Island residents named KPU Distinguished Alumni

Wed, May 27, 2015

Surrey, B.C. –  Vancouver Island is home to the two newest winners of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Alumni Association (KPUAA) Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Nanaimo’s Ken Puls and Port Alberni’s Tania Dick were recognized during the university’s annual spring convocation in Surrey last week for enhancing the university’s reputation through their outstanding achievements in their careers, public and community service.

“Kwantlen taught me more than just skill in my chosen area of expertise; my instructors gave me the encouragement and licence to believe in myself and unleash my potential,” said Puls.

He adds, “It’s an incredible honour to be recognized as one of KPU’s Distinguished Alumni, as they have been so instrumental to my success.”

Puls graduated from KPU in 1998 with a diploma in accounting and general studies, and is president and chief training officer at Excelguru Consulting Inc.

Puls started his career in public practice accounting and spent five years working with small businesses before moving into private industry accounting where he also became an expert in Microsoft Excel. He created a website that hosts a large knowledge base of Excel help articles, a blog, and an active forum dedicated to helping users with their Excel issues.

The website has almost 400,000 unique visitors annually, and has even been referenced by NASA in a project for reporting power levels on the International Space Station.

For the past several years, Puls has been teaching courses for companies and associations around the globe, showing Excel users how to get the most out of the program. His public contributions have earned him the Microsoft MVP award every year since 2006, an award given annually to "the best and brightest from technology communities around the world.” He was recognized as one of Vancouver Island's "Top 20 under 40" business and community leaders in 2013 and as a fellow of the Certified Management Accountants of Canada (FCMA).

Dick graduated from KPU’s bachelor of nursing program in 2003. She is a nurse at Cormorant Island Health Centre and president-elect of the Association of Registered Nurses of B.C.

She has served tirelessly as an advocate for quality nursing care, with a focus on aboriginal populations and rural communities. She holds a master's degree in nursing from the University of British Columbia and was recognized by that institution as the first aboriginal graduate of the nurse practitioner program.

Dick is a dedicated advocate and role model for aboriginal people interested in pursuing health care-related education and serves as a nurse mentor to students in KPU’s nursing post-baccalaureate program.

She recently served as a consultant for aboriginal health policy with the BC Nurses’ Union, where she worked directly to foster quality health care for First Nations as well as provide support for other aboriginal nurses.

Dick is from the Dzawada'enuxw First Nation of Kingcome Inlet, B.C., and has applied her expertise and own personal understanding of the challenges faced by aboriginal communities to her practice in places such as Bella Bella, Alert Bay, Masset on Haida Gwaii, and Kingcome Inlet. Her devotion to vulnerable and disadvantaged aboriginal populations serves as an inspiration to health care professionals and community members alike. She is also determined to improve the very limited primary health care available in remote regions of British Columbia.

"Ken and Tania are ambassadors of the alumni association, which is honoured to celebrate their success and recognize them for their achievements,” said KPUAA chairperson Harpreet Bains. “Alumni from diverse fields can be proud of these significant contributions, as they advance the entire alumni community.”

The winners were selected from a pool of nearly 45,000 alumni and were honoured at the KPU’s spring convocation ceremonies on May 19 and 22. 

Kwantlen Polytechnic University Alumni Association is dedicated to supporting the continued success of Kwantlen alumni by providing them with valuable programs and initiatives; it aims to raise awareness of the value of higher education and make a positive impact on society locally and beyond.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at


Photos available here.

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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