James Littley works for the Okanagan Basin Water Board

James Littley works for the Okanagan Basin Water Board

40 Under 40: James Littley

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has launched its "40 Under Forty" for 2020

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has launched its “40 Under Forty” for 2020. The chamber is now calling for nominations.

This is the Kelowna chamber’s sixth year of searching for the city’s high achievers and bringing their stories to the public.

BDO Canada LLP will make up the independent panel of judges.

There will be a wrap-up celebration for recipients once the program has concluded.

In James Littley’s first career with the BC Dragoons Army Reserve Regiment, he joined at 18 as a private and retired 14 years later as a captain.

As a reservist, James was put on alert after 9/11, served as the liaison officer for the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps and twice for visits by the Chief of the Defence Staff, deployed for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and served on the Standard party for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee visit in 2002.

In 2012, James started working for the Okanagan Basin Water Board, taking over management of the valley-wide control program for invasive milfoil. The program – started in the 1970s – was facing increasing pressures from environmental regulations, old equipment and increased shoreline development, creating operational challenges that needed to be solved. Around 2013, OBWB also became highly concerned about the threat of invasive zebra and quagga mussels. As the “staff lead” on this file, he worked to form partnerships with other organizations, lobby senior governments for more funding and create Action Items for all levels of government.

Much of what James has helped to accomplish in the management of the milfoil program and the prevention of invasive mussels has come by helping to develop strong relationships and partnerships, which James consider a part of leadership. This was most apparent to him when, after several months of work developing partnerships and meeting with provincial staff and ministers, the premier announced improvements to the invasive mussel prevention program which were almost point for point the action items called for by the water board board and their partners.

In the Canadian Forces, as an officer James held several formal leadership positions during his career. The most prominent position was as the operations officer for a 200-person unit during the Vancouver Olympics. This meant leading a small team of specialists to ensure that the troops had the resources and communications to maintain security for an Olympic venue.

James is a member of the British Columbia Dragoons Regimental Council Society and served as treasurer through 2019.

He also represents the Okanagan Basin Water Board on the BC Water Funders Collaborative Steering Committee and as a board director to Environment Funders Canada, a national network of philanthropic foundations and other organizations that support efforts to transition toward a more sustainable world.

In early 2019, at a meeting of the BC Water Funders, James advocated for the first ever, Western Canada AquaHacking Challenge to be brought to the Okanagan. He is now the Project Manager for the Challenge, engaging post-secondary students and young professionals from across Canada to solve Okanagan-focussed water issues. James believes one of the best ways to advocate for the community is to raise the profile of this beautiful place and highlight the work that is being done here.

James has a Master of Arts degree from UBC Okanagan in local government sustainability policy.

He also has a Bachelor of Arts from UBCO with a double major in human geography and political science, and a certificate from Capilano University in local government administration.

James is continuing his education, currently working on a diploma in local government administration at Capilano College.

James is also a recipient of the Canadian Forces Decoration.

READ MORE: 40 Under 40: Sarah Howe

READ MORE: 40 Under 40: Manik Dhir

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