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“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle Welcome to the inaugural edition of Burnaby Profiles of Excellence, a very special publication of the Burnaby NOW. With this edition of Profiles of Excellence you can scan each photograph and bring it to life with augmented reality. Each image in this magazine has been enabled with Layar. Just download the Layar app and hover your iPhone, Android smartphone, iPad or tablet over each image to bring it to life with a video. The women and men profiled in these pages come from a wide variety of backgrounds, education, experience and expertise. What they all share is what Aristotle described in the quote above: a commitment to excellence – an attribute that is not born, but bred in training and repetition, in years of service to their profession and to their community. The awards these business leaders have earned are hallmarks of excellence, but the most important mark of excellence is the respect and loyalty of their customers. As you will discover in these pages, Burnaby is a community steeped in excellence in a great many fields. We are very proud to present these Profiles of Excellence and look forward to many more editions in the years to come. Brad Alden, Publisher, Burnaby NOW



Excellence City of Burnaby Global BC Burnaby Hospital Foundation Solo District by Appia Development Ocean Dental Peak Success Coaching Harjit Sandhu, Investors Group Burnaby Board of Trade Hemlock Printers Synergy Plumbing and Heating Ltd. Fortius Sport & Health

Lara Graham

Jennifer Kastelein Christina Myers


Kevin Hill & Lisa King

project leader



For inquiries regarding the 2014 edition of Profiles of Excellence, please contact the Burnaby NOW or call 604.444.3451

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City of Burnaby


s far as Derek Corrigan is concerned, Burnaby is the best place in the country to live, work and play. And he should know. He’s been doing all three, right here in B.C.’s third-largest city, for most of his life. “I truly love it here,” he said. “I think it’s just a phenomenal city.” He’s seen, and helped shape, the incredible change and growth the region has experienced over the last 25 years. A lawyer by trade, he first ran for a council seat in 1987. He continued in that role for 15 years, before throwing his hat in the ring for the mayor’s office in 2002. He’s won every election since and, yes, he plans to run again in 2014. And while he’s proud of what’s been accomplished in those years, he says it’s the whole team – from administrative staff and volunteers to councillors and committee members – who’ve made the city what it is. “Burnaby is definitely one of the most successful cities in Canada. We’ve been recognized as a cutting-edge leader. We’re very successful financially and we’re considered an environmental leader,” he said. “We’re also one of the most diverse cities in the country, in terms of our population. All in all, there are just so many things working right here.” He notes that City Hall has one of the highest staff retention rates in the province, and the collective years of experience for those serving on council is impressive.” One of the things I’m proudest of is that retention. We have staff staying with us for most of their career. That’s a telling statistic that I think speaks to the culture here,” he PHOTO: Mayor Derek Corrigan, City of Burnaby

said. “And we have very experienced councillors. There’s something to be said for councillors who have been doing this work for a long time and who had years of engagement in the community behind them before they ran for office. When you have that level of expertise with your staff and your council, it’s really incredible.” He says that’s certainly been part of the recipe for excellence in the city, but that other factors have also made a big impact on the city’s success. “The other thing we have that is a huge asset is location – the centrality of living in Burnaby or having a business in Burnaby. You’re close to everywhere. That’s a big benefit,” he said.

“This is a city that does what it promises and is always looking to the future.”

“Then there are our exceptional green spaces. I’m proud of what we’ve done to preserve those,” he said. “I personally love the parks here. One quarter of our city is park and green space. It’s been one of the key foundations of my involvement as a councillor and mayor. We have continued to protect open space and parkland because we really see the value in that as a balance to the increased density as we build up – particularly around our transportation hubs. Protecting our ecology means you’re never very far away from a natural setting.” For those considering a move to Burnaby, be it residential or business, he says there is plenty of reason to come – perhaps chief of which is the city’s stability as an organization. “I like to say they’re buying a piece of the rock,” he said. “This is a city that has no debt. It has significant financial reserves. It’s a city that’s incredibly stable. This is a city that does what it promises and is always looking to the future.”

City of Burnaby 4949 Canada Way Burnaby, B.C. 604-294-7944

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Global BC


he strength of the Global name owes much to its long history and strong reputation in the province – and those strong roots will help the brand as it continues to grow, evolve and change into the future.

“I’m always amazed at how often someone will tell me that they’ve been watching Global News for 30 years or 40 years – it doesn’t matter what background, or what part of the province, it’s been a constant,” says Kenton Boston, Vice President of B.C./National News for Shaw Media. “People will say ‘my parents watched it and now I watch it.’ It’s a brand that’s been able to touch the different generations and continue.” Boston notes that the station has been one of the most dominant brands in television “anywhere in North America.” “It’s had a long, long record of being number 1, a long history of leading the way,” he said. And being at the front of the pack is something Global is focused on even more keenly these days, as technology continues to change the way that news and entertainment is used and viewed by the public. “There’s a generation now that often doesn’t even watch television – so our challenge is to continue to make sure our content is there on all the platforms, on digital devices, on mobile, on twitter, on our website.” It is, he admits a challenge – “I think it’s similar to how it must have been in the early days of television, competing with radio and newspapers” – but one they’ve been glad to tackle. They also launched a news-only chan-

nel last year, BC1, which has had slow but steady growth and, with drawing a younger audience, pairs well with the traditional Global News products. That growth has been possible in large part because of changed ownership in 2010, says Boston.

“I’m always amazed

“With Shaw Media, it’s fantastic – the owners are really investing in news, they understand what we need to do, and they’re really behind that,” he said. “It’s fantastic to have their support. It’s been a great transition for us – unlike other media companies that are limiting growth, we’ve done nothing but expand.”

one will tell me that

at how often somethey’ve been watching Global News for 30 years or 40 years ...”

Boston says that while the roots of Global’s success have come from its reputation for excellence in breaking and covering some of the province’s most critical news stories over the years, it’s also flourished because of the brand’s involvement in the communities that it serves. “We’re a strong community leader,” he said. “ We’re very proud of our philanthropic efforts. Our (staff) do hundreds of public appearances every year – and it’s not something they feel they have to do, they’re incredibly proud to be part of these communities.” For Boston, the past and the future will continue to hold equal sway at Global BC as they work hard to maintain the tradition and reputation that has been built over the last several decades, while continuing to innovate and meet the needs of new viewers through changing technology. “It’s a challenging time, but it’s an interesting one,” he said.

PHOTO: Kenton Boston, Vice President of B.C./National News for Shaw Media

Global BC 7870 Enterprise St. Burnaby B.C. 604-420-2288

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Burnaby Hospital Foundation


lot has changed at Burnaby Hospital over the last 60 years but one thing has remained a constant: a spirit of support from the community around it. Since 1982, the Burnaby Hospital Foundation has been helping to build, grow and develop that support. “The foundation is the philanthropic arm of Burnaby Hospital,” said Cheryl Carline, president and CEO of the foundation. “We raise financial resources needed for innovative health care equipment, state-of-the-art technology, capital projects and educational outreach.” The foundation works in partnership with the hospital to help determine and fund the highest priority needs – everything from a $4.85 million MRI to a $30,000 heart defibrillator, as well as education programs. Carline chalks up their success in part to working closely with donors – and responding to what is most important to them. “We have a strong relationship with many of our donors,” she said. “What is important to our donors is our willingness to listen, honour their wishes and keep them informed about how their donations are making a difference.” Carline notes that their support comes from a wide cross-section in the community: from individuals to service organizations and corporations. “We are happy to receive donations – big and small – to help further our

cause. Sometimes, this is in the form of a monthly or annual gift; other times it’s in the form of a legacy gift in someone’s will. There are also many who donate their time and talent through various roles on our board of trustees and at our events. The act of giving can take on many forms.”


Excellence “The act of giving can take on many forms.”

Having a strong foundation to back the hospital’s goals is critical, says Carline. “Foundations play a crucial role in helping the general public support their hospital of choice. Hospital administrations focus on health care programs, services and delivery. We lend our expertise to help support the hospital staff in their fundraising efforts. Not only do we work with donors to honour their wishes, we also work with hospital administration and the health authority to identify the highest priority needs that would welcome public support.” For Carline, that means heading up a team dedicated to creating an environment of excellence. “For the foundation, excellence means exceeding the goals and objectives you set forth to achieve. We believe that by working with our donors to meet their needs, we are in striving for excellence in helping Burnaby Hospital be the best it can be.” The foundation, which runs with the help of a staff of seven and many volunteers throughout the year, hosts various events through the year in support of its fundraising goals, including an annual fundraising gala as their signature event in November each year.

PHOTO: Cheryl Carline, President and CEO, Burnaby Hospital Foundation

Burnaby Hospital Foundation 3935 Kincaid St. Burnaby, B.C. 604-431-2881

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Solo District by Appia Developments


hen it comes to legacies, there’s no family quite like the Bosa family. A reputation for excellence has been their hallmark since Nat Bosa founded Bosa Development in Burnaby in 1986. That reputation continues today through Appia Developments and Embassy Development, founded by sons Jim Bosa and Ryan Bosa, respectively.

up. The views are unbelievable.” Murrell says there’s been a big advantage with so many of the area’s projects being done by Bosa, Appia and Embassy. “They’ve really been the driving force within the North Burnaby community in terms of that redevelopment – it’s a benefit to have one family, it’s cooperative, there’s a lot of communication.”

“It’s the quality, it’s the value, it’s their unbelievable passion for what they do, their integrity,” said Lisa Murrell, sales and marketing manager with Bosa Development and Appia Developments, who has worked with both generations of Bosa for more than 16 years. “It comes through in every single project – they’re part of the community of Burnaby and they’re here for the long haul.” That long haul includes the signature Solo District project being carried out right now by Appia Developments, at the intersection of Willingdon and Lougheed. “It’s a master planned community, and when it’s completely finished there will be four residential towers, and a total of 1,400 residential units, along with services and amenities, retail spaces,” she said. “It’s built around that concept of sustainability – it’s right on the transit corridor, so you can leave your car at home or not have a car at all. Everything you need is right there.”

For example, she notes that several neighbouring projects done by the three development companies utilized the services of the same architect. “They complement each other, they can take into consideration view corridors and what kinds of amenities are in place,” she said. “It’s a really exciting time in Burnaby,” she said. At the same time, the family has always had a focus on ensuring that their projects enhance the community and fit into a long-term picture of careful planning, as well as giving back in a variety of ways.

The first residential tower, Stratus, is already under construction and units began selling a year ago; the second tower, Altus, has been selling for five months, with construction beginning now. “Altus will be the tallest tower in Burnaby,” notes Murrell. “It will be anchored by a 14-storey office tower, which will put the residential portion starting at the equivalent of 20 stories

“(Solo) will have a community space donated to the city,” she said. “Jim also made a significant donation for community enhancements to contribute to the overall growth of North Burnaby.” Major retailers are already signing on for space in the Solo project. “We’ll be working cooperatively with that – we’re retaining ownership of all retail spaces, so we have the ability to make sure that the kinds of services that are needed and are well suited will be in place,” she said. “It’s an urban community. It’s going to be a really fantastic space in so many ways.” She says the future is bright for both Burnaby and the Bosa family. “I think when you have that kind of reputation in a community, when people know what you stand for, you’ll always do well.”

PHOTO: Lisa Murrell, Sales and Marketing Manager, Appia Developments


Excellence “When people know what you stand for, you’ll always do well.”

Solo District by Appia Developments 1200-4455 Lougheed Hwy. Burnaby, B.C. 604-294-2742

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Ocean Dental t’s all about the people. That’s a business truth that holds true in every field, but perhaps most especially in health – and it’s a key focus at Ocean Dental.


one-day crown treatments, to name just a few. Recently, the dentists began offering velscope exams, which provide oral cancer screenings that can aid in early detection.

“It’s our genuine caring for patients combined with a commitment and dedication to our profession that set us apart,” said Dr. Lyle Pidzarko. “We fix teeth, but we care for people. We receive heartfelt thank yous from our patients on a daily basis.”

Beckie and Pidzarko note that, for many people, a visit to the dentist can be a frightening experience – and one that will be postponed as long as possible. For those patients, sedation dentistry may help, and it’s something the dentists have additional training in to be able to offer to patients.

Ocean Dental has a long history in Burnaby, having operated for more than 25 years in the city. Most of that time was at an office location inside Metrotown shopping centre, but in 2006 the team made a major transition into new and larger offices across the street at the corner of Kingsway and McMurray. It was principal owners, Dr. Pidzarko and Dr. Vern Beckie, who led that decision, which ultimately proved to be the right move for entire team and the patients. The change allowed them to provide a more comfortable environment and the ability to expand services and technologies. Both Pidzarko and Beckie are trained in implant dentistry, a technique that allows them to restore a patient who may be missing teeth with natural function and smile. Pidzarko’s expertise in the field has led to a mentoring program in which he helps teach other dentists from around the region in sessions at the Burnaby office every month. The team also provides the usual array of dental procedures, from regular check-ups and traditional orthodontics, to Invisalign treatment and

“By understanding and listening to what barriers patients may have in completing or following through with their dental care allows us to help each individual patient take the necessary steps to a healthy mouth and happier life,” noted Dr. Beckie. While every business has to consider the success of its efforts to ensure it is able to grow and stay viable, particularly in economically challenging times, the more important focus at Ocean goes beyond business concerns to patient focused ones: excellent care and making each patient comfortable.

“It’s our genuine caring for patients combined with a commitment and dedication to our profession that set us apart.”

Beckie and Pidzarko say that their practice has a “wonderful group of patients,” and that a successful practice means ensuring that the patients are healthy, well cared for and know that the team at Ocean is there for them. With many of their new customers arriving by the high recommendation of friends or family, their approach - and range of services - is clearly working. The office has welcomed patients from close to home, but also from as far afield as northern B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, the US and even Europe.

PHOTO: Dr. Vern Beckie and Dr. Lyle Pidzarko, Ocean Dental

Ocean Dental 300-4789 Kingsway Burnaby, B.C. 604-432-7874

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Peak Success Coaching


ind your passion, get unstuck from deeply rooted patterns of conflict, and success will follow. For Staudt, that passion has always been to help others live their best life, and in turn, tap into their own passion. Through her company, Peak Success, Staudt helps people explore a variety of life, business and career conflicts – from unproductive, profit-depleting workplace relationships to failing, life-draining personal relationships to career dissatisfaction – and then make lasting changes to significantly improve their lives, business or career.

“Conflicts happen every day – in our relationships, in ourselves – and when we stop, look at the root causes of our habitual patterns of conflicts and get ourselves unstuck from that unconscious cycle, real change begins to happen,” she says. “We can get lost sometimes and we just need help to wake up, finally free ourselves of the intensely painful causes of our conflicts and make fearless, courageous decisions we are proud of.” She says that her approach stems from a philosophy rooted in the belief that each person has the resources and capacity for powerful transformation already inside them – her job is to help them uncover it, and let it blossom. “It is fun for me when clients begin to see their own potential – to become what they already are inside, and achieve more than what they originally thought possible.” she said. “We all know when we are in that moment, when we feel we are at our best, doing great work and having strong connections with others; we feel happy at that moment – what if we operated that way all the time? Imagine what it would mean to feel you were

at that peak all the time? Well, 90% of the time.” Her work with individuals, couples, or teams in workplace settings has given her a unique sense of satisfaction. “ It’s an honour to be told that our work is life changing, marriage or life saving - to be free of the conflicts that had kept them awake countless nights and to feel happier – that is my gift. Everyone has their unique gift – each of us are masterpieces, with everything we need to live life the way we want to. But people often can’t see beyond their doubts and self judgement – but that’s who I see and who I help bring out again.” Staudt says she never tires of witnessing and nurturing that process in others. “The best feeling in the world is to see someone living their life to the fullest, to help them discover what feeds their soul and what gives them meaning– that is transformational.” Transformation is nothing new to Staudt. Originally from Trinidad, she spent her early career years in New York City, working in “corporate America” before moving to Burnaby with her husband and giving birth to their daughter. She has a masters degree in psychology from Long Island University, assessments certifications, and coach training. In 2010, her first book, Live Your Vacation: The Ultimate Guide to Live your Dream Life...Everyday! was published. Her next book will focus on conflictfree relationships. Staudt has used all of her corporate career, coaching and life experiences, to give back to the community she’s called home for 20 years. In particular, she’s been heavily involved with the Rotary Club of Burnaby Metrotown leadership, Rotary Peace Fellowship and the Burnaby Board of Trade Business Excellence Awards.

PHOTO: Gloria Staudt, Owner, Peak Success Coaching


Excellence “Each of us are masterpieces, with everything we need to live life the way we want to.”

Peak Success Coaching Burnaby, B.C. 604-518-3650

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Harjit Sandhu, at Investors Group


or many people, talking about money is stressful – for Harjit Sandhu, talking about money, and helping people feel comfortable doing the same, is all in a day’s work. “That’s what it’s all about – I want my clients to feel confident, have a plan and know they’re headed in the right direction,” he said.

As a division director and Senior Consultant with Investors Group, Sandhu has been providing investment, debt management, wealth, estate planning and tax planning services to a wide range of clients. “We work with every type of client: corporate business owners, individuals, families,” he said. “What we do for people is help them save money, pay off their debts faster and provide for themselves and their loved ones for a more secure financial future.” Sandhu says people of all income levels – yes, even low income – can be helped significantly with a little planning. “If anything, someone coming in with less to start with are the people who can really benefit over the long term by working with us – planning is always a benefit,” he said. The same goes for lack of knowledge – a factor which can sometimes make people avoid looking at their financial situation altogether. “That’s why we’re here – we walk clients through all of it, how estate planning works or tax planning, whatever they need,” he said. He says he encourages everyone to consider the benefit of planning, regardless of age or stage of life or income level. “When we’re meeting people for the first time, we hope they see right away that different level of service we’re bringing to the table – our expertise and knowledge – and

then to begin to learn what financial planning is all about, and walk through that with them.” Providing financial planning services as part of the Investors Group team is “wonderful,” says Sandhu. “We’re the leading financial planning firm in Canada.” Investors Group first opened its doors in Canada in 1926; there are now more than 100 offices across the country, with a head office located in Winnipeg. The company also has a strong commitment to community involvement in the Burnaby Community; it is major donor/supporter to the Burnaby Rotary Club, South Burnaby Neighborhood House and the Burnaby Salvation Army.


Excellence “I want my clients to feel confident, have a plan and know they’re headed in the right direction.”

The company’s philosophy includes a strong focus on creating long-term relationships with clients to help provide solid financial advice at various life stages. That’s a philosophy that Sandhu stands behind. “You create a relationship of trust and respect, and help your client with their goals – that’s positive for everyone,” he said. “The relationships that I develop with my clients over time is very rewarding.” Sandhu notes that there are approximately 40 financial planners working through the Greater Vancouver Central office – a culturally diverse group representing a number of languages to serve the population of the region. Sandhu, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from SFU, a Bachelor of Business Administration from Kwantlen University College and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, has won a number of national and local awards for his work in financial planning.

PHOTO: Harjit Sandhu, Division Director and Senior Consultant, Investors Group

Harjit Sandhu, at Investors Group 900-5945 Kathleen Ave. Burnaby, B.C. 604-431-0117

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Burnaby Board of Trade


t’s a lesson that works as well in a kindergarten classroom as it does in the corporate world: when you work together, you get better results. The Burnaby Board of Trade has been helping city businesses do just that for more than 100 years. “Essentially, we are the voice of business in Burnaby,” said Paul Holden, CEO and president of the Board. “Our mission really speaks to why people join us: to improve business by providing insightful leadership, advocacy, education, and a platform for collaboration. That’s our goal, our focus.” That comes in the form of a variety of programs, services and events, all aimed at helping to provide businesses of all sizes and types with the tools they need to have continued and growing success. “A big organization or company with 200 people is going to be looking for very different things than a small business,” said Holden. “But that’s where our various initiatives come in, in providing what different businesses need and will work for them.” For example, he points to two of their most successful programs, the Ambassador program and the Access Student Career Development program. In the Ambassador program, local individuals in the business community volunteer time and expertise to help connect with new members, working with them to network and connect with other members and programs. With the Access program, the Burnaby Board of Trade has teamed up with local educational bodies BCIT, SFU and Douglas College, to create a career skills and mentorship program to prepare students to enter the workforce. The BBOT also hosts a variety of events

through the year for education, networking and community involvement and provides members with a significant amount of benefits and discount programs, including the Chamber of Commerce Health Plan, fuel discounts and reduced fees for payment processing.


Excellence “Making business better.”

Holden says the Board is also unique among its counterparts in North America in its vision statement. “We want to be recognized as a leader in championing an innovative, sustainable, socially responsible and robust business community in Burnaby,” he said. “We invest quite a lot of time, energy and resources toward supporting the triple-bottom line and that truly differentiates us.” In practical terms, those goals are pursued in a variety of ways, for example, the board has initiated a Pledge for Sustainable Community, which is a resource to help local businesses take specific and measurable steps to reduce their environmental footprint. “That’s a leading edge program, we already have over 100 business involved in that, and they have achieved some great successes,” he said. There are currently more than 1,100 members with the board, and Holden says they plan to continue to grow in the coming years, innovating with new programs and events. “This city is known for being very business friendly - the location is a great factor, but also the history. We have some top-notch organizations based here and we’ve developed a really strong reputation in certain sectors such as high-tech, clean energy and film and entertainment” he noted. “It’s a great time for business in Burnaby.”

PHOTO: Paul Holden, CEO and President, Burnaby Board of Trade

Burnaby Board of Trade 201-4555 Kingsway Burnaby, B.C. 604-412-0100

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Hemlock Printers


n business, keeping up with change is critical to staying viable - but it’s the companies that stay ahead of the curve that will flourish and thrive. Hemlock Printers has done just that since the late ’60s , largely by embracing the reality that it isn’t just technology that can and should change, but also their own corporate culture. They’ve continued to grow in a time of incredible challenges for the print industry, and managed to rack up awards and accolades at the same time – including being named the Most Environmentally Progressive Printer in Canada six years in a row. “In 1968, we were a little print shop in Burnaby – the methods that we used were totally different from today, the materials that we used were totally different,” said Dick Kouwenhoven, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Dick joined Hemlock as an employee in 1965, later becoming a partner and then ultimately buying the company out and incorporating it in 1968. “We’ve changed a lot, and the city has changed a lot – we’ve grown along with Burnaby, really,” he said. The company now employs about 170 people, many of them Dick is proud to note have been with the company for most of their careers. Among them is his son Richard, now President and General Manager. “This is a wonderful company to be part of,” said Richard. “Certainly the industry has changed a lot and it has been challenging in recent years, but we still see plenty of opportunity.”

The company is currently one of the largest commercial printers on the North American west coast, with a 79,000 square foot facility in Burnaby, and sales offices in Victoria, Seattle and San Francisco. They service private businesses of all sizes as well as government and institutional clients. “We have a passion for the printed product, we believe in print, and we want to be leading the way in that,” said Richard. “It’s a blend of creativity and manufacturing savvy and we look at ourselves every day, at what we’re doing, to see how we can improve.”

“We have a passion for the printed product, we believe in print, and we want to be leading the way in that.”

Their slogan certainly fits that approach: Integrity. Innovation. In print. “That really sums it up very, very well. It’s a continuously evolving industry – innovation is an important aspect of growth – but it’s also about us as a company, that integrity that we bring to what we do, through all of our staff and all of our products.” “We work very hard to always push our sustainability practices at Hemlock,” said Richard. “It fits not just our goals, as a company and as individuals, but also what our customers want. When we can give them that, and the best product, and great service, we feel like we’re doing something right.” Being socially and environmentally responsible while still maintaining a successful business model is a challenge, but one that the Kouwenhovens gladly embrace. “This is what we do, and we work to do it well for our customers,” said Dick. “It’s wonderful to be part of.”

Hemlock Printers 7050 Buller Ave. Burnaby, B.C. 604-438-2456

PHOTO: Dick Kouwenhoven, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Richard Kouwenhoven, President and General Manager, Hemlock Printers

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Synergy Plumbing and Heating Ltd.


t’s easy to assume that a family business relies on the like-mindedness of its owners to build success. But in the case of Synergy Plumbing and Heating, it’s precisely the opposite: Joe and Dennis Guiotto’s differences have helped them build a thriving business with sights set on growing into the future. “We’re brothers, yes, but we are completely different people,” says Joe Guiotto with a laugh. “I’m more of the administrative guy – the finance guy. I worry about all those details. That’s what I enjoy. And Dennis, he’s the hands-on guy, in the field, he loves being right in there doing what the customer needs and figuring out how to get it done properly and working with the other staff.” Joe says the dynamic has worked very well for them, allowing them to service an ever-growing base of clients from fixing a leak for a homeowner to laying the piping for a new development. “That’s one thing that is unique about us compared to a lot of competitors – we have a construction division that does construction-type work, but we also have a service division, and they operate separately but under our one roof,” added Dennis. “So the client, whatever the job – whether it’s a $1 million job or there’s one hours worth of work in his bathroom – we can do both, and we do both well.” But Dennis says there’s another aspect of being a family business that has worked in their favour: the fact that they’re accessible and that they care about every aspect of their company. “Because we’re a family business, and because of our size, we take everything

very personally – to get a hold of the owners here, to get Joe or I on the phone, is not a big deal,” he said. “That’s very different than when you’re dealing with a franchise and the owners are faroff in another city maybe.” That helps them focus on customer service and on providing an efficient, honest, reliable service to all their customers, they say. That dedication to hard work and integrity came from another family connection, they say: their father. “He was in the construction business his whole life – he’s the hardest worker you’ll ever see,” said Joe. “He’s 78 and still working hard on everything he gets his hands on around the house. I think we really learned from him about working hard, and doing your best.”


Excellence “Because we’re a family business … we take everything very personally.”

So far, that work ethic has paid off as they continue to grow while building a reputation for excellence. “Word of mouth, that’s how most people come to us,” said Joe. “That’s a great thing, to know that the work you’ve done has led to a recommendation.” The brothers both say that having the right crew and staff make all the difference. “Everyone here right now is great – it’s a good team, good people.” The brothers both went to BCIT in Burnaby, then began long-time separate careers working in the plumbing industry before they came together to start Synergy. “We both did our own thing for some time,” said Joe. “I think that has helped us bring the best skills back to make Synergy do well and keep growing.”

PHOTO: Joe and Dennis Guiotto, owners of Synergy Plumbing & Heating

Synergy Plumbing and Heating Ltd. Unit 114-4268 Lozells Ave. Burnaby, B.C. 604-419-0499

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Fortius Sport & Health


magine if there was a place dedicated to helping every person who walked through the door become the best athlete they could be. Now imagine that place was right here in Burnaby and that the athletes ran the gamut from elite level hockey players to weekend warriors, from six year- olds on a soccer field to seniors keeping active through sport.

Maybe it’s to recover from an injury without losing their conditioning. Maybe it’s to take the step into an elite level. ... I think a lot of people don’t consider themselves an ‘athlete’ but anyone who has a focus or commitment to sport or recreational activities, that’s an athlete – that’s someone who can benefit from a progressive treatment approach to issues.”

Sound like a dream? It certainly is for Fortius co-founder & chief sport officer Rick Celebrini. Fortius, on Kensington Avenue in central Burnaby, is an integrated athlete development centre focused on optimizing human performance for life. “It’s an absolute dream come true,” he said. “I grew up in Burnaby, I used to ride my bike to the Burnaby Public Library and take out books about how to train, how to get faster. So this is really a dream, to be here in Burnaby and working in this kind of facility.”

Fortius was born with the idea of bringing a variety of providers and services under one roof – an approach focusing on integration, collaboration and innovation. The integrated team is committed to best practices in performance, treatment, prevention, education and research. The seed that made it possible was a $23 million donation from founder & chair Scott Cousens and his family – the largest single donation in Canadian sport history. “None of this could have happened without that philanthropy – and the leadership and vision since then, to bring it to fruition,” said Celebrini.

Celebrini has already had a number of dream moments in his career as an internationally recognized sport and orthopedic physiotherapist: he was part of the executive team for the Vancouver 2010 sport medical team and he was worked with elite athletes, like NBAer Steve Nash, and organizations such as the NHLPA and currently the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, to name just a few. He says that though his work has often focused on high-level athletes, the focus for the team at Fortius is on every athlete, of every level. “Optimum performance means something different to every individual client,” he said. “Whatever their goals are, that’s what we’re here to support – maybe it’s to do the Sun Run or the Boston Marathon.

Services at Fortius include sport medicine physicians and orthopedics covered by MSP, physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, hydrotherapy, nutrition, performance vision, biomechanics and exercise physiology, as well as facilities such as an NBA-size double gymnasium, a FIFA standard soccer field, a cycling studio, lodge and more (featuring the likes of Starbucks, Pharmasave, FitFirst Footwear and SportMed retail store). “It’s really amazing – the level of collaboration and integration across disciplines is just amazing,” he said. “We’re so excited to be here and now it’s time to earn our stripes and show the level of excellence that Fortius can bring to sport in B.C.”

PHOTO: Dr. Rick Celebrini, Co-Founder & Chief Sport Officer, Fortius Sport & Health


Excellence “This is really a dream, to be here in Burnaby and working in this capacity in this kind of facility.”

Fortius Sport & Health 3713 Kensington Ave. Burnaby, B.C. 604-292-2500

Christina Myers


hristina Myers has spent the last decade as an award-winning staff reporter at community newspapers in metro Vancouver, covering beats as diverse as politics, health and education. She has a degree in psychology from the University of B.C. and a degree in journalism from Thompson Rivers University; at the latter, she was awarded the medal of journalism as the top graduating student in the program. She now works as a freelance writer and editor, a full-time parent, an intermittent blogger, and hopes to fit in a novel or two at some point in the not too distant future. She lives in North Surrey with her husband and two young children, along with an assortment of antiques and overstuffed bookshelves in the oldest and arguably cutest house on her street.



Lisa King and Kevin Hill


isa King and Kevin Hill have been professional photographers since 2006. Between them, their work has appeared in magazines and newspapers throughout B.C. and beyond, including 24 Hours Vancouver, Macleans, Pacific Yachting, Hamilton Spectator and Glacier Media – to name just a few. Though primarily editorial photographers, the pair have also worked in commercial and product photography, events and weddings. King and Hill met in photojournalism school at Loyalist College and now live in White Rock, an ideal home base for the professional pursuits that take them around the region. Their busy schedule keeps them behind the lens most of the time, but when time allows, King enjoys team sports while Hill might head out for outdoor adventures like skiing or backpacking.




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