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FPAC celebrates contributions to forestry with annual Awards of Excellence


May 10, 2019
By FPAC
Jennifer Tallman, Chief Forester, Ontario, EACOM, winner of the FPAC Women in Forestry Award of Excellence. Photo courtesy EACOM.

Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) hosted its annual Awards of Excellence luncheon in Vancouver yesterday, where it recognized individual and group contributions that are making a difference and taking the industry into the future.

FPAC hosts this annual event to recognize excellence in the sector and to honour the achievements of our workers and community partners. Winners are selected across several categories including Forest Community Champions, industry partners, Indigenous leadership, women in forestry, rising stars, innovation, and lifetime achievement.

“The people of Canada’s forest products sector are making contributions every day to help us realize important environmental and economic outcomes,” said FPAC President and CEO, Derek Nighbor. “It’s important that we recognize these efforts and say thank you to these special people in our businesses and in our communities who are doing such great work.”

FPAC’s 2019 Awards winners include:

Forest Community Champion Awards:

  • Hon. Jim Carr – Member of Parliament Winnipeg South Centre, and Minister of International Trade Diversification
  • Hon. Ed Fast – Member of Parliament, Abbotsford, and former Minister of International Trade
  • Lyn Hall – Mayor, Prince George, B.C.
  • Pascal Cloutier – Mayor, Dolbeau-Mistassini, Que.

The Forest Community Champion award is presented to a leader who demonstrates support for the forestry sector and its contributions to Canada’s environmental and economic priorities.

“It’s an honour to receive this award and I hope that everyone in Prince George who’s involved with the forest industry takes pride in receiving this national recognition,” said Mayor Hall. “The Prince George District is home to about 300 forestry-related businesses that support about 9,000 jobs. Those people produce billions of dollars worth of forest products and are at the forefront of innovation in new products, bioenergy, and forest management. Thank you, FPAC, for recognizing Prince George and the great things we do here.”

“Sustainable resource development and land use planning pose complex challenges that require thoughtful consideration and community support,” said Nighbor. “Mayor Cloutier has demonstrated a real commitment to finding solutions that address the interests of his community and region, and we applaud his engagement and leadership.

FPAC Partnership Awards:

  • Kristen Vice – Head of sustainable manufacturing and Canadian operations, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) – Montréal, Que.
  • Forestry Futures Alliance- Edmonton and Calgary, Alta.

The Partnership Award is presented to a non-government organization or individual that has demonstrated leadership in working collaboratively with the forest products sector.

“The research work that Kirsten and her team undertake provides our sector with some incredible insights and allows us to better assess and address complex matters. We have the privilege of being able to leverage NCASI’s work to identify solutions to many of the issues we face in our forests and at our mills,” said Nighbor

“We are extremely proud to be recognized by FPAC for what we believe is a great partnership,” said Brian McConkey, who Chairs the Industry Advisory Group with the Forestry Futures Alliance. “Each of our Alliance members – Inside Education, Work Wild and CAREERS: The Next Generation work together to ensure our education programs work seamlessly to increase awareness of K-12 students, teachers, and career professionals of the sustainable practices and the variety of rewarding careers in Alberta’s forests”.

Indigenous Business Leadership Award:

  • Selkin Logging Limited – Fraser Lake, B.C.

The 2019 Indigenous Business Leadership Award celebrates Indigenous entrepreneurs in the forest products industry who exemplify business leadership through exceptional environmental and safety performance and the delivery of high quality products and services. The recipient must also demonstrate a long-term commitment to the Indigenous community, particularly in supporting Indigenous employment.

This annual award is a joint initiative between the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and FPAC.

“The heart of the forestry sector lies within Indigenous communities and businesses,” said JP Gladu, President and CEO, CCAB. “CCAB is proud to have partnered with FPAC to recognize exemplary leadership and performance in a forest products business and long-term commitment to the Indigenous community. Congratulations to Selkin Logging Limited, the recipient of the 2019 FPAC-CCAB Indigenous Business Leadership award. For three decades, Robert and Gladys Michell have ensured the success of their First Nation-owned and operated business creating long-term jobs and sustainable prosperity for their community. They are most deserving of today’s recognition and celebration and we are also proud to have them join CCAB as a new member and serve as a positive role model to others.”

Skills Award for Indigenous Youth:

  • Zachary Julian – Mi’Kmaq First Nation, N.S.
  • Lance Black – Anicinape of Abitibi, Ont.

The Skills Awards for Indigenous Youth are presented to individuals with a strong academic standing who demonstrate a commitment to the revitalized forest products industry and the opportunities that it provides for Indigenous communities.

Lance Black is a candidate of the Master of Economic Development and Innovation program at the University of Waterloo, Ont., and is working for Bizhiki Management.

“Initially, I did not give much thought to forestry. However, this past school year has introduced me to many new ideas and I have a fresh perspective on forestry. First Nations can collaboratively work towards capturing the full value chain in wood harvesting and put our people to work,” Black said.

Zachary Julian is currently involved in the Forestry Technician program at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough, Ont. He is eager to start his career in the forest industry by eventually becoming an Indigenous Liaison Forestry Technician in Nova Scotia.

“I plan to use the connections I have generated in the past to provide as much support to our forests for the rest of my life,” said Julian. “I was born and raised in the Mi’kmaq culture and was taught to respect nature. The trees and forests are what provided us life in the past and we need to respect to them in our future.”

FPAC Innovation Award:

  • Brian Merwin, Vice-President, Strategic Initiatives, and the Corporate Development Team, Celgar – Mercer International

The Innovation Award is presented to a leader and visionary who demonstrates a commitment to environmental leadership and sustainable forest management practices.

Merwin and his team realized that with modifications to transport vehicles, they could move 35 per cent more product. Working with vehicle manufacturers, they were successful in developing a unique B-Train trailer that would haul wood chips to the mill and pulp to the Port of Vancouver – one vehicle, two uses.

“It is great to receive recognition for my team’s contribution to innovation, especially considering how much innovation is occurring across our industry,” said Merwin. “Innovation happens through collaboration, open mindedness, and a drive to evolve. This award recognizes innovation’s importance to our industry as our global competitiveness depends upon it. On behalf of my team at Mercer Celgar, thank you.”

FPAC Lifetime Achievement Awards:

  • Jim Witiw – Mercer International
  • François Dumoulin – Resolute Forest Products

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to current or former industry members who have made exceptional, sustained, and significant contributions to Canada’s forest products industry.

François Dumoulin established himself as leader in the industry over a span of 40-year with Resolute Forest Products.

“Born in Montréal and raised in its suburbs, with a father working as a TV producer for the CBC, I have to admit that a career in forestry was certainly not an obvious choice for me when I made it in the mid 1970’s. But I never looked back,” said Dumoulin. “Throughout my career, I have been truly fortunate to report to people like Louis-Marie Bouchard and Yves Laflamme, who gave me lots of opportunities to learn, grow, and eventually share the knowledge they passed on to me.”

Jim Witiw’s forest career began over 37 years ago when he joined Mercer’s Peace River operation as a private wood purchaser. He soon progressed to Land Use Supervisor and Operations Supervisor before finding his niche in Biodiversity Stewardship. Over the years, he devoted his talents to complex files like ecological-based forest management and species recovery.

“These 37 years in the forest sector have been formative, challenging, and ever open to creativity and innovation, continually refreshing in omnipresent change and distinctly growth orientated across knowledge and personal competence,” said Witiw. “Such attributes of a high caliber work environment are not accidental, rather a testimony to the initial management team who set a unique corporate standard of coaching, trust, and professional freedoms at the outset.”

FPAC Outstanding Member Award:

  • Donna Kopecky –  Public Policy Manager, LP Building Solutions
  • Sandy Ferguson – Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Business Development, Conifex Timber Inc.

The Outstanding Member Award is presented to an individual who has gone above and beyond in advancing the values of environmental stewardship, strengthening forestry communities, and supporting industry colleagues and partners.

“FPAC member companies are blessed with some of our sector’s very best talent,” said Nighbor. “This year we are proud to recognize the contributions of two women who are forces within our industry – Sandy Ferguson from Conifex Timber and Donna Kopecky of LP Building Solutions. Both Sandy and Donna are active members of multiple FPAC Committees, provide our team with tremendous insights, and are always prepared to share their knowledge and experience to support the betterment of Canadian forestry.”

FPAC Women in Forestry Award of Excellence:

  • Jennifer Tallman – Chief Forester, Ontario, EACOM Timber Corp.

The Women in Forestry Award of Excellence is presented to a female leader who is making contributions to strengthen our sector and advancing workplace diversity and inclusion.

Jennifer joined EACOM Timber Corporation in 2015 as Forest Planning Coordinator and was promoted to Chief Forester, Ontario in 2017 – the first woman to hold this key position at the company. “The award comes as both a surprise and honour. Over my career, I have had the privilege of being supported by great mentors, most of whom were males. They provided the opportunities and encouragement for me to grow and expand my horizon,” recalled Tallman. “As more and more young women enter the field of forestry and natural resource management, I am excited to see a network of female mentors stepping up in the workplace and online to support this next generation of leaders.”

FPAC Rising Star Award:

  • Marie-Philippe Drouin –  Resolute Forest Products

The Rising Star Award is presented to an individual who brings passion and pride to their work every day, and is making a unique contribution to their workplace.

“It has always been clear to us that Marie-Philippe was up to the challenge. Her sharp mind and curiosity quickly helped her follow and eventually lead technical discussions. She is driven to excel in everything she does, inspiring her team and colleagues, while tackling her work with energy, vision and passion,” said Resolute Forest Products President and CEO Yves Laflamme about Drouin’s achievements.

“I have always been a driven person, and giving the best of myself, both personally and professionally, has especially motivated me,” said Drouin. “I’d like to acknowledge Resolute Forest Products’ Internship Program for Engineers. This initiative, without a doubt, was the starting point for my professional development. I am truly honoured and grateful to FPAC for recognizing me as the 2019 Rising Star Award winner.”