Greenhouse Technician grad wins 2012 Premier’s Award


Niagara College graduate David Pratt has been announced as a winner of College’s Ontario’s 2012 Premier’s Award.

Pratt, who graduated from NC’s Greenhouse Technician program in 2007, was one of six Premier’s Awards winners honoured for making significant contributions to their communities and achieving excellence in their careers. The winners were announced at an annual Colleges Ontario conference held in Toronto on Nov. 26.

His win in the Recent Graduate category recognizes the great strides he has made in the industry since graduating only five years ago.

Pratt’s success as head grower at Sundrop Farms in Outback Australia has the potential to make the world’s deserts come alive. While agriculture uses about 70% of the world’s fresh water supply, Sundrop discovered a cost-effective method to produce food using the sun’s warmth to remove salt from seawater, saving millions of litres of fresh water and millions of barrels of oil. Pratt has developed a sustainable greenhouse growing system that enables the technology to be used worldwide in coastal, arid areas. Sundrop is undergoing a $30-million expansion, and starting a Sahara Forest Project in the Middle East.

Pratt visited Niagara College on Nov. 23 to speak to students about his work.

“We are tremendously proud of David’s success and that he is being recognized with this prestigious award,” said Dan Patterson, president of Niagara College. “David is a shining example of the outstanding contributions made by Ontario college graduates in their communities, their countries, and around the world.”

This was the second consecutive year that Pratt has been nominated for a Premier’s Award.

“This award is something that I hold very dear to my heart and to be recognized with the award is beyond a privilege,” he said. “It really shows how powerful and how noticed Niagara College’s Greenhouse Technician program is in the agricultural industry, in the horticultural industry, and in the greenhouse industry.” 
“Niagara College has the opportunity to take the industry by the horns and really make a difference for the greenhouse industry.”

Since the Premier’s Awards were launched in 1992, Pratt is the fifth winner ever to be named from Niagara College. Previous Premier’s Awards winners from Niagara College are:

● Jerry Howell (graduate of NC’s Computer Engineering Technology program (1988) who won the Premier’s Award in the Technology category in 2011;

● Jordan Harris (graduate of NC’s Winery & Viticulture Technician program, 2004) who won the Premier’s Award in the Recent Graduate category in 2008;

● Heather Kilty (graduate of NC’s Social Welfare Worker program, 1969), who won the Premier’s Award in the Health Sciences category in 2003; and

● Carol Alaimo (graduate of NC’s Journalism-Print program, 1984), who won the Premier’s Award in the Creative Arts & Design category in 1995.

In addition to Pratt, Niagara College’s 2012 nominees included: Adin Bradley (Business), East Zone vice-president, Rural/Metro Medical Services; Christopher Bessette (Creative Arts and Design), award-winning motion picture writer and director; Joanne Brown (Community Services), chief of Travellers Operations for Canada Border Services Agency at the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie; and Paul Pender (Technology), winemaker at Tawse Winery, named the number one winery in Canada for three consecutive years (2010-2012).

Share this article