Board of Directors
The Board of Directors focuses on policy and program development, oversees the management of Tourism Richmond, monitors organizational performance, and ensures that the mandate of the organization is carried out.
Eda Koot, Chair
A career hotelier, Eda has built her hospitality career with Delta Hotels along with several years with Fairmont. Originally from Calgary, Eda moved to BC 16 years ago working as General Manager in Victoria, Whistler, Sun Peaks, and Burnaby prior to accepting a role in Richmond at the then, Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel. The Pacific Gateway Hotel at Vancouver Airport, now operating independently, is also home to The Deck Kitchen + Bar and Deckside Marina. Along with her Team, Eda believes in supporting Community. Her efforts include Tourism Richmond and the Richmond Christmas Fund, as well as supporting industry both locally and provincially through her role as Director with go2HR.
Wayne Duzita, Vice Chair
In his 50 year career, Wayne Duzita has held a variety of positions within many business sectors including retail, tourism, manufacturing, leasing, and marketing. Wayne is semi-retired working under contract with the Terracap Group of Companies developing, owning, and managing warehouses, offices, and hangars on airports in Canada. Wayne continues to be an active volunteer in the Richmond community serving as the Chair of the Richmond Christmas Fund, Vice Chair of the 2010 Games Operating Trust, Rotary, and several political associations. In the past he was Chair of Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and Foundation, Chair of the Trinity Western University Richmond Advisory Committee, Co-founder of the first E-Rotary Club, member of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade Economic Scorecard 2016 committee, and member of the Olympic Oval Corporation. Wayne is the recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow, Star of Richmond, The British Columbia Community Achievement Award, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Metal.
Yannick Simovich, Incoming Chair, Treasurer, Chair of Finance
Yannick Simovich's management career spans over 30 years in a variety of progressive roles within the hotel industry. While he currently holds the position of General Manager at the Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel, his most recent roles have included Director of Operations at the JW Marriott in Las Vegas, Director of Operations and Director of Food & Beverage at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel as well as several years at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Yannick, who has a passion for food and wine, received his hospitality education in France and Switzerland.
Andy Hobbs, Chair of Governance
Andy Hobbs is a retired Superintendent with the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) with over 35 years of policing experience. In his career and as a member of the VPD's Executive, he has worked with community groups, stakeholders, police agencies, and governments to strengthen public safety. As a Richmond volunteer, Andy has served in a variety of roles including coaching, officiating, fundraising, special events, several boards, and he was elected twice to the Richmond School Board. Andy was inducted into the Order of Merit of the Police Forces by the Governor General of Canada, and received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal and several VPD commendations. Andy holds a degree in political science from UBC.
Russell is the Director, Air Service Development at the Vancouver Airport Authority. Russell has over 14 years of experience in the aviation and technology sectors. Prior to joining the airport, Russell spent the better part of his career with the Oneworld Airline Alliance in a range of marketing, product strategy and technology roles spread across Vancouver and New York. Russell is also a graduate of Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business Executive MBA programme.
With hospitality in his blood, David grew up in Kelowna and worked at his family motor inn while schooling. His career spans over 30 years in restaurants and hotels, and includes experience in Canada, USA, and Mexico. His greatest training ground was the (then) AAA, five diamond Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver. His General Manager experience includes: Opus Hotel Vancouver, Hotel Vitale San Francisco, the Clift San Francisco, Viceroy Santa Monica, Fogo Island Inn Newfoundland, Cuixmala Eco Resort Mexico, and Autograph Collection by Marriott. Proudly and happily back in Canada, David rejoins Opus Hotel Group as VP Operation and Opening General Manager.
Joe is the General Manager of Planning and Development for the City of Richmond. Joe has 30 years of experience in City Planning in Australia and Canada and has worked in both the private and public sectors. Joe has been with the City of Richmond since 1998. During his time with the City of Richmond, Joe has been responsible for the preparation of many Area Plans, Strategies and the 2041 Official Community Plan. His current portfolio includes responsibility for Human Resources, Long Range Community Planning, Development Approvals/Building Permits and Transportation Planning.
Patrick is currently the General Manager at Fairmont Vancouver Airport, in charge of overall operations, performance and the strategic direction of this award winning property. Prior to this position, he was the Hotel Manager at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii. Patrick began his hospitality career 20 years ago with Canadian Pacific Hotels, which then became Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. He has held progressive positions with Fairmont in various locations in Canada, Africa and the United States. Patrick also had the opportunity to serve on a number of task forces and transition teams at Fairmont properties in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Scottsdale, Saudi Arabia, Bermuda and South Africa. Patrick also sits on the board of the Richmond Hotel Association.
Harald Kurtzke is a European-trained Hotelier who holds a Diamond CHA. This Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA®) award is the one of the most prestigious certifications available to a hospitality executive. Currently Harald is Regional Director and General Manager for Executive Hotels, and also manages the Executive Airport Plaza Hotel and Conference Centre, Richmond. Harald has held positions as Senior VP, Managing Director, Executive VP and General Manager in resort, full service, limited service, boutique and casinos properties.
His past positions include: Okanagan Tourism Board (Director); Skål Vancouver (Member); Rotary International, Islington Club (President). He enjoys working with independent and branded properties including: Executive Hotels; IHG; Sheraton; Carlson; Wyndham.
Serena is the General Manager, Community Services for the City of Richmond. Serena’s portfolio includes oversight of Arts, Culture and Heritage Services, Community Social Development, Parks Services and Recreation Services. During her 13+ years with the City, she has lead the development of a number of major strategies including the Community Wellness Strategy and the Major Facilities Implementation Plan and has built strong community relationships. Serena has an MBA from the University of Oregon’s Warsaw School of Sports Business. She lives in Richmond with her husband and two active children.
Robert Thurlow joined McArthurGlen Group as General Manager for McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport in 2015. Robert joined McArthurGlen from Calvin Klein, where he was Country Manager responsible for the brand's launch in the Canadian market in 2011, and its expansion across Canada.
Prior to joining Calvin Klein, Robert was US CEO and Board Member of Molton Brown. His responsibilities at the globally renowned London bath, body & beauty brand included leading its multi-channel sales' activities across Europe, North America and Asia. After studying in his native Toronto, London, and Ithaca, New York, Robert started his career at Gap, where, as Operations Manager, he was responsible for store openings across Canada, including Vancouver, and the UK.
Steve Veinot, Past Chair
A hotel industry veteran with over 30 years of experience, Steve Veinot held various positions with the Hilton Vancouver Airport in Richmond prior to joining the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel as General Manager. Steve is currently a Regional Director with Larco Hospitality with responsibility for the Hilton Vancouver Airport, Marriott Vancouver Airport, and Sheraton Vancouver Airport hotels. Steve has spent the majority of his life in Ottawa, Ontario where he graduated from the University of Ottawa and immediately entered the hospitality field working with the Holiday Inn, Radisson and Marriott, Hilton and Sheraton brands.