(905) 957-1606
info@westlincolnchamber.com
5-219 St. Catharines St, PO Box 555, Smithville, ON L0R 2A0

Our Team

Janelle Van Halst

Janelle Van Halst

President

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Janelle Van Halst

“I’m honoured to be one of your West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce board members. I was elected to the board earlier this year with an insatiable desire to help people and businesses not just to survive, but to thrive! I’m impressed with each board member’s dedication to serving you through transparency, integrity, and creativity …all whilst having some fun.”

Janelle made West Lincoln home in 1998. She has not lived longer anywhere else. She was born in Mississauga and raised in Gravenhurst, North Bay, Cobalt, and Edmonton. Her major in Marketing in Business Administration helped her to start her career in sales in Edmonton with Bausch+Lomb. They moved her to Vancouver, then to her training manager role in Toronto where she attained her Adult Education Diploma from St. Francis Xavier University.

She transplanted out of the GTA to grow roots in a small, West Lincoln town. Having left corporate employment, she planted the seed of her management consulting business in 1999 which has blossomed into providing custom-designed virtual and in-class training, as well as 1:1 executive coaching. She has worked with global clients, some of which are Microsoft, Honeywell, and University Health Network and local ones such as Stanpac, Niagara Region, Shaw Festival, and Airbus Helicopters.

It’s now time to give back to the community. I promise to bring my enthusiasm and effort to where you need it most.

Robin Murray

Robin Murray

Vice President
Stanpac

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Robin Murray

Robin Murray is the Human Resources Manager at Stanpac located in Smithville. Robin graduated Brock University twice – once in 2005 with a Bachelor of Humanities Drama in Education and then again in 2008 with a Honours Bachelor of Business Administration where she focused the majority of her course work on Human Resource Management. After graduating, Robin worked in downtown Hamilton for a large recruitment agency and then moved on to the Niagara Region where she worked from 2010 to 2015 in the HR Department. Robin joined the Stanpac team in 2016 and has assisted in the development and expansion of the HR department. Robin is a Certified Human Resources Professional.

Robin grew up in Welland and was living in Port Colborne until her recent move to the small town of Campden in order to be closer to work.

Being a part of the West Lincoln Chamber has allowed me to become more familiar with the local businesses and representing one of the largest employers in West Lincoln is very important to me. I was nominated to the Board in 2022 and have been a part of some very exciting transitional changes for the Chamber where we are working diligently to give our business community the very best support and resources available to them. As someone who has lived outside of West Lincoln my entire life, I haven’t had a leg up on the businesses in the area but I look forward to continuing our work within this growing community and developing stronger relationships with local businesses.

Lou Stranges

Lou Stranges

Treasurer
Stranges & Associates

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Lou Stranges

Lou Stranges is the owner operator of Stranges & Associates located at 270 Station St, Smithville which opened in March 2013. Raised in Niagara Falls and currently resides in Fonthill with his wife Sandra.

Lou has a Business Accounting Diploma and has over 25+ years of experience in the Accounting & Tax fields. The office family consist of a total of 6 people who strive to serve the West Lincoln and beyond areas not only with Accounting & Tax services but Office supplies. We actively participate in our community, we offer 2 Scholarships to Business & Accounting grads and are always looking for ways to support other businesses.

When not in the office, Lou enjoys family time with 3 daughters, travel, card playing and comic books.

Melanie Felvs

Melanie Felvs

Director
Smithville Christian Preschool

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Melanie Felvs

Melanie Felvus has been a resident of West Lincoln since 2003. Born in Hamilton and raised in Caledonia, Melanie married Mike who was from this area. They raised their two daughters in Smithville and moved to Grassie on 2019.

Melanie graduated from the Early Childhood Education program at Mohawk College and went on to earn her Casa Montessori diploma. After working in daycare, preschool and then Montessori schools, Melanie felt lead to open a quality Montessori school in Smithville. She started Smithville Christian Preschool in 2006. The school grew to include a Dunnville location in 2021 and has two more locations on the horizon for 2022!

Melanie and her family are responsible for the annual Kids Care Food Drive which is one of West Lincoln Community Care’s largest food drives each year. Melanie was raised by a single mom who needed to use the for bank from time to time as she put herself through nursing school. Through experiences like these she learned how important it is to support the people in her community.

Melanie also enjoys speaking at area churches about her recent journey through breast cancer treatments. She is thankful to have come through this and eager to share her story with the hopes of encouraging others. Melanie joined the board of the chamber in 2020 but then needed to take a leave during treatments. She resumed her position in 2022 and looks forward to serving.

David Hildebrand

David Hildebrand

Director
Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc

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David Hildebrand

Since 2017, David has been working for the Wayne Schilstra Team of Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc. in West Lincoln as a real estate agent. David has seen his business grow as his clients are continually satisfied with his expertise, transparency and professionalism. David and his wife Taylor moved to Smithville in 2023 along with their two boys, Ezekiel and Landon in order to be closer to the West Lincoln community that David predominantly works in. David desire in becoming a board member is to bring meaningful change to local businesses in West Lincoln.

Joann Chechalk

Joann Chechalk

Township Liaison

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Joann Chechalk

Sarah Whitaker

Sarah Whitaker

Director
Robert Land Academy

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Sarah Whitaker

Sarah Whitaker is the Advancement Officer at Robert Land Academy. An award-winning journalist, Sarah worked in the local, community news industry for more than 20 years, including 13 years as the Editor of the Voice of Pelham. Sarah left journalism to work with Leader of the Ontario OC Party Tim Hudak in his local constituency office, becoming his Executive Assistant in 2014. When Tim retired from politics, Sarah became Executive Assistant to the Headmaster and CAO of Robert Land Academy. In 2022 she became the full-time Advancement Officer, helping to raise funds for the school, a registered charity, as well as event planning, working with the alumni and parent committees, strengthening relationships with parents, alumni and supporters, and working with the marketing and admissions team to promote the school.

Sarah grew up in Lowbanks and Thorold and currently resides in Fenwick with her husband, two teenaged sons, two cats and a bossy, back-talking rescue dog. Sarah graduated from Niagara College’s Journalism Print Program and continues her professional development with courses, workshops, and webinars whenever possible.

Sarah is excited to be on the board as the Chamber heads into a transformative year and is looking forward to getting to know the community of West Lincoln better, and helping the community get to know Robert Land Academy.

Will Dykema

Will Dykema

Director
Cornell Feenstra Electric Ltd.

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Will Dykema

Will Dykema is General Manager and owner of Cornell Feenstra Electric Ltd. He joined the company in 2009, and over the course of time he transitioned into ownership, together with the company founders, Cornell and Wilma Feenstra. Prior to Cornell Feenstra Electric, Will spent 6 years working for a manufacturing company in Burlington, building packaging equipment and robotic systems. He graduated from Niagara College in 2003, and prior to that attended High School in Hamilton. 

Will grew up in Burlington, later moving to Dunnville and Grimsby. Shortly after getting married to Leanne, their family moved to Wellandport, where he and his family have resided since 2011. Will and Leanne have been blessed with 5 children, 4 daughters and 1 son.

Being part of the Chamber of Commerce has provided Will with the opportunity to see the many businesses and organizations which contribute positively to our thriving community. He has appreciated the opportunity to meet and learn from community leaders and entrepreneurs. He looks forward to continuing to build relationships and fostering growth and advancement in the community.

Steven Vanderzanden

Director

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Steven Vanderzanden

Kathleen Gander

Kathleen Gander

Interim Executive Director

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Kathleen Gander

As the Interim Executive Director of the West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, I bring a diverse set of skills and experiences to drive our mission of being the local resource for businesses in our community. With a background in B2B sales in the Human Capital Management industry, I have consistently surpassed sales targets and quotas while delivering impeccable customer service. My expertise in consultative selling, knowledge transfer, and adult learning principles allows me to build strong member relationships, understand their needs, and create opportunities for them to connect and grow. I am well-versed in marketing and communication strategies, enabling me to innovate and manage growth plans, marketing campaigns, and member communications effectively. Additionally, my experience in community leadership and advocacy ensures that I can establish relationships with various stakeholders to foster innovation and produce valuable resources for our members. I am excited to lead the West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce in its quest to provide a vibrant, relevant, and engaged presence in our local and regional business community.

In addition to my professional background, I hold various certifications in business administration, teacher/trainer of adults, and communication, further enhancing my qualifications for this role. I am not only committed to professional growth but also actively engage in creative pursuits and community involvement. My dedication to volunteer work as well as my board membership and event planning for various organizations, showcases my passion for community development.

My personal interest varies from the local art scene to rock concerts. I am avid traveller and love learning about different cultures and capturing the essence of the places I visit through photography. My book library is also as varied with subjects as business, self motivation, holistic healing and of course a few romance novels.

I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve as the Executive Director and look forward to contributing to the success of our local businesses and the West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.

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