Waste hauler is Hamilton’s outstanding small business
An industrial waste hauling firm now expanding into the GTA is Hamilton’s outstanding small business for 2011.
Joseph Haulage Inc., of Binbrook, was honoured Monday at a Hamilton Chamber of Commerce evening gala at Carmen’s, which attracted more than 350 city business leaders.
The Sheraton Hotel was the winner in the large business category.
“We are all thrilled,” said Mirella Brun del Re, executive meeting specialist at the hotel, who accepted that award.
“Everyone worked so hard during the renovations.”
Owner Darko Vranich plans to upgrade the lobby within a year, following renovations to all the rooms.
Chamber judge Peter Ipema said the Sheraton stood out for its innovative and creative rewards for employees.
Joseph Haulage also focuses on employees, said president Geoffrey Joseph.
“We’ve invested a lot in safety and training and hiring. It’s the key to our success,” said Joseph.
Joseph Haulage grew revenues by $15 million between 2010 and 2011 and now operates 37 trucks, employs 30 people and more than 250 contract drivers.
The company focuses on employees, says Joseph, by promoting from within and paying tuition for staff to attend college or university.
The company has landed large contracts for Pan Am Games construction, TTC projects and the expansion of the 407, said Joseph, whose father Joseph K. Joseph founded the company in 1975.
Where there were 25 competitors 10 years ago, there are now just three, he said.
“We decided we would never win clients by price, but always by service. “
City developer Steve Kulakowsky was named the city’s young entrepreneur of 2011. He is a partner in Core Urban Inc., which is currently redeveloping a former school in the James Street North area into upscale condos called the Whitton Lofts.
“It is an honour to be included with Chris Farias,” Kulakowsky said of his fellow nominee, who founded marketing firm Kitestring.
“He does so much in the community, it’s an honour to be included in the same breath as him.”
Kulakowsky, a Hillfield Strathallan College and McMaster University graduate, attributed his success to his business partners and mentors David and Maureen Sauve.
“That’s something this community does so well, mentors its up-and-comers.”
Ipema said he was impressed by Kulakowsky’s willingness to take risks in buying properties.
“It really is fun to do this,” Ipema said of sitting on the judging committee. “Hamilton is just rife with entrepreneurship. We are so ready for growth in this city.”
ECE Software Solutions Inc., which saw its profits grow by 364 per cent, won the communication technology award. In one year revenues soared $300,000, by reaching out to domestic and foreign markets. The company now does business in more than 50 countries.
“I started off with $20 in my pocket and a dream,” chief operating officer Prahalad Ponna said after accepting the award.
“The Internet made it all possible, so I’d like to thank the Internet first and everyone else later.”
During the evening, chamber president Louise Dompierre announced that the business organization will shift its headquarters from the waterfront to the Standard Life building downtown.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina presented awards from the city’s economic development department for business retention and business attraction.
Awards went to Hamilton veterans Fox 40/ Fluke Transportation and Bermingham Foundation Solutions and to newcomers Canada Bread, and animation company Pipeline Studios.
“Thank you for getting this city to a place it’s never been before,” the mayor told those in attendance.
The night’s other awards went to:
Ironman (15 or more years in business) — Agro Zaffiro law firm
Century award: Forsythe Lubrication
Nonprofit: Victoria Park Community Homes
All the award winners will be forwarded for consideration at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce awards.
The gala capped off a daylong event, the city’s first Celebration of Business. The day included a Salute to Small Business luncheon hosted by the city’s Small Business Enterprise Centre, and the economic development department’s recognition of property excellence in the city’s business improvement areas.
Ron Buist, former marketing director of Tim Hortons and creator of the Roll Up the Rim to Win promotion, was the keynote speaker at the luncheon.
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