Photo by: Howard Slutsken

Board and Staff

The BCAC Board is comprised of up to 15 Volunteer members drawn from a broad cross-section of the British Columbia aviation and aerospace community. Diversity, including geographical, is a priority focus. The full Board meets monthly to discuss Council business.

2021/22 BOARD

Brant Arnold-Smith

Brant served as the Director of Security and Terminal Operations at the Victoria Airport Authority. He was responsible for overseeing passenger facilitation, safety, security and efficiency of all airport facilities and managing all emergencies. Furthermore, he held many roles with the Vancouver Airport Authority to take responsibility for regulatory compliance with the Vancouver Airport Authority within Airside Operations, Terminal Operations, Aviation Security and Aircraft Rescue Firefighting/Emergency Management. Brant attended Simon Fraser University, The Justice Institute of B.C and the Ontario Police College. Brant is passionate about aviation/airports and understands that the industry enhances sustainable economic development and tourism in the Province of B.C. and brings many social benefits to the region.

Brant is Chair of the Leadership Committee.

Russell Atkinson

Russ has been with YVR for the past 7 years where he currently leads aviation business development, supporting airline growth strategies and passenger forecasting. Prior to YVR, Russ was with the oneworld Alliance head office in a range of roles across partnerships, market development, technology and new member implementations. Russ is also currently an active member of the Future Border’s Coalition Air Border Task Force, the Canadian Airports Council Facilitation Committee and Destination Canada’s Research Advisory Committee.

Heather Bell — Outgoing Chair

Principal of Bell Advisory Services and past General Manager of the Vancouver Flight Information Region (NavCanada). Heather attended Simon Fraser University, is a graduate of the Directors College through McMaster University and has over 34 years of experience in the aviation industry. Heather is the current Board Chair for BCAC. Heather’s clients have included the Vancouver Airport Authority and MDA Corporation.

Michael Benson

Mike leads a team of wildfire researchers at a Canadian not-for -profit research institution, seeking solutions to the challenges of wildfire. Much of Mike’s career has been in the aviation sector having managed both the airtanker and helicopter portfolios for the BC Wildfire Service. Mike continues to be closely connected to the aviation industry engaging his team in aerial wildfire research and continuing to remain an active air attack officer in BC, executing on aerial wildfire response.

Harvie Buitelaar — Secretary

Vice President, Vancouver Regional Manager, Infrastructure with the engineering consultant firm Hatch Ltd., Harvie has over 14 years of experience in civil engineering and airports engineering, planning and project management at airports and aviation facilities across Canada and the United States.

Harvie is Chair of the Silver Wings Industry and Scholarship Awards Celebration.

Cheryl Cahill

The Chief Instructor Aviation Operations Programs at BCIT Aerospace. Cheryl obtained a Masters in Aeronautical Sciences: Aviation/Aerospace Educational Technology from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Campus.

Cheryl is very passionate about education and the future of youth in our industry.

She is Co-Chair of the Flight Training Unit Initiative (Flight Schools).

James Hall

James is Airport Operations Manager for Kelowna International Airport and a past Airports, Aviation, Aerospace Conference Chair.

He is Chair of the Airports Committee.

(Details to follow.)

Kelly Jamieson

Airbus 320 pilot, Kelly has over 20 years experience in the aviation industry. She learned to fly in Manitoba, built time on King Airs and B1900s in northern BC, and flew CRJ700s in the U.S. before joining Air Canada in 2012. Kelly finished her Masters degree in Leadership at Royal Roads University in December. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Aviation Leadership Foundation, and has held presidential positions with Winnipeg and Vancouver chapters of Women in Aviation.

Kelly has stepped forward to Chair the extremely active Youth Engagement Committee.

Jack Lazareff - 2016

Jack Lazareff — Treasurer

Partner with Crowe MacKay, holding CPA designations in both BC and Alberta. Jack served as member of the Board of Governors for the Certified General Accountants and as Chair of its Public Practice Committee. Authored sample audit file commissioned by CGA Canada used as guide on audit procedures and techniques for audit professionals across Canada. He is an avid aviator with private pilot’s license and member of Aero Club of BC.

Heather McCarley – Vice Chair/Incoming Chair

Heather is the Director, Regulatory Operations for Vantage Airport Group in Vancouver, drawing on 33 years of experience in the aviation industry to provide support and subject matter expertise to the Vantage network of airports.

She started in aviation with her private pilot’s license at the Boundary Bay Airport, working for the airport operator. Later, she spent 22 years with the Vancouver Airport Authority in a number of roles, with responsibility for operations, emergency management, community relations, airfield maintenance, winter operations, regulatory compliance, and safety management systems. In 2017 she was seconded to an interim role as the Managing Director for the Kamloops Airport, where she enjoyed the close connection to the Kamloops Airport team, business partners and the Kamloops community, before transitioning to Vantage Airport Group.

Stephen Michoulas

Steve is a lawyer and VP Leasing at Westbank Corp, an international real estate developer based in Vancouver.  Steve was formerly a partner at the national law firm McMillan LLP, and a member of the firm’s Aviation and Commercial Real Estate Industry groups. Steve also spent 8½ years at the Vancouver Airport Authority (YVR) as Director, Legal Services.

Steve has worked on virtually all aspects of airport matters, including major real estate developments and non-aeronautical revenue projects, terminal concessions, into-plane fuelling and tank farm management, airside operations, procurement, managing a major piece of Competition Act litigation and related advice at multiple airports, corporate governance and best practices regarding same, jurisdictional/constitutional matters, construction projects, debenture financings, innovation and the commercialization of such innovation both in domestic and foreign jurisdictions.

He is Chair of the Council’s Governance Committee.

Laura Mortensen

Laura is the President/CEO of Curiosity Analysis and Consulting Corp., an airport consulting company in Kelowna, BC. She has a B.Eng in Aerospace Engineering from Ryerson University and has worked in a variety of roles and with various aviation/aerospace sectors including safety management, quality assurance, project management, engineering, training, health and safety, business analysis, logistics and software implementation. Her number one love is data and using it to make effective decisions. In addition to data, Laura is passionate about diversity in the aviation and aerospace industry and an advocate for changes that increase accessibility and allow all people to thrive in this industry, particularly those who have not had adequate representation in the past.

She is Chair of the Council’s Membership Committee.

David Nowzek

Dave has spent some 45 years in the aviation industry as a pilot and also held management positions in both fixed and rotary wing IFR and VFR operations. After 24 years flying and managing throughout Alberta, NWT and British Columbia, he joined Transport Canada in 1988. During his 24 years with the department, he held several management positions until assuming the position of Regional Director, Civil Aviation for the Pacific Region. He retired from the department in 2012.

He is BCAC’s Air Operators Committee Chair and is BCAC’s representative on NAV CANADA’s Advisory Committee.

Cathy Press

As the first female helicopter flight instructor in Canada, Cathy Press – CEO of Chinook Helicopters, is driving the aviation industry forward. She has grown Chinook to be an internationally recognized flight school specializing in helicopter and aeroplane pilot training. Cathy’s current focus is on the development of simulation products to assist in high-level training programs aiming to become a national leader in VR flight simulation training. Cathy completed her first solo at 16 years of age and is currently the only person in Canada that holds a “Transport Canada Pilot Examiner” status in both aeroplanes and helicopters.

Cathy acts as Chair for the flight training committee for HAC (Helicopter Association of Canada) and is a Board Member for the IWF (International Women’s Federation). In 2019, Cathy was named one of Women’s Executive Network: Top 100 Canada’s Most Powerful Women to add to her already impressive list of aviation accomplishments and awards.

She has always taken a hands-on approach in supporting individuals who are starting both aviation and business careers. She continues to be passionate about helping others to reach their goals as an educator and mentor.

Cathy is Co-Chair of the Flight Training Unit (Flight Schools) Initiative.

Dave Frank – Executive Director

For over two and a half years, Dave has been the Executive Director of the BC Aviation Council. He joined the organization because of his love for the people in aviation and aerospace. There is a real “can do” attitude.

Before that, Dave was Director, Marketing and Communication, for St. John Ambulance-BC and Chair of their National Marketing Committee. He has been a senior executive with a regional freight and air ambulance operator, and founded both Canada’s first multi-modal foreign trade zone and a substantial international consulting firm focusing on transportation and social-economic development. Before that, he built the Industry Productivity Analysis Group within the (now) Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia (UBC)

He has a B.Sc.(Physics) and MBA(Transport) from UBC, spouse Meg Comiskey, daughter Taryn(32), son Jaryd(30) and answers to a young black cat named Raven.


Learn more about the Committees that enable the BC Aviation Council to make meaningful contributions to aviation and aerospace throughout the province. This is where the real work gets done. If you are interested in volunteering with the Council, let us know at .