The Kawartha Chamber of Commerce & Tourism presented their 17th Annual Awards of Excellence on November 4th at Elmhirst’s Resort.
Chamber Board President, Kris Keller of RBC, congratulated the recipients as well as all who were nominated. With 80 nominations, there was a lot to celebrate. Many of the nine categories had nominations in the double digits and the Customer Service category received twenty!
Congratulations to the Recipients!
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR – Karl Moher
Karl Moher has demonstrated a quiet and unwavering commitment to this area; as a business person, municipal politician and community initiator.
After retiring from a middle management career with Bell, he established Karl Moher CFP, Insurance and Investments and very successfully provided sound advice to clients for over two decades.
In addition to being a committed business professional, many community ventures have been for the better because of Karl’s involvement. From providing his storefront window space to various not-for-profits so they could advertise an upcoming event or milestone to active participation on community committees. Focus Lakefield Committee work was years ago, while more recently, he joined the Stakeholder Committee of the local group trying to save Lakefield District High School and he was appointed to the formal Accommodation Review Committee established by KPR DSB. He also chairs the St. Joseph’s Douro Refugee Support Group.
Likely most remembered is his role as one of the founding directors of the Lakefield Community Medical Support Foundation. This group was instrumental in raising millions of dollars to establish the Morton Community Healthcare Centre.
Karl has also had a commitment to the efficient delivery of municipal services, during a political career that dates back to 2001. He is currently in his third term as Deputy-Mayor of the Township of Douro-Dummer.
The nominators note, “It is hard to describe Karl’s impact on the community. Never seeking the spotlight nor blowing his own horn; but his hand is on so many initiatives. He is always the first to jump on a worthy project and provide his considerable skills and knowledge. His involvement with his community is so seamless it is almost like water and air for him.”
The Morton Community Healthcare Centre is this project that Karl has found to be the most rewarding. “People feel more secure having a local doctor. To this day, people still come up to me and indicate how much they appreciate the Centre and thank me for my help.” While he is very proud of the project; he is quick to note that he, “is only one small keg in the initiative – it was a real community effort.” So says this man who never seeks the spotlight.
Finalists not announced.
YOUNG PROFESSIONAL – Adam Noble
Despite being the youngest person in the business, Adam Noble of Noblegen – a biomaterials company, is involved in all aspects of the business – from managing overall operations and longer term goals to human resources, financial management and much more. His current title is CEO, Founder and Chairman of the Board. Interestingly, prior to this his job experience was limited to cutting grass, volunteering at the hospital and a couple of summers as a lab tech.
Adam has the following advice for other young professionals: “It’s really important to follow your dreams. Don’t take no for an answer. Some may say it won’t work, but you need to try. Many people told me my ideas wouldn’t work, but I was very stubborn and wasn’t discouraged. You need to be true to yourself and not afraid to pursue your dreams.”
One of the hardest decisions he made was to give up the desire to attend med school and become a surgeon. But it is now evident that the work of Noblegen will have a much greater impact on many more people than could be accomplished by one surgeon, so that goal has been set aside.
Formed in 2013, the business started with two unpaid staff. Year two doubled this to four staff. Now in its third year there are 17 staff, a Board of Directors and investors. While still pre-revenue, they are projecting 100% growth for the next four years and expect to bring hundreds of jobs to the area.
This is even more impressive knowing that the business was formed as a result of a science fair project at Lakefield District High School.
Adam’s nominator says, “He is putting the Peterborough area on the map. His dedication and focus have placed him on the world stage, and yet he has chosen to remain in the area to provide jobs and to give back to this community.”
Finalists not announced.
OUTSTANDING BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT
Nexicom – Recipient
Their origin dates back 115 years to a local telephone service provider. Their current product offering also includes high speed and wireless internet, cable tv, long distance, web hosting, security systems and more. Their 75 staff provide knowledgeable, friendly service with a local touch. Customers in areas that other providers have ignored are served by their network of 38 towers and fibre optic facilities. An excellent corporate citizen, they have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities, community initiatives, arts & culture projects and sports.
FINALISTS: Discovery Dream Homes, Griffin’s Greenhouses
CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE
Clearview Cottage Resort – Recipient
Their nominator notes, “The welcoming, caring and friendly personalities of this family are why the guests I met were return fans for over 10, 20 and 30 years.” They know all of their guests by name and their interests. They have created such strong relationships with them that they are often invited to weddings and funerals and notified of exciting life moments. Celebrating 50 years in business, they are now transitioning into the third generation of family operation.
FINALISTS: Accurate Accounting & Tax Services, Griffin’s Greenhouses, Logan Tree Experts, Sunblockers, the chocolate rabbit
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT OR RENOVATION
Blue Pigeon Resort – Recipient
Purchasing a resort that was built in the 50s with no improvements over the years; they have completely revived the property. Ten cottages plus a complex with five, multi-bedroom units have been wonderfully transformed inside and out. “You wouldn’t know it was the same place!” says the nominator. While modernized there is still a “cottage life” feel to the resort. Landscaping includes new sod, new trees, a large dock system and in ground saltwater pool.
FINALISTS: Lakefield College School, Sunblockers,
Cottage Country Connection – Recipient
Purchased in 2014, the monthly paper was struggling to stay afloat in the world of social media. The new owners rebranded and rather than compete with, they embraced social media; giving advertisers a presence on multi-platforms that now boast over 60,000 followers. Including Cottage Live TV’s Colin & Justin and The Brojects has generated awareness of the publication and region. In 2016 they switched to a magazine format one year ahead of schedule.
FINALISTS: Hard Winter Bread Company, Indian River Reptile Zoo
Camp Kawartha – Recipient
They foster outdoor and environmental awareness in our community and beyond via 90 plus innovative programs, teacher training, sustainability workshops and their ‘Pathway to Stewardship’ initiative. Strategic partnerships are many including Trent, Fleming, ORCA, Rotary, and Curve Lake. 10,870 children and adults participated in last fiscal’s programs including this one; “Our usually ‘preoccupied with electronics’ 11-year-old LOVES environmental camp.”
FINALISTS: Apsley & District Lions Club, Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region, Lakefield Animal Welfare Society, Morton Community Healthcare Centre
RETAILER OF THE YEAR
Sunblockers – Recipient
This business excels at staying focussed on their business offerings. Personalized service is the priority, positioning them as a distinct shopping destination. Staff are trained to listen to customers’ individual needs, make knowledgeable suggestions and give honest opinions. Their nominator says, “Thank you for recognizing that not everyone is size 2 and loves bikinis!” Since opening in 2003 sales have increased 550%. 2016 is tracking to be their best sales year ever.
FINALISTS: Celtic Connection, Classy Chassis & Cycles, Discovery Dream Homes, Lakefield Pantry
TOURISM or HOSPITALITY EXCELLENCE
Elmhirst’s Resort – Recipient
Five generations have been involved in this family owned and operated Resort. In addition to cottages they offer a full service spa, charter air service, horseback riding and much more. A fully accessible accommodation unit offers special needs guests a taste of cottage life. Options for foodservice have a strong focus on local ingredients, include Elmhirst’s own cattle, turkeys, ducks and vegetables. Exploring new markets, this year they promoted the Kawarthas at TIFF.
FINALISTS: Beachwood Resort & Frederick’s Restaurant, Clearview Cottage Resort, Stoney Lake Market & Grill