Best of business saluted with awards
It was a night to celebrate local business on Thursday evening at the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce 23rd annual Business Achievement Awards.
More than 300 people attended the gala at the Four Points by Sheraton, where awards were given out in nine business categories.
The local businesses are nominated by their customers, clients, staff and peers for the annual Business Achievement Awards, a news release from the chamber said.
Nominations are evaluated by a group of peers from the Kingston business community who evaluate the business’s or person’s customer and employee relations, business growth, business standards and ethics, and community involvement.
Following are the award winners:
• The Innovation Award: The KEYS Job Centre
KEYS Job Centre is a community-based organization with an expertise in employment services for 35 years. It has more than 30 programs for youth and student employment, and assists mature workers, immigrants, job seekers, persons with disabilities, as well as employers. It has a staff of more than 70 employees at two locations in Kingston as well as locations in Gananoque, Elgin and Smiths Falls.
• Tourism/Hospitality Award: Improbable Escapes Inc.
Since June 2015, Improbable Escapes has been providing escape room experiences. Originally a two-person operation, Improbable Escapes has evolved into a team of 17 artists, designers and performers. Its facility offers four indoor escape rooms and two outdoor adventures, with a fifth indoor game coming soon.
• New Business of the Year: FabCut Systems Inc.
Fab-Cut Systems, which opened in January 2017 with five employees, is family owned by Rene and Laurie Barnes. Now the company has 10 full-time and two part-time employees as well as two transitional military veterans working out of its two Justus Drive locations. Fab-Cut makes CNC plasma cutting tables. Most of Fab-Cut’s sales consist of leads developed using a social media and internet marketing focus.
• Small Business of the Year, 1-10 Employees: Active Orthopedic Solutions
Active Orthopedic Solutions Inc., founded in 2006, offers orthotic and bracing services in Kingston. It has two full-services clinics and two satellite operations. It fabricates orthoses, braces and supports for the entire human body, and itsnew Providence Care Hospital clinic provides services to both in and outpatients.
• Medium Business of the Year, 11-34 Employees: Auto Service Kingston
Auto Service Kingston opened in 2012. Since then, it has expanded from two to 11 employees and from three to nine service bays at its new location at 66 Harvey St.
• Large Business of the Year, 34-plus Employees: Diamond Hotels Management Inc.
Diamond Hotels Management Inc. operates properties in Kingston and Sault Ste. Marie, employing 260 people, depending on the season. Its brands include the Delta Hotels by Marriott Kingston Waterfront, AquaTerra, Holiday Inn Express and Suites Kingston, Holiday Inn Express Sault Ste. Marie and Ramada by Wyndham Kingston Hotel and Conference Centre.
• Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Jordan Milani of iGuide
Milani runs a growing real estate marketing service. He was also a video producer before transitioning and refocusing his efforts to launch iGuide in 2016, a service offering 3D virtual tours of real estate properties.
• Business Person of the Year: Rick Kramer, MicroAge Kingston
Kramer has owned MicroAge since 2010. MicroAge has maintained top-line revenue through new revenue streams, nearly doubled its workforce, and increased net profits by more than 350 per cent. It is one of the top 50 IT Companies in Canada and are ranked of 357 of the top 500 worldwide.
• Chair’s Award: Nancy Cardinal, Digigraphics
Chamber chair Melody Knott selected Cardinal for the award due to her continuous and consistent generosity, which is spread across many local events, business partnerships, charities and community awareness. Cardinal supports a wide variety of community initiatives and as well has created a not-for-profit/co-op-style women’s exercise class and healthy connections club called the Connect Fit Club.