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Prairies Risk Takers Fuel Economic Growth and Innovation

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CALGARY, July 4 /CNW/ – Together, they employ over 14,000 people. Collectively, over the past three years, they have generated net sales of more than $10 billion. Since 1999, they have achieved a combined growth rate of 26.5 %. "They" are the 58 risk-taking, hard-working business pioneers named as 2002 Prairies finalists in Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program. "Entrepreneurs are clearly engines for economic growth," says John Murphy, Prairies Director of Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year program. "We believe they stimulate growth, create jobs and ultimately help build a healthy economy so that overall the standard of living increases. This is a group of people whose companies not only help drive the Prairies' economy, but are also players in the global marketplace," he says.

A member of the independent judging panel that chose the Prairies finalists, Byron Osing, CEO of Launchworks Inc., says, "The calibre of contestants was exceptional, and I felt privileged to be included among the judging panel, which was top-notch in composition. The level of preparation required, and the scrutiny we applied in choosing the finalists from an outstanding number of applicants, was quite impressive," he says.

The 2002 Prairies finalists for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year are:


Glenda Elkow, Brian Holterhus, Raymond Nelson
Nelson Lumber Company Ltd. (Manufacturer and supplier of construction materials)
Lloydminster, AB

Florian Possberg
Big Sky Farms Inc. (Operator of hog production facilities)
Humboldt, SK

Cody Slater
BW Technologies Ltd. (Provider of gas detection equipment)
Calgary, AB


George Douglas
St. John's Music Ltd. (Retailer of musical instruments and accessories)
Winnipeg, MB

Joe Makowecki
Heritage Frozen Foods Ltd. (Manufacturer of frozen foods)
Edmonton, AB

J. Ross Robinson
B.A. Robinson Co. Ltd. (Distributor of lighting, plumbing and heating products)
Winnipeg, MB


Ivan Anderson, Mike Hallihan, Rupert Holmes-Smith
Skystone Engineering Inc. (Engineering and technical services for pressure equipment)
Calgary, AB

Fred Atiq
Fiberex Glass Corporation (Manufacturer of continuous glass strand and gun roving)
Leduc, AB


John Keating, Ross Keating
Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. (Producer of green power)
Calgary, AB


J. Robert Lavery, Bruce Berry
Winpak Ltd. (Manufacturer and distributor of packaging materials)
Winnipeg, MB

Pat Ross
Wittke Inc. (Manufacturer of garbage trucks and street sweepers)
Medicine Hat, AB

John Van Brunt
Agrium Inc. (Provider and distributor of fertilizer and agricultural products)
Calgary, AB

MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT Kirstie Day, Larry Day
Pyramid Productions Inc. (Producer of television shows and corporate videos)
Calgary, AB

Kevin DeWalt
Minds Eye Pictures (Producer and distributor of film, TV and media products)
Regina, SK

Arlene Dickinson
Venture Communications Ltd. (Provider of marketing and media services)
Calgary, AB


Gary Agnew, R. Bruce Green, Debra Johnstone, Clive MacRaild, G. Jerry Stilson, Bruce Wade
Canadian Career Partners (Human resource and business consulting)
Calgary, AB

Derek Bullen
S.i. Systems Ltd. (Supplier of contract IT professionals)
Calgary, AB

John Chambers, James Davidson, Scott Inglis, Martin Molyneaux, W. Brett Wilson
FirstEnergy Capital Corp. (Investment banking, research, sales and trading)
Calgary, AB

Don Cummings, Michael Hughes, Donald Schurman
TurnKey Management Consulting (Management advisory services)
Edmonton, AB


Robert Foster
IsoTechnika Inc. (Developer of immuno-suppressive drugs)
Edmonton, AB

Kip Fyfe
Dynastream Innovations Inc. (Developer of 'smart' devices)
Cochrane, AB

Raj Narayanaswamy, Lakshmi Raj
Replicon Inc. (Web solutions for billing and administration)
Calgary, AB


Ivan Smith
Circa Enterprises Inc. (Surge protection equipment and DSL enclosures)
Calgary, AB

Peter Thompson
RIS Resource Information Systems Inc. (Mission critical software applications)
Calgary, AB


Veer Gidwaney
Control – F1 (Web-enabled help-desk support software)
Calgary, AB

Ashif Mawji
Upside Software Inc. (Billing process enterprise software products)
Edmonton, AB

Chantelle Rzepka, Mark Rzepka, Andrew Strempler, Catherine Strempler
Mediplan Health Consulting Inc. (Mail order pharmacy)
Winnipeg, MB

Cary Schuler, Rodney Schuler, Shaun Schuler
Cronus Technologies Inc. (Provider of e-business solutions to database systems)
Saskatoon, SK

Award recipients in each of the ten categories will be announced at the Prairies Entrepreneur Of The Year banquet on October 10. These award recipients will then compete for the title of Prairies Entrepreneur Of The Year. The Prairies EOY award recipient advances to the national level to compete with counterparts from the Pacific, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic regions for the title of Canada's Entrepreneur Of The Year, to be announced November 7th. In May 2003, Canada's Entrepreneur Of The Year recipient will join over 20 country recipients participating in the international competition for the title of World Entrepreneur Of The Year. A panel of independent judges selected the Prairies Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists. The 2002 Prairies judges are: Mr. Mike Duff, President & CEO, The Design Group Staffing Services Inc.; Ms. Lynne Pearson, Dean of Commerce, University of Saskatchewan; Mr. David Friesen, President & CEO, Friesens Corporation; Mr. Byron Osing, CEO, Launchworks Inc.; Mr. Sandy Slator, President & CEO, PTI Group Inc.; and Ms. Susan Miller, President & CEO, Inno- centre Alberta.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year program – founded by Ernst & Young and nationally sponsored by Nasdaq, The Global Television Network, National Post, La Presse and RDI, together, in Prairies, with Western Economic Development, Calgary Herald, and Business In Calgary – celebrates great entrepreneurs and heightens awareness of the economic effect of entrepreneurial ventures. Visit for more information about the Entrepreneur Of The Year program.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young, a global leader in professional services, understands the business issues that are important to senior executives. With extensive business knowledge and hands-on industry experience, the global Ernst & Young organization can implement a broad array of solutions to help companies capture growth, improve financial performance and manage risk – anywhere in the world. Its 84,000 people serve as trusted business advisers in more than 130 countries, offering audit, tax, corporate finance and transaction services across all industries to many of today's leading global corporations as well as emerging growth companies. In addition, legal services are available in various parts of the world where permitted. A collection of Ernst & Young's views on a variety of business issues can be found at

Ernst & Young refers to the Canadian firm of Ernst & Young LLP and other members of the global Ernst & Young organization.

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