By Ray Hudson
It was all glitter, spotlights and excitement as the ballroom full of Surrey businesspeople enjoyed an evening celebrating the best and brightest in business in Surrey. It was the 17th annual Business Excellence Awards presented by the Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT). The high point of the evening, of course, came when out of the award finalists, the winners of the seven categories were named.
The Business Person of the Year was awarded to Andrew Westlund, President of the Westlund Group of Companies. In his comments from the podium Westlund told the story of when he was 25 years old, he sought to speak with Jimmy Pattison about business.
“I never forgot the one thing he said, which was lay it all on the line. If you don’t treat it right, it will spank you, so lay it all on the line. And I want to say to my team, this is why I’ve been so happy working with them. They always put it all on the line, attitude, passion, and so it’s not me. I get to work with a group of leaders that just love to do what they do. So I want to thank my team.”
Westlund, who has been in the wireless business (Apex Wireless) for over 25 years, has diversified his companies adding SKY Helicopters, SKY Hangar, Agency Media, FLUID Day Spa, Mode Photography, Level4 Technologies, and The Link Professional Services. His companies provide 150 jobs in the community, and he has greater dreams still. According to the SBOT description, Westlund is fascinated by the human element of business, believing that engagement is the most powerful factor in the success of any business.
Westlund runs a sales component through each company, no matter the industry, and aims to have 20 businesses and 500 employees within the next ten years.
Demonstrating the kind of drive that has allowed him to achieve the success he has, Andrew Westlund spends much of his spare time adventuring, including flying helicopters, cycling, and motorcycling. He has a personal goal to learn one new thing every year.
In the other awards categories,
41+ employees: Canuel Caterers Started 1991 providing cafeteria and meal programs, with their first client, North Delta Senior Secondary School. They have grown to 54 school programs in BC including 8 school accounts in Surrey. They also have several corporate accounts, catering to groups of ten to 1,500, specializing in weddings made possible because of their recently renovated multi-million dollar production centre located in Surrey. They have also operated the café and banquet centre, Occasions at the Pond, at the Surrey Municipal complex since 2003.
11 – 40 Employees: Viva Care Inc., a multi-disciplinary and holistic healthcare clinic providing services through 10 locations, based in Surrey, also operates across the Lower Mainland, as well as in Kenaston, Manitoba.
Their full-service, state-of-the-art clinics are designed to give each patient superior service and quality healthcare, all under one roof. Over the years, Viva Care has entered into an exclusive partnership with Walmart Canada to be their primary clinic provider, allowing them to expand into growing markets and serve new families and communities. Viva Care is modernizing the healthcare industry by introducing online wait times on their website, online booking of appointments, a paging system within Walmart so clients can shop while they wait for their turn to see a doctor.
1 – 10 Employees: South Point Pet Hospital, serving the South Surrey and White Rock areas since 2004. In 2005 they became members of the North American Health Association, the accrediting body for companion animal hospitals in Canada and the US. They provide veterinary care in clinic, or by home visits, particularly useful for elderly and patients who cannot drive. Along with typical veterinary medical treatments, they offer laser therapy and acupuncture, digital x-ray, and beyond that grooming and cat boarding services.
Not-For-Profit: John Volken Academy Society, a unique recovery program, it provides long-term, residential addiction recovery treatment and life-skills training to men and women ages 19-34. While in the program, students advance their education, adopt healthy lifestyles, and receive extensive career training in PricePro, their not-for-profit grocery store.
New Business of the Year: Crown Building Supplies, A newly formed business by experienced and educated individuals, whose average age is about 40, it has flourished beyond projected expectations. They are one of the largest suppliers in BC, of quality wall and ceiling materials, including drywall, stucco, EIFS foam, steel framing, insulation, acoustical ceiling systems, tools and hardware.
Corporate Social Responsibility Recognition Award: Mansonville Plastics (B.C.) Ltd & Group of Companies. This award recognizes the work being carried out by companies to improve the lives of their employees, and to enhance the civic environment in which they operate. The Business Excellence Awards judges, determine the winning company as being the most socially responsible company in Surrey.
For more information check www.businessinsurrey.com