Best Ottawa Business Award Winners: Performance

OBJ Staff
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The Best Ottawa Business Awards are coming to the newly-renamed Shaw Centre Nov. 20. In the days leading up to the awards ceremony, OBJ  will feature some of the recipients.
Today, we feature Performance Award winners.

Best Ottawa Business Awards

Performance: Sales Initiative of the Year, Paul Rushforth Real Estate

Since 2008, Paul Rushforth Real Estate has been the top residential real estate team in Ottawa by number of units sold. The company is on pace to sell about 620 units by the end of 2014, an increase of nearly 60 units over 2013.

That’s impressive considering the relative sluggishness of the Ottawa residential resale market over the past few years. Homes for sale are sitting on the market for more than 35 per cent longer, on average, than they were a few years ago.

The PRRE team responded to this challenge by strengthening its presence in both ends of the city, with a new Kanata office. The result has been greater visibility for the Rushforth brand and better service for clients in search of the best options for their needs across the capital.

In fact, PRRE’s dynamism and growth have earned it the nod as one of the “Top 10 Places to Work in Ottawa” as well as sixth place among consumer services businesses (and 98th overall) on PROFIT 500’s annual ranking of Canada’s fastest-growing companies.

“Awards like the BoBs are really important to Ottawa,” Paul Rushforth said. “We are a very entrepreneurial town with a lot of great businesses and it’s important to recognize and network with other businesses.”

Performance: HR Initiative of the Year, Halogen Software

It should come as no surprise that a specialist in talent management software intended to drive team performance is noteworthy for its own internal HR efforts.

Halogen Software is no stranger to the BoBs. Last year, its chief executive Paul Loucks was named CEO of the Year, while Halogen took honours as an Outstanding Company of the Year and for Financing Deal of the Year.

For Halogen, a strong team is all about leadership. As Mr. Loucks is often heard to say, “Everyone deserves to work for a great leader.”

Halogen’s leadership development program focuses on grooming and strengthening both existing and emerging leaders through a structured program.

These selected employees are supported by professional coaching and benchmarked for their leadership strengths and weaknesses every two years. Emerging leaders work together in “peer-coaching pods” to provide accountability, structure and support. Halogen also hosts an annual leadership conference to share ideas throughout the organization.

“We believe leadership is a key contributor to our success, to sustain our growth and to grow our company as a talent management organization,” said Dominique Jones, Halogen’s vice-president of human resources. “We work very hard at developing great leaders. This is integral to our success and to keep growing at the rate we are.”

Performance: Marketing Initiative of the Year, 360pi

Ottawa’s business community is full of David and Goliath stories, but 360pi puts a whole new spin on the idea.

Last year, it decided to aim high to prove its value proposition to its target market – it took on retail behemoth Amazon.

But not in the way you might think.

360pi is in the business of providing retailers and manufacturers with competitive price intelligence. Last year, the company launched its Amazon Holiday Insights campaign as a marketing strategy to boost its profile.

The campaign consisted of a daily e-mail report on Amazon’s pricing tactics and strategies, compared with 22 other leading U.S. retailers. It disproved the myth that Black Friday is the biggest sales day for retailers and discovered that, despite Amazon’s pricing strategy, smaller retailers can and do beat the online retail giant on price 20 per cent of the time.

Following the holiday season, 360pi released a follow-up webinar where it correlated observed pricing strategies of retailers with their reported holiday financial results.

The effort paid off. 360pi bagged piles of media attention and established its street credibility in the retail market.

“This award is an immense recognition of the great work our team has done,” said CEO Alexander Rink. “While the credit for this award to a large part falls on our marketing team ... it is a result of how well we have all worked together.”

Performance: Philanthropic Initiative of the Year, Kongsberg Gallium

It may be a relatively small technology company serving a market that is largely outside of Ottawa and even Canada, but that hasn’t stopped Kongsberg Gallium from giving back to the community in a big way.

Over the past six years, the 40 staff of this aerospace and defence software company have raised $256,000 for the firm’s charity of choice, the Ottawa Hospital. The funds support the groundbreaking cancer research of John Bell, senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

The trick has been to multiply the team’s efforts, with matching donation incentives that have in some cases yielded a four-to-one return on each dollar raised by staff.Employee enthusiasm and team camaraderie are crucial. Staff organize the company’s events and involve their families, friends and colleagues. Above all, they have fun doing it. The result is a rewarding experience that builds leadership and mentoring skills.

Kongsberg Gallium also gets its suppliers and local businesses involved by seeking contributions for its silent auction and inviting them to attend events.

“We are thrilled to have been able to raise the funds we have for the Ottawa Hospital,” said Tanya Hume, vice-president of finance and administration. “Our employees have been amazing.”

Performance: Exporter of the Year, Searidge Technologies

Forty-seven per cent. Seventy-two per cent. Ninety-five per cent.

If you think these numbers would look like a hockey stick if they were plotted on a sales chart, you’re right.

It’s little wonder then that Searidge Technologies has taken the Exporter of the Year award. Export sales have been brisk over the past few years and show no signs of slowing down.

The company’s intelligent video solutions help air navigation service providers such as NAV Canada and airports cost-effectively increase the safety and efficiency of surface management operations.

Export sales have been on a tear thanks to a combination of technology demand and new opportunities with a host of airport expansion projects and new airport developments around the world. Searidge’s one-of-a-kind intelligent video system solves critical problems around congestion, thereby reducing airport delays and increasing safety on the airport surface.

Hiring the right people has been key to Searidge’s ability to capitalize on the opportunities abroad.

“We are a tech company and so much of what we do is based on the experience and capability of our people,” said Moodie Cheikh, CEO and co-founder. “I think having access to the kind of talent we have in this city has helped us to build a really solid team that allows us to be as successful as we are.”

Performance: Sustainability Leader of the Year, Hydro Ottawa

Hydro Ottawa is unique in the Ontario power generation market. It claims the title of largest municipally owned producer of green power, thanks to hydroelectric generation from the Chaudière Falls and the Trail Road landfill gas-to-energy plant.

Its green power operations continue to grow. A new generating plant at Chaudière is expected to power an additional 20,000 homes per year, while another gas-to-energy plant at the landfill in Moose Creek will power 4,000 homes and divert more than 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Through its Environmental Sustainability Strategy, Hydro Ottawa aims to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment and the community, as well as improve its environmental performance. This strategy has three priority areas: carbon footprint reduction, energy efficiency and non-hazardous waste reduction and diversion; greening procurement and the supply chain; and employee engagement and organizational culture.

For example, Hydro Ottawa tracks all of its non-hazardous solid and liquid wastes and maintains a diversion rate of 91 per cent.

For president and CEO Bryce Conrad, the BoBs’ sustainability award is a welcome pat on the back.

“Ottawa has a bit of an inferiority complex at the best of times,” he said. “These awards are an opportunity to showcase businesses in a community that is otherwise known as a quiet government town.”

Organizations: Rushforth, Amazon, Outstanding Company of the Year Ottawa Hospital Ottawa Hospital Research Institute NAV Canada

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada, U.S. Ontario Trail Road Moose Creek

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