One of the biggest events in the Langley business community, Saturday marked the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce 16th annual Business Excellence Awards.
Big winners for the night included Marcon Construction's Marco Paolella, taking Business Person of the Year, Darvonda Nurseries with the Environmental Leadership award, and Melanie and Craig McDougall of Frosting Cupcakery with Entrepreneur of the Year.
Held in the Summit Theatre of Cascades Casino, approximately 250 people attended. Chamber president Angie Quaale said the awards were a way to recognize the businesses and businesspeople in Langley.
This year's awards are larger than usual, with 41 nominees in 10 categories, that the past presidents' group narrowed down to four nominees in each category.
"It's pretty stiff competition tonight, that's for sure," Quaale said, before the ceremony got underway.
Quaale said small businesses are vital to the economic health of a community, noting that 98 per cent of the businesses in Langley are of the small variety.
"It contributes a significant amount of money and employment, and all kinds of revenue into our community," Quaale said. "It's absolutely key to the success of any community."
Awarded since 1989, the Business Person of the Year award was first presented to George Preston of Preston Chev Olds Cadillac. The award is given to those who are dedicated to the community, have outstanding business ethics, and set a solid example for business people.
As explained by emcee Jim McGregor in the presentation speech, Paolella, "has worked to create a construction company and development firm that is known as an industry leader," and is, "leading the industry in many instances."
McGregor also described Paolella as, "a caring leader constantly striving to create a better place and opportunities for his colleagues," and, "a community leader and his efforts in supporting charitable causes are numerous and extensive."
"It's kind of a highlight in our career so far," said McDougall of he and his wife winning Entrepreneur of the Year for their business Frosting Cupcakery. "It was a great moment for me and my wife."
McDougall expressed his appreciation at being recognized for the hard work the couple has put in to their business.
"We pushed ourselves very hard... to juggle everything, it was a handful," he said. "We're a very family-oriented business and we're part of the community. You do it because you want to do it. Not because of the recognition, so when the recognition comes, it's a nice treat you could say."
. Community Impact (Non-Profit budget under $500,000) - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Langley (Mary Reeves and Val Caskey)
. Community Impact (Non-Profit budget over $500,000) - The Gateway of Hope (Major James Haglund)
. Community Impact (For Profit) - Envision Financial (Susan Byrom)
. Environmental Leadership Award - Darvonda Nurseries (Lawrence Jansen)
. Entrepreneur of the Year - Melanie and Craig McDougall, Frosting Cupcakery Ltd.
. Service Excellence Award - Crystal Vision & Hearing Centre (George Wiens and Kaitlyn Johnson)
. Small Business of the Year - McBurney Junction Furniture & Interiors (Karla Barton)
. Medium Business of the Year - All Seasons Mushrooms (Frank Moscone)
. Large Business of the Year - Advanced Integration Technology Inc. (Lazo Turanjanin and Steven Taylor-Lewis)
. George Preston Memorial Businessperson of the Year - Marco Paoelle, Marcon Construction
. More at www.langleyadvance.com