Each year Red River College awards a Red River College Honorary Diploma to an individual who demonstrates high standards of excellence in their personal and professional achievements and whose involvement in the community is widely recognized.
From its humble beginnings a century ago as a millwork shop producing beekeeping equipment and church pews, to becoming one of the world’s premier manufacturers of luxury wood windows and doors, Steinbach-based Loewen has been an unqualified Manitoba success story. Much of the firm’s success over the past two decades can be credited to Charles Loewen, who represents the third-generation of Loewen family leadership.
A respected Manitoba business and community leader, Charles joined Loewen in 1975. He worked in several management positions before becoming President in 1987, during a critical period in the company’s history.
At a time when many window and door manufacturers were moving to vinyl products in order to reduce costs, Charles and the Loewen management team made the bold decision to focus on premium wood materials instead. To complement that strategy, the company pursued international markets by expanding into the United States and Japan.
The gambit paid off, as Loewen quickly transformed itself from a regional supplier of windows and doors to a major international exporter. Today, Loewen products are available throughout the world. The company received a 1996 Canada Export Award as recognition for its efforts.
With over 1,500 employees, Loewen is the largest employer in Southeastern Manitoba, and one of the largest private employers in the province. Charles has been CEO and Chair of the company since 1992.
In addition to guiding the family business, Charles has found time to assist numerous organizations, including: the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce; Loewen Foundation; Manitoba School Improvement Program; University of Winnipeg Capital Campaign; Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association; and the Wood Manufacturing Council.
He also played a lead role in the development of RRC’s Princess Street Campus by serving as Chair of the Capital Campaign. Mr. Loewen received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 for contributions to his community and Canada as a whole.