Coffee with… John Bowman

NIC president/CEO has worked in B.C.’s post-secondary system for a quarter century

North Island College president/CEO John Bowman has worked in B.C.’s post-secondary system for 25 years.

Before assuming his role at the Courtenay campus in 2013, he had held the same position for seven years at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George.

He has also worked at CNC’s Quesnel campus and Kwantlen University College in Surrey.

He liked it up north, but says there is something different about the culture in the Comox Valley.

“It’s such a positive place, both the college and the community. Maybe that’s because we really are a destination. People are happy to be here.”

Bowman lives in Courtenay with his 18-year-old daughter, Janey, who graduated last year from Isfeld Secondary.

“Couldn’t be happier. College is doing well. Great place to work, great people. It’s been a remarkable year. We’ve been developing the new five-year plan. That took me out to lots of council meetings around the region, to chambers of commerce, to school boards, and a bunch of other partner organizations. I learned a tremendous amount about the region, and about the community’s expectations.

“I’ve had a strong sense about how much the community cares about the college and what goes on at the college. It was very affirming. I think the college is on the right track. We have a set of priorities and goals that will guide us.”

The Winnipeg-raised Bowman is a diehard Jets and Blue Bombers fan.

“I’m OK with the Canucks but the BC Lions…Too many years spent in the Winnipeg stadium watching the Bombers.”

Outside of work, Bowman enjoys hitting the links.

“I love golf but it doesn’t love me. I want to take some lessons and improve my game. It’s great when you play well and it’s terrible when you don’t.”

Another extracurricular outlet is Rotary. Bowman had been a Rotarian in Quesnel and Prince George before moving to the Valley. Last fall, he joined the Courtenay Rotary Club.

“Great organization. They welcomed me with open arms. I’ve recently taken on some responsibility for our youth services programs. We have an international exchange program, and lots of things to support youth.”

Come fall, the club will look at the establishment of a Rotaract Club for 18- to 30-year-olds.

“We’re going to be establishing one here at the college with the support of the four local clubs. It’s an opportunity for young people to serve and socialize and get some great experience. It’s about developing leadership and capacity in our young people.”

His club has raised money for worthy causes. It’s committed to $20,000 a year worth of secondary and post-secondary scholarships.