Chamber’s awards gala honours local business

Community Featured

PICTOU — It was a festive and sometimes rousing atmosphere last Thursday during the 2018 Pictou County Chamber of Commerce awards gala at the deCoste Entertainment Centre.

Some of the loudest applause preceded the lifetime achievement award presented to Jim Shaw, which was one of 12 awards presented throughout the evening.

Shaw received the award, which is presented to an individual in the community who “has demonstrated long term success as an entrepreneur and business leader with a commitment to community service over the many years of a successful career.”

The award was last presented in 2016.

“I can think of many people who are deserving of this award,” Shaw said.

Shaw’s colleague Terry Curley presented him with the award and remarked on his passion for his business and his work in the community.

“He’s the first one (into work) and the last one to leave,” Curley said.

There was also an enthusiastic response when it was announced that former East Coast Credit Union branch leader Dale Bigney and renowned local container tab collector Archie Kontuk received special achievement awards.

Kontuk has raised thousands of dollars from collecting more than 70 million tabs to pay for wheelchairs for those in need.

The business achievement award went to representatives of three groups that included John Tully on behalf of the Michelin Business Development Fund. The award “reflects the willingness of members of the business sector or community at large to move out of their comfort zone and take positive action to move the economy forward in a unique or unexpected way.”

The fund directed $6 million toward creating 250 jobs after Michelin laid off hundreds of workers when it shut down a tire line at the Granton plant several years ago. About $5.5 million has been spent to generate 268 jobs as of Thursday evening, Tully said.

Guest speaker Karen Oldfield fielded questions from chamber executive director Jack Kyte instead of providing a keynote address. When asked what impression she had about the gala, she said: “How young the crowd is.”

“I was really encouraged by that,” she said.

Oldfield, president and CEO of the Halifax Port Authority, said being a woman in business underscores the need to do well, but it’s also important for agencies like the chamber to recognize successful women in business.

“There is no secret sauce” she said. “It’s hard work every day. That’s why nights like this are so important. Everybody has a story. Everybody has challenges.”

How to master transportation and technology will determine future economic success, she said.

She cited the growing cruise ship industry in the ports of Halifax and Pictou as an example of how rural parts of Nova Scotia can share in the business success in HRM.

Cruise ship visits have increased at both ports, including in Pictou since a cruise committee conceived of the possibility nearly 10 years ago, she noted.

“The cruise business in Nova Scotia has grown astronomically,” she said. “For the cruise business to work, it needs more than one port. I see (in the cruise business) something that can continue to be a growth story in this region.”

Among other awards, Stark International received the large business award that is presented to a large business that is “a significant contributor to the Pictou County economy.”

TNB Plumbing, based in Alma, was presented with the small business award that goes to “a small business that has demonstrated an ability to remain viable and to grow despite the challenges faced by smaller businesses in our economy.”

Tony Dolan of Pictou received the entrepreneur award that goes to one or more people who have created and grown a successful local business enterprise based on a willingness to take risk, to continue to build on every success and demonstrated good management practices.

Sobeys received the leadership in business award that “is presented to a business that is a leader in its sector and a significant contributor to a stable local economy.”

Dr. Amanda Hill received the new business award on behalf of River Hill Dental. This recognition award encourages new businesses with great potential to stay the course, with the support of the overall business community. It recognizes the effort it takes to meet the challenges and overcome the difficulties of the first three years of operation for any new enterprise.

The deCoste Performing Arts Centre was selected for the community partners’ award presented “to an organization or business that has actively partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to make Pictou County a better place to live and work.”

Pictou County Pizza was chosen for the export achievement award that goes to “a local business that has entered into the export market to sell goods and or services.”

Travel Our Way received the women in business award that “recognizes some of the unique challenges faced by women in business, either as business owners or within organizations”

Subway was selected for the diversity in business award that “recognizes modern workforce demographics where inclusion policies and practices are essential to attracting and retaining an engaged and innovative workforce, focused on the success and growth of the business.”

Karen Oldfield, guest speaker at the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce awards gala, is shown between master of ceremonies and board member Tom Dewtie and executive director Jack Kyte.

INSET: Jim Shaw, left, accepts his lifetime achievement award from his Tim Hortons colleague Terry Curley.  (Goodwin photos)