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EDANL announces winners of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Economic Development Awards of Excellence at conference in Deer Lake

NOTE: This event has already taken place.

Clockwise from top left: Renee Wheeler (BDC), Gary Hennessey (Grand Falls – Windsor), Sam Elliot (St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc), Carla May (NLOWE), Jennifer Penney (Paradise), Hilarie Duffy (CBA Chamber of Commerce), Heather Howard (CBA Chamber of Commerce), Margo Soucy (CBA Chamber of Commerce)

For Immediate Release
June 5, 2019

Deer Lake (NL) – The Economic Developers Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (EDANL) announced the winners for the second annual Economic Development Awards of Excellence during its AGM and Conference on Thursday, May 30th.

The awards, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), were presented at the Holiday Inn Express in Deer Lake in front of an audience representing municipal, provincial, and federal governments along with regions, organizations, and companies from across Newfoundland and Labrador and the country.

The awards recognized excellence in six categories, with winners including:

“The awards program was designed to recognize the amazing accomplishments that economic development staff, communities and organizations are achieving in the Province. By celebrating these achievements we can better demonstrate to our residents and stakeholders the benefits and outcomes of Economic Development and inspire new ideas and projects for the future.”
– Jeff Lawlor, EDANL Past-President


Media Contact:
Jeff Lawlor
Past President – EDANL
Director, Economic Development, Marketing and Communications
The Town of Portugal Cove–St. Philip’s
709-895-8000 ext 222

Backgrounder – Winner Profiles

St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc.
Category – Community Project Population Under 3000
Project – Community Development

In 1999, St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. (SABRI) established a Community Grant Program to partner with the communities in the SABRI region. Over the past 20 years, this initiative has been very successful in leveraging funding from various government departments and has been used for a variety of projects. A committee of community leaders was put in place and projects identified to be conducted. Projects have included: upgrading trails, developing a trail guide, developing rest stops and picnic areas, developing and installing community and trail signage, developing cruise docking facilities in L’Anse aux Meadows, installing a Leif Erikson Statue in L’Anse aux Meadows, construction of portable and stationary kiosks, broadband infrastructure for the communities of St. Carols, Great Brehat and St. Anthony Bight and Goose Cove, re-surfacing bridges on the areas snowmobile trail, and broadband infrastructure for Goose Cove. The most current project within this Community Development project is a tourist-oriented multi day walking route from L’Anse aux Meadows to St. Lunaire-Griquet. This trail will be known as the Iceberg Trail. SABRI has been very innovative with their Community Development Fund and the process has allowed community development in 16 communities in the region while creating direct employment. Since 1997, SABRI has invested in excess of $15.9 million into infrastructure in the region. Accepting on Behalf of SABRI was Executive Director Sam Elliot. Learn more about SABRI at https://sabrinl.com/.

Town of Paradise
Category – Community Project Population over 3000
Project: BR&E and Firmographics Project

In 2015, The Town of Paradise implemented an Economic Development Strategy. A major component to this strategy was supporting and promoting local business. In the past year, the Town worked with MDB Insight to implement a Triage BR+E solution that surveyed over 80 local businesses. To make the most use of the exercise, the survey questions were modified to also collect firmographic information that supported the launch of a business directory on the Town’s website, using a customized e-Solutions business directory module. In a very short time the Town was able to engage with a large number of businesses and of the businesses surveyed, over half had been flagged for immediate follow-up for one of two reasons – pending expansion or expected change in local operations. Knowing these details, enabled the Town to reach out and provide support or assistance where appropriate and possible. The additional information collected on business operations and contact information has helped close some data gaps, and also helped promote the business directory option to the local business community and as a result Paradise has had over 100 businesses opt-into their directory. Accepting on Behalf of the Town of Paradise was Economic Development Officer Jennifer Penney. Learn more about the Town of Paradise at https://www.paradise.ca/en/index.aspx.

Conception Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
Category – Marketing Population under 3000
Project – Rebranding and website

Under new leadership, the Chamber recognized the need for a renewed focus on membership engagement and online presence. With a new and vastly improved website, a user friendly interface allows members to track membership status, upcoming events, and essentially is a one stop shop for all things the CBA Chamber has to offer. Behind the scenes, Executive Director Heather Howard understands the importance of automation and user friendly simplicity in today’s tech world. As she is a business owner herself she knew the limited time that small business owners (like Chamber members) are constrained to. The new Chamber brand is all about keeping things simple and easy to use for members. The CBA Chamber membership program is now designed to bring tailored value to members by delivering them with tools and skills to promote prosperity in their businesses. Previously the Chamber’s growth had averaged less than one new member per month. Now, with a new brand and increased online presence, the Chamber got 5 new businesses signed up in the first month alone and has created a buzz in the area and lots of interest from business owners within the community. Accepting on behalf of the Conception Bay Area Chamber was President Margo Soucy, Executive Director Heather Howard, and Executive Assistant Hilarie Duffy. Learn more about the Conception Bay Area Chamber of Commerce at https://cbachamber.com/.

Town of Paradise
Category – Marketing (Population over 3000)
Project – Just Imagine Paradise Retail Brochure

The Town of Paradise has experienced tremendous growth over the last ten years and while the community has boomed with residential and industry park growth, strategic and refined business development efforts became essential for the Town. They identified a need for specific and comprehensive statistics and data to support their efforts, particularly in attracting retail business. The Town of Paradise decided to create a brochure that can be used for specific inquiries, during tradeshows, and can be provided during the aftercare process for new leads. The information included gives a snapshot of the community, while providing an invitation to connect for detailed information required for building a business case including population projections, demographic information, traffic counts, labour force data, and a commercial trade analysis specific for their community. The brochure was utilized during the International Council of Shopping Centers tradeshow in Toronto, where the Town connected with franchises and representatives interested in the Paradise market. The Town has secured retail investment with some of those contacts since that time. Accepting on Behalf of the Town of Paradise was Economic Development Officer Jennifer Penney. Learn more about the Town of Paradise at https://www.paradise.ca/en/index.aspx.

Carla May
Category – Economic Developer of the Year
Business Start-up Advisor, Western (NLOWE)

Carla May is the Start-Up Advisor (Western Region) for the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE). Carla has held this position for 3 years and prior to that she was self-employed as a Human Resources Consultant with Corner Stone HR Inc. Carla also worked for 3 years as an Economic Development Officer with the former Humber Economic Development Board (HEDB) and as a HR facilitator with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. Carla provides start-up advice and guidance to potential/aspiring female entrepreneurs in the Western Region of NL. Carla is the consummate professional, actively engaged in providing quality service to her clientele, constantly promoting local events and learning opportunities to the small business community and steps up to lead in the continuing growth of the local entrepreneurial eco-system. She is a “do-er” and a leader. She inspires other resource people to get involved. Carla is the type of person that you can always count on. She’ll offer guidance based on her own entrepreneurial experiences, seek advice from others if she is not sure on a direction and endlessly supports whatever is taking place in the local community. She works very well with others, is trustworthy and knows how to “care” for her clients as they explore their entrepreneurial realities. She can speak with her clients candidly about being a small business person, because she was one of them. This experience gives her the unique ability to “mentor” a lot of her clients even at the earliest stages of business start-up.

Gary Hennessey
Category – President’s Award

Gary Hennessey is the Economic Development Officer for the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor. He has been employed with the Town for twenty years, and was instrumental in helping guide it through challenging circumstances towards the vibrant and thriving community that it is today. Beyond his unwavering commitment to Grand Falls-Windsor, Gary has been a champion for the profession of the ‘economic developer’ and has volunteered significant time to the cause. A strong supporting member of the national practitioner community, Gary has served on the Board of the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC). Gary also served as the President for three years and subsequently the Past-President of the Economic Developers Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (EDANL), a contribution that unquestionably helped organization survive a period where resources to do so were scarce. Throughout his career, Gary (knowingly or not) has mentored many of Newfoundland and Labrador’s economic developers – always eager to share the best practices and experiences he has learned along the way – and many have spoken to the tremendous degree to which he has impacted their personal and professional lives. With a seemingly effortless ability to balance and combine the work of the economic developer with fun and excitement, Gary’s leadership has created long-lasting values of collaboration and camaraderie within the profession provincially which will be ingrained into the culture of community for many years to come.


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