Stan was born in the former Eastern Bloc communist country of Yugoslavia. His mother passed away before his second birthday, and Stan’s father, seeking to escape communism and find a new life in a Democratic country, left Stan in the care of his grandparents.
Almost two years after Stan’s father escaped to Italy, he rescued Stan through the Red Cross. They spent three years in an Italian refugee camp, until Canada approved their application for official status as refugees. Stan remembers this as one of the most important events of his life.
Though Stan’s father originally settled with his family in Edmonton, he soon moved them North to open a mink ranch in the Lesser Slave Lake area, where they endured hardship and extreme conditions. They finally arrived in Victoria, B.C., during the Christmas season of 1966.
When Stan turned 16, he left home with $7.50 and his red CCM bike, getting a job as a laborer on a construction site. That day began a different and critical education for Stan, his “real world” learning journey that he continues in adulthood. An extremely determined individual, Stan steadily maintained his belief that anything was possible even in the face of extreme challenges. With his childhood tools of survival and hard work, he discovered that overcoming challenges was part of a constant cycle also made up of success and learning.
Stan credits living in British Columbia, Canada, for the opportunity to pursue his dreams and experience a life of endless possibility. By embracing opportunities and devoting himself to smart, hard work, Stan built an incredibly successful career in the Business and Real Estate Development sector, and has served as an invaluable support and catalyst to the Province’s economy for the past forty years.
Stan’s life was changed dramatically when he met his incredible partner, who would also be mother to their two children. Meeting her was one of the most important experiences in Stan’s life, despite the brevity of their time together. She passed away in 2007 when their children, Johnathon and Christina, were ages 12 and 9. In 2013, Stan was blessed to marry Dr. Anna Sylwestrowicz, to whom he was introduced by Shelia Orr and Sindi Hawkins. Together, they celebrate a combined and beautiful family of seven, including Alex, 26, Anthony, 24, and William, 19.
Stan has had a lifelong passion for auto racing, and he credits this love for being one of the “driving” forces behind many other initiatives in his life. Always the underdog, one of Stan’s fondest memories was breaking through and winning the NHRA World Finals in 1991, proving to himself that there is always a way to overcome obstacles and achieve success. In 2015, Stan was inducted into the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame inaugural class.
Throughout his career, Stan has admired individuals who dedicated themselves to public service and giving back to their communities. Over the years, he noticed that more politicians enter the public arena as part of a lifelong vocation, rather than coming into service as a natural extension of working alongside community members as they address daily, real-world challenges in creating jobs, balancing budgets, raising capital, adapting to dynamic environments, and creating collaborations and partnerships with diverse stakeholders for meaningful results.