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Holland College Foundation announces Distinguished Alumni Award winners

December 3, 2013

Charlottetown, PE – The Holland College Foundation has announced the recipients of its sixth annual Distinguished Alumni Awards. Foundation Board of Directors Chair Quentin Bevan said that the exceptional careers alumni are building with their Holland College educations bring great pride to the College community.

“The 2013 Award recipients, the late Chef John Ledwell, Paul Livingston, and Robert Webster, have made definite marks within their chosen fields and have given their time and talents to the betterment of their communities,” he said.

Distinguished Alumni Award winner Chef John Ledwell (deceased)

Distinguished Alumni Award winner Chef John Ledwell (deceased)

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 Irving 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.

“John always pointed to the Holland College experience as the real start of his professional career,” noted his brother Mark. “He kept in touch with his instructors, particularly Barney Bree, and made sure to find positions in Montreal for students from the culinary institute, as he knew firsthand the fine training they had received.”

Distinguished Alumni Award winner Paul Livingston

Distinguished Alumni Award winner Paul Livingston

Paul Livingston graduated from Holland College with a diploma in Business Administration in 1976 and entered the family welding business, Ben Livingston and Sons Ltd. From here he and his partners developed numerous ventures across the Maritimes, which today employ close to 120 people and have grown despite 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 P.E.I.

Paul has served two terms on the Finance Committee of the Town of Stratford, is co-founder of the PEI Flying Association and serves on the executive of the People’s Cemetery of PEI. 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 P.E.I.’s representative on the national board of Governors of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB).

“The knowledge I acquired at Holland College has been the foundation for everything I have accomplished in business. I recently completed my MBA and my Holland College education was part of my inspiration to pursue further education,” said Livingston.



Distinguished Alumni Award winner Robert Webster

Distinguished Alumni Award winner Robert Webster

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.

“Holland College provided me with the education and skills I needed to succeed in the electrical industry.

I am overwhelmed to receive this award and look forward to continuing my support of, and relationship with, the Holland College family,” said Webster.

Ledwell, Livingston, and Webster join past recipients Barry Sheen, Kathy Ward Doucette, Steven Barber, Tim Banks, Louise Vessey, Chef David Garcelon, Mayor Basil Stewart, Jeff Poirier, Eva O’Hanley, Jamie Hill, Sonya Corrigan, Alan MacLeod, Steven Collicutt, John Avery, Brent Blackmore, Alanna Jankov, and Kevin O’Brien as Holland College Distinguished Alumni.

Holland College President Dr. Brian McMillan said that celebrating the achievements of graduates is a priority for Holland College.

“Holland College alumni continue to make our college proud while serving as inspirations for our current and future students. We are delighted to recognize John Ledwell, Paul Livingston, and Robert Webster as distinguished alumni and we applaud the leadership they have modeled in their industries and their communities.”

A reception and awards dinner will be held on Thursday, January 23, 2013 at the Tourism and Culinary Centre in Charlottetown, P.E.I. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact the Holland College Office of Alumni Relations at (902) 566-9590 or alumni@hollandcollege.com. Nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Awards are accepted year round.


For more information about this release, please contact:
Jo-Ann Campbell-Boutilier, Executive Director
College Advancement and the Holland College Foundation
Tel: (902) 629-4273

140 Weymouth Street  •  Charlottetown, PE  •  Canada  •  C1A 4Z1  •  info@hollandcollege.com  •  1-800-446-5265