For information about how to nominate a Holland College alumnus for a distinguished alumni award, call (902) 566-9590 or email.
2013 Award Winner Bios
John Ledwell worked his way up from the bottom of the ladder. He got his start at Gentleman Jim’s as a dishwasher before moving up the ranks to become a line cook, and then a cook aboard an Imperial Oil tanker, prior to enrolling at The Culinary Institute of Canada to hone his craft. After leaving Holland College, he moved to Quebec, where he worked in some of the top kitchens in Montreal, before being recruited by Daniel Langlois (founder of Softimage) to the position of Executive Chef of his exclusive, members-only club Le 357c. John’s cuisine had many fans, among them former Prime Ministers Jean Chretien and Brian Mulroney, as well as international celebrities Barbra Streisand, Robert DeNiro, and Celine Dion. John was always at the leading edge of culinary trends: from Kobe beef to Colville Bay oysters, he was among the first to recognize and promote exciting new ingredients. His unrelenting pursuit of the best culinary products brought prosperity to small producers of quality ingredients. He was known to welcome young, aspiring chefs into his kitchen to inspire and mentor the next generation. When he passed away suddenly in 2007 of a heart attack at the age of 45, the Montreal Gazette remembered him in a glowing tribute to a career cut tragically short.
Paul Livingston took a small family owned welding business (Ben Livingston and Sons Ltd.) and, with his partners, developed numerous new businesses across the Maritimes, which today employ close to 200 people. These businesses, totaling between 12 and 15, have grown in tough economic times. The welding business has expanded to include Livingston Steel Inc. in Summerside and Eastern Fabricators, a stainless steel company, at Pooles Corner. He also holds ownership and management interest in three Burger King Restaurants in New Brunswick and various commercial and residential properties in PEI. Paul has served two terms on the Finance Committee of the Town of Stratford, is co-founder of the PEI Flying Association, serves on the executive of the People’s Cemetery of PEI, and was one of the investors who brought the PEI Senators to Prince Edward Island. He has also participated in the Student Achievement Indicator Program for science and was a judge at UPEI for the Nicol competition, a national entrepreneurial award competition. Paul is a current member of the Holland College Welding Advisory Committee and is PEI’s representative on the national board of Governors of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB).
Robert Webster, a graduate of Electrical Construction in 1994, is the General Manager of the Electrical and Instrumentation division for Strike Group Inc. in Calgary. His career began upon graduation when he went to work at Hansen Electric where he was employed for six years before moving to Alberta to diversify his experience. He worked with several major construction companies developing his expertise in industrial oil and gas electrical construction. Robert ultimately became an area manager with one of Alberta’s largest electrical companies, where he was soon leading large-scale oil and gas construction projects. In 2005, Robert and partners bought a Calgary-based industrial electrical company which was eventually acquired by Strike Group Inc. Robert is now the General Manager of Strike’s Electrical and Instrumentation division and through his leadership grew the electrical and instrumentation division from $2 million to $20 million annually.
Robert is very active in community and charitable giving in both Alberta and PEI. Through his work with the Calgary and PEI chapters of the Children’s Wish Foundation, Strike and the PEI Rum Runners have raised $660,000 to date for the Children’s Wish Foundation. In addition to his efforts as a volunteer, Webster received the Chief’s Award, the City of Calgary’s highest honour, for his intervention in the attempted suicide of a young man, which ultimately saved his life.