Brian Fehr with Premier John Horgan at the Columbia Lake Technology Centre unveiling in Canal Flats in June, 2018. File photo

Brian Fehr given Order of BC

Top Provincial award for co-founder of Columbia Lake Technology Centre in Canal Flats

BID-Co’s Brian Fehr has been named as one of 14 recipients of this year’s Order of British Columbia, the Province’s highest form of recognition. Mr. Fehr bought the old CANFOR lands in Canal Flats last year and has been working on a redevelopment plan, including announcing the Columbia Lake Technology Centre in June with co-founder Brian Fry.

“I am so pleased to share congratulations with the inspiring individuals joining the Order of British Columbia this year,” announced Lt. Gov. Janet Austin, chancellor of the order. “These exceptional recipients are pillars of our communities who have demonstrated excellence and distinction in their fields. I wish to extend my thanks to all new members for their commitment to meaningful work that leaves a lasting legacy, which benefits and elevates our province for future generations.”

Mr. Fehr’s biography from the news release reads:

Brian Fehr supports the growth of rural B.C. economies, and contributes to the sustainability and safety of

the forest industry through his innovations in the industry, commitment to maintaining operations in the

North, and boards on which he serves.

Although having only a Grade 12 education, he built a billion-dollar group of companies – BID Group – that

provides innovative technical systems and construction services for wood products industries in B.C., across

Canada and into the United States. The companies employ 400 people in B.C. and 1,400 more throughout

North America.

As Fehr built his company, his personal and emotional commitment to the health and well-being of rural

B.C. — and in particular Vanderhoof, Prince George, Salmon Arm and Canal Flats — remains strong. He is

expanding manufacturing facilities in Vanderhoof and is renovating a head office there. In Canal Flats, a

community devastated by the rationalizing of the forest industry, Fehr has purchased a small steelfabrication

business, where he expects to employ 100 people within the next five years.

Always with an eye to innovation and through its subsidiary, DelTech, the BID Group has developed biomass

energy systems that lower energy costs and greenhouse emissions, using wood waste that was formerly

burned by the forest industry. Following the Babine and Lakeland sawmill explosions, Fehr developed a

dust-mitigation system that prevents recurrence of these disasters. BID retrofitted all of the 15 Canfor

sawmills with the system.

He foresaw the potential of artificial intelligence and the potential for machinery to make decisions that

would improve productivity. His ‘profiling’ technology allows a log to be processed into lumber with a single

pass, cutting labour costs. Auto grading, which uses computers to optimize the value of each piece of

lumber by making decisions at a much higher production rate than manually grading lumber, has

revolutionized the industry through minimizing loss in process, improvements in the value of finished

products and cost reduction. His predictive maintenance processes for sawmills means equipment can be

fixed before a breakdown occurs, increasing worker safety and improving efficiency.

From a young age, Fehr struggled with alcohol and drug addiction that threatened both his life and financial

stability. At 37 years of age, he focused on his recovery, overcoming odds against him. He now gives others

a second chance by hiring them. He is a champion for the Baldy Hughes Therapeutic Community in Prince

George and participates on the Northern Interior Health Board. Fehr served on the board of the B.C.

Association for Crane Safety, where he championed the need for better training and changes to WorkSafeBC

regulations. He served on the board of directors of the B.C. Safety Authority (now Technical Safety BC).

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