Lax Kw'alaams chief councillor Garry Reece.

Lax Kw’alaams Chief Councillor honoured with BC Aboriginal Business Award

A north coast First Nations leader has been recognized for his business acumen by the BC Achievement Foundation.

A north coast First Nations leader has been recognized for his business acumen by the BC Achievement Foundation.

In announcing the winners of the 2012 BC Aboriginal Business Awards, the foundation announced that its board of directors chose to recognize Lax Kw’alaams Chief Councillor Garry Reece with the Individual Achievement award for the past 12 months.

I was quite surprised. I knew my name had been put forward, but I was very happy when I found out,” said Reece.

As leader of the Lax Kw’alaams band, Reece has helped oversee the growth of Coast Tsimshian Resources, which owns a log debarker in the industrial site and recently opened an office in Beijing to facilitate trade, and is part of the group looking to purchase and redevelop Watson Island into an export facility and logistics park. As well, the band recently reopened a new fish processing plant in the community.

We’ve committed over $11 million for that fish plant. We’re now into groundfish and have two shifts running with one or two boats arriving every day,” said Reece, adding that the future looks bright based on opportunities coming up in the region.

We had to do something to create employment, that’s why we decided to invest in the fish plant…It’s very important that we create employment not only for our community but for our members in the north.”

According to BC Achievement Foundation chair Keith Mitchell, Reece was a natural selection for the award.

The BC Aboriginal Business Award for Individual Achievement is presented to a person who has demonstrated outstanding business acumen as an entrepreneur, leader or supporter of Aboriginal business in British Columbia…Chief Councillor Garry Reece is the 2012 recipient of the Individual Achievement Award in recognition of his exceptional leadership in business development for Lax Kw’alaams,” he said in an e-mail to the Prince Rupert Northern View.

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