Meet the seven award winners of NAIT Celebrates 2024

Group’s contributions touch on health care, industry, business, culture and more

Looking at the accomplishments and the contributions of NAIT grads, it’s easy to see how education can be a tool for building community. The 2024 NAIT Celebrates awards, given to six grads and a supporter, show how that applies to virtually every aspect of life in Alberta, including health care, industry, business, culture and more.

“NAIT Celebrates is an opportunity to reflect on the many ways that our alumni, industry partners and friends are making an impact,” says Melanie Rogers, NAIT’s vice-president external. “It’s a time to celebrate their hard work, and the passion and dedication they show in everything they do.”

The awards comprise five categories:

  • Spirit of NAIT Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have made exceptional advances or achievements in their career within 12 years of graduation
  • Alumni Award of Excellence recognizes recent contributions by alumni to their profession or community
  • Distinguished Alumni recognizes alumni for lifetime achievement and professional accomplishments, as well as service to NAIT and the community
  • Distinguished Industry Partner recognizes an organization that has shown an ongoing commitment to NAIT and played a crucial role in supporting NAIT’s vision and mandate
  • Distinguished Friend of the Institute recognizes an individual or family who has show exceptional commitment to the welfare and advancement of NAIT

“Congratulations to the 2024 award recipients!” says Rogers.

Here they are.

Spirit of NAIT Alumni Award

Shreya Nandiraju (Bachelor of Technology ’20, Instrumentation Engineering Technology ’18)
Consultant, KPMG Canada

nait grad and nait celebrates award winner Shreya Nandiraju

Why she’s a recipient: Nandiraju is the first woman president of the International Society of Automation Edmonton. She’s also co-chair for the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Technical Committee of the ISA Smart Manufacturing and Industrial Internet of Things Division, a forum for problem solving and collaboration. Nandiraju advocates for a wide range of experiences and perspectives in her field.

“It’s important that we embrace differences, welcome diverse backgrounds and empower leaders of all levels of experience.”

– Shreya Nandiraju

Learn more about Shreya NandirajuPriya Winsor (Baking and Pastry Arts ’19)
Owner, Compass Chocolates

nait grad and nait celebrates award winner priya winsor

Why she’s a recipient: Winsor started her business during the pandemic, using unique flavours from around the world to connect people. With community-building at the heart of her business, she raised funds for people displaced by the war in Ukraine.

“Being able to showcase flavours from home is a way of saying, ‘Here, this is a little bit of our tradition, of our culture – would you appreciate it alongside us?’”

– Priya Winsor

Learn more about Priya Winsor

Alumni Award of Excellence

Marcie Kiziak (Management ’03)
CEO of Nova Cannabis, President of Cannabis Retail with SNDL

nait grad and nait celebrates award winner marcie kiziak

Why she’s a recipient: With a strong background in human resources and a focus on team-building, Marcie Kiziak has led rapid growth at Nova Cannabis, one of Canada’s largest retailers of cannabis. She is a champion of women in leadership, an adviser to NAIT programming and a supporter of non-profit organizations such as Little Warriors.

“The value of having more women at the leadership table is to encourage more women to participate in the industry.”

– Marcie Kiziak

Learn more about Marcie Kiziak

Arlo Maverick (Marketing ’02)
Musician, promoter and filmmaker

nait grad and nait celebrates award winner arlo maverickray pisani

Why he’s a recipient: Arlo Maverick has dedicated time and energy to helping up-and-coming artists and elevating Edmonton’s hip-hop scene. As a volunteer on the Edmonton Music Awards Advisory Board and the Juno’s Rap Advisory Committee, he has helped bring more exposure to diverse artists in Western Canada.

“We just have to keep on talking and have that voice at the table. Never give up, and be loud.”

– Arlo Maverick

Learn more about Arlo Maverick

Distinguished Alumni

Robyn Dawson (Marketing ’94)
Partner, Kick Media

nait grad and nait celebrates award winner robyn dawson of kick media

Why she’s a recipient: Robyn Dawson is a leader in media planning and buying and has dedicated much of her career to helping Alberta businesses and communities thrive. Kick Media has provided pro-bono work for several non-profits, and Dawson supports her industry as a volunteer with the Advertising Club of Edmonton and through NAIT as a program advisory member and panelist judge and sponsor for the promotional planning awards.

“I feel proud that I can highlight what a great advertising community we have in Edmonton with this award.”

– Robyn Dawson

Learn more about Robyn Dawson

Distinguished Friend of the Institute

Ray Pisani (Management ’84)

nait grad and nait celebrates award winner ray pisani

Why he’s a recipient: Since graduating, Ray Pisani has stayed closely connected to the polytechnic. As one of “NAIT’s biggest fans,” Pisani served as a member of the Board of Governors for nearly a decade, three of those years as board chair. During that time, he contributed to NAIT’s expansion through the Centre for Applied Technology, the Productivity and Innovation Centre, and the acquisition of the Blatchford lands.

“Choosing NAIT was one of the best decisions I ever made. I got a great education that helped my career to take off.”

– Ray Pisani

Learn more about Ray Pisani

Distinguished Industry Partner

Sandvik Coromant

nait grad and nait celebrates award winner sandvik coromant

Why they’re a recipient: Sandvik Coromant, a global leader in manufacturing innovation, is one of NAIT’s long-standing partners. Over the course of a 16-year partnership that has included establishing the Sandvik Coromant Centre for Machinist Technology and scholarships, the company has helped make the polytechnic’s Machinist program one of the largest in Canada.

“The Distinguished Industry Partner award is not only for Sandvik Coromant, but also for all the graduates we have supported throughout their years of learning, and who are supporting us now throughout their years of work.”

– Magalie Jackson, general manager, Sandvik Coromant Canada

Learn more about Sandvik Coromant’s partnership with NAIT

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