Greater Victoria Harbour Authority

100-1019 Wharf Street, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y9 | 250-383-8300

After Hours: 1-800-883-7079 (5 p.m. to 8:30 a.m.)

 Moorage Reservations

Board of Directors

Dave Cowen

Dave Cowen, Chair
Destination Greater Victoria

As Chief Executive Officer of The Butchart Gardens, Mr. Cowen is actively involved in leadership positions in the tourism and business communities, representing The Gardens at both the local and international levels.   Mr. Cowen has a long tenure with The Gardens, having been appointed General Manager in 2007 with responsibility for leading a team in excess of 500 staff and overseeing daily operations and strategic initiatives. 

Active in developing Garden Tourism as a vibrant provincial and national sector, Dave serves as the founding Past President of Gardens British Columbia and is a board member of the National Garden Council.  With many years of management and tourism leadership experience, he has presented at the World Garden Tourism Conference in Metz, France and Suncheon, Korea and has spoken at the American Public Garden Association in Miami.

Dave is currently Chair of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Co-chair of the Tourism Committee for the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). He was formerly Chair of Destination Greater Victoria and has been an active member on various boards and organizations throughout the region.  He the proud recipient of the PNWER Robert Day Memorial Award, which is awarded to someone in the private sector who has played a major role in bringing collaboration between cross-border organizations and stakeholders. He is active in SKAL, an international organization of tourism leaders, and in his many years of public speaking and training others to speak, he is proud to have assisted numerous community organizations, including the UVIC Diploma in Business program.

Starr McMichael

Starr McMichael, Secretary
Independent Director

Starr McMichael, President of Starrboard Enterprises Inc, describes herself as a Specialized Generalist having led a successful career as an Executive Vice President/Owner/Managing Partner in the Marine Hospitality, Tourism, Food & Beverage and Event Management Industries. Specializing in Passenger Services with local and international shipping companies in both Onboard and On Shore operations has informed her long-held belief in the importance of a vibrant working harbour. 

Starr has had a rich volunteer life.  Her Board involvement spans decades fulfilling numerous positions including; Past Chair - Victoria Hospital's Foundation and Past Chair - Greater Victoria Film Commission.

Starr is currently Board Secretary and Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee for the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Chair of Destination Greater Victoria.   She is honoured to have been a recipient of the C-FAX Community Leader of the Year Award.

Starr is a recent graduate of the ICD-Rotman, Directors Education Program (DEP) and has achieved the Institute of Corporate Directors, ICD.D.  The ICD-Rotman DEP provides education on the elements of effective governance including; Strategic Performance, Financial Performance, Human Performance and Risk Management.

Starr currently chooses to consult on projects that fall under the umbrella of contribution to a greater good for our communities.  Her passion is speaking to groups about leadership; of one’s life, in partnership and as a contributing member to the societies we live in.

Doug Crowder, Treasurer
Independent Director

With a Certified Management Accounting designation and an MBA from Queens University, Doug Crowder brings over 35 years experience in business management and financial controls to the Board. Since moving to Victoria in 2004, Doug has become active in the local community and is currently the Chief Financial Officer for the locally owned Ralmax Group of Companies.

Laurel Collins
City of Victoria

Laurel Collins is a City of Victoria Councillor. She is also an instructor at the University of Victoria teaching Social Justice Studies, Social Inequality, and Political Sociology. As a dedicated social and environmental community organizer, Laurel co-founded Divest Victoria, is a delegate to the Victoria Labour Council, and was awarded the Victoria Community Leadership Award in 2017 for her work on Sustainability, Community Building and Lifelong Learning. Previously, she worked for Victoria Women in Need, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Northern Uganda, and as the Executive Director of the Victoria Multicultural Society. She also co-published a book entitled Women, Adult Education and Leadership in Canada. She now sits on the CRD Regional Water Supply Commission, the Urban Food Table, and is currently the City Council Liaison to James Bay.

Susan Brice

Susan Brice
Capital Regional District

Susan Brice was elected councillor for the District of Saanich in 2005, and is a current director for the Capital Regional District. She is a fourth-generation resident of Greater Victoria and a former elementary school teacher in Esquimalt and Oak Bay. Susan is chair of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee for the Saanich Council, and is council liaison for the Victoria Airport Authority Community Consultative Committee. For the CRD, she is chair of the Transportation Committee, and sits on the Finance Committee, and the Core Area Sewage Committee. She is on the Board of Directors for BC Transit. She has served as elected MLA representing Saanich South, and was previously Minister of Mental Health and Minister of Human Resources for the Government of British Columbia. Susan volunteers as vice president of the Victoria ALS Society. 

Ryan Burles

Ryan Burles
Victoria and Esquimalt Harbour Society

Ryan Burles is President and COO of Black Ball Ferry Line and has been in the ferry and tourism business for over 30 years. Ryan has served on the board of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Destination Marketing Committee of Destination Greater Victoria as well as serving as a board member and past president of the Rotary Club of Victoria. Ryan brings a strong business background with an emphasis on customer service, and safe operations.

Chief Ron Sam Bio Photo

Chief Ron Sam
Songhees Nation

Chief Ron Sam was elected to Songhees Council in 2009 and as Chief in 2013.  In 2017 he was re-elected by acclamation to a four year term as Chief. 

Chief Sam is focused on community, striving for self-determination and self-sufficiency for Songhees Nation and encouraging community members to participate in all that we do as a Nation.

Chief Sam has worked in resource industries include fisheries and forestry but found his passion with archaeology, serving as a field assistant and becoming an expert in Lekwungen archaeology throughout our traditional territory.

Rob Thomas
Esquimalt Nation

Rob Thomas was first elected as Councillor for Esquimalt Nation in 2013. In his role, Thomas is focused on the financial independence, economic development, and self-governance of Esquimalt Nation. He currently sits on the Nation’s Housing, Human Resources, and Emergency Response committees.

Prior to his time on Council, Thomas worked for 22 years in the First Nations’ tobacco retail industry across Canada.

Thomas’ goal is to continue the work and legacy of hereditary Chief Andy Thomas, who held a passion and vision of caring for present and future generations.

Barbara Desjardins
Township of Esquimalt

Barbara Desjardins has been the mayor of the Township of Esquimalt since 2008. She has extensive knowledge in government relations, board leadership, communications, and public relations. She has also been a small business owner with experience in HR and compensation, risk management, and strategy.

Desjardins is a former GVHA Board Director, serving as the Governance and Nominating Committee Chair, Board Vice-Chair, and Board Interim Chair. In addition, she is also the former Capital Regional District (CRD) Chair, CRD Hospital Board Chair, and key participant on CRD Committees (Environmental Services, Finance, Governance, Regional Parks, Planning, Transportation & Protective Services, Core & Westside Wastewater Treatment, Integrated Resources Management), Victoria Regional Transit Commission, Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association, participated in the formation of the South Island Economic Development Association, and Local Government Treaty Committee (Te’Mexw Treaty).

Margaret Lucas

Margaret Lucas
City of Victoria

Margaret Lucas is a City of Victoria Councillor, and has been an excecutive leader in the tourism and retail industries for more than 25 years. She led the transformation team for the Hotel Rialto downtown, and was awarded the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce 2009 Business Person of the Year Award for her work and community spirit. In 2012 she received a University of Victoria Distinguished Alumni Award. Margaret is a member of the International Women's Forum, and has sat on many civic boards and committees including the Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications committee, Greater Victoria Airport Authority Airport Consultative Committee, Destination Greater Victoria Board of Directors, Victoria Civic Heritage Trust, Victoria Conference Centre Advisory Committee, Camosun College and the Downtown Victoria Business Association.

Gordon Safarik
Independent Director

Gordon Safarik has held executive positions in the cruise ship, food, shipbuilding and repair industries, as well as the oil and gas sector. He has over 35 years of experience, both domestically and internationally (in Europe, Asia and Mexico) in both the private and public sectors. 

Safarik is a past president of the Cruise Industry Association of British Columbia, and former Director of the BC Shipbuilding and Repair Association, as well as the Fisheries Council of BC.  He has extensive experience with the Port of Vancouver and Prince Rupert Port Authority in lease negotiations, and planning, development, and implementation of various capital projects.  Initially, Safarik was hired to turn around Point Hope Shipyard.

In addition, Safarik co-founded the Esquimalt Drydock Company, developing international relationships with shipping companies and he currently sits on the Board of Variance for the District of North Saanich and the Victoria Airport Authority.

Christine Willow

Christine Willow
The Chamber

Christine Willow is a Principal with Chemistry Consulting Group and Chief Operating Officer for GT Hiring Solutions. She is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and a Registered Professional Recruiter (RPR), and has been involved in employment and training programs for the past 20 years. Prior to entering the consulting field, Christine was a valued member of the tourism and hospitality industry for more than 20 years, and held senior management positions with Four Seasons Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Trusthouse Forte and Keg Restaurants as well as several independently owned and operated hotels and restaurants. Active in the community, she has served as Chair of the Board of the Victoria Airport Authority, was a Director for the Canadian Airports Council and as a Director for the Victoria Police Board. Additionally, she has also served on the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council, the BC Restaurant Association, Greater Victoria Economic Development Agency, go2 The Resource for People in Tourism, and the Downtown Victoria Business Association, and she is the Past Chair of Destination Greater Victoria and the Tourism Industry Association of BC.

Provincial Capital Commission

The Provincial government has announced its intention to dissolve the Provincial Capital Commission (PCC) effective April 1, 2014 and, as such, will no longer be a GVHA Member Agency.