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Vaughan Chamber gets down to business of picking award

It’s all over but the counting.

The passing of the nomination deadline for the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce’s 2008 Business Achievement Awards means the hard work of picking the winners begins in earnest.

The chamber, which turned 30 this year, will hand out the awards for the 19th time at an Apr. 17 ceremony that will be attended by some of the brightest lights of Vaughan’s business community, chamber President and Chair Peter Campitelli said this week.

“A lot happens in that night,” he said. “You see a lot of leaders in the community.

“I love the fact that it’s our signature event because it really reflects what the chamber is about.”

The chamber’s panel of judges will spend the next few months sifting through all the nominations received by the Dec. 14 deadline. They will sit down with each of the nominees for 45-minute interviews, before lengthy deliberations and finally, the balloting.

There’s a lot of material to cover, too, judging by the numbers. There are roughly 8,000 businesses eligible for nomination in Vaughan in nine categories — including Business of the Year and the Mayor’s Corporate Citizen Award — and only about 10 judges, “give or take”, Campitelli said.

“These sessions are grueling,” he said. “What we want to do is put together a process that’s as transparent as possible.

“Even the ballot counting is done with several individuals there to act as checks and balances — and then each ballot is double checked.”

Once the judges’ votes are counted, the top three scorers in each category are informed of their finalist status and a professional video crew is dispatched to capture a short vignette of each to be shown at the awards gala.

“I’ve seen other business awards done, and in many cases the winners know in advance,” Campitelli said. “There’s no suspense; it doesn’t generate conversation.”

He adds that only two Vaughan chamber officials know who the winners are before the awards are handed out.

“Here, the entire room is watching and they come to their own conclusions who they think might be the winner,” he said.

Though details like who the victors will be and where the award gala will be held are still unknown, what is clear is who the master of ceremonies will be. Chamber CEO Deborah Bonk revealed this week that the job would go to Woodbridge-born TV personality Dina Pugliese.

Winners at the 2007 awards — MCed by another TV personality, Dini Petty — included Magnotta Winery for Business of the Year, the Kortright Centre for the Mayor’s Corporate Citizen Award and Dave & Buster’s in the Hospitality category.

Vaughan Today
Online: December 15, 2007 [link]