Awards of Ex­cel­lence

Busi­ness Per­son of the Year Michael Adam­cryck bullish on down­town core

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - FRONT PAGE - RON­ALD ZA­JAC

In a speech that broke with cus­tom both in its length and its will­ing­ness to flirt with con­tro­versy, Brockville’s Busi­ness Per­son of the Year painted an up­beat pic­ture of the city’s eco­nomic prospects.

“At a point in our his­tory we were build­ing great stuff in Brockville; we’re now at a stage where we need to start cre­at­ing great stuff,” Michael Adam­cryck told the crowd at the Brockville and District Cham­ber of Com­merce Awards of Ex­cel­lence gala Thurs­day night.

“We need to take mea­sured risks and do things very dif­fer­ently than we ever had be­fore.”

Adam­cryck thus summed up the dilemma that has been fac­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ers in Brockville over the past two decades, dur­ing which the city ’s For­tune 500 iden­tity as a man­u­fac­tur­ing hub took an ir­repara­ble pound­ing.

The Brockville and District Cham­ber o/The Recorder and Timesf Com­merce named Adam­cryck the year’s top busi­nessper­son ahead of Thurs­day’s awards gala, cit­ing his pas­sion for busi­ness and com­mu­nity in­volve­ment.

Adam­cryck, 48, who grew up in the Peter­bor­ough area, was an ex­ec­u­tive with the Royal Bank be­fore de­cid­ing, two years ago, to de­vote him­self, along with his wife Amanda, to a se­ries of busi­nesses in which they in­vested.

They have in­vested in 10 com­pa­nies. He is ac­tively in­volved in a num­ber of them and helps his wife run two down­town stores: Revo­lu­tion Skate­board Shop and Prima Donna Fash­ion Shop.

The cham­ber also noted that Adam­cryck’s com­mu­nity in­volve­ment in­cludes re­gional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, the YMCA of Brockville and Area, the 1000 Is­lands Swim Club, St. Lawrence Col­lege and busi­ness men­tor­ship for young en­trepreneurs, as well as team men­tor­ship through the Small Busi­ness En­ter­prise Cen­tre.

Adam­cryck used his sta­tus as a re­cov­er­ing banker to pro­vide the gala evening its only mild hint of con­tro­versy, tak­ing a shot a large banks for re­cent de­ci­sions in Brockville.

“We made the de­ci­sion to be­come heav­ily com­mit­ted in our core and now have four busi­nesses in the down­town, un­like those fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions that have cho­sen to leave our down­town,” he said.

It was a jab at both the Royal Bank and TD Canada Trust for their re­cent de­ci­sions to con­sol­i­date in the north end.

But he ac­knowl­edged many peo­ple told him it might not be ad­vis­able to con­cen­trate his in­vest­ments in down­town Brockville.

“I do know that as an en­tre­pre­neur and an in­vestor you need to bet against the con­sen­sus and be right at least some of the time,” said Adam­cryck.

“There’s a lot of peo­ple bet­ting against our down­town; that’s not us.”

On the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment front, Adam­cryck has been a key fig­ure in ef­forts to es­tab­lish the St. Lawrence Cor­ri­dor Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion, the nascent en­tity that in­cludes Brockville, Prescott and the town­ships of Ed­wards­burgh/Car­di­nal, Au­gusta, El­iz­a­beth­town-Kit­ley, Front of Yonge and Leeds and the Thou­sand Is­lands.

“You can only imag­ine the work on get­ting these po­lit­i­cal an­i­mals to agree,” said Adam­cryck.

“And you would be wrong. I have never seen in­di­vid­u­als as com­mit­ted to these com­mu­ni­ties as these may­ors.”

“These seven in­di­vid­u­als put all po­lit­i­cal bound­aries aside for the ben­e­fit of that whole cor­ri­dor and it was won­der­ful to be a part of it.”

He paid trib­ute to the men­tor­ship com­mis­sion chair­man David Beatty has pro­vided him in the lo­cal busi­ness world.

In ac­cept­ing the Pres­i­dent’s Award for the Em­ploy­ment and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre, Sue Watts, its ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, touched on Brockville’s big­gest eco­nomic chal­lenge: The loom­ing clo­sure of the Proc­ter & Gamble plant, and the cen­tre’s ef­forts to re­train em­ploy­ees there for new jobs.

But Watts also touched on a loom­ing pos­i­tive trend: “Re-shoring,” or the repa­tri­a­tion of man­u­fac­tur­ing to North Amer­ica.

“I would rather take a look for­ward at how the Em­ploy­ment and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre will con­trib­ute to the suc­cess of our busi­ness com­mu­nity in the fu­ture,” she said.

RON­ALD ZA­JAC/THE RECORDER AND TIMES

Busi­ness Per­son of the Year Michael Adam­cryck speaks at the Awards of Ex­cel­lence gala on Thurs­day.

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