The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) annual Awards of Excellence program recognizes and celebrates the men and women who have made special contributions to strengthen Canada’s forest products sector and our forestry communities.
2020 has been a year like no other and we have witnessed – firsthand – the resilience and commitment of our forest professionals and communities. At the same time, Canadians have been forcefully reminded of the important health, environmental, and economic benefits that forestry and forest products bring to Canada.
Throughout it all, our people continued to produce essential products, safely sustain communities, and keep vital supply chains moving.
FPAC welcomes the opportunity to recognize some of the remarkable people in our sector who have been selected across several categories, including Forest Community Champions, Industry Partners, Indigenous Leadership, Women in Forestry, Rising Stars, Innovation, and Lifetime Achievement.
As we turn our minds toward Canada’s post-COVID 19 future, we are deeply inspired by the dedication in our sector and confident in a strong recovery.
Minister of Natural Resources Canada Seamus O'Regan Addresses the FPAC Awards of Excellence 2020 Winners:
Honourable Lisa Raitt – former Member of Parliament for Milton and Cabinet Minister
The Honorable Lisa Raitt was the Member of Parliament from 2008 to 2019, representing Milton and Halton. Throughout her prolific career in politics, she held many key roles. She served as Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 2017 to 2019, as Minister of Transport (2013-2015), Minister of Labour (2010-2013) and Minister of Natural Resources (2008-2010). Ms. Raitt has been a strong advocate for the forest industry and stood in the House many times to highlight the importance of the sector to the entire Canadian economy. During the 2009 economic crisis, as Natural Resources Minister, she worked to secure a $1-billion package to help Canada's struggling pulp and paper industry. This move allowed the forestry industry to save thousands of jobs during the crisis and become greener.
William Amos – Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Will Amos was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Pontiac in 2015 and was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry after his re-election in 2019. An environmental lawyer, Amos has been involved in law and policy matters related to natural resources, climate, and the environment for 20 years. Prior to 2015, Amos litigated public interest cases as staff lawyer for a national environmental law charity, including before the Supreme Court of Canada and taught law and science students at the University of Ottawa. He also planted trees with Outland NewForest in 1995 in northern Ontario. Amos grew up in Ottawa and moved to Chelsea in 2005 where he lives with his wife Regina, and their two children, Paloma Grace and Enrique Mateo.
Walt Cobb – Mayor, Williams Lake, British Columbia
Walt Cobb was born in Manitoba and moved to the Cariboo in the mid 1950's where he graduated from high school in Williams Lake and has resided ever since. Walt became involved in local government in 1980. He served as a councillor from 1980-1990, and is now on his third term as mayor, from 1990 to 1996 and from 2014 to present. He was also the MLA for Cariboo South from 2001 to 2005. He started his working career in the retail grocery business and continued in that field until he went into business in retail clothing, first as a small partner and later opening his own men's shop. He and his wife both owned and operated retail clothing stores for over four decades. Walt and Lynnette have two children: son Randy, and daughter Toni, both still living in Williams Lake. They now have 7 grandchildren.
Deputy Grand Council Chief Ed Wawia - Anishinabek Nation
Deputy Grand Council Chief Ed Wawia has long been a champion of sustainable forest management and forestry workers in Northwestern Ontario. A the age of 15, he completed the Junior Rangers training program and began fighting forest fires at 16 years of age, before entering the mining industry where he forged an impressive career prior to retiring after 40 years. Deputy Grand Chief Wawia entered First Nations politics and was assigned the portfolio of Lands and Resources and worked on many committees involving the forest industry. Today, the Deputy Grand Chief remains a firm believer that the forest industry is home to First Nations people, and we must continue to work to ensure sustainability and live in harmony with Canada’s vast forests.
Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta - Ecosystem Management Emulating Natural Disturbance project (EMEND)
The EMEND Project is a large-scale variable retention harvest experiment designed to test effects of residual forest structure on ecosystem integrity and forest regeneration at the forest stand-level. It is a model of effective collaboration between researchers, government agencies, and industry.
Ellen Macdonald is a Professor of Forest Ecology and Chair of the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta. For the past 30 years her research has focused on the ecology of northern forests - particularly forest regeneration, stand dynamics, understory plant communities and relationships among these. Much of her work has examined the impacts of natural and anthropogenic disturbance with a view to informing approaches to sustainable management and restoration of forested landscapes.
Ducks Unlimited Canada - Forest Management Wetlands Stewardship Initiative, Boreal Conservation Programs
Ducks Unlimited Canada's (DUC) National Boreal Program has over 20 years of experience working with governments, Indigenous Peoples, and industry to develop comprehensive, science-based solutions to conservation challenges relating to boreal wetlands. DUC works with partners like the forest sector to develop and share quality decision-support tools that are based on years of experience and sound science. In sharing its expertise with the forest sector, the DUC team is making a positive difference and measurable progress in helping to conserve crucial breeding and nesting habitat for waterfowl in the boreal forest.
Bev Gingras and Kylie McLeod, the Head of Boreal Conservation Programs and Team Lead respectively, mobilize science-based wetland and waterfowl knowledge into practical application by those who manage land in Canada’s boreal region. Both Bev and Kylie are grateful for the opportunities to work with forest management leaders across Canada on several programs and projects, in particular their leadership within the Forest Management and Wetland Stewardship Initiative, a partnership between DUC and seven forestry companies committed to advancing wetland stewardship.
Louise Riopel – Millar Western, Edmonton, Alberta
Louise has over 30 years of public and private sector experience in the Communications field, with the Alberta government, Alberta Agriculture and the Canadian Wheat Board. In 1998, she accepted the position of Communications Manager at Millar Western, where she has worked since. In this role, she provides support in the areas of internal and external communications, public consultation and environmental reporting to customers. Louise sits on the Public Affairs Committees of both the Forest Products Association of Canada and the Alberta Forest Products Association. She lives in Edmonton with her husband Chris and two friendly Labrador Retrievers.
Kevin Larlee – AV Group, Nackawic, New Brunswick
Kevin grew up in Northern New Brunswick, where his first experiences in the woods was spending time hunting and fishing with his father and grandfathers and developed a desire to an ambition to follow their footsteps and work in the forest industry. Kevin graduated UNB with a Bachelors of Science in Forestry in 1998 and worked for J.D. Irving limited in Western NS until In 2012 he joined the AV Group NB Inc. where he became Woodlands Manager, forest policy and procurement within the province. In 2016, Kevin was named Vice president of Government Relations and Fibre supply, overseeing the operations in NB and Ontario. He thrives in building long-term partnerships and relationships with the people, associations and provinces he works with.
Alain Paul – Granules LG Inc., Mashteuiatsh, Quebec
Alain was born in Mashteuiatsh where his father worked in the forest and was a hunting and fishing guide. Alain would often accompany his father on the jobsite, hunting, fishing or for various other activities. After high school, he continued my studies at Cegep de Jonquiere and continued to take an interest in the evolution of various forestry companies, as well as to understand the many changes that were taking place. It was at this time, Alain was hired by Desjardins as Manager of the Mashteuiatsh branch. After 15 years, Alain joined his brothers in various businesses, including Lamco, which manufactures engineered wood. He and his brothers then became partners in Granules LG, a green energy company, located in the centre of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Cote-Nord territory, and has 70% of Quebec's forest potential.
Autumn Quenville – Thunder Bay, Ontario
Autumn is a member of the Whitesand First Nation, located three hours north of Thunder Bay.
A graduate of the Welding Techniques program and Mechanical Engineering Technician program at Confederation College, Autumn was able to pursue dreams that she never thought possible. In the summer of 2019, she had the opportunity to work as a millwright at Resolute in Thunder Bay as part of a co-op prerequisite, an experience that helped open up her eyes to the possibilities when she completes her college program. Autumn is dedicated to becoming a red seal millwright and setting a good example for the young Indigenous women from her hometown and holds a special place for love and support provided by high school teachers and college professors who helped her pursue her dreams.
Raven Cardinal – Edmonton, Alberta
Raven Cardinal is a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation, a graduate of the Forest Technician program at Portage College and currently a forest technology student at NAIT. Raven grew up in the community of Calling Lake, Alberta where she was exposed to the seasonal side of the forest industry at a young age. She has seized opportunities to gain work experience in the forest industry as a wildland firefighter, chainsaw operator for Firesmart projects, pulp mill woodland summer student and more. Raven spends much of her life outdoors recreationally and participating in many cultural events pertaining to her woodland Cree heritage. These experiences have ignited her passion and goal of achieving a full-time career in the forest industry and work within her home community. After Raven has completed her diploma at NAIT, she hopes to continue her education and work towards a forestry degree at UBC and become a forestry engineer.
Hunter Corbiere – Waubaushene, Ontario
Hunter Corbiere is an Anishinaabe from M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island. The 20-year-old forest technician graduate from Fleming College, grew up on Georgian Bay, in a small town called Waubaushene. Some of her fondest memories were associated with hunting, fishing, and learning about medicinal plants with her family and loved learning about the forests and how much they provide for us, even at a young age. During her time at Fleming College, Hunter helped shape the program to have an Indigenous Perspective Designation and was the Indigenous speaker at the Kawartha Woodlot Conference held by the Forestry class in February. She now intends to work towards an undergrad in Forestry at Lakehead University and hopes to become a Registered Professional Forester/Indigenous Forest Liaison, and hopes to one day teach and share her Indigenous knowledge to future foresters.
Bonny Wood, Resolute Forest Products, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Bonny is a project engineer who leads capital initiatives at Resolute Forest Products’ Thunder Bay (Ontario) pulp and paper mill and has worked on projects to reduce the mill’s ecological footprint, augment paper machine safety and modernize equipment. Before joining the Engineering department, Bonny spent many years working in mill operations, directing team initiatives on safety, production and efficiency in order to meet customer demands, improve quality and reduce costs. A lifelong resident of Thunder Bay, Bonny has spent sixteen years at Resolute where she is driven to working collaboratively with a diversity of team members. She is proud of and grateful to be part of a tenacious and steadfast community of co-workers who consistently demonstrate their commitment to the Thunder Bay mill.
Margaret Donnelly – Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Boyle, Alberta
Margaret is retiring this year after a career long commitment to sustainable forest management. A forest ecologist by trade, Margaret has been an integral member of FPAC’s member-led Forestry Committee. She has been selfless in her commitment to supporting healthy forests and has worked hard not only to advance opportunities for Alberta-Pacific and its workforce in Northern Alberta, but she has always been willing to share her expertise with industry colleagues from across the country. Most recently, Margaret has been a key leader in partnership work with Ducks Unlimited in Northern Alberta and has been an innovator in our industry’s work to manage riparian areas and wetlands in an integrated approach to forest ecosystem management.
Cindy Macdonald – West Fraser, Vancouver, British Columbia
Cindy Macdonald is Manager, Environmental Affairs at West Fraser and will be retiring this year after more than 26 years with the company. Cindy has been an incredible leader in the industry, advancing sustainable forest management practices and programs throughout West Fraser’s BC and Alberta operations. She has a science and legal background and has been a committed volunteer with FPAC as a long-time member of our member-led Forestry Committee – a group of foresters, biologists, ecologists, and scientists from across Canada who work together on initiatives to advance forestry innovation and the principles of sustainable forest management so we can keep our forests as forests forever, support biodiversity, and grow a strong and sustainable forest sector in Canada. Cindy is not only an accomplished female leader in our industry who is looked up to by many – but she is also recognized for her selflessness as a member of her West Fraser team – and the broader industry across Canada through her long-time volunteerism with FPAC.
Mark Feldinger – Canfor Pulp, Vancouver, British Columbia
Mark recently retired from Canfor after a career that spanned more than 35 years with the company. Raised in Revelstoke, Mark is a Registered Professional Forester and UBC Forestry grad who also spend a year at UNB in Fredericton along the way. He joined Canfor in Chetwynd, BC in 1984 and with his wife Carolyn and their 4 children, spent 28 years between Chetwynd, Prince George and Fort St James, prior to moving to the Lower Mainland in 2012. Mark’s career path included various woodlands and manufacturing roles, prior to joining Canfor’s executive team in 2007 as VP-Manufacturing. Mark retired as Senior VP-Global Supply Chain, where he led the Company’s IT and Global Supply Chain teams, Government Relations and Environment portfolios and the Softwood Lumber file. Mark was active in Provincial and Federal Industry associations, including the FPAC Board, and a keen supporter of FPInnovations, including 3 years as Board Chair. Mark says he feels blessed to have worked with incredible people over his years in the Industry and will be watching as the green attributes of Canada’s forest products are increasingly recognized.
Charlene Strelaeff – Mercer Celgar, Castlegar, British Columbia
Charlene is an accomplished professional forester, mother, partner and advocate for sustainability and self-empowerment. Growing up in small town BC in a logging family, it was the raw wonder of seeing and experiencing the unique rarity the forests of BC provide that drew Charlene into forestry. As one of two women in her year to graduate from the UBC Forest Operations Program, she is not afraid to take risks and challenge stereotypes. With over 20 years working in the forest industry, she has a strong operational and timber valuation background and government experience in landscape level planning, First Nations consultation and community relationship building. In the past two decades, she has experienced the cyclical growth and decline in the industry and the positive cultural shift related to gender diversity. Charlene is currently Fibre Forester for Mercer Celgar and continues to push boundaries in her role buying logs, challenging forest policy and pushing for operational change to promote sustainable harvesting and full fibre utilization in British Columbia.
Faye Cuadra – Canfor Pulp, Prince George, British Columbia
Faye joined the Biofuel Development team at Canfor Pulp in 2018. As a research engineer, she develops and implements laboratory methods for biocrude testing, to advance the process development objectives of the Biofuels project. Born and raised in the Philippines, Faye moved to Canada with her family in 2011, is a graduate of chemical engineering at UBC and is a registered engineer-in-training (EIT). Prior to joining Canfor, Faye was involved in research-related coop work and internship experience at Canfor Pulp Innovations at UBC, including a global research exchange program at the University of Tokyo. Faye has co-authored an article published in the Chemical Communications journal based on her university thesis and research experience at UBC regarding battery research for power systems. She has a strong passion for learning and desire for sustainability and environmental stewardship.
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $73.6-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 12 per cent of Canada’s manufacturing GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 230,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.
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