Top 40 Over 40 Presented by BDO: Blair Wilson

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce hosts Top 40 Over 40 program

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is once again launching its ‘Top 40 Over 40 presented by BDO’, to celebrate individuals in the community over the age of 40.

These are people who showcase as mentors, champions and role models and who encourage and foster the future leaders of the community.

The Kelowna Chamber is highlighting new honourees between February and July 2021. Each year the program alternates between Over 40 and Under 40 Honourees.

Blair Wilson began his career as a dishwasher at The Keg while attending university. He articled at Clarkson Gordon where he obtained his CA designation before starting his own CA firm.

His first client was a man who had one pizza restaurant in Poland. Blair accepted the engagement and soon found himself in Warsaw negotiating a lease on the company’s second, third and fourth locations before becoming Pam Smak’s CFO and board member. This company went on to raise over $8 million on the TSX and expanded operations in Poland to include extensive real estate holdings.

Blair returned to Canada to start a new software firm when his team introduced him to triathlon racing.

Shortly thereafter, Blair competed in his first Ironman Canada and two years later finished his second.

Blair and his family moved to Kelowna 10 years ago and purchased a 20-acre apple orchard and RV Park. Four years ago, they expanded the property to include a distillery, tasting room, outdoor patio and outdoor picnic area – Forbidden Spirits Distilling Co. was born.

As an entrepreneur, Blair has demonstrated strong leadership in founding, building and leading many businesses both internationally, from pizza in Poland to cosmetics in the Philippines, to locally, from apples to vodka in Kelowna. In all aspects of these ventures, strong leadership was critical to their growth and their success.

Blair spearheaded the growth of Forbidden Spirits Distilling Co working closely with wealth advisors, corporate finance departments, lawyers, accountants and investment bankers to raise over $5 million privately and $3.6 million publicly on the TSX Venture Exchange.

Blair also led Forbidden’s brand expansion, working with international food and beverage brokers, importers, distributors, shippers and merchandisers to expand the sale of its brands outside of Canada and into new markets like the EU and China.

Blair is a strong supporter of his community and his country having sat on numerous committees and advisory boards including formulating and coordinating the 2010 Rally on Robson Street, which led to the formal approval by the IOC to accept and approve Canada’s bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Blair and his team at Forbidden Spirits were instrumental in planning and executing 10 successful back-to-back Sanitizer Saturdays, giving away more than 5,000 litres of free hand and surface sanitizer to the local community and frontline workers, and donating over $3,000 each Saturday to 10 different local charities.

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