PORT HAWKESBURY: The Strait Area Chamber of Commerce hosted their Annual General Meeting and Awards Gala on May 22 where the MacDonald Family of Midway Motors took home the prestigious Jack Hartery Memorial Lifetime Achievement in Business Award.
The award, named for Jack Hartery who was a long-time member of the leadership team at the Point Tupper paper mill, was established in 2003 with Joe Shannon as the inaugural recipient.
General manager Scott MacDonald, the third generation of his family to run the business, was overwhelmed accepting the award on behalf of his family among the almost 200 attendees. Their business began with K.R. MacDonald opening the original business in Middle River in 1926. Sons Jackie and Gordon MacDonald eventually took over sales, with their brother Bobby in the service department, in what proved to be an enormously successful family partnership. They achieved a major milestone in 1985 when they opened a second dealership in Port Hastings. In accepting the award, Scott attributed the success of their business to the long-time commitment of their family, staff and customers.
Owen MacLean was recognized with the Chamber’s Leadership Award bursary for NSCC students. This year’s President’s Award went to Danielle Patterson to recognize her commitment to the community and to the chamber of commerce, particularly with the chamber’s marketing and social media efforts.
Leon Burt receiving the Kevin Beaton Heart of the Community Award was also a highlight of the evening. Burt has dedicated many years to creating sport opportunities for youth, particularly for aspiring hockey players across the region. His dedication to the Strait Richmond Minor Hockey Association (where he has been a member of the board for over 12 years, taking on a variety of roles), along with his leadership role at the Freddie MacNeil Royals Gents Tournament is a true representation of his “pay it forward” spirit.
During the AGM portion of the evening, the chamber elected their board of directors for 2019/2020. Diana Martell of the ROC Society takes on the role of president. In Martell’s reflection on taking on the role, she noted that, “the chamber’s membership has grown by over 50 per cent in the last three years, increasing the strength of our business voice and representing all sectors of our economy.”
Martell will be supported by an executive committee including Richie Mann of Melford Atlantic Gateway as past president, Emily Rankin of Take Note Graphic Design as vice-president, Heidi MacInnis of Port Hawkesbury Paper as secretary, and Beth Groom as treasurer. Ten additional regular board members and six ex-official members were also elected to guide the efforts of the chamber over the next year.
Amanda Mombourquette, executive director of the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce, captured an important element of the evening, noting that “we’ve made some history here tonight. For the first time in our history as a chamber of commerce, we have a female taking the leadership role of president for our chamber! In fact, the entire incoming executive committee consists of strong women from across the region!”
The Strait Area Chamber of Commerce 2019 Spring AGM, Dinner and Awards Gala was sponsored by Port Hawkesbury Paper, the Town of Port Hawkesbury, 1015 The Hawk, and Sound Source Pro Audio and Lighting.