2015 Dufferin Business Citizen of the Year

The Dufferin Board of Trade is pleased to present the
2015 Dufferin Business Citizen of the Year Award

Peter Van Stralen – Sunshine Brands Inc.

With over 20 years of business success to his credit, Peter is a certified franchise executive and the 2014 recipient of the Premier’s award for business.  Peter is passionate about sharing the culture of C.A.R.E. by teaching the principles of C.A.R.E. Leadership. He and his company were recently featured on the hit TV show “Be The Boss Canada” and he is the author of the book “CARE Leadership” which shares the extraordinary story of how the ten van Stralen Brothers built The Grounds Guys® from the ground up.

Benilda Bradley – Auntie Joy’s Springrolls

Benilda Bradley, or Auntie Joy as she is lovingly know in the community, has been the owner operator of Auntie Joy’s Springrolls for close to seven years. A first time restaurateur, Auntie Joy works hard day in and day out to provide fresh and delicious homemade food to her customers. In her own words, “I LOVE my customers!”

Jesse Tipping – Athlete Institute

Jesse Tipping is the President & Director of High Performance at the Athlete Institute. The Athlete Institute Basketball Academy’s mission is to provide exceptional, advanced and state of the art basketball development for high school student athletes looking to make their passion for basketball a reality at the next level. Jesse was recently acknowledged as one of the top five most important people in Canadian basketball. His quiet pursuit of excellence in creating an opportunity for athletes to train at an elite facility and to play at the highest level while staying within Canada has earned him recognition as “flying under the radar”. This understated leadership and commitment to his students places Jesse in the company of other great business leaders who have persevered to build high quality businesses in this region.

Wayne Speers – Speers Farms Amaranth

For several years Wayne had been selling meat to friends and many happy customers. One customer encouraged him to sell meat at the Orangeville Farmers Market. Speers Farm Amaranth has been there ever since, Wayne had also tried a couple of Markets in the city where he gained several customers.  Speers Farms has catered to events and supplied meat to a few local restaurants over the years. Wayne really enjoyed doing the markets, Brampton, Orangeville Fair, and the Fireworks are just a few that he has done over the years. Wayne had met so many people who had become not only customers, but also his friends. Sadly, Wayne Speers passed away on July 2, 2015.

Michele Harris – Headwaters Tourism

This year marks a very exciting year for Michele and Headwaters Tourism. Michele has spearheaded the initiative to re-brand Headwaters and has been quite successful on this project in a very short period of time. Michele strives to promote all businesses in Headwaters (including Dufferin County) and actively engages with municipal partners to help them meet their tourism needs. In her 6th year as the Executive Director for Headwaters Tourism, Michele is continually working within the regional, municipal & provincial political framework to leverage activities and integrate strategies into creative and innovative partnerships. She also serves on the boards of a number of provincial and municipal tourism and economic development organizations.

Dr.Raj Khanuja – Headwaters Dental

Headwaters Dental’s voluntary project, DOING POSITIVE…,  offered a day of free dentistry, which included filings, extractions and cleanings, to help out anybody in the community who for some reason has no access to a dentist. We provided free dental care to 35 patients who otherwise could not have afford to see a dentist. This was our 4th year of DOING POSITIVE… in my backyard project offering $11,700 worth of dental services. To date Headwaters Dental has contributed $45,000 of free services.

Jamie-Lee Higginson – Prim Pickins

Jamie-Lee’s small-town upbringing, hands-on and humble approach to business and life has earned her respect and acknowledgement as “someone to watch” within the world of women in business. Jamie-Lee created Prim Pickins, a furniture and home decor company unlike any other. As demand for her products increased, Jamie-Lee was often contacted by retail store owners who had heard about her business asking for wholesale price lists. After making the jump into wholesale, Jamie-Lee was able to create her own wholesale customer base which included  over a hundred stores across Canada. Jamie-Lee has partnered with distribution company and this partnership has seen
Prim Pickins customer base grow by the hundreds to include major retailers such as Sears, Lawtons Drugs,  Amazon, Hallmark, Home Hardware and more.

Derek Bennett – Bennett Consulting / Optimist Club of Orangeville

Derek Bennett has a true passion for helping the Dufferin Community as a whole. This includes it’s Residents and the Business Community. Derek currently sits on the Board and is the VP of the Optimist Club of Orangeville, who serve our community through activities that encourage the development of youth. His involvement with raising Sponsorships and Donations, and administering Club Media and Promotions has contributed to the success of such great events as the Maple Syrup Festival, Christmas in the Park (winner of 2014 Hills of Headwaters A Taste of Tourism Awards – “Tourism Event or Festival of the Year”), and winning “Best Overall Float” in the Orangeville Kin Club Santa Clause Parade. Derek is also the President of Bennett Consulting Computer Services. A Chamber Member since 2009; his Company provides Professional IT Services to the Commercial, Academic, Residential, and Non-Profit Community. His Company received the 2014 BEA Award for Small Office – Home Office Excellence.

Elaine Stone – The Power Pages/ Living Spaces Magazine 

Elaine has built a successful local business that serves the needs of the local community. The business continues to change and grow and provides new services as the community does so as well. Elaine has served on the board for Safe Communities Dufferin for many years, actively working to make our community a safe one for our families as well as her own. In a very competitive industry against media giants, the Power Pages continues to thrive and grow, adapting to serve the needs of the changing public. Elaine actively supports other local businesses both in her business and her personal life, always promoting and frequenting local establishments and working with them to help them have a presence in the public eye.