By Jenn Watt
Published March 20, 2018
Andy Campbell was first hired by the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce on a three-month contract, asked to work with the federal government to find ways to support local business.
From his efforts back in 1985 came the Haliburton County Development Corporation, where Campbell has worked ever since.
Set for retirement after 32 years at the helm of HCDC, which provides loans and grants to support the economy, Haliburton’s “go-to person” was honoured as Highlander of the Year at the chamber of commerce’s Business and Community Achievement Awards at Pinestone Resort on Saturday, March 17.
“His dedication and hard work will long be remembered by those who served on his board, his staff, but most assuredly by hundreds of entrepreneurs who brought their dreams to Andy at HCDC and saw them become a reality,” said MC Mike Jaycock, reading a note from the judges who decided the award. Campbell said the award was a full-circle moment for him.
“It was the chamber of commerce back in 1985 that hired me on a three-month contract to put together a proposal to the federal government to try to create a program that would help business in Haliburton County. I’m very grateful that the chamber of commerce hired me to do that and here we are 33 years later you’re presenting me with this award,” he said.
The HCDC executive director was met with a standing ovation.
HCDC, which is a Community Futures Development Corporation, has had more than 100 local residents on its board over its history, and a small, dedicated staff. At its annual general meeting last fall, the corporation reported $76 million in loans had been disbursed over its 32-year history with the average loan amount of just more than $38,000.
The evening honoured many community and business leaders for their innovation, creativity, success and impact.
McKecks Tap and Grill took home the Business Achievement Award, recognizing industry and community achievement.
“From the Blueline bursary to the annual Benevolent Christmas Day dinner and financial donations to many community partners, McKecks is outstanding in the local hospitality scene,” the judges wrote in their decision. McKecks, located on Highland Street in Haliburton, employs 20 people year-round and 60 in the summer.
The Customer First - Business Award celebrating the business that provided service with care and compassion, going above expectations, went to Master’s Book Store in Haliburton.
Owner Kathy Stouffer “takes it as a personal challenge to fit her customers with the material they’re looking for [and] takes the time to suggest other books/authors they might enjoy,” the judges wrote, calling Master’s staff “wonderful ambassadors” for the Highlands.
Customer First - Employee Award was given to Cathy Mack of Sassy Digs in Minden.
The award celebrates employees who go above and beyond to assist customers.
“Cathy handles Sassy Digs like she owns it, which is a rare trait for employers to find,” the judges said.
Entrepreneur of the Year honours the person who takes risks and tries new things to achieve success.
This year’s winner was Chris Carl and Terri Mathews-Carl of Rhubarb restaurant, Boshkung Brewing Co. and Mathew Madlyn.
Judges noted Carl and Mathews-Carl had achieved great success in the community. Their expansion of Boshkung Brewing to include Boshkung Social in Minden, their plans for another brewhouse and the recent launch of the anti-bullying/pro-kindness clothing line Mathew Madlyn impressed the judges.
“The contributions Terri and Chris have collectively made in the Haliburton Highlands and beyond is immeasurable,” judges said in their decision.
Abbey Gardens was this year’s winner in the Innovation and Creativity category.
“Abbey Gardens had a dream to transform a gravel pit into a green space providing economic and recreational opportunities for Haliburton County,” the judges wrote. Each year, the facility outside of West Guilford on Highway 118 expands with new offerings and projects, demonstrating sustainable building, methods of growing food, business development and education.
Judges called Abbey Gardens “a Mecca for county residents.”
This year’s New Business Award was given to Clothes Encounters of the Thrift Kind, based in Minden. New businesses are defined as those in operation between one to three years or that have redefined themselves to fit the needs of the community.
Clothes Encounters, a thrift clothing store, was noted for how it gives back and its flexibility in helping those in need of clothing.
The shop’s owners were quoted by judges as saying: “We believe that in helping others to succeed we all win.”
Point in Time Centre for Children, Youth and Parents took home the Not-For-Profit of the Year award Saturday night for its outstanding programs and services.
“When it was identified in 2017 that some of our youth were in crisis they responded with a series of ... public forums and are working with partners to expand a youth hub in Haliburton,” the judges wrote.
Point in Time provides mental health services, youth justice and family support to Haliburton County families.
The Skilled Trades and Industry Award was given to Arbor View Tree Care, which offers tree removal and assessment services by certified arborists.
“[Owner] Josh Burk and his team recognize benefits of trees to the environment and the beauty of the Haliburton Highlands,” the judges said of Arbor View.
Yours Outdoors, an experiential tourism company, was given the Tourism and Hospitality Award.
Partnering with dozens of businesses and individuals to create tourism packages and learning experiences, Yours Outdoors served some 1,200 travellers and local participants, the judges said.
Yours Outdoors and its proprietor Barrie Martin were also involved in the organizing of Hike Haliburton, the Hardwater Festival, Telling Our Stories speaker series, and in organizing the Sip, Swill and Savour brewery tour.
Young Professional of the Year, for those under 35, was awarded to Morgan Burke of The Birds and the Bees, a new company offering honey and beauty products.
“Birds and the Bees uses honey and beeswax she harvests from her beehive to create her own line of natural beauty products that she sells at local markets,” the judges said.
Morgan, who is a high school student, was called an inspiration to a new generation of young entrepreneurs by the judges.
The Warden’s Award, selected by the Haliburton County warden each year, was given to the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust.
Warden Suzanne Partridge told the audience how she came to her decision: “Their activities and projects to preserve habitat and wildlife will make a lasting impact for future generations.”
Partridge noted the land trust volunteers have given thousands of hours of time to bettering the natural world.