Kelowna: The Kelowna Chamber is proud to announce this year’s “Business Leader of the Year” is Sam Samaddar, Chief Executive Officer, Kelowna International Airport.  Sam will be formally recognized at the Chamber’s upcoming 36th Annual Business and Community Excellence Awards Gala set for Friday Nov. 17th at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort.  Tickets for that event are available from the Chamber.


Samaddar was chosen by an independent panel of judges made up of community leaders after they reviewed and deliberated over numerous nominees. Sam was first appointed as Kelowna International Airport (YLW) Director in 2008 and now as CEO, he guides a dynamic team that has built YLW into one of the top ten airports in the country.


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


Sam’s interest in aviation developed early; at a young age he was involved with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets where he achieved his private pilot’s license at age 17. In 1988 he commenced his airport career at Vancouver International Airport and in 1992 he assumed the position of Superintendent Airport Operations at YLW and has held numerous positions, including Assistant General Manager for both Airport Operations and Airport Development while achieving his International Accredited Airport Executive designation in 1997.


YLW is one of the top ten airports  in Canada, expected to serve two million passengers in 2023, and was one of the fastest recovering airports in 2022 following the global pandemic. As Airport CEO, Sam currently is a board member of Tourism Kelowna, Airports Council International – World Executive Committee, and Chair of Airports Council International – North America.


This year’s 36th annual Business Excellence Awards gala is Friday November 17th at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort. Hundreds of people will celebrate the 16 winners out of the more than 200+ who were nominated.


Sam Samaddar 2023