On November 4th, almost 250 gathered for the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce Annual Business Awards Dinner. The event, sponsored by Bell, was a celebration of local business excellence and the entrepreneurial spirit and put the spotlight on 12 local Chamber-member entrepreneurs, businesses and community leaders.
Monica Dale, Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce President, suggested that it’s important to take an opportunity to recognize the business success stories that we have in our community and applauded each of the award recipients as well as the many additional businesses that were nominated.
“The businesses that we have recognized tonight have all made a commitment to being innovative, to finding new ways of engaging their customers, and to finding new and novel ways of staying in the forefront of their individual sectors,” said Dale. “It’s exciting to hear and see their success stories and other businesses should draw inspiration from what they are doing.”
Dale noted that the Chamber is also pleased to recognize several individuals at this year’s event. “In addition to the businesses that are receiving awards, we are very pleased to acknowledge the successes and contributions made by several individual business people. We are very proud to recognize their efforts to give back to our community.”
Awards presented at this year’s SSMCOC Business Awards Dinner included:
· Superior Auto Group 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.
· Sault College Employment Solutions 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 or agency that raises customer service to new standards of excellence and is a model for other businesses in the community to follow.
· Cavera Inc. 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.
· Brookfield Renewable Energy Group 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.
· The Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie 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.
· Superior Nissan 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.
· The NORDIK Institute 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.
· Christie’s RV was presented with the EMPLOYER OF CHOICE AWARD sponsored by The Human Resources Professionals Association – Algoma Chapter. This award is presented to a business or 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 training communications, demonstrates good health, safety and wellness practices, and demonstrates broad community involvement.
· Giordan Zin was presented with the 2015 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.
· Susan Milne 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.
· Donna Hilsinger 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.
· Phil Becker 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.
Tricia Hartley, Bell Sales Manager, Ontario North addressed the audience during the opening of the event. She noted that the achievements being honoured reflected more than just excellence in business, adding that they are a barometer of the health of the community; “From the smallest to the largest, when businesses are doing well, they make the Sault a better place to live, creating jobs and wealth and an overall sense of pride in the progress of the community.”
Hartley also spoke about the Bell Let’s Talk mental health program which encourages the conversation about mental health. Since 2010, Bell has committed more than $73 million to mental health, supporting 600 partners in every region of Canada. She noted that Bell has extended Bell Let’s Talk for another five years, with a total funding commitment of at least $100 million to mental health across Canada by the end of 2020 and adds that business has an important role to play in reducing stigma and ensuring there is adequate mental health support for employees and their families.
In addition to Bell, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the 2015 SSMCOC Business Awards silver sponsor, TD Canada Trust; all of the individual award sponsors, Kevanna Fine Photography, and Porter Airlines.