The event was held at the Nipissing Surtees Athletics Centre in the Gateway City.
Launched in 1986, NOBA has become the largest annual gathering of its kind in Northern Ontario and this year was co-hosted by North Bay Mayor Al McDonald and Northern Ontario Business Publisher Patricia Mills.
This year, a panel of independent judges adjudicated more than 100 nominations from around Northern Ontario before settling on the winners of the 10 business awards to be presented. This year’s judges were: Barbara Ray, secretary/treasurer, RES Equipment Sales (Dryden); Dave Rector, manager of business development, Rector Machine Works (Sault Ste. Marie); Ryan Siggelkow, vice-president, HLS Hardline Solutions (Sudbury); Luc Stang, president and CEO of Gin-cor Industries (North Bay); and Dr. David Pearson, professor, Laurentian University (Sudbury).
The aim of NOBA is to celebrate successful businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the region. The event rotates annually among the five major cities in Northern Ontario. Next year, NOBA will be held in Sault Ste. Marie.
And the winners are:
Company of the Year 1-15 Employees
N-Sci Technologies of Sault Ste. Marie (sponsored by Northern Credit Union)
N-Sci Technologies, an electrical and automation firm that specializes in energy projects, is now celebrating its 10th anniversary. One of the company’s big accomplishments to date is getting approval from the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) to go ahead with a complex solar installation project that had stymied larger, international firms. It was the first time a project of that scope had been approved in Ontario.
Company of the Year 16-50 Employees
Cedar Meadows Resort and Spa of Timmins (Sponsored by OLG)
Cedar Meadows offers one of the few Scandinavian-style Nordic baths in Canada. Its spa offers infrared saunas, a cocoon-like spa jet, hydro massages and laser technology. There are conference facilities available and the landscaped grounds offers a picturesque location for weddings, which can accommodate up to 436 people.
Company of the Year 51+ Employees
Central Welding and Iron Works of North Bay (Sponsored by BDO)
Over the course of more than three decades, the business grew into a 100,000-square-foot facility. Currently, it is the largest, privately-owned fabricator of steel bridges in Canada. One of the largest projects the company has undertaken was a 2,000-tonne bridge in Arnprior that spans the Madawaska River.
Entrepreneur of the Year
Jeff Fuller, Fuller Industrial Corp. of Sudbury (Sponsored by KIA)
Fuller Industrial fabricates pipes and fittings and interior rubber lining for pipes and tanks. The company sends its niche products all over the globe; up to 90 per cent of its business comprises exports out of the Sudbury plant. Fuller has a presence on every continent, and after making a name for itself in the mining industry, is seeking the same success in oil and gas.
Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Frank Chartrand and Nico Taus, Bureau Group of Sudbury (Sponsored by CIBC)
Frank Chartrand, 26, and Nico Taus, 25, were fresh out of the graphic design program at Cambrian College when they started the marketing and web-design firm. The firm has grown by an employee a year, and its founders are discerning in their hiring process, preferring to work with designers whose design aesthetic fits theirs.
Millson Forestry Service of Timmins
Innovation, perseverance and a passion for growing the best trees possible and seeking out value-added opportunities has served the company of forestry practitioners well in weathering one of the worst spells in the industry's history. With 60 full-time and seasonal employees, the Timmins-based company has done whatever it's taken to buffer itself against the cyclical nature of the industry. The company was restructured in 2007 to provide for succession planning for its younger partners.
First Nations Business Award of Excellence
Young Forestry Services of North Bay (Sponsored by Ontario Power Generation)
The business, located on Hwy. 17 between Sturgeon Falls and North Bay, has grown from four to about 20 employees. It moved from rented space in Dokis First Nation to its current location on a Nipissing First Nation-owned industrial and commercial park fronting on the highway. The company recently completed a contract for Hydro One on Nipissing First Nation to clear brush along a transmission line.
Entrepreneurial Community of the Year
Canadore College of North Bay (Sponsored by Air Canada)
Canadore College in North Bay has a simple approach – a strong business community means a very strong college. With a vested interest in successful businesses and industries, Canadore has developed partnerships throughout the region it serves. These ensure that the programs it offers are in line with the market place and the curriculum is meeting the needs of industries and remaining relevant.
Judges' Choice Award
North Bay Computer Services of North Bay
Their coverage encompasses the North Bay area, including Sturgeon Falls and Mattawa, but their techs have ventured as far as Manitoulin Island, Timmins, Orillia and Elk Lake to handle wonky debit machines and servers. His team has been successful in recovering data from busted-up PCs thrown from a getaway car and from a downtown fire. Their commitment to service was rewarded with a North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce award in 2012.
KBM Resources Group of Thunder Bay (Sponsored by EDC)
Being adaptable, innovative and doggedly pursuing new opportunities has served KBM Resources Group well. Incorporated in 1974 by founder Herb Bax, the roots of the 30-employee company have always been deeply entrenched in forestry. Its early beginnings were focused on site preparation, planting, seeding and distributing reforestation equipment imported from Sweden. They hired a business development manager and have successfully transferred their expertise in forest management, aerial photography and mapping to clients in the mining and energy sectors.
Union Gas Essay Scholarship
Jessica Serre of Kapuskasing (Sponsored by Union Gas)
It was through a pair of environmental studies courses in her last year at Kapuskasing District High School that Jessica Serre was inspired to write about her experiences for the Union Gas Essay Scholarship competition. Her argument that younger generations need to take up the cause of environmental sustainability is compelling. Serre is an advocate of her own advice. In the fall, she will enter the first of a four-year bachelor of science degree, specializing in environmental biology, at North Bay’s Nipissing University.
Visit noba.ca for complete winner profiles and video vignettes. The winners were also profiled in a souvenir magazine and the winners television documentary will be aired on Eastlink TV.