Meet Our Executive Team
The CASARA executive team is dedicated to leading our volunteers from one end of the country to the other. They draw upon their knowledge and experiences to improve the quality of CASARA service and to advocate for its recognition.
President: Dale Kirsch
Dale Kirsch, is a proud grandfather to two incredibly cute granddaughters. They are the only thing more important to him than aviation.
Professionally Dale runs his own company that is involved in sales and marketing in the sporting goods industry in Western Canada. He has received numerous sales awards from the companies that he represents. He has served on industry boards and other boards in areas that he has an interest in.
Dale received his private pilot’s license at the age of 19 and purchased his first aircraft at 20. By 23, he held an instrument rating, which he has maintained until this day. Having his own aircraft, has been a beneficial accessory for both his professional and personal life for nearly 45 years.
He participated as a CARES pilot during their formative years, and has flown extensively throughout North America, from the Arctic Ocean to the Cayman Islands, and many places in between. He has visited almost all 13 provinces and territories by private aircraft, except for PEI and NFLD where he accepted the opportunity to enjoy a commercial flight. He has an immense appreciation for this great country, and the vast cultural differences that makes each of us unique.
Dale spent years flying Radio Control Aircraft, and volunteered countless hours teaching hundreds of adults and youth, the fundamentals of flying R/C airplanes and helicopters. This background could prove invaluable as we move into RPAS activities within CASARA.
He returned to Air Search and Rescue 17 years ago, dedicating his volunteer time exclusively to CASARA. He proudly achieved certification in all positions but has remained an active CASARA Pilot for over 15 years. He has piloted numerous actual SAR events during the day, and a surprising number at night.
At the Leadership level, Dale was the CASARA Zone Commander in Edmonton for 8 years, and Alberta President for the past 7 years. He has been on the CASARA National board, as Alberta Director and Deputy Director for 7 years before his election as President, CASARA National in May 2021.
Vice-President Finance and Administration: Ken Pothier
Ken Pothier has extensive military, commercial and recreation aviation experience spanning 45 years. He was a helicopter instructor-pilot and flight commander and participated in three Search & Rescue missions with the Royal Canadian Air Force. In support of Army Training and Operations he flew helicopters in both domestic and international operations. He holds Airline Transport Pilot Licences for both Airplanes and Helicopters and is type-rated on the Bell 206, 212, 412, Pilatus PC12 and Cessna Citation III. In his commercial aviation experience, he was an Operations Manager and Chief Pilot for both Airplane (702, 703 and 704) and Helicopter (702 and 703) charter companies.
Ken is a co-owner of a Piper Cherokee (PA28) with his wife, Verna Wirth. Ken is the President of the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association of Nova Scotia. As a Director on the National Board of Directors of CASARA, he was elected to the position of Vice-President Finance and Administration in May 2022.
Vice-President Training & Operations: Bev Williams
Bio Coming Soon...
National Safety Officer: Verna Wirth
Bio Coming Soon...
Vice-President Plans and Equipment: Doug-MacDonald
Doug MacDonald joined CASARA in 1999, volunteering as a spotter, navigator and pilot. He soon became the provincial Director for Prince Edward Island and, after four years, was voted into his current position as Vice-President Plans and Equipment.
Doug has a private pilot’s licence with 3400 hours of flight time. He is a part-time member of the Canadian Forces with the Halifax Rifles as part of Influence Activities. He has 38 years of service and has been deployed to Kandahar in 2008. He also has one tandem parachute jump from 12,500 feet with the Sky Hawks Canadian Forces Parachute Team.
National Administrator: Bill Ralph
Bill is a dynamic and business-oriented leader with significant and diverse experience working with both national and international business. He established himself as a trusted advisor through 30+ years working with both a major Chartered Bank and a privately-owned enterprise. Over many years, Bill has been a coach and a mentor to a team of business developers responsible for identifying and understanding clients’ needs in order to help support their strategic growth plans.
Bill is a B Comm (Hons) grad from the University of Manitoba with majors in Finance and Marketing. Bill has experience working with many different organizations in Winnipeg, such as United Way of Winnipeg, Habitat for Humanity and Squash Manitoba. In his spare time, he enjoys the outdoors, racquet sports, golf and travel. Bill is a big sports enthusiast and remains dedicated to supporting sport for all ages! Bill continues to look forward to work with the Member Organizations and the executives of CASARA.