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The 2015 Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce Recognition Awards - Honouring those who improve our community

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Each year the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce hosts an Awards Reception to honour the individuals, schools, community groups, organizations and businesses that have improved our community. We aim to reward those individuals, businesses, or organizations working tirelessly to improve the lives of local families and community members. This year’s achievements were recognized during a ceremony sponsored by Servus Credit Union which took place on October 22 at the Sawridge Inn & Conference Centre. 

Once again, I left the Awards Reception feeling inspired and hopeful for the future of our region. Once you learn more about this year’s recipients you’ll see why...


X-ceptional Kidz Award

Presented by Nexen Energy ULC
This award is presented to individuals under the age of 17 who have shown care and involvement throughout the community. These youth set an example for their peers and everyone around them.

Age 9-13 Award Recipient: Gabby Dubuc
Gabby Dubuc’s community involvement includes volunteering for the Western Canada Summer Games and participating in the Syncrude Food Drive every year.  She has also been active in participating in fundraising for her soccer team.  Gabby was also selected as a participant in the 2015 “We Day” in Calgary. This happens as part of the yearlong “We School” educational program which challenges young people to identify the issues that spark their passion and create the change they want to see.

Age 14-17 Award Recipient: Dylan Thomas-Bouchier
Dylan Thomas-Bouchier is an avid member of Cheepiyak Theatre and Keyano Theatre Company, having performed in a number of theatre productions in the past few years. He contributes to the Fort McMurray Gamers Association and the Fort McMurray Filmmakers Association and soon will be featured in a film called The Good Survivor. As a person who has grown up with cerebral palsy, Dylan has overcome many barriers and successfully found his place in the world.  It hasn’t been easy, as he bravely shared in a presentation at the Peace Warriors Festival in May. 


The Leader of Tomorrow Award

Presented by the Business Development Bank of Canada
This award is given to someone aged 18-25 who shows commitment and genuine care for the community. This individual’s continued engagement will provide inspiration to both present and future generations.

Award Recipient: Akash Gupta
Akash is involved with the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth (MACOY), and he is also involved in political campaigns. He works diligently to end voter apathy, ensuring that the voice of our region’s youth is heard. A dedicated volunteer, Akash was very involved in the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games Wood Buffalo. He has also been an active participant in the Junior Achievement Company Program in Fort McMurray and was instrumental in the success of the two startup companies he was involved with. He has represented Alberta in National PrevNet Youth Advisory Committee where he assisted in highlighting the growing issue of cyberspace bullying. During his high school years, Akash created and led a highly accessible Peer Tutoring Network for all students.


Public Service Award of Excellence

Presented by Enbridge Pipelines (Athabasca) Inc.
This award is designed to recognize outstanding achievements in the Public Service sector of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Award Recipient: Bill Duncan
Bill Duncan was an invaluable asset to the Western Canada Summer Games 2015 Wood Buffalo, providing the majority of graphic design services. No matter how big or small the feat, Bill treated all tasks with the same sense of earnestness and production was completed in a timely manner.  Bill works tirelessly to ensure that our region is well-represented both locally and abroad through his role in the Communications Department.


Sustainable Communities Recognition Award

Presented by Total E&P Canada Ltd.
This award is given to an individual or group who strives to contribute to sustainable community in their everyday efforts. The Sustainable Community Recognition Award identifies those who have a concern for the needs of others, going above and beyond the call of duty with little or no concern for financial gain.

Award Recipient: Wood Buffalo Regional Library
The Wood Buffalo Regional Library has an impressive array of programs and services that they offer our region, and they are always working towards offering more. Over the course of their history they have grown with the community, constantly identifying needs and fulfilling wishes and staying abreast of the latest technologies. Stretching far beyond the traditional view of a library, the WBRL has developed a strong community presence, connecting the communities of our region and bringing new programs and opportunities to the residents of our communities.


Micro Business of the Year

Presented by Balsom Communications
The Micro Business of the Year award is designed to recognize businesses with up to 5 employees who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; and provide valuable service by devoting time and energy to improving the quality of life for others in the community.

Award Recipient: Helen Arong Fine Fashions
It is well-known that the customer service at Helen Arong Fine Fashion goes above and beyond. As Helen’s clientele has increased, so has her commitment to give back to the community. Helen has always generously supported many community events through donations, cash sponsorship and her time. Helen has also hosted fashion show fundraisers to which all proceeds were donated to help support various projects. Helen Arong could base her business out of almost anywhere but she chooses to stay and contribute a very unique and much-needed service to our community.


Small Business of the Year Award

Presented by ATCO
This award recognizes a Wood Buffalo business employing 6-20 people which has made an outstanding contribution in the combined area of business success, innovation and community service.

Award Recipient: HVAC Solutions
HVAC Solutions passionately give back to our region through contributions to a number of local charities, and they have been the Presenting Sponsor of every event that HALOS has hosted so far. HVAC’s CEO, Brad Lucier, is a huge advocate of Educare programming and their annual Shamrock Shindig.  The company’s motto is “Committed to providing the highest standard of service,” and this idea has been a cornerstone for the company’s growth and development over the years.


Business of the Year Award

Presented by Xpert Office Solutions/Xerox
This award recognizes a business employing 21+ people which has made an outstanding contribution in the combined areas of business success, innovation and community service.

Award Recipient: Aluma Systems
Aluma Systems is always willing to go above and beyond.  Their genuine commitment to ensuring top quality service and product for every event or occasion hosted at MacDonald Island Park, large or small, has been vital to bringing top-calibre events to the community. Aluma Systems supplied all bleacher and scaffolding requirements for the Western Canada Summer Games.  Aluma Systems is also a key player in the annual Kids Forever golf tournament fundraiser.  One of Aluma Systems’ key values is being a part of whatever community they are operating in, and stepping up to support local events.



Chamber-42.jpg: Gabby Dubuc, winner of the X-ceptional Kidz Award Age 9-13 with Stella Kreutzer of Nexen

Chamber-43.jpg: Dylan Thomas-Bouchier, winner of the X-ceptional Kidz Award Age 14-17 with Stella Kreutzer of Nexen.

Chamber-50.jpg: Trevor Fillo of the Business Development Bank of Canada with Leader of Tomorrow Award winner Akash Gupta.

Chamber-56.jpg: Public Service Award of Excellence Winner Bill Hall with John Giacetti of Enbridge Pipelines.

Chamber-58.jpg: Melissa Flett of the Wood Buffalo Regional Library (winner of the Sustainable Communities Award) with Alexis Foster of the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce

Chamber-66.jpg: Helen Arong of Helen Arong Fine Fashions, winner of the Micro Business of the Year Award with Krista Balsom of Balsom Communications.

Chamber-73.jpg: Brad Lucier of HVAC Solutions with Cameron Thrift of ATCO

Chamber-88.jpg: All award winners

Chamber-92.jpg: Alexis Foster, Nick Sanders and Heidi Taves of the Chamber of Commerce

Chamber-91.jpg: Dinner Sponsor Servus Credit Union


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