Chamber looks ahead to 2017 gala

By Angelica Ingram

Dec. 20 2016

The celebration of the 2017 Business and Community Achievement Awards may be months away but the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce has already got the wheels turning on the popular event.

Set to take place March 11 2017 the awards gala recognizes some of the outstanding businesses and individuals in the community.

Next year will be no exception as the chamber prepares to hand out nine awards including business achievement entrepreneur of the year and Highlander of the year.

Nominations for all award categories are now open and available throughout the county.

Chamber manager Autumn Smith says there will be a slight tweak to the customer first employee award which was introduced last year.

“We actually have a new program that we’re going to be rolling out at the gala so we’re going to be making an announcement at the gala about what that is” she said.

Smith said it’s an important category as good customer service should be recognized and celebrated.

The event will take place at Pinestone Resort with tickets costing $70 per person. They will be available to purchase in February.

Nominations are due at the end of January with forms available online at at the Chamber office located at 195 Highland St. as well as at library branches.

The 2017 awards will see a slight change to the judging process with two levels.

The first level will include a panel of three judges that will score each nominee based on criteria said Smith.

“It’s very basic and unbiased” she said.

The top three from each category will then move on to the second level where judges will be assigned one category each and will research the business and prepare a written explanation about why they chose the winner they did which is read at the gala.

The judging is anonymous.

Last year the chamber received 94 nominations.

“It keeps increasing and it’s great” said Smith. “The other thing we’re encouraging businesses to do is not to be shy about asking their customers to nominate them.”

Anyone can submit more than one nomination.

The awards are co-ordinated by a gala committee which is spearheaded by Robin Dillane.

Smith is looking forward to the gala as it’s a time to reflect and celebrate those who work hard year round.

“This is such a great chance to really boost them up and say you know we recognize the work that you’re doing. All of these things that you do are not unnoticed … it’s just a chance to give back to the businesses.”

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