Huu-ay-aht Development Corporation says farewell to Stan Coleman

It was a time of celebration and sadness that the Huu-ay-aht Development Corporation bids farewell to its outgoing Chief Executive Officer Stan Coleman. Stan informed the HDC board last year that he would not be renewing his contract when it expired in January 2016. The board has since named Gary Wilson as his successor.

Stan will be missed by the staff at HDC, the board and Huu-ay-aht First Nations as a whole. He began working for the Nation in 2011 and served five years as HDC’s CEO. In that time, he took the organization from a small forestry operation employing approximately 15 people to what it is today, with more than 50 employees.

It has since grown from a forestry-based operation to one that has many businesses and responsibilities. This includes the Pachena Campground, The Market, Forestry, Fisheries, Gravel and, now, the new businesses purchased by Huu-ay-aht in Bamfield, a deal which Stan helped move forward. Although his contact continues until the end of January, HDC staff and board members hosted a going-away party for Stan at Chances RimRock Casino on January 13. Approximately 55 people attended, including staff, members of the board, representatives from Huu-ay-aht First Nations and business partners and contractors.

stans gift

“It was a chance to recognize what he created,” explained Tracy Walker, Executive Assistant at the group of businesses, “he made such an impact on everyone.” “He has a level of integrity that few could match”, said Martha Johnson, Accounting Assistant at the group of businesses, adding that they organized the party as a way of showing their appreciation for all that Stan has offered them, especially the staff. “We appreciate how far he would go for us,” Martha explained. “He has such dedication, and he has an eye for seeing potential in employees and fostering that. He is a great mentor.”

She added that, during his time at HDC, Stan also brought in many outside contacts that have served to be extremely important in the operation of their businesses.

“Stan has been uniquely committed to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations and the group of businesses over the years” said Angela Wesley, Board Chair. “He has not only been our CEO, he has become part of the Huu-ay-aht family, and although he has decided not to extend his contract, we know that Stan will never be far away and will continue to help us as we move forward”. At the party, the staff and board showed their appreciation to Stan by presenting him with a very unique gift. “The board, management team and staff will treasure Stan’s strong vision and commitment to leadership. The piece represents the wealth of knowledge and guiding light Stan has brought to the organization,” Martha said of the art designed for the outgoing CEO.

The vision for the piece was a collaboration of ideas, from Martha and Tracy it also involved local artist Kelly Poirier and her team at White Raven Consulting, as well as Todd Robinson of Cascadia Glass Studios. The piece is a smaller rendition of art that is showcased at the Richmond oval, called the “Chiefs Treasure Box”. It is made of red and yellow cedar, etched glass and LED lights. It is a contemporary version of a traditional hupakwanum of the Nuu-chah-nulth People. Hupakwanum is the tangible embodiment of treasure.

“The wolf paw represents the creation of the Huu-ay-aht Development Corporation, and Stan’s instrumental involvement in bringing HDC into fruition,” Martha said. “The landscape represents our land and resources, and Stan’s extensive background in the forest industry. Finally, the hammer stamp signifies the first Treaty Settlement Land cut block harvested under treaty.”

Huu-ay-aht Development Corporation is hiring

The Huu-ay-aht Development Corporation has a number of jobs posted. If you are interested, go to to get more details.

The jobs include various positions with Pachena Bay Campground and Huu-ay-aht-owned businesses, as well as an accounts clerk and a Pachena Bay business manager.

Please send your resume and cover letter to Remember that INEO and Alberni Valley Employment offer free workshops and resume building support for you to ace your interview.

Purchase of properties by Huu-ay-aht is first step to revitalization of Bamfield Inlet

Huu-ay-aht First Nations is pleased to announce the purchase of a number of properties in Bamfield Inlet. The deal involves 11 parcels, and it represents a significant investment in the community.

Purchasing these properties shows the Nation’s commitment to restoring its presence in the village that borders its Traditional Territory, located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Elected Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. indicated that since entering into the Maa-nulth Treaty, Huu-ay-aht has maintained an interest in Bamfield Inlet due to its cultural and economic values.

Tayii Ḥaw̓ił Derek Peters said, as head chief, he is proud that his Nation could make such a large investment.

“By purchasing these properties, it will give my tribe more opportunity to play an economic role in the region,” he said. “Outside of our current forestry operations, it’s a good step into tourism.”

The properties were bought as a package and include residential lots, businesses, land with cultural significance and land with future development potential. They are: Rance Island, a 6.8 acre parcel on the east side of the Bamfield Inlet; three acres on Binnacle Road; The Bay House on Seaboard Road, 6.11 acres along the Bamfield Inlet; 5.85 acres on Pachena Road; 5.36 acres on Grappler Road; 1.04 acres on Frigate Road; the Kingfisher Lodge and Marina on Bamfield Road; the Bamfield Airport, a 40-acre parcel on Binnacle Road; 0.275 acres on Seaboard Road; and Ostrom’s Marine on Seaboard Road, a 1.72-acre property.

Huu-ay-aht has been investigating the opportunity the properties offer the Nation and the community of Bamfield since the spring of 2015. Chief Dennis said the work that the previous government put into this acquisition is greatly appreciated, and he is proud to see it receive support from citizens at their People’s Assembly.

By closing this deal, Huu-ay-aht has made a commitment to their neighbours in Bamfield to continue to build a strong relationship between the small First Nation and the community members.

“We have many citizens who remember growing up in what is now Bamfield Inlet,” Peters explained. “So to gain some of it back is a step in the right direction.”

Over the years, Bamfield residents have watched as businesses closed and the properties that once housed them fell into varying levels of disrepair. By purchasing these properties, Huu-ay-aht First Nations hopes to breathe new life into the area and create a bright future for its citizens and residents of Bamfield. The Nation sees this as a potential springboard for revitalization of these historic properties and the economy in the area.

“This is an integral piece to developing a strong Huu-ay-aht economy on our Traditional Territory,” explained Huu-ay-aht Councillor Trevor Cootes. “The Bamfield Property acquisition will be a cornerstone to the Nations’ Economic Plan, which will guide us into the future.”

Moving forward, the Nation will be working with the community to establish a plan for the future. Huu-ay-aht’s elected chief indicated they will be hosting meetings to keep citizens and residents informed.

“We want to build on the relationship we have with Bamfield residents,” Dennis said. “We will hold meetings with Bamfield residents and Huu-ay-aht citizens to inform them of the acquisition and our future plans.”

Huu-ay-aht takes possession of the properties immediately. The first step will be establishing each properties potential and what role it will play in the future of the Nation. The Huu-ay-aht Development Corporation will play a key role in this process through the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses. CEO for HDC is optimistic that this purchase will open doors and create opportunities for the Nation and its neighbours.

The day-to-day operation of the businesses will fall under the responsibility of the Huu-ay-aht Development Corporation.

CEO Gary Wilson said their main focus will be ensuring there is a smooth transition, while adding Huu-ay-aht’s signature to current businesses.

“We are looking forward to getting ready for the upcoming tourist season,” he said. “This will mean jobs and opportunities for Huu-ay-aht. We will focus on training and capacity building to enable us to participate in tourism and hospitality industry in the region.”

He said Huu-ay-aht’s investment will offer benefit for the whole region and will offer the Nation an opportunity to share its culture.

“We look forward to working with the Bamfield to revitalize the economy,” Wilson concluded.

bamfield properties final

Come to our Community Engagement Sessions

UPDATE: Victoria’s Engagement Session has been changed to today, December 18, 2015. They will be held at the Uptown Community Room in the Uptown mall, beginning at 5:30 p.m. with dinner and the meeting to follow.

Our Executive Council has identified Economic Development as a top priority for the Nation.

First thing in the new year, we are holding Community Engagement Sessions in Anacla, Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver.

This will be an opportunity to share with citizens the financial plan moving forward in the morning. They will also unveil the Nation’s Economic Development Report and Plan in the afternoon.

čuu kʷaač (Join us!)

January Community Engagement Sessions

Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses hires new CEO

The Board of Directors of the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses is pleased to introduce the newest member of their team, Gary Wilson. Gary will be replacing the current Chief Executive Officer Stan Coleman who has advised the Board that he will not be seeking an extension at the expiration of his contract at the end of January 2016.

Gary is a citizen of the Heiltsuk Nation, located on the central coast of B.C. (Bella Bella). He began his career as a commercial fisherman.  From there he decided to pursue post-secondary education, obtaining his Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Royal Roads University. His quest for learning continues, as he is currently enrolled in the Executive Masters of Business Administration Program at SFU.

Gary comes to Huu-ay-aht with a broad set of skills and a great deal of knowledge from his operational, academic and management experiences. He has worked with First Nation communities and organizations for the greater part of his career and spent fifteen years working in various management positions for CIBC in the banking industry.

Over the past decade, Gary has operated his own management consulting company, specializing in comprehensive planning, project management, corporate finance and business development. He also served the Heiltsuk Nation in its resource management department and that Nation’s Economic Development Corporation as General Manager. In his role with the Economic Development Corporation, he was responsible for overseeing a group of ten business units, including an airport, fisheries, forestry, fuel company and various retail companies.

CEO Stan Coleman has already had Gary on site, meeting staff and leadership and touring Huu-ay-aht territories and businesses.

“Working together over the next six weeks will allow for a seamless transition period in the CEO position,” says Stan. “The transition period will provide Gary with the opportunity to orient himself with Huu-ay-aht and to put his experience and expertise to work developing his own ideas that will lead us into the next phase of growth of our businesses.”

“It is an extreme honour to join the Huu-ay-aht team as the incoming CEO for the group of businesses. I look forward to working with the Staff, the Board, Huu-ay-aht leadership and partners, carrying on the good work of the corporation,” says Gary. “I am very excited to play a part in enhancing and building a sustainable economy for the current and future generations of Huu-ay-aht!”

“We are very excited to have Gary bring his experience and enthusiasm to the Huu-ay-aht group of businesses,” says Operating Board Chair Angela Wesley.  “He will be a great asset to our Nation and our businesses. The Board is confident he will continue on with the great work that Stan has started over the past few years as well as bringing his own ideas for growth into our businesses.”

The Board looks forward to continuing to introduce Gary to our citizens, Ḥaw̓iiḥ and elected leadership.

čitakinʔaała n̓ačuʔał suw̓a and welcome to Team Huu-ay-aht.