Four southern Alberta business leaders who â€œset the benchmarkâ€� as citizens and mentors were inducted into the 2014 Calgary Business Hall of Fame on Thursday.
Rick George, David Johnson, Clayton Woitas and the late Gordon Stollery were selected for the honour â€” an annual recognition established by Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta in 2004 â€” because of their business accomplishments as well as their commitment to philanthropic endeavours.
â€œThese four individuals exemplify the true character of Alberta through their unwavering spirit, vision and determination; they have set the benchmark for business excellence as both citizens and mentors in our global community,â€� said Scott Hillier, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta.
George â€” who led Suncor Energy for over two decades, growing it from a small privately held oil company to Canadaâ€™s largest integrated public energy company worth $50 billion â€” said he admires the work Junior Achievement does in educating young people about business and leadership. He said for that reason, the honour is a special one.
â€œWhat it means to me is that hopefully we (the inductees) set some good examples for young people about what can happen if you work hard and youâ€™re ambitious and you apply yourself,â€� George said. â€œI know this next generationâ€™s going to be very successful as they help transform the future.â€�
Johnson has over 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry and currently serves on the board of directors at Progress Energy. He was that companyâ€™s president and CEO prior to its sale to Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas in 2012.
He said his advice to young people would be to expose themselves to as many things as possible.
â€œI would classify myself as a slow starter in school, and I think you have to cast about and find your way and find what youâ€™re passionate about,â€� Johnson said. â€œThereâ€™s nothing wrong with starting something in university and changing faculties â€” you never know where the world will take you.â€�
Woitas â€” currently the chair, president and CEO at Range Royalty Management Ltd and the chair at Encana Corporation â€” has 35 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. He is a director of several private energy related companies including AspenAir Corp., Gibson Energy Inc., GEP Midstream Finance Corp., Longbow Capital Inc., and Spur Resources Ltd.
Woitas, who supports a variety of different charities and non-profit organizations, said itâ€™s important for all business leaders to take an active role in the community that has contributed to their success.
â€œWeâ€™ve been fortunate to have ended up with a lot more than we could ever reasonably need, so itâ€™s important to give back,â€� he said.
Stollery â€” who died in 2011 â€” was a founder, director, or seed capital investor for many Alberta-based companies. He started his first oil and gas company, Morrison Petroleums Ltd., in 1980. That company merged with Northstar Energy in 1997, and Northstar was purchased by Devon Energy in 1998. Stollery also founded Highpine Oil and Gas, which later merged with Daylight Energy which was purchased in 2011 by Sinopec International Petroleum.
His daughter Lindsay Stollery, who attended Thursdayâ€™s gala in his place, said her father would have been greatly appreciative of the honour.
â€œAlberta was where his heart was, his soul was,â€� she said. â€œAnd as a businessman, one of his biggest passions was supporting young entrepreneurs and young people, so I think itâ€™s a very relevant award for him to win.â€�