Meet our team

In addition to our Board we have several valued mentors, senior transportation industry executives, relevant professionals, and senior government officers and association leaderships who bring a rich variety of skillsets to us.

Our transportation industry executives include exporters and importers representing most of the major exporting and importing industries.  We also have continuing communication with dockside, off-dock and inland terminal operators. 

Relevant professionals include engineering firms specializing in rail, bridge, highway, marine structures and electrical engineering.  We also have dialogue with environmental consultants, specialized industry consultants, industry associations, academia and several senior relevant government departments.  We also have a CPA and a lawyer on our Board.

We have a small but effective group of rail and shipping senior management officers who guide us on a regular basis.

Finally, we have established a contact with the Sechelt First Nation’s Council and begun meetings with their senior staff in order to build a relationship and cultivate a potential partnership.  While we have reached no agreements at this time, discussions are expected to be ongoing.  We are about to initiate communications with additional First Nations in the immediate future.

Mini bios of our Board members follow:

Gary E. Fribance, Chairman and CEO

Gary was a Partner with one of the major international accounting firms. He was  a member of the Canadian Firm’s Board of Directors, and Managing Partner of a mid size office.  He served in a leadership position on several national and international initiatives of the firm. Following his years with the firm he was an investment advisor with Raymond James. Gary has also served as an officer and director of his Chamber of Commerce, the BC Chamber of Commerce, the Centre for Seizure Control and Education, Rotary and many other organizations. He has been President of the Third Crossing Society for several years and recommended its conversion into Jervis Ports Inc.

Gary earned his Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC in 1965 and became a Chartered Accountant in 1968. In semi-retirement he offers consulting services particularly in business planning, financial  restructuring and related matters.

Chet Idziszek, BSc.

Chet has greater than 40 years of international experience in the mineral resource industry.  He received the “Mining Man of the Year” aware in 1990 for his vital role in the discovery and development of the Eskay Creek gold deposit in British Columbia.  Subsequently he continued with management and development of several successful gold and copper projects in Peru, Panama, Senegal and Papua New Guinea.

He graduated from McGill University in 1975 with a Masters of Science Degree in applied mineral exploration. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of London and a member of the Society of Economic Geologists.

Richard Furness 

Richard is a semi-retired journalist who worked for several newspapers including the Globe and Mail before taking a job at Ontario Hydro as speechwriter and liaison officer dealing with the media and government. In 1994 he moved to British Columbia and bought The Boundary Creek Times, a small newspaper in the historic Kettle Valley, serving it as Editor and Publisher.  

A student of English and history, he graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1964. He retired to Powell River in 2006 where he served as Secretary of the Powell River Hospital Foundation.

Robert N. Hainsworth 

Robert earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from the University of Prince Edward Island in 2013 and his law degree from Osgoode Hall at York University in 2016. He was called to the BC bar in 2017.  He currently practices law In Edmonton focusing on corporate matters and he is also involved in social development projects.   

Mark A. Hassett 

Mark is semi-retired. His main business interests included construction (focusing on excavations), quarrying, and investments in a variety of business opportunities. Mark has also served as a director on the Powell River Chamber of Commerce and many other organizations. He also continues to serve as a member of the Powell River Community Forest and the Community Advisory Committee for the local Forestry Industry.

Claudio della Maestro 

 Claudio received his Power Engineering certificate from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in 1984. At Syncrude he was responsible for oversight of major construction projects. In semi-retirement he continues to oversee major annual maintenance sub-contractors.

André Villeneuve

Andre has more than 33 years of experience in the mining and construction industries. Since 1991, he has been an independent mining and civil engineering consultant. He has extensive project and construction management experience as well as construction claims resolution experience with a wide range of mining, hydroelectric, heavy civil and industrial construction projects in the Americas, Africa, Australia and Europe.

He  is fluent in English, French and Spanish and has a working knowledge of Portuguese. He graduated from the University of Montreal (Ecole Polytechnique) in 1983 with a Bachelor of Mining Engineering. He is currently president of his own engineering firm.

Gordon F. D. Wilson

As an educator, politician and agriculturist, Gordon has led a travelled life. Born in Vancouver, schooled in Africa and educated in North America, he became Professor of Economic Geography at Capilano College where he was also President of the Faculty Association.  He earned his BSc from New York State University and his MA in Geography and Resource Management from UBC.

Politically, he was Leader of the BC Liberal Party from 1987 until 1993. Gordon served the BC Government as Minister of Forests, Finance, Employment and Investment, Education and Aboriginal Affairs during the passage of the Nisga’a Treaty.  Later, he also served the Province as the LNG-Buy BC Advocate.

On the national scene he was an active participant during the development of the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords.

Gordon is an enthusiastic student of the arts and an avid sportsman

Colin Palmer

It is with regret that we advise that Colin passed away on March 13, 2020. Colin was a major contributor to our Board and our predecessor organization for many years.

Colin served Powell River first as a councilor and then as Mayor. He was President of the Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Community Futures Development Corporation, Chair of the Board of Powell River Regional District, and a member of the Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee and the Provincial Environmental Appeal Board. A former teacher, he also ran a printing business for many years. Colin earned a BA in English, History and Geography from London University.

We will miss his many contributions.