Recipients of the 2017 ABEX Awards Announced: 10/22/2017

October 22, 2017
This year’s Saskatchewan-themed ABEX Awards, presented by Conexus Credit Union, brought together businesses from across the province at TCU Place in Saskatoon on October 21st, 2017. Saskatchewan’s northern businesses were the big winners of the evening with AREVA Resources Canada inducted into the ‘Saskatchewan Business Hall of Fame’, ‘Business Leader of the Year’ awarded to Geoff Gay and ‘Community Leader of the Year’ awarded to Chief Tammy Cook-Searson.

CAA Saskatchewan is the recipient of the ‘Business of the Year’ Award, sponsored by the David Aplin Group, as well as the Service Award for its longstanding and exemplary service to Saskatchewan clients.

“Although all Finalists were deserving of the Business of the Year Award, CAA Saskatchewan has been an enduring business in Saskatchewan’s product offering and customer service excellence continues to stands out,” said Steve McLellan, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.

AREVA Resources Canada has been inducted into the ‘Saskatchewan Business Hall of Fame’ for its historical place in Saskatchewan’s mining industry and its dedication to the growth of Saskatchewan.

“We are pleased to induct AREVA Resources Canada into the Saskatchewan Business Hall of Fame. It has been an integral part of this province’s mining industry for over 50 years and its commitment to procuring goods from local suppliers has been vital to the continued growth of Saskatchewan,” said McLellan.

For his significant contributions to the Saskatchewan Chamber network as the long-time CEO of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, Kent Smith-Windsor is the recipient of the Roger Phillips Chamber Builder Award.

“Kent has been such a respected part of our Chamber network this past 21 years. Through his expertise, the Chamber network across our province, and across our country is notably stronger,” said Steve McLellan.

Geoff Gay is the recipient of the 2017 ABEX ‘Business Leader of the Year’ Award, sponsored by Saskatchewan Polytechnic. He is the CEO of Athabasca Basin Development, a flourishing business in Saskatchewan that has provided economic and social growth in northern Saskatchewan thanks to his dedicated leadership.
“We are pleased to award Geoff Gay with the Business Leader of the Year Award. Through his visionary leadership, the Athabasca Basin Development Corporation changed the economic landscape of Saskatchewan’s north,” said McLellan.

For the first time, the 2017 ABEX Awards honoured a ‘Community Leader of the Year’. Sponsored by SaskEnergy, the recipient of this award is Chief Tammy Cook-Searson, whose contributions have made a significant positive impact on her community and the province.

McLellan said, “It is an honour to name Chief Tammy Cook-Searson as the Community Leader of the Year. She is an exemplary recipient of this award, the first ABEX Community Leader of the Year Award. Her dedication and hard work within her community continues to be inspiring.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award is a unique award in 2017. Recipients of this award have achieved distinction in their field, and their professional expertise have helped to shape the Saskatchewan business landscape. The 2017 recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards are Doug Elliott, respected mathematician and statistician, and Bruce Johnstone, a valued Saskatchewan business journalist for over 30 years.

“Doug Elliott has provided invaluable Saskatchewan data for decades. This data has undoubtedly resulted in the increased investment we benefit from in Saskatchewan today. Bruce Johnstone is an exceptional business news reporter in Saskatchewan and for over 30 years his unique perspective has been appreciated by his readers across the province. His take on Saskatchewan’s business landscape has showcased Saskatchewan as an investment opportunity,’ said McLellan.

This year, 82 ABEX nominations were received and out of 50 finalists, 11 Saskatchewan businesses won the Achieving Business Excellence awards. By striving for excellence, these winners personify business success in Saskatchewan.

For further information contact:                  
Steve McLellan, CEO
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce
Tel.: 306.781.3122        
Morgana van Niekerk
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce
Tel.: 306.537.1719        
2017 ABEX Winners

The Award for Innovation, sponsored by Innovation Saskatchewan
IntraGrain Technologies Inc. - Saskatoon

IntraGrain Technologies Inc. has successfully designed, developed, manufactured and now markets a grain storage monitoring system that allows farmers to conveniently monitor their stored grain and eliminate the risk of spoilage, doubling as a theft monitor. BIN-SENSE® LIVE is a wireless grain storage monitoring system, the first of its kind in the world. The system consists of temperature and moisture sensors and the data collected gives farmers instant access to the temperature of their stored grain, and notifies via text message and email when a temperature change occurs. BIN-SENSE® LIVE has saved its customers approximately $20 million.

The Award for Service, sponsored by Minard’s Leisure World
CAA Saskatchewan, Regina

CAA Saskatchewan is well known and recognized for quality customer service.  With 182,000 customers in Saskatchewan, CAA has built quality service and customer relationships into every part of the business.  It begins with extensive in-house and third party training programs, followed by objective, arms-length quality measurement, and is then incorporated into employee feedback and incentive systems.  CAA Saskatchewan has been recognized, both locally and internationally for service quality and as a result, customer retention is near 90% with many customers remaining loyal supporters for over 60 years. 

The Award for Export, sponsored by Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP)
Vendasta, Saskatoon

Vendasta has established itself as a global leader in local digital solutions, working in nearly every major market throughout the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It has also continued to grow with some of the largest media companies and digital agencies around the world to serve local businesses in in France, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Over 96% of Vendasta’s revenue comes from outside of Canada. The platform offers award-winning prospecting, automated email marketing, easy-to-use CRM, resellable apps and services and a white-label fulfillment agency.

The Award for Community Involvement, sponsored by Cogent Chartered Professional Accountants LLP
S & E Trusted Online Directories Inc., Saskatoon

S & E Trusted Online Directories Inc. is a proud member of the community and believes in giving back by supporting local events, non-profit organizations and individuals in need. Trusted Online Directories supports the YWCA, various arts and culture events, entrepreneurs and pediatric health. It is also proud to be part of well-known initiatives which help women and girls succeed - The Princess Shop and The Little Red Dress Club. It is also the driving force behind the Ignite the Life – Youth Suicide Prevention Rally, which offers support and resources to northern Saskatchewan youth.

The Award for Priority Focus, sponsored by the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA)
North Ridge Development Corporation, Saskatoon

Efficiency has been a core value at the North Ridge Development Corporation for nearly 35 years. The company is committed to practices and programs that promote improved quality of life for customers, staff, communities and the environment. This year, North Ridge debuted Saskatchewan’s first certified Net Zero home – a property that produces as much energy as it consumes. This, along with a suite of on-site and in-office initiatives, reflects the company’s commitment to innovation and eco-friendliness and cements its reputation as a leader in the home building industry. 

The Award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by Cameco
Dustin Nehring & Taylor Lang, N.L. Construction Inc., Yorkton

N.L. Construction has grown from a two man operation to 24 employees specializing in residential and commercial construction work. The goal of Dustin Nehring and Taylor Lang when founding N.L. Construction Inc. was to compete with industry leaders. By providing employee training and using the latest software and technology to meet new trends and consumer demands, the company continues to improve its knowledge base of the industry, and Dustin and Taylor have been able to achieve their goal. Since 2009, NL Construction Inc. has continued to grow from two employees and a revenue of $80,000 to 24 employees, an annual revenue of $3.4M and total revenue over $13.4M.

The Award for Growth & Expansion, sponsored by PFM Capital Inc.
The Deveraux Group of Companies, Regina

The Deveraux Group of Companies is a dynamic organization that has experienced significant growth since its inception in 2008, growing from 3 employees to 130. A culture of advancement has allowed the group to evolve beyond a single focus on home building to asset management, property development, property management, general contracting and building material supply. Purposeful and strategic vertical integration has enabled the group to raise over $150 million in capital from across Canada into Saskatchewan and Manitoba, building premium rental communities approaching $500 million in value and managing these properties with a focus on value-added customer service.

The Award for Marketing, sponsored by Handy Special Events
Diamonds of Detroit, Humboldt

Diamonds of Detroit is a high-quality jewellery store that promises quality, integrity, true value and customer service. It’s clear and targeted marketing strategy is visible throughout the community through its vibrant social media presence as well as billboards, radio ads and bag stuffers. The creative way in which Diamonds of Detroit brands their message is relevant, compelling and connects with customers in a refreshing and professional manner. With its focused marketing strategy –“Found in every burgundy box is our promise of quality, integrity, true value and personal customer service,” Diamonds of Detroit has received exceptional feedback from customers and captured their imagination.

The Award for New Venture, sponsored by the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy
9 Mile Legacy Brewing Co. Ltd, Saskatoon

9 Mile Legacy Brewing Company is a small-scale craft brewery producing a wide variety of beer styles both honouring traditional beer styles and pushing the boundaries of craft beer. Since opening in 2015 as a small 100L “nano-brewery”, 9 Mile Legacy has undergone a relocation and a significant expansion to its operations, resulting in a five-fold increase in brewing capacity. It has also invested in a historic Riversdale building, created 6 new job, and been an important contributor to economic growth for local suppliers and community organizations. This micro-brewery represents a 100 years of continued collaboration between family farms located 9 miles apart.

Morgana Van Niekerk, Director of Marketing & Communications, (306) 781-3126

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