Alumni awards

This annual awards program was created by the provincial government to acknowledge the important economic and social contribution college graduates make worldwide. The Premier’s Awards program is administered by Colleges Ontario. Any graduate of a college program may be nominated. The person must have demonstrated outstanding career success and be making a contribution to his or her community or society. Colleges may nominate one graduate in each of the following categories:

  • Business
  • Community Services
  • Creative Arts and Design
  • Health Sciences
  • Recent Graduate
  • Technology

Do you know a Georgian graduate who should be recognized for his or her career achievements and successes?

The Alumni Office welcomes suggestions for nominations at any time. Please contact Kelly Pottage, Manager, Alumni and Community Development at or 705.728.1968, ext. 1878 for further information.

2016 Premier’s Awards winners

Aylan Couchie

Close-up head shot of Premier's Awards winner Aylan CouchieNomination category: Recent Graduate
Art and Design Fundamentals
Job Title:  
Anishinaabe artist, community organizer and aspiring writer
Place of Employment: Freelance artist, currently pursuing MFA at OCAD University

Just a year out of college, Aylan has built an impressive list of career achievements. In August 2015, she was chosen from among more than 950 entries worldwide to receive the Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the U.S.-based International Sculpture Center. Less than a month later, Aylan was honoured with the inaugural Native Women in the Arts Barbara Laronde Award, which celebrates the career of one outstanding, emerging Northern Ontario-based  Indigenous female artist. Her artwork has also been featured in Sculpture magazine, an international publication that is distributed in more than 70 countries and has a readership of more than 37,000.

Aylan was also the winner of the Pratt Homes Sculpture competition that hand-selected four artists to design a sculpture to sit atop their new condominium in Barrie, as well as a rooftop patio piece and select works throughout the interior. Her work was chosen by the public against three seasoned and highly-esteemed sculptors. Once built, the piece, (H.I.O. Big Chiefs) will be seen from Highway 400 as it looks out over Kempenfelt Bay in tribute to the Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Anishinabek nations.

Aylan has also made an indelible impact on the community. In 2014, she organized and launched Barrie’s first downtown art crawl, which featured local artists, fostered new relationships within the downtown merchant core, and led to partnerships that continue today.

Aylan says she is inspired by her grandfather, a residential school survivor whose passed-down teachings greatly influenced her work and encouraged her to return to college as a mature student and single mother of three teenage boys.

Despite the many accolades, Aylan feels the most important part of her work is being part of the larger conversation about First Nations realities, including murdered and missing Indigenous women, current actualities facing First Nations communities across Canada, and residential school legacies.

Dianne Martin

Close-up head shot of Dianne MartinNomination category: Health Sciences
Program: Nursing
Graduated: 1998
Job title: Chief Executive Officer
Place of employment: Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario

As the Chief Executive Officer of the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario, Dianne provides leadership and advocates for the province’s thousands of registered practical nurses. She also works hard to make a difference in the lives of patients and nursing students through policies, reforms and education.

Dianne is currently working to refocus healthcare decisions on the needs of patients, which will help them take control of their own wellness. She’s also spent a good portion of her career addressing the workplace bullying she says is prevalent in the industry and providing support to nurses suffering from work-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dianne hopesp the resources she and her team have created will assist employers, re-engage nurses in the profession, and help reduce or eradicate bullying and PTSD.

In addition to overseeing day-to-day operations and managing the RPNAO’s budget, Dianne visits healthcare organizations across the country to consult on nursing and how to improve patient outcomes and workplace satisfaction and retention.

Dianne also consults with many hospitals and helps administrators understand and expand the nurses’ role and implement positive change. She speaks regularly at conferences across the province on issues related to health and wellness education, and nursing issues in particular.

In addition to her leadership role, Dianne sits on nursing advisory committees at several colleges – including Georgian – and still finds time to teach in the classroom.

2016 Premier’s Awards nominees

Bryan Marshman

Close-up head shot of retired international tax expert and Business Administration alumnus Bryan MarshmanNomination category: Community Services
Program: Business Administration
Graduated: 1972
Job title: Retired international tax expert
Place of employment: Canada Revenue Agency (former employer)

Most non-profit organizations around the world are perpetually short of funds, but what they often need most is help with administering and establishing best business practices and financial systems. This is where Bryan steps in. He offers his counsel and strategic planning know-how with the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO), a volunteer-based operation providing social and economic development expertise to Canadian Indigenous peoples and communities in need around the world.

Bryan recently worked with a non-profit group in Honduras that provides assistance to the poorest of the poor. He helped them develop a set of policies and procedures and a strategic plan, and provided input into accounting issues and concerns.

Bryan’s other post-career highlights include providing assistance to a Ukrainian organization and assisting in the preparation of professional development courses for staff, and providing support to the Guyana Revenue Authority. He’s also helped businesses set up training courses, delivered lectures on tax issues, and assisted a charity in implementing a brokerage.

Bryan not only stays busy with CESO and a number of other non-profit organizations, he also speaks at conferences and symposiums about tax issues, which fits of his “give of yourself until it hurts, then give a little more” values.

Peter Grande

Close-up head shot of Business Administration Automotive Marketing alumnus Peter GrandeNomination category: Business
Business Administration – Automotive Marketing
Job Title:  
President and Co-founder
Place of Employment: MV-1 Canada

Many Canadian municipalities have formed accessibility advisory committees to help their mayors and councils recognize and address the physical barriers that impede people of all abilities with mobility challenges. Peter is continually in front of city and town councils in Toronto and across Canada speaking about safety standards, industry regulations and accessible vehicles. He also speaks at conferences and lends his voice to the conversation about fleet diversity and vehicle testing.

Peter is helping families achieve a level of autonomy they can’t get with converted vans. Kyle and Paula Watson, parents to twin 14-year-old boys with cerebral palsy, say the vehicle has liberated their family.

“Finding a vehicle to accommodate two very large wheelchairs posed a huge challenge. Now we can go where we want together. This has been life-changing for us,” says Paula.

MV-1 Canada is now the exclusive Canadian distributor of the vehicle and Peter has since built a network of 17 dealers and more than 625 service locations across the country.

In the short time the MV-1 vehicle has been in the marketplace, more taxi, airport limousine and public transit organizations are using them, including Barrie Transit – they provided thousands of rides to passengers in the specialized purpose-built vehicles the first month it was rolled out in that market.

Peter’s company isn’t just helping individuals and families; many business, universities, towns, cities and non-profit organizations are using the MV-1 to create a culture of accessibility and move their clients around.

MV-1 Canada has sold vehicles to 500 people across Canada over the past three years alone, and their clients are really going places. The average MV-1 Canada puts on between 30,000 and 35,000 kilometres a year, which means MV-1 owners have driven a cumulative 15 million kilometres since 2013.

The numbers are impressive, but Peter is more proud of the fact that MV-1 Canada maintains relationships with its clients after they drive their vehicles off the lot. Many have connected over social media and the company’s Facebook page has become a lifeline for drivers.

“At MV-1 Canada, we’re not just selling cars, we’re selling a lifestyle and creating networks and support systems for clients and their families to share their experiences,” says Peter.

Peter Sullivan

Close-up head shot of Survey Technician alumnus Peter SullivanNomination category: Technology
Survey Technician
Job Title:  
Surveyor General of Canada Lands and Director General of Natural Resources Canada’s Surveyor General Branch
Place of Employment: Government of Canada

For the past 11 years, Peter has led many initiatives, including developing a program to analyze geomatics and Indigenous property rights and the modernization of survey systems for property boundaries in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, on more than 2,600 First Nations reserves, and in Canada’s offshore and national parks. Peter’s office also works with the U.S. to maintain the world’s longest continuous international border.

Peter serves as Canada’s Commissioner on the International Boundary Commission and offers his counsel as a statutory member of the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors and the Canadian Council on Geomatics. He regularly shares his expertise on geographic and land information management at conferences in Canada, the U.S. and internationally.

More recently, Peter helped move the Government of Canada’s land surveying system online to provide more efficient land transactions and better access to current and historical land survey documents dating back to 1871.

Peter is proud of the role his department has taken in managing geomatics programs and says that land surveying is extremely important to Canada for many reasons, but especially because it has such a large landmass.

Robert Hengeveld

Close-up head shot of Design and Visual Arts alumnus and installation and media artist Robert HengeveldNomination category: Creative Arts and Design 
Fine Arts and Fine Arts – Advanced
Job Title:
Installation and media artist
Place of Employment: Freelance

Since graduating from Georgian 18 years ago, Robert has shown his work across Canada, the U.S. and internationally.

Art enthusiasts aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits of his unique perspective – Robert instructs, inspires and shares his artwork with people of all ages through workshops. He also steers public exhibitions for those who wouldn’t normally be exposed to art or art galleries.

Throughout his robust career, Robert has shared his expertise as an artist-in-residence in Guelph, Ontario and Scotland, has received widespread critical acclaim, and has been featured in numerous articles and reviews. His thought-provoking works have included large interactive and theatrical installations and site-specific art projects like a rotating tree and floating shopping cart.

In 2017, Robert will join an expedition to the Arctic Circle where he will collaborate with scientists and other artists. The project will bring together specialists and experts in science, architecture, education and activism, and act as an incubator for thought and experimentation around current issues.

2015 Premier’s Awards nominees

Amanda Baysarowich

Head shot of Amanda BaysowictchNomination category: Business
Program: Developmental Services Worker; Addictions: Treatment and Prevention
Graduated: 2006, 2008
Job title:  Owner/Founder and Director
Place of employment: IBI Behavioural Services

Amanda Baysarowich is a young entrepreneur motivated by a passion to help those with autism reach their full potential. Through her company IBI Behavioural Services, she works with more than 25 families through 16 therapists and taps into a network of multi-disciplinary professional services to successfully integrate nine out of every 10 clients into the classroom setting. Her business has experienced continued growth over the past three years, closing a gap in services offered in Simcoe County and York Region. Dedicated to her cause, she fundraises for clients and offers pro bono support for those in greatest need, and lobbies for her clients’ integration in schools and the community.

Amber Fournier

Close-up head shot of Amber FournierNomination category: Health Sciences
Job title: 
Place of employment:
Northern Low Vision Care

An advocate for vision care for both the elderly and the young, Amber Fournier was named Optician of the Year in 2015 by the Ontario Opticians Association. She is recognized as a leader in low vision care. Through her business Northern Low Vision Care she offers specialty mobile services – the only of their kind in Northern Ontario – to elderly clients with vision diseases to assess their condition, provide magnifying aids and help them maintain their independence and quality of life. She also offers free vision screenings to elementary school students through Loblaws, as a first step in supporting children with vision disorders.

Mike Maurice

Close-up head shot of Mike MauriseNomination category: Recent graduate
Environmental Technology
Job title: 
Arctic Research Technologist
Place of employment:
Canadian Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Change (CANDAC)

Mike Maurice’s passion for the environment has taken him far, literally. He is an Arctic Research Technologist stationed in Eureka, Nunavut. He is an integral part of the Canadian Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Change (CANDAC) team, in charge of monitoring atmospheric science instrumentation that provides data related to climate processes, transport of pollutants into the Arctic and the recovery of the ozone layer. He completes special tasks for world renowned researchers and troubleshoots discrepancies that arise from harsh polar conditions. His work is vital to scientists, researchers and policy makers who work to protect the health of our planet.

Victor Musowa

Close-up head shot of Victor MusowaNomination category: Community Service
Communicative Disorders Assistant
Job Title: 
Place of Employment: Rehab Clinic and Children’s Education Centre

Driven by passion to help children with special needs, Victor Musowa co-founded the Rehab Clinic and Children’s Education Centre in his native country of Malawi in April 2013. It has grown into a four-room clinic that has 89 registered full-time children and a waitlist of 200 more. Victor and his colleagues offer free support for speech, language and hearing disorders, and assistance to children with learning disabilities. He is a dedicated fundraiser for his clinic which does not receive government support and he has also become a member of Malawian parliament to advocate for health care in his country, one of the world’s poorest.

Cassandra Nordell-MacLean

Close-up head shot of Cassandra Nordell-MacleanNomination category: Creative Arts and Design
Interior Design
Job title: 
Chief of Vision and Difference
Place of employment:
William Standen Co.

Before turning 25, Cassandra Nordell-MacLean 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, posting 786 per cent growth over four years. Of the recipients, Cassandra was among the 11 per cent with female CEOs. Today, she is a recognized leader in the North American kitchen and design industry and counts a place in the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 30 under 30 among her many awards. She uses her expertise to give back to her community by designing spaces for charities such as Habitat for Humanity.

Paul Zorad

Close-up head shot of Paul ZoradNomination category: Technology
Program: Electronics Engineering Technology
Job title: 
Place of employment:
Zortech Industries

Paul Zorad is an innovative thinker who became an early adopter of energy efficient LED lighting technology and helped introduce it to the North American market through his company, Zortech Industries. Serving clients from retail, commercial, entertainment and residential sectors, the electronics engineering technology graduate designs new energy efficient products to reduce their carbon footprint. His company also evaluates LED technology to ensure only the highest quality products are used. Paul is committed to his community, regularly contributing his technical skills to local events. He has been honoured through community and business awards as well as had his products featured on several HGTV renovation shows.

Previous Premier’s Awards winners

Dale George – 2012 Premier’s Awards winner

Close-up headshot of Dale GeorgeIndustrial Design, 1985 Chief Technology Officer, Buoyant Aircraft Systems International (BASI)

Dale George has established a niche in the world of design for improving operations, defining innovation, and creating industry standards for a number of products and services. Now he is again at the leading edge as the chief technical officer of Buoyant Airship Services International. George’s remarkable journey began in the Industrial Design program at college. Throughout his evolution from the early days of designing the now-famous “little yellow” plastic slide that can be found in backyards across North America, to developing the first high-altitude wind turbine, to his aviation work with lighter-than-air airships with NASA and transport to remote areas, George has remained a trailblazer in his field.

Geoffrey Stephens – 2011 Premier’s Awards winner

Close-up headshot of Geoffrey StephensBusiness Administration, 1984 President, Capital Paving Inc.

Geoffrey Stephens became president and controlling owner of Capital Paving Inc. at age 35 and has grown its revenue from $18 million to $80 million in just over 10 years. He and his partners recently made a major ownership investment in Fowler Construction. In 2010, Capital was named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies and is an unprecedented three-time winner of the Ministry of Transportation’s Paver of the Year Award. Stephens was one of 40 Canadian entrepreneurs chosen for the 2010 Quantum Shift at Richard Ivey School of Business. He is active in the community, serving on numerous industry association boards.

Stephen Flowers – 2005 Premier’s Awards winner

Close-up headshot of Stephen Flowers1983 Business Grad, President, UPS Americas Region Stephen Flowers, President of the UPS Americas Region, is responsible for all UPS package operations in Canada and more than 50 countries and territories across Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to taking on the region’s highest post, Flowers was UPS’s West Europe District Manager, where he oversaw the company’s operations in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Stephen began his career with UPS in 1981 as a loader/unloader while at Georgian College. Stephen has served on the board of directors for the United Way of Long Island, New York and the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris.

Rose Adams – 2003 Premier’s Awards winner

Close-up headshot of Rose Adams1984 Office Administration Grad Barrister/Solicitor/Mediator

Rose overcame a difficult childhood to get where she is today.  Growing up in foster homes, the Barrie lawyer financed her college education by cleaning houses and checking coats at a local bar.  In 1991, she was crowned Miss Black Ontario and entered law school as a mature student.  She now runs her own family law and real estate practice.  Adams has taught business courses at Georgian College and Ontario Business College and volunteers for non-profit community groups such as the Out of the Cold program.  She served on the board of Big Brothers and the Simcoe Literacy Network.

Every year in May, the Georgian College Board of Governors recognizes graduates who:

  • have achieved an exceptionally high level of career success
  • have received professional recognition in their field
  • have made a significant contribution to Georgian, or the community in general

Alumni of Distinction Award nominations are welcome at any time. Learn more about the Board of Governors Awards.

A $1,000 scholarship presented annually to a student who is a child of a Georgian College graduate and has demonstrated financial need. This student must be a permanent resident of Ontario. To contribute to this award* follow this link and indicate “Alumni Endowment” as the “fund/designation.”

*Georgian College appreciates and recognizes all gifts to the college.

Awards and scholarships

Awards and scholarships help Georgian students achieve their academic goals! Please contact the Awards Officer at 705.728.1968, ext. 1211 to learn more about establishing or contributing to an award.

Alumni phone survey – your opinion counts

All new graduates, as well as those who have graduated in the last two years, from all Colleges in Ontario, will be called as part of a phone survey from a company called Forum Research Inc. This ministry-led initiative captures opinions and experiences as well as assures program quality and graduate outcomes.  Each college is required to provide the government with graduate contact information for the purpose of surveying graduates objectively.  Please contact Angela Sutton, Georgian’s Director of Institutional Research, at 705.728.1968, ext. 1273 or if you have any questions.