For two dozen outstanding business people, it’s time to dust off the formal wear and prepare to be recognized at the Black Tie Awards, to be held April 9 by the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce. After receiving 112 nominations, the chamber announced March 15 that its panel had whittled that down to 24 finalists, three in each of eight categories: customer service, volunteer of the year, green business, young entrepreneur, art in business, and business achievement (for small, medium and large companies).
“We have many impressive success stories in Cowichan,” said Julie Scurr, chamber president. “You join an elite tradition of accomplished professionals and volunteers who continue to make Cowichan a fabulous place to live and do business.”
But before the big night, each finalist attends an in-person, individual interview with a panel of two judges. The interview questions are standardized and scored and the results are audited by a representative from Vancouver Island University. Then the results are sealed until the night of the awards, when the winners are announced. Here are the finalists for the 2016 Black Tie Awards:
Customer Service (sponsored by Cardino Shoes)
- Chris & Leigh Davies, Mid-Island Ink Depot
- Bernie Forbes, Marlin Travel
- Ken Posey, Joe’s Tire Hospital
Business Achievement:1 – 10 Employees (sponsored by Island Savings)
- Darren Bartfai, Bartfai’s Marine Services Ltd.
- Melissa Cottam, Moo’s Pizza
- Harold W. Wallace, H.W. Wallace Cremation & Burial Centre Inc.
Business Achievement: 11 – 19 Employees (sponsored by Steelhead LNG)
- Sebastien Martin, Wedderspoon Organic Inc.
- Ron Mellson, Cowichan Collision Ltd.
- Sharon Moore, Island Domestic Services
Business Achievement: 20+ Employees (sponsored by MNP)
- Susan Minette, Duncan Garage Cafe & Bakery
- Duane Shaw, Mill Bay Marine Group
- Adrien Crisp, West Coast Pre Fab Ltd.
Art in Business (sponsored by Brentwood College School)
- Masika Allen, Masika May Photography
- Andreas Kunert & Naomi Kunert, Ancient Art of Stone
- Jennifer Lawson, Jennifer Lawson, Artist
Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by Peninsula Co-Op)
- Cathy King, Muscular Dystrophy, Pay It Forward Crew, Warmland Shelter & Others
- Florence Cadorette, Heart & Stroke Foundation & Others
- Tammy Olsen, St. John Ambulance, Youth Division, Special Woodstock & Others
Green Business (sponsored by Economic Development Cowichan)
- John Hood, The Gardening Guru
- Jackie Kitzler, Island Java Bag
- Judy Stafford & Staff, Cowichan Green Community
Young Entrepreneur (sponsored by Coastal Community Credit Union)
- Jacqueline Bergstrom & Christina Hanson, Backwoods Soap & Candle Co.
- Leif Bogwald, Vancouver Island Expeditions
- Suzan Kostiuck, Excellent Frameworks Gallery