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Sean Campbell

Sean Campbell is the General Manager of Community Futures East Kootenay operating in the Regional District East Kootenay & Regional District Columbia Shuswap Area A. Sean has been with Community Futures for 5 years, applying extensive experience in small business lending and knowledge on process improvement. Sean sits on the Board of Directors of the Cranbrook & District Community Foundation and is a past president of the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce. Currently, Sean is actively supporting the Ground Floor Coworking Space in Cranbrook, the Elk Valley Economic Initiative (EVEI) and the Kootenay Employment Services Community Investment Co-op initiative.

Ange Qualizza

As an economist, Ange has had a variety or work experiences; representing groups to create destination tourism infrastructure, community economic development, working with government agencies, municipal government and not-for-profit boards. Currently Ange is a City Councillor serving the City of Fernie.

Ange also serves a local government association, the Association of the Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments where the mandate is to ‘assist our members in providing effective, responsible and accountable local government through dialogue, education and advocacy’.

Recently Ange has participated with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities International in the CISAL (Sustainable and Inclusive Communities in Latin America) program to work with communities affected by resource extraction. Using peer-to-peer knowledge to help build capacity with community leaders in Colombia, and support local economic development initiatives has been truly a rewarding experience.

Tanya Malcolm

Tanya Malcolm is the Community & Marketing Manager at Ground Floor Coworking Space. Tanya is an experienced Communications and Project Coordinator with a demonstrated history of digital storytelling and animating ideas within non-profit organization management. She has used her skills in fundraising, content marketing and public speaking to advance the work of organizations such as Wildsight, Community Connections Society of Southeast BC and Shanti Uganda. She is a strong advocate for sustainable communities, local food systems, maternal healthcare, collective social impact and the sharing economy.

Brad Pommen

Brad Pommen is Mr. Technology of the BC Kootenays.

  • Lab Director of MIDAS Fab Lab prototyping and commercialization facility in Trail, BC since 2016.
  • President of SMRT1 TECHNOLOGIES LTD, a hardware and software technology startup with an interactive touch vending machine called, “SMRT1 Brain STEM Toolbox”.
  • President and founder of the Nelson Tech Club Hackerspace since 2010 with over 500 registered members, now partnered with the City of Nelson and Nelson & District Youth Centre.
  • Founder of, partnered with KAST, Selkirk College and local businesses since 2011.

He has taught thousands of people of all ages how to code, design and adopt emerging digital technologies throughout the Kootenay region, providing inspiration for other local tech hubs to grow.

Provides support for BC teacher professional development and student adoption of ADST curriculum and digital fabrication technologies through MIDAS.

He is a Kootenay-wide technology network liaison, providing professional representation, influence in technology adoption and education leadership through initiatives such as Ladies Learning Code, Nelson Tech & Knowledge Workers and Startup Nelson. He helps lead the initiatives of Nelson’s Intelligent Community and Innovation Center planning.

Brad is a hacker, a maker, a technology enthusiast and a leader in STEM initiatives, a passion he contributes to each and every project.

Brad lives in Nelson with his wife Amy and their two daughters, Abigail (5) and Stella (3).

Melissa Hope

Melissa worked for small organic food businesses for thirteen years, then moved into the HiVE and the non-profit world in September 2014. While at the HiVE, she's had several different titles. Currently she is officially the "Director of Operations", though she prefers her unofficial title of Queen Bee. 

Melissa serves as the secretary of the Coworking BC Society, a professional and industry organization for the advancement of independent coworking in British Columbia. In her off-hours, she works on digitizing public domain books to preserve Canadian culture and make it more accessible and is working on launching a podcast for people with chronic illnesses. 
Melissa is looking forward to travelling more, especially within Canada. One of her favourite trips to date was a road trip to Dawson City for the midnight sun. She is excited by community building and organizations that focus on cooperation, open source, and the sharing economy.

Eden Yesh

Eden Yesh is the Branch Manager of KES Invermere, a Community Economic Development satellite office of Kootenay Employment Services based in Creston, BC. His work experience and training resides in the employment, community economic development (Simon Fraser University), and financial sectors. For the past 4 years, Eden led the feasibility study, business planning and launch of rural British Columbia’s first and largest Community Investment Co-op.

He is the Chair of the British Columbia Community Impact Investment Coalition, a learning and advocacy group comprised of local investment practitioners across the province. Eden has developed and defended multiple impact investment policies, and is working actively with several BC Ministries to enable local investing in BC. Eden is project manager and lead consultant on the Mobilizing Local Capital project, an initiative assisting over 25 communities to establish two regional investment co-ops in Southeastern BC. To get in touch, email

Karen Gorecki

For almost two decades, Karen has worked on climate mitigation policies, plans and programs. She creates evidence-based, pragmatic yet elegant solutions to contribute towards global efforts in GHG reductions. Karen has worked with a range of think tanks, not for profits, all levels of government and multiple private sector clients. She has designed and/or evaluated multi-million-dollar energy efficiency programs, managed municipal climate mitigation plans, and produced numerous technical studies. She is attending the forum as the GHG Reduction Advisor for the Columbia Basin Trust’s Climate Action Program. Fernie, BC is her home where she plays in the mountains with her three kids and husband. If you want to learn more about Karen go to

Meredith Hamstead

Meredith Hamstead, MEDes, EP is the owner of an independent consulting firm, thinkBright Environmental Innovations, based out of Invermere, BC. She is a leader in the development and implementation of community based sustainability solutions. Meredith is the coordinator for Columbia Basin Trust’s Climate Action Program.

Patrick Sorfleet

Patrick Sorfleet is the Manager of Planning at the City of Fernie and has been with Fernie for the past year. One of his first projects upon joining the City was to develop a Short Term Rental regulatory and enforcement framework. Prior to joining the City of Fernie Patrick worked at the Town of Canmore and brings over a decade of experience dealing with the challenges of regulation and enforcement of Short Term Rentals in mountain communities.

Jessica Fairhart

Jessica Fairhart is the Program Manager for Imagine Kootenay, a marketing partnership supporting investment and workforce attraction initiatives across the Kootenay and Boundary region. Jessica works collaboratively with stakeholders to support Imagine Kootenay’s partner communities and to raise the profile of the region as a great place to live, work and do business. Based in Invermere, Jessica’s diverse experience and education includes community and economic development, education and workforce training, marketing and recreation planning. 

Mark Lautman, CEcD

Mark Lautman started his economic development career in Grants New Mexico after the collapse of uranium mining industry in 1983.

Over the next 25 years, he went on to lead job creation programs for three large master planned community developers, AMREP corporation, Santa Teresa Real Estate Development Corp and Forest City Enterprises.

He also served ten years as Chair of the New Mexico Economic Development Commission during the Johnson and Richardson administrations.

In 2007 he helped establish the Community Economics Lab, (CELab) a not-for-profit think tank focused on developing new approaches to economic and workforce development.

In 2011 he wrote a book titled “When the Boomers Bail”, about how a growing shortage of talent is changing the economic development game. The bulk of his time is currently invested in several CELab's projects that include;

  • The development of a new job creation program theater called Soloworks designed to systematically create new jobs where local residents work independently from home or a co-working space.
  • The design of a new more comprehensive and rigorous algorithm for planning and managing community economies.
  • Researching the implications of the acceleration of AI, machine learning and globalization on the economic and workforce development professions.

He is a 1971 graduate of The University of New Mexico in Economics, Architecture and Geography, and a former Peace Corps Volunteer.

Mark lives in Albuquerque, NM with his wife Mary Anne. They have three grown children, one Aggie and two Lobos, and five grandchildren - all live in Albuquerque.

His recreational interests include open-water swimming and mountaineering.

Mark can be reached at

Tanis Shedden

Tanis is currently the Administrator of the Economic Investment Sector with the Ktunaxa Nation Council. In her role she supports valuation exercises, industry engagement, and the development of economic and investment policies.  She joined the KNC a year and a half ago after spending two years living and working in the Nuxalk Nation and Heiltsuk Nations traditional territories’ as the Community Economic Development Officer for the Central Coast Regional District. She has a BA in Economics from the University of Calgary and Certificate in Community Economic Development from Simon Fraser University. In returning to ʔamaʔkis Ktunaxa Tanis moved to Kimberley and has timed the drive to the ski hill to be