2019 Recipients


Clarice Ward
Conestoga College

Program of Study: General Carpenter Apprenticeship; Women in Skilled Trades Pre-Apprenticeship
Graduating Year: 2011, 2007
Job Title: Assistant Project Manager, Specialty Contracts
Place of Employment:  Melloul-Blamey Construction Inc.

Clarice Ward is a national advocate for diversity and inclusion in apprenticeship training. As an assistant project manager of specialty contracts at Melloul-Blamey Construction Inc., she is the first woman to transition from tradesperson (general carpenter) to construction management in Melloul-Blamey’s 37-year history, and one of the only tradeswomen to serve on the board of directors of the Canadian Association of Women in Construction. A speaker, mentor and champion of women in apprenticeships, she has influenced thousands of women to consider skilled trade opportunities. Ward was awarded a 60th Anniversary Gender Equity Fellowship by the University of Waterloo in 2019.

Don Ashton
Fanshawe College

Program of Study: Business Accounting; Business Administration
Graduating Year: 1988; 1989
Job Title: Vice-President, Finance – International Operations
Place of Employment:  3M Company

Don Ashton is vice president of finance, international operations for 3M Company, overseeing the financial team of a $20-billion-plus global business unit with 1,200 employees located in more than 50 countries. A member of 3M’s executive conference (top 100 leaders) and finance steering committee (top seven finance leaders), he is certified black belt six sigma, known for developing high-performing teams and top talent. Over the past 30 years, he has been an active community volunteer, most recently with Fundación Mujer, an organization that provides access to credit and microfinancing, training and technical assistance to entrepreneurs in Costa Rica.

Community Services
Kevin Collins
Georgian College

Program of Study: Hotel and Resort Administration; Tourism Management
Graduating Year: 1992; 1985
Job Title: President and CEO
Place of Employment:  Easter Seals Ontario

The Ontario Restaurant’s Trillium Award Newsmaker of the Year in 2013 and a two-time recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, Kevin J. Collins has brought philanthropy to the forefront in the hospitality industry. As a child with cerebral palsy, Collins benefited from Easter Seals’ camp programs and pledged to give back, doing so as executive director of Friends of We Care, the industry’s charitable arm, which sends physically disabled children to camp. After successfully tripling the organization’s donor base and raising $20.5-million over his career, he was appointed to his current role as president and CEO of Easter Seals Ontario in 2017.

Creative Arts and Designs
Dean DeBlois
Sheridan College

Program of Study: Animation
Graduating Year: 1990
Job Title: Director and Writer
Place of Employment:  DreamWorks Animation

Dean DeBlois is an award-winning writer and director, best known for having written and directed the DreamWorks trilogy, How to Train Your Dragon, and co-writing and co-directing Disney’s Lilo & Stitch. DeBlois has earned dozens of awards for his work, including two Annie Awards and a Golden Globe. How to Train Your Dragon and How to Train Your Dragon 2 earned Oscar nominations in the category of Best Animated Feature. “As a student […], I thought the dream would be to work at Disney,” he has said. “I never anticipated writing and directing films that are being recognized at this level.”

Health Sciences
Peter Dundas
Humber College

Program of Study: Ambulance and Emergency Care
Graduating Year: 1981
Job Title: Chief
Place of Employment: Peel Regional Paramedic Services

Peter F. Dundas is chief of Peel Regional Paramedic Services in Ontario. For almost 40 years, he has forged a distinguished career from front-line paramedic to senior leader. He leads a team of 650 health professionals that serves 1.4 million people and responds to over 150,000 calls a year. His leadership has resulted in new initiatives to improve patient outcomes, such as drone delivery of automatic defibrillators in rural communities and improving engagement with communities that lack access to primary health care. Dundas has inspired many young paramedics and touched the lives of thousands in their time of greatest need.

Health Sciences
Kevin King
Conestoga College

Program of Study: Ambulance and Emergency Care
Graduating Year: 1995
Job Title:  Chief Executive Officer
Place of Employment:  Echo Healthcare

Medical simulation has been the driving focus in every step of Kevin King’s career as a paramedic, sales leader and entrepreneur. Inspired to act after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he created the first mobile simulation program for paramedics in eastern Canada and founded a national alliance for simulation specialists and educators. In 2010, he was recognized by the prime minister of Canada for his emergency services leadership during the G8 summit. In 2018, King founded ECHO Healthcare, featuring a world-first approach to simulation service and support that earned the company global recognition and profitability after just one year.

Recent Graduate
William Werth
Conestoga College

Program of Study: Software Engineering Technology
Graduating Year: 2017
Job Title:  Chief Technology Officer
Place of Employment:  James E. Wagner Cultivation

The chief technology officer at James. E. Wagner Cultivation (JWC), William Werth is using technology to revolutionize the cannabis industry. A former Canadian combat engineer who was awarded the Sacrifice Medal and competed in the 2017 Invictus Games, he designed JWC’s GrowthSTORM Management software, a custom technology for tracking cannabis cultivation from seed to harvest. He also led the refinement of JWC’s patent-pending aeroponic growing platform and helped to pioneer its unique business licensing model. Werth’s innovations were a catalyst for a $1.2-million energy-saving grant in 2018 and the company’s 2018 debut on the TSX-V at a market cap of $100 million.

Kathy Lerette
Mohawk College

Program of Study: Electrical Engineering Technology – Control; Electrical Engineering Technician – Power
Graduating Year: 1997; 1994
Job Title: Senior Vice-President, Business Transformation
Place of Employment:  Alectra Utilities

Kathy Lerette, who is overseeing the largest merger ever in Canada’s electrical utility sector, uses her impressive career to inspire other women and girls to create and chase dream jobs in the science, technology, engineering and math sectors. Throughout her 37-year career, she has been a pioneer in the male-dominated energy industry and as she has taken on progressively more challenging and important roles, she has worked tirelessly to see the ranks of women grow behind her. Lerette credits her college education for giving her the technical foundation that has powered her career.