/Chamber looks ahead to gala 
Customer service award winners from the 2016 Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce awards gala.

Chamber looks ahead to gala 

By Angelica Ingram

Jan. 2 2016

The celebration of the 2017 Business and Community AchievementAwards may be months away but the Haliburton Highlands Chamber ofCommerce has already got the wheels turning on the popular event.

Set to take place March 11 2017 the awards gala recognizes someof the outstanding businesses and individuals in the community.

Next year will be no exception as the chamber prepares to hand outnine awards including business achievement entrepreneur of the yearand Highlander of the year.

Nominations for all award categories are now open and availablethroughout the county.

Chamber manager Autumn Smith says there will be a slight tweak tothe customer first employee award which was introduced last year.

“We actually have a new program that we’re going to be rollingout at the gala so we’re going to be making an announcement at thegala about what that is” she said.

Smith said it’s an important category as good customer serviceshould be recognized and celebrated.

The event will take place at Pinestone Resort with ticketscosting $70 per person. They will be available to purchase inFebruary.

Nominations are due at the end of January with forms availableonline at www.haliburtonchamber.com at the Chamber office located at195 Highland St. as well as at library branches.

The 2017 awards will see a slight change to the judging processwith two levels.

The first level will include a panel of three judges that willscore each nominee based on criteria said Smith.

“It’s very basic and unbiased” she said.

The top three from each category will then move on to the secondlevel where judges will be assigned one category each and willresearch the business and prepare a written explanation about whythey chose the winner they did which is read at the gala.

The judging is anonymous.

Last year the chamber received 94 nominations.

“It keeps increasing and it’s great” said Smith. “Theother thing we’re encouraging businesses to do is not to be shyabout asking their customers to nominate them.”

Anyone can submit more than one nomination.

The awards are co-ordinated by a gala committee which isspearheaded by Robin Dillane.

Smith is looking forward to the gala as it’s a time to reflectand celebrate those who work hard year round.

“This is such a great chance to really boost them up and sayyou know we recognize the work that you’re doing. All of thesethings that you do are not unnoticed … it’s just a chance to giveback to the businesses.”

For more information visit www.haliburtonchamber.com.