The BID Group’s Brian Fehr is among 14 people who will be appointed to the Order of British Columbia this fall.
“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, in a news release. “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.”
This year, 203 British Columbians were nominated for the order. More than half of the nominations came from the Lower Mainland, with the remaining coming from other regions throughout the province. Since its inception, 432 British Columbians have been appointed to the order from all regions of the province, and in numbers generally proportionate to a region’s population.
Fehr is the founder of 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. His work supports many of B.C.’s rural economies.
Although having only a Grade 12 education, he built the BID Group into a large business.
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 — grew.
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 steel fabrication 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).
Article courtesy of: The Prince George Daily News posted on August 7th, 2018