ORFA Award Recipients Announced For 2023

December 6, 2023

Since the inception of the Ontario Recreation Facilities Association (formerly the Ontario Arenas Association) in 1947, a great number of individuals have volunteered their time and expertise to help enhance competencies and shape policies and procedures for the betterment of the recreation facility profession, a fact that continues and does not go unrecognized.

The ORFA is pleased to announce the following 2023 award recipients:

  • Life Members – Paul Anthony Watch Video, Kevin Hill, Trish Kolody
  • Doug Moore Ambassador Award – Frank Zamboni
  • Ronald G. Burnside Memorial Award – Amy Gangl
  • Tony Brenner Mentor Award – Ross Rankin Watch Video, Bob Heickert
  • Recreation Facilities Asset Management Award of Excellence – Maggie Off, Municipality of Bluewater
  • Don Harrison Energy Champion Award – Steve Moore, Town of Whitby
  • Award of Merit – Zack Tarantino Watch Video, Brian Gee
  • Corporate Award of Merit – Intact Public Entities
  • Doug Poulin Certificate of Achievement – Jeremy Lahie

Congratulations are extended to all.

Award Recipients Acceptance Comments

Ronald G. Burnside Memorial Award - Amy Gangl

Thank you so much for advising me that I have been selected as a recipient of the ORFA Ronald G. Burnside Memorial Award. What an honour! I feel humbled that someone brought my name forward for this award.

Over my years as an ORFA member, I have had the privilege of benefiting from ORFA professional development, created by the hard work and efforts of those before me. ORFA members have welcomed and supported me as I grow in my recreational career. I am happy to do my part to serve the ORFA members and our professional development in this capacity.

Tony Brenner Mentor Award – Bob Heickert

First, I want to thank Brian Slater, my Manager of Facilities Development & Operations, and my friend, for your generous nomination. It is a pleasure to work with you creating opportunities for the residents to skate and play hockey at the Stouffville Arena and Stouffville Clippers Sports Complex. Additionally, I want to recognize my mentor Rob Raycroft, who brought me onto the management team and taught me so much of what I know today. Including the knowledge of operational and capital budgets, and also the understanding of our management systems. He led by example, and was always patient, kind, knowledgeable and inspirational in his role. I have leaned on his expertise for the past twenty-two years in so many areas, but most notably, in how to lead my own facility teams, manage budgets and oversee new capital project initiatives.

The spirit of the Tony Brenner Award is for individuals who show mentorship and managerial acumen. I have been inspired by his legacy to create initiatives that bring recognition to our community, including those I have led to ensure a safe experience. That has recently included developing a regular Emergency Response Plan and adapting our facilities to accommodate the Provincial and Regional guidelines throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the important partnership in these endeavors of Barantas, Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Fire Department and the York Region Paramedic Services, the arena staff family and the staff training teams at CIMCO and ORFA.

Forward facing in our community, I have been honored to assist in successful fundraising and awareness such as the Terry Fox “Run for Cancer”, the Rick Hansen “Wheels in Motion” events and facilitating the Toronto Marlies skates and the Stouffville skating shows in celebrating their 50th anniversary show last year.

Brian’s kind words acknowledge that I am a leader who creates inclusion and support for all my staff – from the co-operative summer students to full-time staff/senior management – in achieving their own goals. It is important to me to assess every employee to make sure they are being the best versions of themselves. I have worked hard to be a good listener, a true friend, a trusted co-worker, a competent operator/supervisor and a mentor to many. I don’t consider this to be a 9 to 5 job—I am available 24/7 and everything from the surface of our ice rinks to the customer service interaction with the team is a reflection of my soul.

As part of the Leisure Services interview and the onboarding training team, I ensure that all facility employees are successful and competent operators. I have organized staff training through ORFA to help them become Certified Ice Technicians and mentored them to achieve these goals. It is easy to lead a team that is all pulling in one direction and toward the common good of providing a stellar experience for every visiting community member.

In 2018, the Stouffville Arena was presented an award for energy consumption efficiency through Powering Up Durham. Last year, we also received the Top Rank Municipal Building Award from Climate Wise Building. I am proud to have initiated and implemented capital projects that ensure our facilities will be able to operate efficiently in the years to come.

While I am honored by the recognition of these awards, I could not have achieved this on my own. I am one of thousands who have benefited from visionaries like Tony, who was instrumental in making the industry what it is today. I owe my thanks to Mayor and Council, the senior management team, the operation team at both Stouffville arenas as well as the leisure and community service team. Of course, none of this would have any meaning if it weren’t for the community who shows up to enjoy our facilities. It is a joy to open the Stouffville arena each August, the camaraderie of building the ice with my crew is only paralleled by the satisfaction of watching our first group of kids skating on the pristine surface.

I thank God every day for my patient wife, sons Ryan and Robert and their tolerance for me leaving the family dinner table to address after-hours issues. My family has never complained in forty-three years of putting up with me abandoning even family vacations, to ensure that whatever I am entrusted with operates as it should.

My ultimate goal is to see every person on my team achieve their goals, and to continue to work together to bring our best to Stouffville. It takes two minutes of my time to acknowledge the strengths of my employees, co-workers, and guests. Isn’t that what we should all be doing: Creating space for our town to come together, and celebrating the good in others.

Recreation Facilities Asset Management Award of Excellence – Maggie Off, Municipality of Bluewater

On behalf of the Municipality of Bluewater, I am thrilled to be the recipient of the Recreation Facility Asset Management Award of Excellence for our application of Recreation Facility Asset Management (RFAM). RFAM effectively inventories our assets so we can make better asset-related decisions. This significantly improves the way we maintain, replace, and repair municipal infrastructure and make better investment decisions that help reduce risks so we can provide high quality, reliable and affordable services. We are thankful for the collaboration between Marmak Technologies and ORFA to make this software application available to members.

Don Harrison Energy Champion Award – Steve Moore, Town of Whitby

I am honoured and grateful to be chosen as the recipient of the ORFA Don Harrison Energy Champion Award. I believe that reducing energy consumption and improving energy management is something we should all be working towards.

Corporate Award of Merit – Intact Public Entities

Intact Public Entities is proud to be the recipient of the Ontario Recreational Facilities (ORFA) Association Corporate Award of Merit. We have enjoyed close to three decades of partnership with ORFA and consider them the leader in recreational facility courses and professional designation programs. IPE is a strong believer in the need for education and certification for the different roles and responsibilities in our recreational facilities. We always enjoy working with the team at ORFA whether it be on a webinar, course, or article. We consider the ORFA group to be not only our partner in risk management and education, but our friends.