18th Annual Top 50 CEO Awards

18th Annual Top 50 CEO Awards

Strictly speaking, CEO is an abbreviation for Chief Executive Officer. When it comes to the Top 50 CEO awards however, we don’t restrict it to people who specifically hold a CEO title. Be they CEO, owner, president or vice-chancellor, as long as they are the highest-ranking person in a company or organization headquartered in Atlantic Canada (i.e. the person ultimately responsible for making managerial decisions), they are eligible for Top 50 status.

In our minds, CEO isn’t a title. It’s a statement: Celebrating Economic Opportunity. That’s what Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEOs stand for — creating jobs, generating revenue, empowering communities, giving back. They are volunteers and innovators, motivators and mentors.

It’s easy to be a CEO during the good times, when markets are strong and the dollar is high. But living up to our definition of a CEO during the downturns takes true grit. We honestly don’t know where Atlantic Canada would be without them — and thanks to their loyalty to this place, we haven’t had to find out.

Collectively, the people you’ll read about on the following pages were responsible for over 33,000 jobs, almost $9 billion in revenue and more than $15 million in charitable donations last year. By any definition, that’s well worth celebrating.

Dustin Angelo
President, CEO & Director
Anaconda Mining Inc.
(Baie Verte, N.L.)

“I play the role of visionary to present the big picture; give everyone a big goal”

Grounded for Growth Dustin Angelo is about nothing if not building solid foundations for business growth. Under his guidance, since 2010, Anaconda has eliminated all interest-bearing debt, reduced operating costs and expanded its land package on Ming’s Bight Peninsula tenfold to approximately 6,300 hectares, where the company plies its trade as a producing gold-mining operation. Through it all, the former CFO of Elgin Mining Inc. — where he helped that private enterprise transform into a publicly listed company — has emphasized teamwork and vision as keys to success.

The Midas Touch When Angelo joined Anaconda, the firm was nearly insolvent. As he says, “There was no time to think about the future. We had to solve the problems right in front of us.” He approached the challenge methodically, working with senior management to devise a plan to extend the life of the company’s projects. By 2013, Anaconda, out of the woods, had strong prospects for growth. Painting Big Pictures Innovation plays a large role in Angelo’s vision. The company currently maintains 13 R&D projects, as well as a $1-million mill automation program. As he says, “The technology employed has resulted in better than industry average grade control.” It’s no surprise Anaconda expects to double its production to 100,000 ounces of gold over the next five years.

Painting Big Pictures Innovation plays a large role in Angelo’s vision. The company currently maintains 13 R&D projects, as well as a $1-million mill automation program. As he says, “The technology employed has resulted in better than industry average grade control.” It’s no surprise Anaconda expects to double its production to 100,000 ounces of gold over the next five years.

John Atkins
John Atkins
Chief Executive Officer,
JAC – John Atkins & Co.
(St. John’s, N.L.)

“I lead by example. No job is too menial and no task is beneath anyone”

The Internet Guru John Atkins was on track to obtain a medical degree in neurosurgery when the computer bug bit him and bit him well. That was years ago and since 2008 he has built his digital marketing company from one employee (himself) into a dynamic purveyor of brand design and management, web design, social-media management, lead generation, app development, video production, online marketing, and advertising. Today, he employs 13 people, maintains 350 clients, and boasts more than 35 international awards for his company’s work across North America and beyond.

Mr. Innovation At the core of Atkins’ approach is introducing new ideas that are clean, simple and innovative. “For example,” he says, “our websites are more than websites. It’s a marketing tool and an app that tracks, profiles and measures the activities of our clients.” In fact, he notes, JAC is the only company in Atlantic Canada that profiles individuals online via social media and websites. As a result, over the past seven years, the company’s clients have seen a 400 per cent increase in qualified leads driven to their businesses.

Programming for Success JAC’s five-year plan rests firmly with the ambitions of its founder: Atkins envisions his operation as a fully established digital marketing company with offices across Canada, the United States and Europe.

Cory Bell
Cory Bell
President, Lindsay Construction
(Dartmouth, N.S.)

“I align myself with good people. Because of that, I flourish”

Setting His Sights Cory Bell, who joined Lindsay as a site engineer, has kept a laser-sharp focus on the future of the construction company he has led since 2008. When he became president of Lindsay, the firm posted annual revenue of $65 million. Today, that’s closer to $190 million thanks to its wide variety of building services: design-build, construction management, general contracting, trade contracting and service work. Says Bell: “Since becoming president, growth has been my focus. My belief was that if we did not strategically grow our top line, our company would eventually be marginalized to second-tier status with the recent influx of national construction companies to our market.”

Focus on Strength Bell believes that being decisive does not mean making rash decisions. True leadership, he notes, involves persuading people to believe in the leader’s vision and abilities. The simplest way of achieving this is showing individuals how they fit into the overall plan, how they can fulfill their roles, and why their particular strengths contribute to the strength of the organization.

Resistance is Futile Even as Bell notes that his is an industry that resists change, innovation is a key driver of Lindsay’s successful market niche – everything from software programs for current in-house operating systems to 3-D mockups of proposed building projects. With this on tap, can an expanded national presence be far away?

Dean Brinton
Dean Brinton
CEO, The Rooms Corporation of Newfoundland & Labrador (St. John’s, N.L.)

“Leadership is to lead the march of civilization and human advancement”

Rooms with Views Dean Brinton, a 30-year veteran of Canada’s arts and culture scene, identifies his 11-year role as the head of The Rooms as among his proudest achievements. In this capacity, he helped successfully merge the Provincial Archives, Art Gallery and Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador plus three regional museums into a single, multi-disciplinary organization that, among other things, won the Canadian Museums Association’s national award for best new museum exhibits in Canada in 2014. More recently, he’s led the development of new revenue streams for the facility.

Heritage is Key Brinton apprehends leadership and financial responsibility as parts of speech that belong in the same sentence. As he says, from the beginning of his tenure, “I have made fundraising a key executive function. I am very pleased that The Rooms has raised nearly $20 million in private funds (in addition to the $100 million in earned revenue and government subsidies) and nearly one million visitors (have passed) through our front doors.”.

Building Social Capital Getting the message out in the most innovative ways possible is also crucial. Says Brinton: “We have successfully grown our audience on social media platforms by over 30 per cent over the past year with website users up by 49 per cent and page views up by 78 per cent.”

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