Five community builders will join 15 former Lifetime Achievement winners
VICTORIA, BC – The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the first group of inductees into the Business Hall of Fame presented by RBC.
“This is the inaugural cohort selected for the Hall of Fame, and it’s an excellent reflection of the diversity of Greater Victoria’s business community,” Dan Dagg, Chair of The Chamber’s Board of Governors, said. “Their stories are unique and inspirational, and their induction into the hall will be something we want to celebrate.”
The selection committee chose five people to be the inaugural inductees (Backgrounder follows):
The Chamber Business Hall of Fame, presented by RBC, celebrates the legacy of pioneers and leaders who have played a role in the region’s economic growth and prosperity. A gala ceremony will officially honour inductees on Feb. 3, 2022.
“We’re excited to be part of a celebration of business leaders who have contributed so much to our region,” Jack Leung, RBC’s Vice President, Commercial Financial Services, Vancouver Island said. “Supporting business supports community and RBC truly is focused on helping future entrepreneurs who will one day become leaders themselves.”
Every year, the Hall will induct new recipients to recognize positive role models in the business community who have shown regional leadership, insightful vision, and a sustained and significant commitment to the prosperity of our region. The process to select inductees recognizes and respects the diversity of leaders who helped build business in Greater Victoria over the decades.
“The Chamber has always been the voice of business in Greater Victoria, and we want to make sure the stories of our region’s champions are recognized,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. “This first group represents people who were innovators, who broke through barriers and helped our community become the truly extraordinary place it is today.”
The five inductees for 2022 will be joined by previous winners of The Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Business Award: Bill McCreadie, Gordy Dodd, Eric Charman, Mel Cooper, Murray and Lynda Farmer, Robert H. Wright Naz Rayani, Bob Skene, Keith Dagg, Terry Farmer, Cedric Steele, Gordon Denford, Robert H. Wright, Alex A. Campbell, Robert H. Wright and John Chew.
Since 1863, The Chamber has served Greater Victoria by working together to build good business and great community through advocacy, networking, professional development and innovative services as changing times require. In 2020, the Chamber Champions initiative added a powerful resource to provide leadership and guidance to our organization. Current Champions are: Big Wheel Burger, CHEK News, CIBC, Kinetic Construction, Knappett Projects, Mike Geric Construction, MNP, PARC Retirement Living, RBC, Seaspan, Spinnakers, TELUS Business, and the University of Victoria. Find out more at VictoriaChamber.ca.
Communications and Project Manager
Helen Beirnes, who passed away on May 14, 2013, was a trail blazer for women at the executive level in business, large organizations, and the media.
Known as a tireless advocate for restoring Victoria’s historic character and bringing greater tourism numbers to the region, Beirnes travelled across Canada and the U.S. promoting tourism and investment in Greater Victoria.
Beirnes established the National Charm and Modeling School and managed it as a self-development program for young women. She extended the reach of her business across Vancouver Island by offering courses through local department stores.
Beirnes also wrote a weekly column for The Victorian and hosted television shows on Channel 6 and on Channel 10.
Besides being a role model for women by breaking glass ceilings in business and community work she was also active in charities and community projects:
Clare Copeland, who passed away on May 14, 2010, was instrumental in developing CFAX radio into a regional presence by boosting its transmission power and making it a 24-hour station. He recruited unique radio talent that helped make CFAX the No. 1 station on Vancouver Island.
After selling the station, he established Copeland Communications in 1980. The agency served businesses on Vancouver Island and British Columbia for more than three decades.
Copeland was well-known as a willing mentor to business, political and community leaders and was actively involved with many organizations, including:
The Copeland Lecture Theatre at SMUS is named in his honour.
Ron Lou-Poy has had a distinguished law career, and received the legal distinction of Queen’s Council. A graduate of Victoria College — which became the University of Victoria — Lou-Poy is a senior partner in the Victoria law firm of Crease Harman and Company.
Lou-Poy was deeply involved in the reconstruction of the Gate of Harmonious Interest in Victoria’s Chinatown cultural area — the symbolic entrance to Canada’s oldest Chinatown. He is an avid promoter of education and culture through the Chinese Heritage Foundation, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and the McPherson Foundation.
He has had extensive involvement with the university, including two terms on the UVic Board of Governors (1972-74 and 1992-95) and as an original director of the UVic Innovation and Development Corporation. Members of the University of Victoria convocation — including alumni and faculty — elected Ron as the university’s ninth chancellor in 2004. The Ronald Lou-Poy Scholarship supports future generations studying at UVic. The Lou-Poy family supported construction of the Harry Lou-Poy Infant and Toddler Child Care Centre at UVic, named for Ronald Lou-Poy’s father. The family also created the May and Ron Lou-Poy Fund of Excellence in the Faculty of Law.
Lou-Poy has been active with a number of non-profits including the Kiwanis Club, United Way and Crimestoppers. He is a past board member of the B.C. Achievement Foundation, which recognizes the accomplishments of B.C.’s entrepreneurs, artists, community leaders, youth and volunteers.
Lou-Poy has received numerous awards, including:
Ian Maxwell, owner of Ralmax Group of Companies, is known as a hardhat visionary who champions the protection and preservation of industrial lands and the jobs they provide in Greater Victoria.
Ralmax has evolved into a diversified group of businesses focused in and around Victoria’s working harbour.
In 2003, Maxwell led the rescue of Point Hope Shipyard from bankruptcy. It marked the first major investment in a shipbuilding facility in Victoria’s harbour in 50 years. In 2019, Ralmax purchased the Esquimalt Drydock Company in a deal that helped create more job security for workers and enabled the sharing of knowledge with Point Hope Shipyard.
In 2020, Maxwell’s companies took part in one of the largest fabrication projects on Vancouver Island. A massive stacker-reclaimer was assembled and then shipped to the Lower Mainland. That same year, Ralmax acquired a majority stake in the Harbour Ferry Service to keep the operation running.
Maxwell has also actively engaged and supported Indigenous businesses. In 2012 he co-founded Salish Sea Industrial Services with Esquimalt First Nation Chief Andrew Thomas and Songhees First Nation Chief Robert Sam.
Chief Robert Sam
Chief Robert Sam, who died on July 9, 2012, was progressive and innovative in his negotiations to build a safe, inclusive and sustainable future for Songhees Nation. Chief Sam led the negotiation processes to create a settlement with the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia over dispossessed land now occupied by the BC Legislature Buildings. He also played a key role on behalf of Songhees Nation within the Te’meux Treaty Association (a collaboration among five Nations living on South Vancouver Island).
Education was important for Chief Sam, and he crafted an agreement with the Greater Victoria School District and Camosun College to enhance access to education for Indigenous students. He was also a mentor to all young people, helping their understanding of traditional Indigenous culture and customs.
Chief Sam led the negotiation to advance Songhees Nation into Stage 4 of a complex treaty process, crafting bylaws for Songhees Nation, including Fire Protection Services and Property Tax.
He was also a founding member of the First Nations Finance Authority, a Board member of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and a member of the Association of First Nations Chiefs Committee on Treaties.
Since 1863, The Chamber has served Greater Victoria by working together to build good business and great community through advocacy, networking, professional development and innovative services as changing times require.