What do a serial entrepreneur, the president of Easter Seals, co-founder of a charity, survivor of CBC’s Dragons’ Den, renowned chef, award-winning designer and four-time Paralympian have in common?
They’re all Georgian graduates, changemakers and nominees for the 2019 Ontario Premier’s Awards.
These seven talented Georgian alumni were celebrated at a special gala on Dec. 2 at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto.
Kevin Collins was recipient of a Premier’s Award in the Community Services category.
Kevin Collins (Hotel and Resort Administration, 1984; Tourism Management, 1985) is a two-time recipient of the Queen's Jubilee Medal and Ontario Restaurant's Trillium Award Newsmaker of the Year 2013. He has brought philanthropy to the forefront of 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.
“People believed in me and that is a powerful thing,” said Collins. “When I get up in the morning, I am driven by having the privilege to help provide children with physical disabilities the opportunity to achieve their dreams. This is my inspiration and my passion and it’s like no other. It is an honour to receive the Premier’s Award in the category of Community Services. Georgian is where it all started for me – it gave me the foundation to get to where I am today.”
Georgian’s six other nominees
Alex Brown (Business Administration, 2007): Brown is a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur who launched and sold a number of thriving businesses, including his current venture, eCommerce Rockstars. He’s a well-respected operations and corporate development expert, and youth entrepreneurship and employment leader in Canada and the U.S. Brown co-founded the Dollar Beard Club, a subscription-based company that earned over $10 million in its first year and has more than 400 million online video views to date. He's a mentor to numerous eCommerce businesses, and has been a keynote speaker on three continents.
Category – Business
Rishi Ghuldu (Mechanical Engineering Technology; Automotive Manufacturing, 1999): Ghuldu facilitated $200 million in synergy identification from Barrick Gold's $10.3-billion acquisition of PlacerDome, and led the Business Improvement team to realize $330 million through value-creation projects. Leading Goldcorp's Operational Excellence function, he yielded benefits of $230 million and ed its supply chain transformation, delivering $26 million in annual net savings. He was Goldcorp's Synergy lead for the Newmont-Goldcorp merger, creating the world's largest gold mining company. Ghuldu is co-founder and president of CanEducate, a charity that's supported 20,000 children with educational scholarships since 2010.
Category - Technology
Jesse Hambly (Business Marketing, 2014; Advertising and Marketing Communications, 2015): As a two-time Ontario college graduate, ambitious entrepreneur and co-founder of Pressa Inc., Hambly is helping to revolutionize the water bottle industry. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Pressa Inc. secured a manufacturer in China and began working with significant retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Staples. An appearance on CBC’s Dragons’ Den in 2017, a successful e-commerce site, distribution centres in China, the U.S. and Canada, as well as product placement in major chain stores across North America, has put Pressa Inc. on the map with global sales of more than 210,000 units within two years.
Category - Recent Graduate
David Mottershall (Cook Apprenticeship Advanced, 2001): Mottershall is a critically acclaimed and award-winning chef. His restaurant Loka opened with the support of a Kickstarter campaign, which surpassed its $25,000 goal within a week, going on to be voted best Toronto restaurant of 2015 by NOW Magazine. He was featured in Toronto Life in 2016 and named one of 20 Canadian chefs to follow by Huffington Post. Mottershall implements a zero-waste policy in his restaurants and promotes the use of locally sourced, raised and produced food that highlights local farmers, fishermen and agriculture.
Category – Apprenticeship
Cassandra Nordell (Interior Design, 2005): Before turning 25, Nordell launched two successful building and design companies, one of which, William Standen Co., was named one of the country's fastest growing companies in 2013 and again in 2016, posting a five-year revenue growth of 958 per cent. She has been named one of the Top Female Entrepreneurs in Canada and a PROFIT 500 CEO. She is recognized as a leader in the North American kitchen and design industry. She uses her expertise to give back to her community by designing spaces for charities such as Habitat for Humanity, and mentoring new designers.
Category – Creative Arts and Design
Darda Sales (Therapeutic Recreation, 2006): A four-time Paralympian in two sports, a gold and silver medalist, world-record holder and dual sport World Champion, Sales has dedicated her career to positively moving sports for individuals with a disability forward. Whether working as a recreational therapist, swim coach, motivational speaker, or consultant to companies looking to improve their parasports programs, Sales strives to remove barriers and raise awareness that sport truly is for everyone. Her goal is to have a positive impact and change the landscape of what people perceive as sports for individuals with a disability.
“We are extremely proud of Kevin and our six other Premier’s Award nominees, and captivated by their incredible stories and accomplishments,” said Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO, Georgian College. “They’ve each worked exceptionally hard, built impressive careers, and are an inspiration to all future Georgian grads. Each has used their strengths and skills as changemakers and leaders to make their industry, community and our world a better place.”
The Premier’s Awards recognize the important social and economic contribution that college graduates make throughout the province and world. Georgian is home to more than 82,000 graduates.