Our History

In 1977 Ed Korbyl opened Columbia Awards and began setting standards in Alberta and Western Canada for prompt quality service. Two years later Ed Korbyl, trained as a jeweler, joined the Awards and Recognition Association (now the Awards and Personalization Association) in 1979. Shortly thereafter, Columbia Awards was one of the first companies in Western Canada to offer computerized engraving services.

This acquisition of the latest technology to enhance both quality and production set a trend that Columbia Awards has faithfully followed. Ed Korbyl has always been keen on improving his business using the best means possible! With that intent Ed purchased the first laser engraver in Western Canada in 1986, two years after moving his business from Leduc to Edmonton.

Prior to this purchase laser engraving had to be done in Toronto, Ontario. The work would take weeks to complete and be delivered. Now Columbia Awards offered the same service and very quick turn-around. It was in 1987 that this same laser was employed to create the images on the handles for the torches of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. This was a great honour, especially since we were the only company in Edmonton to be involved with the Olympic Torch Run. We still have one of the torches on display in our showroom!

Not content with just producing top quality awards, Ed Korbyl expanded the company into manufacturing signage in 1989. This branch of Columbia Awards is called Name Express and specializes in name badges while offering a complete sign service. Name Express was and is fully computerized and offers thermal printing for outdoor and indoor use. The two businesses often combine their technologies to produce unique top quality signs and awards.

This uniqueness has generated recognition of this company in Western Canada and internationally for quality, service and creativity. Not content with this reputation Columbia Awards became ISO certified in 1998, thus they became officially recognized as offering top quality and prompt service. Columbia Awards is the only awards & recognition company with this certification. In that same year we purchased the first YAG Laser in Western Canada. This machine gives us the ability to do precision marking on a wide variety of objects (especially on stainless steel), while reducing costs and the time needed for production.

In 2001 Richard, Ed Korbyl’s son, became the manager of the company. Ed still maintains an active role in the company, and this father and son combination gives this company an edge. We are proud of this company and what we have achieved!

With advent of 2017 Richard has become the President of the Awards and Personalization Association.

We are the only Certified Recognition Specialists in Alberta. We have won several awards ourselves, and we have continued throughout our history to be technologically advanced, superior in quality, and exceptional in service. When you come to Columbia Awards you can expect the best and be surprised at how we exceed your expectations.