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Signature Event

A must-attend Alberta business gala dinner, the Signature Event is ABFI’s annual celebration of the history and success of outstanding multi-generational business families. With an attendance of over 600 people combined in Edmonton and Calgary, it is an opportunity to gain insight into the inner workings of some of Canada’s most successful businesses and the families who own them.

Featuring an intimate discussion with a prominent business family, this event showcases real life examples and the history and lessons learned from some of Canada’s leading business families. It provides a unique opportunity for the business family community to learn, socialize, and celebrate success with business family luminaries. It’s also an important fundraiser that helps ABFI grow, develop, and provide educational opportunities to ensure family-run businesses and enterprises have a solid future.

The Sunner Family’s journey with Durabuilt Windows & Doors is a remarkable business family story of entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, and commitment to family, community, and employee well-being. The story of Durabuilt begins in the mid-1990s when Joe Sunner and his 19-year-old son, Harry, immigrated to Canada. Together, they took ownership of a small PVC window production shop with less than a dozen employees. 

From these modest beginnings, under the leadership of Harry, who became CEO, and Joe, Chairman, Durabuilt has grown significantly to more than 650 employees, multiple locations across Western Canada, and three generations involved in the business today. Their commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology and product development while focusing on their business’s human and family element has been central to their growth and recognition as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies.

The Sunner’s philosophy of transitioning from a ‘window business to a people business’ highlights a strategic shift towards a visionary, cohesive team capable of overcoming industry challenges. Their approach to leadership has fostered a workplace that values alignment, innovation, and caring. This is evident in their community support, including significant contributions to the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, CASA Mental Health, and other local charity initiatives. 

The selection of the Sunner Family of Durabuilt Windows & Doors as the 2024 Signature Family celebrates the family’s multigenerational entrepreneurial journey from a small shop to a leading name in Canada’s window and door manufacturing sector.

We look forward to celebrating and sharing more on the Sunner Family’s journey from a family business to a business family at our 20th Annual Signature Event.

To become a Signature Event 2024 partner, please contact us.

Alberta Business Family Institute was proud to celebrate the Rayner Family of VETS Group for our 19th annual Signature Event on October 3 and 4, 2023.

VETS Group began its development in 1921 when the company’s founder, World War I Veteran Fred Rayner, began installing his own patented gravity furnaces in post-war bungalows around Edmonton. Today, the company is led by 4th generation President, Sean Rayner, and has become a progressive group of mechanical, sheet metal, and service divisions that are leaders in both industrial and residential HVAC systems fabrication, installation, repair, and maintenance.

VETS Sheet Metal services the Western Canadian industrial HVAC market from offices in Edmonton, AB and Burnaby, BC. A team of over 130 tradespeople and engineers complete complex work in the wood fibre, oil and gas, power generation, mining, institutional and water treatment industries from Vancouver Island to the Yukon, and as far east as Manitoba. VETS Facility Services offers proactive maintenance for building owners, property managers, and multi-unit residential throughout central Alberta.

In addition to its emphasis on quality and integrity, the company upholds a focus on community as part of its core values.To celebrate their centennial in 2021, the VETS leaders launched an ESOP (Employee Share Ownership Plan) as an innovative succession and transition plan. Their broader community outreach efforts also include supporting local associations and charities, like Valour Place and Little Warriors.

For over a century, the Rayner Family has guided VETS to become a recognized leader in Canadian family businesses, while always maintaining the “get-it-done attitude” that Fred Rayner exemplified.

Revisit the inspiring highlights from this special night celebrating the Rayners, VETS Group, and the entire Business Family community.

Help ABFI celebrate the history and success of outstanding multi-generational business families by participating in the Signature Family nomination process.

  • Family-owned business (private or public companies, organizations, or holdings)
  • Based in Canada and operating in Alberta
  • Employs multiple family members and is or will be multi-generational
  • Demonstrates the core values and principles of the Alberta Business Family Institute
  • Possesses a compelling story, featuring a major challenge or recent success.

To nominate our next Signature Family please fill out the Nomination Form online or contact 2025 nominations must be submitted by no later than 11:59 PM MST, December 15, 2024.