Some of the forest that surrounds Interurban Campus

2017 alumni awards

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.

Phil Venoit  (right), Matthew Vaillant (left)

Phil Venoit (right), Matthew Vaillant (left)

Distinguished Alumni Award

Phil Venoit Tradesman, labour organizer, community builder

The untiring promoter of the trades and relentless pursuer of worker advocacy, safety and training, Phil Venoit, is the recipient of the Camosun College Distinguished Alumni Award for 2017.

Phil Venoit graduated from Camosun’s Construction Electrician Apprenticeship (now the Electrical Trades apprenticeship) in 1985. “Camosun helped with my career by providing me with stellar instructors who cared. They were hard, fair and empathetic,” says Phil. His fondest memory of Camosun is the relationships he made. “I still talk to many of the apprentices I went to school with today, 35 years later,” says Phil. He’s quick to add another aspect near and dear to many students. “The cafeteria would be another fond memory, the quality and variety were unbeatable, at starving student prices.”

Phil worked in the construction, shipbuilding and repair industries for 15 years and apprenticed at Yarrows Shipyard in Esquimalt. In 1996, Phil was asked to work in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 230 office and, since 2002, he has served as Business Manager and Financial Secretary, representing almost 1,400 members working at approximately 50 employers on Vancouver Island. He’s also the Chair of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Provincial Council representing 12,000 electrical workers in BC and President of the Vancouver Island Building Construction Trades Council. In 2016, Phil was elected President of the Vancouver Island Metal Trades Council, after serving as Vice President for many years. Phil has also been elected twice, in 2011 and 2016, to sit as a key delegate to the North American Metal Trades Department of the American Federation of Labour, only the second Canadian in the 110-year history of the organization to hold this elected position.

Within the community, Phil is tireless. He has served on the Program Advisory Committee as the co-chair at Camosun College, on the Board of Directors, and as past President of the Western Joint Electrical Training Society. He has served as a Labour Designee in Victoria on the Board of Referees for Employment Insurance Canada, and he’s a charter member of and sits on, Victoria's United Way Labour Committee. After the passing of his mother, Phil co-chaired the charter of Victoria's Ovarian Cancer Walk and has raised funds for many charitable organizations, most notably Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis.

Currently, Phil co-chairs the Industry Training Authority's Maritime Sector Advisory Group and is also the designated Canadian putting together a group known as Electrical Workers without Borders, a spin-off of the Doctors without Borders group. Working with several other countries, the organization will provide needed power and communications to countries that experience natural disasters.

Reflecting on being named Camosun’s Distinguished Alumni for 2017, Phil says, “The news about winning this award was incredibly gratifying. Some days, it seems like just yesterday I was that 18 year old electrical apprentice trying to figure life out, and you slow down just long enough to take in a sunrise and realize you have devoted almost four decades to an industry and trade you truly love and respect. I see the award as a testament to that.”

Promising Alumni Award

Matthew Vaillant

Hard-working and talented marketing specialist and entrepreneur Matthew Vaillant is the recipient of Camosun College’s Promising Alumni Award for 2017.

Like most of his classmates graduating in 2014 from the Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing, Matt Vaillant applied to many jobs. He received his first interview soon after with Latitude Geographics and thoroughly impressed them. Unfortunately, because of circumstances beyond his control, he wasn’t hired. But that didn’t last long because weeks later Latitude Geographics created a new position specifically for him and his skill set.

Initially hired as a Marketing Specialist, Matt quickly became integral to the sales team for his support. His understanding of both the technical and sales side of the business has led to Matt becoming a vital part of Latitude’s RFP response team that brings in a substantial amount of business every year. At the beginning of 2017, Matt was promoted to Digital Marketing Lead at Latitude, where he’s responsible for developing and executing Latitude’s digital strategy.

Matt is committed to his community and donates his time to Big Brothers Big Sisters Victoria as a Community Mentor. Matt also runs the Salesforce user group for Victoria where he runs monthly meetings to keep Salesforce users and himself up to date on the technology. In what little downtime Matt has, he furthers his learning by reading business and personal development books, articles, and blogs while continuing to learn from the successful individuals around him.

“It may sound cheesy, but it's the relationships I built,” says Matt, recalling his time at Camosun. “I met my future wife in a second year class, made friends that I'm still very close with, and built relationships with awesome professors that I keep in touch with to this day.” He cites the applied curriculum and the structure of his classes as being a big part of his success. “Business and marketing was what I was passionate about, and being able to hone practical skills starting in my first semester helped build out a strong skill set,” says Matt.

On being awarded the Promising Alumni Award, Matt says, “I'm honoured and humbled. I went to school with a lot of brilliant people that could easily be in my place.”

Contact information

Camosun College

Communications Department