Centuries of service heralded

A pair of Red Deer organizations with a combined 216 years of operations were honoured at the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year Awards Wednesday evening.

A pair of Red Deer organizations with a combined 216 years of operations were honoured at the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year Awards Wednesday evening.

Westerner Park, which was founded in 1891 as the Red Deer Agricultural Society, and McLevin Industries, which dates back to 1917, each captured a 2012 Business of the Year Award. Westerner Park came out on top among employers with 50 or more staff, while McLevin Industries claimed the title for businesses with 16 to 49 employees.

A third Business of the Year Award, for businesses with 15 or fewer staff, went to 360 Fitness.

Westerner CEO and general manger John Harms and board chair Michael Donlevy were accompanied on stage by a dozen employees and board members. Both men praised the approximately 250 full- and part-time staff who work at Westerner Park, as well as the many volunteers who assist them.

“The inspiring force behind the Westerner Exposition Association has always been, and continues to be, our volunteer and staff base,” said Harms.

Westerner Park hosts more than 1,500 events and 1.5 million people each year. Donlevy commented on the impact the non-profit organization and its facilities have had on the city and region.

“For over 120 years, Westerner Park has been a place for people to gather, to celebrate events.”

McLevin Industries, which started out as a blacksmith shop run by Hugh McLevin, is today operated by Hugh’s great-grandsons: Keegan and Lachlan McLevin. It performs custom fabrication work, as well as steel distribution and processing.

Keegan McLevin said the award was a “great honour” that was due in large part to McLevin Industries’ staff — some of whom were there before he and his brother were born.

“Without our employees, we wouldn’t be standing here today,” he said of their contributions to the company’s success.

McLevin also praised the city that has served as McLevin Industries’ home for nearly a century.

“Red Deer really is a great place to do business and to live.”

360 Fitness earned its Business of the Year Award after little more than three years of operation. But the one-on-one personal training studio grew from 30 to 400 clients during that period.

Marie Wheeler accepted the award on behalf of her husband Jack Wheeler, who owns the business but was out of town.

“Our gym is different from anything else out there because of the accepting environment and the encouraging attitude — all due to our fantastic clients,” she said.

Wheeler, who works as a trainer at the gym, added that 360 Fitness’s staff are the “backbone of our business.”

“They are innovative, enthusiastic and most importantly have a deep-down passion for helping people.”

Wheeler also remarked on the opportunities that Red Deer has provided.

“It is truly a great city to operate and do business in.”

The other finalists for 2012 Business of the Year Awards were Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in the large employer category, Nexus Engineering & Machine Inc. and The Redwoods Retirement Residence among medium-size businesses, and Big Bend Market and The Bra Lounge for small employers.

Last year’s winners were Hamill’s Dairy Queen, L.A. Radio Group Ltd. and Red Deer Discount Golf Centre.

The Chamber received 40 nominations for this year’s awards event, which was its 31st annual. It took place at the Red Deer College Arts Centre.


Just Posted

Update: Hundreds pay respects to Stettler homicide victim

Gofundme account created to help the Heritage House in Stettler

Victim Services information event planned

Information on becoming a Victim Service volunteer available at April 26 meeting

Much left to fight for beyond legalization, pot activists say as they mark 4-20

TORONTO — Cannabis activists say although this year’s 4-20 celebrations across the… Continue reading

Canadian Pacific starting operations shutdown ahead of possible strike

CALGARY — Canadian Pacific Railway says it has begun shutting down train… Continue reading

Nicholas Butcher says he fatally stabbed Kristin Johnston by accident

HALIFAX — Nicholas Butcher has told his second-degree murder trial that he… Continue reading

WATCH: Fine wine and food at Red Deer College

The Red Deer College Alumni Association hosted its 14th annual Fine Wine… Continue reading

Sarah Jessica Parker calls Cynthia Nixon’s run ‘exciting’

NEW YORK — Cynthia Nixon’s quest for the governorship of New York… Continue reading

Lawyers for Russian player say FIFA ends anti-doping case

By Graham Dunbar THE ASSOCIATED PRESS GENEVA — Lawyers for Russia defender… Continue reading

Woman who lost pink house, court case seeks box office win

WASHINGTON — Susette Kelo’s Supreme Court case now has a Hollywood ending,… Continue reading

Recent retail sales far weaker than initial estimates, revisions suggest

OTTAWA — Canadian retail sales during the crucial holiday shopping season were… Continue reading

U.S. woman sentenced to life in Valentine’s Day shooting plot at mall

HALIFAX — An American woman who plotted to go on a Valentine’s… Continue reading

Alabama mail-bomber the oldest executed in US modern times

ATMORE, Ala. — An Alabama man convicted of sending mail bombs during… Continue reading

The Latest: It was Putin call that had Trump fuming at Flynn

WASHINGTON — The Latest on former FBI Director James Comey’s memos (all… Continue reading

Boston’s Tuukka Rask, Riley Nash step up in Game 4 win over Leafs

Bruins 3 Maple Leafs 1 TORONTO — The Boston Bruins didn’t need… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month