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Foundation Board

Board Executive

Paul Holden, Chair
Paul is President & CEO of the Burnaby Board of Trade. Before joining BBOT, Paul worked with the BIV Media Group as group publisher and director of custom publishing, including official publications for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Paul was born in London, England and joined the publishing industry in 1978 with Haymarket Publishing Ltd. In 1988 he moved to Hong Kong with the Asian Business Press before establishing his own media company in 1992.  Paul and his wife moved to London in 1994 and ran a group of business to business magazines before moving to Canada in 2003. Paul has volunteered on numerous boards, including Vancouver AM Tourism Association and Vancouver Coast and Mountains Tourism. He has coached youth soccer for Port Moody Soccer Club and lives in Port Moody with his wife and two children.

Nick Cheng, Vice-Chair
Nick is a Financial Advisor and has run the Edward Jones office in New Westminster since 2002. He sits on the Edward Jones regional leadership team and is a Limited Partner. Nick received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and holds the EPC designation (Elder Planning Counselor). He specializes in Retirement Planning & Estate Planning. Nick lives with his wife and their daughter in Anmore, B.C. He volunteers for a number of professional & community organizations including: Rotary Club of New Westminster, Fraser Valley Estate Planning Council, Westminster Foundation, and the Anmore Finance Committee.

Headshot of Jill CookJill Cook, Treasurer
Originally from Winnipeg, Jill has lived in the Tri-Cities since 1996.  She is a graduate of the University of Manitoba with a BA (Hons) in English Literature and a teaching certificate. Her first career was as a teacher-librarian, but for the past 12 years she has devoted her professional energies to non-profits in her community both at the executive and board levels.  She has been CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce and has successively worked as the Executive Director of the Coquitlam Heritage Society, the Crossroads Hospice Society, and  the Coquitlam Foundation. She has also served on the boards of the Port Moody Library, the Crossroads Hospice Society, and InterLINK. Jill resides in Coquitlam with her husband and two dogs and has been known to say that she still misses the prairies.

Wendy Lindvik, Secretary
Wendy has worked for HSBC for 35 years, starting as a teller and working her way up through the banking system. She is currently branch manager for HSBC, North Vancouver. Wendy is active in the communities where she does business having held such roles as Chair of Ridge Meadows Education Foundation (2010), Director for the Friends in Need Food Bank (2006 – 2010), and Treasurer for the Yaletown Business Improvement Association (2002 – 2006). She has three adult children, and lives in Coquitlam with her husband and their Great Dane, Lulu.

Board Directors

Wayne Arondus
Wayne is President and CEO of Highmark Consulting Group where he provides leadership expertise and management support in all areas of finance, sales and operations to companies across Canada. Wayne holds a Degree in Business from Sauder School of Business at UBC. He also earned certifications from Harvard University in the Program for Leadership Development, Simon Fraser University in the Program for Executive Management and Leadership Development, and at the BC Institute of Technology in the Operations Management Program. Wayne is the Past Chair and Board Member for Habitat for Humanity Vancouver as well as a member of the National Committee; a Board Member for the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and a member of the- Governor General Leadership Conference of Canada. Participant and Alumni of the 2012 Governor General’s Leadership Conference of Canada.

head shot of Jay Dargatz Jay Dargatz
Born in Chilliwack BC, Jay Dargatz learned the value of hard work combined with family values early in life.  With a Master Carpenter father and a large extended family, Jay learned that building a community meant developing both yourself and those around you. In 1985 Jay founded Canstar Restorations with the help of his younger brother Dale.  The early years of Canstar were focused on the construction and renovation of homes, but the company gradually migrated into the then fledgling business of fire and flood restoration.  By 2000, Jay and Canstar were entirely focused on the disaster restoration business, adding contents processing and investing in the education of his then 25 staff members. Three moves and 32 years later, Canstar’s Head Office remains in the Tri-Cities, and Jay wouldn’t have it any other way. Quick to credit the many exceptional people that have contributed to Canstar’s growth and success, Jay couldn’t be more proud of what the Canstar Team has accomplished.

Michael J. Edwards
Based in New Westminster, Michael has more than 46 years’ experience as a barrister and solicitor. He is the senior partner of Edwards and Company. A long-time member of the Westminster Savings Credit Union, he was elected to the WSCU’s Board of Directors in 1973 and served 42 years, stepping down in 2015. Throughout his business career, Michael has served on numerous community and organizational committees including the South Surrey Senior Citizens Housing Society, Masonic Fraternal Society, Shrine Legal Committee, the Masonic Trial Commission and the Downtown New Westminster Business Improvement Society. Michael has recently become a resident of Maple Ridge.

Headshot of Kathy Gallagher Kathy Gallagher
Newly elected to the Douglas College Foundation Board, Kathy brings a passion for people development and community giving. Kathy has worked in the financial industry for over 25 years. Kathy has mentored women starting small businesses through the Women’s Enterprise Program, volunteered as a facilitator for Junior Achievement and supported many community outreach programs. A high touch business leader who brings people together for a common goal.

Headshot of John Halani John Halani
John Halani was born in Masaka Uganda, one of seven children. In Uganda, he participated in non-profit work with various local community organizations. After the announcement of the Uganda expulsion decree in 1972, John was rendered stateless in his mid-thirties. After being admitted to Canada as a refugee, along with his wife, two children and one of his sisters, John worked at a glass factory in Vancouver before moving into the hotel business in 1975. Since then, John has owned and managed several hotels, and is currently the owner and proprietor of the Tropicana Suite Hotel in Vancouver. In addition, John serves as the Honorary Consul to Uganda.

headshot photo of Jamal Khan Jamal Khan
Jamal Khan has been working in the financial services industry for over ten years where he focuses on collaborative business succession, tax and estate planning for privately held companies and incorporated professionals. Jamal is passionate about financial literacy and ongoing education and wrote his first book last year. Jamal has also written articles for the Financial Post, appeared on Bloomberg Canada TV, BC Business magazine and Business in Vancouver. Jamal also feels strongly about giving back to the community and helping others. He currently is a director at SOS Children’s Village, Surrey foundation and the Surrey Board of Trade. Jamal also has setup the Jamal Khan Scholarship in Finance at Simon Fraser University and the Jamal Khan Business administration scholarship at Douglas College. 

ted LAU
ted is a local son of Coquitlam, and co-founder of Ballistic Arts - a local creative marketing company. Ballistic Arts was founded in 2002, and has grown to manage many of BC’s top brands in Real Estate Marketing, Health Care, and Trade Associations. His community involvement is: President for the Federal Liberal Port Moody-Coquitlam EDA; Founding Member of the Next Leaders Council (BC Business Council); Board Director at the Douglas College Foundation; and Board Director for the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education. He is married, a father of a little girl, and loves the Tri-Cities.

head shot of Sasha Ramnarine Sasha Ramnarine
Sasha Ramnarine is a Business lawyer with Remedios and Company focusing on business law, wills & estates and real estate law. Sasha has worked since the age of nine with over twenty different organizations, and managed his family’s Trinidadian restaurant for a number years in Kitsilano A tireless lawyer and entrepreneur, Sasha is dedicated to providing his clients with high value and creative legal solutions for their business and personal life. Sasha is a strong supporter of the business and greater community. Sasha is a long-time member with the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and is also a member with the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce and the Burnaby Board of Trade. Sasha serves as a Board Member for a variety of organizations including the Immigrant Services Society of BC (“ISSofBC”), the New Westminster Police Board. Sasha is also an Instructor with Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University teaching business law and ethics to commerce students. Sasha’s mission in life is to inspire and touch the hearts of as many people as he walks the path of life.

Aaron Robinson
Born and raised in Coquitlam, Aaron Robinson is a government relations expert currently working with the Metro Vancouver Regional District. He is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a B.A. (Hons) in International Relations. Living in London, ON for nearly a decade, he spent several years as an instructional therapist working with children with Autism before moving back to Vancouver.  Passionate about connecting people and serving his community, Aaron has served as a policy advisor for the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade where he specialized in local government and housing policy. He currently serves as the Chair of Grow Local Tri-Cities (formerly known as the Coquitlam Farmers' Market Society) and has volunteered with SHARE Family and Community Services, the Port Moody Economic Development Committee, and CityHive Vancouver. He currently lives in Vancouver with his partner and their dogs.

Board Ambassadors

Gerry Della Mattia
Gerry served on the Foundation Board from 2001 to 2012 as Director and Secretary. Previous to his role on the Board, he spent 38 years working in post-secondary education in BC. He worked in private universities before joining Douglas College in 1970 as Director of Admissions. He was appointed Dean of Student Services in 1980 after completing studies for a PhD. He took a two-year leave of absence in 1988 to work in the Middle East. Returning to Douglas College, he was appointed Dean of Human Resources and College Development. In 1993 he joined the Advanced Education Council of BC as CEO, a position he held until his retirement. Gerry has a small consulting business, has worked for Elections Canada and Elections BC. He also continues to be involved as a volunteer in Seniors Care in Surrey. Gerry and his wife live in Surrey, have four adult children and five grand-children.

Neal Nicholson
Neal, a professional accountant, has lived in Coquitlam with his wife and children since 1976.  During his career in public practice he was involved with his profession’s continuing education program. He was appointed to the Douglas College Board in 1993 and served until 2000.  He was elected Board Chair in 1997 and served as one of the Board’s representatives to the Foundation because it helped bring him closer to students and their needs.  On retirement from the College Board he became a full member of the Foundation Board. He has continued to develop his connection with education and his community through his appointments to the Board of the Institute of Indigenous Government and as treasurer of the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam.  Currently, he is Treasurer of the Rivershed Society of BC, Coquitlam Heritage Society and BC Entertainment Hall of Fame.  He was a councilor for the City of Coquitlam from 2007 to 2014.

Baj Puri
Baj served on the Foundation Board from 1988 to 2017 as Director, Treasurer, Vice-Chair, Chair, and most recently, as Past Chair. He has been involved in the lumber and building material industry, and in 1998, he received the Building Supply Industry Merit Award. Baj is a past president of the Hyack Association and a former Director of the Transit Police Board. He currently serves on the New Westminster Police Board, and is also passionate about his work with the Navy League of Canada and the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets. In recognition of his many decades of community service and civic leadership, Baj has received the Queen’s Silver, Gold and Diamond Jubilee medals, the Order of St. John Officers, and was New Westminster’s Citizen of the Year in 1996. Baj lives in New Westminster with his wife Nancy.

Honorary Board
W.R. (Bill) Emerton
Bill Hughes
Pete Legge, OBC
Peter W. Webster