Dave Butler, Director of Sustainability, Canadian Mountain Holidays

Dave Butler, Canadian Mountain Holidays | BCBusiness

From the 2013 Influencer Index: The Penticton-born sustainability leader marries passion for tourism with bureaucratic prowess

The controversial decision by the Campbell Liberals to dissolve the Crown corporation Tourism BC in 2009 was a call to action for Dave Butler, a guy who soft-pedals himself as “passionate about tourism” but is rightfully lauded as an industry heavyweight for fusing that passion with bureaucratic prowess.

After graduating from UBC with a Bachelor of Science in forestry, Penticton-born Butler began his career working in government agencies. In the mid-1980s he ran into the father of B.C. heli-skiing, Hans Gmoser, and by the mid-‘90s had talked his way into a job with Gmoser’s Canadian Mountain Holidays where today Butler holds the role of director of sustainability, through which he leads the company’s government, community relations and sustainability efforts. His unfettered belief in good governance has also led him to his current role as vice-president of Cranbrook District Chamber of Commerce in his hometown and on to the advisory planning committee for the city.

Most notably, however, Butler has sat on the Tourism Industry Association of B.C. board since 2007, the organization that put his name forward to be chair of the Provincial Destination Marketing Organization task force. Working with eight colleagues and government, Butler has been a key force in the negotiation and development of the new provincial tourism organization (to be called Destination BC) that is outside of government, formula-funded and under incredible pressure—not to mention scrutiny—to out-perform the current tourism marketing organization as it exists under the umbrella of the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training.

Butler’s tendency not to self-aggrandize when it comes to his contributions to the tourism industry could well be attributed to the fact that his love of tourism is rooted in its most fundamental principle: from his own penchant for exploring the mountains in the summer sunshine to backcountry powder ski days, he loves B.C. But when it comes to effecting change, between his political connections and industry savvy, this is a guy with serious clout.