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Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer
Board Chair and Chair, Steering Committee
Gordon Safarik has held a number of executive positions in the cruise ship, food, shipbuilding and repair industries as well as the oil and gas sector. With over 35 years experience both domestically and internationally (Europe, Asia and Mexico), his expertise has been utilized in the private and public sectors.
Gordon is past President of the Cruise Industry Association of British Columbia. He has held a variety of directorships including the BC Shipbuilding and Repair Association and the Fisheries Council of BC. He co-founded the Esquimalt Drydock Company, developing international relationships with shipping companies. He has served on a number of Federal committees and currently sits on the Board of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Board of Variance for the District of North Saanich.
Gordon graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Economics.
Board Vice-Chair and Chair, Airport Consultative Committee
Cathie has been a resident of Greater Victoria for the past 30 years, and of the Saanich Peninsula for the past 20. Cathie has been active on several local boards including the Central Saanich Police Board serving as Chair of Finance, the Island Catholic School Board, and the Peninsula Co-op Board of Directors serving as Chair of Finance, Planning and Nominations Committee.
Cathie is a former Councillor with the District of Central Saanich where she served as Chair of the Finance and Administration Committee and the Planning and Development Committee. She has owned and operated several businesses in Greater Victoria and held senior executive positions for a large local grocery chain. She has spent a significant amount of time volunteering for local community and high school football.
Cathie and her husband Chris operate Ounsted & Company, Chartered Professional Accountants. They reside in Central Saanich with their two teenage sons.
Board Secretary and Chair, Governance Committee
Wendy Zink has extensive experience in community development and community facilitation and believes an engaged and inclusive community is a sustainable community.
Wendy has been actively involved in community affairs in Victoria for 25 years including the Vancouver Island YMCA-YWCA (nationally and locally), Our Place Society and past Chairperson of the Housing Impact Council -Greater Victoria United Way. She is currently a director on the Oak Bay Police Board as well as the Salish Sea Housing Society.
Prior to establishing her consulting practice, Bazink Solutions, in 2009, Wendy was the City of Victoria’s Manager of Social Planning and Housing. Her focus and passion was on planning for and with people in Victoria and encompassed housing policy, land planning and development. This is also the focus of her consulting practice.
She has worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors across western Canada most recently managing a commercial cleaning franchise on Vancouver Island for five years. Wendy brings a pragmatic yet creative approach to all aspects of her work. She employs the following skills: strategic planning; policy governance & decision-making; consultation and facilitation.
Wendy has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Design (Urban Planning) from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies from the University of Winnipeg.
Chair, Human Resources Committee
Carol Brown brings extensive business experience as an Organizational Development Consultant focused on change, conflict, and the people side of organizational life. She practiced commercial law for over 20 years advising SME’s as their corporate counsel. Carol has an accounting designation and completed the Institute of Corporate Directors, Rotman School of Management training.
Carol was the Chair of the Human Resource Committee with the Prince George Airport Authority, serving nine years on the Board of Directors. She is a past-director with the Insurance Corporation of BC, as well as other community board volunteer experiences. Carol was a Commissioner with the BC Utilities Commission for over five years.
Carol has a phd and is an associate faculty at Royal Roads University, teaching Law, Conflict Management, and Leading Change. Carol has been a resident of the south island for nine years and has two adult children.
Chair, Audit and Finance Committee
Eric Donald is the Principal of Blazer Consulting Inc., a real estate and finance advisory business. With a background that includes 30 years in the financial industry (BMO) and subsequent years in real estate development and property management, Eric has experienced many transactional opportunities and challenges at a leadership level.
A native of Victoria, Eric holds a B.A.(Econ.) from University of Victoria and Executive Management Certificates from the Banff School of Advanced Management and the Richard Ivey Business School.
Eric has served on many community boards, including University of Victoria (Chair), Uvic Properties (Chair), Pacific Sport Training Centre, Chambers of Commerce, Victoria Economic Development Commission, and he has participated with various non-profits in fund-raising initiatives.
Chair, Planning and Development Committee
Paul has been involved in construction for over 40 years in England, Toronto and on Vancouver Island and is the owner and President of a multi-million dollar business in the construction industry in the CRD .
He was elected as a Saanich Councillor from 2008 – 2014 and was Chair of various Saanich standing and advisory committees including Finance, Planning and Transportation and Parks, Trails and Recreation in his two terms of office. He was also the Saanich Council representative on the Victoria Airport Consultative Committee.
Paul was a trustee and Chair of the Greater Victoria Public Library Board and of the CRD Housing Trust Fund Committee and a Board member of the Capital Region Housing Corporation, City of Victoria Board of Variance, Saanich Neighbourhood Place and a Director of the CRD Water Commission.
He was President of the Gorge Tillicum Community Association and won awards for service both as a public library trustee and for his community involvement. He is interested and involved with affordable housing issues in the Greater Victoria region and was also a member of the Leadership Council for the Coalition to End Homelessness.
Paul lives in the Gorge / Tillicum area of Saanich, is married and has two adult sons.
Nominated by the District of North Saanich
As CEO of The Butchart Gardens, Mr. Cowen helps lead a creative and diverse staff in the delivery of a world-renowned horticultural experience. A National Historic Site, Butchart is a pre-eminent Edwardian display garden with an array of entertainment, shopping and dining options.
Mr. Cowen is experienced in facility management, business development and governance, and is actively involved in leadership positions in the tourism and business communities. He serves as the founding Past President of Gardens BC, is past Chair of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and was formerly Chair of Tourism Victoria.
As Co-chair of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region’s Tourism Working Group, Dave is the proud recipient of the Robert Day Memorial Award, which is awarded to someone in the private sector who has played a major role in bringing collaboration between cross-border organizations and stakeholders.
Nominated by the Town of Sidney
Before entering law school, Wendy worked with Transport Canada and Winnipeg International Airport as a project manager from 1992 to 1995. As a manager of commercial development, Wendy was responsible for groundside development and management of commercial retail projects, negotiation of commercial lease and license agreements, overseeing ground transportation initiatives and a participant in, and with, the development of an overall marketing plan for the Airport.
Today, Wendy maintains a private legal practice, Everson Law, and provides legal services and advice to clients in the areas of real estate, development, business law, general corporate and commercial law and wills and estate planning. Wendy has a long history of community involvement and has volunteered with a number of organizations and foundations throughout her career, both at the executive level and with general membership. Her past participation includes being an elected member of the Provincial Council of the Canadian Bar Association, Chair of various committees and educational sections of the Canadian Bar Association, President & Director of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, and a past member of the granting committee for the Victoria Foundation. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation and is Chair of Governance.
Wendy obtained her Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Commerce Honours (Finance) degrees from the University of Manitoba, and her Juris Doctor of Laws (J.D.) from the University of Victoria in 1998. Wendy is a recipient of the National Trust – Donovan and Maryla Waters Award in Trusts and Estate Planning.
Wendy is a resident of the Town of Sidney and is proud to also have her legal practice part of the local business community.
Nominated by the District of Saanich
Allan Haynes was born and raised in London, England, and has wide-ranging work experience in the UK, Europe, Canada and the Middle East and more limited experience in the USA, South America, Africa and South and East Asia.
He joined Air Canada in London as a passenger agent and later moved to the European Regional Office where he held a variety of marketing positions. He transferred to the Montreal head office in 1979 where he worked successively as manager of Schedule Development, Long Range Planning, Intercontinental Routes and Commercial Strategy.
He left Air Canada in 1992 but, after a brief spell as a restaurateur, returned to aviation as an independent marketing consultant where his clients included four of Canada's top ten airports, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Aer Rianta (the Irish Airports Authority), various regional airports and airlines and sub-contract work for larger consultancies.
His voluntary work includes Vice President House League of the Lakeshore Soccer Association (Quebec), a youth sports group with 3500 members, Director and Chair of the Passenger Marketing Committee of the Comox Valley Airport Commission and board member and President of Peninsula Players, a community theatre group based in Sidney for whom he has written and directed a number of productions.
Allan has a degree in marketing from the UK Institute of Marketing and currently lives in the Cordova Bay area of Saanich.
Appointed by the Government of Canada
Frank Leonard was Mayor of Saanich and Chair of the Police Board from 1996-2014 after serving as a Councillor from 1986. While in public office, Frank chaired the Municipal Finance Authority of BC, was President of the Union of BC Municipalities and a Director of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. He has also served as Chair of the Capital Regional District, the Hospital District and the region’s Housing Corporation.
Frank Leonard comes from a family business background, having managed Victoria Tire Ltd.’s three Kal Tire stores prior to their sale in 1996. While in business, Frank served as a Director of the BC Chamber of Commerce, President of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, and on the boards of local tourism and economic development groups. Frank has a B.A. (Honours) and M.A. from the University of Victoria, and has completed the Institute of Corporate Directors Program (ICD.D)
Frank Leonard is currently Chair of Parkbridge Lifestyles Communities and a Director of Coast Capital Savings. He is a business instructor at the University of Victoria and has previously served as a Director of the BC Investment Management Corporation, Chair of the Municipal Pension Plan and Chair of the BC Agricultural Land Commission.
Nominated by the Town of Sidney
Charles Lovallo is President of CRI Business Solutions, a private consulting firm specializing in business management, and Manager of the Themis School of Security Training. He is past President and Chair of Innovative Solutions Now Inc., a biofuels research and development company. Charles has held senior positions within Revenue Canada - Customs and Border Services in the areas of Information Technology, Revenue, Human Resources Management and Taxation.
He was the founder and CEO of Angel Flight of BC, a non-profit organization of volunteer pilots who provide free air transportation to ambulatory cancer patients requiring travel to treatment centres.
Charles is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for his work in business continuity and emergency management, and he has assisted in the development of a National Risk Assessment Program.
Nominated by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
Margaret Lucas has been an executive leader in the Tourism and Development industry for over 30 years. She is currently the Executive Director, Business Development for PARC Retirement Living. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and is Chair of the Infrastructure, Planning and Development Committee and the Ogden Point Master Plan Committee. In 2003 she led the transformation team for the restoration of the Hotel Rialto. In 2009 she was awarded the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year Award for her work and community spirit. In 2012, she received a University of Victoria Distinguished Alumni Award.
Margaret has served on many civic boards and committees including a Governor on the Camosun College Board of Directors, Chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Vice-Chair of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, board member on the Victoria Hospice and Palliative Care Foundation, and a director for Victoria Civic Heritage Trust.
Margaret was an elected Councillor in the City of Victoria from 2014 to 2018. She cares deeply about her community, is not afraid to get involved, and she brings a strong business acumen and understanding of regional perspectives to the Board.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Geoff Dickson became President and Chief Executive Officer of the Victoria Airport Authority in 2011.
As President and Chief Executive Officer, Geoff is responsible for the strategic planning, operations and financial performance of Victoria International Airport. During Geoff's tenure, Victoria International Airport won the prestigious Airport Council International Service Quality Award for best regional airport in North America in 2012, 2014 and 2020.
Geoff has over thirty years' experience in the airline and marine transportation industries with a background in marketing, business development, operations, customer service and finance.
Geoff began his career with Canadian Airlines where he ultimately led the international marketing team in the development and expansion of the Airline’s global network. He returned home to Victoria, BC where he joined BC Ferries as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development where he oversaw all aspects of their commercial operations.
Geoff is a past member of the Destination Greater Victoria Board of Directors and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Airports Council (CAC) and Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.
Geoff is a graduate of the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business.