Meet the Staff

  • Some Central Okanagan Field Staff

  • Shawn and Kelly, Field Supervisors

  • Leanne, Terry, Matthew, Ken, Mary Anne and Joanne, Facility Staff

The SIR program is run by the general manager, 16 full time staff and about 70 seasonal staff.

  • Melissa Tesche - General Manager

    Melissa TescheMelissa is the General Manager of the SIR program. Melissa enjoys working for SIR because she loves the wide range of people she gets to work with. Fruit growers, industry representatives, elected officials, scientists and community members, each have a role to play in the program’s success and each bring their own expertise to the table. Melissa comes from a family of grain and cattle farmers up in the Peace Country. She has been working with Okanagan local governments since 2010 and began working for SIR in 2014. Melissa has Bachelor degrees in Science and Education and a Masters in Biology, studying turtles in the Okanagan. Melissa spends her free time raising a young family and tending to her own (closely managed!) fruit trees.

  • Paul Thiessen - Field Operations Manager/Compliance - Program Wide

    Paul ThiessenPaul is our Field Operations Manager. Paul is responsible for the day to day operations of the field offices, field supervisors and field staff. He started with SIR in 2015, coming to the program with an extensive background in information technology and management. He has previously worked in health care, private industry and local government. Paul is passionate about the SIR program because “reducing the amount of pesticides used for the codling moth and reducing codling moth damage is vital to our whole community.” In his free time Paul enjoys open water swimming, biking and working with honey bees to provide orchard pollination.

  • Evan Esch - Entomologist - Kelowna

    Evan EschEvan is passionate about bugs and all things creepy-crawly. He is a Professional Agrologist (PAg) and works as a fruit tree pest management advisor and offers extension services at SIR.He studied Entomology at the University of Alberta, where he completed a Master of Science. Evan started with SIR in 2015 and his work also involves collaboration and coordination with other scientific and government organizations. With his background in science and data analysis he helps translate difficult to understand information into practice. Having grown up in the Prairies, Evan is amazed at what is able to grow in the Okanagan and loves getting his hands dirty in the garden, nurturing vegetables and flowers.

  • Kelly Carmichael - Field Supervisor/Compliance - Peachland to Winfield

    Kelly started with the program in 2009 as a monitor and is now a Field Supervisor and Compliance Officer. Kelly oversees a field crew during the growing season. Growers should know that Kelly is there to help them get the best service they can from SIR, which in turn will give them the best quality product. Kelly says “giving grower’s information about the program helps them to understand the services, benefits and results a program like SIR provides to the area.” Kelly enjoys working for SIR because the program benefits all people in the valley, residents and growers alike, by reducing the use of pesticides and helping produce better quality fruit. In Kelly’s spare time she likes to head to the woods on her ATV to escape the rat race.

  • Shawn Fennell - Field Supervisor/GIS Technician - Kelowna

    Shawn FennellShawn helps keep the everyday field operations running smoothly in Kelowna during the field season. Shawn is also responsible for much of the GIS mapping including the Neighbourhood Maps produced for growers. Shawn was born and raised in the North Okanagan. He is a Registered Professional Biologist (RPBio) with a biology degree from the University of Victoria. Shawn likes working for SIR because with a variety of tasks and challenges there is rarely a dull day! In his free time, Shawn enjoys camping, spending time with family, and an occasional craft beer.

  • Sharon Montgomery - Urban Supervisor

    Sharon started with the SIR Program in 2000. She Sharon Montgomeryis an expert in both urban and orchard tree care and brings her years of knowledge and understanding to each residential property in her role as Urban Supervisor. Sharon enjoys working with home owners, and her ability to communicate clearly and kindly has helped her be successful. As Urban Supervisor Sharon helps growers by keeping urban sites clean so they will not have an impact on the orchards in the area. Sharon enjoys working for SIR because it is an environmentally safe pest management program, and that’s an easy thing to help homeowners understand. In her spare time Sharon loves to garden, go camping and spending time with her family.

  • Nicole McCann - Field Supervisor - Coldstream to Salmon Arm

    Nicole McCannNicole started with the SIR program as an urban and orchard monitor in 2006. She is now the Seasonal Field Supervisor for the Vernon to Salmon Arm area. Nicole spends her days out in the field overseeing both orchard and urban properties to ensure growers and homeowners are controlling codling moth infestation and keeping their host trees in good care. This helps to ensure they are receiving the full benefits that the program provides. Nicole says “What’s not to love about working for SIR! It’s environmentally friendly, the scenery is fantastic and you get to meet great people on a daily basis.” In her spare time, Nicole loves spending time with family and friends, boating and reading.

  • Alexis Friesen - Field Supervisor - Okanagan Falls to Summerland

    Alexis joined OKSIR in March 2018 as Field Supervisor for the Okanagan Falls to Summerland area.  Having grown up on an orchard in Summerland, Alexis has always had a passion for the environment, wildlife and outdoors and as a result obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree from UBC with a major in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. 

  • Bruce Garska - Field Supervisor - Osoyoos to Cawston

    BruceBruce is a Field Supervisor for the Oliver, Osoyoos and Similkameen areas. Bruce has lived in the South Okanagan most of his life and began his career working in the forestry industry. Bruce has been working for the SIR program since 1995. He has extensive experience with all area of field operations and has done a number of jobs for the program including working in the moth rearing facility in Osoyoos, releasing moths in orchards, trapping, communicating with growers, ATV maintenance and training staff. During his many years with the SIR Program, Bruce enjoys being out in the orchards in the beautiful South Okanagan valley best. In his personal time, Bruce loves exploring more of the Okanagan outdoors by camping and fishing.

  • Warren Blatz - Field Supervisor - Osoyoos to Cawston

    Warren is a Field Supervisor for the Oliver, Osoyoos and Similkameen areas.  Warren and his wife recently moved to the Okanagan from Alberta, and fell in love with the area. It was in 2015 that he first read about the SIR Program and was so intrigued, he told himself that when they relocated he would apply for a job with us – and he was hired! He is excited to be on the SIR team! Born and raised on a farm, Warren has always had a love for agriculture, the environment, and working outdoors. In his personal time, he loves to play golf and intends to scout the lakes in the area for trout. He looks forward to this new adventure – meeting new people and learning new things to contribute to the success of the program.

  • Colleen Blatz - Urban Supervisor

    Colleen helps urban home owners with the care and management of their backyard apple and pear trees. She works in the South Okanagan and Similkameen.

  • Michelle Cook - Project Manager - Kelowna

    Michelle started working at SIR in 2016. She manages specialty projects for the program. She helped implement the BC Decision Aid System (BC DAS), and is currently working towards the launch of sterile insect release by drone.

  • Loren Scott - Administrative Assistant and HR Coordinator- Kelowna

    Loren joined OKSIR in 2018 as the Administrative Assistant and HR Coordinator. She moved to the Okanagan in 2006 for school and made it her permanent home. Loren has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from UBC Okanagan and a diploma in Human Resources Management from Okanagan College. Loren is proud to work for a company that uses innovative techniques to reduce pesticide use and protect the environment.

  • Facility Staff

    Scott Arthur - Facility Manager - Osoyoos

    Scott began working for the SIR Program in 2002Scott Arthur. He is responsible for the safe and reliable operation of the SIR Program’s world class Mass Codling Moth Rearing Insectary in Osoyoos. Scott is always looking to produce the highest quality insects through the most efficient means possible. Through mass rearing and sterilization of adult moths using gamma radiation at the Osoyoos BC facility, Scott and his team are capable of producing up to 2 million sterilized moths per day. In his free time Scott enjoy camping, gardening and travel with my wife and family.

  • Terry Hartmann - Maintenance and Weekend Rearing Supervisor - Osoyoos

    Maintenance and Weekend Rearing Supervisor

  • Mary Anne Laluk - Quality Control Lab Supervisor - Osoyoos

    Mary Anne has worked at the SIR rearing facility since 1999. As Quality Control Lab Supervisor she is responsible for monitoring the health of the codling moth colony from egg to adult stage. Mary Anne has a technician diploma in biological sciences from B.C.I.T. Before working for SIR, Mary Anne worked as a supervisor of quality control at a silviculture nursery for nine years. Mary Anne’s routine quality control tests and continuous team work with all SIR employees ensures the production of healthy moths. When away from work Mary Anne enjoys working in her garden at home.

  • Garnet Watkins - Maintenance Supervisor - Osoyoos

    Maintenance Supervisor