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The 2013 Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce Awards

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Photos BY Sara Morrison

On October 28th the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce hosted the 20th edition of their Community Awards Gala, providing the opportunity to highlight both the success of our local businesses and the achievements of inspiring local citizens of all ages. And the winners were...

X-ceptional Kidz Award

Presented by Nexen Energy ULC

This award is given to one individual in each age category of 9-13 years old and 14-17 years old who has shown care and involvement throughout the community in ways that make them truly “x-ceptional.”

Winner 9-13 Years: Blake Bussieres

Blake was nominated because of his ongoing participation in the local Snow Angels program, which coordinates snow shoveling for the elderly in our community. Blake has been committed to this program for four years, and is always willing to help out with additional properties when other Snow Angels are not available. This program is an important one for the safety of our locals seniors and it’s because of kids like Blake that it is able to run.

Winner 14-17 Years: Brett Beebe

Brett has been part of the Snow Angels program since it started in 2009. He has consistently shoveled his assigned driveways and sidewalks over the last four years, and has always helped out with other properties as needed. His ongoing dedication is an important part of this amazing program.

The Leader of Tomorrow Award

Presented by Shell Canada Ltd.

This award is presented to an individual between the ages of 18-25 who has shown commitment and genuine care for the community.

Winner: Akash Gupta

An intelligent and driven young man, Akash Gupta has already founded his first company, The Great Green North, as part of a student entrepreneurial program. Most of the $1,000 in profit earned by this company was donated to the Justin Slade Youth Foundation. Gupta has served on MACOY – the Mayor’s Advisory Council for Youth - and he spent this past summer at the prestigious Leadership in the Business World program, hosted by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Public Service Award

Presented by Enbridge Pipelines (Athabasca) Inc.

This award is designed to recognize outstanding achievement in the Public Service sector of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Winner: Robin Dowden

Robin Dowden has been an employee of Alberta Human Services for the past eight years, and came here with over 20 years of Public Service experience before that. Dowden has created a Labour Market Information presentation which she has delivered a number of times in partnership with the RMWB Economic Development department. This presentation has been delivered to sites all over Alberta and it presents information on living and working in Wood Buffalo.

Micro-Business of the Year

Presented by 100.5 K-Rock

This year marks the debut of this award, which recognizes a Fort McMurray business employing up to five people which has made an outstanding contribution in the combined area of business success, innovation and community service.

Winner: Balsom Communications

YMM’s own publisher, Balsom Communications, was proudly recognized in this new award category. Owner Krista Balsom was personally recognized for her passion for the community, for her drive, and for generally being known as a force to be reckoned with. On top of YMM, Balsom Communications is the co-owner of Fort McMurray’s Child Magazine, and Balsom herself is the volunteer Co-Chair of the Media Relations Committee for the 2015 Western Summer Games.

Environmental Leadership Award

Presented by Allnorth Consultants Ltd.

This award recognizes a local group that has made protecting, sustaining and enhancing natural resources an integral part of their business plan.

Winner: Emilie Giroux of the Fort McMurray Islamic School Recycling Club

This club was started in 2011 when club founder Emilie Giroux realized that every day at her school lots of paper that could be recycled was instead being thrown in the trash. To date, this group has collected roughly 5000 pounds of paper. In 2012 the group was awarded a $300 Eco League Action Project Grant through Learning for a Sustainable Future. Last year the club placed second in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s Amazing Waste Race, and was a runner up for the Sustainable Future Jack Layton Award for Youth Action in Sustainability.

Small Business of the Year Award

Presented by the ATCO Group of Companies

This award recognizes a Fort McMurray business employing up to 6-20 people which has made an outstanding contribution in the combined area of business success, innovation and community service.

Winner: Bob Barrett’s Men’s Apparel

Current owner Bob Carrothers purchased the company in 2003 and has since expanded the store’s clientele to include everyone from youth to elders. Carrothers’ passion for his business is equaled only by his passion for the community. Bob Barrett’s Men’s Apparel is a supporter of the annual Harvest of Hope event and provides all of the more than forty waiters with complimentary tuxedoes. The company is a financial supporter of countless other local groups, and Carrothers himself is known to maintain the highest level of personal integrity.

Business of the Year

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.

Winner: Metalcare Group Inc.

Metalcare began operation in 2005 with one employee providing QA/QC and welding-related inspection services locally. The company now has over 120 full-time employees providing a variety of services. The company is headquartered in Fort McMurray, but branched out to Singapore in 2008. Since then the company has started operating from the Singapore office with 12-15 full time employees. Metalcare’s dedication to the community is shown in their commitment to hiring local people first, using local suppliers and supporting local community events and programs. Taking care of their employees is a priority for this company.

Sustainable Community Recognition Award

Presented by TOTAL E&P Canada Ltd.

This award is given to someone 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.

Winner: Arianna Johnson

Since arriving in Fort McMurray in 2007 Arianna Johnson has been involved with such a number of boards and community organizations that the list is too long to include. She currently works as the Executive Director of the Wood Buffalo Food Bank, and under her leadership the food bank has expanded to include services to the rural areas, and has rebranded itself from the Fort McMurray Food Bank to reflect this change. As Johnson mentioned during her acceptance speech, “I believe that your home is where you live right now.” Johnson believes that if each citizen in Wood Buffalo adopted this credo the potential for what could be accomplished is unlimited.


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