NATURAL RESOURCES MAGAZINE
           
 

19th Annual Top 50 CEO Awards

19th Annual Top 50 CEO Awards

You know the old glass-half-empty/half-full conundrum? Your answer supposedly identifies you as either an optimist or a pessimist. Put put a high-functioning leader in the same situation and they’ll see something completely different: opportunity. Rather than engage in a philosophical debate, they’ll look for better, faster ways to fill the glass: Could a marketing campaign increase consumption? Are there leaks that need to be repaired? Could a cover prevent spillage or evaporation? Would a smaller glass be more cost-efficient?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our 19 years of profiling award-winning leaders, it’s that success truly is in the eye of the beholder. For examples of how Top 50 CEOs turn adversity to advantage, read on…


Dr. Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz
President & Vice-Chancellor
University of Prince Edward Island
(Charlottetown, P.E.I.)

“Leaders need to be able to inspire their employees and stakeholders while also keeping the team focused on achieving the organization’s goals.”

Driven to succeed Coming to Canada from Egypt 32 years ago wasn’t an easy transition for Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. But he survived his first Western Canadian winter and came away from it with a PhD and a post-doctoral position with NSERC.
The experience taught him to trust his intuition and believe in himself, insights he has often shared with dozens of students and colleagues. “In Canada, you have the opportunity to be yourself, talk about your culture, interact with your community and embrace Canadian values while enriching them with those of your own home.”

Risk & reward Abd-El-Aziz says the biggest obstacles facing most North American universities are demographics, government dollars and fear of change. That’s why he is collaborating with numerous partners to aggressively identify and pursue programing and outstanding talent capable of delivering on students, their parents’, the labour markets and governments’ changing needs and expectations. “This has to be done to secure non-traditional avenues to finance education.”

Results speak for themselves Under Abd-El-Aziz’s direction, UPEI has added several new programs that put it at the cutting edge of Canadian innovation: namely, the School of Sustainable Engineering and the School of Mathematical and Computational Sciences. The success of these new programs speaks for itself: while average enrolment in other Atlantic Canadian universities is down about one per cent, enrolment at UPEI is up nearly three per cent. —Drew Brown

John Atkins
Dustin Angelo
President, CEO & Director
Anaconda Mining Inc. (TSX: ANX)
(Baie Verte, N.L.)

“I lead by example. No job is too menial and no task is beneath anyone”

Never surrender When Dustin Angelo started as CEO in 2010, one of the company’s new mills faced operational setbacks and Anaconda was on the brink of bankruptcy. Rather than give up and cut their losses, his team stuck with it. Management burned the midnight oil for months with creditors and vendors to stay afloat. This bought their team time to develop a cleaner gold concentrate that pulled the company back to profitability by May 2011. They’ve stayed there ever since.

Out in front Whether he’s on the job or coaching basketball from courtside, mentorship and leading by example are key for Angelo. Good management, he asserts, is built on trust and respect. Personal bonds are forged between team members both on and off the clock.
Meanwhile, Anaconda employees not only receive competitive wages and benefits, but they also get the chance to live and work in their home regions in rural Newfoundland—a perk many workers in the resource industry can’t enjoy.

Striking gold Since 2016, Anaconda has grown to four projects: two near Baie Verte and two on the Northern Peninsula. In the next five years, the company aspires to expand production to 100,000 ounces of gold per year, and to make Newfoundland a Centre of Excellence for small-scale gold mining. “Our management team is a successful group that has created a profitable product before. We can do that again.” —Drew Brown

Cory Bell
Dr. Laura
Araneda

President & CEO
Vic Progressive
(Penobsquis, N.B.)

“I have never accepted no for an answer to something I am passionate about.”

Tenacity Mining is not a business for the faint of heart—and that suits Dr. Laura Araneda just fine. When a major client announced in 2015 that they were stopping production, Vic Progressive was faced with massive layoffs. But the company put their nose to the grindstone, pared down operations to what they did best, and contracted new clients. It paid off: in 2016, they were named one of the fastest growing companies in Canada.
“Organizations need to be agile. A great company is one that can move with the markets.”

Creativity It takes more than moxie to succeed in this rough and tumble industry. It takes imagination. Because every mining exploration has different challenges, Vic Progressive is constantly modifying its equipment. They’ve developed a knack for creating new equipment for their clients, and the results speak for themselves. At a time when the industry has been in a downturn and other companies have disappeared, Araneda and her team have not only survived, but flourished. Now that the industry is back on an upswing, the opportunities for the future are limitless.

Positivity Araneda credits her team with the company’s success. “I make a point of hiring enthusiastic people. You need to surround yourself with positive, creative people.”
“Listen to and trust your team. They’re the ones on the ground dealing with clients every day. If your client is doing well, your company will do well.” —Drew Brown

JoanneBall-Gautschi
Joanne
Ball-Gautschi

CEO
Partner International Inc.
(Dartmouth, N.S.)

“We represent the leading edge technologies which will have the most profound impact on mankind.”

Dare to dream Not many people would turn down lucrative offers from major pharmaceutical companies to strike out on their own. But that’s exactly what Joanne Ball-Gautschi did. Seeing a gap in the marketplace for her unique skillset (connecting new technologies with clients around the world) she founded Partner International in 2000. With a presence in over 26 countries, Partner has been critical to bringing cutting-edge, lifesaving technology to the public.

The heart of industry Partner deals in innovation. The biggest innovation has been the company’s business model itself. Partner is not just a consulting firm: they’re an outsourced business development firm offering strategic partnering, licensing, market research and assessments, distribution channels and mergers, acquisitions and divestiture services to companies worldwide. Partner International gives clients instant connection to international parties working in the technology industry.
“Our role is to act as a catalyst for organizations to expand beyond their current capabilities into new markets.”

Proudly Atlantic Canadian It’s not hard to tell Ball-Gautschi is from the East Coast—her company brims with Atlantic Canadian hospitality. As CEO, she has introduced a ‘random act of kindness’ fund at work, giving each employee $500 to spend as they please on making the lives of others easier.
With her talent and international connections, she could have taken Partner anywhere in the world. Instead, with the company’s headquarters grounded in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Ball-Gautschi is bringing the world back home. —Drew Brown


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