TNRD Board of Directors
Kenneth Gillis (CHAIR)
Area: "L" (Grasslands)
Ken 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.
Barbara Roden (Mayor)
Ward Stamer (Mayor)
Santo Talarico (Mayor)
Area: Cache Creek
Director Santo Talarico immigrated from Italy to Canada in 1959 and called Hope, BC home for the next 14 years. He relocated to Cache Creek in 1973 and has become deeply rooted in the Interior’s rural lifestyle. Santo was employed by the Village of Cache Creek as the Recreation Supervisor from 1980 – 2004, and has pursued and operated 6 different business interests since that time. He enjoys coaching minor hockey and soccer in his community, and has been a proud supporter of World Vision Canada for approximately 38 years.
Santo has been married to his wife Sandra for 28 years, and has 3 children and 2 granddaughter. Director Talarico is a strong advocate for the small rural lifestyle and is looking forward to taking on his new role with the TNRD Board of Directors.
Rod Crowe (Mayor)
Merlin Blackwell (Mayor)
Merlin was born in New Westminster, spent his school years bouncing around the Lower Mainland as the child of a single mother, while living summers with his father at Big Bar Lake Provincial Park west of Clinton.
He began working in Wells Gray Provincial Park in 1989, eventually taking over the park management company, Blackwell Park Operations, as owner and CEO in 2009. Merlin squeezed in other jobs as well, including managing various restaurants, writing Japanese automobile history for an US car magazine, and 5 years as a Radio Copywriter in the Cariboo. He holds certifications in Small Water Systems, Danger Tree Assessment, and as a Tree Faller.
Merlin moved to Clearwater full time in 2003 to facilitate the expansion of the family business. Since then, he has served on the initial board of Tourism Wells Gray, the Clearwater Official Community Plan Committee, as well as a term as President of the Chamber of Commerce. Merlin was elected to council in 2011, again in 2014, then to the Mayors seat in 2018.
Merlin now lives with his lovely partner Joanna, a dog, a cat and family, and restores vintage Japanese cars in his spare time, occasionally leasing them to the film industry.
Susan Swan (Mayor)
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.
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.
Dale Bass was born in Ontario but luckily is married to a wonderful man who brought her and four of their five children west to Kamloops in 1999. She retired from Kamloops This Week in 2018 after an 18-year career there.
Prior to that she did 25 years at a large Ontario daily newspaper. Since moving here, she has held positions on the boards of the Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association, Kamloops Family Resources Society, Kamloops Society for Community Living (now called Inclusion Kamloops), People In Motion, Volunteer Kamloops and Kamloops Child Development Centre. She was also chair of the Canadian Association of Journalists for several years.
After a 1-year stint on Kamloops City Council in the 2017 by-election, Kathy was re-elected in October 2018. Originally from Vancouver Island, Kathy has lived in Victoria, Vancouver, Ottawa, Kelowna, the UK, BC's Sunshine Coast, Mexico, and the Yukon. She moved to in Kamloops in 2011 and is committed to making “the region of BC’s best” even better.
Kathy’s interests include economic development, urban planning, active transportation, sustainability, personal and community health, affordability, accessibility, and respect for diversity. Her work history includes non-profits, education, publishing and the tech sector. She is also a former freelance book and magazine editor. Kathy holds a BA in writing and English from the University of Victoria and a Master of Publishing from Simon Fraser University. She is a proud member of the Rotary Club of Kamloops.
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.
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.
Jan Polderman (Mayor)
Linda Brown (Mayor)
Linda is a current Mayor, City of Merritt and has previous political experience as a City Councillor and School Trustee. She was an Executive with a 30+ year career in healthcare, mainly in BC, and ended her career with 6 years as Secretary-Treasurer in a northern BC school district. She grew up in Merritt and returned home to retire after a successful career.
Linda has participated in numerous mission projects overseas and has a passion for serving the under-privileged. After retirement, she went to Mozambique to serve as Country Finance Director for Samaritan’s Purse. She is Chair of the City of Merritt Finance & Audit Committee, and served on the Policy Committee and Heritage Commission and was council liaison with Community Futures. She served as past-Treasurer on the Board of Deacons at the Community Crossroads Church in Merritt and is Vice-President of her strata council
She has three grown children (two live in Merritt) and three grandchildren. Linda is an avid reader, a lifelong learner, and is committed to serving her community in numerous ways.
Al Raine (Mayor)
Area: Sun Peaks
First elected as the inaugural mayor of Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality in June 2010, Al is now serving his fourth term as Mayor.
Al has enjoyed a successful career in tourism and the ski business. A former National Alpine Ski Team Coach, Al was provincial government ski coordinator from 1975 to 1979 and authored the Commercial Alpine Ski Policy that motivated the impressive development and investment in ski tourism in BC. In 1985, Al built and managed a hotel in Whistler which was sold in 1990. He then moved to Sun Peaks in 1995 where he and his wife Nancy built the Nancy Greene’s Cahilty Lodge.
Al Raine was named ‘Freeman’ of the Resort Municipality of Whistler in 1982 and he and Nancy were named ‘Citizens of the Year’ in 1990. He was inducted into the Ski Hall of Fame in 1989. He and his wife Nancy, were presented with a Tourism Industry Association of Canada Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.
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)
Born in the UK and a child immigrant, Stephen was educated in Ontario and at Royal Canadian Naval Technical Schools. He served in The Royal Canadian Navy from 1963 to until Honourable discharge 1974.
Director Quinn acquired Blue River Contract Weather station in 1976, which continues to this day, operating contracts with Environment Canada, Transport Canada and currently with Nav Canada. In addition, he has worked for BC Hydro Power Line contractors building Hydro Transmission lines as well as working as a snow plow operator for various companies in Blue River and Kamloops.
Stephen volunteered for various TNRD local committees from 1980 to 1991, was elected to the TNRD Board of Directors in 1991 and served until 2008. During that time, he served as Chair of the TNRD, Chair of the TNRHD, and as inaugural Chair of the new TRHD. As well, Director Quinn served on the SCUBH as Chair and has participated on a variety of committees including Ministry of Highways Ministerial Advisory Committee. After stepping aside from the TNRD after the 2008 election he served on the Employment Insurance Board of Referees as Chairman as well as Lay Director on the CMA Association of BC and participated in the merger with the CA and CGA resulting in the new CPA professional Board.
Stephen is a widower with two grown sons and one granddaughter.
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: 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 been the Director for Electoral Area P since 2014.
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 three great-grandchildren. He has written four history books and countless newspaper columns. He was a featured commentator on CBC Radio for several years and is currently a regular commentator on CFJC-TV and CFJC Today. Mel and his wife Sydney own a small-acreage hay farm in Area P.