Students at Deep Bay Marine Station

Debra Hellbach

Debra HellbachManager, Centre for Seafood Innovation

Debra became Manager, Centre for Seafood Innovation in April, 2021. Debra brings a wealth of experience in the food processing industry, including seafood and shellfish processing, to Vancouver Island University. With 35 years’ food and seafood industry experience, a graduate degree in Professional Communications, and a Bachelors’ in Food Science, Debra is uniquely qualified to manage the Centre. As a successful entrepreneur and business developer, Debra thrives on helping foodpreneurs access the infrastructure, equipment, and services required to foster and grow competitive businesses.

Debra has worked for private industry, federal, and provincial governments, and as a private consultant. In these roles Debra has developed relationships with, and provided assistance to over a thousand food industry representatives. She is a proven researcher and business leader.

  • 2019 Mitacs Accelerate Fellowship, research on perceptions of food processing
  • 2018 Outstanding Regional Partnership Award by Diabetes Canada, food skills development with Indigenous communities
  • 2017 BC Food and Beverage Association, Food Industry Leadership Award

Debra currently lives in Victoria with her teenaged son. She is an avid gardener and loves exploring the island on her motorcycle.