Northern Development Board Appoints New Chair and Approves $3 Million in New Investments

November 25, 2009

Northern Development Initiative Trust announced today the approval of eighteen community and industry investments totalling over $3.0 million in grant and loan funding toward new projects with a total value exceeding $9.4 million.

A significant number of investments have been committed to in communities and rural regions throughout central and northern British Columbia, including job creation incentives approved-in-principle to two companies that are committed to creating 77 new manufacturing positions. Pioneer Biomass located in Williams Lake will use the Capital Investment and Training Rebate to support the company’s expansion of wood fibre reclamation of mountain pine beetle logging waste to supply regional pellet producers. The other manufacturing company expansion will be announced in Northeast BC in December 2009.

* Additional projects were approved by the Board and are scheduled for public announcement in the near future by the successful organizations.

Bruce Sutherland Retires After Five Years as Board Chair and Evan Saugstad Elected as New Board Chair

After five years and countless volunteer hours as Chair of the Northern Development Initiative Trust, Bruce Sutherland said farewell to his peers and staff to focus on Wolftek Industries, his business in Prince George. Bruce was one of the original board members appointed and steered the Board through the development of the nine funding programs it has today, and the commitment of over $85 million of investments into projects to build the economy of the region worth $457.8 million. Bruce commented to the Board as he retired that “I do believe the various programs we offer today are the base or foundation of Northern Development. They should be nourished and sustained as they reach into all our communities and assist them in reaching their economic potential. Northern Development is a proven organization and is recognized in the North as an example to others. The Board and staff need to continue to build on this and keep the legacy going for generations to come.”

Evan Saugstad was elected by the Board as the new Chair and is currently serving his third term as Mayor of the District of Chetwynd. When not busy with community politics, he works as a Community Coordinator with Spectra Energy in the South Peace. He has lived and worked in three of the four geographic areas of the Northern Development Initiative Trust; Bella Coola (born and raised), Prince Rupert, Atlin and Chetwynd. Evan currently Chairs the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s Northeast Regional Advisory Committee, the South Peace Economic Development Commission, and the Chetwynd and Area Economic Development Commission. Evan is a Director of the Peace River Regional District. Life work experiences have included forestry planning and engineering, heavy equipment operator, pulp mill worker, air attack officer for forest fires, Federal water lands and forest inspector, trapper, professional big game and fishing guide, and community consultation specialist.

Northern Development Chair Evan Saugstad

Lita Powell of Taylor was confirmed as Vice Chair of the Board and Mike Tarr of Prince Rupert remains Finance Chair.

Dennis Callaghan Appointed as New Chief Financial Officer for Northern Development

Janine North, Chief Einancial Officer is pleased to welcome Dennis Callaghan to the Northern Development executive staff team. Dennis has several years of experience as a controller for northern companies involved in the manufacturing and construction sectors. Dennis also brings experience in project management, the creation and management of public/private partnerships, and the development and execution of strategic planning.

Dennis holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Northern British Columbia in addition to his undergraduate degree, and is currently pursuing a Certified Management Accountant designation.

Media Contact:

Janine North
Chief Executive Officer
Northern Development Initiative Trust

Telephone:  250.561.2525

About Northern Development Initiative Trust

Northern Development is an independent regional economic development corporation focused on stimulating economic growth and job creation in central and northern British Columbia.  Over 85 million in funding has been committed to 471 projects with a total project value of over $457.6 million.

For information on Northern Development’s funding programs and initiatives, visit