As National Forest Week is celebrated across the country, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is seizing the opportunity to announce the recipients of its annual Awards of Excellence program. Today, FPAC announced that Aaron DesLauriers of Mercer Peace River and Nikki Stein of Resolute Forest Products are the winners of the 2021 Rising Star Award.
“The Rising Star Award is presented to individuals who brings passion and pride to their workplace and are making a unique contribution,” said FPAC President and CEO Derek Nighbor. “This award provides an opportunity for us to showcase the talent and knowledge that young professionals like Aaron and Nikki are bringing to Canada’s forest products sector. These two represent the very best of our next generation of forest industry leaders,” he added.
Aaron DesLauriers is from Peace River, Alberta and graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry, before moving home and accepting a job with Mercer Peace River Woodlands as a summer student. Now a Land Management Supervisor, he works with and learns from a wide variety of forest professionals. Since joining the organization, Aaron has achieved his Registered Professional Forester designation and is looking forward to working in the region as a professional.
“It is a privilege to be recognized as a part of the Mercer Peace River team,” said DesLauriers. “I am surrounded by a group that is committed to exceptional outcomes for the forest and those who depend on it.”
Kaitlin Noskey of Mercer Peace River says the decision to nominate DesLauriers for the honour was based on a number of factors. “Aaron utilizes his innovative, creative, and out-of-the box approaches to meeting challenges presented to him, our team, and the forest products industry. He is currently leading the development of a Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptability assessment for Mercer Peace River. Given the far-reaching implications that may materialize in the future due to climate change, understanding the risks and how they may be mitigated is essential for our continued prosperity and will serve as an example to our industry in Alberta, across Canada, and abroad.”
After graduating from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay with a Bachelor of Engineering in May 2016, Nikki began working for Resolute Forest Products as an Engineer-in-Training (EIT) in the Thunder Bay technical services department. She had the opportunity to work in every department at the mill, including water quality, the kraft mill, and the newsprint operation before moving over to the newsprint mill as a process engineer and subsequently taking on her current leadership role as Newsprint Mill Shift Superintendent in 2020. Throughout her career, Nikki has made a significant impact – including leading the investigation of new product developments that could sustain the Thunder Bay mill well into the future, such as the conversion and production of a paper product with higher market value than newsprint. Nikki’s leadership efforts have helped sustain the livelihood of the local workforce, economy and socio-economic health of the region, as well as the Canadian forest products industry as a whole.
“I am very humbled and excited to receive this honour and I thank my family, coworkers, Resolute, and FPAC for nominating and selecting me as the recipient for this award. I am very proud of the innovative work we have done at Resolute that will grow our business and will allow us to develop more useable and sellable bioproducts that will not only sustain our industry but respond to society’s demand for high-quality wood products made from renewable resources,” said Stein. “I would encourage anyone contemplating a career in forest products, women especially, to just jump in. We are an industry that is changing with the times, and we will need bright young minds for generations to come.”
To learn more about FPAC’s Awards of Excellence recipients, please visit: https://www.fpac.ca/posts/fpac-awards-of-excellence
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $80B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 230,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.