News and Events

MHC’s 2016 Business Person of the Year provides advice to students at annual networking event

April 13, 2016

Ken MacPhail, a regional entrepreneur was honoured and shocked by the announcement that he would be receiving the 2016 Business Person of the Year award at Medicine Hat College’s (MHC) annual Connecting Students to Business event in March 2016.

After he had an opportunity to reflect and digest the news he compiled some words of advice for the students in attendance, which included an emphasis on education, mentorship, building a strong team and giving back to the community.

“I believe in surrounding yourself with good people. If you’re the leader you have to continue to digest all the information you can, whether that be from your colleagues and customers or by sitting on boards and committees,” says MacPhail. “You’re not an island, you’re one person in a cog of a supply chain or industry and you need to make sure that what you’re doing is creating value.”

MacPhail has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a specialization in agronomy from the University of Alberta. He has had numerous business interests in his career but recently divested his main company, Gateway Agra Services Ltd. which he operated for 25 years. He continues, however to invest and consult in the field of agriculture.  He has held positions on several board of directors including private and publicly traded companies. In addition, he has served and volunteered on a variety of public service committees and boards.

Mentorship and charitable giving, whether that be through in-kind or financial, have always been a large focus for MacPhail.

“We all have a role to play in mentoring and it helps if it comes from a place of honesty and truly wanting an individual to come away better than if you had not entered their world,” says MacPhail.

In terms of community giving, MacPhail’s family have targeted their gifting to education and developmental programs for youth.

“We want to support children to become better educated and more rounded individuals. For us this came through sports or the fine arts programs that we financially sponsored, gave our time or our leadership talents,” says MacPhail.  

Concluding his acceptance speech, MacPhail thanked his family and friends, the college, staff, mentors, customers and left the students with one final statement.

“There seems to be a lot of challenges in front of us today, so start looking for the opportunities.”

To learn more about Connecting Students to Business or the Business Person of the Year award visit