Dream big, dream far and dream often< More Stories
“The college has been a huge part of my life and continues to be with employees we hire at the feedlot, and it has certainly been an honour to serve as a board member and contribute back to the college,” says Kotelko, who was inducted to the Lakeland College Alumni Wall of Distinction on Friday, June 2 during the afternoon convocation ceremony at the Vermilion campus.
He recalls his time at Lakeland as a memorable one, saying he made the greatest friends and was exposed to many opportunities.
“Lakeland has helped me excel by exposing me to different operations and ideas. It provided a platform for me to work with my own thoughts and creativity, and build a business from there,” he says.
A few short years after graduating, Kotelko along with his father Jack, Class of ’38, and brother Bern diversified their Vegreville, Alta. grain operation to include a purebred cattle farm. He then helped expand the family farm - which was settled by their Ukrainian ancestors in 1918 - into a 6,000-acre feedlot with 36,000 head of cattle.
Kotelko is the co-inventor of Integrated Manure Utilisation System biogas digester technology that is used at Highland, and co-founder of Himark BioGas, a waste-to-energy technology and engineering services company.
It is because of this success that he advised the 2017 graduates to follow their heart and not accept no for an answer.
“Don't let failure stop you – jump over the hurdles and be energetic about things. The challenges that are presented to you become opportunities, so follow those things and enjoy what you are doing,” he says. “Dream big, dream far and dream often – anything is attainable. There is no such thing as never being able to achieve anything.”