Meet The Speakers

 

Alisha Sohpaul

Alisha is a licensed M1 & M2 Aircraft Maintenance Engineer and has been working in the aviation industry for 6 years. She currently works at Jazz Aviation and is proudly a part of the 2% of female AMEs in Canada. Alisha is passionate about giving back to the industry and encouraging young girls to pursue careers in aviation. She enjoys working on general aviation aircraft, her favorite aircraft to work on was a Seabee she helped restored. In her free time she enjoys hiking, backpacking around the world, playing sports and meeting new people.

 

Anthony Kokai-Kuun

Anthony has done a little bit of everything.  Anthony is a ATPL licensed airline pilot with over 20,000 hrs.  He also has a BSc. in Geological Sciences from UBC.  Anthony is also a Class 1 Flight Instructor, starting his training in 1989.  In 1994, he founded his own aircraft charter company, North Vancouver Airlines, Ltd.  North Vancouver Air grew to 11 aircraft before Anthony chose to close the company in 2005.  Currently, Anthony is a pilot for Air Transat.  He is also the CFI at Island Coastal Aviation where is is developing Standard Operating Procedures for ICA that will make the school a leader in flight training in Canada.

 

Chioma Onyedikachi Okoro

Chioma is a PhD Candidate at the National Aviation University Kyiv, Ukraine and a Private Pilot working on her Commercial Pilot License at the Langley Regional Airport. When she is not studying or flying, she enjoys taking long walks, photographing nature, visiting art museums, and lending her voice online/offline to social causes.

 

JR Hammond

B.Comm., M.Fin., | Executive Director of CAAM & Founder of Canadian Air Mobility

JR Hammond is the Executive Director of CAAM, the federal Not for Profit Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium. The consortium specializes in creating the marketplace for Advanced Air Mobility in Canada. Further, JR is the Founder of Canadian Air Mobility based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Canadian Air Mobility is an Activist Based Investment company into Environmental & Social projects within the Advanced Air Mobility ecosystem in Canada.

 

James Marasa

Early on, my dream was to become a pilot. My first job in high school was at the dispatch desk of a flight school. In 2003, while working as a flight instructor, I became lost in cloud with a student in mountainous terrain. The aircraft struck trees but kept flying. An air traffic controller vectored us clear of terrain and back to visual conditions. Nearly two years later, I qualified as an IFR air traffic controller in Edmonton, Canada. Since then, I have tried to impart lessons learned from the front-line operations as both a pilot and controller. I have run an online Aviation English training course and written articles for several industry publications. Today, as an IFR air traffic controller in Vancouver, BC, I work closely with Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) design teams to create instrument procedures in the mountainous airspace throughout the interior of British Columbia, Canada.

 

Kimberly Alaric

“My name is Kimberly Alaric, and I am a Flight Instructor, an airport assistant at CYVK, and a Provincial Youth Advisor in Victoria, BC. I have been immersed in the aviation industry for only a short four years, but during this time, I have connected with so many incredible people who have helped guide me to my current path. Growing up in BC’s Care system, I was faced with countless challenges that fueled many of my goals. One of my goals was to be able to speak publicly about two of my passions: Foster care, and aviation—a goal that BC Aviation Council has generously given me the opportunity to accomplish! One of the many hats I wear is my Youth Advisor position. This position was an unimaginable opportunity that allows me to use my experiences to help restructure BC’s Care System internally. One of my long-term goals is to develop a scholarship for Canadian youth in care to find their paths in the aviation industry.”

 

Nicole Hare

“Hello everyone! I’m a first officer with Pacific Coastal Airlines, serving BC communities big and small. Originally from the east coast, I’ve been lucky enough to learn and instruct flying all over Atlantic Canada. I’m excited to share my experience and some fun flying stories with all of you.”

 

Rick Bowman

“My name is Rick Bowman. I grew up near an airport where I used to watch planes fly over my house, and I’ve had an interest in aviation ever since. As a teenager I was an Air Cadet, and had lots of interesting experiences, including getting the opportunity to learn how to fly gliders at age 16. Now, I am working my dream job as an Air Traffic Controller at the Pitt Meadows Airport. I love playing a role in getting aircraft where they need to go and keeping them safe. On my days off I enjoy painting, as well as spending time outdoors camping and kayaking.”

 

Scott Cadwell

“My name is Scott Cadwell and I live in amazing Fraser Valley town of Abbotsford. By trade I am an aircraft mechanic. I did my trades training in the Royal Canadian Airforce as an Aviation System Technician. What I love about aviation is the complexity of it, about the challenges and about how sophisticated it is. I love troubleshooting and the challenges that come with that. Seeing an aircraft that was broken take off is the best feeling. When I am not working, I love being outside. I love skiing in the winter and mountain biking or road biking in the summer. This province is amazing, and it is even better exploring it on a bike. “

 

Vignesh Rajasekar

Vignesh is a holder of ATPL and a Class 1 flight instructor rating. Since he began flying at 17, he’s grown up to wear a lot of hats in the industry such as Chief Flight Instructor, Training Captain, Consultant and co-owner of Vayu Aviation, a flight school based out of Kamloops, BC. With his goal of giving back to the aviation community,  he’s created a high school and a college program out of northern Alberta to engage and bring more youth into the aviation industry. With his free time, you can find him mentoring students, pilots, flight instructors and hear him on various aviation podcasts in Canada. Fun fact, Vignesh is one of the youngest Class 1 Instructors in Canada.

 

Meet the Program Coordinators

 

Aman Moparti Rao

Aman is a commercial pilot with a passion for helping youth navigate (pun intended!) our industry. He is currently completing his instructor rating out of Pitt Meadows and hopes to start instructing by the summer of 2021. He is extremely passionate about General Aviation and you can catch him at one of the many fly-in events in B.C or any aviation-related event. He also manages the BCAC’s Instagram page and is always looking to connect with people in the industry and people who want to be a part of it. Outside of aviation, you can find him spending time with his car or playing guitar but you can always count on him to cheer for the Seattle Seahawks!

 

Dawn Whyte

Dawn has been a volunteer with the BCAC since September 2020.  Her love of aviation really started at the age of 16 when she completed her private pilot license at the Pacific Flying Club.  After starting her bachelor of arts at Trinity Western University, she realized her dream of becoming an air traffic controller part way through and never looked back.  She is currently working at the Vancouver Area Control Center in Surrey.  Dawn is also working on her life coaching certification with the intent to blend her aviation career and passion for helping others become the leaders they want to be.  She resides in Langley with her daughter and husband.