Denise was born and raised in Toronto and enjoyed her 20-year corporate career there as a Director for Loblaw Companies Limited, developing President Choice products. She has a daughter, Kyra, whom she adopted from Romania, and now a wonderful 2-year-old grandson, Cameron.
After her tenure at Loblaws, Denise and her daughter moved to Southern Georgian Bay to enjoy the rural lifestyle. She ran her own business, still developing private label food products but for retailers in the US, secured her license as a mortgage agent to help self-employed businesses secure mortgage financing, and owned and operated a Bed & Breakfast, Serenity in the Beach. Volunteering much of her time with The Wasaga Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Business Association, being active on both boards, is when she realized just how much she enjoyed working with and supporting businesses in the community.
Then almost 5 years ago, an opportunity presented itself in the Niagara Region so Denise and her family moved here. “It was a very good decision to move to and work in West Niagara and I truly love the communities here and what each one has to offer. It’s a wonderful place to work and raise a family”.
Her passion for helping others and community businesses, plus her experience gained over the years and most recently from working with the Lincoln and Grimsby Chambers of Commerce, compliment Denise’s desire to be our Office Manager here at our West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. “If I can do anything at all to help support your business, I’d be happy to. Just reach out to me here at the chamber!”
Rob Wood – Owner, Rob Wood Home Inspections
New to the Niagara Region in 2013, Rob has quickly become an engaged and committed community leader. He has a long history as a volunteer, from his 20+ years as a youth coach in hockey, basketball, baseball, and soccer, to helping out at Interim Place in Brampton & Mississauga, and assisting where needed at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Mississauga.
Since moving to a rural property outside of Smithville, Rob lends his hand as a volunteer at West Lincoln Community Care, where he continues to fix “previously loved” furniture for resale and makes weekly food pick-ups from local grocery donors on behalf of the Food Bank. And, with his usual creative flair, Rob gained notoriety for the decorated “chicken” he entered in the Smithville Poultryfest’s Corporate Chicken Challenge in 2014. Affectionately known as “Peck”, Rob’s chicken, while not judged in the top 3, was nevertheless a standout, if only because it was the only chicken entered that sported neon pink and orange feathers and shark’s teeth.
Rob’s dedication to his business as a Home Inspector lead him to become a member of the West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. His integrity, work ethic, energy, and common sense approach to projects spearheaded by the Chamber quickly resulted in his becoming a valued member of the Board. Rob became Vice President, and subsequently President, in 2016. He is excited about the future of business in West Lincoln and the Niagara Region and will bring his leadership skills and vision to ensure that the West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce is an integral partner with local businesses, for their promotion and growth for years to come.
Doug Newton – Owner, Hellbender Ink Vintage Tattoo
Growing up in the heavily tourist-oriented northern town of Parry Sound, Doug realized at an early age that it takes all kinds for the world to go around. He also learned that you should never ask more from the community then what you are willing to put back into it. He was very involved with community venues and committees and is proud to see that many of them still run today including Snowfest.
Doug left Parry Sound in 1998 and headed to Grimsby, where he opened the clothing retail store called Work World. Again, jumping right in with both feet, within 2 years of being a part of the community, he was voted in as the youngest ever President of the Grimsby Merchants Association.
Since then, he has done many things and ended up planting his new family roots in Smithville, in July of 2004. He has coached in the local soccer league, became the first tattoo artist to ever run for a political seat in Ontario, and has helped donate and raise nearly $50,000 to various charities and organizations over the last 8 years through his business Hellbender Ink Vintage Tattoo. He is the proud father of 2 boys, and step-father of 2 additional boys. It makes for a busy household for him and his fiancé Amanda.
Doug was lucky enough to be approached by the West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce in the winter of 2016/17, and asked to not only be a part of the Executive but was voted in as Vice-President. He is currently serving a commitment to a 2-year term.
Lou Stranges – Owner, Stranges & Associates
Marlene Bergsma – Director of Communication & Advancement, Smithville Christian High School
Marlene Bergsma is passionate about building community and about telling good stories. After more than 25 years as municipal affairs reporter at the St. Catharines Standard, she is now pleased to be telling the amazing stories of Smithville Christian High School and helping to build a vibrant community in West Lincoln. In her spare time, she hikes, paddles, reads, writes and knits, and is pursuing her Master of Communications Management degree at McMaster University. She cares about faith, community, equality, inclusion, the environment, and good food. She is married to an IT professional and is the inordinately proud mother of three students in various stages of their post-secondary careers – in physics, wine and anthropology.
Amy Wisniewski – Sales Representative, Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate
Amy moved to West Lincoln in 1993, but this wasn’t a new town for her as most of her childhood was spent visiting her large family here. She met Steve in 1994 and they married in 2001, at the same time they started building their family home in Smithville. In 2003 they had their daughter Emily and son Aiden in 2006. “Being raised in the big city of Hamilton, I always knew I wanted to raise my family in Smithville. I love the community and the people in it.”
Over the years Amy has had a few different career choices which have all been customer service based, these include furniture sales, district sales manager and serving in the restaurant industry. In 2012 she started her new career in Real Estate and joined the Royal LePage Niagara team. “Real Estate was a natural choice for me, it combines my passion for people, sales, and interior design.”
“I think it’s important to be involved in the community you live in. I want to set a good example for my children and be a part in making West Lincoln the best it can be.”
Dave Tamminga – Owner, Carruthers Printing
Dave was born and raised in Toronto and spent his teenage years in Burlington. Dave and his wife, Dinie, live in St. Catharines where they enjoy life with their five children, John, Suzanna, Emma, David, and Catherine. Together they attend the Vineland Free Reformed Church where Dave is on the church council and involved with teaching and administrative duties.
Since the mid-1980’s Dave has had a career in the printing industry, working in graphic design, prepress, printing and finishing although his focus was print. He and his wife bought Carruthers Printing in 2016, where they are applying their print, efficiency and marketing experiences.
Working in a small town, brought him to realize the importance of small business and the need to support local business. This led him to be a part of the Board of Directors of the West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce where he can give back to the community and also to assist other business owners succeed and enjoy the benefits of its membership.
Tim Bartels – Commercial Lines Account Manager, Meester Insurance Centre
Tim was born and raised on the family dairy farm in Dunnville. Currently still living in Dunnville with his wife and 4 children, Tim joined Meester Insurance Centre in 2014 as a broker, focusing on agricultural and commercial business insurance.
Volunteer work is no estranged to Tim, as he is currently the Chairman of the Canborough Community Centre Management Committee, Acting Captain and Training Officer for the Haldimand County Fire Department, as well as a new board member here on the Chamber.
“Don’t train till you get it right, train till you can’t get it wrong”
Paul Robertson – Job Developer, Employment Help Centre
Paul joined the family of the Employment Help Centre in 2017 and became a Board member with the West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce in 2018. In his short tenure working in West Lincoln, Paul has grown to adore the great community of West Lincoln and wants to assist in the current growth and advancement of the community in any way possible.
Paul is a graduate of Mohawk College where he obtained his diploma in Social Service Work. Prior to his pursuit of a career in Social Services, he was a commercial insurance broker in the Hamilton and Burlington areas for 10 years. His time as an insurance broker coupled with his schooling has allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the local economy as well as the varying challenges faced by employers and job seekers.
As a Job Developer, Paul strives to assist individuals to find a job they can be passionate about. As a board member, Paul hopes to continue building and fostering relationships with local employers, business leaders and the community alike.
Paul lives in Hamilton with his wife Georgia and step-daughter Gwyneth. He also contributes his time as a youth basketball coach and Vice President of a local basketball club.
Director at Large
Jody Couture – Operations Manager, West Lincoln Community Care
Jody was born and raised in Hamilton, is a mother of two, and has been a proud resident of West Niagara for the last 13 years. Her background experience includes 10 years of volunteerism in a non-profit kids sports organization as a Coach, Events Planner, Secretary, and Treasurer. Some of her work experience includes sales and customer service, office management, event planning, production planning, project management, purchasing, budgeting, strategic planning and staff development.
“I believe in what I do for a living and I love my job; it takes a village to raise a child and it’s our social responsibility to help out our fellow man. We’ve all needed a helping hand at one time or another and by helping our neighbours in need we are building a stronger and healthier community. Our local businesses are a key part of this and need to be recognized and supported. So, I am happy to be on the Board of Directors and want to do my best to contribute where I can… Together we are making our community great because West Lincoln Community Cares!”
Terry Bell – Councillor (Ward 3)
Terry Bell is currently serving his first term as Ward 3 Councillor in West Lincoln. Terry, now retired, was a long time employee of Stelco in Hamilton and currently operates an online craft business. Following his retirement, Terry relocated to Smithville with his wife, Lynne and together they are enjoying retirement and spending time with their children and grandchildren.
In his capacity as Councillor, Terry is the Chair of the Administration/Finance/Fire Committee and also serves on the following committees:
- Joint Accessibility Advisory Committee
- Niagara Road 12 Landfill Site Committee
- Recreation Leisure and Library Development Committee
- Sustainable Economic Development Advisory Committee
- Niagara Region Transportation Steering Committee
- West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce (Liaison)
Terry is extremely honoured to have been elected by the residents of Ward 3 in West Lincoln and is committed to continuing promoting growth and development in this community. Terry’s goal is to make West Lincoln a more sustainable community by enhancing social, economic and environmental services.
“With help from all the residents and businesses, we will continue to work towards enhancing our community with the unrelenting objective that it will remain a great place to live, work and play.”
Be proud of your community, tell everyone you meet that you’re from West Lincoln!