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Kelowna airport CEO named business leader of the year after steering YLW through pandemic

Kelowna International Airport’s chief executive has been named the business leader of the year by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.

Sam Samaddar, who first joined the airport in 1992, was chosen by a panel of community leaders.

He was praised by the Chamber for leading the airport through the “extreme challenges” presented during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Samaddar will be formally recognized at the Chamber’s 36th annual business gala on Nov. 17 at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort.

<who> Photo credit: NowMedia

“Our business leader of the year, Sam Samaddar, is more than deserving of this award,” said Dan Price, the Chamber’s chairman.

“He led the airport through the extreme challenges posed by the global pandemic and is now guiding it through a massive expansion that will allow more people than ever to experience our region.”

The airport – one of the 10 largest in Canada – is expected to record two million passengers in 2023.

Samaddar was born in England and spent part of his youth in Kenya.

After arriving in Canada, he was involved with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and gained his pilot’s licence at the age of 17.

In 1988, he began working at Vancouver International Airport before joining YLW as superintendent of airport operations in 1992.

Samaddar is now the airport’s CEO as well as a board member at Tourism Kelowna.



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