Written by Katya Irwin
Jesse has been with MMTS for almost 15 years. The work has led him to some fascinating destinations, including Chile and Peru, Mongolia, Thailand and Mexico. While the pandemic has stifled some recent travel, he did conduct a recent trip to Greenland in August for a green energy initiative.
“I came to Cowork because I love the downtown area and it’s only a five-minute walk from home. It helps me be more productive and creates some separation from home.”
“Search and rescue is definitely a passion of mine – I love it,” he explains. “You need a balance of work, life and play. I consider a lot of [search and rescue] play because we get to fly around in helicopters. Being outside and helping people out is fun – and it can be quite rewarding.”
He also enjoys golfing, paddle-boarding, learning about wine and photography.
Written by Katya Irwin
In the dazzling white artist studio at Cowork Penticton, Ranada Pritchard creates magical worlds from blank canvases. Brightly coloured landscapes light up the space, and portraits spring to life, building intriguing windows to new people and places.
Ranada is an artist, an explorer and a vineyard/hobby farm owner. Oh, but that is just the start. She is also a trained chef and businesswoman, having run a successful construction materials business with her husband Neil. “I wore many hats in my youth,” she reflects.
And while she’s mostly retired today, we get the sense that Ranada is far from slowing down.
Her career as a chef spanned many cities, including the Yukon, Vancouver for training, and upscale restaurant in West Vancouver and the Gulf Islands. She even owned her own restaurant for a while.
But after meeting her husband, she quit her job and moved to Vancouver to work with him, running a business together. She still enjoys cooking at home but doesn’t miss the long hours of working in a kitchen.
Owning and growing a business
“I started out with the paperwork but the company grew really fast. At the time, there were five employees and now we have 70, so it really took off. At one point, I was the controller, human resources, outsourcing IT, accounts payable, whatever needed to be done,” says Ranada.
“I loved the work, I really did. I loved the people so much. I’m still very close to a lot of our staff and I’m very proud of what we did.”
Today, Ranada shares Trestle Studios at Cowork with her painting mentor, Dianne Bersea, who tutors her once a week. She speaks humbly of her work, eager to hone her skills while embracing this new phase of life.
“I guess you would say painting is a passion because almost my whole life I have dabbled in art, but nothing as serious as this,” says Ranada. “I don’t really have an agenda around it. I just want to learn how to be a good painter.”
Gone are the work hats, and in their place, a paintbrush – not to mention a ski helmet, bike helmet and likely a few sunhats for working on the hobby farm.
Hails from …
Ranada was born and raised in Vancouver. Fun fact: She spent a brief stint living in Beirut when she was eight years old. In her adulthood, she has also lived in the Yukon, Gulf Islands and Metro Vancouver.
Five years ago, she and her husband were on the way back from a road trip when they stopped into Penticton to visit Ranada’s aunt and uncle. They noticed a vineyard up for sale – and the rest is history. Today, they grow grapes for a local winery and Ranada keeps a farm-load of pets, including two dogs, a cat and 14 chickens.
What do you love about Penticton?
“I love a small community. I like knowing people on the street, friendly faces and a sense of community. I didn’t really have that in Vancouver,” she says.
“A couple of years ago, I started hiking, and it opened me up a lot more to meeting other people. I feel really well connected here, and having family here is lovely.”
She’s busy with outdoor activities, too, including running, biking, pickleball and golfing. She even started skiing again this past winter. She’s an avid traveller and reader – plus a huge animal-lover.
“I love animals, and for a couple of years I was sharing a horse in Summerland. Now I have two dogs, a cat and almost 14 hens – two more chickens coming next week.”
Come see me about …
“You could ask me about food or having chickens. I’m happy to talk about art, travelling to Asia, Europe and the Middle East.”
Written by Katya Irwin
Today, Dianne Bersea’s paintings are on display around the world. Her illustrations adorn countless books, including one she is working on right now. Her telephone rings with requests for commission paintings, with a specialty in natural history illustrations and stylized images of the West Coast.
From her studio at Cowork Penticton, she quietly works on her art and her other passion – writing. At 73, she says she has been painting and drawing since age five and working professionally as an artist for 50 years.
And while Dianne is highly accomplished, she confesses she has never been a goal planner. In fact, quite the opposite.
“It’s the story of my life – I have success and then turn and do something else. People have often asked me why I have done so many things, and it’s because I get bored easily. I don’t like to do the same thing for too long,” she says. “I never really got the hang of going in one direction at the same time.”
Dianne realizes she has been living life to the full, anticipating it may be cut short. Her father and brother both died of Huntington’s disease and she knew she had a 50% chance of also developing the condition.
“I suppose that has been my attitude to life,” she reflects.
This carefree life of creativity has led her on many adventures, to meet fascinating people and make extraordinary art.
“I go where the wind is blowing,” she says. “It certainly has provided an interesting life and I have met a great many people. I’m just realizing how many remarkable people it has introduced me to, many of whom are friends to this day.”
What brought her to Cowork
Dianne describes herself as a semi-retired artist, illustrator and writer. She shares the Trestle Studio space with Ranada Pritchard, who offered Dianne half the space in return for being her on-the-spot mentor.
After completing her current three commissions, Dianne plans to focus on her writing. This includes a monthly 'Nature Wise' column in the Penticton Western News, not to mention notebooks filled with ideas she one day hopes to write.
“I have done all things in the art and creative fields, from exhibit designer in national parks to food styling a cookbook. One of my star projects is what they called a flagship exhibit in Banff,” she explains.
Others include illustrating a series of history books on Alberta, creating artwork used on the cover of books, and so many paintings, she has lost track.
“I have been making my living in the creative industries for over 50 years, so a lot has happened in that period of time and a lot of things have changed.”
Before moving to Penticton, Dianne spent 18 years on Cortes Island. Having travelled there to take a workshop, when the class was over, she and her partner Jodi – who have now been together 26 years – stayed on. The Island often attracted successful and wealthy visitors, and her artwork began to receive significant attention, with paintings purchased and transported to far-flung destinations.
As for tomorrow, what does Dianne have planned? Well, who knows? We can only guess that her artistic eye will take her where the wind blows.
Written by Katya Irwin
From building homes to selling them, Lars Konge can answer your questions related to all phases of the housing life cycle.
One of the newer faces around Cowork – and Penticton, for that matter – Lars sold his construction business in Vancouver, now evolving his expertise into the world of real estate. He and wife Anna sold their home in East Vancouver, packing up their four kids (ages 2, 5, 9 and 13) for a place in Naramata, drawn to the South Okanagan’s outdoorsy lifestyle.
“I like to keep my kids busy,” he says, “and Penticton is a playground for families.”
Lars chats with Cowork about the family’s decision to leave Vancouver and his plans for the future.
What do you do?
“I used to have a construction business in Vancouver. I got into preconstruction services and did that for 15-16 years. I started it so young and wanted to do something else,” he says.
Lars has been studying for his real estate licence and plans to start as an agent soon with Royal LePage. He plans to use his knowledge of construction to invest in properties, while also helping other potential newcomers find their ideal home here in the South Okanagan.
Lars grew up on a farm and says he also wanted to give his children the experience of growing up with a more carefree lifestyle.
“Freedom – it’s free here. I lived in East Vancouver for 16 years. Sometimes I just wanted to get out of the city so I would drive to the States, but it’s a big ordeal to leave the city. I find way more freedom here,” he says.
When Lars was a child, he played hockey in Penticton, so the city has “always had a soft spot” in his heart, he adds.
Hails from …
“I was raised on a dairy farm in Enderby, in the north Okanagan. When I was 22, I moved to Vancouver.”
Fun fact: When Lars was 13, he went to school in Denmark for a term, thanks to his Danish ancestry.
“I’m starting to plan out my next business and I have a lot of work to do right now, so I just wanted to get out of the house to have somewhere to think.”
What do you love about Penticton?
“I love the valley; it sparkles to me. I love the seasons and the variety of weather, the different types of snow, the hot summer days. I like the geography. I like to do stuff every day.”
He adds that recreational activities are much more affordable here than in Vancouver.
“The amount we were spending at the coast on children’s activities, it’s thousands of dollars a month difference, and we get way more value here. The hockey is run better, ice time is easier.”
What do you do in your spare time?
“I ski, run, hike, dirt bike. I bought my kids dirt bikes. Here, there’s a lot to explore.”
Come see me about …
“I know a lot about real estate and construction. If you need to hire a contractor, I can help. If you need a construction budget, I can look at a house and tell you what it would cost. I genuinely like helping people.”
Something you might not know about me
“I’ve done most of the world’s worst jobs – truly. You name it… I worked on a ranch getting attacked by cows all day long. I picked tobacco in Australia…”
Much like a great novel, sometimes our lives can have an intriguing plot twist. This was the case for Herman Steuernagel about seven years ago, when he felt inspired to leave his hometown and an unfulfilling banking job.
Today, he’s a web designer by day, science fiction novelist by night, runner, cyclist and living life to the full. And where better to do all of those things than Penticton?
“It’s interesting how the choices we make decide where life will take us,” says Herman, reflecting on that pivotal time in his early 30s. “My dad had just passed away, one year after he retired, and I realized I didn’t want to work a job I didn’t like.”
So Herman left his banking career, where he was managing two banks and 30 people, and he and his wife Nettie packed up their lives in La Crete, Alberta, to move to Penticton. He started up his own web design company – and hasn’t looked back.
“We had vacationed here in the summers and liked Penticton and thought it was the best place within reason to move, still in Canada, so came here for sunshine and wine. I also road cycle and this is a great area for that so that was part of what brought us here.”
What do you do?
Herman works as a web designer, currently for Calgary-based XM Media, which merged with his former company, The Fourth Media. They specialize in building custom websites, search engine optimization and google ads for a wide variety of companies of all sizes.
Before his previous life as a banker, Herman was a reporter at the Northern Pioneer community newspaper – a natural fit after gaining an English degree from University of Calgary. While he soon discovered it was not his dream job, this education and experience no doubt carved the path for his other passion – writing novels.
Read his first novel
Herman’s first book, published in December 2020, is a young adult dystopian science fiction novel titled Lies the Guardians Tell. It’s the first book in a series, based on a futuristic story about a young woman who sets off on a journey to learn the truth about her world’s existence. The book can be purchased through online merchants and is already receiving rave reviews.
Herman says he has finished writing book two and has four others in mind for the series.
“What happens after that, we’ll see,” he says.
Strike it off the bucket list
What inspired Herman to start writing novels? The journey began in the summer of 2019 when he agreed to join his friends to train for a half marathon. Having never been a runner in the past, it was a lofty goal.
“I went from couch to half marathon in four months,” he said, and completed the Kelowna Half in a time that surprised everyone, including himself.
“I figured, if I can do this, I can do anything,” he added. “Novel writing was always on my bucket list and I didn’t think I had the time. But if I had the time and dedication to enter a race that I had never previously dreamed of doing, I knew I could accomplish something I’d always wanted to do.”
Next on the bucket list? Possibly training for a full marathon, once a foot injury heals. And once international travelling opens up again, he’d like to visit Machu Picchu and explore more of Europe.
What do you love about Penticton?
In the meantime, Herman is loving life in Penticton, where he has been for the past six years. He has raced the Penticton Grand Fondo a couple of times and enjoys all the recreational activities the city has to offer.
“I love the weather and I really enjoy the athletic events that come here. The scale and quantity of events that we get here has always astonished me,” he said.
Why do you love Cowork?
“It was pretty soon after I had moved to Penticton that I found Cowork. I was looking for a place to work that wasn’t at home or a coffee shop. I enjoy the variety of people who come through Cowork through such varied skills and backgrounds – it’s pretty incredible.”
Hails from …
“I was born in Stettler, Alberta, lived in that area until I was eight, and kept moving north until a little town five hours north of Grande Prairie called La Crete. Dad was a teacher, so he moved there for an opportunity.”
Come see me about …
“Self-publishing, web design and wine.”
Something you might not know about me
“That I was a branch manager at ATB Financial. I managed two branches and 30 staff.”
Editor’s note: And if you haven’t been paying attention, Herman has just written his second novel.
Road cycling, running, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, writing and reading. Be sure to pick up his first book: Lies the Guardians Tell.
Written by Katya Irwin
Cowork's Community Manager and so, so much more.
Why should kids have all the fun? Ask Kim Palmer about her collection of fire truck LEGO. Or maybe about performing in a musical theatre group for adults. Or about her passion for figure skating and that time she crashed Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s 2010 Olympic gold medal party.
As Executive Director of the Okanagan School of the Arts, Kim is always exploring new creative programming – for all ages. She’s also a self-proclaimed adult fan of LEGO, known colloquially as an AFOL, and we get the sense that her LEGO collection may be the envy of most eight-year-olds.
“I’m slightly obsessed with fire trucks,” she confesses. “When I was a kid, my parents got me the LEGO fire station. When I started getting back into it about seven years ago, I dug it out, and then started buying new ones and antique ones. Now every time a new fire truck comes out, I have to get it.”
The process of building LEGO is “weirdly meditative,” she adds. “The whole world can go away and you can just sit there and concentrate on it.”
Kim also helps coordinate the BrickCan convention in Vancouver and is interested in starting up a group here in Penticton: LEGO-pogo, anyone?
As seen at Cowork
Kim runs the office for the Okanagan School of the Arts, now based at Cowork, formerly stationed at the Shatford Centre. She’s also the morning face at the front desk, greeting visitors and managing the tunes.
She speaks with vigour about OSA programming, which includes a life drawing group, painting, sketching, calligraphy classes – “and, eventually, a musical theatre group.” Delivery has adapted amidst the pandemic, with a mix of virtual and in-person classes where participants can spread out.
And she’s revived by the energy at Cowork, surrounded by people who love their work.
“There’s an energy and feeling of enthusiasm because most of the people who are here are doing the work or project that they really want to do. It’s really energizing,” she says.
Back in time
Kim grew up in rural Ontario, surrounded by farmland. The closest town was a 15-minute drive away called Forest. But this didn’t stop her from being busy. She figure skated six days a week, sang in choirs, worked for the school paper, and later taught swimming and coached skating.
She moved to Kingston to attend Queens University, where she completed a degree in English language and literature, “minoring in pipe band,” she jokes. In case you’re wondering, she played tenor drums and symbols.
“Nice and noisy – just the way I like it.”
Kim’s career took some jaunts, starting in retail, bankruptcy and call centres in North Bay. She moved to Vancouver in 2003, with jobs ranging from Canadian Red Cross to environmental consulting and then architecture and mining consulting. She worked briefly as a social media manager for Cherry Velvet, a local fashion brand, before – quite suddenly – moving to Penticton.
Moving to Penticton
One day, during musical theatre group in Vancouver, Kim met Pascal. Together, they performed in musicals and travelled around taking in skating competitions.
It should be said, these weren’t your usual musicals. Picture mashed-up scripts with different performances combined into one colourful, magical show. For example, Priscilla, Queen of the Damned. Or a superhero show with an alien invasion. Each was presented as a full production, complete with choreography, singing and costumes.
A skating competition brought the pair to Penticton one fall. They started coming up each summer, and something about floating down the channel inspired Pascal to file for a work transfer. It came through, and within two months, they arrived in Penticton (February 2019).
“I love a lot about Penticton. It wasn’t just the channel, although that’s a big one. And it wasn’t just the wine. Vancouver, as with any big city, can get very impersonal and we very much felt that from the time we were visiting, there’s an openness and friendliness here that we really appreciate.”
Recently, they started the Broadway Chorus of the Okanagan, which they’ve named Showtime Community Theatre. They’re prepared to remount musical theatre shows here, but COVID has put that on the back burner. She has also joined the Glengarry Skating Club.
What comes next? Whatever it is, you can expect it will be bright, creative and outrageously fun.
The City of Penticton is currently reviewing feedback to make a decision on whether or not to install dedicated bike lanes along a proposed lake to lake route, part of which falls within the downtown core.
As owners and operators of Cowork Penticton we believe that the value of safe cycling routes will improve the livability of our city and improve the future prospects for all businesses.
We wrote to council explaining this and have published our letter below.
If you agree, please write your own letter and email it firstname.lastname@example.org.
To whom it may concern,
Cowork Penticton is in full support of the Downtown Bike Lanes in the proposed Lake to Lake route.
Our membership/customer base is made up of a very high proportion of avid cyclists of all kinds: commuters, leisure, trail and downhill, road and competitive. They regularly fill our internal bike rack. Some cyclists trailer their children to school or daycare, others head out for lunchtime rides.
Cycling to and from work, is incredibly important to the entrepreneurial, freelance and remote working business people who use our building every day. Our members ride their bikes to Cowork and use it as a home base for the day. From there they walk to do a lot of business in the downtown core. Cyclists are strong and loyal customers. Throughout the Downtown core, the City should be encouraging bike commuting for employees and visitors alike.
Safe access through the centre of the downtown is critical to following through on Penticton's messaging as a city that celebrates cycling culture. Bikes need to be removed from sidewalks and given a safe and protected laneway. If a bike lane is not conveniently located, the problem is not solved.
This presentation by Toronto Cycling breaks down the positive impact of bike lanes very simply, and further highlights the fact that retail owners greatly overestimate the number of driving customers and underestimate the number of cycling customers.
In another study, bike lanes are shown to improve business conditions on the routes, as seen in this study of 14 corridors in 6 cities, released April 2020: " Essentially, adding improvements like bike lanes largely boosted business and employment in the retail and food service sectors."
Failure to install safe cycling routes in the Downtown core will ultimately harm all businesses in our City
I would like to reiterate that Cowork Penticton is in full support of the Downtown Bike Lanes in the proposed Lake to Lake route.
Nicholas & Jennifer Vincent
Founders and Owners
Cowork Penticton - Better.Together.
Written by Katya Irwin
Meet David Warriner
When David Warriner was 11 years old, his parents did something that would forever change the trajectory of his life. Recognizing his natural skill at learning French in school, they booked a trip to Paris – and placed a guide book in his hands.
Tasked with navigating their way around the city, it was David’s first taste of translating from French to English. And something stuck.
Thirty years later, he’s racking his bookshelf with books he has translated by French and French-Canadian authors. The freelance literary translator has penned everything from toddler’s board books to graphic novels, reimagined classic fairy tales and – his passion – crime fiction.
As he types away at his keyboard from his office space at Cowork Penticton, stories are being brought to life for a universal audience of English readers. Tales of crimes and mysteries unfold. The quirky personalities of characters are exposed. Windows into far-away worlds are unveiled.
The art of translating
Good translators are not born overnight, David admits. It’s a niche profession, having honed his skills after more than 15 years’ experience in commercial translation before turning his hand to the literary craft.
“It’s not just about plugging words onto a page,” David explains. “The mark of a good translation is for readers to not even suspect it’s a translation. We strive to make sure it reads as naturally as if English were the author’s first language. We have a duty to the author, the publisher and the reader to deliver the same feelings and emotions that book conjures up in the original language.”
“There’s always an aspect of the translator’s voice that comes through in every book and every text,” he added. “That’s because language is a tool. Like a sculptor would sculpt wood, literary translation is an art, so the style comes out in translation. As a translator, you’re writing somebody else’s story in your own words, and as a result you become a co-author of the story yourself.”
Born in Yorkshire, England, David went to Oxford from 1996 to 2000, earning a degree in French and German. While teaching English in Quebec, he met his wife Sarah. They ended up moving to Victoria in 2010, where David worked for the Ministry of Education as a translator. He soon made the leap to being his own boss, and was freelancing full time by the time they moved to Penticton in 2016 with their now 10-year-old daughter Avery.
Yet, the life of a translator is notoriously invisible. Ultimately, it’s the author who’s the star of the show. Also, translating is a solitary process.
“Cowork gets me out of the house in the morning. It’s nice when you’re not staring at the same four walls all day long,” says David. “It helps me shift gears between home and work – and I like the social aspect of working in an office with other like-minded freelancers and creative professionals. I feel part of a community and it builds more structure into my workday.”
Well, he’s clearly doing something right. Recently, David’s translation of Quebec author Roxanne Bouchard’s literary mystery We Were the Salt of the Sea was shortlisted for an award deemed the ‘Oscars of translation’ in the U.K. In fact, he claimed runner-up for the 2019 Scott Moncrieff Prize, awarded by the U.K. Society of Authors.
“The book really resonated with me – not just the crime aspect, but also the nautical flavour and the sheer poetry of the writing. It’s a beautiful book. It’s as much of a love story and an ode to sea as it’s a crime fiction novel, so it really checked a lot of boxes for me,” said David.
“To receive runner-up for my first full-length literary translation was a real honour.”
Look up his books
You’ll find many of these books at the Penticton Library. You can also purchase them on Amazon or at major chains including Indigo/Coles. Tip: Blackwells in the U.K. offers free shipping and Canadian pricing. Also, if you don’t see the books on the shelf, don’t be afraid to ask the librarian to order it in!
Did you know?
At a typical rate of 2,000 words a day, it can take a solid two to three months to translate a novel. That’s before the editing process even starts!
There have been dozens of English translations from the Ancient Greek of Homer’s The Odyssey since the 16th century, but the first and only woman to translate this classic text (so far) was Emily Wilson, in 2017.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina have also been translated from Russian into English multiple times. Husband and wife translator duo Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have translated both.
Some famous literary translations:
Fun fact! Pinocchio, written by Italian Carlo Collodi, was translated into 260 languages.
It’s the people we meet and places we go that fill our lives with meaning.
“Life is a journey. You go with the flow,” says Sukh Kaile, a lawyer and lifelong learner whose studies and travels have led him around the world. “You never know who you’re going to meet and where – and you learn from everyone along the way.”
These are values Sukh holds true. Born in northern India’s state of Punjab, Sukh – full name Sukhdarshan Singh Kaile – now lives in Penticton with his wife Amandeep Rai and their two-year-old twins (Ariyan and Mehnaaz).
He operates as a sole practitioner providing legal services throughout the South Okanagan, practicing business law, real estate conveyance, wills and estates, and immigration. Among his other skills, Sukh is fluent in three languages including Punjabi and Hindi.
At the office
Sukh has based his business out of Cowork Penticton for the past year.
“Here at Cowork, you get an opportunity to meet new people from different fields and it’s a good way to network,” he says.
Cowork offers a place to meet clients or work quietly after hours, providing the flexibility that life of a busy dad of two often requires. It’s Sukh’s hard-working drive and cheerful persona that keeps clients coming back.
“I’m always happy to help, available and willing to accommodate,” he says. “Working on your own, I have more flexibility, can work on evenings and weekends. What makes me happy is if I can help people and to make them smile.”
Sukh grew up in a city called Moga in the state of Punjab, India, which he says is – in many ways – comparable to Kelowna. It is largely agricultural, home to many colleges, well-connected by transit and home to a popular market for used cars and agricultural equipment on weekends.
He studied law and also worked as a lawyer in India, a common-law country, before gaining his master’s in business law from De Montfort Law School in Leicester, U.K., and returned to India to work as a lawyer. He met his wife in India, where they wed, and he was soon moving countries again – this time to Penticton, where Amandeep was living with her family.
But in order to work in Canada, Sukh had to upgrade his studies with a number of exams, and he took courses at UBC and UVic Law School. He completed his PLTC (Professional Legal Training Course) and Articling in 2017. He Articled at Summerland’s Avery Law Office. He says he’s thankful to his parents and inlaws for their support throughout this entire process.
Patience is a virtue
Sukh is a firm believer that good things come to those who wait. Meeting his wife, moving to Canada, finding a local law firm to do his articling and then achieving his licence to practice law in B.C. – these things all required persistence and a healthy dose of patience, says Sukh, now age 36.
“When you have patience, things come along, and when it’s the right time, it happens,” he says.