Whether at work or play, tourism has long been at the forefront for Ken Loudon.
As GPRA 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.”
“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.
“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.
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.
Originally from Calgary, Threza has called Grande Prairie home for 16 years. She is the newest member of the team at GPRTA. She brings with her previous experience in museums, arenas and recreation facilities in the area, having a flair for the arts, music, health and wellness.
Threza is excited to expand upon her customer service forte to travel. An adventurous traveller herself, one year she drove to and lived in Mexico for 5 months.
Working also for the County of Grande Prairie, in the Spring/summer season, she brings a community BBQ to events to serve public functions, discovering many hidden gems in the Peace Country and meeting a variety of people from all walks of life. She has enjoyed a wide variety of activities, places and events in the Peace Country because of her love of travel and the arts. Being a farm girl at heart, she has found northern Alberta preferable to the big city life she had in Calgary.
At home she loves to garden, babysit grandkids, attend art shows and live music, play piano and write songs. You may have seen her performing at public events around the area.
With much enthusiasm Threza joins the team GPRTA team. She is happy to help people explore and discover the rich and diverse area we live in, finding things to do for sports, community, beauty, culture, entertainment, quiet nature, travel and everything in between.