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