The 2017 Lake Country Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards Gala was another sellout event this year! The evening was a huge success with over 200 guests in attendance at the Four Points by Sheraton in Kelowna. The Gala began with a lovely cocktail party that offered ample time for guests to mingle and purchase tickets in hopes of winning one the many gift baskets donated by local businesses in the community.
The Master of Ceremony Liz McKinney was quick to wow the crowd with her wonderful sense of humour, which set a warm comfortable tone for the evening and relaxed even the most anxious finalists. The evening then got underway with the President of the Lake Country Chamber of Commerce, Camae Thompson, raising a glass with the crowd in a champagne toast to a successful 2017! The evening’s keynote speaker was Matt Vader, Manager of Strategic & Support Services for the District of Lake Country. Matt’s inspiring, informative speech included updates and initiatives for Lake Country in 2018. Guests enjoyed a beautiful buffet dinner paired with complimentary wine sponsored by Ex Nihilo Vineyards, and then it was time for the anxiously anticipated award presentations to begin!
The first award of the evening was the Volunteer of the Year- Gerry Morton Award, presented by Mayor James Baker to Bernard Dewonck of the Rotary Club. This award was followed by the Employee of the Year award, presented to Anne Leistner of CIBC, and presented by Sarah Moorhouse of Okanagan Restoration Services. The New Business of the Year award was presented to Dairy Queen by Lydon Dyas of the Chamber of Commerce Group Insurance Plan, and the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award was presented by Demise Comeau of the Royal Bank to Kim Chapman of Mountain Home Services. The Customer Service Award for 2017 was awarded to UBR Services Printing and Copies and presented by Fortis BC. This award was followed by the Employer of the Year award, which was presented to Interior Savings by Lynnaya Munro of TELUS PureFibre.
After a short break to thank the Title Sponsor Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services as well as the many other evening sponsors, the award presentation continued. Mayor James Baker had the honour of awarding Liz McKinney of Sip Happens Wine Tours the Tourism Excellence Award for 2017. Next to present the Business of the Year award to winner Nalu Massage Therapy and Wellness was Corie Griffiths of the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission. The Business Person of the Year award was presented by John Devitt of the Kelowna International Airport to winner Garth McKay, owner of Turtle Bay Medical Clinic. The Licenced Service Provider of the Year went to Sun City Physiotherapy and was presented by Jaron Chasca of Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services. The Rising Star of the Year award was new this year and was created due to the number of new businesses that have opened in Lake Country this past year, and also due to the overwhelming number of nominations submitted. Neon Counselling was the proud recipient of this Rising Star of the Year award, presented by Camae Thompson, President of the Lake Country Chamber of Commerce. The final award of the night went to another new category created this year, Community Project of the Year. Art Walk was the deserving winner of the Community Project of the Year, presented by Bonnie Flint of Interior Savings.
After the awards ceremony was completed guests had a chance to relax and have fun. Groups had their photos taken in true modern fashion! Tap Snap was on hand with their photographer, green screen and digital custom backgrounds. There was also great music and dancing thanks to the musical stylings of DJ Peter Petrescu of PDP Music Services. The event was a smashing success and a great time was had by all!
The Lake Country Chamber of Commerce would like to thank this year’s judges, Ryan Donn of the Creekside Theatre, Ron Cannan of Interior Savings (former MP of Kelowna Lake Country), Brent Penner of the Lake Country Fire Department and Carla Carlson of the Comfort Inn. Thank you for your many volunteer hours in selecting this year’s 2017 award winners. The Lake Country Chamber of Commerce would also like to acknowledge the support and attendance of Stephen Fuhr, MP Kelowna – Lake Country, and Norm Letnick, MLA Kelowna – Lake Country.
To nominate a business for next year’s 2018 Business Excellence awards, please visit our website at www.lakecountrychamber.com.