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Past Winners

Jan 30, 2010


Alberta’s Business Person of the Year winners since 1997

2012 Gregg Saretsky, President and CEO of WestJet

saretskyOur winner in 2012 is the man overseeing WestJet’s creation of a regional short-haul carrier, after leaving the final decision in the hands of his employees. Gregg Saretsky joined the company in 2009 and hopes to take it to the next level.

2011 Nancy Southern, President and CEO of ATCO group

southernOur 2011 winner was our first female Business Person of the Year, and one that many will recognize. Nancy Southern led the ATCO Group to its best year ever in 2010, and in 2011 she started the process to make it a global powerhouse.

2010 Don Lowry, President and CEO of EPCOR

lowry Our 2010 winner was a popular choice, with close to 500 well wishers, fellow executives, and business professionals attending his awards luncheon. His achievements in revitalizing EPCOR and creating Capital Power will be making waves for years to come.

2009 Larry Pollock, president and CEO of Canadian Western Bank Group

pollockThe BPOY winner for 2009 continues to lead Canadian Western Bank to financial prominence with 2010 being another successful year. Delivering on the promise of good returns for shareholders and the goal of creating a robust western based bank, Larry Pollock has positioned Canadian Western Bank to take full advantage of the economic recovery.

2008 Brett Wilson, Co-founder and chairman of FirstEnergy Capital

wilsonBrett Wilson was named our 2008 Business Person of the Year not only because of his business acumen, but also for his extensive charity work and public persona. To this day, he continues to invest both his time and money in a massive list of local and international charities. He remains a panelist on the Gemini Award-winning TV series Dragons Den and can be often seen in the media promoting philanthropic events such as the Tomorrow Project.

Having retired from FirstEnergy Capital in December of 2008, he continues to invest through his private holding company: Prairie Merchant Corporation. In 2009, the Brett Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence gave away over $145,000 in cash and prizes for the I3 Idea Challenge – making it one of the largest business plan competitions in North America. In October of 2010 he became a significant investor and Chairman of Canoe Financial LP, an investment management firm with over $1.5 billion in assets.

His incredibly slick website offers extensive information into the in the many businesses and charities he is affiliated with. Find it at http://www.wbrettwilson.ca/

2007 James Kinnear, President, CEO and chairman of Pengrowth Energy Trust

kinnearJames Kinnear retired from his position of president and CEO of Pengrowth Energy Trust in 2009 after a long and successful career. He currently serves on a number of boards and committees, including The Banff Centre Board of Governors, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Olympic Foundation, the National Arts Centre Foundation Board, and the Rockyview General Hospital Development Council. He continues to bring his extensive business acumen to his many business and communities roles.

2006 Ross Grieve, President and CEO of PCL a family of companies

grieveOur BPOY for 2006, the inexhaustible Ross Grieve, continues to hold the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of PCL Construction Group Inc., as well as working as a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and of the World Presidents’ Organization. He also serves on the boards of Melcor Developments and the Kingsett Capital Fund. In tribute to his extensive business repertoire, he was named Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year by the National Post in 2009.

In terms of community work, he has become a Special Adviser to the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute and serves as a member of the National Cabinet for the Banff Centre Capital Campaign, the Honorary Advisory Board of the Anything is Possible Tour, the Board of Governors of Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta and Northwest Territories, the Board of Governors of The Miller Thomson Foundation, and the Board of Governors of the Canadian Olympic Foundation. He is also Honorary Director of the Edmonton Business Council for the Visual Arts.

Nothing seems to be slowing Mr. Grieve down as he continues to expand his business and community activities.

2005 Charlie Fischer, President & CEO of Nexen Inc.

fischerSince his award in 2005, Charlie Fischer has left his position as President and CEO of Nexen Inc in December of 2008 and subsequently joined the boards of Pure Technologies Ltd. in May of 2009 and Enbridge in July of the same year. In addition, Mr. Fischer has been honored repeatedly since our coverage in 2005. In 2006, he was awarded the University of Calgary’s Canadian Engineering Leader Award. In February of 2009, Mr. Fischer was named Resource Person of the Year by the Alberta Chamber of Resources and in October of 2009. Most recently he was selected as the Canadian Energy Person of the Year 2010 by the Energy Council of Canada.

Mr. Fischer has also become extremely active in environmental management and negotiation. In April 2009 the Canadian government announced him as a head of one of three climate change working groups as part of the Clean Energy Dialogue with the United States. In addition to this, he currently co-chairs the Alberta Climate Change Central board and was appointed board member for Alberta’s Climate Change and Emission Management Corporation (CCEMC).

Community works also fall under his recent activities. While working on the Board of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, he co-chaired a very successful capital campaign which raised over $50 million to support the building of a new Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. In addition to this, Mr. Fischer is also a past Board member of the Canadian Olympic Development Authority. It seems that Mr. Fisher aims as high in his philanthropic work as he did in his professional life.

2004 Sam Shaw, President of Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

shawNot content with just naming Sam Shaw our BPOY in 2004, we also recognized him as one of Alberta’s 50 most influential people in 2005. It’s not hard to see why; Mr. Shaw’s work with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and his commitment to education has made him a positive force for Alberta. Thanks to his excellent stewardship, NAIT was recognized as one of Alberta’s Top Employers for 2007 and 2008 and has launched two unique baccalaureate programs – a Bachelor of Technology in Technology Management and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Enterprise Management.

Dr. Shaw stepped down as the president of the NAIT in 2010 and has gone on hold the position of Vice-President of Natural Gas Policy Development with Encana Corporation in Calgary. In addition, he was given the rare honour of being appointed Honorary Colonel of 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, Edmonton, AB in January 2010.

He continues further the education of the next generation of business professionals by serving as an adjunct professor. He currently holds positions at the University of Alberta, the Cape Breton University Shannon School of Business, and at Central Michigan University.

2003 Bill Comrie, Founder and Chairman of The Brick Warehouse Corporation

comrieThe year after we awarded Bill Comrie Alberta’s Business Person of Year was a dramatic one. In 2004, Comrie took the Brick public and stepped down as President and CEO of the company. Prior going public, he personally distributed bonus cheques totaling $43 million to all 6,000 of his employees in a gesture of appreciate for their dedication and commitment to the company. He has since reinvested in the Brick in 2008 and has helped advise the company through a difficult recession.

The accolades did not stop with our award in 2003. In 2004, he was named Retailer of the Year by the Canadian Home Furnishings Alliance (then the Ontario Furniture Manufacturers Association). In 2007, Comrie was named an Officer of the Order of Canada and was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree by the University of Alberta.

He currently lives in California, enjoying the sunshine and his retirement with his family.

2002 John Forzani, chairman and CEO of The Forzani Group Ltd. (FGL)

forzaniJohn Forzani stepped down as CEO of The Forzani Group Ltd. the year after we named him BPOY in 2002. Mr. Forzani has gone on to win a number of other awards since 2002 including: the University of Calgary and Calgary Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Business Leader Award, the Retail Council of Canada Distinguished Canadian Retailer Award, the CFCN Television The Leaders in Business Award, the Canadian Institute of Retailing Services/Henry Singer Award, and induction into Junior Achievement’s Business Hall of Fame.

In a return to his sporting roots, Forzani became part owner of the Calgary Stampeders in 2005. In addition to this, he is also an Independent Director for Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd. as well as Groupe Aeroplan Inc.

He continues to pursue philanthropic initiatives through his association with FGL. Each year, FGL raises approximately $1 million for charitable causes. Always a passionate advocate for youth sport, Forzani has directed charitable efforts of both the Calgary Stampeders and FGL to supporting amateur football in Southern Alberta.

2001 Rick George, CEO of Suncor Energy Inc.

georgeOur 2001 BPOY Rick George has continued his standard of excellence throughout the last decade. He continues his work as CEO of Suncor Energy Inc. and has joined a number of corporate boards such as Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc., the largest offshore drilling company in the world.

Richard has served on many charitable drives and industry organizations, among them as chair of the 2008 Governor General’s Leadership Conference, chair of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (2003-2006). Rick was a also member of the Calgary Committee to End Homelessness in 2007 and is chair of the 2008 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.

In 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Richard to represent Canada on the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC). Possibly his higheset honour came in 2007 when he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. Reasons for his award were included “his leadership in the development of Canada’s natural resources sector, for his efforts to provide economic opportunities to Aboriginal communities and for his commitment to sustainable development.” More recently, he was inducted into the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame in 2008.

2000 Harry Buddle, CEO of Capital City Savings and Credit Union Limited

buddleMr. Buddle’s accolades have grown extensively since we named him BPOY in 2000. In 2001 he was given an honorary diploma in business development from NAIT and won the Henry Singer Award for Exceptional Leadership in Retailing and Services from the Canadian Institute of Retailing and Services. In 2003 he was inducted into the prestigious Alberta Business Hall of Fame and in 2004 he was appointed to the Dr. Charles Allard Chair in Business by Grant MacEwan College. He has been also been named a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta.

Mr. Buddle continues to guide Capital City Savings towards success and expansion. Capital City Savings has become the largest credit union in Alberta managing approximately $2.2 billion in assets and providing services to 163,000 members. Thanks to Mr. Buddle’s stewardship, Capital City Savings was named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies in 2003 and requalified in 2004. In addition to this work, he has also accepted the position of Vice Chairman for Edmonton’s CV Technologies Inc.

The last decade has been good to Harry Buddle, and in turn, he’s been good to Alberta. His community work has included organizations such as the United Way, Catholic Social Services, the Salvation Army, Edmonton Northlands, the Alberta Cancer Board, Lurana Women’s Shelter and Newman Theological College. Mr. Buddle is a long time Rotary Club member and was named a Paul Harris Fellow for his work.

1999 Clive Beddoe, President and CEO of WestJet

beddoeAs one of our most publically well known BPOYs, Clive Beddoe has continued to live up to his well earned reputation. In September 2007, Beddoe moved from CEO to Chairman of WestJet and he also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) and is Chairman of their Human Resources Committee.

Clive has received many subsequent accolades for himself and for Westjet. In 2002 and 2003, WestJet was named one of Canada’s most respected companies, and in 2003, Alberta Venture named WestJet the Most Respected Corporation title for its innovative practices. In 2004, Clive received the prestigious Canadian Business Leader Award from the University of Alberta Faculty of Business and the Business Advisory Council. In 2008, he was named the University of Victoria Business Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year. More recently, he was inducted to Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame in 2009. This “New Maverick” continues to impress the Alberta Business community with his business skill and success.

1998 Martin Lambert, Managing Partner of Bennett Jones

lambertOur second BPOY, Martin Lambert, left his position as CEO of Bennett Jones LLP in 2000 to take on a number of senior executive roles such as becoming the CEO of Swan Hills Synfuels LP, the CEO of CMQ Resources Inc, and a board member on a number of energy and exploration firms. He has also been recognized as one of Canada’s top 30 dealmakers by Canada’s National Post. He continued to practice law as a partner with Bennett Jones LLP until 2007 when he moved to focusing on his various corporate positions.

1997 Ron Triffo, President and CEO of Stanley Technology Group (now Stantec)

Triffo-e1290626259781As our first Business Person of the Year, Ron Triffo has had plenty of time to build on his many accomplishments. He has left his position as CEO of Stantec and has moved on to chair the company’s Board of Directors. In addition to this, he is also involved with the Alberta Economic Development Authority, the Alberta Ingenuity Fund, the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. It seems a common theme is emerging in Mr. Triffo’s subsequent work: the promotion of Alberta innovation and technology.

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