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Alan Fydirchuk honoured as innovative hero

Often City of Thunder Bay employees go about their business without anybody saying job well done, said Coun. Rebecca Johnson.
Often City of Thunder Bay employees go about their business without anybody saying job well done, said Coun. Rebecca Johnson.

That’s why she nominated Alan Fydirchuk, general manager of the facilities and fleet department, in the Innovation Hero of the Year category for the 2010 RBC Innovation Awards hosted by the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre.

Fydirchuk won the title and was presented with the award at a ceremony Thursday afternoon at the Travelodge Airlane for his work to help green the city’s fleet. Specifically he was awarded for the introduction of smart cars to the city’s development department and the Green Fleet Implementation Plan, which set a course to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within his department by 35 per cent from 2005 to 2016.

"I’m very honoured and quite surprised," he said. "I’m accepting the award on behalf of the entire department who deserve recognition in this area of greening our city’s operations."

His motivation to make the city more environmentally conscious was based on more than just making their operations more carbon neutral.

"On the other hand there’s money savings to be had by being more energy efficient," Fydirchuk said. "So we’re pursuing it on many levels."

Johnson said the city has done a lot of innovative things regarding the environment and the division of facilities and fleet – a relatively new division created in 2006 – has done great work.

"It’s the whole division but somebody has to lead it and Alan is the one that took that on about four or five years ago and said, ‘we’re going to do it and this is how we’re going to do it and I need you to help follow me along," she said.

"I thought he needs the recognition as a leader in the city."

Also receiving awards Thursday was Digital Engineering, Inc. They received the Innovative Project of the Year award for their specialized energy management products.

The Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute took home the Innovative Company of the Year title for their cutting-edge research to improve the quality of health care with the clinical investigation of imaging-based technologies.

Innovation Centre manager Judy Sander said they hand the tough task of deciding the winners to a panel of judges who take several factors into consideration like the what impacts the innovation is having on the community.

She said they started handing out the awards to bring awareness to the projects happening in the city.

"What we found is we see all the innovation going on every day but a lot of people didn’t seem to know what great things were happening," she said. "The other reason is it was important to celebrate those people, to spur people on."

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