Mayor Henry Braun
Henry has been an Abbotsford resident for close to six decades and was the co-owner, president and CEO of Abbotsford-based Pacific Northern Rail Contractors Corp up until his retirement in 2003. Henry was also involved with companies that developed and owned commercial and residential income producing real estate properties. As a long time Abbotsford businessman, he is enjoying the opportunity to put his years of business experience to work for the city and people of Abbotsford.
Henry understands that great communities don’t happen without involvement, and has served on the Abbotsford Police Board, the Economic Development Commission of the City of Abbotsford, the Abbotsford Airport Authority Board of Directors, the Trinity Western University School of Business advisory board, the board of directors of the Organized Crime Agency of B.C. as well as a member of the Board of Directors for Canada Place Corporation. In 2008, Henry received the Order of Abbotsford for his dedication to making Abbotsford a better place.
Henry was elected to serve as a Council Member with the City of Abbotsford in 2011 and served one term. In November 2014, Henry was elected to serve as the Mayor of Abbotsford. Henry is a champion for the City of Abbotsford. He is a strategic thinker and exemplifies this as Mayor with a strategic plan focusing on Abbotsford as the hub of the Fraser Valley composed of four integral cornerstones - a vibrant economy, fiscal discipline, organizational alignment and complete community.
Henry is proud of his own community of family members that includes being married 44 years to his wife, Velma, their three children and seven amazing grandchildren. This unique community is his inspiration for making sure Abbotsford remains a wonderful place in which to grow up and grow old, well into the future!
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Councillor Les Barkman
Les was born in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, in 1953, growing up on a farm near Swift Current and then moving to a small town north of Saskatoon for four years. After graduating from Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon, he attended one year at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Les moved to BC in 1974, where he started work with the District of Matsqui in the Parks and Recreation Department. Because of his farming background and familiarity of equipment, Les began operating a variety of equipment throughout the years for the City.
Community involvement has been a big part of his family life. Les feels that it is important to give back to the community with your gifts and talents. Sports are where he has spent a lot of time not only coaching young kid’s fastball skills, but also some life skills. He also has officiated basketball for 36 years in the Fraser Valley Basketball Officials Association.
Les has been active in fundraising and volunteering for charities including the United Way, Big Brother’s and Big Sisters, Matthews House, Canuck Place, Abbotsford Hospice Society, The Abbotsford Food Bank, Crystal Gala, and the Cyrus Centre to name a few.
Committees that Les has been involved with include the Mayor’s Task on Crime Reduction, Solid Waste Task Force, Parks, Recreation & Culture Commission, Traffic Safety Advisory Committee, Matsqui Prairie Dyking, Drainage & Irrigation Committee, Abbotsford Youth Commission, Fraser valley Regional Library Board, City of Character Society, and M.S.A. Museum Society.
Les has also participated in the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelssness and is active in helping out in the cold weather shelters. This has given Les a deeper understanding of what it means to give time and money to the most needy in our community.
Les is married to Elaine, and they have raised two sons, Darnell and Tyson. Elaine works for a national supermarket. Darnell is married to Christina; and have three children Cody, Makai, and Teyah. They are currently living in the Phillipines with a Christian peace building Movement Organization. Tyson works as a Fastball Coach, personal trainer, instructor at Yale Fastball Academy, and Power Zone.
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Councillor Sandy Blue
Sandy has a proven record helping communities flourish. In addition to winning numerous awards for her leadership in economic development, her track record makes her a sought after speaker on topics of economic development, community revitalization, and on strategies to help agriculture and tourism sectors thrive.
As a Councillor, she brings all of this experience to the City of Abbotsford.
With all its assets and geographic location as a hub of the Fraser Valley, Sandy believes that Abbotsford should be a preferred destination for families and businesses. Simply put – it will take a lot of work - supporting existing business while attracting investment to create high value local jobs; and leveraging strategic assets like the airport, hospital, university and border crossings, as well as our thriving agricultural and aerospace economies.
“Together we can change how business is done, returning Abbotsford to its rightful place as the economic hub of the Fraser Valley.”
Born in Montreal, and raised on Vancouver Island, Sandy’s career took her from Victoria to Nanaimo and Terrace (where she met her husband Bob); and finally to Burnaby where they lived until moving to Abbotsford in 2000.
Her 25 year career with BC TEL / TELUS began as an on-call operator before moving to senior roles in Customer Service, Marketing, Advertising and Sales.
In 2000 Sandy moved to HSBC Bank Canada where she managed their Advertising, Marketing, Sponsorship and Brand for six years.
In 2006 Sandy was an instrumental part of the team that put Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) on the map, helping it to expand, bring new jobs and give Abbotsford citizens more direct access to the world.
In 2008 she joined the City of Maple Ridge - the ‘2010 – 2015 #5 Top Canadian Investment City’ - as Manager Strategic Economic Initiatives.
She holds a Diploma in Economic Development from the University of Waterloo; and is one of about 1,000 economic development professionals worldwide to hold the IEDC International Economic Development Council accreditation.
Sandy’s long history of community involvement across the Fraser Valley includes six years as Police Commissioner for the Abbotsford Police Department and Vice-President Abbotsford Police Foundation.
Before moving to Abbotsford she volunteered for 12 years with the City of Burnaby RCMP Victim Services. She also served on the Burnaby Community Policing Committee of Council where she had a lead role on the Burnaby-New West Task Force to prevent the sexual exploitation of Children and Youth.
Sandy has served on the Envision Financial Regional Council as Director and was a founding member of the BC Chapter of Canadian Women in Communications (CWC-AFV); and enjoys leadership and mentoring roles with the Minerva Foundation for BC Women.
Sandy looks forward to working with council colleagues and staff to create a welcoming environment in which the private sector can thrive. She’s committed to doing her part helping Abbotsford become the City it can be, because she too calls it home.
Sandy and Bob have 3 adult sons, and 6 grandchildren. Along with her volunteering, Sandy’s hobbies include cooking, gardening and golf.
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Councillor Kelly Chahal
Kelly Chahal has been a community advocate for the past 20 years. She has been involved in many social justice projects and has volunteered with the Fraser Valley Indo Canadian Business Association. Kelly is also a member of Senate with the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) as an ex-officio member of the UFV Alumni Board, and is a member on the Advisory Board for the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies and the community Literacy Action Committee.
Kelly has also developed and facilitated diversity training for various employment sectors and educational institutions in her pursuit to promote intercultural relations. Her experience and service have resulted in service awards and acclamations. Kelly has her Master in Criminal Justice and works for the Ministry of Justice. Kelly has a son and daughter, and is proud to serve her community that she has raised her family in.
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Councillor Brenda Falk
Brenda Falk, owner of Tanglebank Gardens since 1996 and Brambles Bistro since 2012, is a farmer, entrepreneur and business woman. Brenda was born in Port Alberni B.C. and has lived in Abbotsford since 1973. Active in the community, Brenda has been a member of the Agricultural Advisory Committee, the Economic Advisory Committee and the Mayor’s Task force for Economic Development. She is a member of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), is co-creator of the Regional ‘Circle Farm Tour’ and creator of the ‘Passport to Christmas’. Brenda is also a past member of the B.C. Nursery and Landscape Association where she was actively involved.
Brenda studied Fashion Design at the University of the Fraser Valley and also studied Horticulture and Landscape Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She is the proud recipient of Business Excellence Award 2000 in Agriculture, Business Excellence Award 2005 for Tourism, Recreation and Leisure and won the very first Tourism Abbotsford, Tourism Excellence Award 2007 as well as numerous industry awards. She has spent many years as mentor and leader in women’s ministry in her church and has taught in the Intern Program for young adults as well.
Brenda has been married to Arnold Falk for 30 years and together they have four adult children, two wonderful sons-in-law and three beautiful granddaughters.
Brenda enjoys reading and gardening and spending time with her family and friends.
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Councillor Moe Gill
Moe was born in Punjab, India, arrived in Canada in 1955, and moved to Abbotsford in 1975. Moe has served on Abbotsford Council since 1996.
He has served on many committees including: Traffic Safety Advisory Committee; Delta Heritage Airpark Management Committee; Matsqui Dyking, Drainage, and Irrigation Committee; AgriFair Board; Fraser Valley Regional District Board; Glen Valley Dyking District Committee; Local Court of Revisions for Frontage Tax, and the Parcel Tax Review Panel.
Moe has also served with many organizations, including: Fraser Valley Cole Crop Growers Association; Fraser Valley Strawberry Growers Association; B.C. Raspberry Growers Association; Federal Agricultural Employment Services; MSA Museum Society; Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association; Abbotsford-Matsqui Rotary; Dashmesh Punjabi School; and Abbotsford Foundation.
Moe is proud to live in the beautiful City of Abbotsford. He is grateful for the opportunity to serve the community especially on issues surrounding its ongoing growth.
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Councillor Dave Loewen
Dave was born and raised in Abbotsford, attending South Poplar Elementary, MEI, and Abbotsford Secondary schools, and has watched Abbotsford grow from a small town into a vibrant, multi-cultural community with a rich heritage and a strong economic base.
Dave is a retired educator, having taught two years in Australia, three in Manitoba, and 32 at MEI, including three years as principal of the secondary school and two years as principal at MEI Chilliwack. He holds a B.A. (Sociology) from Simon Fraser University and a M.Ed. (Administration) from the University of Victoria. Trained as a Social Science teacher, his career began as a German teacher and ended as an English teacher, supporting the adage that “old dogs can learn new tricks”!
Following high school, he volunteered two years with MCC in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which included assuming management of a hostel at age 19 and community development work in a remote part of the Kivu Province, near Bukavu. He has served on numerous boards and committees over the years: MCC BC Board member for 10 years, including vice-chair and chair positions, and numerous sub-committees; national and local church boards; chair of the Canadian Mennonite University Council, Winnipeg; Director on the B.C. Federation of Independent Schools Associations Board; Director on the Heart2Heart (Haiti) Board; and Director on the Mennonite Historical Society of B.C. Board.
Dave and his wife, Grace, are members of Level Ground Mennonite Church, and he recently joined the Rotary Club of Abbotsford, where he was recently recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow.
Dave was first elected to City Council in 2005 and is now serving in his fourth term. His responsibilities on Council have included most committees including Mission-Abbotsford Transit Committee; Abbotsford Social Development Advisory Committee; City Industrial Development Advisory Committee; City Economic Development Advisory Committee; Environmental Advisory Committee; Abbotsford Youth Commission; Matsqui Dyking, Drainage and Irrigation Committee; Audit Committee; Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development; Abbotsford Arts Council; and the Fraser Valley Regional District Board. He has chaired the Homelessness Action Advisory Committee (2014-16) and is presently chairing the Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee.
Dave has been named as Abbotsford’s Canada 150 Community Leader, serving as the touchpoint for receiving and sharing information related to Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Dave is married to Grace, a registered nurse, and they have two married sons and seven grandchildren. Dave and Grace enjoy travelling, which has taken them to five continents (some with student groups on service assignments) and to many parts of North America. Dave has a keen interest in history and genealogy, both of which occupy some of his leisure time, and enjoys the outdoors (hiking, snowshoeing, canoeing), as well as fitness-related activities.
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Councillor Patricia Ross
Patricia Ross is currently serving her 8th term on council and is the appointed Deputy Mayor. Other council appointments include Chair of the Intergovernmental Affairs committee, Advisory Board Member to Abbotsford Youth Commission and Fraser Valley Regional District. Patricia is also serving as the Vice Chair of the Fraser Valley Regional District board and is their appointee to the Municipal Finance Authority. She is also on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable Communities Conference Advisory board and the alternate to the Homelessness Action Advisory Committee.
Patricia's philosophy toward government is to fully embrace sustainability principles. That is, to consider the environmental, social and economic impacts in all decision making.
Patricia is a Fellow of Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) International. LEAD is a research and training program dedicated to fostering worldwide sustainability. Her research has taken her to Oaxaca, Mexico; Costa Rica, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Greece, and Turkey.
Patricia is a motivational and keynote speaker as well as a published free-lance writer. In December 2004, Patricia spoke at the International Climate Change Conference in Buenos Aires about the challenges and rewards of environmental conservation in local government.
From 2000 to 2006, Patricia took on the job of Public and Media Relations Coordinator and Chief Lobbyist for the City of Abbotsford on their successful and precedent setting campaign of opposition to the polluting power plant proposal of Sumas Energy 2 (SE2). If built, this plant would have emitted 2 1/2 tons of pollutants into a sensitive and confined airshed, affecting the health of over 300,000 people and local biodiversity.
Awards received include the 2009 "Woman of the Year" award from the Business & Professional Women's Club of Abbotsford / Mission, "Newsmaker of the Year" award from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, "Service Recognition" award from the Abbotsford Police Department Victim Services, "Order of the Fraser Valley" from a local community group, "Environmental Watchdog" award from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, and the "Green Leader" award from the Abbotsford-Matsqui Rotary Club. In 2003, the district of Mission Council took the unusual step of presenting Patricia with a certificate of appreciation for "working to preserve air quality in the Fraser Valley”. In 2007, Patricia was granted the "Paul Harris" Rotary club award for her community work. Most recently, Patricia received the Queens Diamond Jubilee award.
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Councillor Ross Siemens
Ross was born and raised in Abbotsford. His maternal great- great grandparents were the Smith and Adams families who were some of the original settlers of the Ridgedale area of Matsqui Prairie. His grandparents on his father's side were Mennonite immigrants from Russia who came to Canada in the 1920's and eventually settled in Abbotsford in 1951.
Ross had the privilege of being elected to the District of Abbotsford Council in 1986 at the age of 23. He served two terms from 1986 to 1990. While serving on the District Council he helped initiate the Business Improvement Area legislation that established the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association. He left politics in 1991 to work with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in Hong Kong. Along the way he had the opportunity to work with Teen Challenge in Macau and also taught English at Shenzhen University in China for a semester.
Upon returning to Canada he eventually purchased his family's business, Hub Motor Service (Siemens Garage Ltd.) from his parents, Jake and Marilyn. Peter Siemens, Ross' grandfather, established this automotive repair shop business in 1954. Ross continues to own and operate his family business while serving on the City of Abbotsford Council. Ross also serves as Vice President of his in-laws dairy farm on Sumas Prairie.
His recent community involvement includes serving on the board of directors for Abbotsford Community Services (2008 to 2014), serving on the Abbotsford Social Development Advisory Committee, serving on The Mayor's Task Force on Homelessness and serving on the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame board of directors. Ross has been married to his wife Kelly, a teacher, since 1992. They have two daughters: Ashley, who is attending Trinity Western University and Alexandra who is attending the University of Idaho on a track and cross country scholarship.
Ross and his family enjoy hiking, skiing and snowshoeing. He is also an avid runner and has competed in10km road races and half marathons. He completed his first full marathon in 2014.
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