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.

Joshua Fraser

CEO, Data Nerds

Joshua has over 10 years of digital advertising experience and is currently building Data Nerds in British Columbia, Canada.

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Joshua Fraser

Joshua has over 10 years of digital advertising experience and is currently building Data Nerds in British Columbia, Canada.  He was accepted into the illustrious Techstars Boulder program where he met Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson from Foundry group.  After completion of the program, Foundry became the first US-based investors in Data Nerds and are working side by side the startup. Josh and the Data Nerds team have been through several Accelerate Okanagan programs and are deeply involved in the community while helping grow the tech sector in British Columbia.


Michael Macaulay

Partner, Lawson Lundell LLP

Michael is a Partner at Lawson Lundell LLP practicing in the areas of corporate, securities and technology law.

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Michael Macaulay

He has extensive experience working with entrepreneurs, emerging companies and venture capital funds in the technology, digital media, clean technology and life sciences sectors, including on matters relating to company formation and structuring, financing, mergers and acquisitions and commercial agreements.  He also has significant experience in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, securities and private equity and venture capital transactions. Michael has advised numerous start-ups, emerging companies, angel investors and venture capital funds and devotes significant time to organizations in the BC start-up community, including Accelerate Okanagan, Innovation Island, i4C Innovation Centre and entrpreneurship@UBC.  

Philip Ashman

Regional Dean, Central Okanagan at Okanagan College

Phil Ashman joined Okanagan College in 2002 as a professor, he then moved into the role as Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health, before recently taking on the role of Regional Dean for the Central Okanagan.

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Philip Ashman

Phil Ashman joined Okanagan College in 2002 as a professor in the department of Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technologies. He spend eight years in an instructional role before becoming department chair in 2010. Three years later he joined the College's leadership team as Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health. He held that position for the last four years before recently taking on the role of Regional Dean for the Central Okanagan.

Phil holds a Master of Science in IT Network Infrastructure and Design as well as a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering.  Prior to joining Okanagan College, Phil spent 8 years working in Information Technology at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George and the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. Concurrent with his teaching responsibilities, he lead technology workshops, represented the college on the Board of Directors on the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre, and spent three years as a Technical Lead with the Okanagan High-Speed Broadband Initiative.  

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.

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.