A new annual award for top marketing students at Okanagan College is honouring a well-known Okanagan businessman and columnist.
John Thomson was the former Marketing Manager at B.C. Tree Fruits. When he retired in the early 90’s Kelowna was in the midst of an economic slump. Still passionate about business and an enthusiastic community promotor, Thomson went on to form the Kelowna Executive Roundtable, a group of local business leaders that meet monthly to discuss topics relevant to the Central Okanagan community.
Thomson also began writing the Thomson Report, a column about business in the Okanagan. In 1999, for his contributions to community, Thomson was awarded an honorary doctorate from Okanagan University College.
When Thomson passed in 2015, members of the Executive Roundtable wanted to find a way to recognize his impact on their group and the community at large. Along with his wife Dolores, they set up a legacy that will introduce new students to Thomson’s work for years to come.
“John was a big fan of the college,” said Don Turri, a partner at Crowe MacKay and a member of the Executive Roundtable. “We decided the most appropriate thing was to have a scholarship in his name.”
The John Thomson Memorial – Kelowna Executive Roundtable Scholarship in Marketing is an annual $2,500 award for a top marketing student enroled in the Bachelor of Business Administration program. The award winner is chosen for having the highest marks in three second- or third-year marketing courses.
“John was a force of nature in the business, media and marketing community in the Okanagan. His columns, his roundtable, his efforts at connecting people and business really spoke to the love he had for the region and for business making a difference in people’s lives,” said Barry McGillivray, associate dean of the Okanagan School of Business at Okanagan College.
“This award in John’s name will hopefully inspire the recipient this year and in years to come to help carry on the commitment to marketing and community that we know was at the core of John’s bigger-than-life persona.”
Andrew Nash is the first winner of the award, and describes himself as the one sitting in the front row of class, asking lots of questions and staying late to study.
“What I love about marketing is the opportunity to be creative,” said Nash. “From developing advertising slogans, or products that are going to reach customers, it’s very interesting to me. The more I can put my own touch on things is awesome.”
Over the summer, Nash ran his own division of Student Works Painting in Salmon Arm, which employed eight student painters.
Nash is also following in Thomson’s footsteps by serving as the Executive Director with the College’s Okanagan Business Students Association, which organizes networking events and activities for students.
“Having the extra income from this award will save me from having a part time job and will help fund tuition and living in Kelowna,” said Nash.
“By not working, I can focus on volunteering, getting experience and giving back to students.”
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