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.

2023/24 BOARD

Russell Atkinson

Russ has been with YVR for the past seven 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.

Russ is Chair of the Climate Committee.

Heather Bell — Past 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.

Heather is BCAC’s representative on NAV CANADA’s Advisory Committee.

Michael Benson — Vice-Chair

Director of Business Development for Conair Aerial Fire Fighting. Michael has thirty years in the wildfire sector having most recently led the wildfire operations research program at FPInnovations, a not-for-profit research and development organization based in Canada. Prior, Michael led the airtanker program for British Columbia Wildfire Service, responding to wildfires spread over nearly 1 million sq kilometers with both amphibious water bombers and retardant airtankers. Michael rounds his wildfire aviation experience having previously led the helicopter program for the BC Wildfire Service.

Michael is Vice-Chair of the BCAC Board of Directors.

Harvie Buitelaar

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 Committee.

Cheryl Cahill

Cheryl has an educational background in aviation, commerce and adult education. She joined the aviation industry in 1986 and held frontline operations and management positions before transitioning to education and training. Joining BCIT in 2000, she has been both a faculty member and Department Head in the Aviation Operations programs at British Columbia Institute of Technology. She held the role of Department Head for 14 years and most recently is interim Associate Dean of the Aerospace campus and its programmes.

As part of the Educational Leadership Team of the Institute, she is accountable for providing administrative and educational leadership to designated full-time, part-time and Industry training programs and courses, in accordance with BCIT and industry standards and congruent with the overall Institute mission to become Canada’s Premier Polytechnic Institute. She is responsible for leading a broad range of initiatives impacting the daily and longer term strategic issues important to the Institute. She completed her Master’s in Aeronautical Sciences: Aviation/Aerospace Educational Technology (2015) with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Campus and holds degree in Business Administration (1986) and Diploma in Adult Learning (1997). Cheryl is an active board member on the British Columbia Aviation Council and recently stepped down from BCIT’s Educational Council and Tributes Committee. “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Albert Einstein

Cheryl is the Co-Chair of the Flight Training Unit Initiative (Flight Schools) and Board Liason to the Youth Leadership, Scholarship and Endowment Committees.

Carrie Colville 

Carrie has dual executive roles as General Manager of Northern Thunderbird Air and Director of Charter Services for Central Mountain Air. With over 15 years experience in Aviation, Carrie has worked to primary support remote locations of British Columbia and Western Canada with air transportation. Carrie is responsible for managing the charter operation from charter sales to client management, with a specialty in logistics management. With Carrie’s passion and commitment to the overall safe and efficient operation, she is dedicated to supporting the growth of Northern Thunderbird Air and Central Mountain Air.

Carrie is Co-Chair of the Air Operators Committee.

James Hall

James Hall is the Senior Manager, Operations & Sustainability, Kelowna International Airport (YLW). In this position, James is responsible for Environmental, Airside Regulatory, Groundside Operations, as well as the Passenger Experience in the terminal operations. James is also very active in the Airports Council International Environment and Operations committees and was previously Chair of the CAC Operations and Technical Affairs Committee. James is passionate about aviation and in the advancement of carbon reduction strategies.

James is Chair of the Airports Committee.

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 is Chair of the Leadership 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.

Jack is Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee.

Heather McCarley – Secretary + Past 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. Heather 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 the Founder and Principal of Avra Law. Steve was called to the BC Bar in 2003 and has deep industry experience in aviation and commercial real estate.  Prior to founding Avra Law and spending time as a partner at a major national law firm, Steve spent 8 ½ years at the Vancouver Airport Authority (YVR) as Director, Legal Services, where he oversaw virtually all aspects of airport matters including major real estate developments and non-aeronautical revenue projects, terminal concessions, airside and terminal operations, procurement, jurisdictional matters, and competition – among many other things.  Steve has advised multiple airports regarding land development, flight plan protection, fuelling, competition, corporate governance, constitutional matters, as well as construction projects. Steve is also involved with the Alberta Aviation Council, the Worldwide Airport Lawyers Association, and he spent a number of years on the Legal Affairs Committee of Airports Council International (North America).

Steve is Chair of the 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.

Laura is Chair of the 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.

David is Chair of the Air Operators Committee and a key member of the Conference Committee.

Cathy Press – Chair

Since becoming the first female helicopter flight instructor in Canada, Cathy has been driving the aviation industry forward. She has grown ChinookHelicoptersto 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 at16-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 of the flight training committee for the Helicopter Association of Canada (HAC), and is a Board Member of the International Women’s Federation (IWF). 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. Cathy 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 Air Operations Committee.

Karen Sabourin

Karen has worked in aviation for over 34 years in a variety of roles; from administrative support and accounting, Stores, Shipping & Receiving, Purchasing, Logistics Coordination and Technical Records, before taking on a leadership role in Human Resources in 2002 (Director of Human Resources, Helijet International Inc.). This diverse background has helped tremendously in her understanding of recruitment, helping employees with advancement to reach their career goals, and working with managers to become better leaders. She is honoured to be the newest Board Member of BCAC and looks forward to seeing the aviation community from a different perspective.

Karen is a Director on the Board.

Dave Frank – Executive Director (Staff)

Dave joined the BCAC because of his love for the people in aviation and aerospace; there is a real “can do” attitude in the industry. Dave is also a strong proponent of the future of our industry thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of today’s aviation and aerospace students. Along these lines, Dave is an Adjunct Professor teaching the senior year “Air Transportation” course in the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.

Before joining the BCAC, Dave was the Director, Marketing and Public Relations, at St. John Ambulance (SJA), BC and Yukon division. Dave also chaired SJA’s National Marketing committee. Dave has been a Senior Executive with a regional freight and air ambulance operator, founded Canada’s first multi-modal foreign trade zone, and founded an international consulting firm focusing on transportation and social-economic development. Before that, Dave built the Industry Productivity Analysis Group within the (now) Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

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

Adrienne Noyes – Marketing Communications Specialist (Staff/Contract)

Adrienne is a graduate from the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Communication Design program (B.Des.). Since 2005, Adrienne has provided communication design and marketing communications support to a wide variety of clients, including St. John Ambulance (SJA), BC and Yukon division, Tourism Richmond, Heart/Stroke, Custom House Global Foreign Exchange, Redbird Communications, the City of Victoria, PageOne Publishing, Rennie & Associates Realty, and The Elder Law Group. Adrienne currently works with Dave Frank, the board, and our amazing volunteers to create memorable, multi-channel marcom collateral promoting and supporting the BCAC’s mandate.

Adrienne also has an undergraduate degree in Sociology (B.A.) and has a spoiled tuxedo cat named Petey.


To contact a BCAC board member or staff person, please email directly.


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