Nominees in the category of Apprenticeship

George Brown College

Chris Campbell

Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Carpenters' Regional Council of Ontario
Carpenter General Apprentice Certificate, 1991
A proponent of youth apprenticeship and diversity, Chris Campbell mentors students and created an endowment for BIPOC youth. He is the director of equity, diversity and inclusion at the Carpenters' Regional Council of Ontario. Campbell also serves as ambassador for the Children’s Breakfast Club community outreach program and is involved with the Toronto Community Benefits Network, the Black Action Defence Committee and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

Conestoga College

Mark Duchesne

CEO, Northvolt ETT
Electrician Construction and Maintenance (Apprenticeship), 1986

From paint shop electrician to CEO, Mark Duchesne’s career has spanned four decades across five vehicle manufacturers and seven countries. The newly appointed CEO of Sweden’s Northvolt ETT is a creative problem solver who operationalized Toyota’s first Lexus paint shop in North America, brought a Tesla manufacturing line from zero to its target in eight months and at five per cent of new facility cost, and designed, built and launched Nikola’s zero-emissions truck plant in less than a year. A skilled trade innovator and champion, Duchesne is revitalizing the manufacturing workplace culture using the problem-solving skills he learned during his college apprenticeship.

Humber College

Kenneth Fowler

Deputy Mayor, Town of Innisfil
Boilermaker Apprenticeship, 2001

After graduating from his college's boilermaker apprenticeship program, Kenneth Fowler travelled throughout Ontario, earning apprenticeship hours and becoming one of the first tradespersons in his area to earn the interprovincial Red Seal boilermaker certification. He has managed and overseen multimillion-dollar projects across the province and is a longstanding boilermaker and engineering specialist with the Toronto District School Board. An Innisfil resident, Fowler was elected as Ward 5 Councillor in 2018 and then deputy mayor of the town in 2022, serving its population of over 44,000 while also playing an exceptionally active and hands-on role as a Simcoe County councillor.

Sheridan College

Kris Girdauskas

General Manager, Re-Strike Machine and Tool Inc.
Tool and Die Maker Apprentice, 2002

Kris Girdauskas is the founder of Re-Strike Machine and Tools Inc., a company that provides precision-machining services to a wide range of industries. These include the automotive, food and beverage, construction, aerospace, machinery building, mining and automation industries. He started by working alone from a tiny shop and steadily built a successful business solely on the basis of his college education. He is now a leading name in the tool and die sector, recognized for excellence. He gives back to his college by providing employment and internship opportunities to students and graduates and is a source of inspiration to them.

Georgian College

Ian Holmes

General Superintendent, Tamarack North Ltd.
Carpenter Apprentice - Advanced, 2010

Ian Holmes, a shareholder and general superintendent of Tamarack North Ltd., has built high-end fine homes for almost 20 years, creating dream properties on the shores of Georgian Bay and Muskoka. Tamarack North employs about 140 tradespeople and 30 office staff in three locations. Holmes is an integral part of the leadership team, ensuring standardized best practices for up to 20 building sites at a time. He's committed to a diverse workforce – recruiting women, First Nations, Métis and foreign-trained workers.

Fanshawe College

Sarah Lehman

Office Administrator, Special Events and Volunteer Coordinator, London Abused Women's Centre
Developmental Services Worker Apprentice, 2020

Sarah Lehman is passionate about helping people living with disabilities or other challenges to lead their best lives. This includes paid positions at Alice Saddy Association (independent living support for people with developmental disabilities), London Abused Women's Centre and Family Services Thames Valley and as a volunteer. Lehman does small things every day that collectively have a big impact.

Lehman volunteers with Extra Life London Guild, fundraising to support the Children's Health Foundation. During her three years as president, the organization raised more than $100,000 annually, leading to Lehman's nomination for a prestigious Pillar Leadership Award in 2021.

Centennial College

Nhu Nguyen

Certified Porsche Classic Technician, Pfaff Tuning
Auto Service Technician, 2015

The first woman in the world to earn Porsche Classic certification, Nhu Nguyen is a Red Seal certified automotive technician, a Silver Certified Porsche technician and a passionate advocate for women in the trades.

After completing her apprenticeship, she secured a job at Porsche Centre Oakville, where she earned her prestigious designations. Since 2020, she has worked at Pfaff Tuning as a specialist in air-cooled Porsches. Nhu also runs the popular Instagram account @dear-nhu, which she uses as a platform to share her story and celebrate the work of women in the skilled trades.

St. Lawrence College

Saifullah Sanaye

Professor of Automotive Technology/Automotive Program Coordinator, St. Lawrence College

Automotive Service Technician Level III, 2009

Automotive Service Technician Level II, 2008

Automotive Service Technician Level I, 2007

Saifullah Sanaye is blazing new trails as an expert in hybrid and electric vehicles (EV), partnering with the Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada and his alma mater to develop two unique programs that are expanding to other colleges. The highly skilled automotive technician, instructor and entrepreneur is a leader known as “the guy your mechanic calls.” He looks at vehicles from a different angle, addresses hard-to-solve problems and is teaching this skill to others. He provides highly sought consultant services to multiple dealerships and aftermarket repair shops. This includes providing advanced vehicle diagnostics and training licensed and apprentice technicians.

Collège La Cité

Patrick Taillefer

President, TPH Plumbing and Heating
Certificate of Qualification Plumber 306A, 2010
Patrick Taillefer is a Forty Under 40 recipient and the president and co-owner of the company where he started as an apprentice in 2010. A true advocate for the skilled trades, Taillefer spends considerable time and resources developing partnerships that benefit high school students. He also supports local apprenticeship training delivery agents in their mandate. Taillefer aims to set an example for his industry. Thanks to his diversity initiatives, his transparent leadership style, his strategic mindset, his consideration for the environment and his focus on safety, he tripled the size of his company during the pandemic.

Algonquin College

Imrun Texeira

Founder, Wanderlust
Cook Apprenticeship, 2014
Chef and entrepreneur Imrun Texeira owns and operates Wanderlust, a personal chef service based in Toronto. Texeira spent 15 years working for Michelin-star chefs and has been employed at several top restaurants in Canada and around the world. He has also been a finalist on two of Food Network Canada’s top programs. He also advocates for better working conditions and mental health support for the hospitality industry as an ambassador for The Burnt Chef Project. In his spare time, he shares his love and knowledge of food by volunteering with children, teaching them about hospitality and tourism.

Niagara College

Christine White

Lead Technical Trainer, Stellantis N.V.
Automotive Certificate of Qualifications, 2006
Christine White is singlehandedly revolutionizing how automotive technicians learn about new generations of hybrid and complex electric vehicles. When pandemic lockdowns halted in-person teaching, the skilled trainer – and Red Seal certified automotive technician – turned to video to broaden accessibility and share lessons, illustrations, demonstrations and Q&As. She established her company’s first-ever on-demand micro-learning library and has already written, illustrated, produced and narrated 140 training tutorials, which are now available to her 22,000 technicians across the United States. Every day, hundreds log in to view White’s five-to-10-minute training tools, which she hopes to soon offer bilingually for potential distribution across Canada.