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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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’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.