Leadership Team

Tom Gaglardi 

Chief Executive Officer
Northland Properties

Knowing hospitality his whole life, Tom’s passion for his family’s business began when he was 13 working as a busboy at the Sandman Inn Vancouver. Upon completing his studies at the University of British Columbia, he worked in several different areas of the company gaining important experience in virtually all facets of his family’s businesses. A dynamic leader with a growth mindset coupled with nearly 40 years of hands-on experience in the leadership and expansion of Northland’s various hospitality, real estate, sports and entertainment brands, Tom sets the company’s strategic direction and promotes an environment across the company that encourages learning, new opportunities and personnel development along with a strong desire to be the best in hospitality.

Steve Sammut

President and Chief Operating Officer
Northland Properties

Steve is an experienced executive leader in the leisure, hospitality, tourism, and real estate development sectors. Prior to joining Northland, he held several senior executive roles, including President & CEO of Rocky Mountaineer, CFO for Intracorp Projects Ltd, and CFO of Real Estate for the global resort operator and developer Intrawest. Steve is a CFA, MBA and is past chair of the board for the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

Robert Pratt

Sandman Hotel Group and The Sutton Place Hotels

Robert has been a hotel industry leader for more than 40 years. Before joining Northland, he was the President at ONE Lodging Management and Coast Hotels and the COO of Westmont Hospitality Group in Toronto. He graduated from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and is a board member for the Hotel Association of Canada.

Al Howie

President and Chief Operating Officer
Northland Restaurant Group

Alan has over 27 years of experience in the restaurant industry and joined the Northland in 2018. He has held a variety of operational, business development and support roles in several hospitality organizations. Before joining the Northland leadership team, Alan worked in senior positions with Boston Pizza International and White Spot Ltd. Alan is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a graduate of the University of British Columbia. He is also on the board of directors of Restaurants Canada.

Dave Brownlie

Mountain Division

Dave is a result-driven forward-thinking senior executive with a track record of success with over 30 years in the tourism and hospitality business who joined the Northland team in 2018. He began his career in the ski industry with Blackcomb Mountain in 1989, rose through the ranks to become the President & CEO of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc., a public company. He was recognized as BC CEO of the year in 2016 and received the Queens Golden Jubilee medal in 2002, awarded to Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to their communities. Dave is a graduate of UBC BComm program (1985) and FCPA.

Joe Avotins

Vice President Construction and Design
Northland Properties

Joe has held leadership positions within the Construction and Design industry for over 25 years across several sectors but has always focused on the hospitality industry. Trained as an Architect in the United States, Joe brings broad experience from throughout North America. Before joining Northland, he led the Construction and Design teams for several major Restaurant Brands, including JOEY Restaurant Group, The Cheesecake Factory and Hillstone Restaurant Group. Joe also has experience branding, developing and growing the National Hospitality Design Services Program for Core States Group.

Manoj Jasra

Chief Marketing and Digital Officer
Northland Properties

Manoj has been in the marketing and digital vertical for 20 years across several sectors, including airlines, telecommunications, hospitality, agency, and food & beverage. Prior to Northland, he led large/matrixed teams as the Head of Digital at WestJet Airlines and Vice President, Digital & Customer Experience at Shaw Communications. Manoj also is on the Board of Directors of Destination British Columbia and Advisory Boards for several tech startups in Canada.

Kevin Smith

Chief Financial Officer
Northland Properties

Kevin has over 25 years of progressive experience in operations, real estate development, capital markets, debt and equity financing, mergers and acquisitions, dispositions, and general business management. In addition, he has expertise in the hospitality, resort, and real estate industries. Prior to Northland, Kevin was the EVP & CFO at Intracorp Projects Ltd and Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. Prior to Whistler, Kevin was at Intrawest where he had several senior finance roles.

Steve Johnstone

Chief Information Officer
Northland Properties

Steve is a dynamic and versatile leader with a proven ability to bring the benefits of technology to drive business growth, performance, and profitability across a wide range of business verticals including Airlines, Telecommunications, Manufacturing, Hospitality and Food & Beverage. He champions innovation with a focus on developing flexible and scalable solutions while managing risks and costs. Prior to Northland, Steve led technology teams at British Airways, Boston Pizza, and Intrawest.

Taj Kassam

Vice President Corporate Affairs and Special Advisor
Northland Properties

Taj is the Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Special Advisor to Northland and former President and COO of Sandman Hotel Group and The Sutton Place Hotels. He completed his Hotel and Catering Management Degree from the University of Strathclyde (Scottish Hotel School) in the UK before joining the team at Stakis Hotel Group as a Junior Trainee Manager, which was quickly followed by his promotion to General Manager then Regional Manager directly responsible for one-third of the company. Taj’s hospitality career spans over 4 decades at Northland, and he has created a legacy that embodies exemplary leadership, successful business strategies, innovation, and guest service.

Murray Penner

Vice President, Purchasing
Northland Properties

Murray has over 30 years of experience in the Food Service industry. Before joining Northland, he worked at Gordon Food Service (GFS) as the Director of Marketing and Procurement, focussing on Supply Chain and the BC Director of Multi-Unit Sales. Murray is a past Director and chair of the board at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and served as a board member at BC Borstal Association: an organization that helps young people struggling with addiction reset their life path.

Joanne Forrester


Joanne joined Northland as the President of Moxies in 2019 where she oversees 60 restaurants across Canada and the US. Joanne spent her early career in the pharmacy and home health care vertical. Before joining Moxies, she held senior leadership positions in marketing, operations, real estate and development for Boston Pizza International Inc. She served on the Daily Bread Food Bank and Kids Help Phone boards and mentors women in foodservice.

Deborah Gagnon

President and COO
Denny’s of Canada & Bar One

Deborah joined Denny’s Canada after having successfully operated restaurants in Toronto catering to both casual and upscale markets. After a short hiatus where she held a senior leadership role with Apple Retail Inc., she rejoined Denny’s Canada in the position of Vice President of Operations and shortly thereafter moved into her current role as President and COO for our Denny’s, Bar One, and Lobby the Lounge brands. Deborah sits on the Operations Brand Advisory council with Denny’s US and also works with several organizations, such as the Minerva Foundation, to invest in the development of female leaders.

Michael Cameron

Grouse Mountain Resort

Michael has been the General Manager/President of Grouse Mountain Resorts since 2003. Prior to Grouse, he held senior leadership positions in sales and marketing at the Vancouver 2010 Bid Committee and Molson Coors Beverage Company. Michael is currently on the board of directors of Destination Vancouver and has served as past chair.

Peter Nielsen

Vice President, Operations
Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Peter grew up in the hospitality business as his father was a hotelier as well. He started out with the family business and moved through several BC based hotels and resorts. Prior to joining Northland as the opening General manager for Sutton Place Revelstoke, he was with Boutique Hotels and Resorts of British Columbia and Fairmont Hotels. Peter is currently the Chair of Tourism Revelstoke and sits on several strata boards as well.

Dave Campbell

Chop Steakhouse and Bar

Dave joined Northland in December 2021. He has over 30 years of restaurant experience. Many of those years were with the Keg Restaurants where he held a variety of roles, most recently as Vice President of Operations where he was responsible for the Keg’s US restaurants.