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Chamber of Commerce hands out hardware for best in business

Here's your winners of the 2019 Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce Business Awards
Jason Naccarato, president of Northstar Consulting, addresses the crowd after winning the Skipper Manzzutti Award for Business Achievement at the 2019 Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. James Hopkin/SooToday

Northstar Consulting President Jason Naccarato accepted the Skipper Manzzutti Award for Business Achievement during the 2019 Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Saturday night at The Machine Shop.

Naccarato - himself a former Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce president, stepping down in 2017 - was introduced by current chamber president Don Mitchell.

“Northstar specializes in refining business processes, reducing costs, understanding the feasibility of upcoming projects or diversifying portfolios - all within the scope, time frame and budget - with the ultimate goal of bringing prosperity to northern Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie,” Mitchell told the crowd.

Naccarato has played a number of roles in Sault Ste. Marie and beyond, including:

  • Vice president of development, SSM Innovation Centre
  • Advanced purchasing and business development team leader, Magna International
  • Senior Program Controller in Cost Economics, Nissan North America
  • Cost reduction project manager, Nissan Technical Centre North America
  • Engineer-dynamometer test and production support, Siemens VDO

Naccarato has a Project Management Professional (PMP) designation and an MBA from Wayne State University, in addition to a Honours Bachelor of Engineering Science in Mechanical/Materials Engineering from the University of Western Ontario.

“Thank you everyone, this is a great honour and definitely up there in the highlight of my career to win something like this,” Naccarato said after accepting the award. “There’s so many deserving businesses and so many deserving people out there, and I just have to thank everyone and point out that Sault Ste. Marie was built not by governments, not by politicians, but by the business community.”

“It’s us as a business community working together that will move this city forward, and it’s us as a business community that will bring this community to the next level,” he continued. “I’m very passionate about Sault Ste. Marie, and I think we’re one of the best places in the world to live, the best places in the world to raise a family and I want to thank each and every one of you for everything you do to make this community better, and I look forward to working together with each and every one of you to bring prosperity to Sault Ste. Marie and northern Ontario and to bring this community to the next level and into the next decades to come.”

Naccarato is also the CEO of Northern Advancement Capital - managing 42 residential units and over 40,000 square feet of commercial space - in addition to having a part-time role in the Ontario Legislative Assembly.

The full text of a release from the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, including the names of the winners, follows.


SSMCOC Group 2018 Award receipantsPhoto by Kevanna Fine Photography, submitted by the Chamber of Commerce.
Recognizing Local Business Excellence at the Outstanding Business Achievement Awards

Sault Ste. Marie, ON – It was a celebration of innovation, creativity, leadership and entrepreneurship, as the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC) handed out its Outstanding Business Achievement Awards on Saturday evening at the Machine Shop.

Award nominations were collected from a call for nominations from the Chamber membership and from the public in late 2018. In all, more than 160 nominations were received for 22 award categories. From those nominations, almost 100 of the nominees met the established award criteria and let their business, agency or individual names stand for nomination.

Chamber President, Don Mitchell describes the nomination process “Those businesses, agencies or individuals standing for nomination were required to respond to a series of questions to demonstrate why they, or the business, met the criteria for the specific award or awards nominated. These submissions, along with any provided supplemental materials were then considered by the Judging Committee.”

Mitchell adds that the judging of the awards is taken very seriously by the Chamber of Commerce and by the committee of judges. He explains that the judging committee is drawn from the Chamber membership and previous award recipients. These members form a group of individuals with exceptional integrity and business experience across a wide variety of sectors. The nominee submissions are vetted against the judges’ background and areas of expertise and any conflicts of interest are managed by reassigning the judging of that award category to another committee member.

Submissions are assessed through a numeric scoring process and measured on the nominee’s ability to demonstrate their qualifications against the award criteria. The recipient of each award is determined by the nominee that received the highest combined average of judges’ scores.

The recipients of this year’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards were:

PUC Services Inc. was awarded this year’s Safe Work, Sound Business Award, sponsored by Soo Mill Buildall. The Safe Work, Sound Business Award recognizes a business that uses a safe work management system, participates in workplace and/or community injury prevention programs and has outstanding injury-free frequency and injury severity performance.

Superior Chrysler was presented with the Employer of Year Award, sponsored Sault College Employment Solutions. This award recognizes an employer who has created cultures and communities, through every aspect of their business.

Nick Collins of Wardlaw Heating & Cooling Ltd. was awarded the Customer First Award – Individual, sponsored by Smyl’s Highland Ford. This award recognizes an individual who continuously raises customer service to new standards of excellence and is a role model for others in customer service.

Algoma University was presented with the Diversity Award, sponsored by the Sault Ste. Marie & Area Local Immigration Partnership. This award recognizes a business or organization that embraces, celebrates and applies holistic inclusion and participation of a diverse people, making the workplace a better environment in which to work, and the community a better place in which to live, work and raise a family.

The Community First Awards, sponsored by Community First Credit Union – a Division of Your Neighbourhood Credit Union, highlight outstanding community service. The recipients of these awards contribute to the well-being of the community as a whole through initiatives such as sourcing products and/or services locally, retailing or utilizing local products, employment growth and supporting the community through charitable activities.

The Community First Award (up to 9 employees) was presented to the Downtown Association.

The Community First Award (10 - 25 employees) was presented to the Chippewa Trading Post.

The Community First Award (26+ employees) was presented to the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation.

Insightworks Training and Technology was the recipient of the Innovation Award, sponsored by the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre. This award recognizes a business that has successfully incorporated a new idea, device or method or has utilized the application of better solutions to meet new requirements, internal needs or market needs.

Jane McGoldrick of J.Caroline's was presented with the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by EAZY Express. The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding achievement of young entrepreneur(s) between 18 and 39 years of age. The award is given to an individual responsible for the success and growth of a Sault Ste. Marie-based company, who exemplifies the qualities of effective leadership, innovatively applies know-how, demonstrates excellent potential for growth, appreciates the importance in social, cultural, and environmental awareness and has demonstrated commitment to the wider community.

SK Group was the recipient of the Downtown Business of the Year Award, sponsored by CREATECH. In support of the City of Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Strategy, as well as the strategic plan of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, this award recognizes a business that is invested in the downtown business community and contributes to downtown Sault Ste. Marie. This award honors their commitment to running a business in the heart of our city and their role in creating a vibrant downtown.

The Beyond Borders Awards recognize businesses in any industry, for excellence in the development of export markets for their products or services, through implementing a new export strategy, within the last three years, that has positively affected its bottom line. Beyond Borders considers businesses that have succeeded in expanding outside of SSM as well as exporting goods and service. The Chamber presents two Beyond Borders Awards based on business size.

The Beyond Borders Award (up to 49 employees), sponsored by RBC, was presented to Soo Foundry & Machine (1980) Limited.

The Beyond Borders Award (50+ employees), sponsored by the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation, was presented to McDougall Energy Inc.

The Downtown Association was awarded the Customer First Award – Business, Non-Profit or Agency, sponsored by Great Lakes Honda. This award showcases a business or non-profit that places the customer experience at the heart of their business strategy and builds a sustainable culture of customer service within their organization.

Nogdawindamin Family and Community Services was the recipient of the Indigenous Business of the Year, sponsored by Tenaris. This award recognizes a business which is operating, or being managed, with a minimum of 51 per cent ownership by an Indigenous person or group. To be considered, the business has distinguished itself by fostering growth, innovation, marketing strategy and consumer excellence, while showing leadership and dedication to the preservation of culture, values and identity.

The United Way Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma District was awarded the Community Non Profit Business of the Year Award, sponsored by AWIC – Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation. This award recognizes and rewards excellence and innovation among non-profit organizations resulting in significant social impact within Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma district.

Trimount Construction Group Inc. was presented with the Rising Star New Business Award, sponsored by KPMG. This award recognizes a business that has been in operation for no less than 1 year and no more than 3 years and has demonstrated strong potential by way of growth, innovation, and leadership. Additionally, the business has demonstrated a culture of risk-taking and trailblazing and has positioned itself to achieve similar successes in the future through a new or innovative product or service, quality of merchandise/ customer service, job creation, growth potential, and market served.

The Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation was presented with the Leader in Accessibility Award, sponsored by Sault Ste. Marie YMCA. This award recognizes an organization that shows leadership in integrating and providing accessible and barrier-free working conditions for employees and accessibility in customer service. This business or organization values the contributions of persons with disabilities, promotes the development of an inclusive workplace culture and is compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

The Chamber presents three Business of the Year awards based on business size: To be considered, a business will have distinguished themselves by fostering growth, innovation, marketing strategy and consumer service excellence in their sectors.

The Business of the Year Award (up to 9 employees), sponsored by Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, was presented to Northstar

Consulting Inc.

The Business of the Year Award (10 - 25 employees), sponsored by Algoma Office Equipment, was presented to the Rico's / Good Old Dad Foods.

The Business of the Year Award (26+ employees), sponsored by Superior Auto Group, was presented to JD Aero.

Carlo Spadafora received the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year Award. Initiated in 1985, the Volunteer of the Year Award is given annually to an individual, or individuals, whose time commitment and contributions to the Chamber have been outstanding.

Jason Naccarato was presented with the Skipper Manzzutti Award for Business Achievement. Named after one of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce's dedicated past presidents, Captain Feliciano "Skipper" Manzzutti, this award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding business achievement within the past year, or number of years. Like the award's name-sake, the recipient of this award has set a high standard for exemplary entrepreneurial and community minded achievement.

John Febbraro was presented with the Paul Dalseg Community Achievement Award. The Paul Dalseg Award recognizes a businessperson in Sault Ste. Marie who has demonstrated exemplary interest in the community, and in so doing, has made a major, outstanding and unique achievement or contribution to the life of the community.

The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce was proud to welcome and Village Media as the returning Presenting Sponsor of this year’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards. A locally grown news agency, Village Media continues to demonstrate that it shares the best attributes of our many award recipients as it has grown to become a national enterprise in recent years.

In addition to this year’s individual award sponsors, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce would like to thank The Machine Shop, the Northern Grand Gardens and Kevanna Fine Photography.

About the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce

The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of 700 plus business and agencies in Sault Ste. Marie and has been serving the needs of this community since 1889. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce will lead the way as the voice of business, advancing economic prosperity for its membership and the business community. Learn more about the SSMCOC at our website.