Edmonton, Alta—In recognition of the hard work that tradespeople put in every day for the province, Alberta has announced the new additions to its Alberta Trades Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are Kent Madsen (posthumously), Ray Massey, Megan Mathes, and Graham Prokopetz. The Alberta Trades Hall of Fame recognizes and honours people who have made exceptional contributions to advancing the skilled trades and to supporting the success of others.
“Congratulations to this year’s inductees to the Alberta Trades Hall of Fame. This recognition underscores the importance and value of the trades to our society, and the standards of excellence and spirit of innovation represented by the inductees,” said Jason Kenney, Alberta’s premier.
For more than two decades, Megan Mathes has worked in the trades. Her journey in the trades began as a teenager, where she would often fix broken equipment while working as an evening manager in a fast-food restaurant. Realizing both the risk and opportunity presented in front of them, the equipment repair company offered Mathes a job as an apprentice commercial appliance service technician. She began a refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic (RACM) apprenticeship, and attended technical training at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and became a certified Red Seal RACM journeyperson in 2003. In 2014, she was appointed as a member of the AIT Board, where she served the maximum six-year term, sat on four standing committees and served as vice-chair from May 2018 to September 2020. Currently, Mathes is a member of SAIT’s School of Construction Deans Advisory Board, which is a group of industry leaders who help advise the dean of the school on strategic direction.
Graham Prokopetz has more than 40 years of experience as a plumber and steamfitter and is a highly respected superintendent in the construction industry. Graduating from the Kelsey Institute of Applied Arts and Science with a plumber journeyperson certification in 1981, Prokopetz worked for Botting in Saskatchewan but left in 1985 to do philanthropic work overseas. For eight years, Prokopetz worked across the world drilling water wells and training locals on installing and maintaining water supply and sanitation projects. Returning to Canada in 1993, he began working for Shell in Caroline, Alberta, until an opportunity saw him return to Botting. His return saw him start as a journeyperson, but that quickly turned into a supervisory role. For 25 years, Prokopetz worked as a superintendent for Botting and this year, he accepted a new role at Botting as field operations supervisor.
Kent Madsen was a key member of the Alberta community through his work at Madsen’s Custom Cabinets. Madsen’s father started the business in 1960, where he earned his journeyperson cabinetmaker certification in 1983. Two years later, Madsen and his business partner, Myron Jonzon, purchased Madsen’s Customs Cabinet. In 2010, Madsen bought Myron’s half of the business and became the majority stakeholder. Throughout his career, Madsen always helped and promoted apprentices in the woodworking industry. He led the business until 2020 when he tragically lost his life in a deep-sea diving accident. Madsen is survived by his two sons, who both took over the Madsen family business.
A tireless advocate of apprenticeship education and the skilled trades, Raymond “Ray” Massey, has worn many hats during his long career. Starting and running his commercial painting and decorating business in 1982, Massey retired in 2011 and became involved with the AIT Industry Network, spending 12 years on the painter and decorator Local Apprenticeship Committee (LAC) and 11 years on the Provincial Apprenticeship Committee (PAC). From there, he became chair of the AIT board for six years, and in 2019, Massey was appointed to the government of Alberta’s Skills for Jobs Task Force.