2015 Winner

Doug Gillespie

Saskatoon and Saskatchewan lost a special person last year with the passing of Doug Gillespie. Doug was a long-time supporter of the Raj Manek program. He served his community and this organization as a board director of 4 years, a donor, a mentor, and a lifelong learner.

Wherever he went or whatever he did, he epitomized the pay-it-forward mentality. He quietly lent a hand where needed, donating more printing, prizes, time and money than a firm his size should have. He offered a thoughtful word of support at just the right moment, if one may have been hurting. His smile often brought a ray of sunshine to one’s day.

However, it was in the world of business that most of us came to know Doug. His magnetic personality made him a remarkable salesperson – first in the printing business in Regina, then in the advertising agency business and finally, as owner of his own enterprise in Saskatoon, FastPrint. His contribution to the local business community was even recognized as he was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame in 2012.

He also had an insatiable appetite to learn, participating as an active member of business peer groups in Saskatoon and internationally. Equalling his desire to improve himself was the desire to help others improve. He shared his knowledge as a mentor to four different protégés, while promoting the ideals of entrepreneurship and the role of the entrepreneur in building a better, more vibrant community.

His concern for others was further evidenced by his willingness to remain on the Board of Directors of Saskatoon’s FastPrint after its sale. Despite his progressing illness, he wanted to assure a smooth transition for the employees, clients and new owners.

Saskatchewan lost a bright light when Doug passed away last September, but his spirit lives among us all as businesspeople, as protégés and as a community.

We are proud to salute a truly outstanding legacy by honoring Doug Gillespie’s memory with the Raj Manek Above and Beyond Award.

2014 Winner

Ken Achs

Ken is the President and CEO of the Mid-West Group of Companies, with business interests in western Canada and western U.S. Ken is a self-starter who learned valuable lessons along the way. Ken has willingly shared his vast knowledge and insight with many others he’s worked with. Over that time he’s become a business titan in Saskatoon, earning the respect and appreciation of those around him.

With his reputation in business, Ken has been invited to attend Western Canadian Elite Business

leaders’ summits, has been recognized in national business publications, and in Peter Newman’s

best seller, Titans (a selective “who’s who” of the new Canadian business establishment). Ken’s

opinion on real estate development and business are frequently sought by government and the

media. Dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, he is proud to be involved in the Raj Manek

Business Mentorship Program, Ken has mentored 7 different protégés through this Program, some of them for more than one year, and one of whom is now a mentor.

Despite being one to shy away from the limelight, Ken has been a deserving recipient of a

number of prestigious honors and awards.

  • 2008 - Fraser-Gatrell Memorial Award for distinguished contribution to planning by the Association of Professional Community Planners of Saskatchewan (APCPS);
  • 2010 - Ken was personally honored with the prestigious Saskatchewan Architectural Heritage Society’s President’s Award, an honor rarely bestowed in the long history of the organization.
  • 2011 - Saskatchewan’s new found reputation as the place to do business in Canada, Ken Achs was asked to chair the inaugural Saskatchewan Real Estate Forum attended by the most prominent people in western Canadian real estate.
  • 2012 - In recognition of his overall achievement in business excellence, Ken Achs was inducted to the SABEX Business Hall of Fame.

2013 Winner a s

Marion Ghiglione

Marion Ghiglione received her B.Sc from the University of Saskatchewan and later founded Handy Group of Companies. Marion and her husband have continued to expand their business to new ventures through property development in Saskatchewan. 

She has been a board member for 6 years (2003-2009) for the Greater Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. She was the Co-Chair for Canadian Chamber AGM, team leader for Tourism Saskatchewan "Conventions Saskatoon!", and currently a board member for Meewasin Valley Authority. 

She was one of the first women to be awarded the Athena Award under the BPW helm as well as the Young Athena award to Saskatoon.


2012 Winner 

Monica Kreuger 

Monica Kreuger is the founder, President and CEO of Global Infobrokers Inc., a firm dedicated to education, entrepreneurship, the environment and global citizenry and all within a socially responsible framework. She and her husband/business partner Brent, along with a team of entrepreneurs, have assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs launch their companies in Saskatchewan and Alberta through their post secondary institute, the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship. In 2010 they opened a representative office in China where they serve entrepreneurs who wish to establish operations in Saskatchewan.

She spearheaded, designed, lobbied for, and received support from educational and private sponsors to launch Saskatchewan’s first investment based business plan competition, Venture Forward $100K Business Plan Competition, a province wide initiative to help post secondary youth launch companies.  In the 5 years it ran, over 30 companies were launched.  She also co-founded Praxis International Institute in the Craik eco-village, a private alternative school for young people dedicated to entrepreneurship and environmental sustainability.

Monica has been very involved in the community through her volunteer board positions with several organizations and is currently on the board of the Saskatchewan Chamber and Co-Chair of the Human Resources Committee.  She has been privileged to receive numerous recognitions locally, provincially and nationally, and is grateful for the opportunity to serve her community.

Proud mother, grandmother and married to her life and business partner for almost 37 years, Monica continues to follow her passion of helping people pursue theirs through entrepreneurship.

Her company’s motto: Entrepreneurs helping Entrepreneurs.



2011 Winner

Gavin Semple

Gavin Semple presides over Brandt Industries and the Brandt Group, a diversified manufacturing and industrial equipment distribution company. 

He started his career with the Brandt Group of Companies in 1972, first as a sales representative; then as a sales manager; and finally as president in 1976.

Mr. Semple played director roles for several institutions and organizations. Being co-chair of Luther College Sprit Campaign, director of Canada Post, and Board Member for the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. He was awarded Saskatchewan Business of the Year and also Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies awards.


2010 Winner 

John V. Cross

John Cross trained as a chemical engineer, joining the Food Research and Development Department of John Labbatt, Ltd., in London, Ontario, in 1965. His work centered on the development and commercialization of new product in the fermentation, food, beverage, dairy and animal feed industries.

In 1975 was the founding Executive Director of POS Pilot Plant Corporation and subsequently CEO/chairman of Philom Bios, Inc. This Saskatoon based company, now Novozymes, focuses on high value inoculates increasing yields and profits for farmers in an environmental manner. 

Further, John has served on the Board of the National Research Council of Canada, the  Advanced Technology Training Center at Kelsey Institute, the Royal University Hospital Foundation, and as Chair of SREDA.  He is currently Chair of POS Bio-Sciences and a Board member of several bioscience enterprises.  He was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2013 and was recently inducted in the SABEX Hall of Fame.

2009 Winner 

Ray Ahenikew 

Mr. Ahenikew became president of the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) and has emerged leading spokespersons for Saskatchewan’s and Canada’s First Nations’ business community. As CEO of MLTC he played vital role in successful enterprises and joint ventures. 

Further, Mr. Ahenakew served as co-chair of the National Labor Training Market Board, Director of Peace Hills Trust, and as President of the Saskatchewan Indian Institutes of Technologies (SIIT). 

2008 Winner

Kent Smith-Windsor 

Kent Smith-Windsor was born and raised in Saskatoon and is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan. Following several years of experience in the retail and commercial banking sectors, Mr. Smith-Windsor assumed the leadership of the Saskatoon Downtown Business Improvement District and assisted downtown revitalization efforts for ten years. In 1996, he was appointed Executive Director of The Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is Saskatchewan's largest business organization. The Chamber is building up the best business climate in Canada, thereby creating a city of opportunity.

Mr. Smith-Windsor has served as Chair or Member of the following organizations: the Saskatchewan Institute on the Prevention of Handicaps, the North Saskatchewan International Children's Festival; the Saskatchewan Architectural Heritage Society; the Downtown Youth Centre and the International Downtown Association. He is past President of the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada and a past Director of the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. Mr. Smith-Windsor was appointed to the Council of Excellence for the Canadian Chamber Executives of Canada in 2011. Mr. Smith-Windsor is married with four sons and three daughters-in-law.

2007 Winner

Shirley Ryan

At the time of the award, Mrs. Ryan was the member of the Combined Business Group; and of the Air Services Committee; she was one of the founding members of the Saskatchewan Business Council; and a member of the New Market Development Committee.

She has also served on the Board of the Saskatoon Airport Authority and has sat on numerous other business group committees in Saskatoon. She was nominated to the Judicial Advisory Committee of Saskatchewan, and was appointed by Saskatoon City Council as one of the city’s 100 Citizens’ Centennial Committee.

Mrs. Ryan was also guest of honor at two memorable fundraising roasts—one for Junior Achievement and a second for the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST).



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