CHAMBER CHATTER: Remembering Ken Stratford

Ken St used his incredible business acumen to empower people to create opportunities for numerous Sooke businesses

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our dear friend Ken Stratford who died peacefully on Jan. 10.

With nearly five decades serving in senior executive capacities leading prominent organizations such as B.C. Ferries, B.C. Transit, Small Business B.C., Greater Victoria Economic Development Commission, Business Victoria, Royal Roads University, and others, Ken developed an internationally-acclaimed reputation as a business leader, innovator, strategist, educator, futurist and mentor.

He has been honoured with numerous accolades including the City of Victoria’s Business Leader of the Year in 1998, a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Vancouver Island Coast Economic Developers Association in 2011, the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce’s President’s Award of Recognition in 2014, and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the City of Victoria in late 2015 for his contributions to furthering the community with economic development initiatives.

Ken moved to Sooke in 2012 and completely immersed himself into small-town life.

He used his incredible business acumen and lifelong commitment to empowering people to create opportunities for numerous Sooke businesses to find their niches and prosper.

One such business was the Little Vienna Bakery and Cafe where his insights and business coaching helped create tremendous operational and marketing efficiencies, which served to increase annual sales revenues by more than 60 per cent in the last five years.

In addition to providing guidance on economic development initiatives to our past mayors and councils, Ken also took on the role as strategic advisor to the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce in 2012.

He can be credited with much of the chamber’s short- and long-term strategic planning exercises, as well as the development of numerous successful chamber portfolios such as the Newcomers’ Club, Resident Relocation Program, Business Education Series, Conference and Convention Marketing portfolio, and many other initiatives.

Always looking for ways to help, Ken also gifted our local chamber office with an extensive library of business books, presentation display stands and a number of other resources worth many thousands of dollars.

Most recently Ken was the keynote speaker at the Sooke Region Chamber’s Economic Development Symposium in September 2015, where he delivered a powerful and inspiring speech to more than 50 of Sooke’s most respected business and community leaders.

Addressing issues and opportunities ranging from local transportation infrastructure to telecommunications technology, green manufacturing to eco-tourism, town centre design fundamentals to relationship building with First Nations, Ken left the crowd excited and optimistic about what lays ahead for Sooke in the next five to 10 years.

A visionary, a Renaissance man, a brilliant intellectual mind, and an individual who was very much ahead of his time, Ken will also be remembered for his humour, warmth, compassion, thoughtfulness and incredibly giving nature.

He leaves behind a tremendous legacy which will be built upon by the many thousands of people he came into contact with and helped throughout his lifetime of service.

A celebration of life ceremony to honour Ken and his achievements will be held in March, with more detailed information available at the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce office in the coming weeks.

•••

 

Submitted by Michael Nyikes, a friend of Ken Stratford and 2014 chamber president, on behalf of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

Just Posted

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Island Savings kick-starts the Equipped to Heal campaign with $120,000. (Courtesy Victoria Hospitals Foundation)
Latest Victoria Hospitals Foundation campaign targets $1M for mental health

Goal is to outfit new 19-bed unit at Eric Martin Pavilion

Shaelyn Sinnott of Oak Bay Volunteer Services delivers groceries for client Irene Kenny. The organization has kept up delivery of food and medication throughout all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Oak Bay Volunteer Services)
Oak Bay volunteers keep critical services running

Duo drove between Oak Bay and Jubilee three days a week, twice a day during pandemic

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read