SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

SOURCE: The Calgary Chamber of Commerce

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce

March 08, 2016 10:30 ET

Boardwalk CEO receives Distinguished Business Leader Award

Haskayne School of Business and Calgary Chamber present prestigious award to Sam Kolias

CALGARY, AB --(Marketwired - March 08, 2016) - Sam Kolias, CEO, Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust -- one of the biggest real estate investment trusts in the country -- is being honoured with the 2016 Distinguished Business Leader Award (DBLA), presented by the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary and the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

"Over 23 years, the DBLA has put the spotlight on business and community leaders who prioritize people and ethics as foundations toward achieving success," says Jim Dewald, dean of the Haskayne School. "As Albertans face challenging times today, it's even more important to place full attention on what made Calgary and Alberta great -- pioneering entrepreneurial spirit and working together as a community. Sam Kolias is the poster child for both."

Kolias was selected for the award by a blue-ribbon panel. "We are thrilled to present this years' award to Sam," says Adam Legge, the president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber. "Along with his brother, Van, they have built an amazing success story but he's also one of those rare leaders who remains humble, thoughtful and giving."

When Kolias graduated from the University of Calgary in 1983, the economy was in tatters and he couldn't find a job. So he and his brother -- who had just finished high school -- decided to start their own business renting apartments. "It's really important to always try to find the silver lining, because there's always something positive about anything that's negative," says Kolias. "We looked past the failure to get a job and we looked past the very difficult times. We looked to find opportunities because there are always opportunities."

Kolias has grown his real estate business by "doing what's right" and self-regulating rents instead of letting the volatile rental market determine prices. "We strive to be the friendliest landlord," he says. "We put ourselves in the shoes of our residents. In strong economies, they want steady, stable predictable increases. We are lowering rents and providing more incentives during this tough economic time."

He will receive his DBLA at a gala dinner on June 22. The proceeds support an annual scholarship for an undergraduate student at Haskayne as well as the Calgary Chamber's Emerging Entrepreneur scholarship. "Sam Kolias is possibly the most caring, thoughtful man I have ever met," says Dewald. The CEO builds homes in Mexico for the poor, provides thousands of rental units for refugees and donates his CEO salary to scholarships for his employees' children.

"We want to recognize the leaders that go beyond making their business successful but those who make their community successful as well," says Legge. "Sam is incredibly modest, gracious and compassionate in so many ways -- his connection to the community, his participation in so many local causes and charities and his view of the responsibility of successful business people to give back to their community."

Kolias is humbled by the recognition. "This award is truly a reflection of everyone who has supported me for so long-all the family, community, team and resident members that have inspired me over the years. Success is only possible when we all work together."

For more information about the Distinguished Business Leader Award and to view past recipients, please visit

About the University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is making tremendous progress on its journey to become one of Canada's top five research universities, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.' 

For more information, visit Stay up to date with University of Calgary news headlines on Twitter @UCalgary. 
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About the Haskayne School of Business
The Haskayne School of Business was founded at the University of Calgary in 1967, and is home to some of Canada's brightest and most accomplished minds. Haskayne prides itself on being a leader of knowledge and has established specialized centres to further prepare the next generation of leaders in key industries, entrepreneurship and innovation, advanced leadership, and sustainability.

For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @HaskayneSchool. 

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce
The Calgary Chamber has been working for 124 years to male Calgary a better place to live and work for all. The Chamber works to connect Calgary's businesses, help them grow and expand their influence in order to help make them more successful.

For news and events visit Calgary or follow us on twitter @CalgaryChamber.

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