Originally from England, Ken Barton planted his roots in Canada over 50 years ago. In 1995 after retiring from an extensive 37 year career in commercial banking and heavy involvement in a variety of non-profit organizations in Kitimat, Quesnel and Vernon, Ken was asked to become a founding member of Allan Brooks Nature Centre Society. Ken’s financial savvy, political connections and passion for nature have been a driving force behind the success, growth and sustainability of ABNC ever since. Ken’s skills and expertise have been well utilized to obtain grants, political support, raise awareness for environmental stewardship, acquire a 20 year land lease in 2000 for ABNC as well as maintain continued and increased financial support and commitments from the City of Vernon and the community as a whole. Since 2000 Ken has initiated several projects including a Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory and Mapping of the 18,000 acre Bella Vista-Goose Lake Range) which among others, led to a positive partnership and ‘working relationship agreement’ with the Okanagan Indian Band to combine areas of interest for both ABNC and OKIB. Ken has remained heavily committed to ABNC since its inception more than 20 years ago, through his involvement on the Board holding a variety of roles including President, Director, Past-President, Director at Large. Now Chair Emeritus since June 2016. When not devoting his time to ABNC, Ken and his wife Joanne enjoy travelling as part of their retirement.
Ken graduated from UBC in Engineering in 1968 and worked in the engineering and construction industry in Vancouver until 1980 when his father-in -law, Tom Foord, suggested he join the family business. And so Ken moved his family to Vernon and joined Kal Tire which at that time had about 200 team members.The Okanagan is a special place for the whole Finch family. Together with his wife Jean, two daughter, two son in laws and five grand kids, they feel privileged to live in such an exceptional environment. The whole family is active and enjoys the outdoors in all four seasons! Allan Brooks is the only not for profit board that Ken sits on. The challenge of connecting kids to nature and the environment that they live in isn’t easy as Ken is finding out. As the younger generation gets absorbed in technology, the appreciation for nature can easily slip. Joining the Allan Brooks board was not only an opportunity to work with great volunteers and board members, but also to try to make a small difference in quality of life of the next generation.
Richard has lived in Vernon since 1992 with his wife Laureen and 2 sons, and they love it. The local community opened its arm to them and they give back at every opportunity. Richard sits on three Not for Profit boards; one of them being ABNC. He has always taken nature for granted and was easily convinced that unless we did something to protect it then it wouldn’t last. Richard is the owner of Wayside, which is almost 100 years old and they provide print, signage and online marketing services. Richard’s expertise in marketing and his love of the Greater Vernon Community are an incredible asset to the Allan Brooks board.
Eric Gombrich – Director of Communications
Eric has been in the healthcare technology industry for over 30 years working around the world, specifically in the areas of sales, marketing, and business development. A dual citizen originally from the US, Eric moved to Canada over 15 years ago to marry his wife and settled here permanently in 2009 where they are raising their son, and thrilled to have their adult daughter now in the valley as well. Eric has an affinity to the outdoors and is professionally involved in discussions with healthcare organizations regarding the importance of nature, the environment, and even wildlife on the health & wellness of the humans that share space with all creatures of the world. He feels fortunate to be offered the chance to serve the Centre and the community in partnership with his fellow Board Directors.
Jim was born and raised on a mixed farm in Saskatchewan. Following graduation as a Mining Engineer from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon Jim worked in a number of communities across western Canada and the Northwest Territories. Community involvement became an important part of his life. Jim and his wife moved to Predator Ridge in 2004 after a lengthy career in the industry. Jim has continued to be involved within the industry as a director and adviser to mining companies and mentoring students at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. As a miner understanding nature was essential to a successful mining and reclamation process. The same is true for farming activities. It is here where Jim developed a love for nature. Living at the Predator Ridge Golf Resort also brings one very close to the outdoors. It was then a natural fit for Jim to become involved with the Allan Brooks Nature Center. He looks forward to utilizing his operational and management skills for the betterment of the Center and its contribution to the Okanagan community.
Heather is a Senior Manager at KPMG LLP based in Vernon, BC. She enjoys working with private companies in various industries and provides accounting and assurance services, as well as general business advice. Heather is originally from St. Albert, AB and obtained her Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta. She lived in Vancouver, BC for 10 years where she worked as a Senior Associate at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and as the Controller of Mountain Equipment Co-op. Heather relocated to Vernon in 2015 and joined KPMG. Heather has always loved being outside and spends most of her spare time in the mountains skiing, camping, biking, and hiking. She joined the Board of the Allan Brooks Nature Centre to bring together her passion for the outdoors, her love of learning, and her belief in the importance of environmental education for youth.
Bev began her teaching career in the Kamloops School District teaching French as a second language. Bev has had a variety of leadership experiences over her career. She was a vice principal of Vernon Secondary and was a secondary school principal in the Mission, Sea to Sky and West Vancouver School Districts. Bev returned to Vernon School District in the capacity of first as the assistant superintendent and then superintendent, interrupted by a brief time away to work with the BC Education Leadership Council. Throughout her career, Bev’s focus has remained steadfastly on improving learning and building professional capital. Her favourite memories have always been those moments working with students and she still takes great pleasure meeting former students and reminiscing about their classes together. Bev has been active in provincial associations throughout her career, serving as vice president, director and professional development chair for BC Principal’s and Vice principal’s Association , as well as serving on membership and professional development committees for BC School Superintendents Association. In her retirement Bev likes to golf, travel and is an active volunteer in our community.
Stacey is a highly sought after Career Coach, Professional Resume Writer, Interview Expert and HR Consultant with 25 years experience in Human Resources, Administration and Business Management. Owner of Virtual Job Search Coach since 2008, Stacey assists job seekers worldwide with job search strategies, career transitioning, interview preparation, effective resume and LinkedIn profile development. Stacey provides businesses and not-for-profits with recruitment assistance, transition/outplacement support for employee terminations and downsizing, as well as customized team building, communication and conflict resolution workshops. With family in Vernon for over 20 years, Stacey made Vernon her permanent residence in 2007. She has been actively involved in the community through various non-profit initiatives including founding and leading a business improvement and referral group to help business owners/representatives develop and succeed in the Vernon area. With appreciation for the fragility of life, Stacey has a ‘live life to the fullest’ attitude with enthusiasm for mentoring others to be successful in their careers, our community and to value the environment in which we live. As an avid kayaker, hiker and ‘leave no footprint’ backwoods camper, Stacey’s appreciation, respect and love for nature, wildlife and ecosystems within our Okanagan region, as well as her passion for educating people of all ages compliments the Allan Brooks Nature Centre Board.
Appointed to the Allan Brooks board in January 2017 and elected for a two year term in June of 2017, Rob is new and welcome addition to the Allan Brooks board of directors. He has an extensive background in Real Estate showcasing roles such as President of the Creekside Estates Strata Corporation since 2002, Director & President of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board from 2003-2015 and Past Regional Ambassador for the Real Estate Foundation. Rob is a long-term member of ABNC and since his recent retirement finally has the time to get involved and support and Society. Rob is thrilled to be able to pursue and engage in his appreciation and enjoyment of nature. He looks forward to continuing to build learning resources and conservation with ABNC.