THUNDER BAY, ON – Confederation College is celebrating the remarkable achievements of three of its alumni by presenting them with the President’s Award. The 2016 recipients include Kateri Banning-Skaarup, Damian Joseph and Ronald Monias.
“We are proud of all of our alumni and I am thrilled to honour a selection of them each year for all that they have achieved,” said Jim Madder, President of Confederation College. “The three recipients this year have proven that they are leaders in their respective fields through their exemplary accomplishments. Confederation College is happy to have played a role in their success.”
In addition to receiving the President’s Award, each of the three alumni have been nominated for the 2016 Premier’s Awards, which recognize the tremendous contributions Ontario’s college graduates make to the success of the province and beyond. The Premier’s Awards ceremony will take place on Monday, November 21 in Toronto.
Brief profiles for each of the three recognized alumni are below.
Pre-Technology (graduated 2004) and Mechanical Techniques – Multi-Skilling (graduated 2005) Kateri Banning-Skaarup and her husband Dan started Skaarup Construction just months after graduating from Confederation College. With a drill, a Chevy Cavalier, and a dollar-store notebook full of goals, they turned a small renovation company based on Fort William First Nation into a successful design/build company. However, their success didn’t come from building multi-million dollar homes – Skaarup Construction prefers to build high-quality, affordable homes for families in need. Recently, Kateri won two Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards from the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund and from Influential Women of Northern Ontario, and helped launch the “Women Under Construction” training program.
Broadcasting – Television Production (graduated 2014)
Damian Joseph is a storyteller. In a short time, he has gone from studio technician and camera operator to producing his own segments for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). Most of his stories document the lives of Indigenous Peoples in and around Winnipeg, Manitoba where he now works. But sometimes the stories take him further. He was co-nominated for a Canadian Association of Journalists Award for his coverage of last year’s Lac La Ronge forest fires in Saskatchewan. His passion has influenced others in his home of Naotkamegwanning First Nation, inspiring youth there to tell their own stories, too.
Native Child and Family Services (graduated 1989)
Ronald Monias became CEO of the Northern Authority in Manitoba in a very short time. Originally from Garden Hill First Nation in Manitoba, he went to school at Confederation College and worked in Northwestern Ontario before moving back to Winnipeg. The Native Child and Family Services program along with his natural leadership abilities and commitment to helping families, make him a natural fit for the position. Ronald brought the provincial and federal governments together by forming the Collaborative Working Group (CWG) to help streamline child welfare services and address issues more quickly, ultimately improving child welfare for First Nation children.