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2017 Alaska Jewish Gala Honorees

This year’s Gala will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Alaska’s Historic Purchase and Treaty of Cession and the Alaska Commercial Company (ACC), the state’s longest continuing enterprise, honoring Edward Kennedy,  President/CEO of North West International/ACC,
Rex A. Wilhelm, Vice-Chairman/COO, and Walter E. Pickett, General Manager/ VP. 
The North West Company, President/CEO

Edward Kennedy joined The North West Company in 1989. He served in senior management positions including Chief Operating Officer of North West and Chief Executive Officer of the Alaska Commercial Company, the Company’s U.S. subsidiary located in Anchorage. Edward returned to Winnipeg from Alaska in January 1997 and assumed his current role. He is also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The North West Company (International) Inc.

Edward was born and raised in The Pas, a northern Manitoba community, and attended high school as a boarding student at St. John’s-Ravenscourt in Winnipeg.  He holds an Honours Degree in Business from the Ivey School at Western University and a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. Prior to joining North West, Edward practiced law briefly in Toronto and then worked in investment banking.

Edward is a board member of The North West Company, United Grocers Inc., Canada West Foundation and Canada’s History Society. He is a member of the World Presidents’ Organization, the Associates of the Asper School of Business as well as a member and past officer of the Business Council of Manitoba. He was the Chair of the 2011 Winnipeg United Way Campaign and is a past board member of several for-profit and non-profit organizations. He currently participates on advisory committees for the United Way and the Build Winnipeg Partnership Taskforce.

Edward has received several national industry and community recognitions over his career.

Edward is a competitive athlete and his other pursuits include public policy with a focus on socio-economic development. Edward and his wife Stella make their home in Winnipeg and have four children: Grace, 26; Teresa, 25; Simone, 23; and Daniel, 20.

The North West Company International, Vice Chairman

Mr. Wilhelm joined Alaska Commercial Company in 1984. In a 25 year career with the company, Rex has held a number of management roles including small store and large store manager, regional operations manager, food category manager, and Vice-President of Operations.


He was promoted to President and COO of ACC in April of 2005. With the acquisition of Cost-U-Less in December of 2007, he was promoted to his current role of President and COO The North West Company (International) Inc. Rex holds a BS in Agricultural Economics and an MA in Agribusiness Management from Washington State University.

Alaska Commercial Company, VP/General Manager

Walter Pickett is General Manager and Vice President of Operations for Alaska Commercial Company. Mr. Pickett has more than 12 years experience with the company serving in a number of roles including Director of Operations, Director of Food Marketing, Grocery Category Manager, and Grocery Manager at the AC store in Cordova, Alaska.

Mr. Pickett also worked in Winnipeg as a Food Category Manager for The North West Company. Prior to his career with Alaska Commercial Company, Walter worked for Albertsons, Inc. for 18 years. Mr. Pickett has a BS in Management from Metropolitan State College and an MBA from the University of Colorado.

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