Meet our team

In addition to fishing families, we’re also a team of bright, caring, hard-working folks!

Sonia Strobel

Co-founder & CEO

Sonia married into the Strobel family in 2001 and quickly became involved in helping connect Otto’s sustainably harvested seafood with friends and family in Vancouver. She worked in a variety of community-based organizations, non-profits, and as a high school teacher for many years, striving for social and environmental justice. Sonia has been a member of Community Supported Agriculture programs since the early 90’s and brought her knowledge of CSA’s to the family fishery, first conceiving of the idea for the CSF in 2008.

Shaun Strobel

Co-founder & Lead Fisherman

Shaun is Skipper Otto’s son, who began fishing with his father when he was just 7 years old. In addition to fishing, Shaun selects and maintains solid relationships with other fishermen and navigates the complex logistics of getting fish from the hands of our fishermen to the hands of our members. Dismayed at the dwindling salmon fishing fleet in the wake of the big business Seine fleet and fish farms, Shaun wrote an M.A. thesis at SFU on the labour history of fishing in BC. Shaun was a high school Social Studies teacher for many years, taught SCUBA diving, and is a technical diver.

Chris Kantowicz

COO

Chris has spent his career growing businesses that support environmental, social and cultural missions. He first worked with Skipper Otto in 2014 as their business coach at the Sauder School of Business’ Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing. Chris has an MBA from the Sauder School of Business at UBC and genuinely enjoys all his strategic business planning and financial management responsibilities.

Aaron Clark

Facility and IT Manager

Aaron has been a Skipper Otto member for many years and loves being a part of this food community. Aaron has a background in music composition, engineering and producing, as well as technology & systems. His diverse skillset, ability to learn quickly, and his can-do attitude make him a great asset to the Skipper Otto team.

Allison Hepworth

Marketing Manager

Allison has spent much of her career supporting the growth of small businesses. Her educational background includes degrees in English, Fine Arts and Secondary Education, as well as marketing at BCIT, which provides a solid foundation to support Skipper Otto's mission and help the CSF model grow. Passionate about connecting like-minded people with the sustainable bounty that farms, wineries and fisheries provide in BC and beyond, she is excited to share this with all of our Skipper Otto communities. Life outside of the 'dock' finds Allison spending time with her husband and young son, exploring the outdoors or museum exhibits together with family and friends.

Chantal McFarlane

Member Services Manager

Chantal grew up in Ontario and earned a BSc with a Major in Marine Biology and Minor in Psychology from Dalhousie University. Passionate about ocean conservation and fisheries science, when she isn't helping out members, she plunges into the cold Pacific ocean as an avid Scuba Diver and Divemaster. She loves exploring the nature of BC through snowboarding, rock-climbing, and hiking, or camping out of the van she built. She is enthusiastic about joining the Skipper Otto team and helping you connect to your sustainable fishing community!

Alexa MacEwan

Operations Manager

Alexa comes from a background working with people in the field of community and recreation. She first learned about Skipper Otto CSF while involved in various local food systems initiatives during her time at UBC. After finishing her degree in Food, Nutrition and Health, she went on to complete her Masters focusing in Fish Nutrition; and shortly thereafter, joined the Skipper Otto team! Her experience has granted her strong problem solving and communication skills, and she looks forward to using these skills to continue to connect with both fish and people.

Gordon Havelaar

Distribution Manager

Gordon is an SFU dance graduate, occasional CSA farmhand and a wool spinner. He is proud to be a part of the Skipper Otto CSF team and contributing to local food security.

Christa Ovenell

Community Partnerships Manager

A proud Skipper Otto member from nearly the very beginning, Christa can be found on the trucks, at the wharf, and in head office supporting our Community Partners. She’s also a licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer, and an end-of-life doula on a mission to help support, guide and educate people through the one part of life we all experience eventually.

Jeff Scott

Sustainable Fisheries Researcher

Jeff started on the Distribution Team in 2015 while he was working on his fisheries management MSc. at UBC's Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. He's spent many years working as a fisheries observer in US waters, and as a field biologist for the International Pacific Halibut Commission in BC and Alaska. In addition to Jeff's work on the Distribution Team, he has also helped Skipper Otto enormously in their research on sustainable salmon fisheries.

Emily Cook

Distribution Team, Part Time

Emily is originally from Gitsegukla, a village on the Skeena River. Her lineage is Gitxsan on her maternal side, and comes from the Giskast Clan. Her wilp is Hanamaux – Don Ryan, and her Gitxsan name is Ama Mesa – "sitting pretty". Her patrilineal side is Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw; her father is a ‘Namgis First Nation fisherman Alert Bay. Emily’s Kwak̓wala name is T̓łaḵwagiladza̱mg̱a – copper woman. Growing up in a family of traditional harvesters and fishermen on northern Vancouver Island, she has always had a passion for seafood and living sustainably in our lands and waters. After moving to the city, Emily completed her training at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, as well as an Associate Degree in Social Work from Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. She is pleased to bring her skill and enthusiasm to her position with the Skipper Otto team, as well as her extensive knowledge of food safety and excellent customer service. Emily looks forward to meeting folks in her daily interactions and is pleased to be at your service!

Hazel Maxwell

Distribution Team, Part-Time

Growing up in Kitimat, BC, Hazel spent every weekend in the Douglas Channel fishing, beach combing, inspecting tide pools, watching whales and sea lions and staying in a cabin her parents built. She left after high school to pursue her BA from UBC, and went on to complete a Diploma in Forensic Science. Now she's passing her love of fishing onto her kids, fishing off the Sunshine Coast on a boat that her husband built. In her spare time, Hazel is a felt artist.

Alvaro Guzman Reyes

Distribution Team, Part-Time

Alvaro is a valued member of our distribution team, diligently ensuring that seafood orders are expertly packed and ready for delivery. Originally from Colombia, he brings his unique perspective and professional background as a civil engineer to our team. His fondness for precision extends seamlessly to his love for cars - driving the distribution team to excellence.

Manuela Guzman Vivas

Distribution Team, Part-Time

Manuela proudly hails from Colombia and is pursuing a degree in architecture at BCIT. Manuela's love for music is infectious, often humming tunes throughout the day while assembling member orders. She loves the friendliness of her fellow team members and her creativity is indispensable to our daily operations.

Jill Goranson

Distribution Team, Part-Time

Jill is a graduate of Sheridan College with a degree in Music Theatre, a theatre creator & performer, an avid hiker, and an occasional scuba diver. She’s someone who loves being surrounded by fun and inspiring people, making the distribution team a wonderful place to be!

Adam Hicks

Distribution Team, Part-Time

Adam grew up in the UK before embarking on his masters program in oceans and fisheries from The University of British Columbia, from which he recently graduated. Adam is an avid hiker, skier and indoor climber who really loves the outdoors and spending time with people who also enjoy and care about the environment. As somebody who is passionate about sustainable fisheries and ocean conservation Adam is extremely excited to be working for Skipper Otto and contributing to sustainable fisheries in BC and Canada

John Harding

Distribution Team, Part-Time

John is originally from Hamilton, Ontario but has lived on the Pacific coast for decades and can’t imagine ever leaving. John worked as a journalist for more than 25 years, eventually becoming the managing editor of three Canadian daily newspapers. He has been working as driver/expeditor in the Lower Mainland for about seven years. John has three adult children and when he’s not working he enjoys recreational fishing, golf and cheering on his beloved Maple Leafs.

Laurence Paul

Distribution Team, Part-Time

Before joining Skipper Otto as a part-time staff, Laurence joined Skipper Otto as a member, hearing about the business model from word of mouth from one of her friends. Impressed by the quality of the delicious fish but also by the communicative joy, passion and enthusiasm of the team ensuring the pick-up at the Wharf on Thursdays, she decided to give some of her time to this incredible community. Being passionate about start-ups and business development, her wish is to contribute to Skipper Otto development nationwide! Besides Skipper Otto and the usual BC outdoor activities (running, paddleboarding, biking), you may find Laurence on some stages acting in some French classical plays!

Galen Taylor Jones

Distribution Team, Part-Time

Galen is a visual artist, food grower, and support worker, moonlighting as a driver with the Skipper Otto team. As a child, they were once so excited about an aquatic exhibit at an unnamed museum that they fell into it. They studied in the Land and Food Systems faculty at UBC. 

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Sandy

Member since 2015

"Knowing my fishermen means I know that the quality if the seafood will be great, I am not contributing to overfishing, and that no slave labour was used to catch what is put on my table."