19th Annual Top 50 CEO Awards

19th Annual Top 50 CEO Awards

Darrell Kuhn
President & CEO,Community Credit Union of Cumberland Colchester Ltd.
(Truro, N.S.)

“The pursuit of constant learning and personal development are the keys to success as a leader.”

Hard to copy Consumer preferences, technological change, the global economy and increasing competition are realities, says DJ Kuhn. “To be effective today, a leader must champion change, fostering continuous improvement in people and processes.” As president and CEO, he sees it as his role to manage the impact of change. While product and price are easily duplicated, “good service is harder to copy,” he says. “So my role is to continuously pursue not only innovation in products but also, and more importantly, innovation in service delivery.”

Tough but fair A multiple award winner, Kuhn is proud of his role as a devoted husband and father and as a principled individual who considers integrity, honesty and compassion to be critically important attributes. But, as leader, he must sometimes make tough or unpopular decisions. That ability, according to Kuhn, is a “significant” leadership quality. “My team knows I’m capable of this, especially when we’re facing a crisis,” he says. “I pull people together, develop a response and expect appropriate follow-through.”

Beam me up With 31 per cent revenue growth in three years, Kuhn actively works to raise the Credit Union system to an unprecedented level of service. Innovations include an Atlantic-region-wide efficiency concept and the creation of virtual branches, financial services cafés, and mobile 24/7 banking. “This is the financial services industry of the future,” says Kuhn. He and his team plan to be there.

Allan Michael

President, MARCO – Builders of Atlantic Canada
(Dartmouth, N.S.)

“Leadership isn’t getting smart people to work hard. It’s positively engaging people to work together toward the leader’s vision.”

Shaking the foundation “Tell the truth. Keep your word. Do what you say you’ll do.” That, according to Allan MacIntosh, will distinguish you as a leader. Having risen through the ranks over the past 25 years to become president of Marco Group of Companies in 2003, he has valuable insight. “This may sound like a mantra of days past when a handshake sealed a deal, but so much about business in Atlantic Canada is relationship driven,” says MacIntosh. “Here a handshake deal is still respected. People want to do business with people they trust. Because once you have lost trust,” he says, “it’s all but impossible to gain it back.”

Feet on the ground “We’ve developed the Marco Group into a strong brand with the aim of becoming the construction partner of choice for Atlantic Canadian developers and business owners,” MacIntosh says. “We have tremendous talent within our team and all of it is home grown.”

We have ignition The construction industry today is so much more than the bricks and mortar business it once was. Being competitive means constantly investigating and incorporating new materials, construction methods, energy sources, design approaches and even digital technologies. Marco, says MacIntosh, is at the “forefront of these sweeping changes”. It’s all part of his master plan: to have Marco recognized as a national firm.

Dr. Travis

CEO & Founder, Kinduct
(Halifax, N.S.)

“If you emanate a ‘no fear attitude’ you pass that philosophy on to your people through osmosis.”

Do the math Dedicated to helping make people better, Kinduct is a data and analytics software provider for professional sports organizations, military and public units, and health and wellness institutions. It embodies the lifelong passion for sports and fitness of founder Travis McDonough.
“Good leaders should not only think about what the community and their industry need now, but what they’ll need in the future,” says McDonough. That can be risky but, “a good leader should have a willingness to accept calculated risks.”

Change public policy Given the opportunity, McDonough would overhaul how technology innovation is handled within the public healthcare system. “It’s an absolute train wreck now and a massive deterrent, rather than a magnet, for entrepreneurs,” he says. “If we want innovative breakthroughs we need to attract entrepreneurs, not push them away with a hostile environment laden with red tape.”

Weaponized “I have a cocktail of savage Attention Deficit Disorder and Dyslexia. I proudly tell this to anybody who’ll listen, to make sure they realize that if their children suffer from ADD, don’t panic,” says McDonough. He says was the child with the dunce cap in the corner of his classroom. That kind of negative attention can brand and discourage some children without the proper support. “Looking back, I see my ADD as a weapon and one of the most important vehicles to get me to where I am today.”

Corrine McIsaac
Founder & CEO, Health Outcomes Worldwide Inc.
(New Waterford, N.S.)

“I am very passionate about maintaining my company’s operations in my home town of New Waterford, Nova Scotia.”

Connecting the dots “My most difficult professional challenge was turning my idea into a tangible business,” says Corrine McIsaac, founder of Health Outcomes Worldwide (HOW). Starting the business was an “exhilarating, risky endeavour.” But by trusting in her team and a professional network, she overcame the challenges and created, “a business I’m proud of.” Her team includes nursing colleagues, a software engineer and business experts. Her board of directors, and her clinical advisory board, include internationally recognized wound-care professionals. “They helped grow and develop the company,” she says.

A pound of cure “More people die from chronic wounds than from prostate and ovarian cancer combined,” says McIsaac. A registered nurse and academic, she knows that these preventable wound-related deaths cost the global medical system billions of dollars. “There is a growing international need for effective wound care and post-surgical infection monitoring,” says McIsaac. So she decided to take action.

An ounce of preventionHOW employs a 15-person team to develop and market software tools for point-of-care technology. With this software, medical staff are empowered to provide increasingly effective wound care and monitor post-surgical infection. “Our evidence-based tools not only provide coaching on how to appropriately manage wounds and monitor for infection—leading to faster recovery—they also provide data for better long-term planning, best practice benchmarking and implementation, and cost efficiency,” says McIsaac, all of which she sees as vital to her business success.

Michelle Melendy
President, Western Toyota / Western Mazda / Western Kia / Western Motor Sports
(Corner Brook, N.L.)

“A leader can identify opportunity in the face of challenges.”

Big shoes to fill She grew up in the family business, but Michelle Melendy opted for social work until 2001 when she decided to follow in her father Clyde’s footsteps. But she hedged her bets, agreeing initially to take a year’s leave from her position as regional director of mental health. “But before the year was over I resigned and fully embraced the family business,” she says. “I was fortunate to join the business under my father’s direction. He was a wise, humble and well respected entrepreneur,” recalls Melendy, who is today operator and principal dealer of several new, used and recreational vehicle dealerships in Western Newfoundland.

Practical partnership “Our partnership with Academy Canada to offer the Autobody technician program at their Corner Brook campus is an innovation designed to help us deal with the severe shortage of new and experienced autobody technicians,” says Melendy. The Academy gets access to autobody equipment and the paint booth for practical experience. Offered for the first time in September 2016, they had 14 students enroll. “One of our autobody technicians is teaching this course,” says Melendy.

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