Shawky Fahel – President & CEO, CMECO
Like many Canadians, Shawky Fahel came to Canada with his family as new Canadians with a desire for a better life and to further his education.
“I am proud to be a citizen of our country where tolerance, diversity and generosity are national traits admired throughout the world."
Shawky has dedicated his life to being a responsible leader who believes in values of fairness and decency. Whenever the opportunity arises, he is proud to step forward and provide leadership.
Shawky studied Political Science at Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University). He has 35 years experience working with local, provincial and federal governments providing advice and participating in meetings and events on national and international matters - particularly economic development, trade, culture, human rights, and, peace and security in the Middle East.
During his successful career, Shawky has received, and continues to receive, accolades and recognition for his humanitarian, business, public service and community achievements. Among his many awards are:
The 'Kitchener-Waterloo Millennium Citizen of the Year - 2000-01';
The Canada-Arab Federation 'Man of the Year for Community Leadership - 1992';
Rotary International's prestigious 'Paul Harris Award -1994' (presented by Hugh Archer, Rotary International President on behalf of its 1.1 million members);
Carizon Family and Community Services’ 'Father Thomas P. Brennan Humanitarian Award -1998';
Awards of merit from the Cities of Kitchener, Waterloo, Brantford for the adaptive re-use of old buildings, local economic development initiatives, and support of local business and cultural associations.
In 2007, the City of Waterloo recognized Shawky as of one of the 150 men and women, past and present, who have significantly contributed to the growth of city. http://www.wpl.ca/services/local-history/Waterloo-150-project
International Politics and Business
Shawky continues to Support Arab and Middle-Eastern ethnic communities across Canada and he strives for a better life for all ethnic cultures. He has been asked by the Canadian Government to provide advice and to participate in Middle East economic development and peace process discussions/negotiations. From 1993 to 1997 he attended Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Summits (1993-97) and he was a Canadian Representative at the 1993 Oslo meetings that resulted in the first Israel-Palestine peace accord.
Shawky is a long-time member of the Canada Arab Business Council and the Canada Saudi Business Council. He has sponsored and participated in business/trade missions to/from the Middle East. He organized an out-going mission in April 2016 while facilitating business discussions among 67 Canadian SMEs and like business enterprises, government officials and academics in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Canadian Government Relations
As a consensus-building problem solver, Shawky has worked with all Canadian political parties to arrive at solutions that address local and national needs/objectives. He has acted as an 'unelected, non-partisan ombudsman’ for Canadians. Bob Rosehart, former President of Wilfrid Laurier University, said, “Shawky has worked tirelessly to help Canadians (including politicians) gain a better understanding of Middle East issues and tensions. Locally, nationally and internationally, he continues to be a voice of moderation”.
Shawky is a founding member and was the volunteer Chair of Waterloo Region’s Shehrazad Non-Profit Housing Inc. In 1983, under his leadership, 50 housing units were made available to new immigrant and low-income families. By 1993, the project had added a further 117 units.
Shawky is a strong supporter of 'KidsAbility' - a Rotary International, community- based initiative dedicated to children with disabilities. 25 years ago, he sponsored Brendan Solomon, who has Downs Syndrome, as his ‘Rotary child’. As Brendan has become a young adult, Shawky continues our close relationship.
“Mr Fahel's loyalty and friendship will not make the news, but it says so much of Shawky's loyalty and his quiet virtues”, said Len and Marie Solomon, Brendan’s parents.
As an Entrepreneur
Shawky is a successful business entrepreneur and community developer who has worked with local officials, municipal councils, local government departments and committees including economic development, planning and heritage. He is a very successful champion for the adaptive re-use of old industrial buildings and schools into high-quality living spaces. Examples include the RiverBank Lofts project in Cambridge Ontario, Alexandra School in Waterloo Ontario and the Market Village in Kitchener. Shawky is a pioneer in integrating construction and technology creating solutions that help seniors remain in their homes.
The adaptive reuse of heritage buildings in downtown Brantford Ontario for academic purposes was achieved by his involvement with that city and Wilfrid Laurier University.
“Fahel was not a wallflower. He liked his status as a mover and shaker, and did what he did with gusto, creating both admirers and detractors in the process.”
--Leo Groarke, President, Trent University
Working with the Six Nation Ohsweken First Nation, Shawky founded Redhawk Contracting Inc., a company that provided manufacturing skill training to indigenous people.
Iain Klugman, President of Communitech (Waterloo Region), wrote in July 2016,
“Mr. Fahel's entrepreneurialism is a great benefit to our community. Through his support of early stage business, venture capital and his focus on global competitiveness and sustainable economies, Mr. Fahel has had a significant and progressive impact in the local, national and international arena.”
Shawky’s experience, expertise and leadership is best summarized in the recent words of the Right Honourable Paul Martin, former Prime Minister of Canada,
“Shawky brings a lifetime experience and unique perspective as an immigrant to Canada, a business and innovation leader, and a public policy expert. Mr. Fahel has been a resident of the Waterloo Region for close to half a century and is vital community presence as a result of his business successes and his tireless support of the broader community. His various involvements range from international business promotion, to national level engagements on Canadian foreign policy and international affairs, to deep involvement in local social service organizations.”