Recap: The Vancouver Board of Trade Governors’ Banquet and Rix Center Awards 2014

Thu Apr 24, 2014 06:00 PM - Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:00 PM
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The Vancouver Board of Trade's Immediate Past Chair, Ken Martin, speaks to 800 guests at the 27th Annual Governors' Banquet and Rix Center Awards on April 24, 2014. See the full photo gallery.

A black-tie affair

27th Annual Governors' Banquet and Rix Center Awards celebrate community leadership

By Carolyn Price

"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

As The Vancouver Board of Trade's 27th Annual Governors' Banquet and Rix Center Awards drew to a close on April 24, honouree David McLean recited this quote by American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The quote helped underscore the purpose of the annual black-tie gala and awards ceremony — which is to recognize some of B.C.'s most successful business leaders, particularly those who have worked to improve the lives of others.

Earlier in the evening, the Vancouver Police Pipe Band led an impressive group of head table guests into the ballroom to kick off the ceremony. The highly anticipated event brought together nearly 800 people at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Jill Krop, anchor for Global BC and BC1, served as master of ceremonies for the evening, entertaining the prestigious crowd with her wit and humour.

The event began with some celebratory announcements by The Vancouver Board of Trade's President and CEO, Iain Black, and 2013-14 Chair, Elio Luongo, who shared news that the organization had grown by more than 1,000 over the past 12 months — a milestone that very few chambers of commerce in North America can boast.

"A year ago we approved a business plan that targeted securing 650 new members by the end of April 2014 – the most ambitious target in three decades.  With new membership sales tracking to 70 per cent higher than three years ago, I am pleased to confirm that this year we will not only surpass the target of 650, but add more than one thousand new members of The Vancouver Board of Trade," said Luongo, to a round of applause.

Luongo also shared insights on some of the organization's policy initiatives over the past year, and formally announced that the organization's financial health has been restored. 

"Our approved five-to-seven-year plan of restoring our balance sheet — specifically eliminating our crippling accumulated deficit — has been completed in only two years. Let me be clear: as of next week, we are financially back on our feet, three to five years ahead of plan, and ready to embrace a very exciting future."

Next, Black and Luongo called to stage the evening's guest of honour — 2012-13 Board of Trade Chair Ken Martin, for his induction into the Council of Governors — a prestigious group made up of past chairs of The Vancouver Board of Trade.

Martin, the retired past President and CEO of Pacific Blue Cross, was commended for overseeing the Board of Trade through a period that was at times challenging, but also aggressively visionary.

"As chair of The Vancouver Board of Trade in 2012-13, Ken provided leadership, vision and resolve during one of the most transformational years in the organization's 127-year history. As mentioned, it was a time of reinvention, revised priorities and an evolving role in British Columbia's business community," said Luongo.

"Likely the most visible achievement and lasting legacy of his year as Chair is the creation of The Board of Trade's policy council, a body of board directors created to bring focus, structure and transparency to our crucial engagement in public policy. The obvious success that I mentioned a moment ago, in the policy area, is a direct result of this new approach, and Ken Martin is to be thanked for his vision and leadership."

Following Martin's induction, Black and Luongo moved on to the presentation of the 2014 Rix Center Awards. A special initiative of The Vancouver Board of Trade, the Rix Center was founded in 2008–09 by the late Dr. Don Rix. Each year, the Rix Center presents two prestigious awards at the Governors' Banquet, honouring one individual and one organization that have gone "above and beyond" to improve the greater community.

This year's honourees were Port Metro Vancouver, recipient of the Rix Award for Engaged Corporate Citizenship, and David McLean, Chairman of The McLean Group, recipient of the Rix Award for Engaged Community Citizenship.

Port Metro Vancouver, which handles 20 per cent of all trade in Canada, was commended by Luongo for its commitment to the highest standards of stewardship towards the long-term wellbeing of customers, employees, owners, business partners, the environment and the broader community.

"Port Metro Vancouver has community investment programs that focus on three areas: Community Enrichment, Education and Training, and Environmental Leadership.  One per cent of Port Metro Vancouver's net income is dedicated to initiatives that matter to local communities, and they also co-host an annual Port Community Fundraising Gala that, over the past 14 years, has raised more than $1.3 million for local charities," said Luongo.

"[The port] has demonstrated leadership through programs and initiatives such as habitat enhancement, shore power for cruise ships, the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, and the award-winning EcoAction program, which offers discounted harbour fees to shipping lines that adopt emissions-reduction measures for their vessels," he added.
Next, McLean — a past Chair of The Vancouver Board of Trade, past Chair of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and recently retired Chair of CN — was presented with the 2014 Rix Award for Engaged Community Citizenship, in recognition of his support for countless community organizations across Metro Vancouver and B.C.

"David has served on many corporate boards, including Concord Pacific Group Inc. and Coastland Wood Industries Inc. — two firms where he also served as board chair," Black told the audience. "With a lifelong interest in education, David has served on many board and strategic committees of universities in both Canada and the U.S."

"David's environmental, philanthropic and community interests are as diverse as the corporate boards on which he's served, including not only post-secondary institutions, but also commitments to organizations like Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards, and the Vancouver General Hospital and UBC Hospital Foundation," said Luongo.

McLean received a lively tribute by the Board of Trade that included a performance by the UBC School of Music Brass Ensemble, paired with a demonstration by the UBC Thunderbird Men's Basketball Team — two groups which McLean has a long history of supporting.

It was in his acceptance remarks that McLean cited the aforementioned Emerson quote. The recitation was meant to reflect the values and principles McLean held important throughout his career, but equally served to emphasize the important role the business community can play in improving our city's social fabric.

"To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition. To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

View more photos from this event on our Facebook page.

Thank you to our Sponsors

Rix Center Awards Sponsor:

Jim Pattison Group

Presenting Sponsor:

Concord Pacific Developments

Platinum Sponsors:



Global Container Terminals

McLean Group




Platinum In-Kind Sponsor:

Globe and Mail

Reception Sponsor:


Gold Sponsors:


Canadian Pacific

Kingswood Group of Companies

Silver Sponsors:

RBC Royal Bank Glentel

West Coast Reductions Ltd.


McMillan LLP

Pacific Blue Cross

YVR International Airport

Kinder Morgan Canada

Leaders of Tomorrow Sponsor:

Port Metro Vancouver

Company of Young Professionals Sponsor:

Euro Asia Transload

Women's Leadership Circle Sponsor:

Shell Canada


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