Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Outstanding Business Achievemnet Awards Recipients Announced

The Saint John Board of Trade has announced the recipients of its 2007 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards. At its 23rd awards dinner, Maritime Rescue and Medical Inc. was honoured with the award for Emerging Enterprise, and Canadian Cable Systems Alliance Inc. accepted the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award. In the Business Excellence category, the award went to East Point Inc.

The Board of Trade also presented silver and bronze awards. In the Emerging Enterprise category, the silver award was presented to Avant Garde Construction and Management Inc. In the Entrepreneurial Achievement award category, silver was awarded to Galbraith Florists. The silver award in the Business Excellence category was given to AnyWare Group, with bronze awarded to Fundy Linen Service Inc.

In the Emerging Enterprise category, Maritime Rescue and Medical Inc. took top honours.
Maritime Rescue and Medical was carved out of a larger company that was offering Red Cross training programs in the local area when, in November 2003, Michael Currie, a trained paramedic, and Scott O'Brien bought out that aspect of the business which they were already operating. The young partners continued to offer Red Cross training programs from their homes but, in making sales calls on business and industry, soon learned that there was a pressing need for additional training services in specific areas such as confined space rescue technicians and high angle rescue training. These services are highly technical, governed under the Workplace Health and Safety Commission and, at the time, were only offered by out-of-province firms.

After extensive research, the partners decided to get into the field of industrial safety training and brought in an Ontario firm to train its first 15 people as Confined Space Rescue Technicians. Maritime Rescue was now in the business of Industrial Rescue training and opened its first office. The client list grew rapidly and requests began to come in to provide additional services.

A contract at the LNG site led to the hiring of paramedics and the purchase of an ambulance. Contracts for Confined Space Rescue technicians in Newfoundland and for high angle rescue training for Fire Departments in New Brunswick led to more rapid expansion, new larger offices, a physician consultant and a Mobile Confined Space Training Simulator, the only one in the province.

Employees now number five full time and 40 part time, with the Saint John staff the backbone of the company, involved from the initial call through scheduling, site set up and working the site, no matter where the job is located. Maritime Rescue is now the number one company in its field in Saint John.

The Canadian Cable Systems Alliance was established in 1994 by Barb Stanley and Alyson Townsend, both lawyers at Fundy Cable, as a "union" of independent cable operators to improve their bargaining position with the large television programming distributors.

Interest from small cable operators across Canada was immediate but CCSA's first task was to convince the rapidly consolidating media companies to deal with it rather than with the individual operators. Understanding that being the single payment source for programming wholesale fees would give it more clout, CCSA made participation in its automated payment system a condition of membership. While few distributors would deal with CCSA for the first few years, by providing value to members and suppliers alike, CCSA gradually grew its credibility and its volume-based purchasing business. The result was substantially lower costs for small operators across Canada.

Recognizing the value to all parties of its collection/payment services, CCSA took the bold step of charging signal suppliers a contract administration fee. That fee helps defray CCSA's operating expenses and reduce members? annual dues. CCSA also established a hardware purchasing business and now manages contracts for virtually all hardware items regularly used by small cable systems. With the rapid technological change expected in the industry, CCSA anticipates additional opportunities from emerging communications platforms and services.

When the 50 year old Canadian Cable Television Association dissolved in 2006, CCSA quickly stepped into its role of regulatory advocate and lobbyist for Canada?s independent cable companies, playing a major role at CRTC hearings and winning several regulatory changes in favor of the small cable operators.

CCSA's current team of 14 full time employees has strong business and family roots in the Greater Saint John area. Though the business has grown exponentially, it plans to maintain its headquarters here for the foreseeable future.

East Point Inc. believes that retail shopping is all about the experience and creating that unique experience is what East Point Shopping is all about.

East Point Shopping is the vision of local developer Troy Northrup. His goal was to create an open air retail centre in one of the most visible areas in Saint John. This has positioned Saint John as a major retail and commerce centre and as a retail destination of choice for both residents and visitors. East Point wants to continue to play a pivotal role in helping transform Saint John from a drive-by city, to a drive-in city.

Home Depot was the first major retailer at the site and serves as an anchor for the development. Many exciting new fashion retailers are now open for business. And so is Saint John's first new hotel in nearly 20 years, the Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton. Under construction are New Brunswick's first free-standing Starbucks and the province?s first Indigo Books & Music store with its award winning building design.

Construction extends beyond the actual development. The public/private partnership between the City of Saint John and East Point Inc. resulted in Retail Drive, a new, four-lane connector between Rothesay Avenue and Westmorland Road. This provides service to East Point Shopping and much needed access between two of the city's busiest roadways.

East Point is also committed to protecting the environment. A unique water retention basin was constructed beneath the parking area to manage storm water run-off from the site, a design first for Atlantic Canada. The development includes an abundance of treed green spaces, energy control systems for lighting and heating, a retailer recycling program and many other environmental features.

East Point sees quality retail services not as a luxury, but as an essential community service ? essential in supporting the True Growth initiatives of our region.

This year's recipient of the "Young Entrepreneur" award is Ji Li of HugoLee International Trade Ltd.. This award recognizes young business leaders (30 years and under) just beginning to make their mark.

The Board of Trade presented this evening for the fifth year "The Big Heart" Award. The recipient of this award is The Carpenters Training Centre of NB Inc.

Also this evening, Board of Trade Chair, Nathalie Godbout presented The Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative Inc. with the Chair's Award. This marks the fourteenth year in which a deserving individual or organization has been selected by the Board's Chairperson for their achievements within, and contributions to, the community.

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