Alex & Jo Campbell  Centre for Health & Wellness

2016 alumni awards recognize extraordinary contribution

Camosun College is proud to announce its annual Promising and Distinguished Alumni Awards recognizing two extraordinary alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their fields.

Clayton Stark (left), Jessica Cruise (right)

Clayton Stark (left), Jessica Cruise (right)

Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Clayton Stark

Senior Vice President of Technology at KIXEYE

Vancouver Island tech leader, passionate advocate and mentor, Clayton Stark, is the recipient of the Camosun College Distinguished Alumni Award for 2016.

Since graduating from Camosun College in 1993, Clayton Stark has had a significant impact on Victoria's technology industry. From employing hundreds of local creative and technology professionals, bringing tens of millions in funding and investment to Victoria to establishing local development studios for two of the largest online gaming companies in the world, Zynga and KIXEYE, Clayton has become a passionate leader in arguably the largest industry sector in the city.

Clayton's journey started at Camosun and the Mechanical Engineering Technology program. Having only elementary school qualifications but industry experience he was able to take advantage of Camosun's Technology Bridging program (now called Mechanical Engineering Technology Access) which allowed him to rapidly upgrade his academic requirements to enter directly into the Mechanical Engineering program. "Without a high school education I had no other efficient means of pursuing post-secondary education," says Clayton. "Camosun made that possible." He chose Mechanical Engineering because he saw it as the best all-around education for his investment.

Clayton has nothing but praise for his time at Camosun. "There were many great things about Camosun," says Clayton. "We weren't just attending lectures, but rather we were in labs and doing projects where we were able to experience hands-on learning." The program was thorough as well, providing a great depth that equipped him to be fully competent in the field alongside university graduates. He also took advantage of Camosun's Co-operative Education program. "The real-world connections made through the co-operative program were also incredibly helpful, allowing me to ply my new trade in interesting commercial settings," says Clayton.

Nowadays Clayton is busy as Senior Vice President of Technology at KIXEYE and a passionate advocate of the technology industry in Victoria. Amazingly, he still finds time to routinely counsel individuals, start-ups and established companies in business development, technology direction, leadership and management. He's been and continues to be a mentor to dozens of local leaders and has been a speaker at numerous Camosun and UVic events. In 2013, Clayton was awarded VIATeC's prestigious Colin Lennox Technology Champion Award acknowledging his business and community leadership.

Promising Alumni Award recipient Jessica Cruise

Young fitness CEO and entrepreneur, Jessica Cruise, is the recipient of the Camosun College Promising Alumni Award for 2016.

As the founder and CEO of Victoria headquartered Vibes Fitness Inc. Jessica came to her current position in a very indirect fashion.

Originally from the Okanagan, Jessica grew up loving golf and wanted to pursue a career that mirrored her love. As Camosun was one of the few colleges that offered the Golf Management program she made the move. "The city itself—and the weather, of course—also attracted me to Camosun," says Jessica. In a program and industry where she was one of only a few women, Jessica saw an opportunity as a young female in the golfing industry.

After graduating from Camosun in 2008, Jessica moved to Kelowna where she certified as a realtor and began selling real estate. Having always been very physically active and health conscious, she began looking for a realistic solution to remaining in shape while working within her busy and challenging career. Her search revealed minimal options and a gap in the fitness industry. In 2009 she founded Vibes Fitness Inc. in Victoria. "Camosun provided me with the foundation I needed to be confident in opening my own business," says Jessica. At the age of 27, Jessica has expanded the business to 5 locations in Vancouver and Victoria.

Jessica also shines with her involvement in the community. Since 2008 she has worked with Junior Achievement BC, teaching young people about financial literacy and entrepreneurship. In 2013, seeking increased involvement in her community, she became a member of the Board of Directors for Community Options, an organization that seeks to improve the lives of those living with developmental disabilities.

Jessica is still connected to Camosun. She volunteers her time by advising various courses in the Business Administration department at Camosun. "Jessica has come back on numerous occasions to speak to different classes," says Troy Dunning, Camosun instructor, Hospitality, Tourism and Golf Management. "She has had classes tour her facilities and given them the opportunity to try them for free."

Jessica's hard work has been recognized. She was runner-up for the Victoria Chamber of Commerce award for Young Entrepreneur in 2013. In 2014 she was recognized as one of the top 20 under 40 on Vancouver Island and was a finalist for BC Business Magazine's top 30 under 30.

Even after all the accolades she's received, Jessica remains humble. "I am extremely honoured to be recognized as Promising Alumni!" says Jessica, "I'm very grateful for the opportunities I've been blessed with over the years as well as the tremendous level of support I've received from my community and mentors."


Contact information

Camosun College

Communications Department