One representing small and medium-sized enterprises and another larger employers, Petroforma Laboratories of St. John’s and the College of the North Atlantic were named Employers of Distinction Monday at a luncheon event in St. John’s, hosted by the Employers Council of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The two were chosen from a short list based on corporate questionnaires, considering: “workplace and atmosphere,” “health and safety practices,” “community presence,” “productivity and innovation” and “corporate responsibility.”
“I think it’s really exciting,” said Petroforma president and CEO Michael Hanrahan, speaking with reporters. “We really respect the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers Council, the competition is really heavy and it’s a great honour for a small Newfoundland and Labrador company.”
But he suggested, beyond formal awards, people take a moment to offer up a bit of encouragement to a local businesses they value.
“I think right now we’re facing some realities as a province, as a whole. But even just as a small business owner, I’m thinking back to seven years ago, when, you know, my diet was ramen noodles and Kraft Dinner and now it’s back to meat and potatoes again,” he said (the company recorded 15 per cent growth and now has plans for expansion into Nova Scotia).
“When you start to grow a small company, the community has to really reach out and support those people, and just pick up the phone and say hey, thanks for all you’re doing. Hang in there. And that’s really the essence of the message.”
Executive director of the N.L. Employers’ Council, Richard Alexander said the winners responded rapidly to change, standing as examples for other employers in the province.
The luncheon featured a keynote speech from federal minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy Foote, who took the opportunity to announce two government supply contracts awarded to companies in this province. The first, valued at roughly $296,000 was issued to GRI Simulations Inc., for an advanced simulator for the training of offshore workers. The second contract was issued to Compusult Ltd., for a mobile app useful for military communications. Both companies are based in Mount Pearl.
Foote said roughly 40 per cent of all government supply and service contracts are awarded to small and medium-sized enterprises, suggesting potential opportunities for local employers.
2015 Employer of Distinction Awards Shortlist
• Commissionaires Newfoundland and Labrador
• Vigilant Management
• College of the North Atlantic (WINNER)
• Petroforma Laboratories (WINNER)
• Anaconda Mining
• Eastern Health