Top 40 Under Forty is presented by the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO.
These are 40 people in our community who are doing BIG things. They are thriving in business, entrepreneurship, arts, athletics or are striving to make our city and region a better place to live and work.
Have a look at our frequently asked questions!
Patricia Luu is the owner of Umami Shop, a grocery boutique which offers offer food from around the world, cooking classes taught by she and other chefs, a kitchen/deli that offers authentic world food prepared in-house, and a Café Tea Bar that brings coffee and tea culture from around the world right here to Lethbridge.
Patricia began working as a child at her family grocery store, with plans to inherit and grow the business. But after leaving the retail industry at 17, her parents were eager for her to leave and get to know the world so she traveled, earning the education and experience that would help make her a successful business owner.
After graduating from Catholic Central High School, Patricia went to University of Alberta where she earned her Bachelor of Arts. From there she explored the world, earning graduate degrees from University of Toronto, Universitat Hamburg and Universitat Rostock in Germany.
Patricia spent more than a decade in Germany. While she was there she served as Communication Consultant confidant for one of the country's largest banks, travelled Europe and, of course, attended the world-famous Oktoberfest in Munich...12 times!
She has also worked with world-class track athletes from the Thailand Track Team, North Korea Track Team, Jamaica Track Team and the USA Track Team.
Patricia runs Umami Shop with five core values:
- Inspire our customers
- Raise our standards
- Work well together
- Think global
- Act local
Patricia Luu Accepting the 2014 Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce Business-Environment Connection Award
"We act lean. We recycle. We compost. In other words, we do our best to reduce our carbon footprint, because we want to leave the world better than we found it," said Patricia of the way she runs her business.
"Thinking global means being worldly, which means having an international mindset. We are aware and accepting of all cultures, and we get excited about their cuisine! It's important that we are open-minded, because that's how we will discover greater success."
Patricia also believes in acting locally, which means sourcing fresh food from local farms and showcasing local artisans in her space.
"We get involved with our community, and we give back too. Why? Because the only way we can grow within a community is by helping to grow the community we're in."
Patricia has always believed that everybody eats, so life is too short to not eat good food! She and her team believe that eating well and laughing often with the ones you love should be a regular part of life, because these are the things that make life great.
It's because of these beliefs that inside Umami Shop walls, you'll find a new world of amazing food, lots of laughs, and some great people to share it all with!
A world-wide journey that lead to business success back at home, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Patricia Luu as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Danielle Tait is the Associate Director of the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, a not-for-profit contemporary art institution located in downtown Lethbridge.
In eight years at SAAG, Danielle has seen the organization change and grow. Hired as the gallery's first Manager of Fund Development, Danielle has contributed to increases in revenue, support from corporate partners, individual donations, the gallery's operating budget and number of staff. This is despite some of the most significant provincial funding cuts in SAAG's history.
Most recently, coinciding with the gallery's 40th anniversary in 2016, they launched the Live Art. Love SAAG. campaign last fall. As the largest fundraising campaign in the gallery's history, their goal is to raise $1 million over the next three years. This campaign has been groundbreaking for SAAG, and has already raised over $450,000.
As Associate Director, her main areas of responsibility include fund development, financial management, human resources, and administration.
As a long-time resident of Lethbridge and a graduate of the University of Lethbridge, Danielle is passionate about being involved in my community. She strives to act as an ambassador for encouraging young people to stay in our city to build their careers and grow their families.
Danielle earned her Bachelor of Management: Marketing from the University of Lethbridge in 2010. She has also earned a Rozsa Arts Management Program Certificate from the Haskayne School of Business Executive Education Programs at the University of Calgary.
Danielle got her start with SAAG as a co-op student hired as Special Events Coordinator in the summer of 2008. She I maintained some involvement with SAAG, and stayed on part time to plan another special event the following February. She was offered a full-time contract before graduation, and completed her degree while also working at SAAG.
Danielle has maintained her involvement with the University of Lethbridge, returning as a speaker in the Managing Not-for-Profits class, and working with upper-level management students who needed to partner with a non-profit organization.
Earlier this year, Danielle became the inaugural recipient of the University of Lethbridge's Young Alumnus Achievement Award. The Young Alumnus Achievement Award Recognizes the significant contributions made by University of Lethbridge alumni aged 35 years or younger.
Danielle loves to engage the community through working at SAAG and feels that the gallery it truly is at the heart of the heart of our city, and a community gathering space and hub of activity.
Whether it be meeting one-on-one with donors, hosting a social function, getting to know a visiting artist, working with corporate partners and local business owners, or engaging with our liaisons at the City of Lethbridge, she values all of the relationships that she has been able to create in her time at SAAG.
For nearly a decade of dedication to the arts in Lethbridge, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Danielle Tait as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Jarred and Joel Kotkas
Jarred and Joel Kotkas are the owners of Lethbridge Fit Body Boot Camp, a fitness facility in Lethbridge devoted to helping their clients live a healthier life.
What sets both Jarred and Joel apart is their drive to impact and change the lives of people around them.
They have a deep desire to support individuals in bettering their fitness, their physical, mental, and emotional health, and ultimately their life while simultaneously living a life of purpose and passion.
Joel followed the "Canadian Dream", going university, earning a degree in Geophysics and working for an oil and gas company in Calgary while earning nearly 6 figures, as well as receiving some top notch bonuses.
Three years into his corporate journey, he realized that he was chasing a paycheque rather than chasing a dream and wanted to live a purposeful and passionate life
Joel received his Level 1 Precision Nutrition Coaching Certification and began coaching a few individuals before quickly transforming this personal one-on-one coaching into a successful nutritional program for Lethbridge Fit Body Boot Camp.
Following completion of his neuroscience degree, Jarred obtained a health coaching certification from the American Council of Exercise and a training certification from both Fit Body Boot Camp and the Functional Aging Institute.Although Jarred had always chased his dreams of helping people, he began on a similar path: following a "dream" he was not truly passionate about.
After 4 years at the University of Lethbridge, receiving an honours degree in Neuroscience, Jarred realized his pursuit of medicine/dentistry was not where his heart laid. He recognized flaws in the medical system and rather than diagnosing and prescribing, only after individuals became ill, Jarred wanted to apply his passion and knowledge of nutrition and fitness to preventing the onset of chronic disease.
Over the past 9 months, Jarred and Joel have supported over 793 individuals in Lethbridge in making a positive change in their lives, and coached over 350 full time clients at Lethbridge Fit Body Boot Camp to lose thousands of pounds, improve their fitness, and live a healthier life. They have raised over $5,000 and 1,500 food items for local charities and helped thousands of less fortunate individuals internationally. Their mission goes beyond the walls of their fitness facility and that it what they are most proud of.
Jarred and Joel engage the community by providing resources to individuals who otherwise cannot invest in their services. They regularly host free in-house seminars as well as live Facebook webinars. This allows them to reach out and educate anyone on the topics of nutrition, fitness, mental health, compassion, and overall well being.
Whether working directly with a client, broadcasting to the community through various social media platforms, or running a free informational seminar, the Kotkas brothers take pride in engaging the Lethbridge community in a positive way.
For their entrepreneurial risk taking, and dedication to helping members of our community better themselves physically, emotionally and mentally, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Jarred and Joel Kotkas as two of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Dr. Clayton Koganow
Dr. Clayton Koganow is a Naturopathic Doctor at Meridian Integrated Health and Wellness Centre.
From an early age Clayton had decided he wanted to become a general practitioner. He wanted to help people get better. He decided to go into Naturopathic Medicine as it allowed him to treat patients using both conventional and alternative medicine.
While attending the University of Lethbridge, Clayton conducted three years of research on radiation and cancer under Dr. Olga Kovalchuk. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science Kinesiology in 2007. While at the U of L, Clayton also cofounded the Kinesiology Student Society, where he served as Vice President.
He graduated from medical school at Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster B.C., and obtained extra training in IV, neural, prolo and chelation therapies.
During medical school, Clayton headed AIMS (Alternative Integrated Medical Society) at UBC which serves to progress integration between medical streams. He was involved in the interview selection process for 2 years as a third and fourth year student and was also awarded the Boucher Spirit Award upon graduation in recognition of clinical, academic and service excellence.
He enjoys family practice, and the integrated treatment of cancer as well as sports medicine, structural and physical medicine and pain management. Clayton also focuses on optimizing gastrointestinal wellness, hormone imbalances, immune and nervous system imbalances.
Clayton integrates conventional and alternative medicine daily. He works with medical doctors to help treat and diagnose very difficult cases, which often have been pushed off as untreatable.
Currently, Clayton enjoys sharing his knowledge as a guest lecturer. He has lectured at the West Coast College of Massage Therapy, Douglas College, Southern Alberta Institute of Massage Therapy, Lethbridge College Health Science Department and Massage Therapy Department, Lethbridge Senior Center and Lethbridge Running Room.
He also provides a free newsletter monthly, which focuses on providing knowledge about key health issues.
For his outstanding work in the field of naturopathic medicine, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Dr. Clayton Koganow as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Tyson Leavitt is the owner of Charmed Playhouses, a luxury playhouse manufacturer in Lethbridge featured on TLC's Playhouse Masters.
Tyson owned three landscape-related businesses, Aztec Masonry & Landscaping, Kwik Kerb By C.A. and Terra Soil & Aggregate, for ten years before he founded Charmed Playhouses. Tyson loves building play structures to suit the imaginations of his most fun clients, kids!
At Charmed Playhouses, Tyson has surrounded himself with creative people who all have a vision to excel and innovate with their products. Their work atmosphere is what sets them apart from most companies. Tyson wanted the workplace at Charmed to be fun, creative and unique.
Most of Tyson's education has come from running businesses. He has always loved business and has had a knack for marketing and sales.
He looks at securing season one on TLC as his biggest achievement in business.
Tyson's playhouses have attracted the attention of superstar clients, including Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry.
Tyson is a big fan and supporter of Make-A-Wish and has supplied them with a number of playhouses. Charmed is in discussions to complete all of their 'wish' playhouse requests in the USA and Canada.
Tyson won't shy away from any challenge and he strives to make each project as breathtaking for parents as it is for their kids. The only downside for him is saying goodbye to the build when it's completed.
For his incredible entrepreneurial success and the rapid growth of his company, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce & BDO are proud to recognize Tyson Leavitt as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
John Skierka is the President & CEO of Great Excavations Inc.
After working internationally in the aeronautics industry for nearly 10 years, John returned home in 2011.
While living in the Crowsnest Pass, John was able to reconnect with an old boss and mentor on a project involving amphibious equipment. As they built up the service side of the industry through Great Excavations Inc., he realized that innovation was key to successfully building up the sector.
After moving to Lethbridge he was able to start developing technologies to advance amphibious equipment in new and exciting ways, leading to the creation of Amphibious Equipment Solutions Inc.
John took aeronautical engineering technology at SAIT, and began his career at Cascade Aerospace in Abbotsford, BC, where he worked on all manner of aircraft on the technical side as a project engineer. He was asked to work internationally in airplane sales and started his first company, Skierka Technical Consulting, based out of Hong Kong.
Where SkierkaTech focused on the technical aspects of providing services in the areas of purchase, sale, leasing and repossession of aircraft, his next start-up, Aeroptions, was created to allow clients to manage and advertise their capabilities and capacity for all aspects of aeronautical work.
After returning to Alberta in 2011, John created Great Excavations Inc. and Amphibious Equipment Solutions Inc., and became involved Economic Development Lethbridge, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and tecconnect.
He credits the mentorship and support of these organizations with helping him develop ties with the National Research Council and Alberta Innovates, as he works to apply aeronautical engineering technologies to the amphibious equipment industry.
As Great Excavations has evolved, John has been able to take on contracts with major oil and gas companies.
Another big achievement is working through Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) to show that working with amphibious equipment is not only better for the environment, but is also faster and has a lower cost than using traditional equipment.
Like many entrepreneurs, John's focus is on getting the job done while also making it his own through investment in innovation. He feels that Lethbridge is one of the best places in the world to live, and wants to help make it even better.
As an entrepreneur, John's most important relationship is with the tecconnect community, which is helping him develop the skills and contacts necessary to grow the amphibious equipment industry.
Through teconnect and Economic Development Lethbridge he is making inroads while also showing the potential for this type of innovation in our community, as well as the wider economy.
John tries to stay involved through attending local business and political events. He does the same in Fort McMurray, which is his company's second home.
During the fires in Fort McMurray this year, Great Excavations' equipment was declared an essential service. That made John feel like his small Lethbridge company could make a real difference.
Knowing how hard-hit Fort McMurray was by the fire, he was also proud to support development of the song "Alberta Strong" by Curtis Butala, which is a fundraiser for the Red Cross. John's family has always been strong supporters of Red Cross programs. Curtis is his brother-in-law and an accomplished musician, and the song is available on iTunes with all proceeds going to support Red Cross disaster relief programs.
For his outstanding multi-time entrepreneurial success the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce & BDO are proud to recognize John Skierka as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Shannon Frank is the Executive Director of the Oldman Watershed Council a community-based, not-for-profit that works with everyone to find practical solutions to environmental challenges.
Shannon's work is focused around engaging the community to take action for the watershed, whether it is at home, at work or at play. We all depend on water and can all play a role in protecting it. Shannon feels that her best day is when someone tells her what they are doing for the watershed.
Shannon earned a Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in Environmental Science, from the University of Lethbridge in 2007.
Her professional career began in the fields of environmental education and community engagement for the Government of Alberta and City of Lethbridge where she learned a great deal about how important trusting relationships are and was inspired by the passion people have for the land and water. After nearly five years of front line community engagement and education work, she had the opportunity to become a manager.
Shannon has been Executive Director of the Oldman Watershed Council for over five years. She believes that the strong work ethic taught to her by her mother and growing up in the wilderness where she had the opportunity to develop a love for nature has shaped her the most.
She is most proud of her achievements as Executive Director of the Oldman Watershed Council because of the blood, sweat and tears that she has put into the organization.
Since she became ED Shannon has more than doubled OWC revenue and added three full-time employees to the staff which has enabled them to have a much larger impact for residents of Southwest Alberta who depend on the Oldman watershed for their water supply and economy.
She is also proud to have established The Hub in downtown Lethbridge in 2016 as a collaborative space for environmental events, information sharing and community engagement. She also helped create Environment Lethbridge as a coalition of community partners. As a member of the Steering Committee she lead the creation of EL's Strategic Plan and the hiring process for its first staff member.
As Executive Director of OWC Shannon works for our community every day. She has been a long-time volunteer first at the University of Lethbridge and Oldman Watershed Council and more recently with the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and Environment Lethbridge.
For her longtime service to the environment in Southwest Alberta and dedication to environmental education and community engagement, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce & BDO are proud to recognize Shannon Frank as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Matt Gillin is the owner of Candie Co Clothing, a clothing brand based in Lethbridge.
In nine years, Matt has grown Candie Co from selling t-shirts out of his locker as a 16-year-old high school student, to a marketing and merchandising company operating out of a 1,200 square foot office space in a vibrant area of Lethbridge.
Matt has been able to successfully expand his company from selling t-shirts to competing in an industry where the market usually is dominated by companies more than twice his size. He has a keen understanding of what product he can supply to meet public demand and always strives to meet customer's and the community's needs.
Born and raised in Lethbridge, Matt's entrepreneurial dream was born at Winston Churchill High School. After high school, while still operating Candie Co, Matt attended Lethbridge College where he earned a diploma in Marketing. While in college, Matt was awarded the Spitz Entrepreneurial Award.
Matt has recruited a team of BMX and MTB riders who participate in community events like Canada Day at Henderson Lake, the Whoop Up Days Parade and West Fest. They perform bike demos and show off their skills to entertain the community.
Because of the community's strong backing of Candie Co, Matt has always focused on giving back. He has traveled to various schools around Lethbridge, volunteering to give talks and fostering entrepreneurial spirit from a young age.
Matt was recently selected as a judge for a mini Dragon's Den activity at Wilson Middle School. One of his favorite parts of his job is going out into the community, and possibly having the chance to inspire a child the way he was when he was 16.
For his grassroots entrepreneurial success and continued growth, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Matt Gillin as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Kevin Kranzler is a Financial & Employee Benefits Advisor with Kesler & Associates Inc.
Kevin started his career as an Investment & Insurance Advisor when he was just 23. Nine years later he has established himself as one of the major players within the financial advisory practice in Lethbridge. He attributes his success to three things: hard work, commitment, and passion.
Kevin feels that having people trust him with their finances is a huge accomplishment and a great feeling to have. A by-product of this trust is how much he becomes involved in clients personal lives. He hears about all of the pregnancies, relationships, vacations, drama, births and deaths and he values that relationship.
A University of Lethbridge graduate, Kevin earned a Bachelor of Management Degree in Finance in April 2007.
He has also earned Canadian Securities Course, Life License Qualification Program, Alberta Insurance Council - Full Life & Accident and Sickness, and Mutual Fund Branch Manager Course certifications.
Kevin sees himself as an entrepreneur at heart. At 10 years old, he paid a friend an ice cream cone per day to help with his paper route because he was on rollerblades and could do it quickly, giving them more time to play.
Kevin was born and raised in Lethbridge and loves the city. He strives to be community minded and help to build the local economy, working with local businesses through organizations such as BNI. He has also served as a youth soccer coach.
For his tireless dedication to his clients and excellence in his field, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Kevin Kranzler as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Angela Zuba is the Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Home Builders Association Lethbridge.
Angela is fiercely dedicated to enhancing a business' success and using that success to help better the community.
Over the last 15 years she has worked with all types of business: Charities, Associations and for profit business. Each type of organization has had unique challenges related to the individual business type. Understanding client needs is critical. In her current role as CEO for the CHBA the organization's needs are education and business solutions for members. Angela does her best to learn their business and find out what they need so that she can deliver it; even if it means going on site, regardless of the weather, to understand the building code or to support an initiative.
Angela is a life-long student; both academically and in life. She believes that a person never stops learning and whatever situation you find yourself in you should pursue knowledge to make you better. She has earned a diploma in freelance photography and certificates in situational leadership, mergers and amalgamations and technical rehabilitation.
Currently, Angela is a member of the Canadian Society of Association Executives and close to completing a degree in business management that will further enhance her skills as a CEO.
Angela has achieved the national CHBA membership retention awards two years in a row, despite economic hurdles in the province and has been an active member of the national CEO Council for CHBA. She has also been facilitating a 5-year project where CHBA members are building 10 homes and donating $1 million to the Lethbridge College Trades & Technology Facility.
Angela believes strongly in developing her employees wherever she can. She works to teah others so that they can reach their potential as fast as possible. She finds empowerment, autonomy and seeing them become more successful to be truly enriching.
Angela engages the community through her work as the CEO of CHBA in a number of ways. Building great communities is about so much more than houses, it is about creating an environment of safety and comfort. She is passionate about improving the lives of others and utilizes her position to help make that happen.
CHBA fosters programs that help girls and women at risk learn necessary life skills; everything from changing door locks to preparing will's and how to save money for the future. They engage and connect high school students with successful entrepreneurs in the Association so that they have a broader knowledge of available career options.
Through efficient business planning, Angela has been able to expand CHBA's scholarship fund for struggling and deserving apprentices. In addition to these things she believes passionately that in order for our City to thrive and for the home building industry to remain a leader they have to be engaged and collaborative.
Because of this belief she participates in the Community Design Committee of City Council, the Efficient Land Use Strategy Committee with the City of Lethbridge, the Chamber of Commerce Advisory Council and aside from formal committees, she has formed partnerships with Careers the Next Generation, Lethbridge College, both the public and Catholic school districts and the YWCA.
For her dedication to our community and proven excellence in business development The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Angela Zuba as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Scott McGregor is the Program Director, Music Director and Afternoon Show Host on 98.1 The Bridge, a local and independently owned company playing a mix of music on the radio that isn't heard anywhere else.
In September of 2014, Scott, along with Clear Sky Radio's Paul Larsen, launched 98.1 The Bridge as Canada's first "Modern Music" radio station.
Under Scott's leadership, 98.1 The Bridge has been the first radio station in Canada to play artists like X-Ambassadors, Kaleo and Bishop Briggs in addition to many Lethbridge artists such as The Silkstones, Grey Area and Leeroy Stagger.
Where the majority of music programmers across Canada and The United States stick to the artists that the major record labels are trying to push, Scott is willing to go out on a limb for many local, national or international artists. That's the way radio used to be programmed and Scott is proud to be leading the charge in getting radio back to its roots.
Radio was made to be localized and as a broadcaster Scott feels that it is his duty to reach out to local non-profit organizations to help promote community events that Lethbridge constantly has to offer. Scott also lends his time to host community events, including co-hosting this year's Whoop-Up Days Parade.
Scott earned his diploma in Radio Broadcasting from Loyalist College in 2002. Since then, he has been in radio with on-air and producer roles across Canada. He first arrived in Lethbridge in 2004 and throughout those 12 years has found himself getting jobs in bigger and smaller cities - including Chatham, Ontario, Victoria, BC, Brockville Ontario - but always seems to come back.
Living in all these different cities throughout his career has given him a perspective on how things are done elsewhere but also gives him confidence that Lethbridge is the place for he and his family.
In May 2016, Scott won Small Market Music Director of the Year at the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards.
For his innovation and excellence in radio programming and dedication to our local community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Scott McGregor as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty!
Chris Broughton is Manager of Human Resources & Safety for the Alberta, a manufacturing company specializing in storage and handling products to serve the Agricultural, Industrial and Oil & Gas industries.
Chris is a dedicated professional in Human Resources, who, when taking part of a project, being a part of a committee, or reviewing business challenges, looks for the chance to make a difference and further develop his discipline.
He tries to find new ways to integrate the Human Resources profession with Information Technology by leveraging technology to automate the administrative tasks that take up time and allow HR professionals to focus on a more strategic focus.
One of the reasons Chris chose Human Resources as a profession was because it provided him the ability to help others reach their potential.
Chris graduated from Lethbridge College with a Diploma in Business Administration and subsequently earned his Bachelors of Management degree from the University of Lethbridge with a major in Human Resources & Labour Relations.
He feels that his experience at both of these institutions helped shape him in both professionally and personally. The small class sizes and personal attention from the professors had a great impact and helped him to understand the potential of being able to help others in a similar fashion.
The opportunities at these schools provided him with the ability to take on several extracurricular activities and be a part of something bigger than himself.
As Chairman of the Students for Tobacco Reduction, President of the Management Students' Society, or JDC West Business Case competitor, Chris learned and developed.
After graduating from U of L, Chris went to work with Precon Manufacturing, a local business which provided him with the opportunity to learn and grow as a professional. His time with Precon afforded Chris with the opportunity to gain experience in many different facets of the business. During his tenure at Precon, Chris was responsible for establishing the entire HR department and process.
In 2013 Chris received his Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation, followed by a Senior Human Resources Professional (SHRP) designation in 2016. These are designations awarded to individuals who possess the necessary knowledge of HR principles as well as demonstrated professional experience in this field.
Chris served as Chair of the National Policy Review Committee for the WGI Westman Group and is currently an active member of the Human Resources Institute of Alberta, having served on the chapter advisory committee in the past and currently as member of the awards selection committee.
He is dedicated to helping to develop the Human Resources profession through participation in industry events, mentorship programs, professional association membership, speaking opportunities, and reaching out to new members of the HR community and introduce them to the larger network.
For excellence in the Human Resources field, and his dedication to help others within his field, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Chris Broughton as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty!
Jenelle Wensley is the owner of IdealFilmCreations, a video production company that works with clients of all sizes whether they are hoping to promote their business or remember their wedding.
Janelle believes that her passion for her craft, combined with dedication to ensure her clients satisfaction, sets her apart from others in her field.
Her attention to detail, focus and creativity allows her to take a client's ideas and vision and shape it into an expose of their business, event or wedding. Her positive and infectious personality brings a confident energy to the room that engages the client in the process to allow for the best product.
In 2010, Janelle earned a diploma in Multi-Media Production from Lethbridge College. Following her diploma, she completed the one-year New Media program at University of Lethbridge and earned her Motion Picture Arts degree from Red Deer College.
Growing up, Janelle was always fascinated with video. Combined with being raised in a household where both of her parents successfully ran their own business, this set Janelle on the entrepreneurial path to start IdealFilmCreations.
While studying at Red Deer College, Janelle worked on the short film Under the Acorn Tree. The film went on to win the People's Choice and Best Dramatic Short at the Edmonton Short Film Festival, and Best Short Film at the Maob International Film Festival.
Janelle was also awarded the MS Society of Canada Alberta & Northwest Territories Division Communications Award for a video that she created for the MS Scoiety of Lethbridge.
Janelle is always looking for opportunities to engage in the community. She is active in Business Networking International which supports local businesses throughout Lethbridge.
Recently, Janelle co-founded Chinook Media, a new media and marketing organization with a modern team and ideas.
For her award-winning work and entrepreneurial spirit, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Janelle Wensley as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
David Cocks is one of three Principal Architects at FWBA Architects, the oldest continuing architectural practice in Western Canada.
David is set apart by his passion for his profession that allows him to engage with the public and create spaces and environments that have a lasting impact on our community for people to enjoy.
In 2001, David earned a diploma in Design and Drafting Technology from Lethbridge College and shortly after began his career with FWBA Architects.
While working at FWBA, he studied Art History at University of Lethbridge. He continued his studies at Dalhousie University and completed a Bachelor of Environmental and Design Studies before earning a Master of Architecture in 2010.
Throughout his studies, David continued to be connected to Lethbridge and FWBA. This connection allowed him to return to FWBA Architects to continue his career.
Over the course of his career, David has received awards such as the Structural Steel Education Foundation Architecture Scholarship for Excellence in Steel Design, the Bruce and Dorothy Rosetti Scholarship for Travel and Research and an AACIP Book Prize.
One professional achievement that he is most proud of is becoming a Principal Architect with FWBA. He is thankful to all of the partners and staff at FWBA who supported him during his career and education, allowing him to excel in his profession.
David currently serves as a Board Member and is Past President of SAAG. He also serves as the Chair of the Lethbridge College Alumni Advisory Council Member.
For excellence in his profession and work within our community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize David Cocks as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Kasha Thurston is a Marketing Coordinator at Lethbridge College, where she takes an idea and mobilizes it into a real world marketing campaign. Working in a creative field like marketing she brings a sense of structure, project management principles and consistency to allow the artists around her to perform at their best and meet the goals of clients.
Kasha attended the University of Lethbridge and graduated with great distinction in 2011 having earned her Bachelor of Management degree with a Major in Marketing, Minor in Social Responsibility. In 2014, she earned a Project Management Extension Certificate from Mount Royal University Continuing Education. Through her time she completed a publicist internship at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, co-organized the 5 Days for the Homeless fundraiser, participated in the Integrate Management Experience and act as a JDC volunteer coordinator.
Within her career she has been able to take on and execute large-scale events and marketing initiatives at Lethbridge College. Kasha served as the lead marketing specialist on the Possibilities Are Endless capital campaign. She led the marketing efforts for the 2012 BMO Womens Basketball National Championship and supported the Kodiaks athletics team’s marketing efforts. Kasha was also the project lead on the college’s Extreme Career Makeover contest in 2015 and 2016.
Every day, Kasha works with talented photographers, videographers, copy-writers and graphic designers to create marketing initiatives. She truly believes that art and business can combine in amazing ways and that is why she loves marketing.
During her time at Lethbridge College she has positively influenced enrollment rates, advertising standard and the ongoing capital campaign.
Working through Lethbridge College has given Kasha the opportunity to work with organizations such as Canadian Blood Services to promote their cause through the College blood drive.
Kasha is also a Group Fitness Instructor at GoodLife Fitness and is a strong advocate for health and wellness. What began as a part-time job during university has lead nearly 10 years of group fitness instruction and various class certifications.
For excellence in the Marketing profession and her dedication to helping Lethbridge College grow and improving our community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Kasha Thurston as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty.
Shelly Kanyo is the Founder and Designer of Shelly Kanyo Studio that has held The Lethbridge Fashion Weekend (LFW) annually since 2007.
Her event features the work of local designers, models, hair and make-up artists, photographers, DJ's, artists, stylish new venues and local businesses.
The initiative for the LFW is to build and support the fashion industry in Lethbridge, as well as bring a sense of style and community to the already thriving arts scene in Southern Alberta.
Her goal with the LFW was to create a platform for established and emerging designers in order to present their collections to the public.
Under Shelly Kanyo Studio, Shelly designs her own fashion collections. Last October Shelly collaborated with the Showcase of Women In Business. She also works as an Interior Designer and refinishes furniture and interiors.
In Lethbridge she has done great work at the Classique Dancewear, Nicholai Home Fashion and Bad Apple Salon.
Shelly attended the Lethbridge College and graduated from the Interior Designer program as well as the Fashion Design & Merchandising program.
After earning some experience, and some dollars, Shelly went back to school to study Art History at The University of Lethbridge.
Through her time in school Shelly was an excellent student. She completed two internships in Design (one in NYC and one in Atlanta) and won an international design competition. These achievements in her life made her more confident in her design ability and encouraged her to start the Lethbridge Fashion Weekend.
Within her career, Shelly worked as a luxury Kitchen Designer in Calgary and taught for about four years at Lethbridge College.
Her work as a stylist, designer, upholsterer, painter and market vendor is all community-based. She supports local events by attending or volunteering and get involved with local markets.
Shelly often helps models and photographers to grow their own careers by styling photo shoots and trying to connect people in Lethbridge. Shelly defines the LFW as a community-based volunteer event and acknowledges that without the support and inclusion of the community members the event would not exist.
For excellence in the Design profession and her dedication to get involved in the Lethbridge Community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Shelly Kanyo as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Jessica Joss is a Financial Advisor at Laurie, Kenna & Associates. Jessica is a courageous business woman that left her traditional accounting role to become a financial advisor. She has been able to build a successful practice, become an active member of our community and achieve her professional as personal goals.
After only two years in the business, Jessica achieved industry recognition with membership to the Million Dollar Round Table in 2016. She has been recognized for her leadership skills by chairing committees of the YWCA and now Co-Chairs the Board. She has also been recognized for her public speaking abilities by co-hosting the Women of Distinction Awards in 2015 and 2016. Her goal is to improve the lives of women of all ages, religions, races, and life circumstance.
Jessica is actively engaged with the community and she acknowledges its importance as Jessica said "the community makes me awesome!"
Jessica feels lucky to have grown up in a small town where the community influences, encourages, directs, and keeps her focused on her goal. Together with her clients, she creates strategies, and takes actions toward their goals in order to achieve them in the most efficient way possible.
Her technical background as an accountant gives her the ability to work closely with their other business advisors to make things as seamless as possible from a client perspective. Jessica's engagement with the community can be summed up in one of her favorite quotes: "Lift as you climb" by Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard.
She believes that she has a responsibility to improve the world around her by giving back. Her love for the community comes from her grandfathers that were both town councillors. She gives back to the community by focusing on listening, giving to others, collaboration, mentoring, fostering relationships, commitment to learning, commitment to teaching, and an overall positive attitude. She also participates in many events and fundraisers around town from Chamber events, to golf tournaments, auctions, and the local arts.
Before being a successful business women Jessica was a successful student. She attended the University of Lethbridge and graduated from the Management program in Accounting with Distinction. After getting her Bachelor she moved to Calgary where she articled to get her Chartered Accountant Designation. Jessica did not stop there and after receiving her designation in 2006, she moved to the US and obtained her Certified Professional Accountant (CPA - Illinois) designation. She also licensed with the Mutual Funds Dealers Association, and Alberta Insurance Council.
Jessica's greatest role model, personally and professionally, is her grandmother. She considers her as the hardest worker she has known, a lifelong learner, and gives back to her community at the age of 92!
For excellence in the financial profession and her dedication to helping the community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Jessica Joss as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Jess Fehr is the Fund Development Coordinator for the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, a not-for-profit contemporary art gallery located in the heart of downtown Lethbridge. During her 4 years at SAAG, Jess has excelled in numerous positions, including Volunteer Manager and Events and Facility Coordinator, before taking on her current role in Fund Development.
Before embarking on her career in the arts, Jess was fiercely dedicated to local athletics. While completing her diploma in General Studies at Lethbridge College in 2005, she competed with the Women's Kodiaks Volleyball team. She later went on to coach with the Lethbridge Volleyball Club for 7 years and Volleyball Alberta's High Performance Summer Camps in Sylvan Lake, Jasper and Canmore for 4 years. Jess continues to play volleyball once a week with the Lethbridge Co-Ed Volleyball League for the Court Devilz.
After graduating from the University of Lethbridge in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts, Jess had the opportunity to travel the world. From Asia, to Europe, to the year she spent in Melbourne, Australia, Jess has met people from all walks of life and has experienced a variety of beautiful cultures. Upon her return to Canada, she funneled her passion for people, art and community into a career that celebrates Lethbridge's creativity and diversity, both locally and internationally, and allows her to give back to the place she's proud to call home.
In 2016, coinciding with the gallery's 40th anniversary, Jess and her team launched the Live Art. Love SAAG. campaign. This was SAAG's first campaign of this scale, with a goal to raise $1 million by 2019. So far, just one year in, the gallery has raised over $500,000, half of their 3-year goal. Also in 2016, Jess organized the 5th annual Art and Culture Tour and this past May, she toured 10 Lethbridge residents to Madrid and Barcelona, Spain to experience some of the greatest art in the world.
Jess continues to be involved in our community and has served as Director of Culture for the Alberta 55 Plus winter games where she helped execute the Opening and Closing ceremonies, as well as the entertainment and cultural activities throughout the weekend. She was the Vice President of the Young Professionals of Lethbridge which holds networking events once a month to create a strong and powerful group of young professionals in our community. She is a member of the local Association of Fundraising Professionals and is the co-chair of the 2017 National Philanthropy Day Awards.
For her dedication to arts, culture and athletics in our community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Jess Fehr as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Ryan, Jason and Scott Sailer
Ryan, Jason and Scott Sailer are the three brother management team at Southland Trailer Corp, one of the largest manufacturers of industrial trailers in the country, and the largest in Western Canada.
Southland Trailer Corp. was founded by the trio's father in 1980 at 21 years old as Southland Welding Ltd, producing produced R.V. chassis and trailer frames.
Today, Ryan serves as the General Manager and has been with Southland since he was 14 years old, working summers in the yard and office doing whatever needed to be done, learning as many jobs as possible and working his way up.
Photo courtesy of ey.com
Ryan earned his Bachelor of Management in accounting from the University of Lethbridge, and served as part of the initial Project Team for Lean Manufacturing at Southland, which won an Alberta Manufacturing award.
Jason has been with Southland since 2004, and today is the Purchasing Manager, in charge of the entire inventory. He oversees every part that comes into the plant, as well as every trailer shipped.
Scott is the Operations Manager. The youngest of the three brothers, Scott joined Southland in 2012. Before joining the Lethbridge office, Scott supervised the Kelowna dealership for two years.
Photo courtesy of ey.com
The brothers believe in their people and in allowing them to be engaged by giving them the tools to develop and succeed within the company. Everything that Southland does is with four core values in mind:
- Be Positive, Lead with humility and respect every individual
- Open Communication
- Hard work with Continuous Improvement
- Calculated/Strategic Risk Taking
Southland Trailer Corp. believes in investing in their employees. They pay for welders to get their journeyman ticket, and encourage all employees to upgrade their skills.
As of today, Southland employs 175 people in an 80.000 sq. ft. facility and manufactures 4 different product lines under four different brand names: Renn, Southland Trailers, Royal Cargo, and Spectrum Series.
Photo courtesy of ey.com
The trio has been recognized several times throughout the years. In 2011, Ryan won the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Southland Trailer Corp. took home the Innovation & Advancement Award at the 2016 Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award, for advancements made to their production process. The brothers were also finalists for the 2016 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
For the outstanding work that they have done in expanding their family business, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Ryan, Jason and Scott Sailer as three of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Rob Gunderson is Owner, General Manager & Certified Personal Trainer at #Perfectfit4u, an online-based Nutrition and Training company, which he founded in 2014 alongside his fiancée, and fellow Top 40 Under Forty winner, Ashlyn Merriman.
Rob is dedicated to going above and beyond for his clients whether it is answering to a text at 11 p.m. on a Sunday night or meeting at the office at 6 a.m. Rob loves to help his clients overcome the obstacles that are obstructing them, whether it be building confidence in a gym setting, designing and altering their daily nutrition regiment or motivating clients to get out of bed and be awesome. He takes pride in their progress and the process that he undergoes to build the Perfect-fit-4-YOU lifestyle for individuals focusing on Health, Happiness and Balance.
In 2014, Rob graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he attended on a full-ride scholarship for hockey. While at UAA, Rob won the Kelly Cup as goalie with the ECHL Alaska Aces.
Rob is also a certified Canadian Fitness Professional (CanFitPro) and ISSA Nutrition Specialist. His degree and certifications have helped tremendously with the interaction and understanding of clients' concerns.
#Perfectfit4U is a two-time Lethbridge Sun Times Best of the Best award winner, winning "Fitness Facility" and "Nutrition Centre" of the Year in 2015 and 2016. The company also won the 2016 Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Customer Service Award.
#Perfectfit4U hosts Transformation Challenges which bring many individuals with similar goals and interests throughout the community together to support one another in attain these goals (weight-loss, confidence, nutrition/training knowledge, etc.). Rob has also visited Catholic Central, FLVT, LCI and Chinook High School for school nutrition and training lectures where he presents to classes on proper exercising and nutrition facts.
For excellence in the fitness industry, and promotion of healthy lifestyles in our city, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Rob Gunderson as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty
Roy Pogorzelski is the Inclusion Consultant with the City of Lethbridge and, alongside his brother John, runs Pogo Bros Inc., an Aboriginal based small business that provides entertainment, event planning, fundraising and support to Urban Aboriginal events and agencies.
Roy is Metis from Saskatchewan and was raised in a traditional family with Indigenous values. He takes every opportunity to dance a Red River Jig in the community. He has been asked to dance at major events, conferences, for community agencies, overseas, at national parks and as entertainment.
Roy has always volunteered himself to perform the cultural dance as it is important for him to continue to educate and raise awareness about Metis people in Canada. Volunteerism is an intricate part of Roy's life. He believes in giving back to the community not only fiscally, but lending a hand to assist with a number of community events.
His career is an absolute passion for Roy. Working in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is a dream come true because it has given him the opportunity to grow from advocating for Indigenous rights to Human Rights in general.
It has been his passion that has driven his work as a Municipal employee, a small business owner and an instructor.
Roy's goal has always been to act as a role model to Aboriginal youth (Metis, Inuit and First Nations), to demonstrate that anything is possible and that rich Aboriginal cultures are something to be celebrated and proud of.
Roy earned his Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies with distinction, and a Bachelor of Human Justice from the University of Regina in 2006. Afterward, he was selected for an internship in Vienna, Austria to work at the University of Vienna as a research assistant in the legal anthropology department.
In 2008, Roy returned to Europe and in 2009 graduated cum laude with an Advanced Master of Science in Cultures and Development Studies from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.
Upon graduation, he was offered a job in Lethbridge for the Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge as the Diversity Support Coordinator. This was his first time being in Treaty 7 Blackfoot territory. Afterward, Roy continued in academia by taking on the position of sessional instructor at the University of Regina's First Nations University of Canada, in the faculty of Indigenous studies for a year. During this time he facilitated an International Human/Indigenous rights workshop to students from Italy, Switzerland, Romania, Bulgaria, Sweden, Norway and Finland as part of a program through INCOMINDIOS in Geneva, Switzerland.
Roy has remained very involved in academia and sits on the U of L Senate. He is the Chair of the U of L Student's Union and a sessional instructor on Canadian Culture & Management to international students at the U of L. For the past three years he has taught an ESL program at the Lethbridge College to junior high youth from Japan. These educational experiences and opportunities in both Canada and Europe have allowed Roy to explore 28 countries.
Roy believes that it is important that we strive to ensure that all citizens have the ability to participate in our community regardless of their background, culture, way of life, socioeconomic status, ability or gender. He works hard to ensure that we recognize all people as valuable assets that can contribute to building and maintaining a community that is welcoming, inclusive, secure and accessible.
His Indigenous upbringing contributed to a continuous education in social justice and being a voice for those that are currently without a voice in our community.
In 2013, Roy and his brother John started Pogo Bros Inc. as an entertainment, event planning and fundraising small business. Currently, they operate the Oktoberfest YQL, Downtown History and Beer Tour, the Zoolanderesque Walkoff, LACL Rock, Paper, Scissor Tournament and assist with fundraising efforts for many agencies in the community.
Pogo Bros Inc. won the Best Festival of the Year at the Best of the Southwest Service & Tourism Awards last year for Oktoberfest YQL and in December Roy was honoured with a Human Rights Champion Award from the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights in Edmonton. In 2014 Roy was recognized at the STARS of Alberta volunteer awards.
Roy joined the national City for All Women Initiative as a representative from Lethbridge and along with Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Strathmore, P.E.I created the National Equity and Inclusion Guide for Municipalities. He was a co-creator behind the PANGAEA Diversity Cafes that have been running since 2010.
He has consulted on the national Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism & Discrimination (CMARD) initiative in a number of other provincial municipalities and has become a leader in equity and inclusion work provincially. He has also consulted for businesses, non-profits and on reserve when it came to discussing inclusion and human rights.
Roy has been published twice in the Canadian Diversity Journal, including for the 10th Anniversary of the CMARD initiative. He also co-created UNITAS by engaging ethno cultural groups in the community and hosting an event every month, which lead to the creation of Black History month festivities, Aboriginal awareness festivities, and more.
Roy engages the community through collaborating on many festivals and fundraising events. Currently, he sits on the Vibrant Lethbridge Committee which works on poverty reduction. He was the co-chair of the Aboriginal Opportunities Committee of the Lethbridge Chamber.
Through his role as the Inclusion Consultant with the City of Lethbridge, he also sits on the Provincial Hate Crimes Committee.
In his spare time, he serves as the Public Relations Director for the Rotary Dragon Boat Festival. He also serves as a community member on the Urban Aboriginal Interagency Committee and sits as a planning member for the international day for persons with disabilities. For many years, Roy has supported the Sister's in Spirit Missing & Murdered Candle Light Vigil.
For his outstanding work in human rights and efforts to make Lethbridge a stronger, more inclusive community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Roy Pogorzelski as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Eva Leblanc is a science teacher at Chinook High School in Lethbridge. A self-proclaimed "Science Nerd", Eva enjoys sharing her love of science with her students every day.
Eva is homegrown from Lethbridge, graduating from Catholic Central High School before moving on to the University of Lethbridge to complete her B.Sc. in Biology. In 2013, Eva earned her B.Ed. in Science Education from the UofL as well.
In her career as a teacher, she constantly seeks out professional development opportunities to become a more innovative educator and provide her students with the best possible experience in the classroom. One of her favourite experiences was working with Telus Spark in Calgary for a week in the summer of 2014, where she was able to develop a wide repertoire of innovative ideas, and new ways to think about learning.
Outside of a formal setting, Eva takes pride in learning through every experience and opportunity that comes her way. She learns in her classroom alongside her students; she learns every time she finds a new organization to volunteer for; she learns when life gives her challenges to face.
Eva feels fortunate to have helped shape the lives of hundreds of students that entered her classroom. She has taught eight of the 12 curricular science courses across grades 9-12, along with locally developed science options for grade 9, and the University Extension course for grades 10-12.
Her students learn about science and the world around them through labs, projects, activities, and classwork, with as much room for choice and thought as possible.
Eva has worked as a Learning Support Teacher, helping students one-on-one with coursework, study skills, learning styles, and more. Working outside of her traditional classroom for one or two periods a day showed her that there are many different approaches to teaching and learning.
Because of the positive relationships that she builds with her students, Eva was asked to fill in as a Teacher Counsellor for seven weeks during her second full year of teaching. This experienced challenged her, but allowed her to connect with students on a deeper level, and support them through some tough life moments.
Eva's parents emigrated from Poland to Canada just before she was born. From a young age, they instilled in her the importance of developing community, and that one of the best ways she could do this was through helping others. Whether it was collecting cans of food or knitting blanket squares as a Girl Guides of Canada member, canvassing door-to-door with her parents for the MS Society and the Canadian Diabetes Association, or walking dogs and cleaning cages at the Humane Society, Eva was so deeply impacted by these simple acts that she started to seek out more opportunities wherever possible.
Eva is still a hard-working volunteer. She has been an active Rotarian for several years and has held the positions of Vice President, President, and Foundation Committee Chair. At Christmas, Eva wraps gifts with the Chinook Interact Club at Lethbridge Family Services for their Angel Tree campaign and stuffs food hampers at the Lethbridge Food Bank. During the spring, she focuses her efforts within Chinook High School, working with the Robotics Club, and coaching Badminton. In the summer, those coaching skills translate onto the waters of Henderson Lake leading up to the ATB Financial Lethbridge Rotary Dragonboat Festival.
Eva also volunteers with the Lost Soul Ultra through Runner's Soul, supervises kids at the Pumpkin Festival supporting the Children's Wish Foundation and participates in the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
When Eva is not teaching or volunteering, you will find her living the fullest life that she can - climbing mountains, running, practicing yoga, singing, dancing, and learning about all things science.
For her dedicated volunteer work, and the passion with which she helps to mold the next generation, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Eva Leblanc as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Nicole Barnett is a Chartered Accountant at Burton & Co. Chartered Accountants, a Lethbridge accounting firm that offers a wide range of services, personally tailored to individuals and business clients.
Nicole's job is so much more than sitting at a desk punching numbers on a calculator. She gets to help people fulfill their dreams! Nicole's favourite part of her job is helping people who are just starting a business get started on the right foot and then being able to advise and watch them along the way as they grow and become profitable, successful businesses.
Nicole grew up in Bow Island, and moved to Lethbridge to attend post-secondary school.
In 2006, Nicole graduated from Lethbridge College with a Business Administration diploma in accounting. She then went on to earn a Bachelor of Management degree with a major in accounting from the University of Lethbridge in 2008. During her time at the UofL, Nicole worked part time as an accounting technician.
After university, Nicole earned her Chartered Accountant designation in 2014 through the Chartered Accountant School of Business.
Juggling a family with two children, work, and school was difficult, but Nicole credits the support of her husband and other family members in helping her get to where she is today.
Nicole was instrumental in starting Success Chain, a business networking group made up of entrepreneurs, professionals, sales people, and managers that meet for lunch on a weekly basis with the purpose of helping each other grow their businesses. She has made many connections through this networking group that have helped Nicole to better service her clients because she can point them to people who can help solve their problems.
Nicole has had the pleasure of coaching Little League T-Ball. She has also served as President of Land O Lakes Ladies Golf League, President and Treasurer of Lethbridge Montessori Society, and as a member of the Lethbridge Kinette Club.
For her outstanding work in the accounting field, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Nicole Barnett as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Matt Calnan is the Operations Director at Avison Young Lethbridge.
Matt believes that he has a different approach than most to business. He is a firm believer in open book management - the belief and practice that the more information your employees know, the more empowered that they will be in their jobs. By trusting those around you, and allowing them to make mistakes to broaden their knowledge, the overall team will have far greater success than individuals who are just a cog in a machine.
In both business and in life, Matt believes in four fundamental keys to success: hard work, passion, trust in others, and the brains to make sure you're surrounded by smart individuals. He always tries to be the hardest working person in the organization, and go into business in areas where he has a passion. He trusts the individuals around him, and always tries to build a team with people who are smarter than he is.
Born and raised in Lethbridge, Matt attended Lethbridge Collegiate Institute before enrolling in the Faculty of Management at the University of Lethbridge, with a major in Accounting.
After earning his Bachelor of Management degree, Matt went on to earn a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation, and subsequently a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.
While attending the UofL, Matt took a co-op position for the Business Development Bank of Canada in their consulting department. The position with BDC is what made Matt fall in love with business and business development. He knew at that point that he would finish his accounting degree to understand the language of business, but that his true passion was entrepreneurism and business development.
After University, Matt was hired to work in the accounting department at Haul-All Equipment. He was promoted to the financial controller (head of accounting) one year after joining the company. The experience that he was able to gain over the next two and a half years working in that role was invaluable.
Entering into the role of financial controller at a young age, Matt had to learn a lot of things in a short period of time, taking care of the financial position of a company with 130 employees. It took many early mornings and late nights to finally get a grasp on things - learning cash flow management, control systems, receivables collection, payroll processing, and so much more. In that time, Matt was able to grow a lot as a person and as a professional.
In the Spring of 2015, Matt began his dream job working in business development for Avison Young. His position allows him to be an entrepreneur while helping a successful local firm grow and diversify across several business lines.
Matt has strong roots in Lethbridge. He has been involved with the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce for a number of years, and for the 2015 calendar year, sat on the Board of Directors for the Lethbridge Conservative Association and participated in both the Finance committee and the Fundraising Committee.
While attending UofL, Matt was co-founder, and served as VP - Finance, of the University of Lethbridge Accounting Club.
Matt is a proud University of Lethbridge graduate and has had the opportunity to do a lot of volunteer work with the Faculty of Management. For three years he co-instructed a case competition preparation class which helped students prepare for the JDC West case competition. He has also acted as a volunteer coach for the JDC case competition and other local case competitions.
For excellence in the accounting and entrepreneurial fields, his rapid rise in business and continuing desire to give back, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Matt Calnan as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Rodrigo Esparza is the General Manager and a Partner at Ashcroft Homes, a home builder in Lethbridge rated as Alberta's Builder of the Year for three consecutive years.
Rodrigo is a risk taker. He likes to try new designs and new ideas. Rodrigo focuses on growing Ashcroft's business within the community. He has helped the company to build a recognized brand in Southern Alberta, and feels that their homes and clients speak for themselves.
Rodrigo completed a Bachelor in Management at Universidad Panamericana, ranked as a Top 3 Private University in Mexico, in 2004. Afterward, he moved to Barcelona, Spain where he earned an MBA Executive from Universitat de Barcelona in 2006.
Immediately after completing his master's degree, Rodrigo moved back to Mexico where he started working for Pepsi in several roles such as Sales, Negotiator and as Sales Manager. At the same time he applied for his Permanent Resident in Canada, which was accepted in 2008.
That year he moved to Montreal where he took a Global Management Diploma at McGill University. Afterward he was hired by Pepsi Canada where he served in several roles, including as Operations Manager for Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.
When he moved to Lethbridge, Rodrigo and his wife bought the fourth home that Ashcroft had built and became very good friends with the President of the company, Stephen Amonson.
Stephen asked Rodrigo if he would be interested in joining Ashcroft Homes. Rodrigo credits Stephen with taking a risk on him as he had zero experience in construction and zero experience in the home building industry, but Stephen hired Rodrigo with trust in him and his skills.
After working at Ashcroft for six years in several positions such as Scheduler, Project Manager, Site Superintendent, Estimator, Operations Manager and Construction Manager, Rodrigo helped to grow the company from one that was building 15 homes the first year to 100 homes in 2016.
Rodrigo had to take several courses, certifications and diplomas in construction industry-specific topics in order to learn what he needed to play all of those roles at Ashcroft.
He spent several years of nights at home studying Construction Fundamentals through SAIT, the Residential Construction Management program through the Professional Home Builders Institute, Moisture Control, Alberta Soil Test, Building Codes, Drafting, Building Materials and more.
In 2016, Rodrigo was influential in Ashcroft Homes' Presence, not Presents contest which gave away flights for two people from anywhere in the world to come to Alberta and spend time with their loved ones over the Christmas holiday.
Being from out of the country himself, Rodrigo understood what it's like to spend Christmas without your family, and wanted to give someone local who, otherwise might not have had it, the opportunity to have two of their loved ones flown in to Lethbridge.
For helping to develop Ashcroft Homes into one of the top builders in Alberta, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Rodrigo Esparza as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Jill Calnan is the owner and manager of ThreeSixZero Salon & Spa, one of Lethbridge's premiere destinations for high quality salon and spa services in an elegant and comfortable atmosphere.
At ThreeSixZero, Jill helps to foster a comfortable and high-end feel to the salon, while ensuring that all of their clients feel welcome, and truly enjoy their experience.
Jill has always had a passion for the beauty and esthetics industry. She opened ThreeSixZero Salon & Spa in April of 2016. She had always wanted to open a salon and spa, but knew that it had to be different from all the rest. To do this Jill had to ensure that her staff are able to earn a fair and honest wage, have comfortable and safe working conditions, and focus on providing customer service to clients above all else.
Jill never attended any formal education after high school, but knew that she wanted to own her own business. She worked for several years after high school in different roles trying to find out what she loved to do without success.
In 2015, Jill decided that she needed to take a leap of faith. She had no training in the beauty industry, but her passion fueled her to open up a high-end salon and spa in West Lethbridge. Her vision was to create an atmosphere that her clients would love going to.
Jill had never felt comfortable going into a salon; she always felt that there was a pretentious atmosphere. She wanted to have people feel completely relaxed when they came to the salon, as if it was a place to escape their hectic lives and just enjoy the hour or two in total relaxation.
Jill believes that what makes her strongest at what she does isn't education, because she doesn't have any. It isn't business savvy, because everything that she does is on intuition. She believes that what makes her strongest is her passion for the industry and, more importantly, the passion that she has for her staff.
The staff at ThreeSixZero love expressing their creativity through the various services that they provide. For Jill, being able to provide them this platform is the best thing that she does. She believes that staff should be empowered with their work and that the best staff are staff that are owners. That's why Jill created an employee equity program at ThreeSixZero to reward and retain top talent, and to allow her the ability to work alongside them as long as ThreeSixZero exists.
Born and raised in Lethbridge, Jill has always had immense appreciation for the city and its people. Through the creation of ThreeSixZero, she has been able to reach out to different areas with donations and appearances.
Jill has always felt that she owes more to Lethbridge than it owes to her. She has made a commitment to support local, regional and provinial community efforts through cash donations and sponsorships as much as possible. In the past, ThreeSixZero has supported Sunridge Days, the Tour of Alberta, Alberta Red Cross for the Fort McMurray fires, and the Fire Fighters Charity Calendar.
For successfully taking the entrepreneurial risk and becoming a job creator, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Jill Calnan as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Mandy DeCecco-Kolebaba is the Director of Operations at Hire Standard Inc., permanent, temporary and background screening specialists in Lethbridge.
What sets Mandy apart is her dedication to the community as well as to her company. She has been a member of the the Downtown Rotary Club for 11 years where she currently serves as President Elect. She believes strongly in all the work that they do in Lethbridge and the world.
She credits the great mentors throughout her life with contributing to her success. She is thankful to have so many people rooting for her to be successful, from her business partner, Emma Goerzen, who took a chance on her when she was only 26, to the people who mentored her in Rotary, at school and in business.
Mandy works hard but strives to maintain a balance with family. She is working to change the way the world sees women and moms in business. She does not believe in the term mom-preneurs, but is an entrepreneur. She believes that women, particularly mothers, in business can do it all...they just have to do it in a different way.
A Lethbridge College graduate, Mandy and earned a Diploma in Broadcast Journalism in 2001. Following that, she moved on to the University of Lethbridge where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2005.
While at the U of L, Mandy was able to travel to Malaysia to teach English and drama. She has continued to take courses through the U of L in order to keep learning and growing.
In 2013, Hire Standard was listed as #24 of the Alberta Venture Fast Growth 50; a list for the fastest-growing companies in Alberta. The next year, she was nominated for the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur Award, and in 2015, Mandy was nominated for an Alberta Women Entrepreneur Award.
Currently, Mandy serves as a Senator for the University of Lethbridge. She also works as Treasurer for the Lethbridge Montessori Society Board and Friend of the Lethbridge Food Bank Society. She is an original member of the 100 Women Who Care and Hire Standard has a $2000 annual scholarship with Lethbridge College for a single parent trying to change their life through education. From 2012-2014, Mandy also served as a member of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
For her entrepreneurial successes, and being an outstanding role model for women in business, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Mandy DeCecco-Kolebaba as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Shannon Westhora is the owner of Munchkin Manor Daycare & Learning Centre Inc., an inclusive daycare in Lethbridge whose objective is to promote healthy development through play and exploration.
What sets Shannon apart is the amount that she genuinely cares about every child that walks through her door. Children are never just a number or customer to Shannon. She is truly invested in how each child grows and learns on a day-to-day basis.
Shannon was born and raised in Lethbridge. After graduating from LCI, she went on to study psychology at the University of Lethbridge. While there, Shannon completed a number of developmental psychology classes which she felt would best provide her with the tools needed to work with children of all ages and stages. In 2010, Shannon earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
While attending University, Shannon worked part time for a local area day home agency. In 2010 she began with a new daycare program that was starting in Lethbridge. She soon obtained her Childcare Worker designation.
Shannon had the opportunity to learn about the business side of daycare operation by assisting during the licensing, pre-accreditation and accreditation processes as well as many of the health and licensing visits.
In 2014, Shannon founded Munchkin Manor Daycare & Learning Centre, which she has been running successfully ever since.
Shannon is the extremely proud mother of three girls: Isabella, Raeleigh & Emery as well as her foster son Draydin.
Shannon actively supports a number of community groups throughout the region including Family Support for Children with Disabilities and Key Connections. This helps her to develop programs that are well-suited to each individual child in her care.
She loves bringing in members of the community for visits to her centre, including fire fighters, police officers, authors, nurses who all come in to share stories and engage with the children.
For her entrepreneurial success and for providing quality, inclusive daycare services the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Shannon Westhora as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Gord Maljaars is the co-owner, alongside his wife Laura, of Matters Of Design Inc., a unique design studio that provides start-to-finish residential & commercial design including architectural design, interior design & decorating, and window coverings sales.
Gord and Laura started Matters of Design as a small interior design company that has quickly expanded to a sought-after design firm with a team of designers for both award-winning residential homes and commercial design.
Matters of Design recently expanded into a retail store that has quickly become known as a popular and unique-to-Lethbridge shopping experience with unique products including a wide range of furniture, home décor, women's & baby fashion.
Gord earned his Architectural Drafting Technician certification from the University of The Fraser Valley, where he also studied business and accounting. At Fraser Valley, Gord graduated on the Dean's List and was awarded the Top Student Award. He also earned his International Design and Decorating Professional designation by completing the Interior Decorating diploma through QC Design School.
Formerly employed with a public accounting firm, and later a financial controller of a local business, Gord feels that his experience with business and accounting is invaluable for owning a business of his own.
Gord also had the valuable experience of several years in the construction industry as office manager and designer of award winning custom homes & show homes in Lethbridge. Now working with many different home builders, individuals and contractors, Gord and Laura are recognized for their designs in and around Lethbridge.
In addition to business success, Gord is an accomplished musician; both as a pianist and a choral conductor of choirs up to 75 voices in size! Gord has organized local concerts to raise thousands of dollars for various non-profit organizations.
Gord and Laura are actively involved on committees through the Lethbridge Home Builders Association. Their retail store regularly hosts events such as women's shopping evenings, Mother's Day celebrations, and other fun events.
Gord is involved with the Lethbridge Pregnancy Care Centre where he has had an active role in fundraising for the organization's annual budget for several years.
For his entrepreneurial success and rapidly-expanding business, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Gord Maljaars as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.