Edmonton businessman and NAIT supporter receives distinguished Friend of the Institute Award

Edmonton businessman and NAIT supporter receives distinguished Friend of the Institute Award

Published on June 22, 2018

James Cumming recognized for his business success, community work and service to NAIT

EDMONTON – Long-time NAIT supporter James Cumming, former chair of the polytechnic’s Board of Governors, is the 2018 recipient of NAIT’s Distinguished Friend of the Institute award.

A graduate of NAIT’s Construction Engineering Technology program (’81), Cumming is CEO of HGA Group of companies, focusing on supporting and helping businesses grow, former president and CEO of Cormode & Dickson Construction and former president and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce.

He served on NAIT’s Board of Governors from 2004 to 2013 and was its chair from 2010 to 2013. He received NAIT’s Alumni Award of Distinction in 2003 and was named one of NAIT’s Top 50 Alumni in 2012. He currently serves on the advisory committee for NAIT’s Productivity and Innovation Centre, which will provide services and solutions to Alberta companies. The centre is scheduled to open in the fall.

Cumming has been active with several not-for-profit organizations including the Muscular Dystrophy Canada board and was its national chair from 2001 to 2003. He helped raise $1.61 million to establish the Friends of Garrett Cumming Research Chair at the University of Alberta to pursue cures for debilitating neuromuscular disorders.

The award was presented at the NAIT Celebrates event June 21.


  • Potential candidates for the Distinguished Friend of the Institute have demonstrated a commitment to the welfare and advancement of NAIT through volunteer services, endowments or other activities that benefit the polytechnic.
  • The Distinguished Friend of the Institute award was established in 1985.


Dr. Glenn Feltham, NAIT president and CEO
“James is so deserving of being named a Distinguished Friend of the Institute. In many ways, James is NAIT. He is an alumni. He chaired our Board of Governors. His passion for NAIT and its vision is inspiring. He has helped NAIT to progress in so many ways, and continues to do so. He has given countless hours of his time in advancing our polytechnic.”

James Cumming, Distinguished Friend of the Institute award recipient
“I’m humbled and honoured. NAIT’s been a really big part of my life, providing that foundation to get me started in business, and certainly later on with my work on the board.
“To me, NAIT truly is essential. Applied education is so important because it gives people the tools they need to hit the job running. In today’s economy, it’s critical that we have institutions like NAIT that are so connected to industry, providing that real and meaningful education for learners.”

About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With nearly 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 95 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.

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