Community Futures Thompson Country’s small business specialists are knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated to taking the time to really understand your business ideas – and then rolling up their sleeves to help you make them happen. We can help you apply for business loans, write a business plan, understand your cash flow and access new markets. We have in-depth knowledge of the unique characteristics of this region’s local and regional economies and active partnerships with business and community leaders, local government, educational institutions, other business lenders and not-for-profits.
Blair Gray General Manager
Blair Gray joined the CFTC in the General Manager role in June 2017. His five plus years’ experience managing in Not- for Profit environments, overseeing multiple government funded contracts made him an ideal fit for the GM role. Areas of expertise include employment services, economic and partnership development, leadership, strategic planning, public communication, and workplace diversity and inclusion. His prior experience combines well with his scholastic back ground as he brings a diploma in business management as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration from Thompson Rivers University.
In the General Manager position Blair strives to continue the Community Futures mandate of promoting Community Economic Development by assisting and supporting entrepreneurs throughout the Thompson Country region and:
- Providing relevant and quality business services to entrepreneurs and small businesses
- Providing community economic development support to all communities and community groups
- Promoting self-employment as a good career alternative, and
- Ensuring accountability of our actions to the community and our stakeholders.
Shelagh Pemberton Business Analyst – Loans
Shelagh Pemberton started her employment with CFTC in May 2004 as the Loans Administrator. Shelagh has twenty plus years of experience in finance with a comprehensive background in banking, lending, and analyzing financial statements through a strong accounting lens. Over her time with the CFTC as the primary contact for loan processing, she has been responsible for the management and administration of a loans portfolio in the millions of dollars; all utilized in order to enhance the CFTC’s regional businesses abilities to start, grow, expand, and most importantly – succeed!
With a true passion for business, she has managed several small businesses over the years. She knows the rigors of being a business manager and thus brings that experience and compassion to those who access loan funding from CFTC.
Julie Bayman Program Manager
Julie is a business analyst in charge of Self-Employment services for our organization. Julie brings over 15 years’ of experience of employment counseling as well as over 10 years of management & supervisory experience. Most recently she was the site manager at our WorkBC site in Merritt. She possess performance management skills including accountability for targeted performance based work and has overseen and dev*-eloped processes in quality management. Julie has previous experience as a site manager at the Quesnel Career Success Centre where she successfully and proactively improved and streamlined services to provide optimal accountable client services.
Julie is MBTI certified and as a Certified Life Coach provided staff training and on-going professional coaching within the organizations that she has worked with and in the community.
Deborah Petrovitch Site Manager – Merritt
Deborah is our Program Manager overseeing our WorkBC operations in Merritt, Lillooet and Ashcroft. Deborah over 12 years’ experience directly managing office operations, controlling office expenditures in compliance with approved budgets and coordinating of administrative, human resource and marketing functions. In addition, Deborah has over 11 years of experience in an employment advisory capacity including specific experience with multi-barriered clients and is a Certified Career Development Practitioner.
Carmen JordanBusiness Coach
Carmen joined CFTC in January of 2018. She brings to her position 13 years’ experience in public sector employment services, and more than 10 years’ leadership experience working in small to medium sized businesses in the private sectors of corporate & tourism/hospitality.
Carmen enjoys working closely with entrepreneurs through the delivery of Self-Employment programming and supporting the development of new businesses from concept through to launch. Connecting clients with the resources they need at the right time for them is one of the most integral and satisfying parts of Carmen’s work with Community Futures. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs and understands the mindset, skills and commitment to customer service that is required to be successful in today’s business landscape.
Sherrie Manholt Executive Assistant
Sherrie joined Community Futures in the fall of 2019 with a diverse background that spans academia, construction, online and print media, workshop development and entrepreneurship. She is happy to share knowledge and to support budding entrepreneurs and start-ups. Her role within Community Futures is to support organizational operations. Sherrie’s wide array of skills and experience allows her to facilitate a multitude of business support workshops.
Kelly McEachnie Financial Administrator
Kelly started her employment with Community Futures Thompson Country in October 2019. She brings with her 20 years of Accounting, bookkeeping and Financial Reporting along with 10 years of Management and Administration experience. Kelly has experience working in small and medium businesses and non-profit organizations. Based in Kamloops, Kelly supports all CFTC programming, with significant duties related to the financial workings of the WorkBC contract. Her wealth of small business financial knowledge is a benefit to Self-Employment services, as she facilitates bookkeeping workshops with each cohort of entrepreneurs.
With a passion for accounting and small business entrepreneurship, Kelly is a true fit for Community Futures Thompson Country.
Board of Directors
Community Futures Thompson Country is guided by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of local business people who have extensive knowledge and experience of location’s economy and represent our region’s population and main economic sectors. The role of the Board is to establish our organization’s priorities, monitor our business loans, oversee our general performance, and be accountable to key stakeholders, such as local, provincial and federal governments.
Dieter Dudy Chair (Kamloops)
Dieter has extensive experience in management at many levels including: operational, human resources, financial, forecasting, and environmental. Dieter owns a thriving agriculture business and currently sits as a member of the Kamloops City Council and is a Director on the TNRD Board. He has served on numerous boards throughout the years with a particular interest in agriculture and food security including: Past President and Treasurer of the British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets; Founder and Past President of the Sun Peaks and Region Farmers Market; Chair of the Heartland Food Society; founding Director of Gardengate; and has also served as a Director on the Kamloops and Region Farmers’ Market Board; Certified Organic Association of B.C; The Farm2Chef Society; Kamloops Voter’s Society and Tourism Kamloops.
Lindsay Bilkey Vice-Chair (Kamloops)
Lindsay joined the CFTC Loans Committee in 2018 and later joined the Board of Directors in 2019. She serves on the Board Executive Committee as the Vice-Chair of the Board. She is a Commercial Lender/Account Manager with Interior Savings Credit Union and has over 9 years’ experience in Commercial Lending, Banking, Construction Lending and Real Estate Lending. Lindsay was born and raised in Kamloops, and earned her Bachelor of Business Administration (Finance & Marketing) from Thompson Rivers University.
Hal Hicks Past Chair (Kamloops)
Hal has been on the CFTC Loans Committee since 2012 and most recently been elected to the CFTC Board of Directors. A graduate of University of Saskatchewan, Mr. Hicks is an Associate Lawyer with Fulton & Company whose practice involves commercial finance, collections, realization, foreclosures and commercial insolvency. Hal also serves as a director with the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Area Association.
Robin Reid Secretary (Kamloops)
Robin Reid joined the CFTC in January 2014. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Tourism Management Department at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Her research interest in sustainable communities, cultural narrative and sense of place in urban, rural and wilderness settings has resulted in numerous publications across interdisciplinary contexts. Robin has travelled extensively and has developed a further interest in documenting cultural and community changes associated with tourism at a local level. Robin is the recipient of the TRU 2014 Teaching Excellence Award and the TRU 2017 Excellence in Internationalization Award.
Ken White Treasurer (Kamloops)
Ken is a founding Board Member of the Community Futures movement since 1988. Ken served as the CFTC Chair from 1996 – 2001 and Chair of Community Futures British Columbia from 2004 – 2007. He has served as the Pan Canadian Chair from 2007 – 2009 and is a former Director for the Community Futures Network of Canada. CF’s across Canada have relied on Ken’s interest, expertise, and leadership he has provided. Ken has provided in excess of 10,000 volunteer hours to the CF movement. He supports community driven endeavors that promote economic, social, cultural and environmental diversity. In 2002 after a long and stellar career in the financial services industry, Ken retired from the BDC but continues to provide expertise. After sitting out a year Ken has agreed to come back to the organization to support its mandate in the region.
Bill Kershaw Director (Barriere)
Bill is a long-time resident of the North Thompson region and an active member of the community. A local business owner, Bill is a dedicated volunteer and advocate for Barriere and the Lower North Thompson area. His involvement in the region includes serving as Chair of the Barriere Improvement District, Barriere Chamber of Commerce, North Thompson Economic Development Society, Local Parks Board, Barriere Minor Baseball and he has served as a director with the Thompson Nicola Regional District.
Chris O’Hara Director (Kamloops)
Chris is a project engineer with the New Gold, New Afton Mine in Kamloops, BC and has over 8 years work experience in the mining industry both in Canada and Australia. He is a recognized leader in the mining industry having presented technical papers at Provincial and National Conferences to audiences in excess of 250 people. Chris holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (honors) and is new Canadian resident in Kamloops.
Thomas (Tom) Hoffman, R.P.F. Director (Kamloops)
Tom Hoffman joined CFTC in June of 2021 and is the Fibre Manager at Domtar. Tom has supported Community Futures organizations for over 25 years beginning as a Director, loans committee member and Chair of the Board in northern Alberta. He has served on the CF Board in Williams Lake, on several Pan West Committees for over 15 years, and is just completing his first term on the CFBC Board, in the Vice-Chair position. Tom is community-minded and has served as former Chair of the Northern Development Initiative Trust and is a current Board member of the TRU Foundation. Tom enjoys flying, hiking, fishing and boating.
Kai Bauman Director (Kamloops)
Kai is an accounting professor at Thompson Rivers University. Kai joined the CFTC Loans Committee in 2018 and the Board of Directors in 2021. Kai previously worked for seven years in public practice accounting, with experience in auditing, taxation, and business advisory. He was born and raised in Kelowna, lived all over BC, and settled in his wife’s beautiful hometown. Outside of work, you can find Kai hiking, biking, or golfing around Kamloops, and spending time with his family.
Anne Nicolson Director (Heffley)
Bio coming soon.
Kamloops Entrepreneurial Connection
Three of Kamloops’ leading business resource organizations (Community Futures Thompson Country (CFTC), Open Door Group and Venture Kamloops) have come together to launch a collaborative entrepreneurship resource program dedicated to providing business planning, employment skills training, finance connections and access to local business resources.Learn More
Here to Help You Succeed
Community Futures Thompson Country is a community-based organization with funding derived through agreements and contracts with the federal and provincial governments. Our focus is on providing entrepreneurs, business owners and job seekers access to complimentary business resources, professional business counselling, start-up loan assistance, job placement, training and more.What We Do
Community Futures Thompson Country (CFTC) is part of a national economic development program that has been supporting small business and community economic development since 1985 in BC. CFTC has been serving the area since 1987!
Local Employment Assistance and Development (LEAD) program created to access to business resources and investment funding.
Community Futures national program roll-out with focus on long-term job creation.
Community Futures Thompson Country office opens.
Community Futures British Columbia formed to create a province-wide network and leverage additional resources as a group.
Community Futures Thompson Country provided over $800,000 in business loans.
Community Futures Thompson Country has provided thousands of hours of service and has provided business loans to start a business, expand a business or to purchase another business assisting hundreds of clients. These loans were distributed throughout the Thompson Country region and resulted in the creation of 300 jobs.