John Brink, founder of the Brink Group of Companies, has announced a $1 million donation to the College of New Caledonia (CNC) over the next 10 years.
The donation is the largest financial gift made by Brink during his 55 years working in B.C.'s forest industry.
In October 1999, Brink made the commitment to become an industry partner with CNC and develop the trades and technology centre.
In 2002, the John A. Brink Trades and Technology Centre officially opened at CNC’s Prince George campus.
“Today, as we all know, the forest industry in British Columbia is going through a difficult stage,” said Brink during this morning’s (Sept. 19) funding announcement. “We, industry, the government, both provincial and federal, must step up to the plate and help us through this transition.”
Brink says despite the challenges facing forestry, he still believes the future for the industry is bright.
“We are here following our donation that we made in 1999, to make a $1 million donation to CNC for an expansion of the trades and technology programs at CNC working towards a centre of excellence here in the Prince George region.”
He says as the industry changes skills training in trades and technology will become even more important.
“The industry as it goes through the transition needs different skillsets for different jobs, different equipment being used, and different products and CNC’s position and the location here becomes even more important to skills development.”
CNC Interim President Tara Szerencsi added this is an exciting announcement for the students.
“John’s gift is so generous and we are going to be working with him over the next little while to determine how best to use this donation over the next ten years but it is a really exciting announcement for the students of our region,” said Szerencsi, adding there’s a lot of options for the new funding. “We can certainly upgrade shop equipment and training aids, we can do facility shop upgrades, student awards we can even put funding towards developing new curriculum and trying to launch new programs.”
Not only is Brink committing these funds to CNC, but he also announced the Brink Group will be expanding throughout northern B.C.
Brink says the company intends to continue its growth trajectory with plans to double production capacity at all three of its locations (Prince George, Vanderhoof, and Houston) in the next five years.
“What we are doing in Prince George is we are adding 50 per cent to our capacity,” said Brink. “We are adding another finger-joining plant that will increase our production, probably starting late 2020.”
He said over in Vanderhoof, the company is in the process of doubling the capacity of the pellet plant as well as doubling production at the company’s facilities in Houston.
“Simply what we are doing is saying we understand the challenges we have today, but we look forward and we believe the future looks bright,” added Brink.
The Brink Group currently employs over 400 people throughout northern B.C. and Brink says this expansion will add nearly 100 jobs throughout the region.