2016 Award Winners

2016 Alumni Honour Award

Joseph D. Randell
President & CEO, Chorus Aviation Inc.
MBA ‘85


Joseph Randell

Joseph (Joe) D. Randell is the president and chief executive officer of Chorus Aviation Inc., an aviation holding company (TSX: CHR.B, CHR.A) that owns Jazz Aviation LP, one of the world’s largest regional airlines, Voyageur Airways, a provider of specialized aviation services and aircraft leasing companies. With its headquarters in Halifax, N.S., Jazz employs 4,100 people from coast to coast in Canada and operates to over 70 destinations in North America.

Mr. Randell began his career in the airline industry with Eastern Provincial Airways in 1974 and co-founded Air Nova in 1985, serving as its president. Beginning in 1999, he led the consolidation of Canada’s regional airlines for the eventual creation of Jazz in 2001. Mr. Randell is presently a director of Chorus Aviation Inc. and the Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation. Previously, he served on the board of directors of the Halifax Port Authority, Maritime Tel & Tel, Discovery Air, Regional Airline Association and as chair of the National Airlines Council of Canada and the Air Transport Association of Canada.

Mr. Randell holds a bachelor of industrial engineering degree with distinction from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and a master’s degree in business administration from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

P.J. Gardiner 2016 Newfoundland and Labrador Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Gary Wadden & Derek Langdon
Partners, group m5
B. Comm. ‘78

Derek Langdon


Derek Langdon

Unlike many entrepreneurs, Derek Langdon didn’t know right from the get go that he wanted to run his own business. What he did know was nothing felt as good to him as winning. He knew that he measured success by results and that he wanted to be in a challenging, high energy environment. So even though he might not have realized it when he graduated from Memorial University in 1978, Mr. Langdon had all the makings of a successful entrepreneur.

After a few years spent in retail and government spheres, Mr. Langdon came to a crossroads and knew it was time to go another way. He joined now long-time business partner Gary Wadden, first as a manager on the research team but moving into a partnership role in a matter of years. He’s been a driving force behind, what is today, Atlantic Canada’s largest ad agency. He puts the numbers where his mouth is to prove that their work gets results for clients. Mr. Langdon has a simple formula for success in advertising: success for a client equals success for the agency. And what’s more, it yields long-term client relationships. For Mr. Langdon, that’s really important. His competitive nature makes him want to know his client’s field deeply and to craft the strategic play that’ll get attention in the marketplace and meet the client’s objective, whether that’s driving sales, site visits or brand recognition.

With these philosophies, Mr. Langdon has kept several client relationships for decades, continuing to build their success, which has brought growth to his own agency — growth in clients, media buys and employees. And he’s been mentoring m5 execs with these values for just as long — on the importance of results, instilling the belief that if you exceed the client’s expectations, it will come back to you.

Mr. Langdon’s hunger for the win, his fighting spirit, is legendary at m5 and it’s served the company well. But he also understands that winning isn’t a solo effort; it takes a whole team of people. And so he sees it as his responsibility to create an environment where people bring intense passion and positivity to their work, where innovation and ambition are encouraged, and where people are proud of what they do and where they work. That’s the quality that perhaps defines Mr. Langdon as an entrepreneur: his commitment to his clients and his people. And that’s brought his business huge success.

Gary Wadden


Gary Wadden

Entrepreneurialism is built into Gary Wadden’s DNA. Five generations of his family have operated their own businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador and he started soaking up the business savvy early on. At a young age, he worked in his father’s wholesale business where he acquired lessons he still carries with him today. Naturally, he gravitated to the business faculty when he attended Memorial University. But it was perhaps a co-op work term at an ad agency in Toronto that really set Gary on his own entrepreneurial course.

When he graduated, Mr. Wadden started managing Omnifacts Research, the first marketing research company in the province. At 24, he left to start M5 Advertising, then just a two-person operation, but one that would eventually grow into Atlantic Canada’s largest marketing communications company with over 200 employees. Gary has led the growth of m5 in Newfoundland and Labrador and overseen the expansion to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and even the state of New Hampshire. Under the group m5 umbrella, he’s also added a research company, production house and public affairs firm. Additionally, he overviews a portfolio of real estate properties in Canada and the United States as well as a number of sport facilities.

Mr. Wadden’s business acumen is complemented by a strong sports mentality and he applies principles of both in running group m5. He believes strongly in team, loyalty and doing what it takes to win. Even while he was growing m5, Mr. Wadden coached hockey for over 20 years and is as proud of his hockey accomplishments as he is of his business success.

Mr. Wadden is a proud Newfoundlander and Labradorian and truly enjoys living in this place with his wife Donna and his three boys. To him, our province is a place where you can work hard, enjoy yourself, have fun and still be successful. It's this belief that keeps him pushing boundaries today.