Cheers to all the nominated Tofino businesses, finalists, and those who ultimately took home the starfish trophy at the first-ever Business Excellence Awards held at Marina West Resort.
Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce executive director Jen Dart told the Westerly that the event will become an annual celebration of Tofino’s business leaders.
“We’ll probably tweak a few things for next year, but I’m really encouraged because of the number and quality of nominations we received. It speaks to the strength of this business community,” Dart said.
The Chamber whittled nominations down to three in each category before handing off the final decision to a super charged judging panel: Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust executive director Rebeccas Hurwitz, and Tourism Tofino general manager Kirsten Soder.
Longstanding Tofino resident and chair of the Tofino General Hospital Foundation Arlene McGinnis accepted the non-profit category award.
“There are a lot of very dedicated people in Tofino that work quietly behind the scenes for different things. I wouldn’t have wanted to be a judge,” McGinnis said.
“I’m really excited to win the award. I feel it’s quite an honour to win the award. It makes the hard work all the more worthwhile because you feel that people really do appreciate what you are doing. It’s not for us. It’s for them. It’s for the good of everyone in our community.”
This year, the Tofino General Hospital Foundation is raising funds for a Lifepak15, which is a state-of-the-art defibrillator valued at $25,000.
“We are also raising money for equipment that can be used for hypothermia stuff like that in view of the recent boating accident we felt it was necessary to have that type of equipment on hand,” McGinnis said.
Talented local artist Sol Maya who runs Spirit of the Fire Glass Studio was commissioned by the Chamber to create six trophies for the inaugural Business Excellence winners.
“They are blown glass starfish on a wood base,” Dart said. “They are especially great if you hold them up to the light.”
She expressed a special note of thanks to all the businesses who stepped up to sponsor an award.
“The business community got on board right away with it,” she said. “We are so pleased to be able, with your help, to honour the deserving people in our community.”