Winners of the annual Wallace McCain Institute Growth Awards recognize some of the Atlantic region’s most accomplished business leaders for significant success in expanding their companies over the past 12 months.
This year, the awards celebrated companies that grew in various ways: organically through expanding their geographical service footprint in Atlantic Canada, increasing material sales instead of only labour, expanding to deliver services from local to across a province, and by making multiple acquisitions across Atlantic Canada.
Whether by acquisition, geographic expansion or a re-focusing on the product/service mix, these winning entrepreneurs from Charlottetown, Sussex, Fredericton and Saint John are stellar examples of success. Together with the nine other finalists for the Growth Awards, the 12 firms efficiently grew revenue by 70% while growing employees by 33%.
“By recognizing our members who are achieving significant growth, they can celebrate together and inspire each other to push harder,” says Nancy Mathis, executive director of the Wallace McCain Institute at the University of New Brunswick.
Shawn McLernan of Charlottetown took home the prize for the over 100 employee division. Mr. McLernan is the CEO of MacDonald Automotive Group, which consists of Fair Isle Ford (Charlottetown and Montague), D. Alex MacDonald (Summerside) and Summerside Hyundai. Shawn is also co-owner of Kreative Acres Corp. and Kreative Rentals Corp. “We grew revenue in 3 companies by completing major projects and restructuring,” says Mr. McLernan. Melissa Honour, owner of the Canadian Tire in Sussex, won in the 41-to-99 employee category for her growth which was supported by an expanded product assortment and increased eCommerce. Both Melissa and Shawn were part of the same 16 member forum that was in their initial year with monthly group meetings, which also supported their growth.
Scott Williams, CEO of Taylor Printing Group in Fredericton, won in the 10-to-40 employee category. “We attribute last year’s growth to our focus on building sustainable growth organically and through strategic acquisition.”, says Mr. Williams. Lori Weir, CEO of Four Eyes Financial of Saint John, won in the under-10 employee category. “We had 100% employee and 300% revenue growth by establishing our product/market fit”, says Ms. Weir.
A cash prize was awarded to the group with the combined largest growth. With two individual prizes going to members from the same peer group, it was no surprise when the 12th cohort of the Entrepreneurial Leaders Program (ELP12Th) was announced as the winner. Together the group grew its combined revenue by 15%. The prize is a $5,000 grant to be used to support the cost of the speakers that the cohort involves in its quarterly retreats.
The final prize of the evening was more personal in nature. The prize, called the Carpe Diem Award, was started in 2015 in recognition of a member of the institute, Patrick Albert, CEO of MQM in Tracadie-Sheila, who died tragically earlier that year. His personal motto was “carpe diem” – Latin for “seize the day.” The award was based on member nominations, and then voting on 7 finalists based on their embodiment of the mission statement for Mr. Albert’s ELP forum “to embrace our leadership responsibility to build a Greater Atlantic Area and live our one life with passion.”
The award went to Sascha Boulet-Devost, Capture Therapeutics by PhysioFirst Prof. Corp. Inc, Grand Falls (ELP11Th). “I am touched to be recognized in memory of Patrick,” Ms. Boulet-Devost says. “I am inspired to keep living carpe diem as hard as I can in memory of him.”
About the Wallace McCain Institute
The focus of the Wallace McCain Institute at the University of New Brunswick is to support the next generation of senior business leaders in the Greater Atlantic Area (GAA). The Institute is a catalyst for shifting the business culture of the region and advancing the values of entrepreneurship. The development of deep relationships and networks is fundamental to how the Institute delivers on its mandate.
Programs include intensive cohort programs where participants interact in a retreat environment for our region’s business leaders (ELP), the Strategic Executive Program (SEP) as well as a program focused on multi-generational businesses (ECHO). The Institute also offers elite workshops and special events on themes relevant to entrepreneurs while also using its broad network of business leaders to give back to the entrepreneurial community. The Institute uses innovative approaches to convene people, share best practices, enrich learning, and inspire change.
Nancy Mathis, Executive Director of the Wallace McCain Institute.
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Learn more about the Entrepreneurial Leaders Program at http://www.wallacemccaininstitute.com/elp