Premier’s Awards

  • Celebrating Ontario’s Outstanding College Graduates

    The Premier’s Awards recognize the tremendous social and economic contributions that Ontario’s college graduates make to Ontario and throughout the world.

    Presented annually, the Premier’s Awards recognize graduates in the following six categories:

    • Business
    • Community Services
    • Creative Arts & Design
    • Health Sciences
    • Recent Graduate
    • Technology
  • 2019 Lambton College Premier's Awards Nominees:

    Bolatito Alawode

    bolatito-alawode

    • Business Management – Marketing, Class of 2015
    • Banking Advisor, Royal Bank of Canada
    • Premier’s Award Category: Recent Graduate
     

    Bolatito Alawode is an entrepreneur who has turned her passion for staying connected to her African culture through food into Canada’s largest online African marketplace. With Mychopchop, Bolatito has shipped African specialties to over 2000 homes across Canada and the United States. Mychopchop also supports two part-time employees and provides volunteer opportunities to immigrants needing Canadian work experience to gain employment. Bolatito was a 2018 recipient of the YMCA Women of Distinction Award and has been featured on CBC radio and on their website. She is also a Registered Mutual Funds Representative with the Royal Bank of Canada.

    Richard Marcano

    Richard-Marcano

    • Clinical Counselor, Lifes Seasons
    • Premier’s Award Category: Community Services 

    Richard Marcano has dedicated his career to amplifying the voices of youth in Ontario’s systems of care. He is the President of the Board of Directors for the HairStory Project, an initiative that brings together black youth living in care to discuss their experiences, learn their rights, and advocate for change. Richard has participated in a roundtable with the federal government, consulted on a bill with the provincial government, presented the HairStory project to UN delegates, and worked with the Ontario Human Rights Commission on the issue of racial profiling. He is also a trauma counsellor for children and youth.

    Robert Quirion

    Robert-Quirion

    • Programmer Analyst Diploma, Computer Science, Class of 1990
    • Founder, CEO, Owner, DealerMine
    • Premier’s Award Category: Business
     

    Robert Quirion is the founder and CEO of DealerMine, a company that produces customer relationship management solutions in use by 529 automotive dealerships across North America. As of June 2019, DealerMine boasts 251 fulltime, permanent employees in Richard’s home community of Saint John, New Brunswick. In October of 2018, Robert sold DealerMine for $14 million, and in January of 2019 announced a five-year strategic partnership with a dealership group that allowed him to expand the company by 85 employees. Through DealerMine Robert has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to charitable and community organizations.

    Salvatore Cardu

    Salvatore-Cardu

    • General Studies, Class of 1982
    • CEO, YogoBogo
    • Premier’s Award Category: Technology
     

    Salvatore Cardu is the founder and CEO of YogoBogo, a location-based mobile application that combines Salvatore’s two main passions: community, and innovation. Through his mobile application, Salvatore is helping businesses reconnect with customers they may have lost touch with as the digital age took over in an overall effort to improve tourism. Hardly content with what he has already achieved, Salvatore is working on developing a virtual reality technology that would further boost customer engagement for businesses, and is partnering with other innovative technology firms.

    Stephen Gamble

    stephen-gamblee

    • MET (Engineering), Class of 1983
    • Marketing Strategist, CEO & Founder, Frame Concepts
    • Premier’s Award Category: Creative Arts and Design
     

    Stephen Gamble is the founder and CEO of Frame Concepts, a firm dedicated to making complex technologies and solutions accessible and marketable through visual communications. In his 20-year marketing career Stephen has worked with companies ranging from small start-ups to major corporations including JP Morgan, IBM and GE. His company employs 25 people in both fulltime and contract capacities. Stephen has also authored a book titled Visual Content Marketing: Leveraging Infographics, Videos and Interactive Media to Attract and Engage Customers, and has worked as an adjunct professor teaching business, humanities and philosophy.

    Marcel Blais

    Marcel-Blais

    • Nursing, Class of 2003
    • Rural Health Nurse Practitioner, Bluewater Health
    • Premier’s Award Category: Health Sciences
     

    Marcel Blais is an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner who has split his 16-year career between high-ranking healthcare administration positions, and providing critical care to patients with life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Using his administrative experience, which includes stints as a Professional Practice Leader in Chatham-Kent, Director of Critical Care Services in Port Huron, and Executive Director of Hospice in Sarnia, Marcel helped create his own current Nurse Practitioner role with Bluewater Health to improve access to care in the rural community of Petrolia. Marcel has also spent over 20 years volunteering with the Community Concerns for the Medically Fragile organization.

  • 2018 Lambton College Premier's Awards Nominees:

    Charlie Atkinson

    Charlie Atkinson

    • Business Administration Marketing, Class of 1981
    • President, The Winning Practice
    • Premier's Award Category: Business
     

    Charlie Atkinson has been delivery exceptional sales and business results for more than 30 years as an accomplished leader with a track record of over-achievement. He leveraged his college diploma into an exciting career in business, ultimately becoming the President of Hewlett Packard Enterprise where he delivered class-leading revenue and market share growth. Charlie gives back to his community and industry by sharing his expertise via conference keynotes, classroom presentations, and industry-related committees and as a consultant for his new business, The Winning Practice.

    Nicole Paquette

    Nicole Paquette

    • Practical Nursing, Class of 2009
    • Co-founder, Noelle's Gift, and Registered Practical Nurse, Bluewater Health
    • Premier’s Award Category: Community Services
     

    Nicole Paquette is a passionate advocate for the health and well-being of marginalized children. As the co-founder of Noelle's Gift, Nicole has helped raise $1.25 million in the past five years, positively impacting the lives of approximately 20,000 children. The volunteer-run charitable organization has received local and provincial recognition for providing nutrition, clothing and educational equipment to thousands of marginalized children in the community.

    Debbie Croteau

    Debbie Croteau

    • Medical Laboratory Technology, Class of 1991
    • Director, Diagnostic Services, Bluewater Health
    • Premier’s Award Category: Health Sciences
     

    Debbie started her healthcare career as a casual technologist and took on increasingly challenging roles as her career progressed. Now, as the Director of Diagnostic Services at Bluewater Health, she oversees 175 healthcare professionals and has championed a variety of initiatives to improve patient safety, laboratory quality standards, and staff engagement. Her efforts have been recognized with three award nominations, including one win, within Bluewater Health. Debbie also contributes her time on regional and provincial healthcare committees providing input on important issues to ensure all Ontarians have access to high-quality healthcare.

    Bisi Alawode

    Bisi Alawode

    • Digital Photography, Class of 2015
    • Head Photographer, Bisi Alawode Photography
    • Premier’s Award Category: Recent Graduate
     

    In the three years since his graduation, Bisi has received regional, national, and international acclaim for his photography and entrepreneurial endeavours. A 2016 recipient of the Top 30 Under 30 Awards for wedding photographers, Bisi is lauded for his ability to capture the ardor of his clients. In 2017, he was invited to present at an international photography conference and was nominated for a young entrepreneur award from his local community. He founded a networking group for Nigerian photographers now living in Canada and is training the next generation of photographers as a passionate instructor at two community colleges

    Mike Collier

    Mike Collier

    • Radio Television Journalism, Class of 1982
    • Creative Writer and Illustrator, Self-employed
    • Premier’s Award Category: Creative Arts & Design
     

    Mike Collier has enjoyed a career spanning more than 35 years in communications, and has also worked as a writer and illustrator of children's Canadian historical literature for the past two decades. Mike's innovative Chugger Mugger Mystery series teaches children about events in Canada's history in a way that makes learning about history fun. Mike has also drawn upon his experience as a journalist and communications professional to develop The Young Canuckstorian Project, an interactive historical learning program for children, which teaches them to think critically and to write their own creative and journalistic stories about their local history.

    Bernard Brocklehurst

    Bernard Brocklehurst

    • Computer Programmer Analyst, Class of 1998
    • Senior Analyst/Developer, NOVA Chemicals
    • Premier’s Award Category: Technology
     

    Bernard Brocklehurst founded Electro-Byte Technologies, a computer repair company, at 17 years of age. Within a year, the company became the first commercial internet service provider in the Sarnia-Lambton region. A programmer at heart, Bernard created an online ticket sales system for a music festival that processed more than $300,000 in ticket sales in 20 minutes, and a robust platform that reports critical bus passenger information to parents and education stakeholders. Since joining NOVA Chemicals, he has been formally recognized dozens of times for his IT projects and initiatives and was awarded the 2015 "Responsible Care Outstanding Contributor Award."

  • 2017 Lambton College Premier’s Awards Nominees:

    Tara Duff-Cloes

    Tara Duff-Cloes

    • Business Administration Marketing, Class of 1986
    • President, John Duff Ltd.
    • Premier's Award Category: Business
     

    Tara Duff-Cloes is the President of John Duff Ltd, a custom metal fabricating business that has prospered for 50 years. At the age of 22, she immersed herself in the steel business and overcame the prejudice she encountered as a woman in a male-dominated industry. Under her leadership, the firm has acquired specialized tools and welding certifications to fabricate unique steel projects, including the Canadian Arrow rocket ship and the emission-free energy producing Atmospheric Vortex Engine. Using a framework of respect, charity, and honesty to run her business, Duff-Cloes enjoys a positive reputation among clients and boasts numerous long-serving employees.

    Richard Teskey

    Richard Teskey

    • Child and Youth Worker, Class of 1997
    • Professor, Child & Youth Care, Lambton College
    • Premier’s Award Category: Community Services
     

    For 20 years, Richard Teskey has created unique educational and recreational programs to help youth build resilience and self-esteem. In 2009, Teskey founded the ACT II Theatre Program, a free therapeutic arts initiative, which has empowered more than 500 youth dealing with mental health and self-confidence issues. Teskey’s innovative use of milieu therapy has helped hundreds of high-risk youth graduate from high school. In 2006, he authored the Therapeutic Classroom Curriculum that continues to be used in group homes and classrooms today. Teskey also contributes countless volunteer hours to various youth-oriented organizations in Sarnia-Lambton lending his expertise and counselling skills.

    Dr. Don R. J. Castaldi

    Don Castaldi

    • Law and Security, Class of 1991
    • Clinical Psychologist, Owner and Director, DC Waterstone Services
    • Premier’s Award Category: Health Sciences
     

    Dr. Castaldi holds a doctorate in clinical psychology with specializations in trauma, attachment, and forensics. He has over 25 years of experience working with people of all ages with severe psychopathology, brain injury, neuro-developmental challenges, addictive/obsessive behaviours, and with people who have endured and perpetrated traumatic events. In both Canada and the United States, Dr. Castaldi has been celebrated for his knowledge, insight and ability to understand complex cases and transform how professionals think about the people they engage and support. Dr. Castaldi's SIVA holistic, relationship-based approach has guided professionals in their support of individuals with complex needs.

    Dan Edwards

    Dan Edwards

    • Business, Class of 2014
    • Public Speaker, Self-employed
    • Premier’s Award Category: Recent Graduate
     

    Motivational speaker, accessibility advocate and author Dan Edwards wants to make the world a better place. He does this by sharing his personal story of becoming paralyzed at the age of 18 and the emotional challenges he encountered afterwards. His public awareness initiatives have raised $75,000 to support mental health services in the community, contributed to the installation of 30 accessible ramps at local businesses, and informed thousands of youth about the mental health resources available to them. A passionate advocate for inspiring positive change, Edwards serves on various committees that support mental health and accessibility issues.

  • 2016 Lambton College Premier’s Awards Nominees:

    Sean Pinsonneault

    Sean Pinsonneault

    • Electronics Engineering Technology, Class of 1990
    • Executive Vice President, Strategy and Wagering, Woodbine Entertainment Group
    • Premier’s Awards Category: Business
     

    Sean Pinsonneault is a revolutionary leader who is changing the face of the horse racing industry across North America and the world. Considered an expert in his field, he is called upon to provide his expertise on the most influential Boards in horse racing. Pinsonneault’s ability to navigate change and uncertainty with respect to wagering-related activities through the creation of a strategic vision has allowed him to drastically increase revenue generation for Woodbine Entertainment Group. His career success has transcended boundaries, resulting in the creation of industry standards that have changed how many other companies conduct their own business.

    Shawn Johnston

    Shawn Johnston

    • Social Service Worker, Class of 2010
    • Events Coordinator, Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre, University of Waterloo
    • Premier’s Awards Category: Community Services
     

    After overcoming a 10 year addiction battle and issues of racism, homophobia, and abuse, Shawn Johnston found a new life at Lambton College. Having used the services provided by the Aboriginal Centre during his post-secondary journey and understanding the important role it plays, Johnston has dedicated his career to paying it forward. Johnston now works at the Aboriginal Centre at the University of Waterloo where he strives to make a difference in the lives of the Aboriginal students he serves. Johnston used his strong relationship building skills to drastically grow the program, ensuring that no Aboriginal student is left behind.

    Aaron Huggett

    Aaron Huggett

    • Media Fundamentals, Class of 2002 / Chemical Production and Power Engineering Technology, Class of 2014
    • Creative Director, Eclipse Media Productions
    • Premier’s Awards Category: Creative Arts & Design
     

    As the Owner and Creative Director for Eclipse Media Productions, Aaron J. Huggett is a visionary film-maker who aims to bring about social change through the use of independent feature films, commercials, music videos and advocacy videos for non-profits. His innovative techniques have allowed him to produce a multitude of critically acclaimed feature films on the independent film circuit, impressively with some of the smallest budgets in the industry. As a screenwriter and film maker, Huggett’s films have been distributed in 66 countries on all continents and have received numerous awards around the world.

    Christopher Omira

    Christopher Omira

    • Diploma in Nursing, Class of 2003
    • Community Health Nurse (Advanced Practice), Health Canada, First Nation & Inuit Health Branch
    • Premier’s Awards Category: Health Sciences
     

    Christopher Omira has spent his life defying the odds. Growing up in a small Kenyan village, he walked 10 km to school each day, often hungry, believing education was the key to lifting himself out of poverty. Omira has dedicated his life to making the world a better place. In Canada, he uses his nursing education to provide primary health care to some of the most disadvantaged residents in the country who live in isolated First Nation communities. In Africa, he co-founded a non-profit organization and helped launch a new school, student loan program, sanitary pad program, and health centre.

    Anthony Varga

    Anthony Varga

    • Electronics Engineering Technology, Class of 1985
    • President & CEO, Endress+Hauser Canada Ltd.
    • Premier’s Awards Category: Technology
     

    In January 2016, Anthony Varga was named the President and CEO of Endress+Hauser Canada Ltd. This move came as a natural progression in Varga’s career where he has gained a reputation as being a game-changer who gets results. A born leader, Varga has successfully used value stream mapping to evaluate an organization’s operations from top to bottom, all while bringing an accelerated evolution into an organization in a way that people understand and fully engage with the changes. His reputation to bring about efficiencies and effectiveness to each organization he has worked with has been the cornerstone of his career.

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