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.


Tim Grouette
250-364-6461 /
Rebecca Richards
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 their 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.

Deanne Steven

Deanne has extensive experience in marketing, management, and entrepreneurship in a range of industries and countries, including Japan, the U.K., Norway, South Africa, and Mexico. She has a BA (Hons) from McGill University in Political Science and Economics, and MBA from University of Westminster in the UK.

She’s worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs, helped run a high-tech firm in the wireless industry in Vancouver, and was the Executive Director of Tourism Rossland, a regional Destination Marketing Organization for over 10 years. Deanne is currently an Instructor with the School of Business at Selkirk College.

She also runs several family-owned businesses, and in early 2017, launched Larch Business Services, a financial-management consultancy serving non-resident homeowners, non-profits and strata corporations.

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.