Eight Conestoga alumni are among the Ontario college graduates who have been nominated for Premier’s Awards this year.
Established in 1992 and presented annually, the awards honour and recognize the social and economic contribution Ontario’s college graduates make to the province and beyond. Nominees are selected in the categories of apprenticeship, business, community services, creative arts and design, health sciences, recent graduate and technology.
Conestoga’s 2021 nominees:
Apprenticeship: Dustin Leitch, Automotive Service Technician Apprenticeship ’07
Leitch was Tesla’s first service technician in Canada, Hong Kong and China. As the Asia Pacific regional service manager, he built the electric car company’s service operations from the ground up, leading a 250-member team across 14 service centres.
Business: co-nominees Massi Basiri, Fitness & Health Promotion ’14 and Meti Basiri, Business Marketing ‘14
In 2015, Massi and Meti Basiri co-founded ApplyBoard, now the world’s largest online platform for international student recruitment and one of the fastest-growing technology companies in Canada. In 2019, Forbes named the brothers to three different Top 30 Under 30 lists.
Community Services: Daisy Wright, Career Development Practitioner ‘04
As the chief encouragement officer of The Wright Career Solution, Wright has helped approximately 1,000 clients change their jobs, careers and lives. A certified career development practitioner, she has shared her personal story of immigration and career transition at hundreds of presentations, workshops and seminars across Ontario.
Creative Arts & Design: Vincent Marcone, Graphic Design ‘98
Marcone blends the traditional art of printmaking with computer graphics to create mixed-media portraits, album covers, music videos and online worlds. His whimsical and haunting aesthetic has earned him two Emmys, a Juno, a Cannes Film Festival nomination, and accolades from David Bowie, Guillermo Del Toro and Clive Barker.
Health Sciences: Stefanie Davis Miller, Paramedic ‘09
Davis Miller founded a first responder peer support group, adapted and led mental readiness programming in her paramedic service and impacted approximately 5,000 first responders and their families as a motivational speaker. She is also a contributing author of two best-selling books and a 13-year volunteer with the Tema Foundation for mental health.
Recent graduate: Saifullah Muhammad, General Arts & Science: English Language Studies ’17, Journalism ’19
Since immigrating to Canada from a Bangladesh refugee camp, Muhammad has co-founded the Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative, organized a 10,000-strong Queen’s Park demonstration and testified before a Senate committee on the Rohingya crisis. As well as co-leading a research project with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, his pioneering local partnerships are helping improve the education and lives of Rohingya Canadians.
Technology - posthumous nomination: Mark Kershey, Electronics Engineering Technology ’81
Kershey’s 38-year career was driven by a single passion: to deliver products that solve real and difficult problems. He consulted to more than 70 new ventures and raised more than $15 million in seed capital for North American technology start-ups, including the Ottawa company that later pioneered the first made-in-Canada rapid COVID-19 test.