Ernst & Young Names 2012 Quebec Entrepreneur of the Year

Michel Gendreau of Garaga has been named the Ernst & Young Quebec Entrepreneur of the Year.

Michel acquired then-bankrupt Garaga in 1983 and by rallying employees, suppliers, clients and new financial partners, transformed the company into a profitable, leading manufacturing business, Ernst & Young says. During the economic crisis of 1990, Michel also expanded Garaga’s offerings and implemented new efficiency standards. The risk was worth the reward, Ernst & Young points out: today, Garaga’s distribution network spans across Canada, the United States, Central and South America, and the Middle East.

“Our Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards celebrate game-changing entrepreneurs’ ability to see opportunity where others see risk,” says Sylvain Vincent, Ernst & Young Managing Partner in Eastern Canada. “Michel’s fearlessness in the face of adversity has been essential to Garaga’s success. Michel’s unwavering focus on innovation, continuous improvement and integrity has made Garaga Canada’s leading garage door manufacturer and the seventh largest manufacturer in North America.”

Ashley Cooper of Paladin Security Group was named 2012’s Pacific Entrepreneur of the Year earlier this month. Ashley has cemented Paladin’s presence in Alberta, and overseen the company’s expansion into Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia. Paladin is now the largest privately held security company in Canada.

“Ashley Cooper embodies the Canadian entrepreneurial spirit to its fullest extent,” says Ron Voyer, Pacific Director of Entrepreneur Of The Year. “Ashley’s vision and unwavering drive to improve client and employee experience has taken Paladin to new heights in British Columbia, Alberta and across the country. Ashley’s innovative employment screening, training programs and use of technology is not only carving out a competitive advantage for Paladin, it’s changing the face of the Canadian security market.”

John McCluskey of Alamos Gold was named 2012’s Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year. John’s” forward-thinking vision and eye for opportunity” has grown Alamos Gold from a junior mining company with no employees to a leading gold producer with over 550 employees and operations in Canada, Turkey and Mexico.

“Leading entrepreneurs possess an unparalleled drive and determination in the face of extreme adversity—and John is no exception,” says Colleen McMorrow, National and Ontario Director of Entrepreneur Of The Year. “John risked everything when founding Alamos Gold Inc. at the bottom of a 20-year gold bear market and amid significant macroeconomic issues. But the risk paid off.”

Alan Ulsifer of FYidoctors was named 2012’s Praries Entrepreneur of the Year. 

“Entrepreneur Of The Year is all about celebrating local leaders whose drive and determination has made a lasting impact on Canadian business,” says Rob Jolley, Prairies Director of Entrepreneur Of The Year. “Alan’s visionary leadership has single-handily changed the face of the Canadian optometry industry.”

 Patrick O’Callaghan of East Coast Catering was named 2012’s Atlantic Entrepreneur of the Year.

“Our Entrepreneur Of The Year program was made for leaders like Patrick O’Callaghan,” says Lynn Healey, Atlantic Entrepreneurial Services Leader and regional Director of Entrepreneur Of The Year. “From humble beginnings to great heights, Patrick’s story of success goes to show the power and potential of an entrepreneurial mindset.”