Board of Directors

Kelowna Visual and Performing Arts Centre Society (KVPACS) is a non-profit society managing the Rotary Centre for the Arts. We are governed by a volunteer board of directors.

(back row L-R) Danielle Marshall, Brian Curley , Ed McLean, Gorden James, Murray Bye, Wade Klaver, Louis Blom (front row L-R) Jennifer Thatcher, Tyler Russell, Manik Dhir, Shirley Dreja

Thank you to our countless volunteers and supporters.

The Rotary Centre for the Arts exists thanks to those who served on committees and boards, and supported feasibility studies and fundraisers over the past years.

Ed McLean enjoyed a highly varied educational career, serving as a teacher, vice principal, principal, Okanagan College regional director, and international college director, with assignments in British Columbia, Yukon, Arabia, China, Turkey and Africa. He has been a Habitat for Humanity Okanagan director since 2010 (board chair 2012-17), Kelowna Film Society board member since 2012, and is a captain with the Wilsons Landing volunteer Fire Department. Previously Ed served as a Vernon school trustee, school board vice chair, Vernon Parks and Recreation board member, and Okanagan Regional Library board member.

Louis Blom graduated from Thompson Rivers University (formerly University College of the Cariboo) with a Bachelor of Business Administration. He obtained his Chartered Accountant designation in 2003 while working for KPMG in Kelowna. Subsequently, Louis was the CFO for a uranium exploration company as well as a diamond exploration company. From 2010 until early 2015 he was the Controller for Sherritt’s interest in a nickel mine located in Cuba. Currently he is working for a contract drilling company located in Kelowna.

Brian Curley graduated from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2010 with an MBA. He also obtained his CPA, CMA accounting designation while working with Bell Canada in roles spanning financial planning, marketing and corporate strategy.

Brian moved to the Okanagan 6 years ago with his wife and two boys. He currently works for Disney Studios as Senior Manager, Finance and Operations.

Having completed his education in operations management, engineering and project management at a young age, Manik decided to venture into the entrepreneurial world at the age of 25.

With varied business interests throughout B.C, locally, he is the owner of Hollywood Market and eMDee’s Indian Bistro in Kelowna. He is also the Managing Director for Epitome Holdings Inc. where he is responsible for leasing, project management and property management for the assets in the portfolio.

Manik believes in continuous improvement and as such is enrolled in the Masters of Management program at UBCO with an intended graduation of 2019.

Murray Bye started his career in public practice in 1984 with Arthur Andersen in Toronto. After starting a family, Murray returned to Sault Ste. Marie in 1988 and joined a local practice for three years. In 2001 he moved to St. Catharines as a partner at Crawford, Smith and Swallow, one of the largest public accounting firms in the Niagara region. Murray has spent most of his career providing tax, consulting, accounting, and assurance services to a wide range of industries, both large and small. His comprehensive experience includes large manufacturing, fruit co-operatives, software developers, credit unions, and privately held businesses.

In 2004, Murray moved to Kelowna to enjoy life on Canada’s beautiful West Coast and join Crowe MacKay LLP. He became a partner in 2006, and then took over as managing director of the Kelowna office in 2009. In August 2011, Murray took on the role of CEO for the
firm, while continuing to manage the Kelowna office. In January 2014, Murray became the firm’s first full time CEO.

In April 2016, after over 30 years in public practice Murray left his role at Crowe Mackay LLP to pursue more entrepreneurial opportunities. Currently Murray is the CEO of Piscine Energetics Inc., a local company that has been removing Mysis shrimp, an invasive zooplankton, from Lake Okanagan for well over a decade. Piscine Energetics processes this as a frozen fish food as well as a leading ingredient in both fish pellets and fish flakes. The products are sold around the globe under the branded trademark name PE MYSIS®.

Shirley Dreja has had a long and diverse career in the bookkeeping and accounting field, the longest of which was for a major oil & gas company in Calgary. The last eight years of her working life was serving as Financial Services Coordinator for the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Since her retirement, she has been a volunteer at the RCA. She also serves on the executives of Kelowna Grandmothers for Africa and Harvest Ladies Golf Club.

She feels that visual and performing arts are indispensable to a vibrant city, providing the heart and soul, and the Rotary Centre for the Arts is a wonderful centre to facilitate and promote this culture.

Gorden James is an accomplished singer/songwriter who describes his style as urban country, easy listening, with a touch of the blues. His debut album, Heart of the Matter, continues to get airplay across Canada and overseas and he was recently featured on CMT Canada’s “Big in a Small Town”.

When James isn’t performing, he spends his time on charitable work including volunteering with Kelowna Hospice, the BC Cancer Agency Cancer Lodge, and Soles4Souls, an organization that provides shoes to people that need them in Canada and around the world.

Wade Klaver works in research computing at UBC’s Okanagan campus serving researchers there as well as the greater research community at UBC. Wade began his career in Canada’s oil and gas sector, eventually coming to UBC after more than a decade spent with various high tech start-ups in the Okanagan Valley where he worked in several technical and managerial roles.

A science enthusiast from an early age, Wade’s varied interests and technology experience have prepared him well as a science communicator, effectively bridging the gap between science and technology on one hand and laymen and, whenever possible, the young, on the other.

Wade lives with his wife and two children in the downtown area of Kelowna, walking distance from the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

Jenn Thatcher, (SHRM – SCP, CPHR) is currently Director of People and Culture at Quails’ Gate Winery.   She has been an active member of the Advisory Council for the Southern Interior for Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) of BC & Yukon for the past 5 years including 2 as the Chair.   Jenn has spent almost 20 years in the HR profession and has done everything from employee/labour relations, recruitment/onboarding, strategic planning and organizational development.  Jenn moved from Ontario in 2005 and has made the Okanagan her home now for 14 years.

Liza Wood has spent much of her career leading product development in telecommunications equipment, consumer electronics and video games and is currently pursuing a Master of Data Science at UBCO. Originally from Lake Country, Liza moved back to Kelowna in December 2016 to join Disney Club Penguin as Executive Producer. She was previously Sr. Producer at WB Games Montreal, developing games based in the DC Comics universe. Managing video game development increased Liza’s understanding of both the technical and creative process. Her strength is in developing and building scalable, collaborative organizations, while managing growth and change. Liza has served on the executives for the Queen’s University Alumni Association in Vancouver and Montreal and the Project Management Institute Agile Community of Practice.

Outside of work, Liza has explored a variety of artistic avenues, including acting, improv, culinary arts, interior design and blogging. She is currently an avid amateur photographer.