Russ Edwards and WGI Westman Group Inc. invest additional $300K for student awards in the Edwards School

Mark Frison and Russ Edwards of WGI.

Attendees at the launch event for Assiniboine’s Russ Edwards School of Agriculture and Environment on Tuesday heard from Russ Edwards and Westman Group Inc (WGI) that companies under the WGI umbrella are investing an additional $300,000 in student financial awards.

“We are very excited about the Russ Edwards School of Agriculture and Environment, as this is the legacy the Edwards family want to leave,” said Paul Cunningham, President and CEO of the Westman Group at Tuesday’s event. “In conjunction with that legacy, we wanted to announce today a series of scholarships for students entering their second year of studies at Assiniboine Community College (ACC) on behalf of the Westman Group of Companies.”

The announcement came as a welcome surprise at the event and reinforces the confidence that Edwards and his companies have in the programming offered at ACC, and emphasizes their commitment to overall student success.

“We are truly thankful for this remarkable gift and the recognition we have received from Russ and Edna Edwards and WGI,” said Derrick Turner, Vice President of Advancement at Assiniboine. “This gift will have such an impact on the futures of students in both the Edwards School and ACC overall, and will help set them up for success as they embark on in-demand careers in the industry.”

WGI intends to distribute a $5,000 annual award on behalf of each of it’s six divisions, for a total distribution of $30,000 per year for a 10 year period to students entering their second year in programs that correspond to the industries in which each of the divisions operate.

“Our group of companies are here to help students achieve their education and further be able to enter what we know from experience will continue to be in demand industries in Manitoba for a long time,” said Cunningham.

“It is essential for students seeking a future in ag to have the opportunity to get the best agriculture education that is available as we depend on the sector for our food and our future,” said Russ Edwards, Founder of Westman Group Inc (WGI). “The Edwards School will be able to provide the opportunity for these students to advance their education in this crucial industry.”

Edwards has been a leader in the business community for nearly 50 years, and a champion at the forefront of the agricultural sector across the Prairies. His business roots stem back to his first business in Winnipeg in 1976, constructing culverts, steel roofing, and siding. In the 45 years following, WGI has carved out a remarkable and uncharted path under Edwards’ leadership. It has grown into one of Canada’s largest manufacturers of steel products.

This gift adds to a contribution of $4 million from Edwards and family, announced last year, for the college’s Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

The college has been fundraising for the Centre, which will advance education, research and industry engagement, has raised more than $17 million to date. The formal branding of the School, in honour of Edwards, represents another step in this journey.