Contributed Outgoing SICA COO Bill Everitt (right) welcomes newcomer Roger Smith.

DeHart: PRE Labs making innovative body armour

Catch up on the happenings around the Kelowna business scene in Maxine DeHart’s latest column

Brad Field, formerly of Pacific Safety Products and Armourworks, is the founder and CEO of new company PRE Labs at #3 – 3302 Appaloosa Road. PRE Labs is in the business of scientifically engineered survivability product solutions for military, law enforcement and security.The company started manufacturing in their production facility in December after two years in the making. They manufacture the lightest (four pounds) and highest innovative performance body armour in the industry today. It’s not just about sewing a garment. It’s also about the science of how you are protecting people and using state-of-the-art materials in your products. PRE Labs manufacture vests, hard armour products including armour plates, vehicle add-on armour, vehicle spall liners and other survivability products including anti-mine blast seating, chemical/biological protective clothing and tactical equipment.The company employs 10 people and will be relocating in June to a new 10,000 square foot facility. They are forecast to employ about 72 people by 2019. Jeff Meyers is the business development manager; Mazeyar Parvinzadeh Gashti, PhD, chief scientist; Kevin Mead, vice-president operations and Gisela Bonnie the supply chain manager. Call 778-753-6539

Jean Russell, long-time employee of the Kelowna Capital News in the editorial department has retired after 23 years with the paper. Jean and her partner, Tom Light are just settling into their new home at Tower Ranch. I’m sure you will see her golfing at The Harvest Golf Club more often this spring and summer. Now, Tom won’t have to complain about doing all the housework either.

The retail banking team at Valley First has seen many management changes and promotions over the past few months. Marek Buryska, branch manager of Valley First’s Orchard Plaza location has accepted the position of regional manager of business banking for the company. Former regional manager of business banking, Kendall Gross has been promoted to AVP Central Retail Region. Taking Marek’s place as the new branch manager of Orchard Plaza is Nicole Diachuck, who most recently led the downtown Kelowna location. Kelowna native, Dustin Read will transfer from Guisachan as branch manager to the new branch manager of downtown Kelowna. A new addition to Valley First is Sheila Ehlert who will fill the role as branch manager of the Rutland location. Sheila most recently was banking center lead for CIBC at Orchard Park. Meredith Birchall-Spencer is the communications business partner of Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union.

Melissa McCluskey is the new visitor sales and services coordinator – visitor engagement at Tourism Kelowna. Jennifer Widmer has joined Tourism Kelowna as communications coordinator.

The Southern Interior Construction Association (SICA) at #104 – 151 Commercial Drive is making changes in its senior management. In response to past Chief Operating Officer Bill Everitt’s decision to return to the for-profit sector after five years at the helm, the SICA board of directors has appointed Roger Smith as the new COO effective April 3rd. Roger comes to the association with a well-rounded knowledge of the construction industry and a passion for construction innovation. Debra Dotschkat is the chair of SICA. Call 250-491-7330

The City of Kelowna received the Species and Ecosystems at Risk Local Government Working Group (SEAR LGWG) Award for its involvement in the Mission Creek Restoration Initiative (MCRI). SEAR LGWG is a collection of 160 municipal, regional and provincial governments interested in joining conservation efforts to protect plants and animals and their habitats. Partners on this project include BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Central Okanagan Land Trust, City of Kelowna, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Friends of Mission Creek, Okanagan Nation Alliance, Regional District of Central Okanagan and Westbank First Nation.

Quails’ Gate Winery has received Canada’s Best Managed Companies designation by program sponsors Deloitte, CIBC, Canadian Business, Smith School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums. The 2017 Best Managed Program recognizes the best-in-class of Canadian owned and managed companies with revenues over $15 million demonstrating strategy, capability and commitment to achieving sustainable growth. Forty-five companies across the country received this recognition. Tony Stewart is the CEO of Quails Gate Winery.

There is a new cook book on the shelves that you will love titled Okanagan Eats &Drinks, Recipes from Okanagan’s Culinary Greats. The book’s forward was written by Brandi Parnell and is filled with insider tips, culinary tricks and the recipes are accompanied with beautiful photos. There is a biography about the chefs and restaurants along with conversion charts. It’s well worth having in your collection if you are entertaining or making lunch for your family. Some of the chefs and their recipes that are featured in the cookbook are chef Mike Wilkins (Bacarro Kitchen &Drink), chef Peter McGeown (Basil &Mint), Barry Yeo (Bliss Bakery Bistro), chef Colin Rayner (Blu Saffron Bistro), chef Alessandro (II Tavilino Italian Bistro), chef Irwin Blok (Yellow House) along with many more; 35 in total. Some of the recipes include Bad Tattoo Dark Side of Good!! Salad by chef Martin Lewis of Bad Tattoo Brewing Co., Prawns with Chorizo Stuffed Figs and Romesco by chef James Ponder of Globe Café &Tapas and 48 Hour Angus Beef Short Rib by chef Brent Pillon of Hillside Winery &Bistro. The list goes on and on. The book is distributed by Nancy Wise of Sandhill Book Marketing and is available at all local book stores and the 35 restaurants and wineries featured in the cookbook.

Speaking about chefs, chef Jas Dosanj has now partnered with Urban Fare with cooking classes at their store in Mission Park Mall. The classes commence monthly at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday nights with classes bi-weekly later on. All ingredients are provided with full hands on training. The courses include a glass of wine, introduction to the chef, introduction to the recipe, prepping and knife skills, cooking the recipe, roti making – two styles and then a family-style meal. Contact Chef Jas at 250-899-3615 or

Alison Yesilcimen has added a modern twist to the early reader storybook – technology. Formerly with The Okanagan Valley Newspaper Group as publisher and CEO, Alison is launching Pretty Kitty in the City on Saturday, March 25 at Mosaic Books at 11 a.m. and at Chapters in Orchard Park at 2 p.m. Pretty Kitty in the City is a fun, full-colour, rhyming book for children ages two to six. The book is beautifully illustrated in a nostalgic style parents will love. It is a story about Pretty Kitty, a kitten who loves to take selfies with her new phone. When she tries to take a photo with her pet hamster Teddy, he escapes and hides under the piano. The story is loosely based on a real incident Alison experienced as a child in losing her pet hamster for a day.

Dr. Dale Forsythe is hosting a free Bullet Proof Your Lower Back Workshop on Wednesday, March 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 202 – 125 Hwy. 33E. Limited seating. Reservations required by calling 250-765-1466.

KOB Franchise Enterprises Ltd., owners of Kelly O’Bryan’s in Kelowna has opened another location for Kelly/Carlos O’Bryan’s at 800 Columbia Street in New Westminster. The new restaurant is situated in a heritage building that was built in 1899 and was home to the CPR Train Station for decades. In 1973 The Keg opened in this building and closed in 2013 after 40 years. The building will now be the home of Kelly O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Restaurant on the ground floor and Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub on the second floor. Kelly O’Bryan’s in Kelowna recently celebrated their 30th anniversary.

Anna Jacyszyn and Loni Moger will be performing at the Coast Capri Hotel’s Poolside Lounge on March 18 at 7:30 p.m. They will also be performing at Ricardo’s Mediterranean Kitchen in Lake Country on March 23 at 6:30 p.m. To reserve call 250-766-6810.

Battle of the Valley is a wine tasting event at the Kelowna Golf and Country Club on Friday, March 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for the UBCO golf team’s 2017 season as the university recently announced they no longer have sufficient funding to continue supporting a golf team financially. Tickets $25 per person which includes light snacks and six flights of wine with a silent auction. For tickets call Cheryl at 250-762-2531 (226). The UBCO golf team consists of James Casorso, Grant Dollevoet, McKenna Lesiuk and Derek Graham (Kelowna); Lauren Siemers and Jessica Kozak (West Kelowna); Oliver Rizun (Squamish, BC); Jacob Stewart (Calgary, AB), Emily Adams (Ladysmith, BC) and Naoki Takahashi (Tokyo, Japan).

Birthdays of the week – Nettie Schafer (Mar. 15); Ron Houtstra (Mar. 15); Harvey Gorsline (Mar. 16); Trevor Pollon (Mar. 17); Patricia Ainslie (Mar. 17); John Clarke (Mar. 18); Corrie Meere (Mr. 18); Bruce Wilson (Mar. 18); Bert Gee (Mar. 19); Ian MacDonald (Mar. 19); Bonnie Donovan (Mar. 20); Lorraine Richmond (Mar. 20); Frank Singer (Mar. 21); In memory of Dilys Singer (Mar. 21).

Maxine DeHart is a Kelowna City Councillor and local hotelier. Phone her at 250-979-4546, fax 250-860-3173, E-mail

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