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Okanagan foresters log awards

Vernon’s Mark Tamas of Tolko Industries and West Kelowna’s Ntityix Resources LP honoured
Former Tolko Industries chief forester Mark Tamas (centre) is presented with a Forest Products Association of Canada Lifetime Achievement Award from FPAC’s Kate Lindsay (left) and Derek Nighbor. (Contributed)

Being recognized by his peers is quite humbling for Vernon’s Mark Tamas.

The former chief forester of Vernon-based Tolko Industries, has been described by colleagues as “a community-focused forest professional, a skilled communicator, and as an advocate for sound, sustainable forest management.”

Tamas is one of three people recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), which held its Awards of Excellence program in conjunction with National Forest Week. Tamas was honoured along with Susan Yurkovic of the B.C. Council of Forest Industries and B.C. Lumber Trade Council, and Joerg Goetsch of Mercer International.

The award is presented to current or former industry leaders who have made exceptional, sustained, and significant contributions to the forest products sector.

“FPAC introduced the Lifetime Achievement Award as a means of paying tribute to the incredible people who have made it their life’s work to drive Canadian forestry forward,” said FPAC president and CEO Derek Nighbor. “The unwavering vision and leadership of Susan, Mark, and Joerg over the course of their respective careers has been an inspiration to the companies and individuals that have been fortunate to work with them.”

Upon his retirement from a 32-year career with Tolko and its predecessor companies, Tamas held numerous roles including logging supervisor, planning forester, and woodlands manager. He moved to Vernon in 2000 and worked as woodlands manager and divisional manager at Lumby, as well as Okanagan Regional Woodlands Manager and then chief forester in 2013.

He represented Tolko in three provinces with the federal government on matters relating to sustainable forestry, led Tolko’s Forest Certification program and been Tolko’s lead on the Species at Risk file.

“It is humbling to be recognized by your peers for work you truly enjoy doing,” said Tamas. “I am truly grateful for the years of mentorship and guidance I received from my employers and work colleagues. Working for Tolko and the Thorlakson family has been an honour. My entire adult life has been framed by two things: my family and forestry. The balance is important, I wouldn’t have accomplished as much without both influencing and guiding me personally and professionally.

“The communities I lived in, the friends I’ve met and the forests and landscapes in Western Canada that I’ve had the privilege to walk through and help manage have all created lifelong memories. I am grateful for the support and advice I received from the entire FPAC team. They all do an amazing job in representing our sector and advocating the science and benefits of sound forest management.

Tamas is respected amongst industry peers and is considered a statesman and mentor. He has represented Tolko on a variety of collaborative committees in B.C, Alberta, and Saskatchewan and with Forest Products Association of Canada, chairing the Forestry Committee for five years and participating on the National Species at Risk Roundtable.

West Kelowna’s Ntityix Resources LP was also honoured by FPAC, receiving the Indigenous Business Leadership Award, which celebrates Indigenous entrepreneurs in the forest products sector who exemplify business leadership through exceptional environmental and safety performance and the delivery of high-quality products and services.

Since 2013, Dave Gill (RPF) has had the honour of being General Manager of Forestry with Ntityix Resources LP – a West Kelowna First Nation-held natural resource company located in the heart of Syilx territory in the central Okanagan.

Gill and his team coordinate the planning, operations, silviculture, and community and local stakeholder engagement on Westbank First Nation’s (WFN) forest tenures.

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