Greenest School in Canada 2018: Trinity College School and Lacombe Composite High School

Case studies on the 2018 winners of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)’s Greenest School in Canada competition.

Click here to download PDF of the full case study.

Demonstrating long-term commitment towards sustainability and making their communities greener through a variety of environmental projects and activities, this year’s winners of Greenest School in Canada competition are nurturing the next generation of green building leaders.

First Place Winners (Tie)

Lacombe Composite High School in Lacombe, AB

A key goal for Lacombe Composite High School, an 850-student school located in a small central Alberta city, is to cultivate student leaders and provide them with the opportunity to make a difference for the environment, their school and community. With this in mind, the school offers green programs as part of its curriculum and encourages students to create their own innovative, sustainable projects.

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2011-12 EMPLOYEES’ CHOICE AWARDS (excerpt)

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Jan. 23, 2012 (& Jan. 24 on

(The following three profiles are part of a collection of 10 articles written by Krystle Chow, Elizabeth Howell, Peter Kovessy and Greg Markey, highlighting the best workplaces in Ottawa as chosen by their employees.)

Ernst & Young LLP: Accounting for employee goals

Ernst & Young employees.
From left: Angel Estrada, Deanna Monaghan, Natalie Proctor, Carlos Lewis and Amy Yang.
Photo by MARK HOLLERON for the Ottawa Business Journal.

Founded: 1906
Employees: 163
ECAs: 3

For three-time Employees’ Choice Awards winner Ernst & Young LLP, the key to having happy employees is constant communication and ensuring that workers’ needs and long-term aspirations are met.

But perhaps one of the most distinctive initiatives Ernst & Young has is its counselling program, in which each employee is assigned a coach to help with career planning and achieving their mid- and long-term professional goals.

“It’s important for us to understand people’s objectives and goals from a professional perspective and make sure that is what we can offer to them,” says Ms. Monaghan, adding this has helped the company attract and retain skilled staff in a tight labour market.

Ernst & Young’s global reach means employees also have the opportunity to take advantage of overseas training and work terms, giving them new challenges and variety in their work. For instance, the firm has taken on staff for a two-year transfer from the Middle East, Italy and Switzerland, while Ottawa employees have done exchanges to Chicago and New York City, among other locations.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn different cultures and see other parts of the world, while continuing in the same professional capacity,” says Ms. Monaghan.

Understanding employees’ needs also includes offering employees the flexibility to adjust their hours or work from home, she adds.

It all helps to foster an environment where people feel their ideas and views are welcomed and valued, Ms. Monaghan says.

“One thing staff tell us all the time is how there’s a positive, strong culture where people enjoy working with each other. It’s very co-operative and people team well, with a strong culture of respect, and there’s a variety with the work performed so it’s not repetitive and people are challenged by the work they do.”

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Lifetime Achievement Award: Durrell’s dynasty

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Nov. 14, 2011 (Nov. 18 on

Former Ottawa mayor’s lasting legacy in sporting, tourism, business and beyond

Jim Durrell.
Jim Durrell, OBJ and Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement
Award recipient.

Photo by MARK HOLLERON for the
Ottawa Business Journal.

Name most of Ottawa’s major landmarks, and it’s likely you’ll hear one name repeated throughout their histories – Jim Durrell.

In fact, many of the framed images lining the staircase leading up to Mr. Durrell’s offices at the Capital Dodge auto dealership are a testament to this fact, from the photo of an airplane taking off, to the various United Way certificates, to the picture of the Ottawa Convention Centre being built.

The former mayor had a hand in the construction of the capital’s airport and new convention centre, and his influence has loomed large over the city’s sporting infrastructure. As well, he’s played roles with the Ottawa Hospital and various other charitable organizations.

It’s all part of Mr. Durrell’s philosophy of building up the city’s “cornerstones”: health care, recreation and sport, culture, and education, with a healthy economy at the centre.

“(Those) essential things keep everything moving,” he says.

In celebration of Mr. Durrell’s Lifetime Achievement Award, as part of the Ottawa Business Achievement Awards being presented Dec. 1, OBJ took a look back at his manifold achievements in the National Capital Region.

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HONG KONG: Waking the ‘sleeping giant’ for Silicon Valley North

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Sept. 5, 2011 (Sept. 12 on

China’s five-year focus on ICT, clean tech gets Ottawa firms fired up

Bernard Herscovich, CEO of BelAir Networks.
Photo by MARK HOLLERON for the Ottawa Business Journal.

For many of Ottawa’s technology companies, the Hong Kong market is but a starting point for an enormous opportunity.

As a special administrative region of China, Hong Kong is uniquely positioned as the economic gateway for the massive Asian country, says OCRI’s Mike Darch. And that’s especially important given the four trillion renminbi, or roughly C$800 million, China has pledged towards IT and low-carbon technologies as part of its five-year strategic plan.

“There’s a joke that (with Chinese projects) you take the largest project you’ve ever seen and add six zeros at the end,” says Mr. Darch.

Among the strategic emerging areas on which it wishes to focus, China has identified three clean energy-related areas – namely new energy sources such as wind, solar and nuclear, energy conservation, environmental protection initiatives, and clean-energy vehicles – and next-generation information technology surrounding the convergence of conventional communications, broadcast and Internet, Mr. Darch explains.

Undoubtedly, opportunities abound for the residents of Silicon Valley North. But for many of Ottawa’s technology firms, particularly the smaller ones, it can be a challenge to dive into the Chinese market, given its size, the obvious cultural and language barriers, and distance from North America.

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DEFENCE & SECURITY: Textron’s Ottawa office targets expansion

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
May 30, 2011

Click here to view this article on

The Textron TAPV
Textron’s tactical armoured patrol vehicle.
(Photo supplied)

Neil Rutter says he’s long advocated for the opening of an Ottawa outpost for Textron Systems, one that’s to be more than just a small marketing office for the Massachusetts-based defence technology company.

Mr. Rutter, an Ottawa native who’s returning to Textron after a two-year stint at a Washington, D.C. firm, says he suggested the location during his previous seven years as Textron’s director of international contracts.

“This is a prime business development location for defence business and a logical base for us; the customer is here and it’s as close as we can get,” says the newly minted general manager of Ottawa-based Textron Systems Canada, which opened in late March.

The company launched the local office to Continue reading →

2011 FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES: On stable ground

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
May 16, 2011

Click here to view this article on

Local firms demonstrate rapid, sustained growth

For many of the firms on this year’s Fastest Growing Companies list, staying power is the name of the game.

These stalwarts have demonstrated sustained growth and are making their second, third, or even fourth appearance. And along with several fresh entrants offering products and services for a wide variety of uses – including the 3D movie industry, construction, and social media – this year’s crop shows an Ottawa that’s starting to build a diverse economy, with success stories from different life stages and markets.

What’s more, not only are these companies growing at a brisk pace, but they’re also all on strong financial footing – they’re either currently profitable, or have achieved profitability in the past and are now taking an aggressive approach to investing in their firms’ further growth.

As well, all share in common a drive to innovate within their respective industries, while working closely with customers’ ideas and needs, whether that means providing customized technologies, or being their own best clients to better understand what people using their products and services require.

All Fastest Growing Companies honourees are headquartered in the National Capital Region and have demonstrated revenue growth and positive cash flow over the past three years. In year one, the companies had a minimum revenue of $100,000 and by year three, a minimum of $1 million.

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Stocks to Watch 2008: The miner, the armourer and the telecom bombshell

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Jan. 28, 2008

Allen-Vanguard, Enablence, Orezone to build strength in share prices

2007 was a rollercoaster year for the three stocks we’ve chosen as the ones to watch in 2008, with both good and bad news aplenty.

Allen-Vanguard Corp., Enablence Technologies Inc. and Orezone Resources Inc. all saw huge price movements last year on announcements of key acquisitions, but insider trading investigations and contract awards to competitors, among other news items, spooked investors and led to a bumpy ride or two.

So what’s ahead for 2008? The OBJ spoke to the experts to get the inside scoop. Continue reading →

Deals of the Year: Mitel’s acquisition of Inter-Tel got off to a rocky start

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Dec. 31, 2007 (Jan. 2, 2008 on

The players: Mitel CEO Don Smith; Steve Spooner, Mitel’s CFO and chief integration officer; Alexander Cappello, chairman of Inter-Tel’s board of directors; Steven Mihaylo, Inter-Tel’s founder and ousted chief executive; private equity company Vector Capital Corp.; Mitel’s financing partners Francisco Partners and Morgan Stanley Principal Investments; Genuity Capital Markets (Mitel’s financial adviser); UBS Investment Bank (Inter-Tel’s financial adviser)The deal: Mitel Networks Corp. announced on April 26 that it was offering about US$723 million, or $25.60 per share, to buy Arizona’s Inter-Tel Inc. The deal, which closed in August, is expected to boost Mitel’s revenues to more than $800 million and give it the number-one spot in the U.S. small- and medium-sized market for business communications systems. Inter-Tel had annual revenues of $458.4 million in 2006.

How the deal was done: In 2006, Mitel had been preparing to go public with an offering Continue reading →

CEO of the Year 2007: Dobson ushers in new era for Corel with ‘quiet confidence’

Special feature for the Ottawa Business Journal.
Published in the OBJ’s print edition and on the website.
Nov. 12, 2007

Corel CEO David Dobson.
Corel CEO David Dobson.
Photo by DARREN BROWN for the Ottawa Business Journal

It took a week of frantic calls and e-mails to arrange my meeting with Corel Corp. CEO David Dobson, a man who spends about 30 hours a month on a plane.

I caught up with Mr. Dobson – the OBJ‘s 2007 CEO of the Year – in his sparse, white-walled Ottawa office. There are few personal trappings in the room, save for a couple of photos of his wife, Laura, and two sons.

Such minimalism is fitting, considering that the 44-year-old makes it clear that work and home are two completely separate things, and that he’s not comfortable bringing too many details of his personal life into the public eye.

“An office for me is not a place of comfort; it’s a place where you can store some things and use as a base to work out of,” says Mr. Dobson.

“I’ve never really spent a lot of time trying to make the place feel like home, because it’s not home. I tend to spend more time out of my office than in it, whether I’m in a meeting with the rest of the team in a boardroom or a meeting on any of the floors in this building, but more importantly, travelling.”

Travel is a big part of Mr. Dobson’s life. He estimates that he racks up about Continue reading →