Board of Directors


Wendy Kraft - President

I grew up in Kitimat, am married with two children and have made Kitimat my home. Working and living in Kitimat has been very rewarding and, as the Branch Manager of Envision Financial (a division of First West Credit Union), I have enjoyed being a part of the Chamber of Commerce for the past 8 years. Kitimat is a great community and a wonderful place to raise your family. I am proud to represent the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce and look forward to all the exciting things planned for our community!

Thom Meier - Vice-President

I was born and raised in Kitimat and am married with 3 children. I am the President and General Manager of 101 Industries and I have served on the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce as both a Director and President.

It is a pleasure to be involved with the Chamber of Commerce and I am especially pleased to be able work with the current Board of Directors and to be involved with the community during these very interesting and productive times.

Daniel Chimko - Secretary

I was born in Kitimat and grew up working for the family business and living on a hobby farm in the Cablecar subdivision.  As a teenager I spent 5 summers working for the Kitimat Fish Hatchery before working as an Initial Attack Firefighter for the BC Forest Service in Fort Nelson while I completed a B.Sc. in Geography at the University of Northern British Columbia.  My wife and I have 3 wonderful children that we raise on our own hobby farm in Cablecar. We purchased Dal Monte’s Wood-Craft Ltd., an industrial woodshop where I have worked since 2010, in February of 2016. I am pleased to be a member of the board in order to give back to our local business community and the community at large.

Katherine Gauer - Director

I was born in Lower Mainland and relocated to Kitimat in 2015.   Over my 25 year career to date, I completed a Diploma in Business Management from Kwantlen Polytechinic, Bachelor of Commerce from Thompson Rivers University and achieved a designation as CPA, CMA to provide Business Management and Financial Management support.  I believe in getting involved with my community and I volunteer with the CPA Canada Community Connect program in support of Financial Literacy and I have served on several non-profit Boards.  My husband and I recently completed building in Strawberry Meadows and we are enjoying our new home and continuing to connect with all the great people we have met since moving to Kitimat.

Wes Gibson - Director

I am from the lower mainland and have a wife and four grown children. I have worked in construction all over BC and in 2011 was asked to open the New Office in Kitimat for Houle Electric. We specialize in industrial construction and full integration of systems and networking for our clients. My family has grown to love the area and the people. I am looking forward to working with the Chamber of Commerce as a Director. 

Tracey Hittel - Director

I was born and raised on a grain and cattle farm in rural Saskatchewan. I come from a large working class family and believe in community spirit and involving myself in my community. Being a Director of the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce is a great way to communicate with like-minded others and help new business people connect. I have a wife and two great kids and Kitimat has been my home since 1993 when I was a Methanex operator. I have since branched out and started businesses in Kitimat from Lodging to Guided Fishing to Water Taxi and Spill Response. Kitimat is a diverse community and without the Chamber of Commerce we could not communicate our voice of business.

William (BJ) Houghton - Director

BJ Houghton is a Branch Manager and is responsible to oversee operations and business development in Kitimat BC with McElhanney Ltd., an employee owned engineering and servey company.

Previously he was Survey Division Manager in Kitimat and Land Surveyor in Fort St. John BC, responsible for leading technical survey teams working on major industrial, LNG and upstream oil and gas exploration projects in Northern British Columbia. BJ joined McElhanney in 2006 after graduating from the University of Calgary with a degree in Geomatics Engineering. His work experience includes legal land surveying and high-precision positioning for industrial manufacturing and oil & gas plant sites.

BJ is a BC Land Surveyor and Professional Engineer. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Practice Advisory Panel For the Association of BC Land Surveyors and is a Director with the Kitimat-Terrace Airport Society.

Outside of work BJ is an avid curler and beginner hockey player.

 Vanessa Lopez - Director 

Vanessa was born in Ottawa, Ontario but has spent the last 13 years in BC, 6 of those in beautiful Kitimat. Living in this corner of the world has given her and her family the sense of community and the opportunity to grow as individuals. Vanessa has a background in psychology, focusing in the addictions and recovery/treatment field. She has worked in the hospitality industry for the past 4 years and is currently the General Manager of MStar Hotel and is working towards expanding the tourism footprint in Kitimat. Vanessa currently sits on the Kitimat Grow Committee, Kitimat Youth Soccer Association and is eager to start her first term with the Chamber of Commerce during these exciting times.

Phil Malnis - Director

I came to Kitimat in 1957 and after graduating MESS I left Kitimat for seven years. We chose Kitimat to be our home and came back to raise our family. As the Northern Regional Manager for FirstCanada ULC for the past thirty five years I have had the opportunity to experience both the slow times and the fast pace Kitimat. I am looking forward to the opportunity to be part of the Chamber of Commerce.

Graham Pitzel - Director

I have been a local resident of the great little town of Kitimat for over 25 years and enjoy all the aspects small town living has to offer.  Working at Eurocan until the plant shut down gave me a sense of what the town needs to survive and thrive in an industrial setting during the good and bad times.  I want to make sure the growth of this town supports all aspects that the people really enjoy about living here.  My time in industry as a Power Engineer and now in real estate as a local Realtor, has given me a great deal of experience with people and industrial requirements for what Kitimat needs to grow and thrive as a global community.

Jacqueline Sweet - Director

Jacqueline “Jackie” Sweet is a Notary Public and a member of the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia.  Jackie was commissioned as a Notary Public by the Supreme Court of British Columbia on May 2, 2013.  She received the BDO Canada Award for Inspirational Performance in all subjects of the Notary Education Program.  Jackie devotes her work to helping the public with their personal planning needs such as drafting Wills, Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements.  Jackie believes in assisting our community with their real estate conveyancing needs including buying, selling and refinancing their home.  Jackie holds a Master’s degree in Applied Legal Studies from Simon Fraser University, a Bachelor’s degree in General Studies from Simon Fraser University and a diploma in Business Administration from the College of New Caledonia.