Exceptional businesses in Brantford and the County of Brant have been honoured by their peers.
The Chamber of Commerce Brantford-Brant announced the finalists of its annual Business Excellence Awards during a reception at the Brantford Golf and Country Club on Thursday night.
"We certainly have a diverse variety and number of businesses," chamber president Gerry Rudnick said during an interview. "It is important to put them in a category where they are competing against their peers of similar sizes. I hope that, win or lose, they feel it is nice to be honoured and acknowledged."
The finalists were nominated in three categories – technology, company of the year and entrepreneur of the year – ahead of the chamber's 2013 Business Excellence Awards dinner in May, when the winners will be announced.
Nominees in the technology category include Norlok Technology, Operation Lift and Redragon Oil and Gas Systems.
Norlok Technology has designed and manufactured sheet metal-fastening machinery in Brantford since 1994 by using an environmentally-friendly process called clinching, a replacement for spot welding. The company's environmental policy has reduced its electricity usage by more than 25 per cent since 2008.
Operation Lift has provided specialized transportation for seniors and people with disabilities for 38 years. Recently, a GPS fleet-tracking system was purchased and radio communications system upgrades were placed on each of the organization's 14 vehicles. The upgrades resulted in a reduction of customer wait and travel times, maximization of fleet use and geographical efficiency.
Redragon Oil and Gas Systems manufactures custom engineered solutions for the utility and industrial recycling sectors. The company uses the latest 3D software to produce models of its products.
Nominees in the company of the year category are ACIC Fine Chemicals Inc., AFI Hydro Inc. and Simpson's Great Floors.
ACIC Fine Chemicals Inc. is a pharmaceutical and fine chemical company which manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients and provides manufacturing services, process development, clinical services and finished dosage forms. Headquartered in Brantford, the company has offices across North America and Europe.
AFI Hydro Inc., a custom fabrication company that manufactures equipment from customer drawings, began operating in 1992. The company's primary focus is designing, fabricating and installing water control systems for hydroelectric power generation. The company employs more than 200 people in the manufacturing sector.
Simpson's Great Floors is a chain of flooring stores in southwestern Ontario that specializes in affordable, quality floors for many market segments. The Great Floors Group has increased its annual sales volume from about $9 million five years ago to $15 million last year.
Nominees in the entrepreneur of the year category are Gordon Boyle of Boyle Plumbing and Heating, Barry English of TDG Marketing and Matt Smith of Solo Cable Solutions Inc.
Boyle Plumbing and Heating has operated since 1971 and services industrial, commercial, residential and rural customers. The range of services provided by the company goes beyond usual plumbing repair and includes installation of fixtures, sewer and drain cleaning, back flow prevention devices and testing, water treatments, gas and electric water heaters and other services. The company built a new facility on Cockshutt Road in 2004.
TDG Marketing is a marketing, advertising and corporate communications firm that has built and supported brand awareness for its clients since 2001. The company saw a 50 per cent increase in gross sales in 2011 and achieved double-digit increases last year. TDG Marketing now has more than 60 clients after starting with one customer in 2001.
Solo Cable Solutions Inc. had its beginnings in a basement with one land line and one fax machine. The company now employs 32 people, tripled its capacity in the past three years and increased its product line to include satellite, fibre optics, structured wiring and commercial phone systems. The company purchased its current Henry Street facility in 2010.
Award winners in each category will be announced at a dinner at the Best Western Brant Park Inn on May 9.