Dave Mitchell retired as Division Chief, Communications in 1998 from Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services following a career spanning 32 years. During this time he was responsible for managing the emergency call taking and dispatch for the Vancouver and Whistler Fire Departments. In 1997 he managed the transition of dispatch service for the five Fire Departments on the Sunshine Coast from an independent contractor, to Vancouver Fire/Rescue. In 1998, Dave was hired by E-Comm, Emergency Communications BC as its first Director of Operations. In this role he was a member of the founding senior management team, and was responsible for the transition of the Regional 9-1-1 Control Centre staff from the Vancouver Police Department to its current location at 3301 East Pender in June 1999. By June 2000 this included the management of approximately 200 call takers, dispatchers and team managers in addition to a ULC listed alarm monitoring service. He left E-Comm in June 2000 to work as a consultant, and since that time has managed the development of corporate, strategic and operational plans for a large number of public safety clients. These include fire departments in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Dave holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Geography) from Simon Fraser University in addition to a diploma from their Executive Management Development Program. He is past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Vancouver General Hospital and University of British Columbia Hospital Foundation, Director and Board Chair of the Justice Institute of British Columbia Foundation, a member of the National Fire Protection Association, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, the Fire Chiefs' Association of British Columbia, the BC 911 User Group, and the Canadian Association of Management Consultants.
Gordon Anderson retired in 2019 after 29 years in the fire service, having served in operational and administrative positions with his final five years as the British Columbia Fire Commissioner. In this role, he was the senior fire authority for the Province providing advice to government, supporting local government fire services, as well as dealing with fire service issues at the national level. During this time he accomplished the development and implementation of a new Firefighter Training Standard, modernization of an expanded wildland interface Structure Protection Program (in partnership with the BC Wildfire Service and the Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC) and, with extensive stakeholder input, the successful development and adoption of new provincial legislation to repeal and replace the existing Act (implementation pending). Periodically he also fulfilled the role of (Acting) Assistant Deputy Minister for Emergency Management BC, including during the record 2017 flood season. His wide range of experience includes service as a naval officer, police officer, volunteer firefighter and career firefighter. Prior to joining the Office of the Fire Commissioner, he served 22 years in Esquimalt Fire Rescue (originally a combination police/fire public safety department) where he rose through the ranks to finish his last six years as Deputy Fire Chief. He has extensive experience as a Chief Training Officer and 12 years as a contract instructor for the Justice Institute of BC’s fire training programs including all four levels of the Fire Officer Program. Gordon has earned NFPA Fire Officer Level 4 certification in addition to holding a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria followed in 2018 by a Bachelor of Public Safety Administration degree (JIBC). He also holds certification as an Executive Chief Fire Officer and is a Fellow at the Institution of Fire Engineers (United Kingdom). He is a past-President of the Council of Canadian Fire Marshals and Fire Commissioners as well as having served on the governance board of the Canadian Public Safety Operations Organization. The opportunity to use all of this experience has led him to move into a consulting role supporting indigenous fire safety and a wide range of public safety, fire safety and emergency management issues.
Greg Betts is a professional administrator with over 30 years' experience in local government and a proven record of leadership ability. He has a thorough knowledge of the relevant legislation, excellent written and oral communications skills, sound judgment and tact, and outstanding interpersonal and team building skills. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from the University of Victoria (UVic) in 1981, Greg's career in local government began as Deputy Corporate Officer with the District of West Vancouver. In 1986 he received his Masters of Public Administration from UVic. He left West Vancouver in 1987 to become the Deputy Corporate Officer for the City of Surrey where he stayed until 1990 when he took the position of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the District of Coldstream. In 2005 he took a two year position as General Manager of Electoral Area Services for the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) followed by a three year term as the CAO for the RDNO. Following his retirement in 2011 Greg began his consulting career undertaking the completion of an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan for the City of Enderby. In 2012 he assumed the contract position of CAO for the Township of Spallumcheen where he recruited the Township's current CAO and assisted the Township in developing its first Community Development Plan (CDP). Since September 2014 he has continued to work with the Township to complete a number of capacity building projects identified in the CDP including managing a successful initiative which has resulted in having five of the Township’s fourteen water improvement districts dissolve and convert to Local Services Areas governed, administered and operated by the Township. Another of these projects was to facilitate the implementation of recommendations arising from a Fire Services Review completed by Dave Mitchell & Associates for the City of Armstrong and Township of Spallumcheen's shared fire department. As a result of his involvement with the Armstrong/Spallumcheen Fire Services Review, Greg began an affiliation with Dave Mitchell & Associates in 2015. To this group, he brings a breadth of general experience as a local government administrator and an understanding of the importance of communicating effectively with elected officials and city administrators. Greg brings an excellent perspective on the challenges and issues facing the fire service, particularly departments serving small and medium sized communities which rely heavily on the efforts of paid on call members.
Jack Blair is a dedicated fire officer with over 40 years of professional firefighting experience. He has a wide-ranging background and during his career developed expertise in all aspects of the fire service from training and fire operations to administration. His strong work ethic and uncompromising devotion to service have been hallmarks of his career. Jack started his firefighting career with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services in 1978. During his 27-year career with VFRS, he was promoted through the ranks holding the positions of Training Officer, Fire Investigator, Lieutenant and Captain. In 2005, he went to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District as the Fire Services Coordinator where he was responsible for the oversight of 13 rural fire departments. In 2011 he became the Deputy Fire Chief, Operations for the Vernon Fire Rescue Department, retiring in 2017. In addition to his regular career duties, Jack has done extensive firefighter training as an Adjunct Instructor with the Justice Institute of BC and the Vancouver Island Emergency Response Academy. Jack’s varied career has given him an exceptional understanding of the challenges faced by both career and volunteer fire departments. He is well positioned to provide advice and assistance to fire departments at all levels. Jack has been involved with DMA since 2017 and has participated on fire service projects for the Thompson Nicola and Peace River regional districts and on the development of a fire training centre for the Dawson Creek Fire Department.
Cassandra Boone easily translates technical needs into workable solutions with her down-to-earth style, technical abilities and experience with Public Safety. One of the biggest challenges with any technical project is the difference between the two user groups: the technical and the non-technical. With her knowledge of both worlds, Cassandra effectively bridges that gap leading to total team buy-in.
Cassandra has been a core contributor in technology implementations for large dispatch centers throughout the Lower Mainland and Western Canada including several Computer Aided Dispatch and Records Management System projects. Her core competencies include technology implementation, development, training, business analysis and project management.
She is currently an active member of the National Fire Protection Association, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, the National Emergency Number Association and the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group. Cassandra has received multiple commendations from the Assistant Deputy Minister and Director of Police Services of BC and an Inspector's commendation from the Vancouver Police Department.
Jim Cook is an experienced professional with over 38 years of experience in the fire service. He has extensive knowledge and experience with budgets, labour relations, fire operations, strategic planning, executive leadership, project management, community engagement, and organizational change. Jim began his career in the New Westminster Fire Department. He was promoted to the position of Deputy Chief in 2001 where his roles and responsibilities included administration, annual operating and capital budgets, communications, human resources, emergency operations, training and facility maintenance including the planning and oversight of the transfer of personnel and equipment to the new main fire hall. In 2008, Jim was appointed to the position of Fire Chief in West Vancouver where he worked to improve the mutual and automatic aid agreements in the region which included transitioning the department to the E-Comm Wide Area Radio System. He also served as a member of the senior management committee responsible for leading the analysis, planning and design of an emergency services building. During his career, Jim has worked on several committees and boards including the BC Municipal Pension Plan, BC Investment Management Corporation, Vancouver Hospital Foundation, BC Fire & Life Safety Education Program, First Responder Program and the BC Fire Chiefs Association. He has worked as an instructor in the Justice Institute of BC Fire Service Leadership program and is a past-President of the Greater Vancouver Fire Chiefs Association. Jim retired in 2015 and is currently working as a consultant specializing in organizational structure and change management in the fire service. Jim joined DMA in 2018 and has worked on several fire service projects in BC and Alberta.
Wayne has over 40 years' experience with the BC fire service, and is now retired (2009) from Vancouver Fire/Rescue after a career spanning 31 years. During this time, Wayne served in fire suppression, rising to the rank of Battalion Chief. He also worked extensively with Vancouver Fire's training division as an instructor and Division Chief between 1996 and 2009 developing and managing a variety of programs along with the site/facilities. Based on his work in both roles he has extensive experience in fire rescue emergency operations, specialty teams, logistical planning and budgeting, training and development, facilitation, and project creation and management. In addition to his work with Vancouver Fire he has been an instructor at the Justice Institute of BC, at UBC's Sauder School of Business as well as for Capilano University. Wayne has developed and delivered in-house Firefighter and Fire Officer Development seminars, including ProBoard certified programs, for various career and volunteer/paid-on-call fire departments throughout BC, Alberta, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories. His subject expertise includes Firefighter I & II, Fire Officer Level 1, 2 and 3 programs – Emergency Incident Management (BCEMS/ICS, Command Post operations, fire behaviour, strategies and tactics); Incident Safety Officer; Rapid Intervention Teams; Fire Service Instructor; and Live Fire Exercises. Wayne continues to develop and deliver firefighter, fire officer, and incident management training to a wide range of clients. He has worked with DMA since 2010 participating on many of the fire service projects.
Ian MacDonald is a former lawyer who practiced international corporate law in Canada and the United Kingdom. Ian started as a lawyer with Davies Ward & Beck in Toronto in 1990 and worked on large corporate transactions in Canada, including corporate financings, shareholder agreements and corporate restructurings and corporate acquisitions. Ian became a partner in Davies Ward & Beck in 1994 and an equity partner in 1996. After moving to England in 1998, Ian became managing partner of Arnander, Irvine & Zietman, an intellectual property/litigation firm, and had a varied practice advising clients in respect of company formation, shareholder and members' agreements, corporate financing, governance issues, and privacy matters. He also did extensive work on litigation files related to corporate fraud. Ian retired as a lawyer in January 2004 and returned to Canada, since which time he has acted as a volunteer director on two boards, acting as the chair of the governance committee for both, and assisted various community groups in developing long term strategic and business plans. Ian has previously worked with Planetworks Consulting Corporation on the Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications project, conducting a full governance review of that organization. Ian has worked with DMA since 2007, participating on almost all the major fire and emergency service projects; providing advice to clients on governance and reorganization; and assisting several fire departments as they rewrite their bylaws to reflect the changes required by the Playbook and the new Fire Safety Act.
Patrick McPhillips retired in 2012 after a 35 year career with Coquitlam Fire/Rescue where he served as professional fire fighter, Chief Training Officer and Assistant Chief of Operations. In these roles Patrick was involved with all aspects of fire service training, safety and crew management, fire investigations, fire inspections and emergency operations. Since 2009, Patrick has been a Structure Protection Specialist for the Office of the Fire Commissioner (the OFC). As part of a wildfire management team his duties include: working as part of an Incident Command team; coordinating the management and deployment of structure protection trailers and crews; and the triaging and protecting of structures in the wildland interface. As well, in 2012 he temporarily served as Fire Services Advisor (Coastal Region) for the OFC where he assisted the public in fire code inquiries, conducted fire inspections and fire investigations and delivered training. Patrick is experienced and qualified at delivering a variety of forestry wildfire courses. Recently, Patrick established the consulting firm, Pacific Wildfire Consulting, to provide advice to communities and industry on forestry interface protection issues. Patrick has been associated with DMA since 2015. He helped develop Standard Operating Guidelines for the Pender Harbour Volunteer Fire Department, participated on an asset deployment project for the Saanich Fire department and on fire service projects for the Peace River Regional District.
Tim Pley is a retired local government chief administrative officer (CAO) with extensive experience leading on local, regional and provincial fire department matters. His education includes a Bachelor of Physical Education (UBC,) a Diploma in Public Sector Management (UVic), a Leadership and Conflict Resolution Certificate (JIBC), as well as Fire Officer 4 and Fire Inspector 1 certifications. Tim’s public service career began in 1990 as a firefighter. He was a member of the IAFF local executive for ten years, a deputy fire chief/chief training officer for eight years and fire chief for eight years. Tim was an executive board member of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC for eight years, including three years as president. He was a co-creator of the BC Fire Service Minimum Training Standards: Structure Firefighters – Competency and Training Playbook, supported the Province in implementing that new minimum training standard, and in 2015 led a team that advised the Fire Commissioner on changes that were incorporated into the second edition. Tim was a member of the curriculum design team and a presenter for the LGMA’s Effective Fire Service Administration training program for CAOs and Fire Chiefs. Tim also provided input to the Province in connection with the drafting of BC’s new Fire Safety Act. In 2016 he was appointed CAO for the City of Port Alberni, a position he held for six years. As the City’s most senior staff member, Tim supported his Mayor and Council in developing and implementing a corporate strategic plan, led in effecting positive organizational changes including recruiting and retaining talented staff and played a key role in the development of trusting relationships with two First Nations. Recently, Tim represented the LGMA in engaging with the Office of the Fire Commissioner on drafting the third edition of the Playbook. Tim is now working as a consultant where he is able to use his extensive skills and experience to help elected officials, CAOs and fire departments understand and support solutions that address the broader needs of their communities.
Melanie Smith has an amazing ability to connect with people facilitating projects that require managing change. Melanie excels at training, system evaluation and implementation as well as process optimization. She finds ways to connect technology to people in a way that makes it simple.
Melanie began her career in Public Safety working as a police dispatcher. She has held positions with training, operations and supervisory functions for dispatch centers since 1991. She has also worked in analyst positions where process and system review were the core building blocks to new procedure and technology implementation.
Melanie has a Law Enforcement diploma from Grant McEwan College and a Business Analyst diploma from Royal Roads University. She completed the Advance BA certification from McMaster University and is currently an active member of the National Fire Protection Association, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, the National Emergency Number Association, the International Institute of Business Analysis and the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group.
Mike Webb is an Electrical Engineer with over 35 years’ experience in the planning, design, procurement, implementation and operation of telecommunications and information technology systems. His career includes more than 20 years in the field of public safety communications focused on 9-1-1, dispatch and mission-critical radio systems. From 2011 until 2020, Mike led the Technology Services section at E-Comm 9-1-1 in Vancouver. During this time, he was responsible for the implementation of the Lower Mainland’s interoperable P25 public safety radio network and the development of a new, consolidated police communications centre on Vancouver Island. Previously, with Emergency Management BC, he was responsible for provincial initiatives related to emergency communications, including coordination and governance of radio interoperability and development of emergency management information systems in the lead-up to the 2010 Olympics. Mike has consulted for a variety of public safety clients in BC and Alberta and has worked in multiple start-ups in Silicon Valley developing broadband wireless technologies. His current areas of focus are new and emerging technologies and applications in public safety communications, including Next Generation 9-1-1 and Public Safety Broadband Networks. He is a member of Engineers and Geoscientists BC, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.
Peter Wunder is a B.C. registered Professional Engineer with over 35 years experience in the design, development, implementation, commissioning, operation and maintenance of complex mechanical, electrical, and control systems. He has extensive experience in alternate energy solutions in the automotive and transportation industry including integration of hydrogen fuel cells and diesel to natural gas conversions. He has managed many challenging programs and has worked closely with regulatory bodies to ensure the successful certification and commercial introduction of products using these new technologies. Additionally, he is an experienced marine systems engineer and served on ships in the Royal Canadian Navy as Head of the Marine Systems Engineering Department, responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of all marine systems on board. In this capacity he was also Head of the shipboard Damage Control and Firefighting organization with experience in the operation and maintenance of fire suppression equipment and systems including Dry Chemical (Purple-K), Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), CO2 Flood, High Velocity Nozzles and Low Velocity Fog Applicators, and Galley Fire Suppression Systems (Range Guard). He also has direct experience in training fighting personnel onboard ship in many emergency scenarios including helicopter crashes.
Rae-Ann Emery has over thirty years of experience in the human resources field including twenty-three years with the City of Prince George. In her role as Director of Human Resources & Corporate Safety, she was responsible for developing and implementing numerous initiatives aimed at improving employee engagement and retention, ensuring organizational effectiveness, developing and supporting leaders, and ensuring best people practices throughout the organization. She has extensive experience in strategic planning, executive leadership, labour relations, organizational design, and succession management. Rae-Ann was responsible for supporting the Fire Department with all of its HR-related needs including recruitment at all levels, succession initiatives, workplace investigations, and training for promotional pools. A skilled negotiator and relationship-builder, Rae-Ann served as the City’s lead spokesperson in collective bargaining with the IAFF for two decades. During the 2017 and 2018 wildfire evacuation events, she played a key leadership role in the EOC. Rae-Ann holds a Certificate in Management Studies, a Certificate in Strategic Leadership, and is certified in Leading Organizational Change.