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Celebrating Excellence: Highlights from the PEMAC Awards Banquet 2023

On the evening of September 12th, 2023, the attendees of the PEMAC MainTrain Conference took time out to celebrate the talent, dedication, and innovation of their peers at an inspiring awards banquet with Alan Cox, Chair of the PEMAC Awards Committee hosting.

Recognizing Excellence in Capstone Projects

Both of PEMAC’s Certification programs, Maintenance Management Professional (MMP) and Asset Management Professional (AMP), culminate in a Capstone Course which requires the participants to thoroughly demonstrate their learning by developing a proposal to address a real-world scenario. Each year the Capstone Course instructors in both programs refer the top papers to the PEMAC awards committee for consideration.

MMP Capstone – Business Process

Brian Sibley, Maintenance Manager at the City of Saskatoon Water Treatment Plant, took home the honour for outstanding work on the "City of Saskatoon Maintenance Workflow Optimization" project which proposed a comprehensive 3 year program to improve the utilization of the City's computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) to achieve well-defined results from improved maintenance management.

MMP Capstone – Technical Focus

Chris O'Rielly, Maintenance Supervisor at Halliburton took home the award for the project: "Halliburton Service Truck Replacement" which was a clear proposal, complete with financial justification, for capital investments to improve the maintenance and operational workflow on extremely asset-intensive, and challenging mobile pumping jobs. In addition to financial benefits to the organization through improved efficiency and productivity the project, if implemented, would lead to improvements in safety and morale.

AMP Capstone

Ashvin Koarga, Manager of Asset and Order Management at Metrolinx - PRESTO, claimed the accolades for his project, "Metrolinx's Station Fare Transaction Processor Asset Management Framework", in which he recommended a strategic asset management policy aligned with PRESTO's strategic objectives. He then analyzed the strengths of the organization's asset management system and identified areas for improvement. In addition, he tested the recommended policy by applying the concepts to a major capital investment related to the organization's core deliverables.

Individual Awards

Asset Management Leadership

Susan Lubell was awarded the Asset Management Leadership Award for stellar contributions to the field. As a consultant, instructor, member of the PEMAC Board, former PEMAC President, current Chair of the World Partners in Asset Management, and volunteer on multiple committees, Susan is a shining example of PEMAC' s motto, "Connect, Learn, Contribute," eagerly sharing what she has learned and constantly working towards advancing the goals of asset management by enabling and empowering others across Canada and around the world. 


Maintenance Management Leadership

Mike Crowell, has been a driving force in the development of maintenance excellence at  J.D. Irving Limited. As the first Director of Maintenance for the organization, Mike worked to unify strategy and process across four separate mills by leading the definition of model processes, implementing an improved CMMS, and creating a unified maintenance strategy. The unified strategy included a focus on human resource development which has inspired over 40 individuals to complete the Maintenance Management Professional (MMP) certification which has contributed to the development a common focus, language and culture of excellence. To quote one of his nominators, "Our organization is 100% focussed on reliability and uptime and our strategy of 'Maximize Availability at First Quartile Costs' has helped improve reliability and stabilize maintenance spend in our facilities. This has led to major capital reinvestments across our businesses." Moreover, Mike's six years of service as a Director on the PEMAC Board and efforts in promoting PEMAC and its programs has underscored his dedication to the broader maintenance and asset management community.

Team Awards

Maintenance Team of the Year

This award recognizes teams that have achieved remarkable milestones in maintenance management such as sustained high performance, the initiation of continuous improvement processes, or improved administrative workflows. 

Large Organization

This year's recipient of Maintenance Team of the Year for a large organization is the maintenance department of Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board. To deliver safe environments for teaching and learning, this team maintains assets which cover a large geographical footprint across 29 municipalities within the districts of Simcoe County, Muskoka, and Parry Sound. Over the last four years - which included the very challenging years of the global pandemic - this team has worked together to develop a maintenance strategy and program which has taken them from reactive to proactive. With a vision for going even further, they have currently achieved 87% schedule compliance with 65% planned work - metrics that have steadily progressed as their program has been developing. The tools that they have employed to transform they way they work have included: work order standardization, PM reviews, improved planning and scheduling, RCM analysis (carried out in-house), documentation of business processes, development of a 'talent roadmap', and a culture of continuous improvement.

Small Organization

The recipient of this year's Maintenance Team of the Year award for a small organization is Capital Power's York Energy Centre. Because their role in the Ontario power grid is to deliver power during peak demand periods, York Energy Centre requires extremely high reliability. The combination of their operating context (starting only when necessary to meet peak demand) and the technology being employed (gas turbine-driven generators which prefer steady-state operation) creates added challenges for the team.

Their most important KPI, "Starting Reliability" has improved from 95.8% in 2016 - 98.8% in 2022. The key tools that they credit for this improvements over 6 years include: 1) meaningful preventive and predictive maintenance programs that are completed on time, 2) commitment to continuous improvement through root cause analysis and, 3) a small but multi-skilled and flexible team which has been empowered to use and improve key systems such as planning and scheduling, preventive and predictive maintenance, materials control, performance measures and information systems.

Asset Management Achievement Award

The Asset Management Achievement Award is a team award presented to a team that can articulate what success looks like in their organization, and has made substantial steps towards that vision through the advancement of Asset Management practices.. This year the proud recipient was the Asset Management team supporting the Nunavut division of Agnico Eagle Mining Limited which operates remote sites near Baker Lake & Rankin Inlet out of the Quebec (Office Val-d’Or). This team articulated Asset Management as "translating organizational objectives into technical and financial decisions, plans, and activities" and made progress through: 1) carrying out an asset inventory and condition assessment 2) taking a full life-cycle approach to capital investment that a) integrated improved renewal / replace decision-making for cost avoidance when possible, b) built design-for-reliability rigour into new capital projects to minimize life-cycle costs and, c) improved hand-over of capital projects to operations through an operational readiness process. On hand to accept the award were team members, Rick Derkach and Jean-Michel Flamand.

Member Awards

Sergio Guy Memorial Award

The night took a poignant turn with the presentation of the Sergio Guy Memorial Award. The award recognizes individuals who exemplify excellence in promoting and representing the association, the profession, and its members. 

This year, the award was presented posthumously to Chris Murphy, whose contributions have left a mark on the association and by extension, the maintenance, reliability and asset management community.

Chris served the Alberta Chapter and the MainTrain committee before being elected to the PEMAC Board of Directors in 2021. He participated in Board meetings with great thoughtfulness at a time when the organization was undergoing significant changes that he helped to envision such as the establishment of 3 board committees, the establishment of a volunteer engagement program aligned with the "Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement" and the establishment of a business development staff role. Chris passed in November 2022 while still in the role of Director and he has been greatly missed. We were honoured that Chris’s wife and daughter were present to accept the award on Chris’s behalf. 


2023 Award Recipient
Excellence in Practice Awards - Maintenance Management 

MMP Capstone Award Business Process Focus

Brian Sibley, MMP
MMP Capstone Award Technical FocusChris O'Rielly, MMP

Maintenance Management Leadership Award

Mike Crowell, MMP
Maintenance Team of the Year Award (Large Organization)Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board.
Maintenance Team of the Year Award (Small Organization)York Energy Centre

Excellence in Practice Awards - Asset Management


AMP Capstone Award

Ashvin Koarga, CAMP

Asset Management Leadership Award

Susan Lubell, CAMP, CAMA
Asset Management Achievement AwardAgnico Eagle Mines Limited
Member Award 

Sergio Guy Memorial Award

Chris Murphy

Inspiration for the Future

Congratulations to all the 2023 PEMAC Award recipients! 

As we reflect on the achievements of the award recipients, we are reminded that excellence is not a destination but a journey—a journey that the PEMAC community continues to travel with vigour and determination.

We invite you to mark your calendars for December 1st, when nominations for the upcoming PEMAC Awards will open and our community will have another opportunity to recognize and celebrate the individuals and teams who continue to push the boundaries of what's possible in our profession.

Stay tuned for more updates, insights, and stories of excellence from the world of maintenance and asset management. Your journey toward excellence is our collective mission, and together, we'll continue to elevate asset management to new heights.

Explore the PEMAC Awards