PRESS pursues social change through educational innovation.   Together, our staff members combine more than 80 years of experience in educational leadership and management, and encompass diverse capacities in education: technical training development; project-based training; special education programming; outdoor adventure training; community development and First Nations culture.  


Dr. Jay Yule, Executive Director


Dr. Jay Yule, the Executive Director of PRESS, has an M.A. in Special Education and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. He has been the Superintendent of School District 47 since 2005.  Jay was instrumental in PRESS’ incorporation in 2008 as an agency capable of developing and managing social and educational outcomes for a green infrastructure development partnership between: 

  • Klahoose First Nation
  • School District 47
  • Vancouver Island University (formerly “MalaspinaCollege”)
  • BC Industry Training Authority
  • Plutonic Power
  • Peter Kiewit & Sons 

Jay has established innovative human resource development programs for diverse communities and provincial organizations. As the executive director of PRESS, Jay brokers ground-breaking partnerships between communities, corporations and educational institutions to achieve economic and social development outcomes with multiple long-term benefits.  He is the President of the Powell River Economic Development Society, and has been on the board of directors of a variety of non-profit agency involved in community and educational leadership.  Jay is the past president of the BC Council for Children with Behaviour Disorders, and was appointed by the provincial legislature to chair and review the Child and Youth Mental Health Plan forBC.  Jay’s commitment to developing programs for at-risk populations that are based on sound research and best practices has resulted in radically improved educational and employment outcomes for diverse individuals and groups. In 2016, Jay received the BC Community Achievement Award, which celebrates British Columbians who demonstrate outstanding dedication and service to others and who help to make their communities more caring, dynamic, beautiful, and healthy.  Jay continues to work with a wide range of government, corporate and community-based organizations to define and implement strategies that increase the social and economic success of vulnerable people throughout his region.  


Steve Hopkins, CPA, CMA, Director of Finance


Steve is passionate about community and has always been interested in the economic development of the Powell River area.   A Certified Professional Accountant (CPA), as well as a Certified Management Accountant (CMA),  Steve has been the Secretary-Treasurer of the Powell River Board of Education since 2002, and the Director of Finance for PRESS since the society’s inception in 2008.  In both of these roles, Steve is responsible for all areas of finance and facilities, including budget forecasting, cash flow management, procurement and capital planning.  Steve also serves on both the Board of Directors and the Business Investment Committee of Community Futures Powell River, an organization which has had significant impact on the socio-economic development and diversification of Powell River and the surrounding regions.  Steve was a member of the Board of Directors of the Carlson Community Club for 5 years, as well serving two terms as a Director of the Powell River Tourism Society.           


Kathleen O’Neil, Director of Programs and Research


A successful human resource and training consultant for both the public and private sectors, Kathleen holds a B.A. and B.Ed. from Dalhousie University.  Kathleen initially began working for PRESS on a contract basis in 2010.  In 2014, having completed a 4-year technical training consultancy in the Alberta energy sector, Kathleen came to work for PRESS full time.   Her first assignments with PRESS included conducting a labour market and training needs analysis of the Kitimat-Stikine region, and securing federal funding for PRESS’ housing loss prevention program – Housing Hope – which is now in its 5th year of operation.  On an ongoing basis, Kathleen supports PRESS and its partners by conducting research; creating presentations, funding proposals, business plans and funder reports; writing policy and developing documentation for RFQs.  Her key work focus is to foster initiatives that reflect PRESS’s core values of community-based innovation and multiple level benefits to a range of stakeholders. In 2018, Kathleen completed a major study of the Powell River farm sector and is currently working with community partners to further develop viable initiatives identified in that report.  In late 2018, Kathleen created the content and look of PRESS’ new website.   In addition to these duties, she directly manages a diverse group of programs that support the growth and security of economically and socially vulnerable individuals.  


Michelle Murray, Director of Administration

EMAIL: mmurray

Michelle was born and raised in Powell River and has brought up her four children here as well.   She has 20 years of accounting and administrative experience, and has worked for PRESS since the society was founded in 2008.    Michelle is truly the friendly and helpful face of the agency,  directly managing the society’s day-to-day business and accounting.    Prior to joining PRESS, Michelle was employed by the accounting firm Pinch and Associates, and by the local PREP society before that, as well as serving on the Board of Directors of the Carlson Community Club for 4 years.   While working with PRESS, Michelle has also operated a travel consultancy through Powell River Cruise and Travel.  On the rare occasions when she’s not crunching numbers at her desk, Michelle – an avid outdoor adventurer – can be found in an exotic location around the globe – preferably somewhere warm and sunny.  


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Hugh Prichard, Adventure Learning Consultant


From the jungles of South America to the high Arctic, Hugh has been designing and delivering adventure learning programs and leading wilderness based programs since 1987. As the Director of the Outdoor Learning Centre, Hugh is a committed champion of adventure learning and ecological education and conservation, taking the lead role in developing and managing special projects and overseeing the delivery of programs in all areas, including the construction and maintenance of trails and recreation sites.  From early adventures in the wild lands of northern Ontario to his present day work connecting people with nature, Hugh is a passionate and skilled outdoor educator and facilitator.  Specializing in building dynamic adventure based programs for people of all backgrounds and abilities, Hugh has excellent instructional, facilitation and counselling skills. His programs create safe, natural environments where people can get real and discover their power. Focussed on top-notch outdoor programming that exceeds industry standards, Hugh uses a range of process-based activities, challenges and games that support all participants to realize new heights of potential. Whether working with public or private sector groups, therapeutic clients, school students, executives or adventure travellers, Hugh’s animated techniques have inspired many to step directly into the picture, and become the change they want to see.          


Mathew G. R.  Wilson, Managing Consultant 

Project-Based Labour Market Training

Mathew GR Wilson has over 20 years’ experience working in the field of Canadian public policy and economic development with First Nations communities.  As a long time resident of the Sunshine Coast, his passion is to develop and lead projects that build capacity, lead to meaningful employment opportunities and support economic reconciliation between First Nations and non-First Nation people.

The chance to lead the Klahanie Construction Training Project is a real opportunity to move things forward economically, not only for people, but for the community as a whole and for local business.  Mathew appreciates the way this project links private business with education, the way it gives back to the Tla’amin community, and the way it puts money directly into the local economy.

“I want to see the Powell River economy grow in a way that supports First Nations in receiving the training opportunities they need to secure good local jobs, so their families can live here as they have for thousands of years,” says Mathew.

“Local jobs in construction are good jobs, and we are also supporting participants in expanding their horizons as business owners, where possible. There are a lot of positives in this training and collaboration.

“Government doesn’t create jobs,  but it can help to create the environment for jobs, for entrepreneurs and businesses to thrive. When the government puts money into training and skill development linked to much needed infrastructure, that’s where the labour market can actually grow.”