The 31st Northern Ontario Business Awards

Recognizing Excellence

Northern Ontario Business Awards are an annual celebration of business achievement in Northern Ontario.

For 31 years, NOBA has celebrated the accomplishments of individuals and companies that display the entrepreneurial spirit and accomplishments.

This year the NOBA was held at the Senator Hotel, in Timmins, “the city with a heart of gold”, and co-hosted by Timmins Mayor Steve Black and Abbas Homayed, Vice-President and  Publisher of Northern Ontario Business.

Awards were presented in 10 categories:

  • Three company of the year awards: 1 to 15 employees; 16 to 50 employees and 51 or more employees
  • Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Entrepreneurial community
  • First Nations Business Award of Excellence
  • Innovation Award
  • Export Business Award
  • Judges’ Choice Award

“Our purpose is, and always has been to recognize excellence, to build confidence in our ability to overcome obstacles unique to Northern Ontario by celebrating the people who do it,” said Michael Atkins, President of Laurentian Publishing and Northern Ontario Business.

The 2017 NOBA winners are:

 Company of the Year 1-15 employees: Radical Gardens, Timmins

Brianna Humphrey, the founder of Radical Gardens, winner of Company of the Year 1 to 15 employees. In the background from left to right: Abbas Homayed, vice-president, publisher for Northern Ontario Business; Timmins Mayor Steve Black; Steve McIntosh, COO, Radical Gardens and the Honourable Mike Gravel, Minister of Northern Development and Mines.  Frank Giorno for

Radical Gardens was launched by Brianna Humphrey in 2014 and launched a food and cultural renaissance in the Timmins area. Humphrey is very committed to local farming and operates a farm on Dalton Road that provides much of the fresh vegetables and meat that is served at the Radical Gardens restaurant on Balsam St. North.

                  Company of the Year 16-50 Employees:                           Rammako’s Source for Adventure, Sudbury

Brian Ramakko, Ramakko’s Source for Adventure, Sudbury. Frank Giorno for TheOneOnline.

Rammako’s Source for Adventure started as a small bait and tackle store in the 1980s and over the years grew into a major retailer of sporting equipment today. Brian Rammako gives credit to a great team and following his one cardinal rule: “know your customer.”

Company of the Year 51+ Employees: Gin Cor, Mattawa

Renzo Silveri, Chief Financial Officer, Gin-Cor gives an acceptance speech for winning, Company of the Year, 51+ Employees. In the background, Co-hosts Timmins Mayor Steve Black, right, Abbas Homayed, left. Frank Giorno for .

Luc Stang led Gin Cor to a major expansion in 2012 that cemented the company’s reputation as one of the most trusted names in truck manufacturing. The expansion tripled their workforce during the last three years. Quality, continuous improvement and a commitment to health and safety are the core values practised by Stang and his workforce.

Entrepreneur of the Year: Walter Siggelkow, Dowling

Walter Siggelkow, Entrepreneur of the Year. Abbas Homayed, co-host of NOBA is in the background, right. Frank Giorno for .

Hard-Line Solutions is a company that makes mining safer by producing remote control technology that reduces danger to miners. For Walter Siggelkow, the President of Hard-Line Solutions, his venture was more than a solid business opportunity; it was a chance to help make a mining workplace fraught with hazards a safer place to work. His focus on research and development helped to grow Hard-Line Solutions even during the direst of economic conditions.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Jeff Greco

Jeff Greco, Cavera Inc. winner of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Frank Giorno for .

One of the issues facing Northern Ontario is how to retain its talented young people. Jeff Greco, President of Cavera Inc., was ready to leave Northern Ontario in his quest to be a software engineer in a large southern Ontario centre after finishing his education. But instead, he decided to stay in Sault Ste. Marie, his hometown. He was drawn by the better quality of life. Today, his company Cavera Inc. has found a niche providing marketing service to small and medium-sized businesses.

Innovation Award:  Rudnicki Industrial Inc., Thunder Bay

Mike Rudnicki, Rudnicki Industries, winner of the Innovation award. In background right is Tom Fortin, Fortin Foundation. Frank Giorno for

Rudnicki Industrial Inc. is a resourceful and innovative company that is in the business of developing homegrown, niche products for its customers. Mike Rudnicki, is an inventor, problem solver and mentor to emerging entrepreneurs who takes a creative approach to solving problems and meeting challenges by diversifying Rudnicki Industrial’s operations and developing a catalogue of his own products.

First Nations Business Award of Excellence:  Attawapiskat Enterprises, Attawapiskat/Timmins


Steve Hookimaw, Chair, Attawapiskat Enterprises, accepts the award for First Nation Business Excellence. Frank Giorno for .

Attawapiskat Enterprises signed an impact benefit agreement with DeBeers Canada in 2005. It was a great opportunity for economic development that led to business and job creation on the First Nation by the James Bay coast. Attawapiskat Enterprises now runs three First Nation owned companies employing 120 people.

Entrepreneurial Community of the Year: Northern Ontario Mining Showcase Committee, Temiskaming Shores

Every year at the Prospectors and Developers Association Convention in Toronto, an event that draws about 30,000 people engaged in mining globally, one of the largest displays is provided for by Northern Mining Showcase Committee from Temiskaming Shores. This centrepiece display showcases the talent and expertise from Northern Ontario small to mid-sized mining suppliers to the world. It provides networking opportunities, business leads and exposure to the global mining market.

Judges Choice Award: The Bucket Shop, Timmins

Paul Woodward, President and CEO, the Bucket Shop. Frank Giorno for .

This Timmins-based company owned by the Woodward family started as a local service company to the areas- mining and construction industries and now is expanding into major export markets. Today, the Bucket Shop is undertaking their fourth major expansion to meet the ever-increasing demand for their services – the repair and service of excavator, backhoe and other heavy equipment that uses buckets and scoops. Paul Woodward, the president of the Bucket Shop said the company’s success comes from a close-knit workforce that focuses on a client relationship based on mutual trust and respect.

The Export Award: Fuller Industrial, Sudbury

Jeff Fuller, Fuller Industrial, acceptance speech for NOBA Export Award. Frank Giorno for .

Fuller Industrial has built a sound reputation globally as a dependable, reliable company for rubber lining and carbon steel pipe fabrications. As a result, today it has sales on virtually every continent on earth.The owners of Fuller Industrial knew from the onset it had to compete in an export market to be successful. It has done so with flying colours.

Union Gas Essay Scholarship: Sarah Yeo, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay


Sarah Yeo, Lakehead University student, is the winner of the Union Gas Essay Scholarship. Frank Giorno for .

Sarah Yeo’s essay was on the changes that green energy will bring to Northern Ontario, Canada and the world. Sarah wins a $3,000 award towards her future studies. Being a resident of northwestern Ontario, Sarah has a true connection to the environment and sees the benefits of transitioning to a green energy economy. She hopes to be accepted into the Northern Ontario School of Medicine in Thunder Bay.

Next year, the 32nd NOBA will be held in North Bay, the Gateway City.

NOBA statuettes given to winners. Frank Giorno for .
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Frank Giorno

Frank Giorno lives in Timmins, Ontario. He is a graduate of York University (Honors B.A Political Science) and Ryerson School of Journalism (B.A. Journalism). Frank has worked as a city hall reporter for the Brandon Sun; freelanced for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. He is the past editor of and the newsletter of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers. Frank has also worked as Research Director for the Canadian Environmental Law Association; Senior Communications Advisor on Water Quality Issues for the Ministry of the Environment; Public Affairs Associate for Region of Peel Public Works; and Media Relations Officer for Toronto Public Health. In Timmins, he served as the Communications Manager for Mushkegowuk Environmental Research Centre/Five Nations Energy Project on Energy Conservation. He freelanced for Frank is a published author of essays on the internment of Italian-Canadians during World War 2, “Internee 328: Camp Petawawa” co-written with James McCreath appears in “Beyond Barbed Wire” (Guernica Editions 2012). He has published four books of poetry, My Nation is a Train...Wreck (2017, Northern Voices Publications), MoPoPoMo (2016, Northern Voices Publications), “Elvis in America,” and “Arrivederci! Plastic Covered Couch ( 2006, 2008 Lyricalmyrical Press)”.

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