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Yellowknife Chamber hands out awards
Business group president leaving for Calgary

Northern News Services
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Yellowknife's business community came out in their best on Friday night for the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce's annual awards gala.

This year's event, held at the Explorer Hotel on Oct. 23 followed speeches from various politicians and representatives.

Dominion Diamond Corporation won the award for Corporate Business of the Year, which recognizes businesses that have more than 100 employees. Chief operating officer Chantal Lavoie accepted the award on the company's behalf. During his speech, Lavoie remarked on Dominion's decision to move its head office to Yellowknife a few years ago and how positive that has been for the company.

"More than two thirds of our staff and employees now live here," he said to the crowd, which included Premier Bob McLeod, minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment David Ramsay and deputy mayor Linda Bussey.

In a news release, Dominion's chief executive officer Brendan Bell said the company took a lot of pride in its commitment to being a good employer, a good corporate citizen and a good neighbour. "It is an honour for us to be recognized for these efforts tonight," he wrote.

"It has now been two-and-a-half years and we are even more convinced that moving North was the correct decision. Our executive team lives here and calls the North home. We are proud that we employ more northerners and northern Aboriginal people than any other company in the NWT."

The winner of this year's small business of the year award was Yellowknife Beverages.

The breakout business award was given to medical company 62 Degrees North.

The aboriginal entrepreneurship award was given to Paul Brothers Nextreme, the welding and steel fabrication and manufacturing company.

Roy's Audio Video Unlimited was the recipient of the customer service award of excellence.

KBL Environmental won the workplace health and safety award.

The young entrepreneur of the year award was given to Merle Norman. Owner Sasha Jason, who was recently in Yellowknifer following news of her family converting their KFC location in to a Lenny Burger restaurant, accepted the award.

Finally, the community impact award was awarded to Yellowknifer's parent company, Northern News Services Ltd. Senior editor Mike W. Bryant and advertising manager Petra Memedi accepted it on behalf of the company.

Before the hardware could be given out, the chamber's president, Jason McEvoy, addressed news that he was departing in less than a week.

McEvoy has accepted a new position with the Royal Bank of Canada in Calgary that officially starts on Nov. 16.

"I'm pretty much gone this time next week. It happens fast sometimes when it happens," he said with a laugh, after explaining he is leaving Nov. 2 or 3 because of meetings in Edmonton followed by a holiday.

True to the night's theme of supporting local businesses, the awards themselves were designed and manufactured by Old Town Glassworks using recycled 1.5-litre blue glass bottles.

They also happened to fit in with this year's theme of fire and ice, which was reflected in the decor and menu for the evening. The crowd at the gala was entertained by the NWT Circus, performing flips, aerials, silks, and glow poi - a modern version of a fire-throwing performance art that originated with the Maori people of New Zealand.

The lead sponsor for the event was Field Law, and local band Wake Up Hazel provided live music to wind down the night at the after party.

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