Directors

Rick Gagner - Chairman of the Board

Rick is a seasoned executive with an extensive background in Finance, Operations, Marketing and Business Consulting. His formal education includes a BBA from SFU in 86 (Dean’s Honour Roll), and CMA professional accounting designation in 94. Progressive positions in finance include Controller, and then CFO for both an athletic apparel brand, and food equipment manufacturer. In 2000, wanting more, Rick pursued a GM opportunity in a magazine publishing enterprise, and was soon appointed President and partner. During the course of his 7 years with Agile Media, the company transitioned into digital marketing and sold shortly after a strategic venture was struck with Grand & Toy and Hallmark Cards.

In 2008, consulting led to an opportunity to help Rossdown Farms and Natural Foods as CFO and Director of Operations. During the next 3 years there he became a passionate advocate for the food industry, working with the BCFPA Executive to get the BC Provincial Government to extend the BCPNP to food processing during a prolonged labour shortage. Subsequent to this, Rick moved on to become Director of Operations with Sunrise Poultry, one of Canada’s largest poultry processors and private label food processing companies. He continues to work for the industry in Advocacy.

 

Rita Cheng

Rita Cheng is the president and owner of Superior Tofu Ltd.  Rita is the 3rd generation tofu maker.  Rita’s grandparents started the first tofu shop in Vancouver in 1940s’, her parents took over the business when they immigrated from Hong Kong in 1972.   Rita attended local high school, and then studied Information Management System at Capilano College.  After working several years as computer programmer, Rita joined Superior Tofu.  She assisted in administrative tasks, and subsequently promoted to President of Superior Tofu.  Under her leadership, the company grown from a small family runs business to multi-million dollars company.  As part of Superior Tofu’s mission to give back to the community, Rita established Superior Tofu Community Fund through Vancouver Foundation.   She is currently member of Women President Organization (WPO), and International Women Forum (IWF).  She is married with two grown children.

Jim Pratt

After obtaining an M.B.A. from the University of Western Ontario, Jim went to work as an investment banker, becoming a Vice-President at a national investment dealer. In 1992 he left Bay Street to invest in Sepp’s Gourmet Foods, a breakfast food manufacturing company in Vancouver. In the following years, the company undertook eight acquisitions and became publicly listed, and sales grew from $1 million to $88 million. Jim held various positions over the years, including president of one of the subsidiaries, CFO and ultimately CEO. Sepp’s was sold to Ralcorp, a US multinational, in 2010. Jim has served as a Director of the Food Innovation Centre of BC and is a Director of GreenAngel Energy, a TSX Venture listed clean tech company. He is the Co-Owner of Prosnack Natural Foods, makers of Elevate Me energy bars and other healthy lifestyle food products.

Jozef Hubburmin

Jozef Hubburmin has over 20 years of senior management experience that includes distribution, manufacturing, business services, high technology, and real estate development.  As CFO, Jozef currently directs all the support functions within Fresh Direct Produce Ltd. which includes accounting, finance, HR, IT, Administration, Marketing, and Public Relations.  Jozef quarterbacks Fresh Direct’s Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies submissions and the company has consecutively been awarded this honour since 2011.  In addition, Jozef coordinates the company’s strategic planning process and plays a key role within the company’s corporate acquisition program.

Jozef is currently the Association’s Treasurer, he was previously the Co-Chair for Association’s Marketing Committee for two years, he was a mentor within the BCFPA’s mentorship program, he delivered numerous business planning related presentations at three FoodPro West conferences and a multitude of peer group seminars, and he was the President of the Surrey Board of Trade for 2001-02.  He received his B.Comm (Specialist in Accounting and Finance along with a Major in Economics) at the University of Toronto in 1986, and subsequently he received his C.M.A. designation in 1992.

David Guthrie

David is a Partner in KPMG’s Enterprise Practice.After obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University in 1999, David immediately joined KPMG and obtained his CA designation in 2001.  David was promoted to partner in 2011.  David is the Leader of KPMG’s Food and Agri-Services practice in the Fraser Valley and has extensive experience providing audit, accounting, tax and other advisory services to owner-managed businesses in the food sector as well as agricultural organizations.   He understands the dynamics of the food industry starting with the food producers, food processors, marketing boards and other agencies and the ending at the consumer plate.David is also passionate about Community and is a member of the Chilliwack Mt. Cheam Rotary Club and Director on the Chilliwack Children’s Foundation.   

Rattan Bagga

Rattan Bagga, has worked in just about every role in his family’s network of food businesses. Currently CEO of New World Natural Foods, he is also VP of Marketing for Everland natural Foods Inc. and General Manager of Jiva Organics. In his role at New World Natural Foods, he recognized early the gluten-free trend, launching Bliss Balls, the now wildly popular organic gluten-free chocolate snack, into the marketplace. 

He gives back generously of his time, including participating as a cabinet member of the Night of Miracles Gala which supports the Children’s Hospital Acute Care Unit and co-founding Young Entrepreneurship Leadership Launchpad (YELL) Canada, a non-profit that creates business entrepreneurship opportunities with schools that connect students to the real world with mentors.

Rattan was honoured with a BC Business 30 Under 30 Award in 2014.

Kirk Homenick

Kirk Homenick is the President of Naturally Homegrown Foods Ltd. (makers of Hardbite Chips).  Kirk has over 16 years’ experience in the consumer food and agri-food marketplace having previously worked at Houweling’s Nurseries, Forbes Medi-Tech, and BC Hot House Foods.  Throughout his career he has held roles in many different areas including sales, marketing, operations, general management, strategic planning, and corporate development.   Kirk holds a Masters of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University, and an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.

Ally Bharmal

Ally Bharmal's growing practice focuses on corporate and commercial business advice for a variety of clients, with an emphasis on the technology sector. Ally also has extensive experience and a particular interest in the food sector, including natural food products. He provides legal counsel to food industry clients with respect to corporate matters, research and development, food processing and manufacturing, confidentiality agreements, quality agreements and delivery.

Ally principally represents private companies on a wide range of transactions, including start-up and incorporation issues, shareholders' agreements, debt and equity angel and venture capital financings, mergers and acquisitions, and advice with respect to ongoing business matters. Ally also advises on the commercial needs of his clients with respect to business and operational matters, including licensing, vendor and supplier arrangements, manufacturing, confidentiality agreements, collaboration agreements, promotional contests, website terms and conditions, development and outsourcing arrangements, distribution and representation agreements, and other matters.

Prior to joining Fasken Martineau, Ally completed his Bachelor of Science degree in the information technology field. He brings both technical and industry experience to assist his client

Jason Longden

Jason is the Chief Operating Officer of Vibrant Health Products, a family owned company that includes the Silver Hills Bakery, One Degree Organic Foods and Little Northern Bakehouse brands. Prior to his appointment he was the COO of Garden Protein International. Previous positions have included Vice President of Operations at Pineridge Bakery providing leadership and direction to the Operations group; 10 years at Maple Leaf Foods where he held the senior positions of Operations Manager of the Calgary Bakery, VP Operations and Technical Controller for Maple Leaf Bakery UK.

Jason has been instrumental in the leadership of business turnarounds and multimillion dollar plant start-ups in both Europe and North America. In addition, he has been a keynote speaker at several industry conferences on the topics of leadership, food safety and health and safety.

Robin Smith

Robin Smith has had an extensive career in the agriculture, food  and seafood industries across Canada and internationally.  Currently he is President of Foodwest Resources, an agrifood consulting company, and Chair of the BC Chicken Marketing Board. Some past positions include: CEO of the BC Dairy Foundation; Chairman/CEO of NuFood Pet Inc.; President/CEO of Protein Foods International with interests in Thailand, South Africa, Namibia, Turkey and Australia; CEO/Managing Director of two poultry processors in Jordan and Egypt; and management positions in the seafood processing industry in California, Alaska and BC.  Robin managed the agrifood practice of Price Waterhouse Associates and had his own management consulting firm for many years.  He was on the Board of the BC Food Processors Association for seven years and was Chair for three years.  Robin has a B Sc in food science and an MBA.

Jillian Hull

I was born and raised in Vancouver, but left to pursue travel and education in Europe and New York during my twenties.  I graduated summa cum laude from New York University with an Honors B.A. in English Literature and went on to pursue graduate studies at Cornell University before returning to Vancouver.  I worked as an arts journalist in radio (CBC) and print for several years and later served on the faculty of Douglas College for 12 years before finally turning my focus to business in 2014.  JillyV's Food Products Ltd. began as a quest to work with ethical, creative and intelligent colleagues who share the belief that it is indeed possible to create ready-to-eat meals that are completely natural and preservative free.  We are very grateful for the opportunity to serve the growing demand from today's consumers for the type of food we are proud to make.  

Rick Gibbs

Rick Gibbs is co-founder and President of Neutron Factory Works based out of Delta, BC. Established in 1999 as a small electrical contracting company with three employees, today, Neutron employs over 40 staff and works with a number of well-respected sub-contractors to provide innovative solutions to food processing and manufacturing facilities throughout BC and as far away as Shanghai, Japan, Washington, Alberta and Alaska.

Rick and his team understand the importance of giving back and have taken an active role in both their community and industry to share best practices and continue to work with likeminded organizations to raise the bar in BC and beyond;

Director, Delta Chamber of Commerce; Director, Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC; Chair, ITA’s Manufacturing Sector Advisory Board; Chair, Food Pro West, 2012, 2013 & 2014; Chair, Food Pro West Advisory Board, 2015; Vice Chair, BC Safety Charter CEO steering committee; Advisory Board, Earth Renu Enterprises; Events Coordinator/Volunteer/MC - Quest Food Exchange