It was an emotional evening at the Red Deer College Arts Centre on Wednesday, as tribute was paid to the soldier killed earlier in the day at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, and recipients of Business of the Year awards shed tears on stage.
The annual Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce awards saw Accu-Thread Machining Inc. take the prize for businesses with 21 or more employees. Claiming top honours among businesses with 11 to 20 employees was Collegiate Sports Medicine Inc., and Go Tire Inc. received the award for businesses with staffs of one to 10 people.
“We didn’t expect this,” said David Jakeman, shop manager at Accu-Thread.
Owned by Barry and Sherry Daniluk, the machining shop specializes in oilfield equipment. Jakeman remarked on how the business has grown from a tiny machine shop to one of the city’s biggest in just seven years, and the “great honour” of being recognized by the Chamber.
Collegiate Sports Medicine owner Melanie Tuck said she was “honoured” and “flabbergasted.” She credited Collegiate’s success since it started in 2003 to Red Deer’s rich sports culture and the shared vision of her team.
Heather Murphy, who started the Go Tire mobile tire service with her husband Craig Howes, reflected on how the business — which now has 20 franchised locations — has grown. She said Howes’ commitment had a lot to do with that.
“It’s because of his insatiable drive that the company is growing at the rate that it has and achieving successes that seem almost impossible when you consider that Go Tire was only an idea four years ago.”
In addition to Accu-Thread, the finalists in the 21-plus employee category were Carpet Colour Centre and Boston Pizza Red Deer. Competing against Collegiate Sports Medicine in the 11-to-20-employee division were Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital and Red Deer Electric Ltd. And rounding out the field in the one-to-10-employee category won by Go Tire were Larkaun Homes and Family First Chiropractic and Wellness.
Early in the evening, Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas commented on the day’s events in Ottawa.
“Our country, our democracy, came under attack,” he said.
Dallas acknowledged the sacrifice of the young reservist who was killed, and the bravery of the first responders who arrived on the scene soon after.