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Biotechnology firm wins two awards from St. John’s Board of Trade

From left, Neala Quigley, Sophie Harrington and Chris Gardner of Sequence Bio, and Tom Handley, manager of government relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, who presented the community impact honours.
From left, Neala Quigley, Sophie Harrington and Chris Gardner of Sequence Bio, and Tom Handley, manager of government relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, who presented the community impact honours. - Kenn Oliver

Surprising Sequence of events

In both his trips to the stage to accept honours at the 25th annual St. John’s Board of Trade Business Excellence Awards, Sequence Bio president and CEO Chris Gardner made sure the company’s 17 employees were recognized.

“As a newer company founded in 2013, everything we do we have to create and everything we create has to be done by our team,” said Gardner, whose biotechnology firm claimed the titular Business Excellence Award and the Community Impact Award (under 20 employees) at the Delta St. John’s Hotel and Conference Centre.

“Without them, without the skills they bring, we wouldn’t have been able to be where we are today and we certainly wouldn’t be here accepting these awards.”

While the Business Excellence Award recognizes a company and its employees for contributions to the community and the economy through exemplary customer service, reliability, productivity and innovation, the Community Impact Award singles out Sequence for its efforts in the community.
The company participated in events such as the CIBC Run for the Cure, the Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador’s coffee break, and the Choices for Youth Coldest Night of the Year walk, just to name a few, and used its own social media platforms — to the tune of 82,000 interactions — to promote fundraising activities and raise awareness.

Moreover, because the company sees the value of such engagement, employees are encouraged to get involved with community organizations.

In accepting the honour, Gardner shined the light back on those they assist.
“These are people who show up every morning and commit to making our community a better place and if we’re able to lend just a little bit of time, treasure or talent to make their impact even bigger, I think that’s something we all should do.”
As successful as 2017 was for Gardner and the Sequence team, they’re hoping 2018 is even better. The company is awaiting regulatory approval on its proposed Newfoundland and Labrador Genome Project, which aims to track the genetic makeup of people from this province.
“That was submitted in August and we’re expecting feedback any day now,” says Gardner.

If you factor in the Community Builder Volunteer of the Year Award won by Team Broken Earth founder Dr. Andrew Furey, Sequence Bio took home three honours on the day. Furey is a member of the company’s board of directors.

What started as a medical relief effort in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquakes that left more than a quarter million people dead has since grown to include over 1,000 medical professionals volunteering in Haiti, Nepal, Bangladesh, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

“This started as a conversation over a cup of coffee between three people and has grown now to have over 1,000 people volunteering on the ground in five developing countries throughout the world,” Furey said. When people say Newfoundland and Labrador can’t achieve great things, I point to our example.”

More than 50 nomination packages were received for this year’s awards and an impartial panel of previous year’s winners judged applications.

Other awards and the winners were:

Community Impact (20+ employees): Newfoundland Power

Provided nearly $60,000 in support of local over 30 communities through donations and sponsorships, and over 3,000 volunteer hours annually from its employees.

Workplace Excellence: Anaconda Mining

The company, winner of the Profit Magazine award as one of the best places to work in Atlantic Canada, has a strong commitment to employee education, training and mentoring, while encouraging ingenuity, creativity and independent thinking.

Leader in Growth and Sales: Ray Agency

The independent, strategic and creative advertising agency has increased its revenue by 367 per cent over two years. This fall, Canadian Business and Profit Magazine named it one of the top new growth companies.

Marketing and Promotional Creativity: Spirit of Newfoundland Productions

To celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2017, Spirit of Newfoundland Productions launched a five-month campaign that focused on its brand of music, magic, love and laughter to communicate their cause, which is the Masonic Hall’s restoration fund and event ticket sales. (Co-owner Peter Halley and performer Shelley Neville were hosts for this year’s awards show.)

Customer Service and Reliability: Murray Premises Hotel

The modern boutique hotel, located in a registered historic site structure, received a seventh straight certificate of excellence through Trip Adviser, held firm as one of the top three hotels in St. John’s.

Innovative Solutions: Fonemed

The company provides remote tele-medidic and biometric monitoring to 10 million individuals worldwide and in 2017 inked a 10-year deal worth $2.1 million to provide clinical operations for Saskatchewan’s provincial 811 service line.

Entrepreneurial Spirit: Borrowed & Blu

Owner Andrea Hounsell has doubled the annual billings for her event planning and design company over the last two years. This coming spring, the company will expand operations by moving into a new showroom and warehouse.

 

kenn.oliver@thetelegram.com

Twitter: kennoliver79

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