High-tech industry veteran and life-long community volunteer Bob Skene has been singled out for a lifetime achievement award by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
The award, which recognizes Skene’s three decades of work and service in the city, will be handed out at the Chamber’s annual Business Awards in April.
“This feels very satisfying and quite a surprise,” said Skene, 73.
“My wife and I moved here in 1979 and we never thought we’d be as satisfied as we are. I’ve always been a volunteer and I have been lucky enough to volunteer for a number of great organizations in Victoria, and this is very gratifying that this has been recognized.”
Over his time in Victoria, he has volunteered his time and expertise with organizations including Royal Roads University, the Victoria Airport Authority, the Association for Community Living, the Greater Victoria Hospital Society, Uplands Golf Course and the chamber itself.
His working life has been varied, though his calling was in the technology sector.
After attending the University of British Columbia, he worked in the tech departments and as an executive of various firms before establishing Hi-Tech Systems in Victoria in 1983.
He left Hi-Tech in 1989 and was a key player in the creation of what is now the Victoria Advanced Technology Council, where he spent the next 10 years.
“For me, the highlight is the work in the tech sector in Greater Victoria,” Skene said.
“Ever since I graduated from university, I have been involved in tech one way or another — and I brought that with me to Victoria. And seeing the results of it, well, Victoria is a sensational place for technology development.”
Technology is now a $3-billion industry in Greater Victoria, and Skene admits to taking some pride in helping the sector to grow.
Skene said he has now stepped away from work, and is focused on his eight grandchildren and travelling and enjoying life with his wife, Judy.
Said chamber CEO Bruce Carter: “We strive to recognize excellence in business and Bob is being recognized for a lifetime of excellence.”
Carter also announced the finalists for this year’s business awards, which will be given in April.
“Every year, we like to recognize the outstanding achievement of many individuals and businesses in Greater Victoria,” he said.
“This year, our finalists show a diverse group of businesses that work hard every day not only to make their business successful but also contribute to the vibrancy of our community. We look forward to recognizing all our finalists and winners at our April awards gala.”
The gala will be held April 24 at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Tickets go on sale March 3 at victoriachamber.ca.
2014 Chamber of Commerce Business Award finalists
Innovative Fitness Victoria
PBX Engineering Ltd.
AOE Accumulated Ocean Energy Inc.
B.C. Cancer Agency – Vancouver Island Centre
Outstanding Customer Service
Balance Home Cleaning
ICE – Island Centre of Hockey Excellence
Business of the Year (1-10 Employees)
Atomique Productions Ltd.
Cedarwood Productions Inc.
Business of the Year (11-25 Employees)
National Courier Service
Triangle RV Centre Ltd.
Business of the Year (26-75 Employees)
Outset Media Corp
Spinnakers Brewpub & GuestHouses
Business of the Year (76+ Employees)
Wilson’s Transportation Ltd.
Sustainable Business Practices
Big Wheel Burger
Oughtred Coffee & Tea Ltd.
Employer of the Year
Seaspan Victoria Shipyards
Business Person of the Year
Dan Dagg, Hot House Marketing
Sybil Verch, The Verch Group at Raymond James
Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Andrew Higginson, Higginson Consulting
Janna Malo, Fired Up! Paint Your Own Ceramics Studio
Employee of the Year
Chris Loran, The Q! and The Zone
Paul Rudd, Adrena LINE Zipline Adventure Tours