FIR Advisor

Andrew Zwicker

We are pleased to feature Andrew Zwicker, a Forest Impact Recovery (FIR) Advisor hosted by the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, with funding from ETSI-BC.

With a history as a business owner in diverse ventures, including online publishing, podcasting, and tourism marketing, plus project management experience at Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST), Andrew brings a wealth of experience to this role. Most recently, he co-founded ZOA Engineering, which has developed the world’s first personal, portable, backcountry ski lift.

Over the past three years, Andrew has been working as a business advisor, supporting over 300 clients on behalf of the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, with funding from the ETSI-BC Rural Business & Community Recovery Program. He is excited to continue helping Southern Interior communities realize their economic development aspirations as a FIR Advisor.

Andrew has experienced the challenges and triumphs of small business ownership firsthand. Being able to relate to the stress, excitement, and countless emotions that entrepreneurs face makes him a better business advisor. “Between working at KAST for the DER3 program and with the Boundary Chamber now for almost three years, been able to walk in the shoes of hundreds of different individuals in all sorts of businesses around the province and learning from our experience together.”

Above all, Andrew says his biggest asset has been the ability to build trusting relationships with clients, and create a space in which they can openly share their thoughts, feelings and experiences.

“It starts with having a genuine interest in them, and their business, asking questions and really listening. It also involves getting vulnerable, sharing experiences where I’ve felt the same as they do or was in a similar space, to demonstrate that I understand where they’re at.”

As a FIR Advisor, Andrew’s main priorities are to directly engage with established businesses and those starting out in the Boundary area. He helps those affected by job losses in the forest industry and works to strengthen and diversify the local economy. Through one-on-one business coaching and advising, he strives to understand each business’s unique challenges and goals and then creates action plans to help them get where they want to be.

“With many clients, we go beyond the action plan to provide hands-on assistance. I could be responding to quick questions on how to boost marketing campaigns, helping develop full-on business plans, marketing plans and/or grant applications, supporting access to resources and more,” Andrew adds.

“I am genuinely excited to work with all sorts of businesses, seeking out new opportunities, growth and success in collaboration with them,” Andrew says. “In many cases they are tired, worn out, stressed, and anxious.  The most fulfilling aspect for me is seeing my clients get re-energized, envision new paths forward and get excited about their business again.”

Witnessing the transformation of the businesses he works with is truly gratifying. As he continues in this role, Andrew is looking forward to meeting new, interesting and diverse people and their businesses, and continuing to keep up with and support existing clients.

Andrew is also committed to working on a broader basis on regional economic development. For example, he is assisting consultants with the Village of Midway to develop a comprehensive economic plan for the Boundary Region.

We’re sure every business in the Southern Interior would want someone like Andrew by their side. Our thanks to Andrew and all the FIR Advisors for your tireless efforts on behalf of your communities. You are truly making a difference!

Forest Impact Recovery (FIR) Advisors like Andrew are located throughout the Southern Interior of BC. These Advisors are hosted by 18 different business support organizations, with funding from ETSI-BC. Click here to see the list of Host Organizations. ETSI-BC acknowledges financial support from the Province of BC in delivering this program.