Thursday, November 27, 2008

Outstanding Business Achievement Awards Recipients Announced

The Saint John Board of Trade has announced the recipients of its 2008 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards. At its 24th awards dinner, Vision Coaching was honoured with the award for Emerging Enterprise, and Lorneville Mechanical Contractors accepted the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award. In the Business Excellence category, the award went to Jacques Whitford.

In the Emerging Enterprise category, Vision Coaching took top honours. The idea of setting up a business focused solely on business/leadership coaching came to Dave Veale when the management consulting company he already owned received repeated requests for coaching services. What intrigued him was the high calibre of people asking for these services.

Determining that this was a good business opportunity, he and partner Marilyn Singh established Vision Coaching and invested in the best coaching certification program possible, both eventually earning a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching,

When Vision Coaching began operations in 2005, the company had one coach, one service (One-to-One Coaching) and one client willing to pay for the service. Today, Vision Coaching has a network of seven certified coaches across the country offering four core services, and has worked with clients all over the world from Saint John to New Mexico to Australia. The three full time employees in Saint John are ultimately responsible for the strategic direction, marketing and delivery of the bulk of the services.

The company is currently involved in several innovative projects including marketing Coach Gateway, an online tool that facilitates the coaching process, developed with a local technology firm, Evolving Solutions. A desire to use video to introduce coaching to the market turned into a documentary of Dave coaching local film maker Greg Hemmings over a two year period, and was recently shown in Montreal at the 'Executive Summit' to a group of Executive Coaches from around the world. In 2007, the company began offering coaching skills training, one of the fundamental components that lead to an organization creating a coaching culture.

Vision Coaching has used innovative techniques to tap into an uncontested market space in the business/leadership coaching area. Fully embracing the notion that they have the ability to be leaders in this exciting new field has supported Vision Coaching in seeing business opportunities in the global market.

After having spent many summers working for their father and uncle who had founded Lorneville Mechanical Contractors in 1977, Styve and Martin Dumouchel were quite knowledgeable about the mechanical service work side of the business. But when they took over the company in 1999, they recognized that they would need to expand outside of their core business in order to grow.

To access the larger construction market, they approached large general contractors and proposed that Lorneville Mechanical take ownership of small sections of large jobs. The contractor was offered a set profit on the sub-contracted portion, with a guarantee of quality work and timely delivery. This strategy enabled Lorneville Mechanical to enter a market that would otherwise be out of reach and to build a solid reputation for the company. In 2001 they obtained further industry reach when they were joined by a third partner, Carl Tremblay, who brought expertise in hydro and gas turbines.

The fabrication shop, built in 2001, enables the company to construct their own components for industrial contracts, ensuring quality workmanship and timely delivery through vertical integration. With 20,000 square feet of indoor workspace, the company faces few limitations in fabrication component sizing. As well, about 90% of their construction customers return to the company for maintenance work on their equipment. Lorneville Mechanical is one of the first companies in Canada to assemble large-capacity LNG tanks.

With 18 full time and 150-300 seasonal employees, a key factor in Lorneville Mechanical’s success is that the owners are hands-on and on site, unusual in a company of this size. This gives their customers the best of both worlds, the resources of a large general contractor with the personalized service of a small company. By being on site, the owners are able to offer timely on-site solutions for any issues that arise during a construction project.

Jacques Whitford is internationally recognized as a leader in engineering, sustainability, environmental and earth sciences solutions, with 45 offices across North America and internationally. The company was originally founded in Halifax in 1972, with the Saint John office established in 1975. Saint John is home to the corporate executive office of the company and is the headquarters for its New Brunswick operations. About 190 of their 1,800 employees worldwide are employed in New Brunswick, 67 of them in Saint John.

Over the past four years, all key business processes have been reengineered and modified to maximize efficiency and scalability. Colleague performance is managed by an electronic balanced scorecard process which measures key indicators in the areas of safety, retention, client and

colleague satisfaction, quality, operational efficiency and financial performance against specific targets. The company’s commitment to offer workplace benefits that set the standard for employees and their families has resulted in Jacques Whitford being recognized repeatedly as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and Top 10 Family Friendly Employers.

Over the past two years, Jacques Whitford has invested in joint ventures, partnerships and affiliations to provide additional expertise, open new markets and provide additional capacity in order to position the company for growth in the energy sector. As evidence of its excellence in the energy field, the firm has been involved in environmental planning and permitting for the largest LNG project in the world, the only two new refineries proposed in Canada over the past 20 years, and the major pipelines in Atlantic and Western Canada and the North. In 2007, Jacques Whitford became the first major environmental consulting firm in North America to become carbon neutral

At the beginning of 2008, the company instituted a new business plan aimed at diversifying operations and client base in Atlantic Canada to provide direct business opportunities and growth for their Atlantic Canada operations.

This year’s recipient of the "Young Entrepreneur" award is Jenny Scott, owner of Ambiance Day

Spa. 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 sixth year "The Big Heart" Award. The recipient of this award is Canaport LNG.

Also this evening, Board of Trade Chair, Dr. Michael Barry presented Bob Manning with the Chair’s Award. This marks the fifteenth 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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