The final five names of the region’s young top business leaders have been released.
The Greater Vernon Chamber announced the final five recipients to be recognized in KPMG’s Top 20 under 40 Vernon. These recipients were selected at random among the top 20 and include three business owners, a golf professional, and a lawyer. The five being recognized this week are:
• Steve Brandner – Lawyer & Partner, Nixon Wenger LLP
• Anna Jane (AJ) Eathorne – Head of Instruction, Predator Ridge Resort
• Jeffery Holomis – Owner & President, Simolo Customs Ltd./SC Carts
• Kim Nasipayko – Owner & Manager, Caufields Engraving
• Braden Nixon – Managing Partner, Postill Nixon Earthworks
“When we launched the program we didn’t have a good sense of the response we might get but it was overwhelming,” said Dan Rogers, general manager, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce. “We received close to 100 nominations and while we are only recognizing the top 20, all those nominated should be proud of their accomplishments and contribution to the community.”
The 20 recipients for 2015 will be officially recognized at a community celebration event to be held on Thursday (5-7:30 p.m.) at Okanagan College during Small Business Week in B.C.
“We will be reviewing the program with our partners to determine if any adjustments can be made prior to next year and that might include expanding the number we recognize,” said Rogers.
Brandner initially started out in banking but left to pursue a career in law, and entered the UBC law program in September 2002. He obtained a summer position, and later an articling position, with Boughton Law Corporation in downtown Vancouver. After a few years in downtown Vancouver, and with a growing family, he relocated to Vernon in 2008 to practice with Davidson Lawyers. He joined Nixon Wenger in 2013 as an associate and proudly became a partner in 2014. One of the things Brandner loves most about life in Vernon is being part of the community. His current community involvement includes a sitting as a Director and Past-Chair of the Vernon Science & Discovery Society (the Okanagan Science Centre), membership in the Kalamalka Rotary Club, membership in Vernon Community Futures Business Exchange, and managing his son’s hockey team.
Eathorne is currently focusing on ladies’ instruction through her Swing Like A Girl program, she is developing a comprehensive junior program, and continues to provide demonstrations and clinics to groups. She also acts as an ambassador for the Academy and Predator Ridge throughout the resort and community at large. Prior to joining the resort, she had a successful 10 -ear career as a golf tour professional traveling the world playing on the LPGA Tour, followed by two years of caddying for pros on the PGA and LPGA tours. Eathorne enjoys being involved and emceeing at local charities and community events such as the VJHF Charity and SPCA golf tournaments. She has worked with the Wine Women and Woods Charity for four years, most recently as Committee Chair.
Holomis’ love for business started at an early age, with his parents owning their own business and at 19 years old he bought his first company, Full Lotus Mfg, an established aircraft float manufacturing company. He even added a metal manufacturing division to Full Lotus. Holomis also used this division to express his creativity and built a handful of unique custom motorcycles. That creative interest grew into customizing golf carts. Aside from his business pursuits, Holomis was involved with the creative designing and sourcing of the redesign of the sanctuary at the Vernon Alliance Church. While not only saving the church money, he was able to ensure the church pews were built locally providing revenue into the local economy.
Nasipayko, 32, has owned and been the driving force behind Caufields Engraving for the past eight years. She is passionate about the business and industry, and says she is on a one-woman mission to change everyone’s impression of engraving. In 2015, they won the Chamber’s Small Business of the Year and was a finalist for Employer of the Year. Volunteering is something Nasipayko is very passionate about and joining Rotary has been a great channel for that passion. Upon joining, she was the youngest member and for the past five years, she has been chair of the student exchange program. Nasipayko plans to be more involved with Rotary International cross country missions. She has also been involved with JCI Vernon, which her husband is a member of.
Nixon started out working at RE Postill and Sons, where he developed an understanding of the excavation business and realized that he wanted to build a business of his own. Postill Nixon Earthworks started with a single excavator and has quickly grown to a full scale civil contracting company with numerous employees, five excavators and other support equipment. Nixon, born and raised in Vernon, is a firm believer in giving back to the community. Postill Nixon Earthworks have donated to charities, provided sponsorships and donated in-kind work. For the future, Braden is committed to further expanding Postill Nixon Earthworks and continuing to support the community where he lives and operates his business.
These most recent recipients are added to the list of 15 who have already been nominated:
• Elise Allan – Lawyer/partner, Nixon Wenger LLP.
• Josh Brazier – Owner, TND Naturals & 13th Floor Entertainment
• Ryan Chambers – Vice President, DCT Chambers Trucking Ltd. (Chambers Group)
• Melissa Dobernigg – Owner, The BX Press Cidery & Orchard
• Justin Jackson – Owner/founder, Nerd North Inc. & Startup Vernon.
• Linsey Johannson – Owner/partner, Postill Nixon Earthworks.
• Jacob Kuiken – Owner/President, Everton Ridge Homes Ltd.
• Dr. Karl Langer, MD FRCS – General Surgeon, Vernon Jubilee Hospital
• Dr. Laura McPherson, B.Sc., D.C. – Chiropractor & Co-owner, Bluebird Sport & Spine
• Sareena Nickoli – Owner , Soul Studio and Purchasing & Marketing Director, City Furniture Vernon
• On Ouchs – Owner, Rice Box & Social Lead Marketing.
• Ricardo Smith – Owner/President, Sun Country Cycle Ltd.
• Sue Solymosi – Mortgage Broker/Licensed Assistant, White House Mortgages
• Brett VanderHoek – Corporate services supervisor, Tolko.
• Mark Zaino – VP Finance/Partner, Westwood Electric
For more info on the recipients visit: www.20under40vernon.ca