JayDee AgTech was recognized as the Business of the Year winner at the 2008 Swift Current Business Excellence Awards 11th annual Gala on Friday night.
The SCBEX recognition is another highlight to a memorable year for the John Deere dealership. Back on?Feb. 1 they merged operations with locations in Humboldt, Unity, North Battleford and Kelvington to create one of the largest privately held John Deere dealer organization networks in Canada.
"It's been a big year that's for sure," admitted JayDee AgTech General Manager Duane Smith, who accepted the award along with partners Trevor Moe and Robin Hayes. "We've doubled the size of our business, adding the four stores. It's been exciting. It's been a challenge. It's been a year of opportunity and a year of additional things to do. But we're very excited and we do believe that it positions us very well for the future."
Despite their continued business success, Smith admitted it was nice to be singled out for excellence among the Swift Current business community.
"We've worked hard in this business since purchasing it from my father and uncle a little over 13 years ago. I think it's a good recognition for our staff, for our partnership and management team, for our customers that have supported us. I think it's just a wonderful honour to receive in recognition of the growth that we've had."
"We've always been proud to be based in Swift Current. We've got a great staff here. We've been proud supporters of the community and we're pleased that our head office remains in Swift Current."
In addition to receiving the SCBEX Award, event presenter Innovation Credit Union will be nominating JayDee AgTech for a provincial Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce (Achievement for Business Excellence Award) ABEX Award.
Smith also saluted JayDee AgTech's employees for their efforts in acheiving this recognition.
"When I look at our staff, when I look at the quality of service that they provide, the extra hours and double time that they're willing to put in, I wouldn't trade our staff for anybody."
A focus of the evening not only saluted Swift Current's business success stories, but also the success of the province as a whole.
Premier Brad Wall, along newly sworn in Minister of Enterprise Ken Cheveldayoff, shared a government perspective of Saskatchewan's positives in the current global economic downturn.
"I think it's important as we gather to celebrate business excellence in Swift Current and region tonight, that we also mark very well how fortunate we are in Saskatchewan. Because comparatively speaking we are still growing in the face of a worldwide recession. This province is the only province in the Dominion of Canada that is still creating new jobs in the midst of a very severe worldwide recession," Premier Wall said during a short address to the capacity audience at the Living Sky Casino's Sky Centre.
"We're not immune in Saskatchewan to what's going on around the world in terms of a global recession. There are challenges. We know right here in Southwest Saskatchewan and across our province, in what is a very strong energy sector, we know there's been some slowdowns."
Cheveldayoff pointed out that Saskatchewan led the country in economic growth during 2008, and financial instutions are calling on the province to lead the country again in 2009. He highlighted a series of impressive statistics: new capital investment in the province is expected to reach $14.2 billion; last year the province topped the country in values of mineral production at $9.7 billion; exports increased by 58 per cent to $31.8 billion, the highest growth rate in Canada in 2008; employment increased by 2.2 per cent, the second highest in Canada.
"We did not get here by chance. We did not get here by governments doing it. The way we have achieved our economic goals is by making sure that through collaboration our businesses are strong and healthy, and you are an important part of the reason why we're reached the top," Cheveldayoff noted.
Smith admitted the Saskatchewan advantage is one of the reasons they've moved forward it has been a big year for the company.
"We do a large deal like this in a time of a major economic turmoil, you kind of wonder what you're doing. But that's probably one of the reasons why we do it, because it provides us a lot of strength for the future to weather storms. We look at a lot of businesses that are letting people go and here we're hiring numerous people."
Mustard Capital Inc. from Gravelbourg won the SCBEX Export/Import Achievement Award, and company Cheif Executive Officer?Tom?Halpenny said their operation grew out of a true Saskatchewan advantage.
"From our perspective in terms of the Saskatchewan advantage, relating to mustard, Saskatchewan is the dominant source of mustard in terms of world trade for that product. So being located right here is a definite and distinct locational advantage, and that's why we're located where we are in Gravelbourg. It's close to the source of the supply."
For Mustard Capital Inc., who have exported to 14 countries and presented product to over 35 countries, the recognition is important for the fledging company.
"Actually this means a lot. I would put in the context of you work hard day by day, and sometimes you don't get to look back on your accomplishments as a small, young company. The regional support that we've had has been fantastic. So from our perspective, staff sometimes maybe don't realize the accomplishments that they make working as hard as they do day by day to help grow the company," Halpenny said.
Mustard Capital Inc. which began operations in Sept. 2007, was the 2008 winner of the Saskatchewan Economic Development Association's award of excellence for outstanding economic development initiative.
"We anticipate as we continue to grow and mature that we're going to continue to expand the number of countries we service," Halpenny said. "We've only just begun. We're re-evaluating the expansion at this time, and that's going to open a lot of doors for us and that's one of the key factors that will launch us into the next round of export success."
Other SCBEX award winners were:
New Business (sponsored by Community Futures Southwest) - BodyFit Fitness Lounge.
Young Entrepreneur (sponsored by RBC Royal Bank) - Sure-Fit Denture Clinic.
Customer Service (sponsored by DirectWest) - The Glass Slipper Spa.
Growth and Expansion (sponsored by Enterprise Saskatchewan) - Buffalo Brew Pub.
Community Involvement (sponsored by SaskTel) - Standard Motors.
Southwest Business (sponsored by SaskPower) - Heartland Livestock Services.
Export/Import Achievement (sponsored by BMO Bank of Montreal/BMO Nesbitt Burns) - Mustard Capital Inc.
Business Hall of Fame (sponsored by City of Swift Current and Great Plains College) - MicroAge Swift Current/Copies Xpress.
Business Hall of Fame (sponsored by City of Swift Current and Great Plains College) - Wheatland Machine Shop.
Business of the Year (sponsored by Innovation Credit Union) - JayDee Ag Tech.