Friday, 03 November 2017 04:25

A moving 2017 Spirit of Swift Current Awards SCBEX gala

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Derek Sandercock (at front) and Shaun Hanna of Farm + Table received the start-up/new business award at the 2017 SCBEX Spirit of Swift Current awards gala, Oct. 27. Derek Sandercock (at front) and Shaun Hanna of Farm + Table received the start-up/new business award at the 2017 SCBEX Spirit of Swift Current awards gala, Oct. 27.

The achievements of local businesses and not-for-profit organizations were celebrated at the 19th annual SCBEX Spirit of Swift Current awards gala.


A capacity crowd attended the awards night, hosted by the Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce at the Living Sky Casino Event Centre, Oct. 27.
Karla Wiens, who was appointed a few months ago as the chamber's new CEO, was the master of ceremonies for the evening.
“It was exhilarating and so exciting for me to present these awards to so many deserving people,” she said. “I can’t describe how nice the evening was, how much everyone was so appreciative and supportive of each other. It was just a fantastic evening all around.”
Wiens and the award sponsors presented awards in nine categories. A notable aspect of this year's awards process was the implementation of various changes to the nomination and selection procedures.
In previous years there was an online voting process that allowed people to vote online for nominees in the different awards categories. This year the public had an opportunity to submit nominations, but there was no online voting for the finalists.  Instead, the three nominee finalists in each award category were selected by a panel of last year's award winners. The panel members chose the finalists independently and the winner in each category was then selected by the Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
“We had a secret ballot at our last board meeting,” she said. “Until tonight, the only people who knew who the winners were, were myself and [Executive Assistant] Mike Rogowski. So it was a surprise to everyone tonight.”
According to Wiens, there was a positive response from the business community to the changes that were made to the nomination and selection procedures.
“They felt good about how we changed the entire process in that it added more credibility to the award process and they were selected by their peers,” she said. “Nominated by their customers and the general public, but selected by their peers in the business community. I think everyone who was a winner tonight very much appreciated the selection panel and the process. They were all very honoured tonight to win and be nominated.”
There was a new award category for citizen of the year, which was popular and this award category will remain for next year.
“It’s just heartwarming in our community to see a standing ovation for the winner of this award,” she said. “It just brings our community together.”
Betty McDougall was the winner of the citizen of the year award. She has been involved with many community groups since 1979, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Southwest Crisis Services, Kiwanis and KidSport. She has been closely involved in the work of the Southwest Youth Emergency Shelter and she was the organization's executive director until her retirement at the end of June.
The Chinook Golf Course was the winner of the award for an employer of persons with disabilities, while the Swift Current 57's baseball team received the not-for-profit business of the year award.
Farm + Table, a pop-up restaurant that collaborates with local producers and suppliers to create a new dining experience, won the start-up/new business award. Bre's Boutique, a women's clothes shop in downtown Swift Current, was the winner of the small business of the year award.
Elmwood Golf Club was the recipient of the medium business of the year award and Innovation Credit Union was the winner of the large business of the year award.
The recipients in two award categories were not decided through the nomination and selection procedure of the previous awards, but were picked by the Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce board of directors. The hall of fame inductees are Dickson Agencies and Innovation Credit Union, while Black Bridge Brewery was selected as the member business of the year.

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Matthew Liebenberg

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