Gary Edgar has been a respected leader with the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation for decades. From 1993 to 1997, he served as Chief of the Ontario-based aboriginal community, during which time he laid the foundation for First Nation gaming among the Scugog First Nation people. In 1997, Gary's tireless work and advocacy paid off when he successfully brokered a partnership between the Scugog First Nation, the Steiner family and Sonoco Gaming to create the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino. In the years following the casino's ribbon cutting, Edgar continued to contribute to the evolution of First Nations gaming through his work as public relations manager with the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino, his collaborative efforts with neighbouring First Nation casino owners, and his ongoing work as Chair of the Baagwating Community Association – a position he's held for nearly two decades. Thanks to his wisdom, passion, and business savvy, the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino remains a key source of charitable funding and economic growth for the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation; while Edgar himself remains a shining example of First Nations leadership.
Patrick Armstrong - Dokis First Nation
Executive Sous Chef, Casino Rama
A crucial member of Casino Rama's staff since the facility first opened in 1996, Patrick Armstrong's passion and skill for the culinary arts has been a boon for both patrons and coworkers alike. Since 2006, he has served as Casino Rama's Executive Sous-Chef of its culinary, food and beverage department. During this time, Patrick has demonstrated his innate leadership skills by overseeing multiple restaurant renovations, designing and deploying numerous department initiatives, organizing casino-wide charity events, and leading co-workers through day to day operations. Patrick is also the driving force behind partnerships with schools like Liaison College and George College, which have fostered an ongoing supply of talent to Casino Rama's kitchens. His talents and leadership continue to add a unique flavour to Casino Rama's winning recipe.
EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
Derek Suzack - Batchewana First Nation
Manager of Health and Safety, Casino Rama
Since 2006, Derek Suzack has been keeping the staff and clientele of Casino Rama safe. As Manager of Health and Safety, his professionalism and knowledge of the Ontario Health and Safety Act has transformed Casino Rama safest workplaces, and his leadership and attitude have made him a respected casino ambassador. In addition to developing safety initiatives throughout Casino Rama's departments, Derek promotes health as Chair of the Joint Health and Safety Committee, as project leader on the Tourism & Hospitality Advisory Committee, and as Master Trainer of the Young Worker Awareness Program (YWAP). “Derek exudes team spirit,” Debra Pratt, Chief People Officer at Casino Rama. “He is a highly recognized Health and Safety professional and it truly is an honour having him as a part of our C.R.E.W.”
Under his watchful eye, Casino Rama recorded a 24% reduction in accidents, earning the facility a significant New Experimental Experience Rating (NEER) refund from WSIB this past year and – more importantly – maintaining Casino Rama's standing as one of the safest workplaces in the Ontario gaming industry.
Angeline Joe - Champagne and Aishihik First Nation
Accountant, Grey Eagle Casino
Embodying the very spirit of giving and inspiration, Angeline Joe has played an instrumental role in connecting Grey Eagle Casino to the community it serves and employs. Hired as an accountant in 2007, Angeline quickly getting involved with Grey Eagle Casino by organizing the casino's first celebration of National Aboriginal Day in 2008. In the years since, she has lent her time and dedication to a number of Grey Eagle Casino charity events, and this year she played a key role in the Hockey Marathon for Kids, a fundraising event which helped raise over $500,000 for the Alberta's Children Hospital. In addition to her many volunteer pursuits, Angeline has become an active mentor to Aboriginal Youth through her presentations at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and continues to promote cultural, health, and education initiatives inside the casino. In April 2012, Angeline was picked to grace the cover of “New Tribe” magazine, thanks to her success as an Aboriginal role model.