Our Team

B.C. Interior South

Dave Hamilton

Dave has worked with Black Press since 2007 beginning his career in sales at the Comox Valley Record, then taking on multiple Black Press publisher and group publisher roles including the Fernie Free Press, Invermere Valley Echo, Golden Star, Campbell River Mirror, Comox Valley Record, Comox Valley Echo and the North Island Gazette.

Director of Sales
B.C. Interior South

Karen Hill

In October of 1989, Karen began her career in the classified department at the Kelowna Capital News. Most of her tenure in Kelowna was spent in the accounting department where she worked her way to group controller for the Interior with Lower Mainland Publishing and then West Partners Publishing when they bought the newspaper in 2001. In 2003, Black Press purchased the Capital News and Karen integrated into the accounting department, working with the president on all the southern divisions until she took on the position of publisher at the Vernon Morning Star in 2006. In September 2010, she made her way back to Kelowna as publisher of the Capital News and Lake Country Calendar, as well as our specialty products Food & Wine Trails and Grapes to Wine.

Bureau Chief of B.C.
Interior South Division

Jen Zielinski
Jen graduated from the broadcast journalism program at BCIT. She also has bachelor of arts degree in political science and sociology from Thompson Rivers University. Previously, the Fernie native was the senior video journalist for Castanet News, based in Kelowna. She has a passion for online journalism, as well as local volunteer organizations, such as the BC SPCA.

Barry Gerding

Regional Editor
Barry Gerding

Barry Gerding is the senior regional reporter for Black Press in the Okanagan. Barry’s career as a journalist in the B.C. community newspaper field spans 37 years working in northwest B.C., Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan. He was managing editor of the Kelowna Capital News for 16 years from 2000 to 2016, and prior to that editor of the Burnaby Now, Chilliwack Times and Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle. He also worked as a reporter for Houston Today, Interior News in Smithers, Sidney Review on Vancouver Island and Abbotsford Times. He currently works out of Kelowna and resides in the Toovey Heights neighbourhood, married with two kids and far too many animals.

Alistair Waters
Regional Assistant Editor
Al Waters
Alistair Waters has a nose for politics at the civic, provincial and federal levels, and helps readers understand the verbal spin doctoring politicians are fond of using.

Regional Assistant Editor
Steve Kidd
Steve is an award-winning photojournalist turned writer with a long history in the industry, freelancing for newspapers throughout B.C. He came to Black Press in 2007 when the chain acquired the Lake Country (Winfield) Calendar. He is now a regional editor in the Okanagan bureau, after having worked for a decade in Penticton covering a variety of beats from the arts to politics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Thompson Rivers University and a diploma in new media communications from the College of the Rockies.

Multi-Media Video Journalist
Laryn Gilmour

After a long journey from Barrie, Ontario, Laryn is excited to be apart of Black Press Media’s team.
She has a passion for breaking news, current events, videography and story telling.
She graduated from the Broadcast Journalism and Television Production course at Niagara College and knew she wanted to advance her career in beautiful British Columbia.
She started her career as an intern for CTV Toronto, where she worked the information desk and scanners gathering breaking news stories, after graduating she worked as a video-journalist at CFTK TV in Prince Rupert and as a radio announcer in Victoria.
Her hobbies are painting landscapes inspired by her photography. You’ll probably see her hiking the mountains with a camera in her hands capturing the best of the Okanagan.

Senior Multi-Media Journalist
Jennifer Smith

Born and raised in the Okanagan, Jennifer Smith is a Kwantlen University College Journalism graduate (and VSS ’01 grad). Having grown up in Vernon, this is where she calls home, along with her husband and daughter. At The Morning Star since 2005, Smith (nee Dyck) has covered everything from shootings to shot put. She is an active member in her daughter’s school activities at BX Elementary (which she also attended), enjoys yoga, hiking, camping, paddle-boarding and other water sports and spending time with family and friends.

Multi-Media Journalist
Brieanna Charlebois

Brieanna is a recent Master of Journalism graduate from Carleton University. She also has two bachelor’s degrees from Ohio University, where she attended on a soccer scholarship. There she earned a Bachelor of Arts & Sciences in Psychology and a Bachelor of Journalism from the Scripps School of Journalism. Brieanna has participated in many journalistic experiences including the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, covering polo and tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina, covering Residential School Survivors in the Yukon/Alaska during Canada 150 and, most recently, she travelled to Denmark and England to do research and conduct interviews for her thesis on deradicalization and counter-extremism efforts. Brieanna also interned with Metro News-Ottawa in 2016 and worked at CBC Toronto as part of the Investigative Content Unit/Fifth Estate to break the Paradise Papers story in Nov. 2017. She joined the Vernon Morning Star staff in April 2018.

Senior Multi-Media Journalist
Roger Knox
250 550 7922

Roger has been a journalist for more than 30 years, first in radio, then the last 21 years with Black Press. He worked in Quesnel, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof and Salmon Arm before returning to his hometown of Vernon. A proud member of the Vernon Senior Secondary School Class of 1981, Roger is also a licensed wedding officiant in the Province of B.C., has appeared on stage with a local theatre company and is a former Mr. Quesnel (1984). Away from work, Roger is a devoted fan of the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Red Sox and B.C. Lions, and wishes he could sing and play a musical instrument other than the triangle.

Sports Editor/Multimedia Reporter
Kevin Mitchell

Kevin has been in the newspaper industry for 42 years, including 27 at The Morning Star. He previously worked at daily newspapers in Kelowna, Vernon and Nanaimo after getting his start at a weekly in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. He is a father of three who plays soccer, hockey and golf (badly). He loves the Edmonton Oilers, hot chicken wings and red licorice.

Multimedia Marketing Consultant
Stephanie Stecyk

Marketing Strategist
James Mugwe
I bring a diverse range of experience in marketing of indoor / outdoor events, retail and commercial sales, web design and videography.
On the days that I am not working , you will find me enjoying long hikes , walks with my wife and family , Playing music and trying to learn how to Ski.
I believe in business development in our community and supporting every new and established entrepreneurs success is my goal.

Marketing Strategist
Sam Hill

Having grown up close to the business of media, Sam has a passion for community media and marketing. After obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree for Business Administration in 2014, Sam sharpened her marketing and creative thinking skills at successful companies, such as lululemon and Oilers Entertainment Group, before joining Black Press Media as a Marketing Strategist. Sam asks the questions that make people think about their business and what their needs truly are, and with that information she can develop marketing strategies that drive results. From strategy to development of creative to execution, Sam can connect all of the dots.
To get on Sam’s good side, talk to her about her rescue dog Odie, Instagram, hockey and the best hidden gems in the Okanagan. She also gives great restaurant recs and always wants to hear from you: What do you want from a local media company?

Multimedia Marketing Consultant
Sheryll Bissell

Multimedia Marketing Consultant
Suzanne Folliott

Suzanne has been a part of the Vernon Morning Star team for just over 11 years. Suzanne started in the classified department working her way up to an inside sales position, and then moved up into her current position as a Multimedia Marketing Consultant in print and digital products. Suzanne is very passionate about her job. She loves working with local business owners, to help them find the right marketing solutions to grow their businesses and build brand awareness. When Suzanne is not helping her clients, she is out enjoying everything that the beautiful Okanagan has to offer and she spends as much time as possible with her husband, dog Lily, and her family and friends.

Advertising Assistant
Sabrina Leduc

Sabrina graduated from Thompson Rivers University with a Bachelor of Business Degree majoring in Marketing and New Venture Creation in 2017. She was born in Vernon and wanted to move back after completing her degree. She was able to do this when she joined the Vernon Morning Star team in April 2018. Sabrina enjoys photography, volunteering, camping and any summer outdoor activities.

Regional Circulation Manager
Brian Gold

Circulation Manager
Tammy Stelmachowich
250 550-7901

Tammy worked as an EMT in the Yukon until it was discovered that ink ran through her veins. She has worked for Black Press since 2000 only taking a year off in between to travel B.C. with her young son. She started at the Shuswap Market in Salmon Arm, then went to Sicamous, Vernon, Revelstoke, Winfield and back to Vernon again. She has worked in the classified and sales department, tried her hand in photography and writing. She was an office manager, ad designer and a publisher’s assistant and has spent the past eight years as the circulation manager at the Morning Star. A mother of two sons she is now a grandmother to two beautiful granddaughters.

Classified Manager
Carol Williment

Most Read