Nominees in the category of Apprenticeship
George Brown College
Carpenter General Apprentice Certificate, 1991
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Certificate of Qualification Plumber 306A, 2010
Cook Apprenticeship, 2014
Automotive Certificate of Qualifications, 2006