Professional services provider Calian Technologies Inc. was recognized as the city's company of the year at the Ottawa Business Achievement Awards Thursday night, one of several local firms honoured at the annual event.
For the first time this year, the awards were co-hosted by the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce.
Calian, which has the federal government as a major customer, has been able to maintain gains in its revenues and profits for the fourth quarter despite a cutback in government spending.
In a video address, Calian vice-president and general manager Kevin Ford said the key to business success in an economic downturn is embracing the cost-cutting objectives of one's customers, as well as taking risks that force company executives outside their comfort zone.
The local technology services seller reported fourth-quarter revenues of $55.4 million, which was up five per cent from the $52.9 million posted last year.
Earnings increased to $3.3 million or $0.43 per share compared with $3.2 million or $0.42 per share in 2010.
Calian recently told its shareholders it expects its financials to stay stable in 2012.
Two prominent local business people also took away previously announced achievement awards for their work.
Jean Laurin, who heads insurance providers Encon Group Inc. and Schinnerer Group, received the CEO of the Year Award.
Under his tenure, the company has launched a number of new products since 2000 that generated $190 million in revenues for the company.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Laurin recounted his morning ritual of driving along the "Innes parking lot" and up Blair Road until he sees Encon's logo outside the company's building.
"I'm pumped as I walk through the door," he told the audience of approximately 600 people gathered at the Ottawa Convention Centre.
"I love what I do. I'm a blessed man."
Former Ottawa mayor and long-time infrastructure builder Jim Durrell received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Among other things, Mr. Durrell brokered deals for the Ottawa Lynx and Ottawa Senators stadiums, oversaw the expansion of the Ottawa International Airport and chaired the Ottawa Convention Centre during its construction – which finished on time and on budget this year.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty appeared on stage to pay tribute to Mr. Durrell, who he said worked tirelessly to make Ottawa "a destination of choice." Current Mayor Jim Watson called Mr. Durrell the city's "go-to guy.
"If you need something done, you go to Jim."
For his part, Mr. Durrell said the Ottawa Business Achievement Awards were among his favourite evenings of the year, and not just because he was on stage for the 2011 edition.
"It brings out the very best in Ottawa," he said.
Among the top-in-class companies honoured Thursday was local staffing firm Eagle Professional Resources, which surpassed $100 million in revenues for the first time in its most recent fiscal year, pushing the company above $1 billion in revenues since being founded in 1996.
The other gold recipients were:
- Professional Services of the Year: Cinnamon Toast New Media Inc.
- Not-For-Profit of the Year: Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health
- New Business of the Year: SolPowered Energy Corp.
- Small Business of the Year: Mistura Beauty Solutions
For a complete list of recipients, including runner-ups, pick up a copy of the Dec. 12 print edition of OBJ.