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CITT announces 2019 Award of Excellence winner


Toronto, Ontario – At Canada Logistics Conference 2019, CITT presented its annual awards recognizing both professional and academic accomplishments. This year marks the inauguration of four new awards, given to CITT-Certified Logistics Professionals (CCLPs) who exemplify CITT’s goals of fostering excellence and thought leadership in supply chain logistics.

Ginnie Venslovaitis, CCLP, was awarded the Award of Excellence – CITT’s prestigious award, honoring elite distinction in supply chain logistics, professional and personal integrity, and commitment to improvement of the industry. “I was shocked and elated when I learned I had won the Award of Excellence” she said. “My contributions pale in comparison to the past award winners, and I’m so humbled to have been chosen for this award by the selection committee”

Ms. Venslovaitis began her career in logistics nearly 30 years ago – “I started working all three shifts clearing shipments into the US, back in the days of Glengarry, Smith, Taggart, Highland and Cabano. We were still using punch cards for Customs Entry”. A commitment to professional development led her to earn her US Customs Brokers License, and eventually, after building experience in air, ocean, and exporting to remote countries, earning her CCLP designation from CITT in 1998. Since then, she’s held senior positions at Unilever and HBC. She is currently Director of Operations & Client Services at Armour Transportation Services. “I particularly enjoy designing and creating new supply chain solutions – it’s the fun part”, she commented about her passion for the business. “It’s the challenge and executing the solutions I thrive on. To be recognized for that is a real privilege.”

The winners of CITT’s new awards were also on hand for their recognition at the conference.

The CITT Innovator Award, given to a CCLP designation holder who has brought fresh, forward-thinking ideas to CITT, was awarded to Warren Sarafinchan, CCLP. “The world is changing faster than ever, and if you don’t find different ways of doing your work more efficiently, you’ll be left behind” Mr. Sarafinchan said. “I’m humbled to receive recognition for innovation. The fact that CITT recognizes the importance of innovation like this speaks to where the organization is going, and I’m confident that looking forward, CITT will have a difficult time choosing which of its many innovators to recognize next.

The Ernie Solomon Volunteer Award, named after a longtime pillar of the CITT community, was inaugurally awarded to Tom Pauls, CCLP. “It has been, and continues to be, an absolute honour and great pleasure for me to contribute to the CITT as a volunteer.” Mr. Pauls commented upon being notified of his award. “When it comes to volunteering you truly get out of it what you put into it.  By volunteering you will not only meet people, you’ll learn new skills, like project management, financial management, how to plan and run an effective meeting, and you may even have an opportunity to practice public speaking. I encourage all our members to step up and volunteer your time with this great association.  You won’t regret it.”

Recognizing a CCLP who promotes CITT to industry, and takes initiative endorsing professional certification to their peers, the CITT Champion Award was given to Duane Chiasson, CCLP.

“This inaugural Champion award for me is about councils and giving back.” Mr. Chiasson said, commented award. “I became a CCLP in 2002 and going to council meetings I noticed all the talent in the room and how committed they were to CITT and logistics. My focus with this organization has always been on its relevance, expansion, and continuity as a source of representation for senior logistics professionals. CITT-certified professionals should never underestimate their skill sets or experiences. Give back by going to the local council events. You will always get more than you give.”

Two recipients were recognized for the Mentor Award, given to a CCLP who demonstrates above-and-beyond dedication to nurturing the professional growth and career development of a mentee and junior colleagues. Upon being notified she would be receiving the award, Jane Ayn Lyndon, CCLP, said “Being nominated and awarded the CITT Mentor Award is a great honour.  Lucky for me I have been blessed with many mentors who have taught me well.  The best advice I have received is to share the knowledge we gain with others to help in their success.  That is why I always recommend the CCLP designation to anyone who asks about which programs have helped me in my career goals.”

Adam Pernasilici, CCLP, also received the Mentor Award, and acknowledged how important mentorship is to the future of the business: “The successful evolution of our companies and our great industry relies on our ability to foster new talent.  I am incredibly honored to be the recipient of this award.  It is my hope that the essence of this award serves as inspiration to others to engage in mentorship, for many years to come.”CITT’s academic awards recognize professionals who achieved noteworthy excellence while completing the formal program of study towards earning the CCLP designation,

Nelson Severino, CCLP was recognized with the Charles Laferle Memorial Award. After working in logistics for two years, Mr. Severino decided to pursue an MBA from Laurier University, and his CCLP designation. “Since I was already investing significantly in professional development with my MBA, I’d work toward CCLP as well” he related, of his decision to take CITT’s program. “I wanted to give myself an industry-recognized credential to complement the academic degree I’d receive. I’ve used the knowledge I gained almost every day at work. And the program even gave me a connection with my manager, a CCLP, who appreciated the rigor of the program.  If you’re thinking about pursing the CCLP designation, just take the leap. It’ll help you in your current job and beyond.”

The Robert A Hains Memorial Award was given to Saqlain Banatwala, CCLP. Mr. Banatwala began his career in the industry in 2012 in Muscat-Oman where he worked as an Operations Manager for the retail oil and gas sector handling all aspects of the supply chain cycle. After moving to Canada in 2015 he worked for Deloitte Canada in the procurement sector and began CITT’s program in 2017 after joining C.H. Robinson- a leading 3PL to help get a better understanding of the logistics world in North America. “Working for a logistics company, I decided that certification in logistics would be my next best step. My employer, C.H. Robinson, also supports employees pursuing their CCLP, which helped as well.” Of the benefits of earning his CCLP designation, he said “it gave me a broader perspective on different aspects of logistics and how the whole supply chain is interconnected and what goes on behind the scenes. Not to forget the continuing education component that comes along with CCLP keeps one up to date with the market. CCLP is a good step for anyone in the logistics industry.”

Adam Spencer-Bone, CCLP, winner of the Charles D. Edsforth Memorial Award, had his first exposure to logistics when he was very young, unloading delivery trucks – sometimes following them around by bike and recruiting friends to help. His first formal job in the industry was in dispatching at a 3PL, where he quickly moved up to supervisor, then manager. “After moving to Ottawa to run my first operation, I wanted a way to further my career prospects in the long-term” he said. “My goal is to be a VP or CEO one day. So the director of HR suggested I get my CCLP, then go through university, using the business credits from the CITT program to go more quickly. Any transportation professional who is serious about advancement or being the best version of themselves in their current role should consider getting this designation first.”

“I got into logistics when I was saving to get not into logistics” joked Mark Van Dyk, CCLP, winner of the Thomas J. McTague Memorial Award. “I had left my job and was working doing local cartage in Edmonton, where I landed a large contract to do city P&D with Livingston. After 2 years, my former employer wanted me back. It was a good offer, and I worked my way up, putting my schooling on hold since I was learning on-the-job and was very effective at it. I was there almost 20 years, then moved to Ontario.” Mr Van Dyk continued: “It was there I decided to work towards my CCLP, since many employers wanted it. I needed the challenge and felt it could take my career to the next level. It’s given more recognition, and credibility I wanted – not to mention it’s been an ice-breaker. The whole program activated my brain in ways I wasn’t used to.”

Erika Friedman, CCLP, winner of the James T. MacKenzie Memorial Award, decided to earn her CCLP designation at the advice of a manager. After beginning as an Inventory Analyst in 2005 at Gibson Energy, she moved up through managerial positions, and is now Manager, Transportation, at Aurora Cannabis. “I feel more confident in my skills as a transportation professional” she said, of her experience in the CITT program. “It provided me with a greater understanding of logistics and allowed me to feel comfortable participating in areas such as warehousing and distribution.” She added “My organization has a complex network, and I’ve been able to establish best practices and improve what we do with information gained through my studies”.


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