Chamber’s leadership prize shared by two builders

In what is being called a rarity, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce had a tie in one of its business-award categories.

During Thursday night’s annual award dinner, two of the biggest players in the development and construction game in the region — Chard Development and Kinetic Construction — were named the Chamber’s joint Business Leaders of the Year.

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“This is the first time we’ve had a tie for an award, but our finalists for business leadership were both so amazing that the judges decided they should share the award,” said Chamber chief executive Catherine Holt. “All of tonight’s winners and finalists embody a remarkable dedication to leadership and business excellence.”

Holt said the annual award dinner was “an amazing way for members to celebrate what has been an exceptional year for our organization and business in Greater Victoria.”

Holt said the Chamber is particularly happy with reaction to its Business Leaders Series, featuring high-profile speakers — politicians and business leaders — who address issues and concerns faced by the business community.

It has allowed Chamber members to connect with each other while getting an inside look at policy issues and having the chance to air their concerns to various levels of government.

But key issues of attracting workers, affordable housing and childcare were not on the agenda during Thursday’s sold-out awards dinner. Instead 15 winners in 14 categories were feted at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

The man who would not be undersold, Gordy Dodd, a philanthropist and legend in the furniture business, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, to recognize his commitment to the community as much as it is a nod to his business success and longevity.

Dodd started in the furniture business with a small store at the corner of Quadra Street and Kings Road in 1977 and grew it into a three-store chain in Victoria, Nanaimo and Campbell River.

The Chamber’s Member of the Year award went to Rose Arsenault of Talentcor as a volunteer at the Chamber and for taking an active role in building relationships with the community.

The rest of the winners were:

Innovation: Wildplay Elements Park

Customer Service: Wallace Driving School

Sustainable Business: Iredale Architecture

New Business: Fatso High Performance Peanut Butter

Business Person of the Year: Toni Desrosiers

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Anton Ihl, E:Né Raw Food Sake Bar

Outstanding Workplace: Fernwood Coffee Co.

Non-Profit of the Year: Victoria Women in Need Community Cooperative

Business of the Year (1-10 Employees): Luv-A-Rug Services

Business of the Year (11-39 Employees) : AOT Technologies

Business of the Year (40+ Employees): Berwick Retirement Communities

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