Recognizing Local Business Excellence at the Outstanding Business Achievement Awards

Kevanna Fine Photography

Sault Ste. Marie, ON – It was a celebration of innovation, creativity, leadership and entrepreneurship, as the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC) handed out its Outstanding Business Achievement Awards on Saturday evening at the Machine Shop.

The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce was proud to welcome Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation (OLG) and Gateway Casinos Sault Ste. Marie as title sponsors for this year’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards.

Award nominations were collected from a call for nominations from the Chamber membership and the public in late 2019. In all, almost 300 nominations were received for 22 award categories. From those nominations, almost 130 of the nominees met the established award criteria and let their business, agency or individual names stand for nomination.

Those businesses, agencies or individuals standing for nomination were required to respond to a series of questions to demonstrate why they, or the business, met the criteria for the specific award or awards nominated. These submissions, along with any provided supplemental materials, were then considered by the Chamber’s judging committee.

The judging committee is drawn from the Chamber membership and previous award recipients. These members form a group of individuals with exceptional integrity and business experience across a wide variety of sectors. The nominee submissions are vetted against the judges’ background and areas of expertise and any conflicts of interest are managed by reassigning the judging of that award category to another committee member.

Submissions are assessed through a numeric scoring process and measured on the nominee’s ability to demonstrate their qualifications against the award criteria. The recipient of each award is determined by the nominee that receives the highest combined average of judges’ scores. The Awards were hosted by ONNtv’s Tim Murphy and Jasmine Rolley from Village Media.  .

Some of the award winners included, Algoma Power Inc, Sault College , McDonald’s, TD Canada.

Here is the list of winners:

Algoma Power Inc. was awarded this year’s Safe Work, Sound Business Award, sponsored by Workplace Safety North. 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 outstanding injury-free frequency and injury severity performance.

Sault College of Applied Arts & Technology was presented with the Employer of Year Award, sponsored Employment Solutions. This award recognizes an employer who has created cultures and communities, through every aspect of their business.

Angie DiGasparro of TD Canada Trust was awarded the Customer First Award – Individual, sponsored by Smyl’s Highland Ford. This award recognizes an individual who continuously raises customer service to new standards of excellence and is a role model for others in customer service.

Georgina Foods – McDonald’s was presented with the Diversity Award, sponsored by the Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation. This 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.

The Community Investment Awards, sponsored by the Sault Ste. Marie YMCA, highlight outstanding community service. The recipients of these awards contribute to the well-being of the community as a whole through initiatives such as sourcing products and/or services locally, retailing or utilizing local products, employment growth and supporting the community through charitable activities.

The Community Investment Award (up to 9 employees) was presented to CC Communications.

The Community Investment Award (10+ employees) was presented to the Ontario Finnish Resthome Association.

Erica Hogan of Hogan’s Homestead was presented with the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by CTS Canadian Career College. The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding achievement of young entrepreneur(s) between 18 and 39 years of age. The award is given to an individual responsible for the success and growth of a Sault Ste. Marie-based company, who exemplifies the qualities of effective leadership, innovatively applies know-how, demonstrates excellent potential for growth, appreciates the importance in social, cultural, and environmental awareness and has demonstrated commitment to the wider community.

City Meat Market was the recipient of the Downtown Business of the Year Award, sponsored by SK Group Inc. In support of the City of Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Strategy, as well as the strategic plan of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, this award recognizes a business that is invested in the downtown business community and contributes to downtown Sault Ste. Marie. This award honors their commitment to running a business in the heart of our city and their role in creating a vibrant downtown.

Village Media won two of three awards it was nominated for.  The media company won the Innovation Award and the Beyond Sault Ste. Marie Award.

Sault Ste. Marie KOA Holiday was awarded the Customer First Award – Business, Non-Profit or Agency, sponsored by Great Lakes Honda. This award showcases a business or non-profit that places the customer experience at the heart of their business strategy and builds a sustainable culture of customer service within their organization.

Garden River First Nation (GRFN) Bingo Enterprises was the recipient of the Indigenous Business of the Year, sponsored by Tenaris. This award recognizes a business which is operating, or being managed, with a minimum of 51% ownership by an Indigenous person or group. To be considered, the business has distinguished itself by fostering growth, innovation, marketing strategy and consumer excellence, while showing leadership and dedication to the preservation of culture, values and identity.

The Twinkie Foundation was awarded the Community Non Profit Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Dumanski Office Interiors. This award recognizes and rewards excellence and innovation among non-profit organizations resulting in significant social impact within Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma district.

InSPAration Float Centre was presented with the Rising Star New Business Award, sponsored by KPMG LLP. This award recognizes a business that has been in operation for no less than 1 year and no more than 3 years and has demonstrated strong potential by way of growth, innovation, and leadership. Additionally, the business has demonstrated a culture of risk-taking and trailblazing and has positioned itself to achieve similar successes in the future through new or innovative product or service, quality of merchandise, customer service, job creation, growth potential, and market served.

This year’s OBAAs marked the first time the Chamber presented its Indigenous Professional of the Year Award sponsored by Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig. This award is presented to a person who has made an impact in the Indigenous, Metis and Sault Ste. Marie communities and in so doing so, serves as an inspiration to us all. The recipient of this year’s award was Mitch Case, Director Student Services with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig.

The Sault Ste. Marie Public Library was presented with the Leader in Accessibility Award, sponsored by Ergo Office Plus. This award recognizes an organization that shows leadership in integrating and providing accessible and barrier-free working conditions for employees and accessibility in customer service. This business or organization values the contributions of persons with disabilities, promotes the development of an inclusive workplace culture and is compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

The Chamber presents three Business of the Year awards based on business size: To be considered, a business will have distinguished themselves by fostering growth, innovation, marketing strategy and consumer service excellence in their sectors.

The Business of the Year Award (up to 9 employees), sponsored by Soo Mill Buildall, was presented to Krown Rust Control Sault Ste Marie.

The Business of the Year Award (10 – 25 employees), sponsored by Algoma Office Equipment, was presented to the Sault Ste. Marie Golf Club.

The Business of the Year Award (26+ employees), sponsored by Superior Auto Group, was presented to McDougall Energy Inc.

Chamber Board of Directors member, Derek Jackson of Wardlaw Heating and Cooling received the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year Award. Initiated in 1985, the Volunteer of the Year Award is given annually to an individual, or individuals, whose time commitment and contributions to the Chamber have been outstanding.

Don Mitchell, recently retired from Algoma Insurance, and a two-time President of the Chamber of Commerce was presented with the Skipper Manzzutti Award for Business Achievement. Named after one of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce’s dedicated past presidents, Captain Feliciano “Skipper” Manzzutti, this award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding business achievement within the past year, or number of years. Like the award’s name-sake, the recipient of this award has set a high standard for exemplary entrepreneurial and community minded achievement.

Sandra Hollingsworth was presented with the Paul Dalseg Community Achievement Award. The Paul Dalseg Award recognizes a businessperson 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.

Asima Vezina, President and Vice-Chancellor of Algoma University, was the recipient of this year’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. The recipient of this award is chosen by the Chamber’s Past President.

In addition to this year’s individual award sponsors, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce would like to thank The Machine Shop, the Northern Grand Gardens and Kevanna Fine Photography.



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