By Michelle Hibler

The University of Ottawa Alumni Association has named Telfer alumnus Guy Laflamme (MBA 1989) as the recipient of the Alumnus of the Year Award. This award recognizes the outstanding achievement of a University of Ottawa alumni member within the last year. 

Forget Sir John A and the Fathers of Confederation. What Guy Laflamme, just-retired Executive Director and Producer of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau, wanted to mark Canada’s sesquicentennial in the capital were giant robotic spiders, dragons, picnics on the bridge and underground sci-fi travel experiences. 

Given free rein by Ottawa mayor Jim Watson when he took up the challenge of organizing a year of events that would rock Ottawa’s staid image, Laflamme let his imagination loose in a 300-page business plan, written from his summer home in the Magdalen Islands. “I had a chance to just go wild from an artistic standpoint and to apply all my knowledge as a business strategist,” he says. 

Laflamme also drew from 25 years of experience in high-visibility marketing and production for the Department of Canadian Heritage, the National Capital Commission, and Casino du Lac-Leamy, among others. 

His enthusiasm for the 2017 program “of things never before seen in Ottawa” was contagious: the $40M program of major events and festivities brought in $300M for the city. That success earned him a nomination to the Order of Ottawa and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. RadioCanada and LeDroit named him “Personality of the Year” for his vision, boundless imagination, determination and energy — not to mention sheer guts.

“Of all the dazzling things I’ve done,” he says, “I’m most proud of having been able to influence thousands of students”. Part-time professor at the Telfer School of Management for 15 years, Laflamme left his mark through the “Le Niger, c’est notre affaire” charitable campaign. He also reoriented the strategic marketing student projects to focus on local not-for-profit organizations. 

He received the Trudeau Medal, the highest honour given by the Telfer School of Management to its alumni, in 2005.

Laflamme is now set to tackle what may prove to be his most challenging project yet: retirement. “After running at 1000 km an hour for the past three years, all I want now is a simple, healthy, balanced life.”

About the awards

Since 2011, the University of Ottawa Alumni Association has recognized outstanding graduates through its annual Awards of Excellence. Meet this year’s six exceptional individuals who are giving back to the University and the community by reading their stories.