Dennis was Born in Abbotsford BC and raised in Richmond until the age of 5. The family then moved to Abbotsford to join his grandfather’s, Stewart Dairy Farms (now Birchwood Dairy Farms). His Grandparents were some of the original settlers of Sumas Prairie, a farming community between Abbotsford and Chilliwack. Dennis graduated from Abbotsford Senior Secondary in 1961 and continued working on the family dairy farms following graduation.
With an eye to pursuing a flying career, Dennis joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1963 and was sent to St. Jean, Quebec for basic training. Subsequently, he was posted to the training base as staff in the engineering department. After a year at this vocation, he asked for and was granted a release from the Air Force.
Upon my return to British Columbia, he actually pursued a flying career, becoming qualified on land and sea aircraft with night flying and a commercial pilot rating. In order to secure a regular pilot position, he moved to Edmonton where opportunities seemed to exist. Following several months of prospecting, the need to eat exceeded the fulfilling of a dream and he joined Royal Trust Corporation as a Trust Officer Trainee.
Dennis remained with Royal Trust for the next twenty-three years. Following a succession of moves, both career advancements and to different locations in Canada, he accepted his final move back to Vancouver in May 1981. His last position with the Trust Company was Regional Manager, Financial Services, British Columbia. In 1989, sadly he became one more statistic of yet another corporate reorganization and started looking for a new career.
Dennis’ interest in the insurance industry began with a Royal Trust project whereby financial service centers, including insurance services, were offered in all Woodward’s department stores. An analysis of products, services and financial opportunities demonstrated the similarities between services offered by traditional financial institutions and insurance companies. The transition to insurance simply became a natural extension of a vocation from which he was already familiar.
Since entering into the industry, his company has experienced excellent growth. This growth has resulted from strategic decisions initially by being the first agency to offer credit card payments for ICBC Autoplan and insurance premiums. Acquisitions and consolidation has provided efficiencies in human and consumable resources and, a sales culture has contributed to increased service levels resulting in several “Best in Richmond” awards as polled by a local newspaper.
Dennis and his wife, Judy, have been married since 1972. We have a son and daughter-in-law in Edmonton, Alberta with two grandchildren, a daughter and son-in-law in Airdrie, Alberta with three grandchildren and an insurance career minded daughter in Vancouver. She has been working in the Insurance industry for the past 20 years on the Company but has since joined Central. She is married and has 2 children.
Dennis was one of the founding members of the Richmond Sunrise Rotary club in 1990 and resigned from the club after 10 years of service due to time constraints. In 1997, they my wife purchased a condominium in Palm Springs, California and have been able to enjoy our vacation time in the sunny south. Although Dennis’ passion for flying was rekindled after starting my own business, his newest passion has moved to golf. He has made acquaintances in the golfing community in both Richmond and Palm Springs which provides year round golfing in the best of climate conditions
Dennis and Judy currently reside in Abbotsford BC and overlook the very same farmland where his family’s dairy business was. Dennis is now semi-retired, and spends the winters in Palm Springs and touring North America in my 45 foot Newmar Motorhome.