For Immediate Release
March 25, 2023
Recognizing the Difference Makers at the
Outstanding Business Achievement Awards
Sault Ste. Marie, ON – It was a celebration of innovation, 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 wishes to thank the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) which returned as the event’s presenting sponsor. The Chamber also thanks community partners including media sponsor, Sootoday.com, Kevanna Fine Photography and the Business Development Bank of Canada BDC.
This year’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards is one of several SSMCOC events being rebranded with its ‘Difference Makers’ label.
Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce CEO, Rory Ring, explains that “for the Chamber, a ‘Difference Maker’ is a Chamber member, organization, or person, who accomplishes extraordinary things by creating positive change in our community and in the lives of others. They are people who have leadership roles in work, business, family, and community, creating networks of like-minded people everywhere and anywhere. They are organizations that embrace the broader purpose of creating positive change through determination, leadership, teamwork, inspiration, courage, excellence, integrity, generosity, and compassion”.
The recipients of this year’s SSMCOC Outstanding Business Achievement Awards are:
Health and Safety Professionals Inc. was awarded this year’s Safe Work, Sound Business Award sponsored by Tenaris. 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.
Tulloch Engineering was presented with the Employer of Year Award sponsored by Sault College Employment Solutions. This award recognizes an employer who has created cultures and communities, through every aspect of their business.
Ken Currie of Arthur Funeral Home – Barton & Kiteley Chapel was awarded the Customer First Award (Individual) sponsored by Princess Auto Sault Ste. Marie. 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.
Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation 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 and raise a family.
The Community Investment Awards highlight outstanding community service by a business or agency. The recipients of these awards contribute to the well-being of the community through initiatives such as sourcing products and services locally, retailing or utilizing local products, employment growth, and supporting the community through charitable activities.
The Community Investment Award (up to 50 employees) sponsored by Tenaris was presented to Entomica Insectarium.
The Community Investment Award (50+ employees) sponsored by the Community Development Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie & Area was presented to McDougall Energy Inc.
The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre was the recipient of the Innovation Award sponsored by PUC Services Inc. This award recognizes a business that has successfully incorporated a new idea, device, or method, or has utilized the application of better solutions to meet new requirements, internal needs, or market needs.
Shawna Mornix of Kickstart Mental Health was presented with the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award sponsored by EAZY Express. 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.
Fit Bodies. Fit Minds. 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.
Algoma Technology Solutions – ATS received the Beyond Sault Ste. Marie Award, sponsored by Bell, which recognizes businesses in any industry for excellence in the development of export markets for their products or services, through implementing a new export strategy that has positively affected its bottom line. Beyond SSM considers businesses that have succeeded in expanding outside of Sault Ste. Marie as well as exporting goods and services.
Hogan’s Homestead was awarded the Customer First Award (Business, Non-Profit or Agency) sponsored by Princess Auto Sault Ste. Marie. This award showcases a business or agency that places the customer experience at the heart of their business strategy and builds a sustainable culture of customer service within their organization.
PLATO was the recipient of the Indigenous Business of the Year Award 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.
Entomica Insectarium was awarded the Community Non-Profit Business of the Year Award sponsored by Dumanski Office Interiors / Compass Imaging. 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.
Thrive Tours 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 products or services, quality of merchandise, customer service, job creation, growth potential, and market served.
Teddy Syrette (Ozhawa Anung Kwe), of 2Spirit Anishnabe Storytelling & Advocacy was awarded the 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.
Hiawatha Highlands 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 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 50 employees) sponsored by RBC was presented to Algoma Technology Solutions – ATS.
The Business of the Year Award (50+ employees) sponsored by Superior Auto Group was presented to ARAUCO - North America - Sault Ste. Marie Operations.
Three new awards were introduced to the Chamber’s line-up starting this year, including the Social Purpose and Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Award, as well as two Economic Impact Awards, one for a business or organization and one for an individual.
Algoma Power Inc. was the inaugural recipient of the Social Purpose and Environmental, Social, And Governance (ESG) Award, sponsored by Bell, which recognizes an organization that has taken actionable, overt steps to be part of the solution to complex societal issues. By embracing the principles of environmental, social, and governance (ESG), they set criteria used to evaluate their organization’s commitment to sustainable operations by measuring environmental impact and mitigating future environmental risks. They recognize that outcomes impact stakeholders such as employees, customers, suppliers, and the local community; and they demonstrate the principles of governance by preventing conflicts of interest, operating in good faith, and demonstrating transparency among their employees and stakeholders.
The Chamber’s new Economic Impact Awards recognize and honour an individual and a company / stakeholder Chamber member that have made significant contributions to the economic vitality of Sault Ste. Marie in terms of capital investment, job creation and facility expansion. Consideration is given to the significant contributions made to the local economy through innovation, entrepreneurship, new investments, commitment to the region, and the work they have accomplished which has had a positive impact on the economy.
The first individual to receive the Chamber’s Economic Impact Award is Dr. Ron Common, who will be retiring from as the President of Sault College after the completion of his current term on August 31, 2023. Under Common’s watch, Sault College was able to significantly invest in critical infrastructure, revitalizing the College with more than 120 million dollars in capital construction. He will leave behind a legacy of strong leadership, transformation and innovation which includes growing student enrolment to its highest point in the College’s history during the last two years and strengthening the College’s ongoing efforts towards truth and reconciliation. More than 2,400 jobs are directly and indirectly supported by Sault College.
The first business to be presented with the Chamber’s Economic Impact Award is Algoma Steel. One of our community’s oldest and largest employers, Algoma Steel’s transformative investment in electric arc technology marks the largest industrial-scale carbon reduction project in Canada and will position Algoma Steel as one of the leading producers of green steel in North America. Today, Algoma Steel employs 2,700 and supports a further 6,000 retirees through the provision of pensions and benefits. It directly contributes to over 40% of Sault Ste. Marie’s GDP and over 60% when considering the entire supply chain. Through a $1 million cash donation, Algoma Steel helped create a 20 residential bed facility to serve a critical community need for addictions withdrawal care and, importantly, raising awareness of the issue of substance abuse and addiction support required in Sault Ste. Marie.
Past Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce President, Terry Rainone, known for his extensive experience in the local construction sector and for his contributions to local economic development initiatives 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.
Local Lawyer, Joseph Greco of Willson Greco Hagan Law Firm LLP, and I.D.A. Drug Marts / Orano Limited 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.
Erica & Spencer Hogan, owners of Hogan’s Homestead were the awarded this year’s SSMCOC President’s Award. Initiated in 1982, the President’s Award recognizes individuals who make 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 Immediate President.
About the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce
The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization comprised of 600 plus businesses and agencies in Sault Ste. Marie and has been serving the needs of this community since 1889. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce will lead the way as the voice of business, advancing economic prosperity for its membership and the business community. Learn more about the SSMCOC at www.ssmcoc.com
SSMCOC Media Contact:
Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce