Two graduates of the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences were recognized recently for their outstanding contributions to Manitoba’s agricultural community.
E.J. Fontaine, aboriginal entrepreneur, and Owen Jones, feed industry business leader, received Certificates of Merit from the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Manitoba in recognition of leadership with agricultural organizations and outstanding service to the community at large.
E.J. Fontaine is a member of the Sagkeeng First Nation and graduated from the Diploma in Agriculture program in 1987. Upon graduation he worked for the Manitoba Indian Agriculture Program as a farm advisor and later as a loans analyst. This unique experience provided him with an opportunity to share his knowledge gained in the Diploma program with many First Nations agricultural producers throughout Manitoba.
Throughout his professional career he has served the First Nation people in various capacities in economic development the Keewatin Tribal Council, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Manitoba First Nations Regional Area Management Board.
In 2003, he pursued his entrepreneurial ambitions and created Anishinabek Consultants Inc. which offers a wide range of consulting services to governments, non-profit organizations, Aboriginal organizations and the private sector on Aboriginal issues. In 2008 he and Eva Wilson-Fontaine, his business partner and wife, created Anish Corporation to deliver emotional support services to former students of Indian Residential Schools seeking compensation through the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement for abuses suffered while attending residential schools.
He is especially proud of the AMIK.ca website which offers a practical solution for tapping into the Aboriginal labour force and is now a leader in the Aboriginal job advertising market in Canada with over 350 employers using the services to recruit quality Aboriginal employees.
E.J. has become a recognized leader in the Aboriginal community and the community at large through his professional experience, community involvement and business ventures.
He currently serves as a voluntary chairperson of the Sagkeeng Education Board, a governing body overseeing three community, and other volunteer duties include serving as committee member for the Keeping the Fires Burning annual Gala Dinner hosted by Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc. that recognizes and celebrates the important contributions that First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Elder women have made in the protection, preservation and promotion of First Peoples’ cultures.
E. J. and his wife Eva were the recipients of the 2011 Excellence in Aboriginal Business Leadership Award presented by the University of Manitoba Asper School of Business.
Owen Jones received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba in 1972 and started his career working in Manitoba’s feed industry
In 1984, he founded Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. which manufactures a wide range of products utilized in feed, food, industrial and environmental applications. Today, Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. has its headquarters in Calgary, manufacturing operations in Calgary and Oshawa and product distribution across Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe.
Owen has been a long standing supporter of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. For the past 20 years, he has contributed to an internationally recognized research program in the area of feed enzyme development and application, and has applied innovative enzyme technology to improve production efficiencies in livestock and poultry feed industries while reducing environmental contaminants.
In recognition of these achievements, Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. along with Bogdan Slominski and other academic staff within the Department of Animal Science received the prestigious NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation in 2002, and the National Research Council/Alberta Science and Technology Innovation in Industrial Research Award in 2006.
Through his company, Owen has been a strong benefactor of graduate student training. Canadian Bio-Systems’ funding of enzyme research contributed to the training of five Ph.D. and nine M.Sc. students, with more students participating in current research. Owen approached the Faculty in 2010 to establish a scholarship in nutritional biochemistry for Animal Science graduate students, the first of which was issued in 2011.
In addition to the financial support by Canadian Bio-Systems, Owen’s intellectual contribution to our research has resulted in his co-authorship on nine peer-reviewed articles in publications such as the Canadian Journal of Animal Science and Poultry Science.
He has also supported Faculty fundraising initiatives such as the T.K. Cheung Centre for Animal Science Research, a large animal facility located on the University of Manitoba Fort Garry Campus for research, undergraduate and graduate training and extension/outeach activities.