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Local Business Community Salutes Its Best

Thursday, April 20, 2017

More from Chris Thompson, Windsor Star

Published on: April 20, 2017 | Last Updated: April 20, 2017 1:48 PM EDT

Windsor’s business community came out to honour their own for excellence at the 27th annual Business Excellence Awards on Wednesday night.

About 1,000 people attended the swanky awards gala at Caesars Windsor to honour professional individuals and companies “who have set standards and demonstrated achievements that have contributed to the prosperity and business development in Windsor and Essex County.”

“The Business Excellence Awards is a great chance to celebrate the success, talk about the challenges we face, the hurdles we’ve jumped and obviously the success that we’ve had in terms of reaching excellence and tonight is an opportunity to celebrate the success of the best business community in the country,” said chamber president and CEO Matt Marchand.

Taking home the previously announced Believe Windsor Essex Award sponsored by WFCU Credit Union was the Rosati Group. The Athena Award went to Patti France, president of St. Clair College.

The Small Company of the Year Award sponsored by Families First went to Surveyors on Site Inc., a company that provides legal surveying, engineering, consulting, construction as built and layout services and products.

Surveyors on Site is approaching its sixth anniversary in business and last year opened a new head office on Walker Road. It has added branch offices in New Liskeard and Detroit. It employs 10 people and is growing.

The Mid-Size Company of the Year Award sponsored by RBC Royal Bank went to Next Dimension Inc., a full-service IT company offering a variety of solutions and technology partners to help support growth initiatives in Southwestern Ontario.

Next Dimension has offices in Windsor, Detroit, London and Waterloo and is wholly owned by Adam West, who founded the company in 1997. It has grown from three employees to more than 70 now.

“It’s fantastic,” Next Dimension president Brian Pearl said of the award. “We’re truly honoured to win. We’re in a category with some exceptional other companies, which makes it all the more special.

“This is a reflection of our ownership and our staff. This is 20 years in the making. We spent a lot of time building this company.”

The Large Company of the Year Award sponsored by BMO Bank of Montreal went to Kingsville-based Red Sun Farms, which has high-tech greenhouse growing operations in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

The company oversees every aspect of the supply chain from seed selection, propagation and growing to harvesting, packaging and shipping to partners across the continent.

The Young Professional of the Year Award sponsored by Libro Credit Union went to Yvonne Pilon, who founded her first company, AD2IT, at the age of 24 and by 29 became the youngest female to lead a Regional Innovation Centre in Ontario.

She helped to create YKNOT Windsor-Essex, a youth retention and attraction initiative that gained the attention of Premier Kathleen Wynne and saw the first millennial-led summit in Windsor-Essex, Windsor180, which brought together more than 250 young local leaders.

“It’s very nerve-racking,” Pilon said. “I’ve always been on the other side of this event on the planning side.

“To be a finalist tonight up against two other young female professionals is an amazing feeling as this event is just so pivotal to our community.”

The New Business of the Year Award sponsored by St. Clair College went to Witeck Solutions, a business established in 2015 by Usman Mughal that features sales and marketing experts, Google partners and Internet marketing professionals with more than 25 years combined sales and digital marketing experience.

The company provides tailored, locally relevant digital media sales and marketing solutions designed to bring businesses and clients together.

The Innovation Award sponsored by Union Gas went to KeenTec NA Inc. of Oldcastle.

KeenTec NA under its founder Hans Oxenfarth has designed, developed and patented a 3-C Vision system that will improve overall equipment effectiveness in plastic welding, design and robotic integration.

The Tourism and Hospitality Award sponsored by Caesars and OLG went to WindsorEats, a provincially and nationally recognized leader in culinary and cycle tourism.

Launched in 2004 as a simple menu guide, WindsorEats has identified opportunities to grow and showcase Windsor-Essex as a premier culinary and tourism destination, and has won several other awards.

“I’m pretty excited right now,” said WindsorEats founder Adriano Ciotoli. “I didn’t really prepare anything. I’m just going to enjoy the dinner and enjoy everyone’s company.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet.”

The Professional of the Year Award sponsored by TD Bank Group went to Holly Ward, an accomplished communications professional with 17 years of experience.

In 2014, Ward founded HWard Communications Inc. to provide strategic communications services to help her clients tell their brand stories to target audiences.

Winners of the Pillars of the Community Award sponsored by Motor City Community Credit Union were the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County.

Under the direction of Carol Derbyshire, the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County has become the largest in Canada, with 47 different wellness services provided.

Finally, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award sponsored by CIBC went to Gino Piccioni, president of Timberland Homes.

He has won more than 25 homebuilding awards in Essex County and won the Ontario Award of Distinction in 2013 for the most outstanding home over 5,000 square feet.