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Viking Air lands Exporter of the Year and the Premier’s Award for Job Creation

November 23, 2012 (Vancouver, BC) - Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters British Columbia (CME-BC) and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training are pleased to announce the winners of the 30th annual BC Export Awards following today’s awards ceremony in Vancouver. Ten BC companies were honoured for their outstanding contribution to the province's export industry, with Viking Air claiming two of the top spots. 

The milestone event was attended by hundreds of export industry representatives and government officials, including the Honourable Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and the Minister Responsible for Labour.

“The Premier and I would like to extend our congratulations to all the winners of the 2012 BC Export Awards and to CME-BC for their remarkable efforts to celebrate industry excellence at the BC Export Awards this afternoon,” said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and the Minister Responsible for Labour. “As part of the BC Jobs Plan, our Government is committed to opening new markets and expanding existing ones for B.C. products and services.” 

Viking Air claimed the Exporter of the Year award and the Premier’s Award for Job Creation. The Sidney, BC based aviation company has global exports to 18 countries with a projection of $400 million in exports over the next four years. Viking Air is one of only two aircraft manufacturers in Canada and is known for its successful revival of the renowned de Havilland Twin Otter. The company has 570 employees and has increased its employment by 380 percent between 2009 and 2011.

HootSuite’s Ryan Holmes earned the Leadership Award for his role as the creator of the world’s leading social media management company. HootSuite is recognized as the premier system for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ Pages from one secure, web-based dashboard. Many of the world’s top companies use HootSuite, including MacDonald’s Corporation, Tiffany & Co. and IBM.

The BC Export Awards celebrate industry excellence with nine sector awards and three individual awards, including the Leadership Award, International Business Studies Award and the Exporter of the Year Award. This year close to 400 nominations were received. Every application was carefully evaluated by a selection committee using criteria established for each award to select the top three finalists for all nine sectors.

The 2012 BC Export Awards winners are:

Advancing Technology and Innovation Award:  Norsat International  Inc.
Norsat International Inc. from Richmond is a leading provider of innovative communication solutions that enable the transmission of data, audio and video for challenging applications and environments. www.norsat.com

Consumer Products Award:  Ironwood Clay Company
Ironwood Clay Company from Richmond is the world's largest supplier of skin care products using natural oceanic clay. Ninety percent of Ironwood's revenues come from the private label clay-based products it supplies to companies like The Body Shop, Nu Skin and Avalon Organics. www.ironwoodclay.com

Sustainability Award:  Cascadia Windows
Cascadia Windows from Langley is an industry leader in the innovation and production of fiberglass construction products featuring the highest energy efficiency and durability on the market today. www.cascadiawindows.com

Manufactured Products Award:  Nuheat Industries
Nuheat Industries of Richmond is a manufacturer of North America’s leading electric radiant floor heating system and the exclusive North American distributor of Fujikura heat trace cable. www.nuheat.com

Digital Media & Entertainment Award:  Big Bad Boo Studios
Big Bad Boo Studios is a state-of-the-art animation studio based in Vancouver that produces culturally rich cartoons for children including Babak & Friends and Mixed Nutz (PBS). www.bigbadboo.ca

Professional Services Award:  Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd.
Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. is a Vancouver-based global engineering and environmental engineering firm providing services to the oilsands, mining, power, transportation, offshore and pipeline, and water resources sectors worldwide.  www.klohn.com

Natural Resources Award:  Tolko Industries Ltd.
Vernon based, Tolko Industries is a leading manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of forest products including lumber, unbleached kraft papers, panel products, co-products, biomass power, and a growing number of specialty wood products. www.tolko.com

New Exporter Award:  Corvus Energy Ltd.
Corvus Energy is a global supplier of energy solutions for industrial, commercial and environmental applications. The company provides high powered lithium ion batteries for heavy industrial operations.  www.corvus-energy.com

Leadership Award:  Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite
Holmes has grown HootSuite from a lean startup to a global leader in social media with 5 million users, including 79 of the Fortune 100 companies. He is an authority on the social business revolution, quoted in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal and called upon to speak at TEDx and SXSW Interactive Conferences. An angel investor and advisor, he mentors startups in Canada and around the world. Through HootSuite University, Holmes partners with major universities to deliver social media coursework to the next generation of business leaders. www.hootsuite.com

International Business Studies Award:  Cory Boles, Sauder School of Business
Cory Boles is a student at the Sauder School of Business at UBC working towards his Bachelors of Commerce and the force behind an initiative to start an international case competition in Vancouver in March 2013. With twelve of the top schools in the world, representing six continents agreeing to send their teams, this event will be a milestone that highlights Vancouver’s achievements in international business studies. Cory has obtained the support of Sauder and the Commerce Students’ Society in the amount of $60,000.

Exporter of the Year Award
Premier’s Award for Job Creation:  Viking Air Limited

Viking Air manufactures aerospace parts and components in support of the de Havilland legacy fleet of aircraft, and launched the new Twin Otter series 400 aircraft production program in 2007. Viking’s employee group has experienced over 380 percent growth in the past two years and expects to increase by another 5 percent in 2013. The Sidney-BC based company works closely with many BC post secondary institutions to develop aerospace engineering programs for prospective employees. Since 2009, the company has experienced a 280 percent increase in global exports to 18 countries around the world. www.vikingair.com

The BC export industry is the second largest contributor to the BC economy, comprising 12,000 companies and accounting for $36 billion in exports, 400,000 jobs and $8.6 billion in wages. Although BC is expected to become one of Canada’s export leaders in the years to come, the industry is facing challenges related to a strong Canadian dollar which has weakened demand for exports, a skilled labour shortage, increasing competition, and economic uncertainty.

Sponsors of the 2012 BC Export Awards are RBC Financial Group, Export Development Canada, Air Canada Cargo, Air China, BCIT School of Business, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, UPS Canada, SYSPRO, Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, Advantage BC International Financial Centre, British Columbia Council for International Education (BCCIE), Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), FIOSA/MIOSA Safety Alliance of BC, BC Hydro Power Smart and WorkSafeBC.

For more information about the BC Export Awards visit www.bcexportawards.com.

Photos and interviews available upon request.


About the BC Export Awards
The BC Export Awards is the longest running ceremony of its kind in Canada, and celebrates the valuable role that the export industry plays in the BC economy. The awards are co-hosted annually by CME-BC and the Government of BC. The awards are open to all BC companies that have been exporting a product or service for two or more years. Companies are either nominated or self apply for the awards. The top three companies in each category are chosen by an independent panel of judges, selected by the co-hosts and the sponsors for their background, experience and objectivity. Since inception in 1982, the BC Export Awards has recognized the achievements of more than 345 BC exporters. www.bcexportawards.com

About the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME)
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters is Canada's largest trade and industry association. Its purpose is to advocate for manufacturers and exporters; build a more competitive business environment; provide critical and timely intelligence; and strengthen leadership through best practices and leveraging networks for business success. Through partnerships with other associations, CME's network extends to more than 100,000 companies from across Canada that are engaged in manufacturing, global business and service-related industries. www.cme-mec.ca

Media Contact:
Tanis Sullivan
Tanis Sullivan Communications
(604) 230-8008