Brian Fehr to receive Order of B.C.

The BID Group’s Brian Fehr is among 14 people who will be appointed to the Order of British Columbia this fall.

“I am so pleased to share congratulations with the inspiring individuals joining the Order of British Columbia this year,” announced Lt. Gov. Janet Austin, chancellor of the order, in a news release. “These exceptional recipients are pillars of our communities who have demonstrated excellence and distinction in their fields. I wish to extend my thanks to all new members for their commitment to meaningful work that leaves a lasting legacy, which benefits and elevates our province for future generations.”

This year, 203 British Columbians were nominated for the order. More than half of the nominations came from the Lower Mainland, with the remaining coming from other regions throughout the province. Since its inception, 432 British Columbians have been appointed to the order from all regions of the province, and in numbers generally proportionate to a region’s population.

Fehr is the founder of a billion-dollar group of companies – BID Group – that provides innovative technical systems and construction services for wood products industries in B.C., across Canada and into the United States. His work supports many of B.C.’s rural economies.

Although having only a Grade 12 education, he built the BID Group into a large business.

The companies employ 400 people in B.C. and 1,400 more throughout North America. As Fehr built his company, his personal and emotional commitment to the health and well-being of rural B.C. — and in particular Vanderhoof, Prince George, Salmon Arm and Canal Flats — grew.

He is expanding manufacturing facilities in Vanderhoof and is renovating a head office there. In Canal Flats, a community devastated by the rationalizing of the forest industry, Fehr has purchased a small steel fabrication business, where he expects to employ 100 people within the next five years. Always with an eye to innovation and through its subsidiary, DelTech, the BID Group has developed biomass energy systems that lower energy costs and greenhouse emissions, using wood waste that was formerly burned by the forest industry.

Following the Babine and Lakeland sawmill explosions, Fehr developed a dust-mitigation system that prevents recurrence of these disasters. BID retrofitted all of the 15 Canfor sawmills with the system. He foresaw the potential of artificial intelligence and the potential for machinery to make decisions that would improve productivity. His ‘profiling’ technology allows a log to be processed into lumber with a single pass, cutting labour costs.

Auto grading, which uses computers to optimize the value of each piece of lumber by making decisions at a much higher production rate than manually grading lumber, has revolutionized the industry through minimizing loss in process, improvements in the value of finished products and cost reduction.

His predictive maintenance processes for sawmills means equipment can be fixed before a breakdown occurs, increasing worker safety and improving efficiency.

From a young age, Fehr struggled with alcohol and drug addiction that threatened both his life and financial stability. At 37 years of age, he focused on his recovery, overcoming odds against him. He now gives others a second chance by hiring them. He is a champion for the Baldy Hughes Therapeutic Community in Prince George and participates on the Northern Interior Health Board.

Fehr served on the board of the B.C. Association for Crane Safety, where he championed the need for better training and changes to WorkSafeBC regulations. He served on the board of directors of the B.C. Safety Authority (now Technical Safety BC).

Other Order of B.C. recipients include:

Deborah Abbey, New Westminster

Deborah Abbey is an author, media spokesperson and champion for responsible and sustainable investing. Through her leadership of the Responsible Investment Association, she has inspired some of the largest financial institutions in Canada to integrate environmental, social and corporate governance factors into the selection and management of their investments, providing superior risk-adjusted returns and positive societal impact.

The Honourable David Anderson, P.C., O.C., Victoria

David Anderson is a federal and provincial politician, who has worked to safeguard coastal waters and wetland areas from environmental pollution in his capacity as an elected official and in many roles on special committees and panels.

Domenic Cuccione, Port Moody

Domenic Cuccione is a leading philanthropist, helping to improve treatment for children with cancer and advance pediatric oncology research. Through the Michael Cuccione Foundation, he has raised over $23 million for pediatric oncology research.

Anne Giardini, O.C., Q.C., Vancouver

Anne Giardini is chancellor of Simon Fraser University and a celebrated B.C. business leader, board director, lawyer, community advocate and internationally published writer. She had a distinguished career with the Canadian subsidiary of one of the world’s largest international forest products companies, Weyerhaeuser.

Tracey Herbert, Victoria (Brentwood Bay)

Originally of the St’uxwtews First Nation (Bonaparte Band) in the Thompson Okanagan, Tracey Herbert has served in the public service for more than 30 years in the areas of health education, employment, community development and strategic planning. For the past 16 years, she has been instrumental in First Nations language preservation and revitalization in B.C., and led the development of an award-winning exhibit on Indigenous languages of B.C., showing the critical level of endangerment of B.C.’s First Nations’ languages.

Andrew Way Yin Joe, Vancouver

Andrew Joe is Canada’s first Chinese-Canadian lawyer, who has played pivotal roles in fighting against injustice and racism, especially toward Chinese Canadians, and helped save cultural traditions and the community.

Grand Chief Percy Joe, Merritt

Grand Chief Percy Joe is a hereditary and elected chief of the Scw’exmx, serving his nation for 47 years until his recent retirement. He is one of the founders of the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology – one of only two schools of its kind in the country governed by Indigenous peoples. A champion of rights and title, he created unique reconciliation partnerships and approaches grounded in traditional knowledge and Indigenous wisdom and governance.

Mary Kitagawa, Delta

Mary Kitagawa is an educator and human rights crusader who facilitated a shift in public consciousness by bringing the realities of the Japanese Canadian internment experience to the public through her media interviews and tireless educating, speaking and lobbying of government organizations.

Brenda Martens, Vancouver

Brenda Martens is a leading sustainability advocate and early adopter of green building practices, who helped transform how buildings are designed and constructed, and helped make over 185,000 square metres (2,000,000 square feet) of built space in B.C. greener, saving water and energy and providing better places for British Columbians to live, work and play.

George Melville, White Rock (Peachland)

George Melville is chairman and owner of Melville Global Investments Inc., a diversified investment portfolio that includes ownership in Mr. Lube, Naramata Benchland Properties and the SKOOKUM Festival at Stanley Park. He has donated many millions of dollars to charities and provincial organizations, and contributes his leadership skills to many institutions. He also co-founded and previously owned the T&M Group, which included Boston Pizza International Inc., and is now the largest owner of trust units in the Boston Pizza Royalties Income Fund. Melville has been honoured with the Canadian Franchise Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year, and has been inducted into the Business Laureates of B.C. Hall of Fame as well as the B.C. Restaurants Hall of Fame.

William (Bill) Millerd, C.M., Vancouver (Denman Island)

Bill Millerd has devoted more than four decades to nurturing the growth of professional theatre in British Columbia. Under his leadership, the Arts Club Theatre Company is now the third-largest theatre company in Canada and operates out of the newly built BMO Theatre Centre in the former Olympic Village district.

Brian Minter, C.M., Chilliwack

Brian Minter is an award-winning horticulturalist and entrepreneur, who has provided inspiration to British Columbians about what is possible in the field of horticulture through the family’s innovative garden centre, the acclaimed 13-hectare (32-acre) Minter Garden, in addition to books, garden columns and regular television and radio appearances.

Carey Newman (Ha-yalth-kingeme), M.S.M., Victoria (Sooke)

Carey Newman is an Indigenous artist, master carver, singer, volunteer and well-known speaker about the spirit of reconciliation. He created the Witness Blanket, a powerful monument to the impact of the residential school era and the healing journey of First Nations.

Recipients of the Order of British Columbia are selected by an independent advisory committee. The 2018 advisory committee consisted of:

* Robert J. Bauman (chair), Chief Justice of British Columbia

* Darryl Plecas, speaker of the legislative assembly

* Alan Davis, president and vice-chancellor, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

* Okenge Yuma Morisho, deputy minister, Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat

* Wendy Booth, president, Union of British Columbia Municipalities

* Rosamund Harrison, Order of British Columbia (OBC)

* Wendy Morton, MSM, OBC

The Order of British Columbia investiture ceremony will be held for recipients and invited guests at Government House in Victoria on Sept. 20, 2018. It will be webcast live here: http://www.orderofbc.gov.bc.ca