Council Board Members

Aboriginal business Investment Council membership include First Nations’ and industry leaders from across British Columbia promoting Aboriginal business, First Nation industry partnerships, economic certainty and encouraging sustainable economic growth in Aboriginal communities.

Our goal is to better equip businesses to work with Aboriginal communities, and to identify practices that will foster greater participation of First Nations in economic development.

Our Mandate

The Aboriginal Business and Investment Council’s (ABIC) mandate is to help improve Aboriginal participation in the economy and promote economic certainty in the province by encouraging economic growth in Aboriginal communities.

ABIC’s strategic objectives are to advance Aboriginal peoples’ participation in the economy by:

-Identifying successful businesses and partnerships between Aboriginal communities and investors, and identifying ways that they can be replicated in BC;
-Helping act as a conduit for Aboriginal associations and communities to voice their issues to the Province;
-Providing investors with a forum to engage and partner with BC First Nations and Aboriginal people; and
-Encouraging relationships between Aboriginal communities, industry and government to implement practical measures for economic development.

History

The Aboriginal Business and investment council was created under the BC Jobs Plan in September 2011.

Initial council membership was announced in December, 2011.

Council Board Members

  • Obie Erickson

    As Britco’s President of Canadian operations, Obie leads the company with a clearly defined strategic… Read more »

    As Britco’s President of Canadian operations, Obie leads the company with a clearly defined strategic business direction and serves as a role model for Britco’s purpose, vision and values. With nearly 35 years of industry experience, 27 of those at Britco, Obie brings a wealth of knowledge about modular construction to the President’s role. Obie is accountable for the company’s financial performance, ensuring the company’s assets are efficiently and responsibly utilized with a view to maximizing shareholder value; directing the company’s strategic planning activities and providing leadership and overall guidance in the administration, management and safe operation of the company.

    Formerly, as the VP of Manufacturing, Obie oversaw the design and construction of Britco’s full range of modular products in Canada at three modular construction facilities (Penticton, Agassiz, and Edmonton). While overseeing operations at the facilities, it was his responsibility to ensure tight production schedules were met on time and on budget, all the while maintaining the highest quality assurance standards, as well as the highest safety standards.

    Obie’s career highlights include the execution of the design and construction of workforce camps in Siberia for Bema Gold, Devon Energy, and Manitoba Hydro projects that ranged from $50 million to $250 million.  Special projects such as the construction of the Whistler Athletes Village for the 2010 Olympics were memorable given its international profile, but also the tight timelines and Silver LEED standard of the project.

    Obie is a happily married resident of Hope, BC and is the proud father of three sons and eight grandchildren.  Obie was a hockey coach for many years and his personal interests include following industry trends and the stock market, playing golf, and following professional sports, particularly hockey and football.

  • Willie Sellars

    Willie was born and raised in Williams Lake, BC, and is a Member of the… Read more »

    Willie was born and raised in Williams Lake, BC, and is a Member of the Williams Lake Indian Band (“WLIB” or “T’exelc”) of the Secwepemc Nation. Elected onto WLIB council at the age of 24 in 2008, Willie was one of the youngest elected councillors in WLIB history. He is now serving his second term on WLIB Council.

    Willie worked for a number of years as Wildland Firefighter for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations before returning to his community to assume the position of Special Projects Coordinator in the WLIB Economic Development Department. In his current capacity, Willie is responsible for overseeing a broad variety of projects and activities, including new business initiatives flowing from Impact Benefit Agreements, engagement with proponents in the traditional territory and community consultation for major WLIB projects such as the First Nations Land Management Initiative and the Coyote Rock Infrastructure Project.

    Willie currently serves as the starting goaltender of the Senior AA, Lac La Hache Tomahawks of the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL). In 2009, Willie won a Coy Cup while starting for the Williams Lake Stampeders.

    Willie is also an accomplished author, having published his first children’s book “Dipnetting with Dad” in the Spring of 2014. The book describes a personal account of a young Secwepemc boy and his fishing adventures with his Dad and Grandpa.

    Willie lives on the WLIB’s Sugar Cane Reserve with his wife and two children.

  • Obie Erickson

    As Britco’s President of Canadian operations, Obie leads the company with a clearly defined strategic… Read more »

    As Britco’s President of Canadian operations, Obie leads the company with a clearly defined strategic business direction and serves as a role model for Britco’s purpose, vision and values. With nearly 35 years of industry experience, 27 of those at Britco, Obie brings a wealth of knowledge about modular construction to the President’s role. Obie is accountable for the company’s financial performance, ensuring the company’s assets are efficiently and responsibly utilized with a view to maximizing shareholder value; directing the company’s strategic planning activities and providing leadership and overall guidance in the administration, management and safe operation of the company.

    Formerly, as the VP of Manufacturing, Obie oversaw the design and construction of Britco’s full range of modular products in Canada at three modular construction facilities (Penticton, Agassiz, and Edmonton). While overseeing operations at the facilities, it was his responsibility to ensure tight production schedules were met on time and on budget, all the while maintaining the highest quality assurance standards, as well as the highest safety standards.

    Obie’s career highlights include the execution of the design and construction of workforce camps in Siberia for Bema Gold, Devon Energy, and Manitoba Hydro projects that ranged from $50 million to $250 million.  Special projects such as the construction of the Whistler Athletes Village for the 2010 Olympics were memorable given its international profile, but also the tight timelines and Silver LEED standard of the project.

    Obie is a happily married resident of Hope, BC and is the proud father of three sons and eight grandchildren.  Obie was a hockey coach for many years and his personal interests include following industry trends and the stock market, playing golf, and following professional sports, particularly hockey and football.

  • Willie Sellars

    Willie was born and raised in Williams Lake, BC, and is a Member of the… Read more »

    Willie was born and raised in Williams Lake, BC, and is a Member of the Williams Lake Indian Band (“WLIB” or “T’exelc”) of the Secwepemc Nation. Elected onto WLIB council at the age of 24 in 2008, Willie was one of the youngest elected councillors in WLIB history. He is now serving his second term on WLIB Council.

    Willie worked for a number of years as Wildland Firefighter for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations before returning to his community to assume the position of Special Projects Coordinator in the WLIB Economic Development Department. In his current capacity, Willie is responsible for overseeing a broad variety of projects and activities, including new business initiatives flowing from Impact Benefit Agreements, engagement with proponents in the traditional territory and community consultation for major WLIB projects such as the First Nations Land Management Initiative and the Coyote Rock Infrastructure Project.

    Willie currently serves as the starting goaltender of the Senior AA, Lac La Hache Tomahawks of the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL). In 2009, Willie won a Coy Cup while starting for the Williams Lake Stampeders.

    Willie is also an accomplished author, having published his first children’s book “Dipnetting with Dad” in the Spring of 2014. The book describes a personal account of a young Secwepemc boy and his fishing adventures with his Dad and Grandpa.

    Willie lives on the WLIB’s Sugar Cane Reserve with his wife and two children.

  • Sidney A. Peltier

    Sid Peltier has been a helicopter pilot for 37 years and is the owner and… Read more »

    Sid Peltier has been a helicopter pilot for 37 years and is the owner and President of Pelair Helicopters and the President of White River Helicopters Inc. in Terrace B.C. Active in the community, he is the Vice President of the Northwest BC Metis Association, a Director of the Kermode Friendship Society, and a committee member on the Metis Consultation Project Team Enbridge. Previously, Mr. Peltier was the Chair of the Metis Ad Hoc Adoption Committee with Metis Nation British Columbia.

  • Roger Harris

    Roger Harris is a Partner at Harris Palmer, a public affairs consulting group that works… Read more »

    Roger Harris is a Partner at Harris Palmer, a public affairs consulting group that works with clients to provide strategic/tactical advice, develop policies, explore business opportunities, manage projects and facilitate/negotiate agreements. Mr. Harris was elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly in 2001 representing the riding of Skeena and appointed Minister of State for Forestry Operations in 2004. He is currently President of Kalum Quarry Limited Partnership, a Director with the BC Carbon Offset Aggregation Cooperative, the Kitsumkalum Economic Development Board and has served as BC’s Forest Safety Ombudsman since the role was created in 2006.

  • Lennard Joe

    Lennard Joe is an Administrative Advisor to the Shackan Indian band and General Manager of… Read more »

    Lennard Joe is an Administrative Advisor to the Shackan Indian band and General Manager of Stuwix Resources Joint Venture. Previously, he was the Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Nicola Tribal Association, Partner at Stoyoma GIS Ltd., and Owner of Grizzly-Man Resource Management Ltd. Very active in his community, Mr. Joe serves as part of the Working Group for the Sustainable Forest Initiative, Director of the Scw¿exmx Child & Family Society, Director and Chair of the Scw¿exmx Community Health Services Society, and Committee Member of the University of British Columbia (UBC) First Nations Council of Advisors, the National Aboriginal Forestry Association, and the Aboriginal Forest Industry Council. Previously, he has served as Director of the Nicola Similkameen Innovative Forestry Society and Director and Vice President of the Nicola Tribal Association. Mr. Joe holds his Bachelor of Science (Natural Resource Conservation) from the University of British Columbia and a Diploma (Wildland) from Selkirk College.

  • Kimberly C. Baird

    Kim is the owner of Kim Baird Strategic Consulting and offers First Nation related and… Read more »

    Kim is the owner of Kim Baird Strategic Consulting and offers First Nation related and strategic advice to industry, government and First Nations. While Chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation for over thirteen years, her most notable achievement was when she negotiated and implemented British Columbia’s first urban treaty. She spent six years on the BC Hydro Board – providing her with in-depth knowledge on energy issues in BC. She is on several boards including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Canada Public Policy Forum, and Clear Seas. Kim is a member of both the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada, and holds an Institute of Corporate Director’s designation.

    Twitter – @KimCBaird

  • Greg D’Avignon

    Greg D’Avignon is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of British… Read more »

    Greg D’Avignon is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of British Columbia, a 260-member organization comprised of the province’s leading businesses and institutions in every sector of the provincial economy that are responsible for more than one-quarter of all jobs in the province. Established in 1966, the Business Council is the foremost policy and business advocacy organization in the province.

    A fourth generation British Columbian, Greg has played an active leadership role in business, politics and the community for over 25 years earning a reputation for results and building collaborative solutions that positively benefit companies, organizations and the lives of people that invest, live and work in BC.

    During his career Mr D’Avignon has successfully led organizations and provided advice and practical policy solutions at senior levels within the Canadian government and within regulated and resource industries that have resulted in growth and economic benefit. He is a regular commentator on BC economic and policy issues and the chair of landmark forums on our Energy Future and LNG, First Nations Engagement and Investment, Trade and Economic Expansion with Asia , productivity and BC’s Future Prosperity.

    Immediately prior to joining the Business Council, Mr D’Avignon was President, Western Canada, Canada’s National Brewers, having previously served as an advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada, and the Minister of National Defence and Minister of Justice.

    Greg is active in his community, serving currently as a Board Member and Vice Chair of the British Columbia Cancer Foundation. He also recently served as the Chair of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-BC/Yukon Region and on its National Board.

    Greg is a 2013 recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contribution to the province. Greg also serves on the boards of several community, athletic, corporate and not-for-profit boards.

  • Donald McInnes

    Donald McInnes is the executive Vice Chairman of Alterra Power Corp., a British Columbia-based renewable… Read more »

    Donald McInnes is the executive Vice Chairman of Alterra Power Corp., a British Columbia-based renewable power development company with a broad portfolio of clean energy projects. Mr. McInnes currently serves as Chair of the Clean Energy Association of British Columbia and the Chair of the Board of Directors of Prostate Cancer Canada. He is a Governor of the British Columbia Business Council. He was a participant in the inaugural year (2010) of the Simon Fraser University Leadership Exchange Program for the Industry Council for Aboriginal Business and was bestowed a Doctor of Technology honoris causa by the BC Institute of Technology in 2009. In addition, he was a finalist for 2008 and a recipient of the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Pacific Division Cleantech category. Mr. McInnes is a frequent public speaker and contributor to the debate on public policy and the integration and value of clean power.

  • Karen Ogen-Toews

    Karen Ogen-Toews is the CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, a society of First… Read more »

    Karen Ogen-Toews is the CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, a society of First Nations in support of responsible LNG development in B.C. – with a priority on the environment, and First Nations consultation and engagement.

    Karen brings an extensive amount of experience to her role as CEO, having served as Chief of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation for six years. As such, she is very familiar with the needs of aboriginal communities throughout our province and seeks to increase economic opportunities for First Nations through providing information and education regarding responsible resource development.

    Karen’s academic background is in social work. She achieved her Master’s degree from the University of Northern British Columbia in 2007, and graduated from the Indigenous Governance Certificate Program from the University of Victoria in 2010. These academic programs have given her a unique perspective to pursue development opportunities that benefit communities not only for economic purposes, but also for long term social development.

    Karen believes in informing First Nations about the realities of the resource sector, educating them on the options available, as well as the extensive environmental protection and process in place surrounding these projects. While Karen recognizes that not all projects will be appropriate for all nations, she hopes to help inspire more First Nations to consider and engage in discussions with industry and government around the possibility of resource opportunities.

    Karen also serves as a member of the following boards: the Aboriginal Business Investment Council (ABIC), the Premier’s First Nations Advisory Committee, Resource Works and the Northern First Nations Education & Training Sub Committee.

  • Brian Assu

    Brian Assu has a background in the commercial and sentinel fisheries in the Campbell River… Read more »

    Brian Assu has a background in the commercial and sentinel fisheries in the Campbell River area. He also holds prominent positions on a number of boards and councils including the Cape Mudge Indian Band Council, the Laichkwiltach Treaty Society, and chairs the A-Tlegay Fisheries Society and the Laich-Kwil-Tach Treaty Society. In addition, he is a Canadian alternate member with the Pacific Salmon Commission and the Chair of the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program with BC Hydro. Mr. Assu is currently a Councillor with the We Wai Kai First Nation.

  • Brenda Ireland

    Brenda Ireland is the Principal and Owner of First Light Initiatives – an Aboriginal firm… Read more »

    Brenda Ireland is the Principal and Owner of First Light Initiatives – an Aboriginal firm providing social and economic development strategic advice as well as community/industry engagement and intercultural training. She is the former Executive Director of the Industry Council for Aboriginal Business where she led the development of the BC Aboriginal Business Association. She developed the First Nations Programs and Services department at the BC Institute of Technology and continues to work as an advocate in Aboriginal education having completed research papers for both the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Canada and the Canadian Council on Learning. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Calgary.

  • Arnold Bellis

    Arnie Bellis is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Gwaii Wood Products. He is… Read more »

    Arnie Bellis is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Gwaii Wood Products. He is a member of the Strastas (Eagle) Clan and is the former two-term elected Vice President with the Council of the Haida Nation. From 2002 to 2004, he was elected a Councillor with Old Massett Village. Mr. Bellis was involved in the Haida Reconciliation Agreement with British Columbia in 2009, a former Chair of the Haida Power Authority, and a current member of the Haida Gwaii Health Communities. He has been involved in numerous fisheries issues and the Haida land use planning processes.