from the development and construction of social and affordable residential projects in the Lower Mainland to creating complex mixed use projects throughout the Province with a wide range of industry partners.  

Besides development and construction, Raymond's background includes Property Management and Leasing experience covering property management, real estate leasing management and marketing for residential, commercial and retail classes.  Raymond also has extensive experience and knowledge in land acquisitions and real estate analysis from inception to completion.  His experience includes investment real estate analysis, real estate acquisitions and dispositions (residential, commercial, investment, bare land and industrial) and business brokerage (valuation, analysis and sales).

 

Some of Raymond's most notable projects/key accomplishments include:

  • Woodwards  (200 units) – City of Vancouver

  • 14 City Sites projects (1,500 units) - City of Vancouver

  • Community Land Trust (4) Sites  (358 units) – City of Vancouver

  • New Jubilee House (162 units) – City of Vancouver

  • Fair Haven (2) Sites (284 units) – City of Burnaby and Vancouver

  • George Derby Manor (122 units) – City of Burnaby

  • Richmond Kiwanis Project (296 units) – City of Richmond

  • Stories (129 units) – City of Richmond 

  • Jack Nelson (59 units) – District of Sechelt

  • United Church Portfolio (4) Sites (411 units) – Province (Coquitlam, Nanaimo, Richmond & Vancouver)

Lance Jakubec, Affordable Housing Specialist, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC)

Lance Jakubec is a creative urban planner drawing on two decades of experience in the housing sector to pragmatically combine sustainability and affordability.   His strong analytical skills and knowledge of land use planning, energy conservation, building codes and green building is balanced with experience in building partnerships, community outreach, engaging public speaking and innovations in finance and design to enhance affordability.  Navigating financing and funding opportunities to enhance the accessibility, sustainability, affordability and social benefits of housing for Canadians, because everyone deserves a place to call home.

Katy Williams, Associate Lawyer, Real Estate Law Group (Moderator)

Katy is a business lawyer with broad practice experience including the areas of real estate, business contracts and transactions, leasing, real estate development, financing and wills and estates.  Katy grew up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan before moving to Edmonton in 2000 to attend the University of Alberta. She completed a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology, philosophy and fine arts followed by a law degree, graduating with Distinction for both. Katy then began her legal career with the large Edmonton firm of Reynolds Mirth Richards & Farmer LLP where she worked in both the corporate commercial and real estate development areas as well as gaining exposure to the world of courtroom insolvency litigation.

In 2012, Katy made the brilliant move to Kelowna to be closer to family, good skiing and wine. Katy worked with a large local firm for several years, focusing her practice on corporate law. In 2017, Katy joined Business Law Group where she has continued to assist clients with practical, affordable business law services.  Katy’s broad experience means she can provide clients with legal assistance in a variety of areas while taking into account the client’s “big picture”. This enables her to offer comprehensive legal advice that satisfies all of a client’s legal needs in the most practical and efficient manner.

Education: Bachelor of Laws- University of Alberta
Professional Affiliations: Member, Law Society of British Columbia
Community Involvement: Director – Chamber Music Kelowna

Speakers for Our Aging Population:

Andrew Ramlo, Vice President of Market Intelligence, Rennie Group 

As Vice President of Market Intelligence, Andrew leads Rennie Group’s Market Intelligence division, providing analytical and strategic support to all aspects of the company. For more than two decades, Andrew has provided strategic management advice to leading real estate developers, investors, retailers and consumers, as well as to many of Canada’s most rapidly changing municipalities, crown corporations and public agencies.

Karen Omelchuk, Residential Health Services Administrator, Interior Health Shared Services BC

Karen oversees all long-term care homes in the North Okanagan region of Interior Health. In this leadership role, she provides strategic and operational oversight for the care and programs provided in over 600 long term care beds as well as adult day programs. Her experience also includes leading regional health system and strategic planning projects on a wide variety of topics, most recently focused on the ageing population. 

Jessica Grantham, CPA, CA, Senior Manager at MNP (Moderator)

Jessica enjoys assisting her clients with business and tax matters and helping them to achieve their financial and non-financial goals. Her work is focused on tax planning and ensuring investments are made in a tax effective manner, maximizing wealth and freedom.  She has experience is many industries, with an emphasis on real estate and construction. She enjoys working with clients’ teams of advisors, including lawyers and financial planners, to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal.

Speakers for Agriculture Debate:

Ben Stewart, MLA Kelowna-West

Ben Stewart was elected MLA for Westside-Kelowna in 2009 and 2013. He was re-elected in a by-election in 2018 in the riding of Kelowna-West. Ben is currently the Official Opposition Co-Critic for Citizen Services and Trade.

 

Mr. Stewart previously served as Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Community and Rural Development (Municipal Affairs) and Minister of Citizens' Services. In October of 2013, Stewart was appointed British Columbia’s Special Representative in Asia to act as the province’s official on-the-ground representative to further strengthen BC’s government-to-government relationships in China, Japan, Korea, India and Southeast Asia.

 

He also has extensive experience serving the community as a board and advisory member with UBCO, Okanagan College and Kelowna General Hospital Foundation. He also served on the Regional District’s advisory planning commission and Westside governance committee.

 

The Stewart family has farmed continuously in Kelowna since 1908. Having grown up in Kelowna, Ben has farmed vineyards and a diverse mixture of orchards and tree fruits with his family for over 40 years and is regarded as a pioneer of today’s premium wine industry.

 

In 1989, he founded and built Quails’ Gate into one of Canada’s leading estate wineries. Later, under his leadership as chair of VQA Canada, the organization successfully resolved a significant number of National and International Trademark and Trade issues. Ben lives in West Kelowna and has three children and five grandchildren.

 

Danielle Noble-Brandt, Policy and Planning Department Manager, City of Kelowna 

Danielle Noble-Brandt is currently the Policy and Planning Department Manager for the City of Kelowna.  The Department’s portfolio includes policy and plan development for the environment, heritage, climate action, the City’s 2030 Official Community Plan content and implementation, development of a Healthy City Strategy, urban centre revitalization, individual neighborhood plan development, and special planning initiatives.  The Policy team is tasked with championing bold, innovative policies that guide the development of a connected, vibrant and resilient community for generations to come.  Danielle has a Master of Environmental Studies, with a specialization in resource management and policy development in addition to 14 years of local government planning experience. 

Kim Grout,  CEO Agricultural Land Commission

Kim Grout is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Agricultural Land Commission since Dec 14, 2015.  Kim is a leader with extensive experience in local government operations, a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of British Columbia, as well as professional certification as a registered professional agrologist and a registered professional planner.  Prior to her appointment, Grout served the City of Pitt Meadows for 11 years, in roles including chief administrative officer (CAO), deputy CAO and director of operations and development service. Grout also has worked for the cities of Maple Ridge and Abbotsford.

 

In addition to her degree in agriculture, Grout has completed training in strategic management at the UBC Sauder school of business, and municipal administrative training institute programs at Capilano University.

The Provincial Agricultural Land Commission is an independent administrative tribunal dedicated to preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in British Columbia.

Andrew Bruce, Regional Manager, Melcor (Moderator)

Andrew Bruce has always called Kelowna home. After completing a BA in Geography at University of Western Ontario in 1992, Andrew returned to Kelowna and found work in the Planning Department at the City of Kelowna. After 14 years with the City, seven of those as Manager of Development Services, Andrew made a shift to the private sector. Andrew has worked as both a developer and consultant since his time with the City and is currently the Regional Manager in charge of the Okanagan land holdings for Melcor Developments Ltd. Andrew has been on the UDI Okanagan Board since 2008 and has served as the Chair of the Okanagan Chapter from 2013-2015.  Andrew is also a former director with Habitat for Humanity and is a past director with the Project Build Society.  On behalf of Melcor Developments, Andrew has also worked and volunteered with The YMCA in support of their Strong Kids campaign. Andrew grew up ski racing at Big white in his younger years and both played and worked on the executive Committee of the Kelowna (Crows) Rugby Football Club between 1992 and 1999.