A year-long milestone anniversary officially wrapped-up on Thursday, October 23rd, as the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce hosted its 125th Annual General Meeting and 2014 Business Awards. Over 300 were in attendance for the gala dinner and awards presentation held at The Northern Grand Gardens. The event was sponsored by Bell and was a celebration of local business excellence and the entrepreneurial spirit. The business awards portion of the event put the spotlight on 16 local Chamber-member entrepreneurs, businesses and community leaders and featured a dynamic video awards component.
Awards presented at this year’s event included:
· The SKIPPER MANZZUTTI AWARD FOR BUSINESS ACHIEVMENT was presented to Andrew Sarlo and Dennis Tatasciore of S&T Group. Named after one of the Chamber’s dedicated past presidents – Captain Feliciano “Skipper” Manzzutti, this award recognizes a business or business person who has, either within the past year or period of years, demonstrated exemplary qualities of an entrepreneur and community-minded citizen.
· Mark Hebert received the Chamber’s VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD. Initiated in 1985, the Volunteer of the Year Award was designed to recognize an individual whose time, commitment and contribution to the Chamber over the years, or during the past year, has been outstanding.
· Joe Ruscio was awarded the PAUL DALSEG AWARD. The Paul Dalseg Award recognizes a businessperson or professional in Sault Ste. Marie who has demonstrated exemplary interest in the community, and in so doing, has made a major, outstanding and unique achievement or contribution to the life of the community. It is intended to recognize the leadership and community-mindedness of businesspersons and professionals.
· Justus Veldman was presented with the Chamber’s PRESIDENT’S AWARD. Initiated in 1982, the President’s Award recognizes someone who makes an exceptional effort, going above and beyond the call of duty, in any area of business and community development. Selected by the Chamber Past President, this award is not necessarily given annually.
· Savoy’s Jewellers was presented with the ENTREPRENEUR / BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD sponsored by Palmer Construction Group Inc. and given in memory of the late Mike Rainone. This award recognizes an entrepreneur or business that successfully demonstrates a progressive attitude toward employee relations, a positive public image, a reputation for excellence in customer service and their contribution to the community.
· NORPRO Company was presented with the BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AWARD sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada. The Business Development Award is presented to a business that demonstrates a positive initiative for job creation and growth within the community.
· Sault College was presented with the MARKETING AWARD sponsored by Algoma Office Equipment. The Marketing Award recognizes a business or agency that demonstrates a superior and novel marketing strategy to attract new business and retain repeat business through the creative use of limited resources.
· Northern Dental Care was presented with the Young Entrepreneur / Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Eazy Express Inc. The Young Entrepreneur / Business of the Year Award is presented to a business or young entrepreneur (aged 18-39) that demonstrates an innovative / creative approach to creating, marketing and promoting the business in addition to maintaining a positive public image and contributing to community activities.
· Madison Zuppa was presented with the 2014 STRIVE YPG Young Professional Award sponsored by CTV. This award recognizes an exceptional young man or woman (aged 19 to 40) who successfully demonstrates excellence in their field in addition to maintaining a positive contribution and commitment to the Sault Ste. Marie community.
· Tamarack Health Food and Gifts was presented with the CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD sponsored by the Community Development Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie and Area. The Customer Service Award goes out to a business that raises customer service to new standards of excellence and is a model for other businesses in the community to follow.
· The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre was presented with the ENVIRONMENT AWARD sponsored by the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. The Environment Award honours businesses or agencies that have made a difference in making our environment better, whether it be through reduction of pollution or waste, energy efficiency, new environmental or energy technology applications, best practices, or introducing an innovative program that reduces waste in our city.
· The City of Sault Ste. Marie was presented with the Safe Work, Sound Business Award sponsored by Sault Ste. Marie Safe Communities Partnership. The Safe Work, Sound Business Award recognizes a business that uses a safe work management system, participates in workplace and / or community injury prevention programs and has exceptionally good injury frequency and injury severity performance.
· Quality Inn & Suites Bay Front was presented with the DIVERSITY AWARD sponsored by Community Living Algoma. The Diversity Award recognizes a business or organization that embraces, celebrates and applies holistic inclusion and participation of a diverse people making the workplace a better environment in which to work, and the community a better place in which to live, work and raise a family.
· Shaw Communications was presented with the EMPLOYER OF CHOICE AWARD sponsored by The Human Resources Professionals Association – Algoma Chapter. This award is presented to a business/organization that has good people and community practices; demonstrates good Human Resources or Management policies or practices; actively supports professional development of staff; Has good employee relations and employee and training communications; demonstrates good health, safety and wellness practices and demonstrates broad community involvement.
· Local artist Doris Anne Ray was presented with the ATHENA AWARDÒ sponsored by Sault College. The ATHENA AwardÒ is an internationally recognized award, presented to an individual who is recognized for their professional excellence, for providing valuable service to their community and for actively assisting women in attainment of their professional goals and leadership skills.
The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce would like to thank event Title Sponsor, Bell; event Silver Sponsor, the Business Development Bank of Canada; all of the individual award sponsors, Kevanna Fine Photography, Porter Airlines, and cake sponsor, Jeannette’s Custom Cakes