Premier’s Awards

The PrRob Huddleston, Sandie Sidsworth, Chris McMahon, Marta Iwanek and Dr. Nathan Nugent.emier’s Awards honour the important social and economic contribution that college graduates make to Ontario and throughout the world. The awards were launched in 1992 and are administered by Colleges Ontario.

Presented annually, the Premier’s Awards recognize graduates in the following seven categories: Business, Community Services, Creative Arts and Design, Health Sciences, Recent Graduate, Technology and Apprenticeship. For more information about the awards, please visit the Colleges Ontario website

 We encourage you to share stories of successful individuals who have made a difference in their organizations, communities and field of work who would be excellent representatives of Loyalist College at future Premier’s Awards. Email us today.

This year, the Premier’s Awards ceremony will take place virtually on November 18, 2021.

2021 Premier’s Awards Nominee – Business
Kai Hulshof (Journalism, 2003)


As CEO of Canopy Media and COO of Jentü Technologies, Kai Hulshof has found success through community-first entrepreneurialism. His innate business acumen is matched by compelling content creation skills honed through a college diploma and a career in journalism. Hulshof supports small and medium-size businesses by elevating their digital marketing to expand their clientele and protect their digital properties through a cyber security lens; two invaluable supports sustaining local main street businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hulshof selflessly gives back to others, be it through Mudtown Records, a music & arts promotion company, or through business mentorship at the South Georgian Bay Enterprise Centre.

2021 Premier’s Awards Nominee – Community Services
John Whelan (Business Administration, 1983 / Police Foundations, 1985)

Fire Chief John Whelan has dedicated more than 30 years of service to his community as a police officer, a volunteer firefighter and as a Fire Chief for the City of Quinte West. Always prepared to put his life on the line at a moment’s notice, Whalen has received the Ontario Medal for Police Bravery, and the Fire Service Exemplary Medal from the Government of Canada. As a model of empathetic leadership for 130 firefighters across seven fire stations, Whalen actively advocates for stronger mental health and wellness supports for emergency service workers.

2021 Premier’s Awards Nominee – Creative Arts & Design
Darren Calabrese (Photojournalism, 2005)

News Photographers Association of Canada’s 2020 Photojournalist of the Year, Darren Calabrese bravely tells our nation’s most pressing and painful stories from the Atlantic Canadian perspective. From intimate portraits of his own family’s experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, to unflinching portrayals of the aftermath of the April 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia, Calabrese’s photographs can be seen in major publications like Maclean’s and the Globe and Mail, giving voice to the Atlantic Canadian experience.

2021 Premier’s Awards Nominee – Health Sciences
Laurie French (Practical Nursing, 1987)

Laurie French has dedicated 30 years of outstanding service to Ontario’s health care community, beginning her career as a nurse before implementing her planning and operations skills as a key member at the South East LHIN. In the summer of 2021, as a Regional Director with Providence Care Hospital, French will lead a new model of patient-centred care for Kingston and the surrounding area, overseeing the opening of a new 64 bed Transitional Care Centre. In her spare time, French has earned multiple degrees, raised a family and advocates for education as an elected school board Trustee serving as President of the Canadian School Board Association.

2021 Premier’s Awards Nominee – Recent Graduate
Nicole Flynn (General Arts & Science, 2021)

Nicole Flynn is many things; a photographer, a college graduate, a Consultant with People Minded Business, a Youth Accessibility Leader, a self-advocate and so much more; but in all things she brings to the table a passion for inclusion and equity that is resolute, empathetic and awe-inspiring. As a recipient of the Canada 150 Award in recognition of extraordinary service to community, Flynn’s mission is to bring awareness to the needs of people with disabilities, to empower others to be self-advocates and to challenge the expectations placed on her as a person with Down syndrome.

2021 Premier’s Awards Nominee – Technology
Jamu Alford (Electrical Engineering Technician, 2001 / Electrical Engineering Technician, 2001)


A prolific inventor with over 26 published patent/patent applications, Jamu Alford is an award-winning researcher and scientist creating non-invasive technology to measure human brain activity. Alford’s groundbreaking work propels humanity forward into a new era of neuroscience. From humble beginnings on a Prince Edward County farm, the home schooled math prodigy taught himself computer programming, leading to postsecondary pursuits in electronic and computer engineering in college and physics in university. Alford is a respected Scientific Manager on the cutting-edge of biotechnology at Kernel, where his boundless curiosity and perseverance helps him to develop solutions to society’s most difficult scientific questions.