CONGRATULATIONS to the 2013 winners who have earned the distinction of being among Canada’s Best Managed Companies.

  • Agri-Marché Inc.
  • AMEC Black & McDonald Limited
  • Arconas
  • ASTOUND Group
  • Borger Group of Companies
  • Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited
  • CCI Inc.
  • CenterLine (Windsor) Limited
  • Charger Logistics Inc
  • Cherubini Group of Companies
  • Community Natural Foods Ltd.
  • Contrôles Laurentide
  • Deep Foundations Contractors Inc.
  • Deslaurier Custom Cabinets Inc.
  • Driving Change Automotive Group Ltd.
  • Flanagan Foodservice Inc.
  • FourQuest Energy
  • FWS Group of Companies
  • Global Relay
  • Graycon Group Ltd.
  • Island West Coast Developments Ltd.
  • J SONIC SERVICES INC
  • J.L. Richards & Associates Limited
  • J.W. Lindsay Enterprises Limited
  • Jersey City/Capz Canada
  • Kids & Company
  • KUDU
  • LANCTOT LTÉE
  • Landmark Group of Builders
  • Lemay
  • Maxium Financial
  • MHS Inc.
  • Modu-Loc Fence Rentals
  • Molinaro's Fine Italian Foods Ltd.
  • Momentum technologies inc.
  • Napoleon Group of Companies
  • peopleCare Inc.
  • PointClickCare
  • PrairieCoast Equipment
  • Purdys Chocolatier
  • Scandinavian Building Services
  • Sealweld Corporation
  • Skyline International Development
  • Upside Engineering Ltd.
  • Vista Projects Limited
  • Voyageur Transportation Services
  • Westcorp Inc.


CIBC Best Managed Coaches

Ben Nikolaevsky,
Associate Vice-President, CIBC Commercial Banking, Toronto

Ben Nikolaevsky is an Associate Vice-President, Commercial Banking in downtown Toronto. He is part of the Diversified group, with a focus on food processing. Ben has been a Best Managed coach since he joined CIBC two years ago, and has over 15 years of commercial banking experience prior to that.

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Ben believes that the Best Managed application process is extremely valuable to companies, win or lose. “Going through the Phase II application pulls you out of the day-to-day operations of the business,” Ben says. “It helps the management teams to look at the strategic and long-term perspective not just when they first apply, but annually as they reassess to confirm that they are making the right choices. Do we have the right team in place? Are these the right systems to achieve the desired outcome? Are we targeting the right segment?

Ben’s tenure in Commercial Banking and his experience working with successful companies gives him the tools to be both a coach and a mentor to the companies he works with. He has proudly coached companies to success, including both newer members of the Best Managed network such as Questrade, a winner in 2011, and Ronald A. Chisolm, a Requalified company that has been with the program since 2007. “To gain insight into the country’s most successful private companies is a remarkable opportunity. Every year I am delighted by the increasing level of sophistication in both their Best Managed applications and in their strategic business plans.”

Cynthia Sanlian,
Senior Manager, CIBC Commercial Banking, Quebec

Cynthia Sanlian is a Senior Manager in the CIBC Commercial Banking office in Montreal. While studying at HEC Montreal, she joined CIBC as a summer student. From the outset, she was very curious about how she could play a role in helping companies grow. After graduating in 2007, she joined CIBC full-time and this curiosity led her to become a Best Managed coach in 2008. Between 2008 and 2010, she also coordinated the program as regional champion in Quebec.

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For Cynthia, the Best Managed Companies program is not about winning. “It’s a process that companies can leverage to identify opportunities for growth, and even more importantly, to identify weaknesses, and therefore, how to strengthen their competitive position,” she says. When she meets with a new company, she starts by doing a lot of listening. “The program timeframe forces you to act very quickly, but, as a coach, it’s critical that you empower the management team to really take ownership of the application.” The other key to coaching? “Transparency. In order to be the best partner possible with them, I am clear with the companies I coach from the start and try to avoid surprises.”

As a coach, Cynthia sees herself as a “valuable advisor and partner” to the companies she works with. Knowing the amount of time and dedication that these companies demonstrate in completing the application, she ensures that her meetings with applicants are valuable for them as well, sharing her wealth of experience with the intricacies of the application process.

It’s not entirely selfless. Being a Best Managed coach has helped Cynthia achieve her ultimate professional goal. “As a CIBC coach, I am truly helping companies grow their business!”

Scott Ferguson,
Director, CIBC Commercial Banking, Atlantic Canada

Scott Ferguson is a Director in the Commercial Banking Halifax office. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Prince Edward Island and is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers. He started with CIBC over 30 years ago in the branch network in Alberta. After moving back to Atlantic Canada, he moved into a role within the Commercial Banking office in Newfoundland.

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As a commercial banker, he enjoys spending time with clients helping them develop and grow. “Assisting clients grow and expand and seeing how we’ve helped create jobs and stimulate the local economy is incredible,” Scott says. He first started as a regional adjudicator for the Best Managed program seven years ago. He has now been a coach for the past four years. Scott has had the pleasure of coaching IMP Group, EastLink, PolyCello - a Division of EPC Industries Limited, Charm Jewelry Limited, and Maritime Travel Inc. Scott meets with companies to go through the requirements of the program early on in the process. “I seem to ask the question ‘so what?’ and ‘what’s the outcome?’ a lot to get companies thinking about their competitive advantages,” he says. As a coach he tries to help companies see the forest through the trees. He coaches companies to spend time looking into what makes them special in comparison to their competition.

“The Best Managed Program allows companies to receive the credit they deserve, and a platform to tell a story not only about their company, but about the suppliers and customers that help make their company successful”, says Scott. He also thinks it is great that Atlantic Canada has a chance to be included in the program as many Atlantic-based companies don’t receive the same publicity as larger Central Canadian-based companies.

Scott hopes to continue to have the opportunity to work with companies in the Program to highlight some of Atlantic Canada’s success stories and bring them some well-deserved recognition.

Peter Holowach,
Director, CIBC Commercial Banking, Calgary

Peter Holowach has been with CIBC for 25 years and is currently a Director in the Commercial Banking office in Calgary. Peter enjoys working in Commercial Banking because he finds it to be a great opportunity for him to establish an understanding of how businesses work in diversified industries.

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Peter has been a Best Managed coach for seven years. 2010 was his busiest year yet, coaching eight companies. To help with the application process, Peter has put together a sample application that companies can use as a guide when working towards completing their application. “Many companies find the application process intimidating. I found by putting together an example, companies were more likely to finish a quality application,” Peter comments.

As a coach, Peter has had the opportunity to work with companies not yet ready or prepared to win Best Managed. “I have worked through the Phase I & II applications with multiple companies where they did not win the designation. Even though they did not receive the designation, all of the companies found it to be an extremely helpful process to complete. Many of these companies now use their applications as their working business plan going forward.”

Peter believes companies receive the most benefit out of the application process when senior management is involved. He believes that if you don’t have senior management engaged in the process, it is hard to evaluate the strategy that is being disseminated down from the top and to make any significant changes.

In terms of the program, Peter thinks the Best Managed Program is a “great tool to establish long lasting relationships with great companies.” While working with companies through the application process he was impressed by the amount of pride companies had in sharing their success with others.

Sam Jamal,
Director, CIBC Commercial Banking, Vancouver

Sam Jamal has been with CIBC Commercial Banking since 2003 and is now a Director in the Vancouver office. He studied business at Simon Fraser University and obtained his CFA Designation while developing his career at CIBC. Sam has had the opportunity to be involved in the Best Managed Program as a coach for the last six years.

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Sam has helped companies show tangible improvements in their business while coaching them towards Best Managed status. He has had the privilege of coaching E.B. Horsman & Son to win the Best Managed designation three years in a row. As a coach, he works with companies over several years to build the infrastructure required to turn a good company into a Best Managed Company. While supporting companies through the Phase II application, he takes particular interest in ensuring they integrate best practices into their day-to-day activities. He tries to focus on helping companies overcome challenges.

Sam concentrates on understanding a company’s competitive positioning and how they measure success. From there, he celebrates with them the incremental improvements they make over time. Sam says, “I try to help companies work on the business rather than doing the business. A lot of times companies can’t see past the short term and only focus on satisfying immediate needs. I try and help them focus on long term strategy and growth.”

The Best Managed Program has allowed Sam to build lasting relationships with the companies he has coached and he is personally invested in their success. He looks forward to continuing his role as coach and working with Best Managed candidates over the long term to help develop their strategies to become one of Canada’s best.

Matt Sachkiw,
Director, CIBC Commercial Banking, Mississauga

Matt Sachkiw is a Director in the Commercial Banking office in Mississauga. He received an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University and has eight years of banking experience. For the last six years he has been with CIBC Commercial Banking and five years ago Matt started participating as a coach in the Best Managed program.

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Matt has enjoyed working in Commercial Banking as he likes working with entrepreneurs and learning about what makes them successful. This passion and experience contribute to the value he brings to companies as a Best Managed coach.

Through the Best Managed Program, Matt has had the opportunity to coach successful companies such as Pfaff Automotive Partners, Southmedic Incorporated, Geo. A. Kelson Company Limited and Maritime-Ontario Freight Lines Limited. As a coach, he tries to be hands-on by meeting the company early in the process to start understanding their business. He encourages companies to focus on making their application stand out amongst competitors by emphasizing what makes the company exceptional.

“I think the application process for the company is extremely valuable. Companies know what they do really well, but have never thought to write it down in a formal manner as part of a strategic plan,” Matt says. He believes the process helps the companies reflect on areas where they excel and where they can make improvements.

“Through the coaching process I am surprised at how many great companies there are in Canada. The competition in today’s market environment is fierce; it takes a very strong, well-rounded company to win the Best Managed designation,” Matt comments.

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