SUMMERSIDE – March 15, 2015 – The Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI has just honoured five enterprising people and businesses who are “excellent examples for other Island entrepreneurs and for future entrepreneurs,” says Chamber spokesperson Jeannette Arsenault.
“At the end of the evening, only a handful of people will leave here with a trophy in hand,” she said in her welcoming message to the more than 120 people present for the 14th Acadian Entrepreneurs’ Gala in Summerside March 14. “But truthfully, it is we, the other people in the room, who are the real winners since we get to benefit from the marvellous products and services that you offer us every day!”
This year, only 12 nominations were received for the five awards that were to be presented. “The selection committee was extremely impressed by the great quality of the nominations it received, even though they weren’t overly numerous,” added Arsenault. “Already, we consider all of the nominees to be winners since they all contribute exceptionally to our province’s economy, to the creation of jobs, to the development of our communities and to the provision of high-quality products and services.”
The spokesperson also reminded the winners and other finalists that they have “another huge advantage that the majority of your competitors don’t have: you offer services in two languages.” She therefore thanked them for their efforts and urged them to continue.
The 2015 award winners are:
- 2015 Young Enterprising Person of the Year – Kyle Gill, Charlottetown
- 2015 Business Woman of the Year – Tanya Gallant, Cameleon Productions, Charlottetown
- 2015 Co-op of the Year – Evangeline-Central Credit Union, Wellington, Tyne Valley and O’Leary
- 2015 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year – Julien Arsenault, the Sanford-Arsenault Farm, Mont Carmel
- 2015 President’s Award of Excellence – Urbainville Farms, Robert and Alfred Arsenault, Urbainville.
Sponsors for this year’s Gala were RDÉE Prince Edward Island, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Province of PEI (and its Rural Action Centres), the CBDC Central PEI, Evangeline-Central Credit Union, Radio-Canada Acadie, RDÉE Canada, The Co-operators (Mike Bradley Insurance Services), ProMax 2000 and RBC.
CUTLINE: During its 2015 Acadian Entrepreneurs’ Gala on March 14, the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI presented its five awards to, from left, Julien Arsenault from the Sanford-Arsenault Farm (2015 Distinguished Entrepreneur), Alfred and Robert Arsenault from Urbainville Farms (2015 President’s Award of Excellence), Becky Chaisson and Alfred Arsenault from Evangeline-Central Credit Union (2015 Co-op of the Year), Kyle Gill of Charlottetown (2015 Young Enterprising Person of the Year) and Tanya Gallant from Cameleon Productions (2015 Business Women of the Year).
For more information:
Raymond J. Arsenault
Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI
(902) 854-3439, Ext. 231
2015 YOUNG ENTERPRISING PERSON OF THE YEAR – Sixteen-year-old Kyle Gill of Charlottetown is a musician, a karaoke host and a dance disc jockey but his real passion is for sound technology. He has a natural talent for understanding and operating the thousand-and-one nuances of the latest generation digital soundboards. In fact, he is the sound and light technician at almost all the events that take place at the Carrefour de l’Isle-Saint-Jean theatre. Among his biggest and most recent gigs were The Hay Babies, Ten Strings and A Goat Skin, Lisa LeBlanc and Carole Savoie, along with his school’s Christmas concert. He also finds great joy in teaching others how to use the soundboard. Other finalists in this category were Keith Turbide and Sophie Duguay, both from the Charlottetown area. In the photo, teenager Kyle Gill is seen accepting his 2015 Young Enterprising Person of the Year Award from Sonny Gallant, representing the provincial government (the award sponsor), and Acadian Chamber spokesperson Jeannette Arsenault.
2015 BUSINESS WOMAN OF THE YEAR – Tanya Gallant has been singing publicly since she was five years old. She won numerous prizes for her singing, performed in musical theatre productions on tour in Nova Scotia and Louisiana, was in the cast of the “Acadie en musique” concert series and was singer-manager of the group Chiquésa. She was a member of the East Coast Music Awards management team before moving out West, where she produced world-class events in Alberta and British Columbia. Back on PEI in 2011, she establish Cameleon Productions in Charlottetown to provide her services as a performer, an artistic director, a stage director, a cultural events producer, a community project manager and a consultant. Among her many clients are the World Acadian Congress, the PEI Festival of Small Halls, Anne & Gilbert: The Musical, the Evangeline Area Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival, Evangeline School’s 50th Anniversary Gala, the Abram-Village and Mont-Carmel Bicentennial Celebrations and the provincial Acadian National Holiday celebrations. Tanya also provides artistic career development services and wedding planning. The other finalists in this category were Louise Allaire of Summerside and Linda Lowther of Rustico. In the photo, Tanya Gallant, centre, accepts the 2015 Business Woman of the Year Award from Tania Bernard, left, representing the sponsor CBDC Central PEI, and Chamber spokesperson Jeannette Arsenault.
2015 CO-OP OF THE YEAR – Evangeline-Central Credit Union is the result of the 2012 amalgamation of Evangeline Credit Union (which had branches in Wellington and Tyne Valley) with Central Credit Union in O’Leary. The newly combined structure, making it the fourth largest credit union on PEI, is proud to proclaim it has 9,500 members and $130 million in assets. Together, the three branches employ 35 people full time and five people part-time. Services at the Wellington branch are completely bilingual. Even though the credit union today offers all modern, technological financial services 24 hours a day, it still maintains its original mission: to serve its member-owners and to meet their needs. It is managed by the members for the members. Each year, the branches give out $70,000 in donations and contributions to a vast series of community causes. In addition, it is a major sponsor of the Relay for Life, held annually to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. The other nominee in this category was the Coopérative de développement culturel et patrimonial de Mont-Carmel. Seen in the photo, from left, are Richard Simoens, executive director of Radio-Canada Acadie (sponsor of the 2015 Co-op of the Year Award), presenting the trophy to Evangeline-Central Credit Union representatives, president Becky Chaisson and general manager Alfred Arsenault. Chamber spokesperson Jeannette Arsenault helped with the presentation.
2015 DISTINGUISHED ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR – Back in 1965, Julien Arsenault got married and started buying land in Mont-Carmel to establish his own farm. He decided to specialize in raising beef. With the help of his brother Victorin and his nephews, he worked hard to expand the farm and to improve the quality of his meat. Their efforts to improve the quality and purity of their harvests, used to feed their cattle, also bore fruit. When Julien’s daughter Darlene Sanford returned from studying at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, she soon put into practice her newly learned knowledge to continue her father’s efforts. In no time, the Sanford-Arsenault Farm became known as one of the best beef farms on PEI. In fact, their meat is sold exclusively by Atlantic Beef Products of Borden-Carleton throughout the Maritimes and elsewhere in Canada. Julien, now 78 years old, retired from farming in 2012. Darlene continues to raise and sell some 400 head of beef every year, thereby providing tonnes of top-quality meat to beef-hungry Canadians. The other nominee in this category was Julien Bernard of Bernadale Farms of St. Philippe. Julien Arsenault is seen in the photo accepting his 2015 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award from Becky Chaisson, left, representing sponsor Evangeline-Central Credit Union, and Chamber spokesperson Jeannette Arsenault.
2015 PRESIDENT’S AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Robert Arsenault of Urbainville represents the fourth generation of his family to work in the fields of Urbainville Farms. His great-grandfather Calixte Arsenault could never have dreamed that his farm one would day become one of the biggest potato producers on PEI. Nowadays, Robert harvests some 1,500 acres of potatoes of nine different varieties. Sixty percent of his potatoes go to Cavendish Farms to be transformed into fries. Thirty percent are shipped off to Frito Lay in Kentville, N.S., to be made into potato chips. The remaining 10 per cent is sold as table stock or for seed. Robert’s father, Alfred, who is supposedly retired after running the farm for several decades, still continues to plan and harvest another 1,500 acres of soya, wheat and barley ever year. Robert recently acquired the former Small Fry plant in Urbainville to wash his potatoes before delivering them to processing plants. He also offers this washing service to other farms from the Western end of PEI, accommodating up to 100 full truckloads per day. Urbainville Farms provides work for six people full time year-round and for another 20-25 seasonal employees. The other nominee in this category was Thompson’s Woodcraft (Wilfred Thompson) of North Bedeque. Seen in the photo, is Sonny Gallant, left, who presented the 2015 President’s Award of Excellence on behalf of sponsor Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Winners are Robert and his father Alfred Arsenault from Urbainville Farms. Chamber spokersperson Jeannette Arsenault helped with the presentation.