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. 48

Our Musqueam name snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ (house of teachings) references the advice given to a child to build their character and to guide them into adulthood.

Meet more 49 Langarans.

  • Roger Holdstock

    Roger Holdstock

    Retired Employee | Film Studies Pioneer

    Roger was an English Instructor and Chair of the Langara English department. He made significant contributions to Langara’s Theatre Arts, Interdisciplinary, and Continuing Studies departments, introducing Film Studies as a discipline at Langara. Roger also developed the College’s first screenwriting course in collaboration with Studio 58–a project that would go on to become the Langara Film Arts program. He was an active faculty member serving on the Board of the Langara Faculty Association and founded the Langara Gala, an annual event that raised funds for student success. Roger continues to be a strong supporter of the College, funding The Roger Holdstock Scholarship that supports students in a film-related English course. Roger served as the Provincial Articulation Chair of Creative Writing and in 1992, he received the ACCC National Teaching Excellence Award, and in 2005, the Langara Teaching Excellence award. Roger currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of the DOXA Documentary Film Festival and Secretary on the Board of Directors of the 110 Arts Co-operative. He is a member of the folk band Fraser Union.

  • Brian McGibney

    Brian McGibney

    Retired Employee | Fine Arts Champion

    Brian was a Fine Arts institution at Langara. Over his 35-year career, he worked as a workshop coordinator, instructional assistant, and instructor. He guided an entire generation of students on how to use the equipment in the workshop safely and effectively, helping them to gain the confidence and skills they needed to achieve their artistic vision. An active supporter of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), he worked tirelessly as a shop steward to advocate for his members. Outside of Langara, Brian is a talented keyboardist, singer, and sailor. He and his partner Jo have three grown children. His son James is a graduate of Langara’s Criminal Justice program.

  • KC Emerson

    KC Emerson

    Current Employee | Educator, Athlete, Coach

    Kathleen “KC” is an instructor in the Kinesiology department and has spent over 25 years as a faculty member at Langara. She is an advocate for and a generous contributor to the College’s Support Our Students (SOS) fundraising campaign, an initiative that celebrates Langara’s spirit of giving and helps students succeed. As an instructor, KC has provided a steady hand through two major curriculum reorganizations. When she is not in the classroom, KC spends many hours as a swim and triathlon coach. She was a top triathlon competitor in her age group in Canada, and successfully coached and managed several provincial and national teams, including Team Canada at the 1999 Pan American Games. She also served as the Vice-President of Triathlon BC from 1993 to 2007 and as a Board Member of Triathlon Canada from 1993-1997. KC has received many awards for her work and dedication, including the Daryl Thompson Award by Sports BC in 2010. She was also named Triathlon Canada’s age-group Athlete of the Year in 1997. KC cycles to work daily and continues to compete in open water swim races!

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