CAEP members recognized for innovations in their community

Awards night for any organization is an important way to recognize members for their work and it was no different for municipalities

Awards night for any organization is an important way to recognize members for their work and it was no different for municipalities in central Alberta last week.

The Central Alberta Economic Partnership (CAEP) hosted its annual general meeting Nov. 29 in Red Deer and there were three awards being presented: Community Spirit, Innovative Business and Entrepreneurial Community of the Year.

Winner of the Community Spirit was Trochu, the Active Creative Engaged (ACE) community committee won the award for constructing a 2,714 metre, gravel-based trail system networking throughout the town. The award also credits the group for consulting with community groups to see what was needed most and each one stated the trail system.

The Innovative Business Award was given to Fiber-Werx International in Sylvan Lake for its innovations and growth in the fiberglass industry. Owner Scott Getschel said it was during the economic downturn that the company had to reinvent its business.

“It’s great to be recognized,” stated Getschel.

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Susan Samson feels it benefits the whole community to be recognized. “I’m thrilled! It’s a win for us all.”

Economic development officer Matt Cornall feels Fiber-Werx deserved the win, especially after he learned more about the company and its many innovations.

The award for Entrepreneurial Community went to the Town of Three Hills for developing a general store. The purpose of the project was to give artisans and home-based businesses another opportunity to flourish. Manager Jacqueline Buchanan was hired to operate the store and she was proud of the recognition the town received.

“It’s great to get that point reinforced that we’re heading in the right direction,” stated Buchanan. She advises those communities interested in developing their own general store should consider starting small.

Chairman Al Kemmere spoke to attendees about the goals of CAEP and said the organization focuses on a variety of ideas to benefit its members.

▪ To provide education and training to members. “It’s our job to help you in doing your economic development.” Programs and tools diversify businesses in communities. “If we can’t get them for you we try and find them somewhere.”

▪ Community well-being is to enhance the social fabric for residents in an area. “It’s a whole new approach of what we’ve ventured into.”

▪ Communication with members. CAEP works to inform its members of its endeavours and lessons learned from them.

▪ Opportunities. Using research to help identify areas in a community where there are areas of economic development.

There were four openings on the board of directors and members voted on those who were nominated; Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood, county representative; Coun. Will Taylor of the Town of Blackfalds, towns/villages representative; and businessman Harvey Welsh from the Town of Olds are returning directors. Coun. Rod McDermand for Lacombe County, county representative is a new director.

Mayor Larry Henkelman, along with Coun. Loanna Gulka, Coun. John Jacobs and economic development officer Sarah Olson represented the town at the meeting. Ponoka representatives of ATCO Gas attended as they were nominated for the Innovative Business Award for their work during the company’s 100-year anniversary.