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.

2022/23 BOARD

Brant Arnold-Smith

Brant is the Program Manager – Security & Emergency Management, at Metro Vancouver. As such, Brant is responsible for corporate security and emergency management for all Metro Vancouver facilities and critical infrastructure. In this capacity, he oversees protective services, multi-department and regional emergency planning, training, exercising, disaster preparedness, and integrated response and recovery capabilities that Metro Vancouver utilizes to ensure organizational resilience. Previously, Brant served as the Director of Security and Terminal Operations at the Victoria Airport Authority where he implemented innovative programs that improved airport operational efficiency, passenger facilitation, customer care, security, safety and emergency response. These initiatives helped Victoria International Airport earn the 2020 Airport Council International Award for Service Quality for Best Airport by Size and Region (under 2 million passengers per year in North America) and Best Hygiene Measures by Region (North America), as well as being named the most efficient airport in North America for its size in the Global Airport Performance Benchmark report compiled by the Air Transport Research Society in 2020. Furthermore, he held roles with the Vancouver Airport Authority with responsibility for regulatory compliance, Airside Operations, Terminal Operations, Aviation Security, Aircraft Rescue Firefighting and 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 a Director on the 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

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 air tanker 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.

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

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.

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

James Hall

James Hall is the Operations Manager, 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 – 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.

Heather is Chair of the BCAC Board of Directors.

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 – Vice-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 Vice-Chair of the BCAC Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the Flight Training Unit (Flight Schools) Initiative.

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.


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


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