Alumni Awards demonstrate NBCC’s impact on community, industry

A soldier turned health care pioneer. A family business owner expanding his leadership capacity. A rising star on the global nuclear stage. An early innovator in Cloud computing.

What do they have in common? They all started their careers at NBCC, and they’re all recipients of the College’s Alumni Recognition Awards for 2020.

NBCC alumni Joe Foote (1992, Respiratory Therapy), Matthew Stockford (2004, Transport Refrigeration Technician), Ross Horgan (2007, Electrical Engineering Technology), and Lars-Erik Forsberg (2001, Digital Communications) were honoured with Outstanding Alumni Awards earlier this month. Foote was the recipient of the prestigious Friend of New Brunswick award, recognizing an individual who has made significant contributions to the culture, reputation, and economy of New Brunswick. The award reflects his service with the Commissionaire Corps of Canada, animal welfare organizations, and the Canadian Forces Primary Reserves, as well as his professional success.

In a typical year, NBCC presents the awards at a gala ceremony; in 2020, things had to be done a little differently to adhere to physical distancing guidelines. NBCC President and CEO Mary Butler sat down with each recipient for an in-depth discussion about how NBCC influenced their careers. What she discovered is that the impact of NBCC goes beyond alumni as individuals and spreads into their communities and their respective industries.

“Joe helped develop the first national competencies for respiratory therapy, Matt is one of the Wallace McCain Institute’s Entrepreneurial Leaders, Ross helped lead a global conference on nuclear energy, and Lars is a pioneer in Cloud computing,” said Butler. “These are leaders not just among NBCC alumni, but within their professions on a much broader scale. Our collective pride in their accomplishments tell the story of NBCC’s impact in a way that truly inspires the next generation of community leaders.”

Each of the recipients is also an active volunteer, donating his time to community projects and initiatives. In this spirit of giving back, and to mark the special circumstances of the 2020 awards, NBCC Alumni has donated $2,000 in the recipients’ names to the NBCC Student Critical Aid Fund, which provides immediate financial aid to students in need.

Nominations for NBCC’s Alumni Recognition Awards are open year-round and can be submitted online.

Joe Foote, Class of 1992, Respiratory Therapy

Recipient of the Friend of New Brunswick Award

Officer. Respiratory Therapist. Entrepreneur. Pilot. Leader.

These are just some of the words to describe Joe Foote, a 1992 graduate of the Respiratory Therapy program at NBCC Saint John Campus. The owner of Quality Respiratory Care, a home respiratory care company providing services to clients throughout New Brunswick, Joe is also a former Lieutenant-colonel in the Canadian Forces Primary Reserve, a private pilot, and an animal welfare volunteer.

Joe’s army career began in 1983 when he joined the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, the Loyal Company, and trained as a gunner. He entered artillery officer training in 1985 and served the regiment in various capacities for the next 25 years. Prior to commanding the 3rd Field (The Loyal Company) Artillery Regiment, RCA, he held the position of Assistant Chief of Staff for 37 Canadian Brigade Headquarters. After his command of the Regiment from 2001 to 2005, Joe formed the first domestic operations planning team, which was a new role for the primary reserve. As Domestic Operations Officer for Atlantic Canada, he and his team were responsible for planning contingencies where the Canadian Forces might be asked to assist civilian authorities, such as floods. Joe retired from the Primary Reserves in 2008.

At the same time, in his civilian life, Joe was building his business and becoming a leader in the field of respiratory care. Since opening in 1997, Quality Respiratory Care has grown to five offices throughout New Brunswick and 21 employees. Joe has taken a leadership role in the field of respiratory care, helping develop the first national competencies for the profession and writing a handbook for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

Joe also finds time to give back to his community, providing services to veterinary clinics. A licensed pilot, he has also donated his time to transport displaced animals.

He has been a 17-year volunteer with the Corps of Commissionaires (NB & PEI Division) and sits on the Board of Governors, serving as board chair from 2014-2016. He is a recipient of the national Commissionaires Distinguished Service Medal and holds the prestigious title of Commissionaire Distinguished.

Joe continues to maintain a strong commitment to NBCC. Over the years, he has hired more than 20 NBCC graduates, and is a perennial practicum site for Respiratory Therapy students. He has also donated equipment and oxygen to NBCC’s community respiratory care research project.

Matthew Stockford, Class of 2004, Transport Refrigeration Technician

As the President and Service Manager of the family business his parents began more than 20 years ago, Matthew Stockford is growing Stockford Reefer and expanding his leadership capacity.

Matthew, a 2004 graduate of NBCC’s Transport Refrigeration Service Technician program, took the helm of the Woodstock-based business in 2013 with his wife Hilary, a graduate of NBCC’s Business Administration program. Three years later, he invested $1,500,000 in new premises for the business, a move that many in the region see as an investment in the community.

Stockford Reefer specializes in the repair and sales of transport refrigeration units.  Matthew’s business focus is controlled growth and diversification, combined with the quality workmanship and customer service for which Stockford Reefer is known.

In 2017, Matthew was one of 28 young business leaders chosen from a field of 419 nominees from across Atlantic Canada for the prestigious Entrepreneurial Leaders Program at the Wallace McCain Institute. The institute’s mandate includes supporting the next generation of senior business leaders in the Atlantic region, using innovative approaches to convene people, share best practices, enrich learning, and inspire change.

As his business and leadership capacity has grown, Matthew has continued to give back to his community, helping raise funds for the Upper River Valley Cancer Support Network and various local events including the Woodstock Rotary Club’s flagship fundraising event, the annual Rotary dance.

Matthew is recognized as a leader in his industry, having served on the board for the refrigerated service trade in 2006-2007. He is currently the secretary of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association’s (APTA) Associated Trades Committee.

Ross Horgan, Class of 2007, Electrical Engineering Technology

Ross Horgan has taken his NBCC education global. A 2007 graduate of NBCC’s Electrical Engineering Technology program, Ross is a rising star in the nuclear industry, both here in New Brunswick and around the world.

Ross started working at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station shortly after his graduation from NBCC as an Electrical Instrumentation and Control Maintainer. He rapidly climbed the ranks at NB Power, assuming positions of progressively increasing responsibility – Performance Improvement Coordinator, Maintenance Support Supervisor, Maintenance Supervisor, and his current role of Performance Improvement Supervisor. He has developed effective working relationships with senior leadership and improved stakeholder relations. He is recognized as an excellent employee and leader within NB Power.

In 2018, Ross successfully applied for the position of Young Generation Coordinator with the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). He balanced this role with his duties at NB Power and worked globally to formulate a Young Generation Strategy for WANO, including leading a successful global conference of his peers. WANO describes him as a future leader in the industry.

Ross brings the same energy and work ethic to his volunteer activities, notably with Fusion Saint John. He has held several positions with the organization, including serving as Chair. He has worked tirelessly to engage young professionals in the city and has hosted events to welcome newcomers to Saint John.

With global experience and a professional maturity beyond his years, Ross is a proud NBCC alumnus and an example of the limitless opportunity that comes with a diploma from NBCC.

Lars-Erik Forsberg, Class of 2001, Digital Communications

You may not know Lars-Erik Forsberg by name, but if you’ve used the internet lately, you definitely know his work. His exciting career has taken him to Silicon Valley and beyond, but it started in NBCC’s Digital Communications program.

Enomaly, the start-up he co-founded early in his career in Toronto, was awarded one of the world’s first patents in Cloud computing, the on-demand availability of data storage and computing power with no direct active management required by the user. If you’ve ever used Google docs or saved a document to a shared folder, you’ve used Cloud computing.

Lars’ work in information technology has ranged from digital social networks to data centre automation. After graduating in 2001, Lars first went to work at a small digital marketing and development firm in Fredericton. His work took him to Toronto and then to San Diego, CA where he led a globally-distributed team of 100 software developers, site reliability engineers, and software architects to successfully design, build, launch, and operate a next generation cloud infrastructure platform.

In his current position as Vice-President of Software Engineering at UnitedLex, the leading enterprise legal technology and services provider, Lars is responsible for developing innovative and transformative solutions for global 2000 corporations and law firms.

A successful entrepreneur and seasoned executive leader, Lars has led projects with Best Buy, John Hancock, Intel, IBM and Dell Technologies.

Lars has forged his own path, approaching his work with an eye to innovation and always challenging himself to take his career to the next level.


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