Leadership Award 2017:

The board of the KCBIA wanted to create an award to recognize ongoing leadership of and dedication to downtown Kamloops. This award is for someone who has contributed to our goal of maintaining a vibrant and livable downtown core.  The long-term plan is to have the award plaques mounted in a public gathering space downtown in a place of honour.

We do not give these out every year; our last recipient was Jason Fawcett – Kelson Group in 2014. Before that was the inaugural 2013 award to Gina Caputo.

Micheal Popoff (left) presents Micheal O’Brien (right) a Leadership Award. Jennifer O’Brien is not pictured.

Downtown Kamloops decides the award! We opened the nominations with the requirements that we were looking for a downtown businessperson or organization who has contributed to our goal of maintaining a vibrant and liveable downtown core. The people have spoken!

It is with great pleasure, that the KCBIA introduces the recipients of this year’s award.

Winners – in the words of the nominators:

Michael and Jennifer O’Brien of 4 Cats Art Studio:

Michael and Jennifer work tirelessly to make Kamloops’ downtown an exciting and vibrant place. Their 4 Cats Arts Studio is a hub of activity. Michael has been working hard to enliven downtown on Sundays. Michael and Jennifer do much to contribute to the community and are active sponsors, providing art activities with that special 4 Cats touch to many events and charities around town. Michael also spends his “free” time volunteering with the Kamloops Arts Council and other organizations.




Casey VanDongen – Tri-City Contracting and Total Concept Developments

Casey VanDongen has been one of Downtown Kamloops’ biggest promoters, evident through the numerous projects and properties he has owned in our city core.

 Having been in business since the 1970s, his most recent projects have included 150 Victoria Street (complete renovation down to the studs), 520 Seymour Street (extensive renovation for Service Canada, and a partnership with KCBIA for mural painting), and 540 Victoria Street (Desert Gardens).  Most notably, as of late, was his participation in helping the United Church and BC Housing create 429 St Paul and add another 56 units of affordable residential housing to our city core.

Micheal Popoff (left) presents Casey VanDongen (right) with a Leadership Award

In additional to the positive impact his work has made to our downtown, Casey has also a strong sense of social responsibility.  He has experience working hand in hand with ASK Wellness (and other non-profits) to help those who are hard to house.  He has sat on the parking solutions committee with the KCBIA, various committees and groups at his church, and is an annual participant as Santa in the Downtown Santa Claus Parade. 

Recently, having his wife being diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s, he has been more active participating and volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Society (Kamloops). This year, his family is the honoured family for the Alzheimer’s walk.

 Plans are in the works on a number of high-density locations in Downtown Kamloops, including his dream of building on 131 Victoria Street.

 In short, Casey is a prime candidate for the Leadership Award.  He loves Kamloops and is always promoting Kamloops and our downtown wherever he is. Whether he is away on business or travelling for pleasure with his wife or family.


We are so proud to be able to have all these wonderful people be part of our community. Ambassadors like them are helping to set Kamloops apart from other urban areas to live, work and play. Their community-mindedness, effort, drive and skill has not gone unnoticed and these community champions will not stop here, they are the people to keep watching because they are always doing great things!

This year the board decided to award two leadership awards as both nominees embodied the spirit of the Downtown leadership award but in very different ways.

Thank you to all of our participants and sponsors that attended our AGM!

Houle Electric, Westkey Graphics, RCMP, Crime Stoppers, By-Law Services, Community Safety, Tourism Kamloops, Venture Kamloops, RBC,  and the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce! 


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