About

Our Board

Dr. Philip Barker

Associate Vice-President Research & Vice-Principal Research, UBC Okanagan campus

As AVP, Dr. Barker works to deepen the research and innovation culture and build the structure and relationships to increase research and innovation capacity, as well as advocate for the University’s research and innovation mission, both inside and outside the University.

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Dr. Philip Barker

Dr. Barker serves in the dual role of AVP Research for the UBC system and Vice-Principal Research for the Okanagan campusAs AVP, Dr. Barker works to deepen the research and innovation culture and build the structure and relationships to increase research and innovation capacity, as well as advocate for the University’s research and innovation mission, both inside and outside the University.

Blair Forrest

Partner, Pushor Mitchell LLP

Blair Forrest is a partner at Pushor Mitchell LLP, a longtime supporter of Accelerate Okanagan, and an AO Partner. Blair’s practice area is business law with a specific focus on corporate, securities, and technology law matters.

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Blair Forrest

Blair Forrest is a partner at Pushor Mitchell LLP, a longtime supporter of Accelerate Okanagan, and an AO Partner. Blair’s practice area is business law with a specific focus on corporate, securities, and technology law matters.

Technology transactions involve unique risks and Blair’s experience in this area includes the full spectrum of activities. He deals with complex transactions including mergers, acquisitions, public offerings, private placements, venture capital investments, corporate finance transactions, corporate structuring, and regulatory applications to the Canadian stock exchanges and securities commissions.

Corie Griffiths

Director, Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission

Corie is a key resource for business retention and attraction initiatives, leading award winning projects such as Canada’s first Business Walks and the inaugural Okanagan Valley Economic Profile and Site Selection Toolkit.

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Corie Griffiths

Corie is a key resource for business retention and attraction initiatives, leading award winning projects such as Canada’s first Business Walks and the inaugural Okanagan Valley Economic Profile and Site Selection Toolkit. She represents the COEDC on the Kelowna International Air Route Development task force, Regional Advisory member to both Okanagan College and University of British Columbia Okanagan, served on the BC’s Economic Development Association EDABC Executive and also served on the Okanagan Valley Economic Development Society (OVEDS) executive since 2008 including two terms as chair from 2010-2012.

Corie is Director of the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC). Originally from California, Corie emigrated to the Okanagan in 2002.

Peter Haubrich

Business Development & Innovation Management, Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence

One of the Okanagan’s recognized champions of high-tech, research and innovation, Peter has over 30 years of international experience in Research & Development and Innovation Management.

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Peter Haubrich

One of the Okanagan’s recognized champions of high-tech, research and innovation, Peter has over 30 years of international experience in Research & Development and Innovation Management. He was highly successful in creating innovative teams in several European countries and Japan for the Consumer Electronics Business, and holds 2 patents. 

In 2005 Peter established a new independent Research and Innovation Centre in BC's Okanagan Valley (ORIC), with its headquarters co-located with the White Lake Radio Observatory south of Penticton (NRC-DRAO). ORIC managed technology business incubators in the Okanagan and played a key role in the creation of over 20 companies and 60 plus new high tech jobs. At the end of December 2010 ORIC merged with OSTEC to become Accelerate Okanagan. 

Karen Hawes

Senior Vice-President, HR & Communications, Interior Savings Credit Union

Karen's 25-year career in the financial industry has been in a wide range of positions ranging from administrative to lending, with a particular focus on small business.

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Karen Hawes

Karen Hawes is Senior Vice-President, HR & Communications for Interior Savings Credit Union, responsible for 43 multi-community locations throughout the Interior, including Kamloops, South Okanagan, Merritt and the North Thompson region, in union and non-union environments.

Karen's 25-year career in the financial industry has been in a wide range of positions ranging from administrative to lending, with a particular focus on small business. Her six years of local Chamber board experience includes two years as president of the Kelowna Chamber, the largest Chamber in the B.C. Interior.

She joined the BC Chamber Board in 2014 and serves on the Succession Planning Committee.

Jason Kryski

Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Strawhouse Labs

An accomplished serial entrepreneur who has co-founded three companies in the digital marketing space, Jason assists US based venture and private-equity backed companies grow distribution and revenue.

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Jason Kryski

An accomplished serial entrepreneur who has co-founded three companies in the digital marketing space, Jason assists US based venture and private-equity backed companies grow distribution and revenue. In 2015, Strawhouse helped drive $200M in partner revenue and created half a billion dollars in market value. 

Migrating from sales training and recruiting in his mid-twenties, he got his start in marketing and advertising via affiliate marketing. Leveraging performance compensation models, he learned early on that when all parties’ interests are aligned; profound things can happen.

Quinton Pullen

Senior Tax Manager, Grant Thorton LLP

Quinton specializes in providing tax planning to owner-managed businesses, particularly with respect to divestiture planning, mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, and cross-border transactions.

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Quinton Pullen

Quinton is a Chartered Accountant and Senior Tax Manager at Grant Thornton LLP. Quinton’s primary focus is providing tax planning to owner-managed businesses, particularly with respect to divestiture planning, mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, and cross-border transactions.

Born and raised in Kelowna, Quinton moved to the lower mainland to attend University and worked at Deloitte, specializing in international taxation. Quinton moved back to Kelowna in 2012, and has been involved in the community, as well as an active supporter of Accelerate Okanagan.

Heather Schneider

Regional Dean, Central Okanagan for Okanagan College

Heather supports the delivery of campus programs, services and operations including the development of major capital construction projects for the campus such as the Trades Complex and the Centre for Learning building.

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Heather Schneider

Heather is the Regional Dean of the Central Okanagan for Okanagan College. In that capacity she supports the delivery of campus programs, services and operations including the development of major capital construction projects for the campus such as the Trades Complex and the Centre for Learning building.  Heather is a Rotarian and a member of several other volunteer boards including the International Children’s Games Committee, Society for Learning in Retirement and on the Advisory Board for the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission.

Scot Speiser

Vice President, Business Development Capri Insurance

Scot recently joined Capri Insurance with experience from Royal Bank of Canada, Federated Co-operatives Ltd. and most recently, 20 years with Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

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Scot Speiser

Scot recently joined Capri Insurance with experience from Royal Bank of Canada, Federated Co-operatives Ltd. and most recently, 20 years with Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

Scot spent the last 11 years with BDC as Vice President, Financing and Consulting where he was responsible for BC North & Interior. In addition, Scot led BDC’s National Aboriginal Unit, served as the Lead for Business Development and Client Relationship Management of BDC’s National Transformation Project and was a founding member on BDC’s National Client Experience Committee.

Scot is a past Board member and Chair of the Economic Development Commission of the Central Okanagan and served as a board member for the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. In addition to representing as the Vice-Chair of Accelerate Okanagan, he is a Committee Member for metabridge and is a volunteer coach with Kelowna Minor Hockey.

Gordon Prokes

Founder, Infada Communications Read More
Gordon Prokes

Gordon was born and raised in Kelowna and is happy to be back home to lend his passion for technology and entrepreneurship to the growth of the community. With a vast engineering background, his focus has turned to business analysis and strategy. He knows a thing or two about rocket science, venture capital, and foosball too.