TNRD Board of Directors
P.A.J. (John) Ranta (CHAIR)
Area: Cache Creek
John Ranta, a UBC Science graduate who was born, raised and lived in Vancouver for 25 years prior to relocation to Cache Creek in 1972, was first elected Mayor of the Village of Cache Creek in 1990 and is in his fifth consecutive term. During that time he has served in a variety of local government positions including, President, Union of BC Municipalities; Chair, Thompson Nicola Regional District and Trustee, Municipal Finance Authority. John is married to Carmen and they have four children. During his non-political moments he has been employed as a Greyhound Bus Driver for the past 32 years.
Jack Jeyes (Mayor)
Jack Jeyes moved to Ashcroft from Coquitlam with his wife and their three daughters in 1989. The move, a transfer with the Ministry of Transportation and Highways, introduced the family to small-town life with the girls eventually graduating from Ashcroft Secondary and going on to further their education elsewhere. Jeyes was active in the community through various volunteer organizations and when retirement beckoned, he was able to continue those volunteer efforts full time. This year, being newly elected to local government, Jeyes is retiring as the Chair of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek TV Society and as Chair of Historic Hat Creek Ranch Society, a position he has held for the last seven years.
Virginia Smith (Mayor)
Virginia grew up in the Cache Creek/Ashcroft area and relocated to the Lower Mainland for her high school years. She worked as a cost-control accountant in the construction industry until 1990 for a company that did large commercial projects. Deciding on a lifestyle change, Virginia and her husband purchased a fishing resort on Highway 24 in 1990 and operated it until the fall of 1995. During her time at Fawn Lake, Virginia sat on the Interlakes Tourism Association and the Cariboo Tourism Association Board. In 1995, the Smiths moved to Barriere, where Virginia ran a home-based herbal business. Virginia was employed by the Barriere Library in 1996 until she retired in 2006. Virginia was elected to the municipal council when Barriere was incorporated in 2007 and served as a councillor until the 2014 election, at which time she was elected mayor. Virginia has been actively involved in the community as a volunteer with various organizations, such as the Cancer Society, Emergency Support Services and the fibre-arts group.
Rick Berrigan (Mayor)
John Harwood (Mayor)
John Harwood was born and raised in Plymouth, England, before moving to Clearwater in 1966. John was a teacher and principal for 34 years, during which time he also served as chair of the Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital and as director for Area “A” (Wells Gray Country) on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Board of Directors. John has also served as chair of both the Thompson-Nicola Hospital District and the TNRD Board.
Since retirement, John has served 12 years on the board of school trustees for School District No. 73, including four terms as the board chair. A recipient of the Queens Golden Jubilee medal for his contribution toward public service, John is now in his fourth year as mayor and TNRD Director.
Jim Rivett (Mayor)
Denis has lived in Kamloops since 1980 and has raised his family here. He is an active local business person involved in the MovieMart Downtown and the Crossroads Inn
Denis has served as a director on the boards of the original North Shore Business Association and more recently, the Kamloops Film Society, Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association, and Kamloops Society for Community Living. He was an co-organizer of the Kamloops Speaker Series and Community Representative for Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association Human Rights Committee. Denis was awarded a Kamloops Community YMCA-YWCA Peacemaker Award in 2006.
His main areas of concern are economic stability, quality of life, improving community input and environmental stewardship. Denis believes benefit comes from working together with people of all points of view.
Ken Christian (Mayor)
Ken was born in Kelowna and pursued his formal education at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Cariboo College and eventually the University of Victoria. His 37-year career in public health in the Kamloops region saw him start as Public Health Inspector and Licensing Officer. He became the Chief Environmental Health Officer in Kamloops and then Manager of Environmental Health with the Thompson Health Region and ultimately the Regional Director of Health Protection with the Interior Health Authority until 2012. He now operates a small environmental health consultancy -- Ken Christian Consulting Ltd.
Throughout his career he has been a leader in water quality, food safety, air quality, community sanitation, disease control and emergency preparedness. In recent years his interests have turned to public policy development, administrative law, sustainability, social determinants of health and the relationship between health and the built environment. A Kamloops resident for the past 35 years, Ken has served his community as an elected representative continuously since 1993 --18 years as a school trustee on the Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education, including eight years as Chairman. Ken was first elected to Kamloops City Council in 2011 and was re-elected in 2014.
Throughout the years Ken has coached and refereed basketball, and volunteered in numerous positions. He is a proud supporter of the Western Canada Theatre Company, the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation and the Thompson Rivers University Foundation. In his spare time Ken enjoys golf, sports and the Shuswap. Ken and his wife Brenda and their three children, Nic, Jon and Taryn, live in Juniper Ridge.
Tina Lange grew up in Kamloops and plans to live there forever. She is blessed to have three daughters and eight grandchildren who all live in Kamloops. Her education is in Recreation Management. From her early days working for the Kamloops Community YM-YWCA to her family owned business, Hello Toast Restaurant, she has always had jobs working with people. She has been a Kamloops City Councillor since 2005 and a TNRD director since 2011. Lange credits her success to being passionate about her city and just a little bit crazy.
Arjun was born in Kamloops in 1969. His parents, Dr. Gur and Mrs. Manju Singh, immigrated to Canada from India in the 1960s. Arjun has a strong interest in communication and public engagement and he has a MA in Professional Communication and a Graduate Certificate in Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement. Currently in his third term on Kamloops City Council and second year as a TNRD director, Arjun is also in his second term as a Director at Large on the executive of the Union of BC Municipalities.
Arjun works as a property manager and facilitator. He is always on the lookout for entrepreneurial opportunities that have a strong focus on building citizenship and community. Arjun is a slow half-marathoner, a lover of chocolate ice cream and fine scotch (preferably not combined), and loves a good conversation on any number of issues.
He warmly welcomes your questions or feedback on any TNRD issue or initiative. Engage with Arjun on twitter at @arjunsingh.
Dieter was born in Germany and raised in Kitimat, BC where he completed his primary and secondary education. He met his wife Deb Kellogg, who grew up in Kamloops, in Victoria and has been married for 34+ years. They have two adult children, Ryan and Kaitlin who both reside in Kamloops with their respective partners. Dieter has had a diverse work history, having been employed in the industrial sector by Alcan, Crown Zellerbach and a number of smaller operations. Dieter spent a number of years in retail and wholesale management primarily with Woolco. He spent 13 years in the financial services industry, both in sales and management, and lastly with the local Greyhound agency as Operations Manager.
Dieter’s passion for sustainability led him to purchase and develop 10 acres in Westsyde in 1998 where he and Deb have successfully established an organic vegetable farm and business. He has since become involved with agriculture and food security. Dieter has sat on the local farmers’ market, the Sun Peaks Farmers’ Market board (which he and his wife helped to develop), was President of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, past Director with The Certified Organic Association of BC, as well as the local certifying body.
Dieter was a former Director with the Kamloops Voter’s Society and was one of the original members of the steering committee that founded Gardengate, a therapeutic centre for individuals with mental health issues. Dieter was a committee member on the Agricultural Advisory Committee which helped to develop the Kamloops Agricultural Plan. Dieter is currently a Director with Farm2Chef and continues to be passionate about food security, economic diversity and fiscal responsibility.
P.A. (Patricia) Wallace
Patricia Wallace was born and raised in Kingston, Ontario, moving to Kamloops in 1974.
She is a businesswoman, free-enterpriser as well as a strong and active supporter of her community and region. Pat is a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal. Pat's varied career background is matched only by her extensive community involvement. Some of her service includes the Royal Inland Hospital Board, United Way President and Campaign Chair, Coordinator of the Kamloops Blood Donor Clinic, Director of the Kamloops Exhibition Association, Media Director of the first BC Festival of the Arts, Director of the SPCA, Miss Kamloops Pageant Judge, Campaign Chair of the Kamloops Canadian Cancer Society, Director of the Air Show Society, and Director of the Kamloops Aids Society. Her community activism led her into local politics where she is presently serving her 17th year as both a Kamloops City Councilor and a Director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Board.
Pat was first elected to the Union of BC Municipalities in 1995 as a Director-at-Large, a position she held until being elected Third Vice President in 1999. During her years on the UBCM Board she served on many committees. She completed her last term on this Board in September as Past President. Her political career has also extended to the regional association OMMA (Okanagan Mainline Municipal Association) as a Director for several years. She has served as a Director on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for the past four years. On a national level she serves as Vice-Chair of the Green Municipal Funds Council.
Robin Smith (Mayor)
Area: Logan Lake
Born in the Lower Mainland and raised in Logan Lake, Robin has served her community as a member of council since 2008, and has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District since 2013. In 2014, she was elected Mayor of Logan Lake. Robin has a broad professional background as both a managing broker at a real estate firm and as the previous owner of the business. Robin has certification in Local Government Leadership levels 1 and 2 and has taken university-level courses focused on business management. She serves on a broad range of committees in her own community, as well as throughout the region. Her husband and three daughters are her main focus during her time away from the office. Together they enjoy travel and various outdoor recreational activities. As a resident of Logan Lake for nearly 35 years, Robin is motivated to serve the public sector with her passion for people.
Jessoa Lightfoot (Mayor)
Neil Menard (Mayor)
Neil Menard was raised in Hudson Bay, Sask., a small town in the northeast part of the province. He attended school there and upon leaving school went to work in the forest industry as the third generation of his family to work in that industry. Menard also worked as an ironworker in heavy construction and joined the Royal Canadian Navy, eventually receiving an honorable discharge.
Menard then went back to work as an ironworker in the summer months, as well as continuing to work in the forest industry. He was a member of the International Woodworkers of America and became a business agent. He was later elected to office as a president for the IWA in the Province of Saskatchewan. Following that term of office, Menard was then elected as the vice-president for the Vancouver head office, where he worked for 30-plus years as an officer and retired as the 1st Vice-President for IWA Canada.
Menard is married, has three children and four grandchildren, and his family is his number 1 priority. He enjoys hockey, hunting and rodeo. Menard has worked in the Merritt area since the late-'70s, moved to Merritt 11 years ago, and now calls the city home. He intends to stay.
Al Raine (Mayor)
Area: "A" (Wells Gray Country)
Carol was born in Lancaster, England, and immigrated to Canada with her parents and siblings when she was young. The family settled on Vancouver Island before moving to various small towns in British Columbia, finally settling in Kamloops, where Carol completed her high school education. In 1977 she married Jack Schaffer and moved to Vavenby. They now have two children along with two grandchildren. Although Carol started her career in the banking industry, since moving to the North Thompson she has worked for the RCMP and the Court Service, with the last 31 years acting as a court clerk and then registry administrator. Carol has held positions on the Thompson-Nicola Regional Health Board, Dr. Helmcken Hospital Board, Vavenby Improvement District, and Vavenby Fire Department, along with other various clubs and organizations. Carol previously held the position of TNRD Electoral Area “A” (Wells Gray Country) Director from 1993 to 1996. Carol looks forward to representing the people of Electoral Area “A” (Wells Gray Country).
Area: "B" (Thompson Headwaters)
Macdonald grew up in West Vancouver and stayed in the Lower Mainland to earn a Bachelor of General Studies at Simon Fraser University. She enjoyed 20 successful years in sales while living in Vancouver. In 2005 she traded stilettos for Crocs and city life for rural life. Moving to Blue River, Macdonald and her husband became proprietors of one of the longest running general stores in the province: Janie's General Store in Blue River.
In running for Electoral Area Director in 2011, Macdonald aimed to be responsive to the needs of her constituents and to do the work necessary as a Director. As she grows in her career, she finds these two jobs are intertwined as she establishes partnerships and pursues goals with integrity and purpose.
Macdonald loves what she does. She tells people that if she could serve in office for the next 100 years, she would do it. As she says: “The more I do as a politician, the more I want to do. I am very much looking forward to this next term in office: to do good work, and to represent my constituents well.”
Area: "E" (Bonaparte Plateau)
Steven Rice (Vice Chair)
Area: "I" (Blue Sky Country)
Rice moved to Spences Bridge in 1988 as a single parent with his three children after 15 years in telecommunications. He got into the fruit and vegetable farming business at his father’s farm - Hilltop Gardens. A few years later he met his future wife Paulet, who was also a single parent of two girls, and now twenty years later Rice and his wife have five kids and seven grandkids.
Upon moving to Spences Bridge Rice began writing for the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal and soon after he launched the Bridge Bulletin, a small paper for the residents of Spences Bridge. Rice has written hundreds of articles about the rural B.C. lifestyle, and he also currently owns a small cafe with his wife called The Packing House. He also continues to grow apples, peaches and tomatoes at their acreage Secret Gardens where he resides with Paulet, his father-in-law, four dogs, three cats and a nightly chorus of coyotes.
R.H. (Ronaye) Elliott
Area: "J" (Copper Desert Country)
Ronaye was born in Calgary and moved to Kelowna, where she completed her education. She then moved to Vancouver and attended the B.C. Institute of Technology. She later moved to the North Thompson, where she helped start the Valemount Public Library. Ronaye then moved to Avola, where she was elected to school board and then later to the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, where she set up the first rebroadcast TV station and helped incorporate the improvement district.
A change in her life brought Ronaye to Six Mile Ranch, where she learned the ranching life and its ups and downs. Learning to raise quarter-horses was a delight, which she continued to do after the passing of her husband.
Ronaye lives in Cherry Creek and has an egg farm and some horses. The lifestyle goes well with the life of an Electoral Area Director, leaving time for both. Elected in 2002, Ronaye has earned certificates in political leadership as well as emergency management.
Ronaye enjoys the challenges she faces and the people she represents.
Area: "L" (Grasslands)
Gillis has lived in the Kamloops area since 1963 except for a few years spent at Rivers Inlet. Most of his career has involved the trucking industry, working as a truck driver, small fleet owner and later selling trucks for Kamloops Mack. For a number of those years, Ken lived in Pritchard, where he raised a few head of beef cattle and developed an enduring affection for the ranching community and a rural lifestyle. After years in the trucking industry, he returned to school, earned a law degree and practised in Kamloops and Chase, with a focus on Motor Vehicle and Motor Carrier law, until the sale of his firm to John Drayton. In the late 1990's he owned and operated Duncanby Landing Lodge and Marina on the central coast.
Following the sale of his marina and lodge in 2005, Ken returned to Pritchard. For a couple of years he was back on the road, driving long-haul for Dan Gamache Trucking, before retiring from the highway in 2010.
Area: "M" (Beautiful Nicola Valley - North)
H.S. (Herb) Graham
Area: "N" (Beautiful Nicola Valley - South)
Born in Cranbrook, B.C., in 1945, Herb spent all of his high school years in Revelstoke, BC. Merritt, where he raised two children with wife Anjalien, has been his home for the past 50 years.
Herb is very familiar with the Nicola Valley having seen many changes over the years. He also knows the opportunities and the challenges facing the Nicola Valley. From 1993 to 2003 Herb held a position on the Board of Directors for Paradise Lake CO-OP Association. He was involved with the development, promotion, operations and management of the Resort. He has been a charter Member of the Merritt Sunrise Rotary Club since 1998 and held the position of President for the 1999-2000 term.
Herb, a private pilot, is retired after 40 years in the retail grocery business and is prepared for his second career as a TNRD Director.
Area: "O" (Lower North Thompson)
Area: "P" (Rivers and the Peaks)
Mel Rothenburger was born and grew up in Oliver, B.C. Following high school he attended college in Wenatchee, Wash. and graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle. After working as a newspaper journalist in other parts of B.C. he joined The Kamloops Daily News. Mel served as chair of the Kamloops-Thompson School Board and, from 1999-2005, as Mayor of Kamloops.
As mayor, he led the Tournament Capital Centre and Centre for Water Quality projects, initiated and completed the McDonald Park Community Project, as well as many others, and sat on the TNRD board for six years. After retiring as mayor he returned to The Daily News, from which he retired in 2012.
He has served on numerous community boards and committees, is a frequent guest speaker, panelist and event moderator and is a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, Paul Harris Rotary International Fellowship, Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, B.C. Heritage Award and Chamber of Commerce President’s Award, among others.
Mel has five children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He has written four history books, countless newspaper columns and, until his election to the TNRD board as an Electoral Area Director in November 2014, was a featured commentator on CBC Radio. Mel and his wife Sydney own a small-acreage hay farm in Area P.