Brian Fehr. Contributed photo

Prince George man appointed to Order of British Columbia

Brian Fehr, originally from Vanderhoof, has spent much of his career helping rural B.C. prosper

Brian Fehr, a Prince George resident, has been appointed to the Order of British Columbia.

Its the highest form of recognition in the province, and honours people “who have served with the greatest distinction and excelled in any field of endeavour benefiting the people of the province or elsewhere,” explains the Order of British Columbia website.

Fehr is the founder and CEO of BID Group, a billion-dollar group of companies which provide technical systems and construction services for wood products industries, like forestry, across B.C., Canada, and the United States.

Thirteen other civic leaders have been appointed the Order this year, after 203 were nominated. Since its inception, 432 British Columbians have been appointed to the order.

Related: Order of British Columbia inducts 14 accomplished residents

“These exceptional recipients are pillars of our communities who have demonstrated excellence and distinction in their fields. I wish to extend my thanks to all new members for their commitment to meaningful work that leaves a lasting legacy, which benefits and elevates our province for future generations,” said Lt. Gov. Janet Austin, chancellor of the order.

“British Columbia is strong because of our people. This year’s recipients represent the diversity and strength of our province,” said Premier John Horgan. “They have all dedicated their lives to making B.C. a better place, and I commend them for their tremendous achievements and service.”

Fehr was born and raised in Vanderhoof, and says he was asked to nominate himself for the honour several times over the last year, but initially refused. His hesitancy stemmed from his concern the appointment would be focused on his money and companies, rather than the work he does for and within rural B.C.

“What I did was Google the list and I saw the whole bunch of second-generation money people and a whole bunch of rich people, and I’m like, ‘You know what? That’s not me,’” says Fehr. “I come from a Mennonite family in Vanderhoof. My dad made four bucks an hour, had six kids. My story is about way more than money.”

In the end, he agreed to the nomination, but only if the province agreed to also emphasize the work he has done within his community – and much of northern B.C.

BID Group is the largest single employer in Vanderhoof, says Fehr. They also have shops in Prince George, Salmon Arm and Canal Flats. “We have 14 shops across North America,” Fehr says, “and 11 of them are in small towns.

“I’ve always been very, very comfortable in small towns and I’ve always felt like there were a lot of people fighting for the big cities.”

He says that when you grow up in a place like Vanderhoof, or Quesnel, it feels like people spend their lives making money to send off to Vancouver, and the people in Vancouver get to spend it. He doesn’t like that.

“I think people in rural B.C. need good examples. That’s what I really, really believe. I think trying to do the right thing in building a business and being a part of your community [is a good example].”

As well as doing business in rural B.C., Fehr’s business DelTech, a subsidiary of BID Group, has developed an energy system to lower energy costs and greenhouse emissions by using wood burned by the forest industry. He also developed a dust-mitigation system to prevent sawmill explosions, like the Babine and Lakeland explosions in Burns Lake and Prince George respectively.

But, as he says, Fehr is more than just a businessman. For much of his life, Fehr struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. Now 21 years sober, he hires recovering addicts and is still involved in the recovery process. He also sits on the Northern Health Board, which he says is very important to him.

He says he spends a lot of time “thinking very deeply” about Quesnel in his role on the board. “I have lots of friends in Quesnel, it’s a great town.”

Fehr also wants young people to know that they aren’t trapped in rural B.C. He says sometimes, when young people come to work for him, they feel stuck. He wants them to know that they aren’t. “Geographical boundaries today mean nothing,” he says. Although Fehr chooses to remain in rural B.C., he’s a good example of this as well.

For Fehr, one of the best things about rural B.C. is how connected people are to each other. “I like the feeling of walking into the store in Vanderhoof and people coming over and talking to me because they knew my mom. They go, ‘I don’t know you, but I remember your mom.’ You don’t get that in a big city. Ever.”



heather.norman@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook

Just Posted

Ken Young is running for re-election to district council

Young wants to improve housing and economic diversification in the district

Joe Jenkinson is running for Fraser Lake council

First-time candidate is a paramedic and mine supervisor

Darrell Holland is running for council in Fraser Lake

Holland has worked within the sawmill as an industrial electrician for 15 years

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

Grow ops left in legal weeds

“I think people are going to get a big surprise that it’s not going to change things much.”

Driving with dope: Police talk rules on cannabis in the car

Even though pot is legal, you can’t smoke in the car

B.C. teens fined for possession of pot on legalization day

The pair received $230 fines for smoking pot in public

Trio of Saint Bernard find their ‘forever home’ after story goes viral

Edmonton Humane Society had put out the call to adopt Gasket, Gunther and Goliath

Nurses deliver 24,000 anti-violence postcards to B.C. Health Minister

Nurses delivered thousands of postcards to the front steps of the B.C. legislature, each carrying a message for violence prevention

Openly gay, female priest of B.C. church defying norms

Andrea Brennan serves Fernie at pivotal time in church’s history

Nova Scotia works to stop underage online cannabis sales

The government cannabis retailer moves to prevent workaround of online-age verification

Foster care is ‘superhighway to homelessness,’ B.C. youth advocate says

Katherine McParland grew up in foster care and lived on the streets

Most Read