Continuing a 42-year tradition of honouring Alberta’s entrepreneurs and visionaries, Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, presented by ATB, is pleased to introduce this year’s inductees. These individuals are chosen for their outstanding success in their respective fields, leadership abilities, strong community support and for inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. In addition to being inducted at JA’s annual gala on October 19, the laureates are recognized on the Business Hall of Fame Wall of Honour, which is located on the second floor of Manulife Place in Edmonton.
This year’s inductees are Chris Fowler, President & CEO, CWB Financial Group; Dan Klemke, Executive Chairman, KMC Mining; and Sine Chadi, Serial Entrepreneur, Philanthropist. The late Jack Klemke, Founder of KMC Mining, will be honoured posthumously.
Chris Fowler, President & CEO, CWB Financial Group
CWB provides diversified financial services across Canada. Chris Fowler’s main areas of responsibility are executive management and strategy.
Fowler graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1985 with a Master of Arts Degree in Economics. From there, he went into banking by joining Continental Bank. Continental was purchased by Lloyds Bank of Canada, and eventually HSBC. This shift opened up an opportunity to join CWB. The move to CWB perfectly suited Fowler, who was looking to engage with a smaller, more people-focused firm.
What does Fowler find the most rewarding about his work at CWB? “All the businesses and business owners I have met over the years and helped with their growth, and, working alongside the other members of the CWB team,” he says. “Every day is a learning opportunity while at the same time, overcoming challenges. We have strategized and delivered on how to grow our business through the global financial crisis, the oil crash and two years of COVID. The pace is exciting; there is never a dull moment!”
For both CWB and Fowler, giving back is very important. He notes, “Edmonton has a tremendous amount of ways to participate and has a very high quality of life. For that to be successful you must participate by joining organizations and supporting them. The amount of involvement you see from businesses giving back in Edmonton is what keeps this broad choice available and empowers a city of our size to have the institutions, arts and sports we enjoy.”
Fowler feels privileged to be named a laureate. “There are a lot of great people that have preceded me as you can see from the impressive list of laureates. To be in the same category with them is an honour. I hope to contribute to Edmonton to the same degree as they have. Every laureate has had an impact on Edmonton and improved the quality of life here. That is the best impact one can have, making sure people are better off when you are done.”
Going forward, Fowler looks ahead to, “a continued focus on the growth of CWB and continuing to provide great solutions for clients, opportunities for the staff and returns for shareholders. My goal is to support that journey and ensure we have the right people, the right strategies and deliver the right outcomes for our clients, team, and shareholders.”
Dan Klemke, Executive Chairman, KMC Mining
KMC Mining’s roots go back more than 70 years to when Ted and Jack Klemke launched a business providing equipment and labour for irrigation and roadwork in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The company later expanded into digging and hauling for a variety of mines (coal, gold, diamonds, uranium) across Western Canada, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. In the early 1970s, KMC entered the oil sands and since then has partnered with every major producer in the area.
Through it all, KMC remained primarily a family-managed business. Dan Klemke joined the company in 1969, working there on breaks through high school and university before joining full-time.
“I learned the company from the inside out,” says Klemke, “by working my way through a variety of operations and leadership roles including foreman, superintendent, estimator, project manager, executive vice president, president and CEO. I was appointed Executive Chairman of the board in 2019 following the CEO role, which I held from 2008.”
In addition to more than 40 years of direct experience, Klemke holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta, has several accreditations in the surface mining and oilsands industry, and is a past board member of the Alberta Chamber of Resources.
As he looks back on his career, he enjoys, “being able to see and experience the industry from a variety of roles and angles, and in particular, the people that have influenced me along the way; whether they be equipment operators, mechanics, lawyers or CEOs, they have all played a part in my personal and professional development.”
Giving back is an important value for everyone at KMC. In addition to corporate support of many charitable initiatives such as the Festival of Trees, cancer research, the Bulembu Orphanage in Southern Africa and organizations that support mental health, Klemke is also personally supportive of charities such as Prison Fellowship International and Young Life Canada – having served on its national board for 12 years.
“Right behind workplace safety, environmental responsibility in all we do is top of mind,” explains Klemke. KMC’s nomination for the 2020 Energy Excellence Award for Project Excellence in the Oil Sands recognized how KMC successfully reduced fuel consumption by more than 19.7 million litres over two years. “For us, giving back includes to the planet as well as to the communities in which we operate.”
Klemke feels honoured to be named a laureate alongside the entrepreneurial-focused peers that came before him. “To be included among such a diverse and impactful group of business leaders is incredibly humbling. It is an honour I share with my team, family and many supporters,” Klemke says.
As KMC continues to make strong inroads in the oil and gas industry. Klemke looks forward to continuing to lead a company that has had a strong impact in the oil sands from the beginning, and will continue to make positive impacts far into the future.
Sine Chadi, Serial Entrepreneur, Philanthropist
Sine Chadi has always thrived on being an entrepreneur, from his early days in working in the fur trade and working alongside his father, who owned and operated businesses in Lac La Biche and Fort Chipewyan. He notes, “I am so pleased and proud to have always been an entrepreneur and to have been able to steer my own path in every part of my career; and in turn, for what being a successful entrepreneur has allowed me to contribute back to my community and society as a whole.”
Chadi started Imperial Equities Inc. in 1998 and began acquiring industrial and commercial properties in Edmonton. Today, Imperial Equities is a publicly traded company anchored by industrial, agricultural and commercial real estate properties throughout Western Canada. Trading on the TSX-V exchange, Imperial Equities is now a major industrial landlord.
“Starting Imperial made sense in that I have always worked around real estate in one way or another, having owned and operated companies since before I was 20 years old,” says Chadi. “I have owned and operated companies that have touched every possible part of the real estate industry, from raw land to vertical development, mortgage financing, insurance, property management and asset management just to name a few.”
Giving back is a value he has held since childhood. “I have always said that our true wealth is the good we do in the world. What we do for ourselves dies with us, and what we do for others and the world remains and is everlasting.”
He continues, “My mother and father were very much aware of their community and they always had something for anyone who needed help. The same ethic was taught to all members of our family and now that’s what we are passing to our children. We have been fortunate and are in a position to give back, so we do; and, we have been fortunate too in benefitting from the organizations we’ve helped to support. The Glenrose helped my brother rebuild his life after a terrible accident. STARS made sure he made it to the hospital. We couldn’t be more grateful. We enjoy the entertainment that Theatre Network provides. There are so many similar examples. The organizations we support are an invaluable part of our community and we value them and their contributions.”
Chadi feels both honoured and humbled to become a laureate. “I am pleased to be part of such a distinguished group. So many of the people who I have worked with, supported and received support from are JA laureates. I am honoured to be their peer.”
He concludes, “In life and work we always move forward. That’s how I always approach things, so onward! My life is in a wonderful place right now with all of my children thriving and with six grandchildren who make me laugh everyday. Currently, they are who I am focused on, and on building a legacy they can take forward into the community where they will build their lives.”
Join the Celebration
The 2022 laureates will be inducted on October 19 in a formal ceremony at the Edmonton Convention Centre. Everyone is invited to attend the celebration. Visit https://janorthalberta.org/business-hall-of-fame/ for information and tickets.