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
  • 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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