Dr. David Allwright joined Bow Valley College in 2012, which was the same time the Chiu School of Business was created. David’s mandate was to grow the Chiu School of Business and he worked on building the administrative structure to handle more students and also developed programs to attract new students. David explains:
“Since that time, we started to put things in place that would stimulate and manage growth. At that time, we had 700 students and now we are just shy of 4000 students.”
Bow Valley College has been a crucial partner for the social entrepreneurial space in Calgary and has engaged in a wide range of entrepreneurial activities in collaboration with the Trico Charitable Foundation. For example, the annual Venture Quest, The Social Entrepreneur’s A to Z sessions with Liam Black, being part of the first-ever Social Enterprise Day proclamation in Calgary in 2016, being part of the Social EnterPrize jury in 2017, co-authoring the Women in Need Society (WINS) Social EnterPrize case study, and developing 150 Startups. David reflects on his time working with the Chiu family:
“My fondest memory of working with Wayne and Eleanor has been working with Wayne and Eleanor. Two of the nicest people I have ever met. The best part of coming to Bow Valley was having Wayne as a benefactor for the school.”
Fortunately, during his time as Dean, David and his team built an online platform so that every course in the Chiu School of Business had the ability to be delivered online. David says:
“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we were able to transition fairly quickly to doing everything online, which we are doing now.”
Prior to joining the College, David was the Associate Dean of the Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University and an instructor in Accounting, Strategic Management, and Environmental Management at the University of Calgary. David discusses his biggest surprise working within each Calgary post-secondary institution:
“The things you think are going to be the same, turn out different. And the things you thought were going to be different turn out the same. Every institution you work with is different, the people you work with are all different. No matter where you go, you are always learning something new.”
As the longest serving business Dean in the province in Alberta, David says his biggest transition to retirement is realizing he can’t take the long term view anymore:
“I always knew no matter how many obstacles I had ahead of me, I knew I was going to get past them if I had enough time to work on it. I am now figuring out how to do things in the short term. My planning horizon was always at least one year out.”
As David looks at what the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the College, all he can now plan for is what the school could look like in May:
“This time period may very well be the hardest challenge at my time at Bow Valley. This time has required a lot of communication, coordination, and planning on a level I wouldn’t have planned to do in a face to face environment and without the luxury of time.”
What was next for David after his retirement was a trip to Europe with his wife in May, however, he will instead focus on his photography hobby until it is safe to leave the house.
“What people value most when they go to work is the people they get to work with. Over the past seven years I’ve assembled a team that I’m hugely proud of and I’m going to miss them a lot.”
In that spirit, David has told his team when Calgary’s famous Booker’s BBQ Grill and Crab Shack opens up they will gather for beer and wings to say a proper goodbye.
It’s been an honour for the Trico Charitable Foundation to work with David and he will be greatly missed. Congratulations, David!