Whether at work or play, tourism has long been at the forefront for Ken Loudon.

As GPRTA Executive Director since March 1, 2021, he champions the industry and region on a daily basis. That’s right in his wheelhouse.

Ken has worked previously in the hospitality sector with hotel and casino positions. He has also served as a GPRTA Board member and President, and he’s in his fourth term on the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce Board.

Away from work and his volunteer roles, Ken keeps busy exploring the region he’s now promoting.

“On summer weekends, you’ll find me at the lake at Shaw’s Point with the family. I also enjoy cycling, hunting, hiking. In the winter, I enjoy skiing.”

Ken sees the Executive Director role as a natural fit.

“This position allows me to use all my skill sets and capitalize on the extensive network I’ve gained over the past 24 years living and working in the Grande Prairie Region,” he says.

“Tourism is a major economic pillar within the region. I have the opportunity to support industry stakeholders, business and surrounding communities alike in promoting the beauty of the North.”

Ken was formerly Regional Corporate Development Manager/Regional Manager, at the Grande Prairie/Wood Buffalo YMCA of Northern Alberta.

There’s no end of things to profile and celebrate in the region, Ken says.

“The strength of the tourism industry in this region is the vast diversity of opportunities for explorers to enjoy,” he says.

“We have so much to discover within the region. Collaboration and the layering of experiences is essential to providing a complete package to our guests. Supporting stakeholders in developing those moments and memories is essential.”

Ken’s excited to help the GPRTA navigate through challenging times for the industry.

My priority is to evaluate the value-added components of the organization to our membership and its impact on driving business into our region,” he says. “We need to be responsive to what our members value and deem important. We then need to deliver those elements in a comprehensive manner to bring growth to our members.

“This region is a leader in the economic recovery and tourism is a primary contributor to that. Extending our reach and increasing our capacity to deliver quality products and services to our visitors will ensure continued growth in the region.”

Ken’s looking forward working with the GPRTA Board and employees.

“I’m proud to be working with this amazing team of like-minded regional leaders and staff, he says. “I’m excited to see where this journey leads us. I count it as a privilege to be able to serve this region and contribute to its development.”

Ken’s no stranger to consensus building and ensuring fairness.

He’s the head soccer referee for the Northwest Peace Region and the Swan City Football Club. His more than 20 years with the Swan City Rotary Club includes a term as president.

Helen Beaulieu
Visitor Services Manager

Helen Beaulieu

Born and raised in Edmonton, Helen moved to Grande Prairie after graduating college in 1986. Her first job was a Tour Guide for, then Procter and Gamble (now Weyerhaeuser), so she feels this position at GPRTA is like coming full circle. Since that first job, Helen has put down roots in Grande Prairie, getting married, having her two babies and now getting to be a Grandma. Her career path led to working as a graphic designer, production coordinator and manager in the print, sign and vehicle graphics industries. She started with the daily newspaper and has worked for Parsons Printing, Menzies Printers and TrimFX. Now, she is excited to be taking a new direction back into the world of tourism. It is so much fun everyday to meet new people. It is such a great “job” showing off all our region has to offer to visitors from all over the world.

Kimberly Kimpe
Administrative Assistant

Kimberly Kimpe

“Kimberly is a unicorn as some call her; born and raised in Grande Prairie with family roots dating back to the 1920s and 1930s when her grandparents settled on farms in the area and these lands are still in the family to this day. Even after moving away for a couple years after college, she came back to settle in Grande Prairie as it has always been home.

With excitement Kimberly has taken on the Administrative Assistant position with the GPRTA as of February 2020 and brings to the table 15+ years in Business Administration and Bookkeeping experience she has gained both professionally and through volunteering.

Outside of work she enjoys traveling throughout Alberta and BC, nature, photography and camping, whether it be by a body of water or at a track, yes track, as in a drag racing track. Her newest hobby is drag racing, she is both pit crew and driver with her family racing team and a member of the North Peace Bracket Racing Association for the last 7+ years.

Sheila Schaab
Visitor Services Travel Counsellor

Sheila Schaab

After my children and I followed the love of my life to Grande Prairie in 2002 we settled in and bought a home in Royal Oaks. We soon found ourselves proud to call Grande Prairie our home. By 2005 I had many great friends here and got married.
I managed a few businesses and then moved on to work for the Catholic school board as well as the City. While working for the City I found myself loving the interaction with tourists and the locals, helping them find the many wonderful attractions and things to do in Grande Prairie. So when the opportunity came for me to join the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association, I  was so excited to expand my knowledge of the region and share it with others. I was fortunate enough to join the Rotary Bus Tours as an evening Tour Guide and enjoyed my years doing this.
I am loving my role in this wonderful organization as a Travel Counsellor/Gift Shop Manager and the people within the GPRTA.
Chrysann Gentles
Visitor Services Travel Counsellor

Chrysann Gentles

Chrysann comes to Grande Prairie first from Toronto, ON and more recently from Langley, BC.  Her childhood was spent living in 3 different countries and several different cities,  but only Grande Prairie has been called home, twice.
After spending 11 years working in public education she now divides her time between homeschooling and tourism, two great passions.