Board of Directors

Meet our board members

Melinda Friesen

President
Clearbrook Grain & Milling

Melinda Friesen is the General Manager of Nature’s Pride Nutrition, a local vitamin premix business, and is also the Director of Communications and Marketing for the Friesen Group of Companies, which includes the company’s main poultry and livestock feed milling operation, Clearbrook Grain & Milling. Born and raised in Abbotsford, Melinda attended MEI for her high school education. After high school graduation and a brief traveling hiatus, she returned and began her career in studies at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). At the same time, she also accepted a position to perform part-time receptionist duties at Clearbrook Grain & Milling. After one year, the growth and demands of the companies personnel needs encouraged her to take on full-time hours and expand her role. She continued at UFV as a part-time student until 2006 when she graduated with her Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing major, while earning a spot on the Dean’s list of distinguished students. She was selected as the valedictorian to present the graduation address for the class of 2006.

Over the past 20 years, the benefits of her education, professional development, and being involved in a family-owned and operated business have enabled her to pursue a variety of positions within the company, such as sales, accounts receivable, human resources, events coordinator and marketing. Adventure seeking, travel lover, farm girl at heart, and driven by opportunities to learn and grow personally and professionally, she is honoured to have the opportunity to be a part of the Directors team with the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce.

Craig Toews

Vice President
University of the Fraser Valley

Recently appointed VP External at the University of the Fraser Valley, Toews has been with UFV for 30 years and brings extensive experience and a deep understanding of the post-secondary environment and the Fraser Valley to his leadership role. Responsible for fostering the UFV brand and heading up key areas including government, community, and corporate relations, Toews also oversees community outreach, alumni relations, communications, marketing, business development, fundraising, and property development.

Involved in many initiatives in the Fraser Valley, Toews also serves on the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation Board, the Mission Economic Development Committee, and Abbotsford’s Development Advisory Committee.

Ranjit Malay

Treasurer
KPMG

Ranjit Malay is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Senior Tax Manager with KPMG in Abbotsford where he advises private companies and their shareholders on a broad range of business and taxation matters. These include corporate reorganizations, business structures, estate planning, buy-sell agreements, employee/shareholder compensation, and general tax minimization strategies. He serves clients in a variety of industries, such as agriculture, manufacturing, property development/real estate, and transportation.

Dave Sidhu

Director
Punjabi Patrika

Dave Sidhu is born and raised in Abbotsford, BC. His parents Dr. Andy (Chancellor of University of the Fraser Valley) and Pritam Sidhu set roots in Abbotsford in 1975 and established themselves as proud business owners.  Their family owned paper is The Patrika the only bilingual newspaper in BC established in 2003.  Dave’s involvement in the newspaper allowed him to be part of this multicultural community and he has been focused on community outreach from an early age.

Dave graduated from Abbotsford Senior Secondary in 2003.  From there he attended Dental College in Bangalore, India for his post-secondary education.  Currently; Dave is the General Manager for Patrika Media Limited. He has maintained this role as the General Manager for the past 4 years.  Dave has been a part of the Abbotsford First board for a year and also ran in the 2018 Municipal Election.  This was Dave’s first involvement in the world of politics and was 482 votes shy of a seat as a City Counsellor.

Currently, he is the President of the Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association, was the Vice-President for two years and a director prior to that. Through this association, Dave has chaired annual events such as; Vasakhi lunch-in, where they provide a free lunch open to the whole community. The association also has a scholarship night where they award ten students with scholarships.  They also hold an annual Dinner and Dance fundraiser for causes such as The BC Children’s Hospital and the Salvation Army.

Dave has been involved in fundraising for the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, The Canadian Diabetes Association, Abbotsford Police Foundation, and The Abbotsford Food Bank. Dave also currently sits on The Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation as a director.

 

Kim Hissink

Director
Salvation Army

Kim joined The Salvation Army in July of 2017 as Fundraising Coordinator.  Her role focuses on caring for, serving and making a difference in the lives of those in our community who face challenges daily – through building strong relationships, creating opportunities for community engagement, promoting volunteerism and sharing the stories of The Salvation Army.

Kim has lived in Abbotsford for 50 years – and has enjoyed a diverse career in the non-profit, tourism, agriculture and business sectors.

Kim worked for the Abbotsford Chamber from 1989 to 2006 and the opportunity to support local businesses and further the great work the Abbotsford Chamber does within the City, Province and across Canada on the Board of Directors is a thrilling prospect.

Kim is passionate about volunteering. She is a proud Rotarian currently serving as PR Director on the Board of the Abbotsford Rotary Club.  She is also a member of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services team.

Kim is married to Roy and they have a beautiful blended family of 4 children (Lisa, Sean, Sarah and Austen) and 3 grandchildren (Tyler, Colten & Chloe)

Kevin Mierau

Director
Mierau Contractors Ltd.

Kevin is the President of Mierau Contractors Ltd and continues the operations of the successful Abbotsford based company that his father Larry Mierau founded in 1970. Kevin graduated from Abbotsford Senior Secondary in 1993 then completed his Red Seal Certification in Carpentry in 1996.

Kevin is actively involved in the construction industry and serves on the Board of Directors at the Vancouver Regional Construction Association, BC Construction Association and the BC Construction Safety Alliance. He is looking forward to the possibility of working with the Chamber of Commerce and continues his participation within the Abbotsford community.

Kevin and his wife live in Abbotsford and have two girls who attend MEI Middle and High School.

Chris Gauthier

Director
Memento Mori Studios Inc.

Chris is the President of Memento Mori Studios Inc., a Professional tattoo, piercing, body jewelry, laser removal & retail studio in Abbotsford, British Columbia. In his early twenties, Chris took a position as a retail store manager for a large cellular communications company and over the next 10 years worked his way up through the corporation, winning ‘Manager of the Year’ in 2009.

In 2011, he utilized the skills he had developed to open his own business with his wife and has enjoyed rapid growth over the past 6 years, now employing 15 people.

As a local business owner, Chris has organized many successful fundraising events including the annual Anchor August event where his studio does anchor tattoos and this year raised $5600 for the Abbotsford Food Bank in just 4 hours.

As an animal lover, Chris also works closely with an organization called ‘Rescue a Boxer’ that finds forever homes for Boxer dogs from shelters in the US. He and his wife adopt senior boxers and ensure they enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Karen Baillie

Director
Menno Place

Karen L. Baillie is the Chief Executive Officer of Menno Place, a campus of care that serves more than 700 seniors with a staff of 600. Karen has more than 37 year’s experience in geriatric care. She is currently President of BC Care Providers. In 2015, Karen received the Chapter Award for Distinguished Service for the Canadian College of Health Leaders, BC Lower Mainland Chapter. She was awarded the prestigious Surrey Woman in Business Award in the Professional Category in 2011.

Karen has been a surveyor with Accreditation Canada since 2005. She chaired the Vancouver Community College Continuing Care Program Advisory Committee for 16 years. Karen holds a Masters of Health Administration; a Fellow in Health Administration (with distinction); a Certified Health Executive designation (CCHL) and is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Karen believes strongly in lifelong learning, faith-based service and in volunteering as an educational consultant, preceptor, and mentor.

Kathrin Matadeen

Director
TD Bank

Kathrin Teichrieb-Matadeen is the District Vice President for TD Commercial Banking, managing the Abbotsford Commercial Banking Centre. She leads a team of business banking professionals in the Abbotsford community, who serve the unique needs of large and small local businesses by offering a broad range of customized products and services to help business owners meet their financial goals. Prior to joining TD Bank Group in 2001, Kathrin completed a BBA and MBA in Finance at SFU.

Mike Ashcroft

Director
Cascade Aerospace Inc.

Mike is the Senior Director of Supply Chain and Facilities at Cascade Aerospace Inc.  After earning his Computer Engineering degree at the Royal Military College of Canada in 1987, Mike served 27 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as an Aerospace Engineer and retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  Mike joined Cascade in 2010 and moved to Abbotsford in 2011 as the Business Manager for Cascade’s RCAF contract.  As the Senior Director of Supply Chain and Facilities, Mike is currently responsible for the management of all material and services required by Cascade and the maintenance of the Cascade hangar and tooling.  Mike and his team believe in using local and Canadian companies to the extent possible, and employ the services of over 150 local companies spending approximately $1M annually in the Fraser Valley on aerospace parts manufacturing, aerospace support services, parts procurement, shipping, storage, and facilities maintenance.

Mike is a two time Olympian (1988 in Korea and 1992 in Spain) and an active member of the community.  He coached his daughter’s Fraser Valley midget minor hockey team, and with the Phoenix Velo Training Group he was a member of the board and still coaches youth cycling.  Mike is recognized for how much he cares about the people he works with and for his ability to inspire people to excel.

Tim Holloway

Director
KPMG

Tim is managing partner of KPMG’s Abbotsford office.  Tim specializes in serving family owned businesses as well as leading KPMG’s charity and not-for-profit practice in the Fraser Valley leveraging 17 years of experience to provide clients with quality and timely assurance, tax and advisory services.  He holds a bachelor of commerce from the University of British Columbia (2000) and obtained his CPA, CA designation in 2003.

Tim and his wife Whitney live in Abbotsford with their three young boys with the next addition joining their busy team shortly.  Tim is active in their local church serving on the board and as Treasurer.

The prospect of joining the board of Abbotsford’s Chamber of Commerce is an exciting opportunity. Tim would like to leverage his experience to help businesses in Abbotsford grow and thrive.

Kal Sidhu

Director
FirstPage Marketing Inc.

Kal has over 15 years of experience as an account manager in the Internet marketing, newspaper, direct mail, and radio industries. He enjoys being a part of the local business community, meeting with clients and building relationships that are mutually beneficial.

Kal has lived, worked, and played in Abbotsford for over 30 years and truly loves being a part of the community. He attended Abbotsford Senior Secondary School and graduated in 1993 (Go Panthers!).

Kal is married to Misty and has 4 children. (Asher, Samara, Neriah & Nathan). He serves in many volunteer roles in Abbotsford and likes to help wherever he can. Kal is currently serving on the Board of Directors at The Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, The Abbotsford Community Foundation and KingHaven/Peardonville House Treatment Centres.

Sam Varing

Director
Baker Newby LLP

Sam Varing is a business lawyer with Baker Newby LLP. She is deeply rooted in the Abbotsford community and aspires to grow her practice as a pragmatic, solution-driven lawyer for large scale businesses throughout the Lower Mainland.

She is actively involved with the Abbotsford Chamber as an appointed member of the Government Affairs Committee and an executive member of the Company of Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs.  While earning her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of the Fraser Valley, Sam held a student membership with the Abbotsford Chamber.  It was during this time that Sam realized the enormous potential and impact the Chamber has in the Abbotsford community.

On a more personal note, Sam was raised in a family of entrepreneurs.  As such, she developed a strong belief that foundational business and entrepreneurial principles are essential for today’s youth.  This led her to volunteer with Junior Achievement of British Columbia (JABC) to bring more volunteer-oriented and business-focused educational programs to Abbotsford schools.  It is a part of JABC’s mission to enrich, engage and inspire the new generation of young leaders. Currently, Sam is working on a collaboration between UFV, the Abbotsford School District and JABC to develop JABC’s presence in Abbotsford and to deliver a greater number of programs to our high school students.