Outside Office Entrance To The LCIC The result of a partnership between Columbia Basin Trust and the 5 Eastern municipalities; City of Rossland, City of Trail, Village of Warfield, Village of Montrose, Village of Fruitvale and electoral areas A & B of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

The Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC) was created in 2010 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society (LCCDTS). Our mandate is to provide economic development services within the Lower Columbia Region and to serve as the ‘first place of call’ as opportunities develop. The LCIC works to develop a creative, dynamic and competitive business environment that fosters economic growth.

The LCIC works collaboratively with the communities in the Lower Columbia region, local agencies, organizations and businesses to develop and implement strategies that will assist in strengthening our local economy. The LCIC shares information with potential investors, existing businesses, and other service providers to advance local projects and economic priorities. In addition, the LCIC assists existing business and industry to maintain a healthy economic climate, while identifying and pursuing new economic opportunities.

The Lower Columbia Initiatives is committed to a cohesive, comprehensive, region-wide approach to the challenges and opportunities of economic development in the Lower Columbia Region.


Our vision is for the LCIC to be the regional economic development agent that supports and drives growth and prosperity.


Our mission is to drive Economic Development in the Lower Columbia.


We value innovation and creativity, collaboration and partnerships, honesty, trust and respect for diversity and the opinions of others.

BC's Lower Columbia Region



Working towards our stated economic vision, the Lower Columbia Initiative’s 2015 Work Plan has been developed based on the following strategic priorities.

Attract new investment by promoting competitive advantages of existing assets and lifestyle.
Drive economic development by advancing identified opportunities with existing businesses; and leveraging strategic partnerships.
Cultivate expertise through awareness of economic development trends, innovation and best practices.


Terry Van Horn
250-364-6461 /
Kathleen Jackson
250-364-6461 /
Jacomien van Tonder
250-364-6461 /


Wesley Startup

Wesley Startup was born and raised in Fruitvale and graduated from JL Crowe in 1976.  He worked as a pipefitter and later as a refrigeration mechanical at Teck up until 1992 when he joined the British Columbia Building Corporation as a Building Maintenance Engineer.  In 2000 Wes changed roles to an Operations Superintendent where he was responsible for the operation and maintenance in publicly funded buildings such as RCMP and Provincial Government sites throughout the West Kootenays.  BCBC was privatized in 2004 and he moved to a Facility Manager role with responsibility for sites in both East and West Kootenays. Four years ago Wes assumed the position of Regional Director for the North and Interior of BC – Atlin to Sparwood to Hope – where he is responsible for a Team delivering operations, maintenance, and project delivery in 4.9 million square feet  in a variety of publicly funded sites – Interior and Northern Health, BC Lotteries, RCMP, as well as Provincial Government locations.

Wes currently lives with his partner Lori Swanson in Fruitvale.  In his spare time he enjoys winter sports like skiing and in the summer tending to they’re property and gardening.  Wes believes in community service and over the years he has coached soccer and baseball, was involved in the Sea Cadet program, and currently sits on the Village of Fruitvale Board of Variance.

Wes is very interested in community development, betterment of services for all of the residents of our larger community, and how this can be achieved through economic development.

Scott Weatherford

Scott is the Chief Executive Officer of ATCO Wood Products Ltd. and The Nelson & Ft. Sheppard Railway Co. in Fruitvale BC. ATCO Wood Products is a leading manufacturer of softwood veneers for the plywood industry and a major forest license holder and forestry management company in the Lower Columbia region. Scott and his wife founded ATCO Wood products in 2006 as part of the reorganization of ATCO Lumber Ltd. Scott is responsible for oversight of all aspects of ATCO’s manufacturing and forestry business and for new development activities. The Nelson & Ft. Sheppard Railway Co. is a 10 mile shortline railroad that operates near Fruitvale, BC.

Prior to joining ATCO in 2005, Scott held various executive assignments in purchasing and auditing with PACCAR Inc. (parent company on Kenworth and Peterbuilt Trucks) in Bellevue, Washington. Scott’s early career was a mechanical design engineer with John Deere (Moline, IL), Cummins Engine Co. (Jamestown, NY and Seymour, IN) and Kenworth Truck Co. (Kirkland, WA). Scott is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Washington. Scott holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), as well as a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Washington (Seattle, WA).

While Scott was born and raised in New Jersey, he is pleased to call Fruitvale his home along with his wife and children. Scott is a member the Beaver Valley Rotary Club, a Director for the Lower Columbia Initiative Corporation, and a Section Leader for the Scouts Canada Group within the Beaver Valley.

Scott’s specific areas of expertise include:

  • Forest Management
  • BioEnergy
  • Manufacturing (heavy industrial equipment, wood products, and automotive components)
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management (esp. railroad operations)

Dan Ashman

Growing up and playing Jr. Hockey in Penticton Dan came to Trail, BC in 1974 to play for the Trail Smoke Eaters. Dan worked at various automobile dealers and went on to open a used vehicle lot and Ryder Truck Rental franchise in May 1982, and then in 1984 Dan, approached by Ford Motor Company became the Dealer Principle on the Ford franchise for the Kootenay Boundary region.

Dan is passionate about the environment as well as Regional Healthcare, and actively participates in community outreach throughout the region. Dan was instrumental in bringing the mobile MRI to the Kootenays as well as donating 12 defibrillators to local area hockey arenas. Some of Dan’s community lead events includes; 1987 Canada/Russia hockey series, Butler Park rebuild and the 1995 Babe Ruth World Series. He is a major supporter of community organizations such as minor hockey, baseball, golf, AM Ford Fight night and various children’s organizations.

Dan is a founding member of the LCCDTS that provided an innovative business prospective to economic development issues to grow the region. Dan is a LCCDTS North South Corridor committee member and is dedicated to seeing the successful development of a 160 km corridor to Alaska for the betterment of current and future Lower Columbia generations.

Don Thompson

President and General Manager at RED Mountain Resort Group of Companies in Rossland, British Columbia

Don has lead over $100 Million of Commercial, Residential, Resort and Industrial development projects. He has a background in Land Use and Environmental Science and holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Saskatchewan.

Prior to becoming a partner at RED Mountain Resort, Don was consulting to the Aspen Skiing Company at Snowmass, Vail Resorts at Keystone and Intrawest at Copper Mountain Colorado and Panorama BC.

Don has managed a major civil construction company in Vancouver and owned a development management company in Rossland. Don’s professional experience includes: Destination Resort Management, Civil Engineering, Land Use Planning, Real Estate Development and Project Management. His community volunteer work has included Tourism Rossland, the Rossland United Way, the Rural Development Institute, Selkirk College, and various community development steering committees and advisory groups.

Don is the past Chair of the LCIC and is a member of the RED Mountain Resort Board of Directors.

Ingrid Hope

Ingrid Hope is the President and Owner of Hall Printing in Trail and Nelson for the last 12 years; she has worked at Hall Printing for 27 years.

Ingrid has always been an active community volunteer and is currently President of Beaver Dynamic Aging Society, a member of the Downtown Trail Business Group, the Lower Columbia Womens Business Group, the Castlegar Business Exchange, and the BC Small Business Round Table.

Ingrid has 3 grown children, 2 grandsons and when she isn’t working she enjoys to travel, ski, curl, golf, walk, bike, camp, and boat.

Michele Cherot

As the Finance Manager for the Skills Centre for over 19 years, Michele’s three primary areas of responsibility include: management of the organization’s financial systems; a member of the senior leadership team and the creation of new revenue streams. Her focus has been to achieve sustainable organizational development while utilizing a collaborative approach.

Michele has also provided customized business consulting and coaching to non-profit organizations to strengthen their capacity and improve efficiencies for more than 10 years. The work has included coaching organizations through cultural change by engaging and encouraging individuals to identify the opportunities and benefits of implementing change.

Michele completed her Master of Business Administration degree in 2003, through the Athabasca University and was the Manager of the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce between 1993-1997.

Erin Handy

Erin Handy has 13 year’s experience in policy development, stakeholder management and public relations; non-profit finance and fundraising; program and project development and implementation. Highlights include development of multi-year federal and provincial government funding contracts (2011-2019); design funding of the $2M MIDAS applied research, commercialization and training centre for the metallurgical sector surrounding Trail, BC (2015); the launch of Canada’s first carbon tax via the BC Ministry of Finance (2008); launch of KAST’s first paid coaching program (2013); and co-founding of the RoboGames with the Nelson Tech Club (2012.) Erin joined KAST in 2011. Another urban refugee, she relocated to Rossland in 2008. Worked at the Trail Daily Times as a reporter, and fell in love with the West Kootenay lifestyle. Erin has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Carleton University.

Mark Morrison

Mark’s background is as a Mechanical Engineer and Business professional with 20 years of experience in heavy industry and energy delivery. He has worked with FortisBC  for 8 years in various management roles and is currently responsible for the capital spend for transmission and distribution gas works for Southern BC.  The focus is on long term capital planning and the sustainment of the Transmission and Distribution systems, determining the needs for asset health and continuing to build relationships with customers, partners and community stakeholders.

Mark’s wife, Alison and their three kids, Noel, Calvin and Annelise have lived in Trail for the last 6 years. Their kids are active in figure skating, hockey, baseball and skiing.  Alison is an Environmental Scientist and has Trail Creek Consulting which is focused on biological processes for water treatment for various applications. Both Mark and Alison have been involved in the community as volunteers, coaches and board members in figures skating and hockey clubs.

Thompson Hickey

Thompson is an accomplished executive with a unique combination of operations leadership, business development and strategic growth experience in the industrial sector.

Recognized as a leader in change management, Thompson aligns people, systems and assets with corporate strategy and the changing business environment. A persuasive communicator who is equally comfortable on the shop floor, in the board room and with business and community partners, his ability to influence key stakeholders is his foundation for producing results.

Keith DeWitt

Keith is the owner and managing broker of Re/Max All Pro Realty in Trail, BC.  Keith grew up in Trail and the Beaver Valley and graduated high school at JL Crowe in 1989, before attending SAIT in Calgary for Marketing and Business Administration.  Keith worked in finance and lending for 10 years, living in Kamloops, Nanaimo, and Vancouver, before getting his Mortgage Broker License through the Sauder School of Business at UBC.  Keith worked as a Mortgage Broker in the Lower Mainland until 2007, when he decided to move his young family back to Trail and pursue a career in Real Estate.  He joined his father as a Realtor at Re/Max All Pro Realty to form the younger half of Team DeWitt.  In 2016, Keith earned his Real Estate Broker Management Licence through the Sauder School of Business at UBC, and completed the purchase of Re/Max All Pro Realty from the previous owner.  Keith has remained a very active realtor in the Greater Trail area, but since taking over the ownership and management of Re/Max in 2016, he has encouraged more community involvement, diversified their marketing strategies, and continued to build on the solid reputation and experienced team already established at Re/Max in Trail.

Keith has a very active family and enjoys chasing his kids from baseball diamonds to hockey rinks to golf courses and softball diamonds all over the Kootenays and beyond. Keith enjoys the outdoors and camping, and tries to take advantage of the beautiful rivers, lakes and mountains that our area has to offer, as much as possible. Keith is passionate about his family, passionate about sports and his community, and is a strong promoter of teamwork and economic development for the entire region.

Jordan Strobel

Jordan Strobel is a local entrepreneur and Co-Owner of Apex Multimedia. Apex Multimedia is a video production and integrated digital marketing company based in Trail, BC. Jordan’s interest in business began in high school, after partnering with Tim Baldwin to launch a sports apparel company known as Ebon Supply Co during Grade 11. That year, Jordan and Tim were able to take first place at the regional Junior Dragons Den competition. It was at this point Jordan realized that being an entrepreneur was a viable future, and his interest in business grew significantly.

Jordan has since graduated from Okanagan College in 2017 with his Diploma in Business Administration, majoring in Marketing. After completing post-secondary school, he has been working full time growing Apex Multimedia and promoting the region.

Paul Butler

Paul Butler is an experienced Branch Manager at Kootenay Savings Credit Union in Fruitvale, along with being Kootenay Saving’s newest Branch Manager. Born in New Westminster and raised in Burnaby, Paul returned to his New West roots upon completion of his undergraduate studies in Business Administration at the Anglo-American University in Prague, Czech Republic in 1998.  A graduate of St Thomas Moore Collegiate in Burnaby, Paul started his career working as a TEFL teacher before moving into the travel and tourism industry. Whilst living abroad between the early 1990’s until 2002, Paul operated a travel services business in Prague where he learned first-hand the challenges and opportunities of entrepreneurship.  Paul works hard to share these lessons with his credit union staff and focuses on a client centric approach to business.  Paul worked for Westminster Savings for more than 15 years before making the family decision to relocated to the Trail area and join Kootenay Savings. Paul in no stranger to the Kootenays; having strong family connections to the region and visiting the area several times a year for the past four decades.

Committed to community, Paul volunteers his time with Junior Achievement BC, an organization which aims to create the next generation of business leaders and promote economic prosperity. He is also serves as a Director on the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital and Health Foundation and past Director and in-coming Chair of the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce. During his tenure with the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce he witnessed the revitalization of historical Downtown New West, and looks forward to making the same personal contribution to the Lower Columbia Initiative Corporation and its ongoing success through his new role as a board director.

Paul joined Kootenay Savings in 2017, bringing with him his certification in Financial Management – Financial Planning, Distinctions in Business Management as well as Distinctions in Leadership at British Columbia Institute of Technology. He is currently completing his designation as a Fellow of the Credit Union Institute of Canada and a B.Comm Leadership at Thompson Rivers University.

Paul has extensive business experience in responding to the needs of members, delivering exceptional customer service and training employees to help them develop and reach their potential. With his desire to give back to the Trail and surrounding communities and make a difference in the ongoing transformation of the region, Paul is well positioned to play an active role in connecting local businesses and advocating on their behalf through the Lower Colombia Initiative Corporation.

The best time of Paul’s day is spent with his husband Josh and their five year old daughter Estelle.

Patricia Cecchini

Mayor Patricia Cecchini has been serving the Fruitvale community since December 2008 – first as a Councillor, and then since December, 2011 as Mayor. Besides being the Mayor of the Village of Fruitvale, Patricia also serves her community by being a very active member of numerous boards, one of them being the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation. She is passionate about creating a heathy lifestyle for all members of the community, regardless of age and was instrumental in the formation and delivery of the Age Friendly seniors program which is currently in its 6th year and remaining strong. “Just because you are a small town doesn’t mean you can’t do big things.”


  • Is married to her husband Mark, and they recently celebrated their 37th wedding Anniversary.
  • Mother of 4 sons and Grandmother of 2.
  • Was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for community service.
  • In her spare time, she also owns and operates her own Ice Cream trailer which she donates a portion of the proceeds to local non-profit organizations.
  • Patricia enjoys walking, hiking, kayaking, biking, traveling and listening to good music. Strong coffee and red wine are two of her guilty pleasures.