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Our leadership team

We deliver high level, cost effective, and quality recreation services to municipalities with an unparalleled understanding of municipal services mandates.

Our senior leadership team offers you years of industry-specific experience and is backed by formal education, certifications, and a long list of awards. We are recognized by various organizations and local communities for our long-term contribution towards post-secondary education, professional development, industry legislation and policy, and philanthropic initiatives.

We are committed to providing safe, well-maintained atmospheres – both buildings and programs – while delivering fun-filled, memory making, experiences which touch people’s lives in positive ways and keep people of all ages returning to your facilities.

Qualifications of our Senior Leadership Team include:

Master’s degree in:

  • Human Leisure Development

Bachelor’s degrees in:

  • Recreation Services
  • Education
  • Physical Education
  • Kinesiology
  • Human Resource Management Commerce

Diplomas in:

  • Marketing
  • Fitness
  • Special Education
  • Athletic Training
  • Leisure Development
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Recreation Program Management

Certifications in:

  • Recreation Facilities Operator
  • Arena Operator Certificate (Levels I & II)
  • Arena Icemakers
  • Fifth Class Power Engineers Certificate (now Refrigeration Operator)
  • Swimming Pool Operators Certificate (Levels I & II)
  • Irrigation Systems Design and Installation
  • Golf Course Maintenance
  • Campground Design
  • Landscape Design and Maintenance
  • Curling Rink Installation and Maintenance
  • Life and Business Coaching
  • Customer Service Excellence Trainer
  • Emergency Management
  • First Aid, AED, and CPR Instructor
  • Oxygen Administration Instructor
  • Basic Life Support Instructor
  • Health and Safety Program Development and Internal Auditor
  • Lifesaving National Lifeguard Instructor
  • Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor Trainer
  • Red Cross Master Water Safety Instructor

Tom Watson

​​With a background in professional sports, a degree in Leisure Services, a master’s degree in Human Leisure Development, and diplomas in Fitness, Nutrition and Marketing, along with nearly 30 years of upper-level management experience, Tom Watson is a respected leader in the recreation industry. As founder and owner of Recreation Excellence, Tom has a proven track record of successfully managing municipal facilities throughout British Columbia and Alberta.

  • In addition to his work with Recreation Excellence, Tom heads up Your Better Life, a coaching company committed to empowering people to achieve balanced success, both at home and at work
  • He’s also a noted motivational speaker and author of the book Man Shoes.
  • Tom puts family first with his wife Kathy, his 3 children, growing grandchildren, and his favorite pup, Slater.

Kathy Watson

Kathy has been involved in sport, leisure, health and wellness initiatives for most of her life. As co-owner of Recreation Excellence, she uses her formal academic education along with her experience as an educator to inspire, coach and mentor future programming stars. Kathy specializes in guiding them through curriculum development, goal setting, learner characteristics and teaching strategies.

  • Bachelor of Education degree and a diploma in Special Education
  • 25+ years working with children as a school teacher
  • Certified as a lifeguard, swim instructor, and customer service trainer
  • Kathy loves to spend time with her family, trying new cuisines, and travelling

Dominique MacDonald

Dominique is a Master Water Safety Instructor Trainer, a Lifeguard Instructor/Examiner, a First Aid Instructor, Pool Operator 1 & 2, a Supervision Evaluation and Enhancement Auditor, and more. Along with 10 years working in pre-hospital care, she brings technical expertise and creative staff training practices to Recreation Excellence.

If she’s not running a virtual or in-person session, she will be towing the camper to a lake with her husband, two teenage kids, and Molly, the Irish Setter.

  • 30+ years in aquatics
  • Corporate policy and brand management
  • Senior leadership team
  • Facility and event programming
  • Leadership training

Peter MacLeod

Peter’s core recreation philosophy is “quality service results in higher participation and when well managed, has better cost recovery”. With a true passion for recreation, Peter provides innovative ideas and customer-driven service to the public recreation industry in aquatics, arena operations, therapeutic recreation, and first aid training.

Peter loves the outdoors and forging for wild, edible, and sought-after mushrooms.

  • 30+ years in recreation management
  • Project budgeting and planning
  • Review and analysis of ongoing projects
  • Feasibility studies
  • Business case development for public recreation projects

Maria Bittroff

Maria shares her years as a facility operator, recreation complex director and professional administrator to our team. She has a passion for organization and implementing new seamless systems and processes. Maria is also a master party planner and never forgets a birthday.

  • 30+ years in the recreation industry
  • Corporate administration
  • Human resources
  • Senior leadership team
  • Facility programming and special events

Sunni Belle

Sunni has been a passionate member of the aquatic world in many different roles from instructing lessons to managing and training staff. As an active instructor, Sunni is on the pool deck instructing Water Safety Instructor and National Lifeguard. She is also serious about safety in the classroom teaching first aid. Sunni brings knowledge and experience from different municipalities to Recreation Excellence and her team.

You can also find Sunni at the campground enjoying time with her family or floating in a lake on her paddle board.

  • 25+ years in aquatics
  • Senior leadership team
  • Facility programming
  • Disney Institute Certified
  • Certificate in Leisure Development

Pepper Harrington

Pepper has 15+ years in the recreation industry. She has achieved multiple certifications in a wide variety of areas, including: pool operations, youth leadership, and customer service. She leads her team to service the diverse needs of the community by developing and delivering quality aquatic, fitness, and youth programs.

Pepper is a wife and mother of two young boys and has adopted rescue kitten’s named Texas and Rico. Favourite hobbies include photography and visiting with family and friends.

  • Leisure Development Diploma
  • 15+ years in the recreation industry
  • Senior leadership team
  • Facility management

Clarence Martin

Clarence, aka Clarey, shares his experience and vast knowledge in building operation and ice maintenance with his team. They operate a state-of-the-art refrigeration plant to make and maintain ice, operate a fitness center, and manage a full size gymnasium.

Known as “uncle Clarey” to 30+ nieces and nephews, he’s an anchor in the community. His hunting, fishing and foraging supports 200+ local families. Clarey also enjoys golfing, making tik tok videos with his wife Bertha.

  • 20+ years in ice rink management
  • Senior leadership team
  • Building operations
  • Refrigeration operation
  • Customer service

Britanie Lazarowich

Britanie has 20+ years of experience in aquatics. She is a Water Safety Instructor Trainer with a passion for teaching. She finds fun and creative ways to educate, train, manage, and mentor her team.

Outside the pool, she can be found in the garden with her husband or snuggling up with her cats.

  • 20+ years in aquatics
  • Senior leadership team
  • Certification instructor

Jamie Flohr

Jamie has 20+ years of experience in retail and aquatic management. She mentors and shapes her team of lifeguards and swim instructors to deliver a consistently safe and fun experience to each guest. 

Jamie has a fascination for music and loves going to concerts and live music events. Spending time with her family and camping are also on the top of her love list.

  • 20+ years in management
  • Facility management
  • Customer service excellence

Shawna Morrison

Shawna has a comprehensive and extensive understanding of First Nations people and their unique barriers to sports and recreation. She’s also known as Uma Nii Tah (sitting pretty) in the feast hall and is a strong Gitxsan woman who belongs to the Lax Gibuu (Wolf) clan. With her passion for people, she has mastered her craft of being a “Helping Human.” She leads her team to create partnerships and programs for the local community.

Shawna and her partner, Mike, with their dogs, Tucker and Lambeau, love going on adventures. She enjoys spending time with her family and all her nieces.

  • 20+ years in mental health and addictions
  • Program management
  • Children and youth programming
  • Leadership training

Karlee Ascione

Karlee started her career young and has been continuing her education at every opportunity. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge and teaching others. Karlee is a Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor, First Aid Instructor, and loves teaching people of all ages the basics of swimming.

When Karlee isn’t working, she’ll be exploring the nearby mountain range with her husband, and German Shepherd.

  • 10 years in aquatics
  • Facility management
  • Certification instructor
  • Diploma in Primary Care Paramedics

Samantha Derksen

Samantha has a passion for aquatics. She is often found working alongside her team on the pool deck or in the water. She takes pride in mentoring her team so everyone can feel safe while having fun in the water.

You can also find Samantha enjoying the great outdoors with her family and friends.

  • Supervising Diploma
  • 5+ years in aquatics
  • Facility management
  • Pool operations
  • Disney Institute Certified

Hannah Tersteeg

Hannah has always been a part of the aquatic world. She has been swimming competitively from the age of 5 and lifeguarding throughout university. As a customer service trainer, Hannah ensures that service is delivered efficiently and that patrons enjoy their time at the facilities they visit.

Outside of working hours, Hannah is either at the gym or taking care of her plants.

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Customer service management
  • Recreation programming

 

Joey Saunders

Joey’s administration, construction, and retail experience has earned him the nickname “Mr. Fix It.” Joey springs into action no matter what needs fixing. Combined with his background in sales and customer service, he strives to provide the community with well clean, efficient, and compliant facilities.

Joey spends his free time fishing, biking, and traveling with his wife and kids. He loves spending time with his family and is always looking for new adventures.

  • Facility management
  • Construction administration
  • Pool operations

Some of our clients