May 03, 2013
Ken Fredeen grew up with his sister and four brothers in Saskatoon. He participated in several sports, including speed skating. Today he experiences Afghanistan.
In addition to his job as general counsel in Toronto for Canada’s largest accounting firm, Deliotte LLP, Fredeen (BA’80, LLB’83) is a mentor to Arash Wared, a law student who was born in Kabul.
When Wared was 12 his parents were fired from their jobs in war-torn Afghanistan. His family went to Pakistan, and four years after finishing high school, Wared came to Canada in 2001.
In June he begins articling at a law firm on Toronto’s Bay Street.
“To face adversity the way he has—the resilience he shows, what he has accomplished in the last decade—I learn more from him probably than what he learns from me,” said Fredeen.
Fredeen thinks people who might be on the margin should be given a chance. This is Fredeen’s style.
After earning his law degree from the U of S, Fredeen articled in Prince George, BC, then joined Dome Petroleum in Calgary for a year. He was with Canadian Airlines for 14 years, travelling across Canada and around the world for work with the commercial carrier.
This is Fredeen’s 14th year at Deloitte. As general counsel for the business, he manages a group of 20 lawyers and provides legal and business advice to the firm. That is the professional Fredeen. Coaching his daughter’s soccer team and being a mentor shows another dimension.
“My parents raised us with simple core principles, such as showing respect and dignity to all, and giving back and caring for others,” said Fredeen.
Both of Fredeen’s parents are U of S graduates, his father Hartley with a bachelor of science in agriculture and a master of science and his mother Margaret with a nursing degree. All six children have at least one U of S degree with a total of eight among them—so far.
Fredeen and his siblings follow different paths but with the same moral guide.
Last summer, the ministers of Finance and Human Resources asked Fredeen to chair a federal panel looking at private sector job prospects for people with disabilities. The panel talked with employers across Canada. They saw some of the hurdles disabled people face.
One of Fredeen’s colleagues on the four-person panel was Mark Wafer, who has been partly deaf since birth. He and his wife, Valerie, own seven Tim Hortons franchises in Toronto. The Wafers hire people with disabilities. They say their staff turnover rate is 30 per cent lower than other Tim Hortons franchises.
Fredeen tells a related story.
When Walgreens, a drug store chain in the United States, advertised for workers for its distribution warehouse in Connecticut, an applicant arrived in a wheelchair. The applicant was told the job required him to carry three cardboard boxes at a time. Because three boxes obstructed his view in the chair, he could carry only two.
“He came back the next day,” Fredeen said. “He’d hooked up a wagon. He could carry 10 boxes. At that Walgreens plant, more than 50 per cent of the people have a disability, but it is probably the most productive distribution plant in their entire network.”
Disabled people innovate. They motivate. They do the job. They seek fair opportunities.
“They say ‘All we want is a fair shake. We just want to pay taxes,’ ” said Fredeen. “Too often we look at hiring people with disabilities as charity or the socially right thing to do. Our panel turned that belief on its head.”
Fredeen, now living in Oakville, Ont. with his wife and three children, said we should look at people not on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation or religion. Accept them as they are. Regard their character, he said.
“I see talent in everybody. Surrounding myself with people who are different, who are not like me, I learn. In Canada we believe in diversity. We all get stronger."
written by Bob Florence
(Posted May 03, 2013)
April 19, 2013
Blaine Favel (BEd’87, LLD’12), president and CEO of Calgary-based One Earth Oil and Gas Inc. and influential First Nations leader, has been appointed the 14th chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan.
Favel’s three-year term begins July 1, replacing Vera Pezer (BA’62, MA’64, PhD’77) who was first elected in 2007 and served two full terms. His appointment was confirmed at a meeting of University Senate April 20 based on the recommendation of a joint nomination committee.
“I am honoured that the senate of the University of Saskatchewan is confident in my ability to fulfil this esteemed position,” said Favel. “I very much look forward to sharing the story of the University of Saskatchewan everywhere I go. One of my goals as chancellor is to be a champion and advocate for this world-class institution, a university that is making a difference in the world on many fronts.”
After receiving his bachelor of education from the U of S, he went on to earn his law degree from Queen’s University in 1990, and in 2001 he became the first Canadian First Nations person to earn a master of business administration degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. In 2012, the U of S awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree.
He was Chief of the Poundmaker Cree Nation and served as Grand Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations from 1994-98. During that time, he led the development of the First Nations Bank of Canada and the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority. Favel was also a senior diplomat as the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Counsellor on International Indigenous Issues, served as a special advisor to the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine, and was a panellist on the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
As chancellor, Favel will preside at university convocation ceremonies, confer degrees, chair University Senate and take a seat as an ex-officio member of the Board of Governors.
“Mr. Favel brings to our university a strong reputation as a positive force for change and his experience aligns closely with our institutional priorities,” said U of S President Ilene Busch-Vishniac. “We look forward to his contributions as an Aboriginal leader, a business leader and a person with an extensive background in governance.”
Favel said he believes Saskatchewan’s current resource boom and the challenge of educating and employing Aboriginal people are two areas where the University of Saskatchewan can play a positive role in shaping the province’s economic and social future.
“I believe, as chancellor, I will have the opportunity to bring together the university and the various communities it serves in the spirit of common interest in order to deliver on the promise of growth and prosperity.”
(Posted April 19, 2013)
March 01, 2013
For Dan Robinson (BComm’07) and Chad Fischl (BComm’07), it began as an entrepreneurship class assignment at the University of Saskatchewan in early 2007: identify an under-served market niche, conceive a hypothetical product for that niche, and develop a business plan to bring it to market.
The two hadn’t met before they were thrown together as partners in class, but they shared a passion for hockey. As any player knows, one of the hazards of the game is the sometimes eye-watering odour that emanates from equipment bags.
“It’s almost like a joke—hockey equipment smells so bad and everybody knows it, so it was an obvious market to go for,” Robinson said.
They dubbed their fictional product Shutout—something that would clean equipment and defend against odour like a champion goalie deflects pucks.
As they wrote their business plan, they drew on knowledge from a biotechnology class taught by Nick Ovsenek, associate dean of biomedical sciences and graduate studies in the College of Medicine.
“Dan did a project on nanomaterials, which got him interested in nanosilver,” says Ovsenek, who has acted as a technical advisor to the entrepreneurs and has helped with some of their promotional work.
Silver has been known for its antimicrobial properties for thousands of years. Robinson and Fischl wondered if a nanotech twist could provide what they needed.
“We found a company in South Korea that had the silver technology,” explained Robinson . “We said during our presentation, ‘This is one idea we came across; it’s natural silver and it’s antibacterial, and it’s the frontrunner for what we would use.’”
Robinson and Fischl realized their idea might actually be viable. They tapped family and friends for funding and travelled to South Korea to secure an exclusive North American licence for the patented technology.
What the Koreans had developed was nanosilver—particles of silver measured in billionths of metres, shaped and sized so they can remain suspended in solution indefinitely without settling out.
The partners dubbed this technology SilverSync, as the particles could be synchronized with different natural ingredients and end uses. Smaller particles kill bacteria first while larger ones provide persistent protection. Another “sync” connection is their quality control partners: the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron at the U of S.
“They’re nano-sized particles and not just any normal microscope can see them,” Robinson said. “The CLS can tell us here’s the concentration, here’s what the particles look like.”
While the tools of a national research facility might seem to be beyond the means of a start-up business, the CLS is not like other synchrotrons.
“SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) don’t have a lot of technical expertise to use the synchrotron,” said Jeff Cutler, director of industrial science and deputy director at the CLS.
“Most synchrotrons don’t have the staff to help you, whereas here, it’s ‘let us help you answer your problems.’”
Shutout needed a way to ensure their formulations contained the nanosilver, that it was working as advertised, and that it wouldn’t settle out of solution. CLS testing provided information for the manufacturer to adjust their processes so the product consistently met these standards.
They first focused selling their products to sports teams, particularly amateur hockey. One of Shutout’s local investors happened to be a friend of the head coach of an NHL hockey team, and he agreed to show the products to the team’s trainer.
One of the players, Nick Lidstrom, had been having skin problems, and was taping up his knees and elbows before every game. After using Shutout products, his skin cleared up. Impressed, the trainer invited Robinson and Fischl to send their products to a trade show hosted by the professional trainers association, which helped land them supply arrangements with other teams.
The success led the partners to look at other athletes for who skin diseases and odours might be a problem. Runners, wrestlers, and martial artists were obvious targets. The company secured testimonials from athletes such as Canadian UFC fighter Jason MacDonald and Matt Mazurick, captain of the U of S Huskies cross country running team, to start pushing into these markets.
Outside the world of athletics, several Saskatchewan potash mines now use Shutout products to treat boots and wash coveralls, and the partners are pursuing clients in the oil and gas industry in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“A lot if the issues athletes have, industrial workers have,” explained Robinson. “They wear their work boots for eight hours a day or more. Our products are going to cross over well.”
Shutout has also developed laundering and cleaning systems for hotels and has had success with several British Columbia and Alberta resorts—some of them coincidentally owned by Murray Edwards (BComm’82, LLD’11), for whom the U of S Edwards School of Business is named. These include Fernie, Kimberley, Kicking Horse and Nakiska, where Shutout products have hit the slopes to treat rental ski and snowboard boots.
While Robinson and Fischl aren’t pulling down NHL-calibre revenues just yet, cash flow has become healthy enough to retire Robinson’s 1998 Chevy Lumina for a pair of new Ford Platinum pickup trucks to serve as their mobile offices as they drum-up sales. They’ve also hired research chemist Zach Belak (BSc’04, PhD’11) to formulate new products and improve the existing lineup, and another employee to bolster sales efforts.
“Since the beginning, Chad and I agreed we’ve got to do this full time or not at all,” Robinson said. “We’ve got to grind it out and make this our 100 per cent focus. We’ve been able to do that and get it to the point where it is now our career.”
Written by Michael Robin, research communications specialist at the U of S.
(Posted March 01, 2013)
February 05, 2013
Jim MacNeill (BA’49, BE’58, honorary LLD’88) returned to Saskatoon and the University of Saskatchewan January 17 and 18 as this year’s distinguished lecturer at the College of Engineering’s C.J. Mackenzie Gala of Engineering Excellence.
Known as one of Canada’s first environmentalists, one of MacNeill’s most significant contributions was when he was the secretary general of the World Commission on Environment and Development (a.k.a. the Brundtland Commission) in the mid-1980s. He was the principal author of the commission's world-acclaimed report, Our Common Future. The report was presented to the UN General Assembly in 1987 and established the concept of sustainable development.
At the gala, MacNeill spoke to a crowd of over 500 people about the need for balanced sustainable growth and the vital role engineers have in responsible development and stewardship of the environment.
While visiting campus, MacNeill met with Howard Wheater, director of the Global Institute for Water Security. MacNeill helped develop Lake Diefenbaker and its parks through the development of the Gardiner Dam. The institute has established a long-term research program at Lake Diefenbaker that aims to understand current and future vulnerability of water quality and aquatic ecosystems.
U of S President Ilene Busch-Vishniac and Toddi Steelman, executive director of the School for Environment and Sustainability (SENS) also met with MacNeill during his U of S visit.
With the water institute, SENS, the newly announced Global Institute for Food Security and expertise across campus, the U of S is well positioned to be an innovative leader in sustainable development and find viable solutions to many problems across the globe.
MacNeill is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has received several awards in recognition of his contributions, including the Lifetime Achievement Award of Environment Canada, the WASA Environmental Award from the King of Sweden, the City of Paris Silver Medal, and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.
(Posted February 05, 2013)
January 17, 2013
Gordon Robertson (BA’37, honorary LLD’59)—distinguished public servant, Alumni Achievement Award recipient in 1988, and one of the College or Arts and Science’s inaugural Alumni of Influence in 2009—passed away on Jan. 15, 2013 at the age of 95.
Born in Davidson, Saskatchewan, Robertson studied at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, as well as at the U of S and University of Toronto. He began his career in 1941 with the Department of External Affairs. In 1945, he accepted a post in the Prime Minister’s Office and was appointed Deputy Minister of the newly established Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources in 1953. In July of 1963, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson appointed him to the position of Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, the most esteemed position in the Canadian Public Service. He held this position until January of 1975.
In a statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Robertson “was one of the most influential public servants of his day” who will “be remembered as a great Canadian.”
Robertson’s wide-ranging contributions were recognized with an array of honours and awards. He received the Vanier Medal in 1970, was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1974 and was inducted as a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1976.
After retiring in 1979, Robertson went on to become president of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, served as a Chancellor of Carleton University from 1980 to 1990, and recounted his experiences in a memoir, Memoirs of a Very Civil Servant, which was published in 2000.
(Posted January 17, 2013)
January 11, 2013
When Denise Heppner (BA’99, BEd’00, MEd’08) first heard of the Freedom Climb around Thanksgiving in 2012, she thought it was interesting, but didn’t realize how much impact it would have on her life.
Freedom Climb is part of Operation Mobilization, an international non-profit organization that focuses on helping women and children who are—or are at risk of being—exploited, enslaved, oppressed or trafficked. The organization is involved in rescue efforts, providing shelters, education, training and providing micro-loans.
“A speaker at my church was talking about different humanitarian projects, and I thought it was amazing that some people were doing these things,” said Heppner. “I wished it was something I could do.”
Heppner realized it was something she could do and joined 43 other women who have committed to trekking to the base camp of Mt. Everest then summit Mt. Kalaphatar, standing 18,192 feet above sea level, to raise both money and awareness to help women and children. “[The climb] itself is symbolic of the struggles and difficulties these women and children are going through every day. It’s a symbol of their climb to freedom.”
A brief glance at some United Nations statistics (at www.ungift.org) confirms there is a lot of work to be done in this area. Up to 21 million people, the majority being women and children, are involved in forced labour generating an estimated $32 billion annually. And don’t think developed countries like Canada are immune to the problem. Heppner explained, “I know a woman in Regina whose daughter is being trafficked. The police are involved, and they are trying to get her out, but it’s definitely in our own backyard affecting people we know and love.”
“I started thinking of my own children and how I would feel,” explained Heppner. “I thought, ‘It starts with us.’ I thought it was other people that could go out and make a difference. Then I thought I want to be one that makes a difference in this world. It’s everyday people that will change the world.”
The fact that Heppner is the only Canadian making the trek is additional motivation. “I’m just one small snowflake hoping to start rolling and build into a big snowball. I’m hoping I can represent Canada well and other Canadians will partner with me.”
Heppner is also representing the University of Saskatchewan as an alumna and an online course facilitator with the College of Education. “I’ve been at the U of S for a long time,” she said with a healthy laugh. She started following in her mother’s footsteps taking psychology, then realized she wanted to teach. Her and her husband, Robert (MEd’09), headed south and taught in the Bahamas for two years, then headed north to teach in a Dillon, Sask. at a reserve school. “That’s where I really started getting into special education, and I saw a need for more education on my part. I started off taking some online classes that I’m now teaching.”
Teaching online courses for the U of S gives Heppner the flexibility she needs to take care of her young children and train for the climb in April. “I spend time running prairie grids and running the toboggan hill with my weighted pack.”
Being from the prairies gives an advantage too—she will be better acclimatized to the cold than her fellow climbers from California, Texas, Africa or Australia. “They’re training on mountain ranges and I’m sending pictures of me with my eyelashes frosted after a run.” Although, Mt. Blackstrap wouldn’t offer the altitude training she will need.
The 17 day trek is fast approaching, and Heppner is “very excited and a little apprehensive.” She is looking most forward to “standing on the top and declaring life and freedom for those that can’t speak for themselves.”
When Heppner comes down from her mountain—quite literally—she doesn’t see her involvement ending. “I’ve really gained quite a passion for these people and learning more. I’m still quite shocked how big of a problem it is. I’d like to help out where I can, and I’m really interested in seeing some of these projects in action.”
(Posted January 11, 2013)
December 06, 2012
The cycle of hosting family and friends during the holiday season goes something like this. Prepare food. Eat food. Clean up food. Repeat three times daily (minimum). Throw-in cleaning the aftermath of a tornado of wrapping paper and the carnage of consumer packaging strewn about, and you start wondering, “Where’s the time to celebrate this joyous season?”
What if, by the same magic that makes Santa’s sleigh take flight, you could have someone else do some of the work for you?
It’s not magic, it’s a new service called Skip the Dishes.
Founded by Joshua Simair (BComm’10) and a group of fellow University of Saskatchewan alumni, Skip the Dishes is an online service that lists a variety of local restaurants from which you can order food for takeout or delivery.
“The concept has been around a long time. There are Yellow Pages or a stack of outdated takeout flyers stuffed in a drawer,” said Simair. Using modern technology, Skip the Dishes “links everything together” and puts all the information on your computer or mobile device at no extra cost for the consumer. Technology can allow you to search for information, but Skip the Dishes is different. Simair pointed out, “It’s all in one place. All you have to do is browse and order.” No more searching for individual online menus or hours of operation and contact information buried somewhere on a website.
Simair saw the need for a service like Skip the Dishes while working as an investment banker for one of Canada’s big banks. “We would be ordering from restaurants up to four times a day. I started seeing some restaurants and websites that would offer online ordering, which had a ton of potential. My brothers are both software engineers, and we thought there was a big opportunity for this in the prairies.”
In June, Simair left his job as a banker to focus full-time on the start-up. “The U of S produces a very enterprising group of alumni. There is still that pioneering spirit that’s alive and well at the U of S. We know we don’t have to follow a ‘set path.’ We know we can build things from the ground up.”
The U of S alumni that make-up Skip the Dishes—which includes accountants, lawyers and software engineers—have the professional expertise to make it a viable business and keep costs down. “The U of S provides such a cross-discipline [of education and training] we didn’t have to look far to get the skills we needed to push the technology to world-class standards,” said Simair.
Since the company’s official launch in September, they have expanded to Alberta and Manitoba and added over 100 restaurants, including 40 on a recent trip to Winnipeg. “We thought it would be harder to get restaurants on-board, but the smaller local restaurants don’t have the expertise or capacity to do this on their own. We’re letting everyone focus on what they’re good at,” explained Simair. “We’re terrible cooks, but great at IT.” Restaurants are able to focus on the food and have a low cost way to cater to their customers’ needs.
On top of the original partners, the company now employs a handful of employees. And they are finding friends in those that were once foes. As former Huskie track athletes, Simair and some of his partners are now working alongside their former competitors. “We used to compete against some of these people, so we know how hard they worked to get to where they did in athletics. We were able to pick out some very talented people for our team,” said Simair.
Customers are getting used to the idea of having all the information they need in one place. “We are seeing a lot of orders from organizations or worksites. It’s more convenient, and they can just keep working.” Late night orders are a growing part of the business too, according to Simair.
So make some time for yourself this holiday season—sit back and watch a movie or the game, go skating with the kids, or have some “me” time. All you have to do is Skip the Dishes.
Pictured above (l-r): Christopher Graham (BSc’09), Alyosha Boldt (BSC’12), Iain McMaster (BE’12), Joshua Simair (BComm’09), Iain McCormick (BSKI’08, BEd’10), Christopher Simair (BSc’09), Andrew Tremblay (BSc’08), Lincoln Crooks (BComm’12)
Photo by Raisa Pezderic, The Sheaf
(Posted December 06, 2012)
November 09, 2012
Dalhousie University’s Board of Governors has named Richard Florizone as the university’s 11th president, a term that will begin July 1, 2013.
As vice-president finance and resources at the U of S since 2005, Florizone oversaw the financial operations of $900 million annual expenditures and $500 million of capital project initiatives. He remains a fellow of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.
“During his years with the U of S, Richard accomplished many initiatives, one the most prominent being the building of additional student residences at the U of S for the first time in over 30 years,” said Ilene Busch-Vishniac, U of S president and vice-chancellor, in a statement. “I hope you will join me in wishing Richard great success in his new career.”
Florizone graduated from the U of S in the engineering physics program and later earned his Master’s in Physics from the U of S and his PhD in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Other U of S alumni currently serving as presidents at other universities include:
Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz (PhD’89), University of Prince Edward Island
Alan Wildeman(BSc’75, MSc’77), University of Windsor
Doyle Donald Anderson (MBA’97, PhD’09), First Nations University of Canada
Gary Kachanoski (BSc’75, MSc’80), Memorial University
(Posted November 09, 2012)
November 02, 2012
The idea had been percolating in Lyndon Lisitza’s mind for some time, and what happened after his dad sold the family farm solidified his resolve to turn an idea into a viable, marketable product.
In 2008, Lisitza’s dad was ready to move into retirement and sold the mixed-grain farm that was his livelihood for over three decades. A week later, the Calgary-based energy company that bought the land called asking about possible renters.
“It seemed like a rather inefficient way to conduct a land transfer, so I set out to develop a more efficient marketplace for the land rentals process,” explained Lisitza (MSc’12), who was pursuing his Master of Science in agricultural economics at the University of Saskatchewan at the time.
With the sale and rental of farmland being largely community-based—word of mouth and advertisements in local publications are the norm—Lisitza knew there was a huge opportunity to capitalize on his idea. He identifies a lack of competition and poor price discovery methods among the shortcomings of the current process. “I wanted to develop a system to allow landowners and farmers to have an efficient mechanism to determine land values and decrease land transfer costs for farmers.”
And Renterra Farmland Rental Auctions was born.
Renterra is an online marketplace connecting land owners and farmers seeking land to rent. Instead of looking at individual pieces of land, farmers can get the big picture to “see a piece of land that can complete a section or fill a block close to their home quarter or base of operations.” The manual process can take two or three weeks. Renterra can take that down to one day.
Lisitza explained it is becoming more common for people that live in another province or country to own farmland, through an inheritance for example. “I want to put as many checks and balances in place to mitigate risks for both land owners and farmers who are going into a transaction with someone they haven’t met before.” And it’s not always about the highest bid for land owners. “They might want to rent to someone that is a good steward, so land owners can allocate conditions.”
Taking a long-contemplated idea to market doesn’t happen overnight or in isolation. So when Lisitza heard of a couple business concept competitions that could help him progress, he dove right in. The i3 Idea Challenge (sponsored by the Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence at that U of S) and the Tech Venture Challenge with the university’s Industrial Liaison Office (ILO) forced him to put pen to paper. Entering competitions “really forces you to think about your idea, to sit back and ponder some of the shortfalls. It puts things in perspective; it makes it more real when you go through the process.”
In May, Lisitza was announced the winner of the i3 Idea Challenge, receiving a cash prize and in-kind professional services. At the same time, he was announced a finalist in the Tech Venture Challenge, beginning six months of business plan development under the guidance of the ILO. “I was put in touch with the right people to take the concept into a concrete useful product for the public. That was a pretty intense process,” said Lisitza.
Earlier this fall Lisitza won the Tech Venture Challenge, further validating the concept and taking him one step closer to a marketable product. The $50,000 cash prize, free office space at Innovation Place for a year and $6,000 of accounting services from Deloitte will go a long way. “I was willing to take the risk whether I won or not because I really believe it will be successful. Startups are pretty high risk, so [the prize money] allows me go ahead and gives me a little breathing room.”
Renterra will officially launch at Brett Wilson’s Pitch Party November 16. And that same week Lisitza hopes to make it a hat-trick by winning the Startup Open, a feature event of Global Entrepreneurship Week selecting a winner from the 50 most promising startups in the world.
Lisitza runs Renterra while juggling a young family and his day job as a policy analyst for the Government of Saskatchewan. “I get minimal amounts of sleep, but I’m relatively young, so you might as well make hay while the sun shines.”
That may change soon. “In the next six months my plans are to expand within North America and into Australia and New Zealand.” Those two foreign markets are similar to Canada demographically and land rentals are increasing. Timing has a lot to do with it too. Lisitza pointed out there’s “only about a five to seven month window” between harvest and seeding during which farmers are actively seeking rental land. With the differential in seasons, “my season wraps up here, and it’s prime rental season there.”
Lisitza is quick to say he has learned two lessons through the process of developing his concept into a business: network and talk to people whenever possible, and give back when you can. “I’ve had so many instances where I’ve made some time consuming mistakes that could have been avoided with one phone call,” said Lisitza. “Reciprocate and show interest if you ever have the opportunity. I recognize the help I’ve had and am willing to put my limited services, or anything I can offer, out there to help other people.”
Submissions for the 2013 Tech Venture Challenge are being accepted until November 30, 2012.
(Posted November 02, 2012)
October 23, 2012
Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield announced Oct. 23 that two U of S alumni, one alumnus who is also chancellor emeritus, and one professor emeritus will be invested into the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.
The U of S recipients of this honour include:
Chancellor Emeritus Tom Molloy (S.M.O.M., O.C., S.O.M., Q.C.), a Saskatoon-based lawyer who has served as chief federal negotiator for the Government of Canada for nearly 30 years. Molloy is recognized for his community involvement and his award-winning book, The World is Our Witness, about land reclamation and treaties in Canada. He received his BA and LLB in 1964 and was awarded an honorary doctor of laws (LLD) at convocation 2009.
Professor Emeritus Brian Rossnagel (S.O.M), began working at the U of S in 1977, and since then he has helped produce over 94 varieties of oats and barley. He received the U of S Award for Distinguished Outreach and Engagement in 2004.
David Thauberger (C.M., S.O.M.) received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the U of S in 1971. According to his bio, Thauberger has been an advocate of prairie folk art and recognized internationally for his colourful paintings of prairie store fronts.
William Brett Wilson (C.M., S.O.M.) received his Bachelor of Engineering in 1979 and went on to become a successful businessman and entrepreneur in Alberta. In 2007, he established the W. Brett Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence in the Edwards School of Business with a donation of $2 million.
The Saskatchewan Order of Merit is the province’s highest honour, recognizing individuals who have contributed significantly to the well-being of the province and its residents. Including the eight new members, there have been 193 appointments to the Order of Merit since its inception in 1985.
The recipients will be officially invested into the Saskatchewan Order of Merit during a ceremony to be held on Nov. 27 in Saskatoon.
For more information on the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and its members, or the Saskatchewan Honours and Awards Program, please visit www.ops.gov.sk.ca/som.
(Posted October 23, 2012)
October 04, 2012
Ambition and drive come naturally to Jennifer Campeau (MBA’09), a rookie Saskatchewan MLA for Saskatoon Fairview. Confidence in her own abilities may come less naturally, but you would never know it. Years of being stretched outside of her comfort zone has led to a keen sense of self-awareness, resulting in confidence in her own capacity to tackle whatever challenges lie before her.
A member of the Yellow Quill First Nation, Campeau was raised primarily in Saskatoon, spending some of her formative years in rural Saskatchewan and attending the residential school in Lestock, SK.
Campeau moved to the United States as a teenager, but after a failed marriage she felt the tug of home. “Like a lot of ex-pats I had went off on my own and explored. I lived in the Southern U.S. a little bit, but there was always a pull to be home and be around family. That was amplified when I had a child. I wanted her to grow up in a community where her family was there, her cousins, my family,” said Campeau.
Her drive for a better life—for her and her daughter— combined with a frustration over the employment gap between the Aboriginal population and the rest of Canada, led to an interest in business. “I started reading a lot about economics. I read about the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and their research question about why some American Indian communities are doing well and others are struggling. And what that boils down to is business and entrepreneurship.”
Campeau took courses at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Applied Technology which, thanks to joint programming with the University of Lethbridge, led to a business management degree.
Future ambitions didn’t let her stop there, even if it meant stretching her limits once again. She enrolled in the Masters in Business Administration program at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business. “Oh, there was a lot of fear,” she said with a healthy dose of laughter. “I don’t know if I’d say it’s a favourite memory, but it’s gotten me to be comfortable and confident in what I was doing. There is a focus on leadership, and I’m glad that the MBA program has that aspect to it.”
Raising a child while enrolled in a full-time MBA program presented some challenges. “My main concern was the cost of it,” explained Campeau. On top of scholarships to ease the financial burden, Campeau is grateful for the many avenues of support she received. “It was a little bit daunting and intimidating, but the university has these great supports. The Rawlco [Resource] Centre at the Edwards School of Business was phenomenal. Leanne Bellegarde [Rawlco program coordinator] was there at the time, and she was instrumental in me getting through the program.”
As if the MBA program didn’t push her security far enough, Campeau began teaching an introduction to commerce course for the college. With a confident laugh, she recalled her trial-by-fire experience in teaching. “Again that put me out of my comfort zone. It taught me a lot about myself—it was looking at information from a different lens.”
Campeau’s lifelong interest in politics brought an abrupt end to her pursuit of a PhD and her role as junior achievement coordinator for the Saskatoon Tribal Council. “There was always an interest [in politics], but it was always with Aboriginal politics, Aboriginal policy. I always thought I would be doing policy work or being the technician behind the politician, and it would be in Aboriginal politics.” But an opportunity to run in the 2011 Saskatchewan provincial election presented itself. “I didn’t think I’d make it past the nomination,” she says through laughter once again. “You know, hard work pays off.”
That different lens Campeau speaks of is what gives her the ability to reflect on challenging moments with confidence, accepting the humour—maybe even the irony—in the notion that it often takes challenges and trials to bring out the best in people.
“It’s important not to discount anybody’s abilities. A lot of people thought the odds were stacked against me being a single mother, being First Nations, and being a student. So I really think your limitations are only what you believe they are. If you believe that you can do something, then do it.”
Pictured above: Jennifer Campeau (left) with federal minister Rona Ambrose at a Status of Women conference in Halifax, NS
(Posted October 04, 2012)
October 03, 2012
Their collective list of accomplishments is as long and varied as it is impressive—including patents to mechanically neutralize land mines, leading-edge cardiovascular research and treatment, advising on international trade agreements and co-founding an up-and-coming commercial development company, to name just a few.
The tie that binds these achievements is they are all performed by University of Saskatchewan alumni. More specifically, the 12 recipients of the University of Saskatchewan Alumni Association’s 2012 Alumni Achievement Awards.
The annual awards recognize graduates of the University of Saskatchewan for excellence, leadership, and innovation in their achievements and contributions to the social, cultural, and economic well-being of society, which positively reflect on the University of Saskatchewan and the Alumni Association.
“We have about 138,000 graduates, so it’s really no wonder that we have such accomplished individuals we can honour and celebrate,” says Judy MacMillan, president of the U of S Alumni Association.
“The broad range of expertise and the many varied contributions this year’s recipients make in their respective professions, to their communities, to U of S and to society-at-large is really quite impressive,” continues MacMillan. “It really illustrates the quality and the breadth and depth of educational programs we have available at the U of S. They are a testament to the notion that a university education—a U of S education—is a solid foundation for success, and we are proud to have them as ambassadors of our fine institution.”
The annual Honouring our Alumni reception will be held November 2 at the Delta Bessborough Hotel in Saskatoon to celebrate award recipients.
This year’s recipients are (view biographies and photos):
Austin Beggs (BA’74) for his role in helping grow innovation and research in Saskatoon and throughout Saskatchewan.
Dr. Sasha Bernatsky (BSc’88) for her contributions to internal medicine in the fields of rheumatology, epidemiology and research focused on improving the outcomes for persons with systematic lupus (SLE).
Dr. Anne Doig (MD’76) for her leadership and commitment to family medicine and the medical profession.
Elaine Golds (BA’64) for her life-long commitment to volunteerism and environmental sustainability.
Digvir Jayas, FRSC (PhD’87) for his research and significant contributions to the agricultural industry.
Professor Emeritus Radhey Lal Kushwaha (PhD’67) for his service to the engineering profession—nationally and internationally.
Robert (Bob) McKercher, QC (BA’50, LLB’52) for his contributions to and the advancement of the law profession in Canada.
Dr. Bruce McManus, FRSC, FCAHS (BAPE’67, MD’77) for his contributions to cardiovascular research and treatment.
Chancellor Emeritus Edward (Ted) Turner, CM, SOM (D/Agric’48, LLD (honorary)’89) for his leadership in agriculture and service to the University of Saskatchewan.
Garrett Wilson, QC (BA’53, LLB’54) for his contributions to law, business, politics and literature.
The Young Alumni Achievement Award recipients are:
Natasha Haskey (BSNT’98, MSc’07) for her work improving the nutritional well-being of children.
Karl Miller (BA’98, BComm’01) for his contributions as an entrepreneur and businessman.
Also being recognized at this year’s reception are three honorary alumni. Wendy Field (nee Bates) worked in the Alumni Relations Office at the U of S for over 30 years before retiring earlier this year. William (Bill) Albritton, former dean of the College of Medicine, and his wife, Betty, were nominated by the college and the college’s alumni association.
Alumni Achievement Award recipients are nominated by fellow U of S alumni and chosen by a volunteer committee. Nominations are open year round. The deadline for next year’s awards is June 30, 2013.
(Posted October 03, 2012)