Two new assistant deputy ministers are joining the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
Michelle Koski is joining the province after five years as CEO of the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.
“I am happy to share that I have accepted a position as assistant deputy minister with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food,” she said in a LinkedIn post this week. “I am very much looking forward to working with the talented and dedicated staff at the ministry and returning to public service. I am also looking forward to working with BC’s agriculture, agri-food and agri-tech sectors in my new role.”
In addition to her work with IAF, Koski brings extensive experience with the federal government in different capacities, most recently as deputy and regional director with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. She begins her new role January 27.
Eric Christiansen, formerly a policy advisor in the premier’s office, is also joining the ministry as an assistant deputy minister.
Koski joins the provincial ministry following the abrupt departure last fall of Arif Lalani, which the BC government directory indicates left the ministry without any ADMs. The province posted the opportunity in November with an application deadline of December 7.
BC Fruit Growers Association general manager Glen Lucas says Koski’s experience will be an asset to the ministry.
“There’s been a few vacancies and gaps over the past couple of years and it’s fantastic to see some fresh new faces,” he says. “Michelle Koski has great experience and we know her from many programs that we’ve worked together with [her] on.”
She also leaves a strong foundation for IAFBC as it grows its role as a program administrator.
“Our loss is their gain. She was an amazing CEO,” says IAFBC chair Jack DeWit. “She was hard working and has really good organizational skills and really led the organization to the higher level from where we were at before. I think Michelle will be a real asset for the whole ag branch in Victoria.”
Lucas says the new faces at the ministry offers a fresh start at the beginning of a new year.
“Everyone is new there. From the minister, deputy minister, assistant deputy ministers – so the top leadership team is all new in the last year, and we’re very excited to be working with them and seeing the new directions that are going to emerge,” he says.