Twenty years, almost to the day, that John Brink got involved with supporting trades training at the College of New Caledonia, he doubled down … literally.
A $500,000 commitment back then led to the creation of the John A. Brink Trades and Technology Centre in 2002.
Today, the founder and CEO of the Brink Group of companies committed another $1 million to the institution over the next 10 years.
“The forest industry in British Columbia is going through a difficult stage,” Brink said. “I have been in the industry since 1965 in British Columbia. I’ve seen all the ups and downs … nothing quite matches what’s happening today.”
Even so, he said he is confident in the future of the industry adding there is tremendous opportunity in developing new products for new markets. The donation comes at a time when Brink said it’s vital that industry, government, and educational institutions work together to offset the recent challenges facing the forestry sector.
“In light of all the things that are happening, that government is trying to do, both provincially and federally, we believe that we have to step up to the plate and try to assist to bringing us forward to a new industry,” Brink said.
The money will help expand the trades and technology programs and work towards creating a “centre of excellence” in the Prince George region.
“Our province is blessed with an abundance of natural resources,” said Brink. “The forest sector has been the driver of economic growth in the region for several decades. We must invest in education and innovation if we want to thrive in the new global forest industry.”
Frank Rossi, Dean of Trades at CNC was obviously happy with the sizeable boost to his budget.
“This is exciting news,” he said. “Any time we can get local contributions to help our trade centre, it’s always exciting news. It’ll expand our programming here at the college and help with important equipment.”
CNC interim president Tara Szerencsi was also appreciative of the donation.
“We’re thankful about this announcement and look forward to working with John to discover how to best use this gift to meet the needs of our communities,” she said.
The Brink Group employs over 400 people in Prince George, Vanderhoof, and Houston. The company intends to continue its growth trajectory with plans to double production capacity at all three of its locations in the next five years.