Heading into Thursday evenings’ business excellence awards celebration, the chamber started by recognizing the innovation, strength, dedication and resilence so many Langley businesses have demonstrated during the past two years.
The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce’s virtual event, emceed by JRfm Radio hosts Clay St. Thomas and Karen Daniels, marked the 25th annual awards ceremony intended to showcase “the wonderful businesses in Langley and the people behind the hard work.”
There were a few dozen nominations received for this year’s business excellence awards, but that had to be whittle down. There were only six awards presented during the evening celebration, said chamber CEO Colleen Clark.
“Fantastic nominations, but not nearly as many if we were having at in-person event,” she clarified, noting the number of virtual attendees was also down significantly, at about 60.
That said, “together, we celebrated all the positivity that has happened this year,” Clark said of the event.
Admittedly, since this is usually a huge fundraiser for the chamber, the virtual format hurt the fundraising component, but Clark said there’s been a bit of a silver lining.
“Our sponsors have been amazing over the past two years, supporting the event and the organization as a whole. This as with many large events would not be possible without there ongoing support,” she elaborated.
Next up on the chamber agenda is their November and December dinner meetings.
As for plans for the 26th annual business excellence awards, Clark said it’s too far off to predict what it will look like. But she holds out hopes it can return to normal.
“We are looking forward to the gala atmosphere, presentations, the excitement, and the food,” a lot of which couldn’t be expected in the virtual format of Thursday’s event.
Business Excellence award recipients:
2021 Employer of the Year Award
• Sponsored by: Trans Mountain LLP
• Presented by: Shawna Deagle, community liaison for Trans Mountain LLP
• Recipient: Krause Berry Farms & Estate Winery
• Represented by: Alf & Sandee Krause
Krause Berry ensures its employees are of top focus by consistently communicating with them. They value their staff, take the time to listen to them daily as well as dedicating time annually to each core staff. Together, they ensure the employees are happy, and work closely with them to achieve their goals and job satisfaction.
2021 Small Business of the Year Award
• Sponsored by: Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union
• Presented by: Kevin Lehman, regional manager of Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union
• Recipient: Blue Moon Plumbing & Heating
• Represented by: Christine Brightman
Blue Moon Plumbing & Heating endeavours to support Langley in its sustainability goals. From encouraging customers to install more earth friendly HVAC and plumbing systems, to retrofitting their fleet to more fuel friendly vehicles. Blue Moon is a leader to its customers and staff. They have a constant goal to support other Langley businesses everyday.
2021 Medium Business of the Year
• Sponsored by: Grant Thornton LLP
• Presented by: Russell Lawrence, senior manager at Grant Thornton
• Recipient: Backyard Vineyards
• Represented by: Norma Walters & Liam Berti
Backyard Vineyards have a strong community following and their customer clientele is very supportive of the winery. Many of these customers choose to celebrate their special moments with Backyard Vineyards and in their homes. Their customers support their wine club which as grown strong and they know most of regular customers by name and make every effort to make them feel special with personalized service when they visit.
2021 Large Business of the Year
• Sponsored by: CIBC
• Presented by: Alka Bhatia, director of business banking for CIBC
• Recipient: Country Lumber Ltd.
• Represented by: Greg Weitzel
Country Lumber has always been a leader and advocate when it comes to the Langley community. They have made it a priority to give back to the community by supporting numerous local charities. They are a proud supporter of Nightshift Ministries where their employees volunteer to assist local families and individuals in need.
2021 Community Impact (Non-Profit)
• Sponsored by: KPU
• Presented by: Randall Heidt, vice president of external affairs at KPU
• Recipient: Signal Hill
• Represented by: Derek Scott
Signal Hill offers online education that covers a variety of topics relevant to helping young people thrive, with many of their talks covering mental health issues. They truly believe every person without distinction matters and deserves to live with a live without discrimination, either from ourselves or others. Signal Hill’s purpose is to help teens realize this truth and apply it in situations and areas that are relevant to their lives.
2021 George Preston Memorial Businessperson of the Year
• Presented by: Ken Dennis, president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce
• Recipient: Jack Nicholson of Otter Co-op & Angry Otter Liquor
Jack is a community leader, he knows that he and his organization have the power to give back to the communities that they live, this Jack does without hesitation. He has spent six years on the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce board, past president of Aldergrove Rotary Club, and a past board member of Langley Meals on Wheels. His efforts to make a difference never fail.