The judges

This year each Small Business Calgary Award finalist and winner (except for the winner of the People's Choice Award) is selected by a panel of highly-qualified industry experts and business leaders in the community.

Here you can find information on who is involved with the selection process for each award for 2016. Click on one of the awards below to jump straight to its judges:

ATB Small Business of the Year Award

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Chair: Joe Kazma


Joe has been a successful entrepreneur in the ultra-competitive world of sales consulting, and also comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Combined with years of experience in leadership roles in the financial services and not-for-profit sectors, this enables him to bring unique expertise as a Director, to his team of Manager’s of Entrepreneurship at ATB Financial, and each and every Albertan whom honors ATB with their business.

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Adam Legge


Before joining the Calgary Chamber as President + CEO in 2010. Adam was the vice president and chief economist with Calgary Economic Development. Adam is actively engaged in the community chairing the board of Attainable Homes Calgary Corporation, and serving on the boards of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada.  Adam graduated of the University of British Columbia with an honours Bachelor of Commerce and of the University of Calgary with a Master of Environmental Design.

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Greg Habstritt


Greg Habstritt is the President and Managing Partner of Vets To Go, Canada’s largest mobile veterinary company.  As a born and raised Calgarian, Greg has been involved in a number of local entrepreneurial ventures and companies over the past 25 years.  Vets To Go was named the ATB Small Business of the Year in last year’s award program, as well as recently being listed on the PROFIT 500 list of Canada’s fastest growing companies.

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Sebastian Elawny


Sebastian a former entrepreneur – passionate about small business and start-ups, Sebastian spends much of his time evaluating and investing in business opportunities.  Largely due to his entrepreneurial efforts, Sebastian was recently awarded Lexpert’s prestigious “Rising Stars” award for leading lawyers in Canada under the age of 40, and was nominated as one of Canada’s top 25 most influential lawyers (Corporate-Commercial category) by Canadian Lawyer magazine.

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Ranny Shibley

President & CEO, RJS Capital

Ranny brings over 16 years of experience in the global energy industry where he held positions including President, CEO and Director. In 2007, Ranny founded the Hayati Children’s Foundation, a not-for-profit that aids underprivileged children worldwide. In 2012, Ranny was selected as Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40. Recently, Ranny founded RJS Capital Inc. a company focused on investments in various industries. 

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Joon Chan

Partner, Private Company Services, PwC

Joon is the Alberta Technology Leader at PwC and spends his time working with clients to deliver innovative and practical solutions across all aspects of their business. He has a diverse portfolio of clients, however his passion remains with early-stage technology startups. Joon spent the beginning of his career in California working with technology companies and venture capital funds and continues to leverage his connections in the US with his client base in Alberta.

BDC Emerging Growth Award

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Chair: Josh Ronald

Partner, Stawowski McGill

At Stawowski McGill Josh is the go-to guy for small businesses looking to achieve big results. He works closely with clients to build trusted, ongoing relationships, learning about both their professional and personal goals. Josh collaborates with each client to determine the path that will lead to success, and believes in celebrating every accomplishment (not to mention enjoying a laugh or two along the way). His passion for business has him talking about it everywhere from the office to the golf course.

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Ryan Arsenault

Founder, drakken

Ryan is a successful entrepreneur and international business leader, has a record of success throughout the Middle East, Europe, Europe, Africa and Mexico. As a founder at Drakken, his leadership has met the challenges of executing complex industrial projects in the world’s most challenging environments including deep-water offshore, arctic, desert, and regions with heightened security. He has earned a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration, majoring in Project Management and participates on multiple boards for children’s sports associations.

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Kevin Kent

el presidente, knifewear

Kevin Kent sees his past life as a chef as the best education for being an entrepreneur. Kevin started Knifewear after becoming infatuated with handmade Japanese kitchen knives in 2007. His business has now grown to 5 shops across Canada. In 2013 he opened Kent of Inglewood, Canada’s Shave Shop, and there are now shops in Ottawa and Edmonton, with Vancouver coming soon. His newest shop, From the Wild, which is dedicated to wilderness living and cooking, is set to open in Edmonton October 2016.

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Greg Breen

Senior account manager, bdc

Sebastian a former entrepreneur – passionate about small business and start-ups, Sebastian spends much of his time evaluating and investing in business opportunities.  Largely due to his entrepreneurial efforts, Sebastian was recently awarded Lexpert’s prestigious “Rising Stars” award for leading lawyers in Canada under the age of 40, and was nominated as one of Canada’s top 25 most influential lawyers (Corporate-Commercial category) by Canadian Lawyer magazine.

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Amish Morjaria

Founder / director of strategy, forward level marketing

Amish lives in a world of turning abstract thoughts into focused marketing strategies. Fueled by Forward Level’s commitment – to move forward – Amish works with clients in diverse industries to explore new territories and bold ideas that drive business growth.

Breakout Business Award

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Chair: Rahim Merchant

Associate, McLeod Law LLP

Rahim Merchant is an Associate in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution group of McLeod Law LLP. He practices general commercial litigation with a focus on employment matters, shareholder disputes, construction litigation, builder liens and commercial tenancy matters. He also has extensive experience in foreclosure and debt recovery issues.

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Asher Macdonald


Asher Macdonald is an Associate at McLeod Law. Before law, Asher graduated from the Bissett School of Business and worked in Calgary’s oil and gas industry. During business school, Asher competed nationally with Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship and Students in Free Enterprise. He also judged regional and national competitions for several years following graduation and is actively involved in their alumni network.

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Matthew Burgoyne


Matthew Burgoyne maintains a commercial practice which includes advising on business transactions, securities and corporate finance related matters. He has extensive experience in acting for borrowers and private lenders, including mortgage investment corporations (MICs) and syndicated mortgage entities. Matthew’s involvement with the private lending industry includes advising on a wide range of matters, from providing specialized assistance with initial incorporations and organizations of MICs to assisting clients with private placement offerings, specifically the preparation of offering memoranda and subscription agreements.

Innovation Award

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Chair: James Thangaraj

director of strategic partnerships, innovate calgary

James creates mutually beneficial knowledge and revenue based alliances with industry partners that lead to opportunities for the partner to advise, buy from or invest in Innovate Calgary’s start-up clients. James has 20 years of business consulting and economic development experience across Africa, Europe, North America and South Asia. He has worked at organizations like the World Bank, Enterprise LSE and General Electric, and repeatedly created measurable value for diverse clients. He holds a master’s degree from London School of Economics.

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Andrea McLane

Vice President of Commercial Financial Services, RBC

Andrea helps businesses with financing and growth needs across all stages of development. She has 18 years of experience in Commercial Banking, 10 years in Commercial Risk Management and significant experience and expertise in energy sector financing. Prior to her current role, Andrea was Regional Director of Risk Management and Special Loans with responsibility for all of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North Western Ontario. She has a BA from the University of Victoria and a MBA from the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business.

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Tony Morris

Senior Partner and Trade-Mark Agent, Norton Rose Fullbright

Tony Morris Leads the Calgary office practice in technology, e-business, privacy and information management law. He assists technology suppliers and users in structuring, negotiating and implementing technology-related corporate and commercial transactions, including business process and information technology outsourcing and service agreements, competitive procurements, and the reworking of information technology relationships.

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Jim Gibson


Jim is a passionate, experienced and infinitely curious entrepreneur.  He has spent over 30 years working across Canada and around the world in technology and change. Jim is currently working with organizations in Canada and the UK to help them understand and launch their response to technology disruption. Jim has an MBA from Schulich School of Business in Toronto a BComm from the University of Toronto and holds his Certified Management Consulting Designation.

Indigenous Entrepreneurship Award

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Chair: Monique Fry

Indigenous Liason, Calgary Learns

Monique Fry is from the Cheam First Nation of the Sto:Lo Tribal Nations in BC, and is passionate about, and has helped to build relationships between Indigenous communities and the corporate world for over 10 years. Holding positions at Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative, ATCO S&L and currently at Calgary Learns, Monique has focused on building employment opportunities, mentorship and collaborative relationship building to help companies and communities reach mutual goals of social environmental and economic bottom lines. Monique has served on the Chamber’s Indigenous Committee off and on for 12 years.


Patrick Gladue

Loans Manager, Indian Business Corporation

Stay tuned for more info on the bio of this awesome judge.


Additional info on the other judges to come

Customer Service Award

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Chair: Margot Micallef

President, Oliver Capital Partners/Gabriella’s Kitchen

Margot Micallef, Q.C. is the President of Oliver Capital Partners, a company she founded in 2003 to invest in private companies looking for expansion capital or an outright sale. Since its inception Oliver Capital Partners has directly and indirectly invested in a number of diverse businesses including: broadcasting, publishing, food manufacturing and real estate and manages or has managed the franchise development rights for a number of well known quick service restaurant brands including Domino’s Pizza, Subway and Taco del Mar. Under Margot’s leadership Oliver has established a track record of delivering industry leading returns to its investors.

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Jolan Storch

General Counsel and VP, Canada Olympic Committee

Jolan runs a consulting company providing business development and legal services to the Canadian Olympic Committee and other sport organizations, entrepreneurs and innovators. She is primarily a business development/sales professional who puts great brands together with sport partnerships to transform Canada through the power of sport. Jolan is a very unique lawyer with deep experience in the Olympic Games, sports marketing and sponsorship law, but destined to focus on sales and partnerships exchanging meaningful value. 

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Chris Fenn

VP operations for Gabriella's Kitchen and Managing Director at Oliver Capital Partners

Christopher Fenn is the Managing Director of Oliver Capital Partners. In this role Chris oversees all of OCPs investments and, together with the Founder & President, decides on future investments and direction. Chris also serves or has served in an operating role for a number of Oliver’s portfolio companies. Currently, the bulk of Chris’ time is spent in his capacity as Vice President, Operations for Gabriella’s Kitchen Inc. In this role Chris oversees all aspects of operations for Gabriella’s Kitchen including manufacturing, safety, quality control, shipping, and plant processes. He has been instrumental in increasing efficiencies and improving plant processes to prepare Gabriella’s Kitchen for growth and its recent expansion into the United States.

Environmental Stewardship Award

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Chair: Andrée Iffrig

Leader - Sustainability, DIRTT Environmental Solutions

Andrée Iffrig, LEED AP, ISSP-SA is the leader for the Green Team at DIRTT Environmental Solutions. She is an ambassador for sustainability, giving presentations across North America. Andrée is the Chair of the Advisory Committee, Green Building Technology Centre at SAIT and a co-founder of the Biomimicry Network of Alberta.

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Jason Switzer

Senior Advisor to the Executive Director, Pembina Institute

Jason Switzer joined the Pembina Institute after nearly a decade in international development and in corporate environmental management with positions including environmental excellence advisor at Cenovus Energy Inc. and senior greenhouse gas engineer at Shell Canada Oil Sands. Jason holds master's degrees in environmental engineering and in public policy from MIT and is a Harvard-trained environmental mediator.


Nagwan Al-Guneid

Environmental Consultant

Pronounced Naj-wan, Nagwan is a professional with a Master’s of Science in Sustainable Energy Development and 10+ years of Canadian and international experience in stakeholder relations, strategic communications, community investment, and program management within multinational organizations. Her research focuses on Addressing Climate Change through Collaboration between the Public and Private Sectors. She is currently a consultant helping organizations in creating their sustainability strategy along with measurement and communications plans.

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Erin Romanchuk


Erin is currently focused on Project Managing Alberta’s Energy Futures Lab - an Alberta-based, multi-interest collaboration designed to accelerate the development of a “fit for the future” energy system. Also an Associate with The Natural Step Canada, Erin supports the development of role model organizations as leaders in sustainable business and sustainable communities and provides workshops and training on the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development. Erin holds a Master’s of Science in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability from the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden.

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Peter MacConnachie


Peter has worked worked extensively in the fields of alternate fuels and the assessment of emerging energy technologies throughout his career.  In his current position, Peter’s role is to “look over the horizon” to identify future issues for Suncor and the oil sands industry.  Peter has a B.Sc. in Chemistry from U. of Victoria, an M.Sc. in Chemistry from Queen’s and an MBA from U. of Alberta. Peter is on the Advisory Committee of the MRU Institute for Environmental Sustainability and he serves as Suncor’s 

Community Impact Award

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Chair: Eva Friesen

President and CEO, Calgary Foundation

Eva has been the President and CEO of the Calgary Foundation since 2005.  Previously she was the CEO of the Calgary Health Trust (4 years) and the CEO of the YWCA of Calgary (12 years).   She has served on a variety of Boards including the Calgary Police Commission, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and the Calgary Rotary Club (Downtown). Eva holds an MBA from the University of Calgary.

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Sherilyn King

Sales Director, Yellow Pages

Sherilyn began her career in sales and publishing with Yellow Pages in Nova Scotia in 1996, where she quickly rose through the ranks of the company. In 2008, she transferred to Alberta when she accepted a position as Sales Director in the Western Region, overseeing the Sales Representatives in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, a position she currently holds today. Sherilyn is a natural leader who is constantly motivating and encouraging her sales teams to find solutions and step outside of their comfort zone.

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Leann Hackman-Carty

CEO, Economic Developers Alberta

Leann has lead public, private and non-profit organizations through eras of change to new levels of growth and stability. She has served as the Mayor’s Executive Assistant for Community & Economic Development; VP of Calgary Inc.; President of Concrete Global Ventures; Partner in Blue Heart Consulting; Managing Director (Alberta) of GroYourBiz; and is currently the CEO of Economic Developers Alberta. Throughout her career, her leadership, entrepreneurial drive and broad network of contacts have enabled her to establish multi-stakeholder partnerships across various sectors, industries and borders.


James Stauch

Director of the Institute for Community Prosperity, Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University

James has served as a foundation executive and non-profit sector consultant with nearly two decades of experience working in the field of philanthropy. He has guided or advised on programs that support the emergence of community leadership, or that help organizations uncover new possibilities for their programming and operations in order to be strategic, authentic and enduring in their impact. James has worked extensively with communities in the Arctic and Far North, with the non-profit sector in the Calgary and Greater Toronto regions, as well as with Aboriginal communities and organizations across Canada.