49 Langarans

49Langaran

Gavin Jones

Langara Alum | Social Advocate & Business Leader

When social advocate and business leader Gavin Jones started the Business Administration program at Langara College, he was getting home from his bartending job after 4 a.m. Now graduated, he starts work every day around the same time. And he loves it.

“I start at 5:30 a.m. every morning, but I’m excited to get up, get in to the office and give back to the community,” Jones said.

Originally, Jones thought he’d end up back in the bar and restaurant industry, maybe opening a restaurant of his own, but he stumbled into the Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society (EMBERS). EMBERS is a Vancouver-based charity and the only not-for-profit temporary staffing agency in Canada, and he “loved it from day one.”

Through his BBA program, Jones had the opportunity to do a group business project — writing a business plan — with EMBERS as the community partner. After he graduated, he saw the director of operations role was open at EMBERS and decided to apply. He was chosen for the role in 2018 and since then he has implemented some of the business plan he wrote out as a student.

“Expansions were a big part of that plan,” Jones said. Under his direction, EMBERS has doubled its locations, having opened a new location in Abbotsford in summer 2019 and another location in New Westminster in January.

“We want to offer our services in multiple municipalities because our impact is so huge,” he said of their mission to create opportunities for people living on low incomes. “It’s such a simple, but brilliant concept.

“EMBERS helps thousands of people facing barriers to work by offering economic and employment opportunities, including job placements, training, and support.”

Jones said the new locations are doing “phenomenal.”

“There’s so much skilled labour in the Fraser Valley and beyond for us to step in and help find employment, find work, and partner people up with great jobs.”

Ultimately, he said they’re planning to grow EMBERS exponentially, even opening up some housing for workers.

“Employment can be such a motivator to move forward with whatever people are facing, whatever stage of life they’re at,” he said. “We’re planning to grow EMBERS right across Canada.”

Courtesy of Black Press Media

49 Facts — NO. 7

Langara College, and the surrounding neighbourhood, are named after Admiral Juan Francisco de Lángara y Huarte, who was the head of the Spanish navy when the Spanish were charting the coast of British Columbia in the late 1700s.

Meet more 49 Langarans.

  • Linda Hudson

    Linda Hudson

    Langara Alum | Business Owner

    Linda is the President and Owner of Kerrisdale Cameras, a family-owned chain of camera stores, and a long-time supporter of Langara College. Originally opened in 1961 by her father Bob Hudson and grandmother, Mary Hudson, Kerrisdale Cameras is a photographic retailer of new, used, digital, and film photo equipment. The company has seven stores in Metro Vancouver and Victoria. Linda works hard to maintain and grow the family legacy. She has been with Kerrisdale Cameras for over 35 years and learned the secret to running a successful business from her father: treat your employees, customers and suppliers honestly and with respect.  Today, over 40% of Kerrisdale employees have been with the company for ten or more years and over 15% are Langara alumni or current students. The company is now the Canada’s second largest independent photo retailer. 

    Linda has a diploma from Langara College (1981) and a BBA from SFU (1989) and held the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation (1999-2013). She was the first retailer in BC to sign the BC Safety Charter. Linda also volunteered for nine years as Treasurer at the BC Retail Safety Society, has been a Strata Council Member in Whistler for 17 years, and is on the Board of Directors of the Kerrisdale Business Association. She also volunteers with the new Kerrisdale Earthquake & Emergency Preparedness (KEEP) working group to help local businesses work together to become disaster resilient.

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  • Barrie Brill

    Barrie Brill

    Retired Employee | Langara Pioneer

    Barrie was one of the original instructors at the Langara campus when it first opened in 1970. He taught history at the institution for over 38 years and was actively involved in the expansion of the course offerings in the History department. He played an integral part in College affairs throughout his time at Langara, serving as the Chair of History department; Division Chair of Social Sciences on three separate occasions; as well as being the President of the Langara Faculty Association between 1977 and 1978. In addition to his contributions as a faculty member, he was a supporter and regular presenter at the Langara Community Lecture series, a foundational College community outreach event first held at Robson Square and later at the Vancouver Public Library. In 2015, Barrie inspired his colleagues to start a fresh series of public lectures in collaboration with the Dunbar Community Centre.

  • Theresa Hanson

    Theresa Hanson

    Former Employee | Athletic Director

    Theresa was the Director of Athletics and Intramurals at Langara College from 1994–2004 and is now the Senior Director of Athletics and Recreation at Simon Fraser University, overseeing Canada’s only NCAA varsity program. After her time at Langara, she worked at UBC for over ten years, as the Associate Director of Athletics, managing the operations of 29 varsity sports programs. Theresa acted in several leadership roles in intercollegiate athletics both at Langara and UBC, including CCAA Vice-President, Finance and Administration; Chair, Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Finance; Canadian Interuniversity Sport Vice-President, International; Canada West Universities Athletic Association Vice-President, Sport; and member of Canada West Board of Directors. In 2013, Theresa was named Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 27th Summer Universiade in Russia. Her work ethic earned her the admiration of her colleagues at provincial and national levels. She has been recognized with multiple awards, including the Order of the Falcon Award from Langara. She was inducted into the Greater Trail Home of Champions Registry in 2014 to celebrate her career in sports administration and was also inducted into the CCAA Hall of Fame in 2017.

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