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Ajax, Ontario, L1T 2Z9

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Ajax - Pickering Board of Trade



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2021 Business Excellence Awards


The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade (APBOT) Business Excellence Awards celebrate the achievements of our members and the local business community. Click here for the media release regarding this year’s celebration.

Business Excellence Award | 1-4 Employees


WINNER – World Event Centre

Sue Sutcliffe is an award-winning digital marketing specialist and self-professed geek translator who has been making digital marketing profitable since 1995. Sue is a sought-after digital marketing trainer and consultant whose witty, passionate and down-to-earth manner has propelled thousands of marketers, salespeople and business owners to embrace their online power, grow their networks, and drive leads. A pioneer in her industry and a leader in the business community, and when covid struck, Sue launched World Event Center, a virtual venue and service center that gathers large groups online like never before.


FINALIST – TechPeer Inc

TechPeer provides IT support, backup solutions, phone systems, and cybersecurity for small business. Our motto is to provide simple, scalable, and sensible technology solutions for our clients. We have a relentless commitment to customer service and transparency. We recognize that every business is different and needs a unique technology strategy to be successful. We take our role as your trusted technology partner seriously, making sure that your technology is helping drive growth in your business.


Connecting GTA

Connecting GTA is a private business networking group designed to support small and medium sized businesses in Ontario, Canada.
We have approximately 200 members and offer a wide variety of support and promotional activities to boost business and the economy.



We believe in making our customer’s life easier and more comfortable by providing our exceptional services. We offer affordable services because we think our customers deserve our best services at pocket-friendly pricing structures. Our experienced and professional team is always ready to provide their efficient and remarkable services. We offer durable and high-quality repair services. Our team typically requires 30-60 minutes for repairing all types of devices, including IT and repair solutions, website development, and social media marketing.


Sharleez Bridal

Every bride has an ideal wedding dress. Sharleez Bridal is a company that strives to bring forth a woman’s dream dress while providing a special and pleasant experience, so that the bride not only walks down the aisle happily, but wows everyone on the way.
In order to fulfill our promise of providing a bride with the best dress experience, a free one on one consultation is provided. This consultation is encouraged as it allows the consultant and the bride to work together and find the bride’s perfect dress.


Business Excellence Award | 5-15 Employees


WINNER – Durham Natural Health Centre 

Durham Natural Health Centre is a leading integrative health clinic dedicated to providing exceptional patient care. We have a team of health practitioners focused on providing integrative health care options for you and your entire family. DNHC was founded in 2012 by twin sisters and naturopathic doctors Dr. Natalie McCulloch ND and Dr. Nicole Sandilands ND. Our goals and vision are simple – to help everyone live their best life and we thrive to support the health of our community one family at a time.


FINALIST – Kids on Wheels & Seniors of Wheels

Angie Papas is the CEO and founder, of Kids and Seniors on Wheels, a transportation service based in Ajax, that caters to the clients on a personal level, and caring way.
With over 10 years of experience working with the community, she saw a need to extend her services and compassion to those in need, thus joining the “Homeless Task Force Committee”, and has expanded her services and availability to serve, and work, alongside the “Warming Centre at Doors of Compassion” in Ajax.


B.I.G Renovation & Design

B.I.G is a Multi Residential and Multi Commercial company that specializes in custom builds and large scare renovations. The team at BIG has years of experience bringing the grandest visions to life. This scales from revitalizing downtown heritage buildings to constructing multi-unit housing and complex residential renovations. Regardless of how big or small your next project may be, BIG is your guide through project management, permitting, design and construction to obtain your property goals. One of the grandest of projects we are proud of is Urban Market Picks and Social Hall that opened up on April 20th of 2021. This build stems from the importance of bringing a community together and be able to shop locally from small businesses in one large space. BIG is constantly growing and evolving, searching for projects, coming up with strategies and bringing those visions to life for a better community.


Big Red Oil

Big Red Oil, formerly First Choice Petroleum, has been in the Durham Region for over 30 years. Proudly providing name brand automotive lubricants, industrial and heavy-duty products as well as a full line of our Big Red brand products. Our story began in March 1991 under the name First Choice Petroleum. In the early stages of business, we sold almost exclusively Petro-Canada products. We opened a fuel service division, and this is where our business began to rapidly grow. We moved from Ajax to a new location on Bayly Street, Pickering. As our growth rate flourished in 2002, we sold the fuel division to Esso and as part of this sale, we changed our business name from First Choice to Big Red Oil. With our name change came growth, giving us more options for our customer base and allowing us to expand into new areas in our industry. We moved to a larger premise in 2013, and now in our 30th year we’re proud that we are still growing our business and expanding in Durham Region and the GTA.


QJS Specialty Cleaning Inc.

For over 30 years, QJS has focused on consistent excellence in the fields of Commercial Cleaning Services and Building Maintenance, proudly serving customers in the Greater Toronto and Durham Durham Region areas.
We understand that each customer is different, we strive to meet the unique needs of every business and residence that we clean.



Rodman’s Heating & Air Conditioning

Rodman’s Heating and Air Conditioning has a rich tradition of experience in the cooling and heating business. Tom and Alma Rodman founded the company in 1949 and grew the business steadily as Durham Region expanded. In 1994, the company changed hands but is still family-owned and operated, by Kirk Dick and family.
We began installing oil furnaces, moved on to gas furnaces, and later branched out into air conditioning, which is now a big part of our business with new housing developments exploding all across Durham. Gas fireplaces and water heaters have also been added to our services.


Business Excellence Award | 16-49 Employees


Celebrating Business Excellence | 16-49 Employees – Lev 2 Millwork

We design, build and install beautiful cabinetry. Our team has been crafting quality kitchens, bathroom vanities and customized storage space for more than 10 years. Whether you are building a new home or renovating an existing project, we want to bring your vision to life.




Business Excellence Award | 50+ Employees


WINNER – Tetra Tech

Serving the Canadian nuclear industry for more than 30 years, Tetra Tech’s award-winning team of over 600 professionals has experience in all aspects of planning, design, licensing, construction, operations, maintenance, decontamination, decommissioning, and environmental elements of facility life. Our resume includes modifications across the Darlington, Pickering and Bruce Power NGS, as well as the Nuclear Waste Management Facilities. Tetra Tech has become a key contributor and partner to OPG’s innovation initiative to increase both public and personnel safety margins as well as increasing efficiency of work tasks, which in turn lower operational costs and increase social license in the community.


FINALIST – City of Pickering 

As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet. An award-winning municipality, Pickering is slated for significant economic and residential growth; offering an unparalleled quality of life for those who live, work, and play here. Its dynamic City Centre has been designated by the Province of Ontario as both an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub, and continues to evolve as a preferred destination for creative learning, memorable events, and unique experiences at the heart of a vibrant, connected, and engaged community.


Business Excellence Award | New Business (two years or less)



ThryvX was founded by our two female CEOs who have brought their entrepreneurial dreams together.  We are your Virtual Executive Team. Our back-office services covers a broad range of expertise from Human Resources, Recruiting, Marketing, Business Systems, Procurement, Project Management and everything in between.  ThryvX strives to provide small and medium-sized businesses with access to the tools, strategic thinking, and executive leadership that has traditionally only been available to large corporations.  We are ready to put our experience to work to help our community of entrepreneurs grow their businesses.  Visit us at or by email at


FINALIST – GroundLevel Insights

GroundLevel Insights (GLI) is a movement science company leveraging mobile consumer location data to power business decisions. We aggregate and normalize 1000s of sources of anonymous consumer mobile location data in a privacy-compliant framework that is then feed through a machine learning AI engine to model and understand the movements of consumers in the physical world as they interact with businesses.

This currently helps businesses learn more about their customers and enables them to comprehend pre/post visit traffic, distance travelled and more.


Business Excellence Award | Not-for-Profit or Charity


WINNER – Luke’s Place

Luke’s Place is an award-winning non-profit organization solely devoted to the safety and experience of women and their children as they proceed through the family law process after fleeing an abusive relationship.

The only stand-alone family law support centre of excellence for abused women in Canada, Luke’s Place provides direct services to hundreds of women and their children in Durham Region every year.

We share our expertise with thousands of service providers across Ontario and Canada through training, resources, and mentoring. We also work with academics to conduct research and collaborate widely to advocate for improved access to justice for women and their children.


FINALIST – Feed the Need in Durham

Feed the Need in Durham is the regional food distribution hub for emergency food providers across Durham. FTND’s primary mission is to collect/rescue, process and distribute as much food as possible to our front line providers, including food banks, emergency meal programs, shelters, in-school nutritional programs and other social service agencies supporting clients facing food insecurity.  With the support of our caring community, dedicated volunteers and network of emergency providers,  Feed the Need has shared over 2.2 million pounds, since April 2020, with our neighbors who need it most.  Together, we are nourishing our community.


Community Justice Alternatives logoCommunity Justice Alternatives

Community Justice Alternatives of Durham Region’s (CJA Durham) offers alternatives to the traditional legal system.  Our community mediation, restorative justice, and personalized anger management/partner assault programs for youth help Durham residents cope with conflict. Our efforts are designed to reduce violence within the community and at home.  With our help, adults obtain required community service hours. Also, we reintegrate diverse youth into the community, minimizing future conflicts with the law.


Durham College Centre for Cybersecurity

The Durham College (DC) Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation offers current and aspiring cybersecurity professionals, as well as public and private-sector organizations, access to applied research services and leading-edge education in cybersecurity to prepare for the ever-changing and complex threat landscape.

Business Excellence Award | Business Person of the Year


WINNER – Corette Miller

Corette brings over 20 years experience as a human resource professional to corporations of all sizes.

Her fresh, practical approach educates business owners on how to protect themselves from the turbulent early years as they grow and adapt to the market around them.

Corette has served as both Vice President and President of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce. She has a passion for public speaking and educating her peers.  She has held leadership roles in her community with organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters of southwest Durham, and the BNI Chapter of Momentum.


FINALIST – Ali Hirji

Ali Hirji, project lead at Durham College’s AI Hub and the Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation, has over 14 years of experience working on a variety of technology implementations.

With a specific interest in broadband communications, he has held senior roles in projects to enable remote connectivity, implement technical training, bolster cyber security frameworks and enhance mission critical applications. He has taken a lead role in securing funding for over 15 projects and establishing public-private partnerships.

Hirji is completing his PhD in communications and holds multiple research and teaching positions. He has been appointed as the lead of the siberXchange advisory.


Alexis Kofman

My name is Alexis Kofman and I am an innovator.

When people hear my name they think designer, builder, craftsman, entrepreneur, and businessperson. But what some may not know is that I am more than that. I am a wife, I am a friend, I am a mentor, I am a coach.

My passion is to build buildings, re-invent, re-energize and re-purpose but it is more important to me to build others up. I do not look around a room of my peers and see competition, I see a community. My ears are always open to the younger and sometimes the older generation who are seeking advice. I enjoy coaching others so that I can watch them succeed, not fail.

I look at the amazingly successful business people around me like my buildings…while most want to tear them down, I want to build them back up.


Azhar Khan

Azhar is a dedicated leader, double distinguished toastmaster, youth leadership program chair, certified kaizen coach, award winning speaker and a community activist, who feel so proud to serve the community, homeless, toastmasters, small businesses and youth. He has been in the key positions in automotive manufacturing, aftersales operations, customer retention management, logistics, supply chain management, business development, kaizen, project management and aerospace corporate sector for 20 + years and have successfully transformed many businesses.


Sue Sutcliffe

Sue Sutcliffe is an award-winning digital marketing specialist and self-professed geek translator who has been making digital marketing profitable since 1995.  Sue is a sought-after digital marketing trainer and consultant whose witty, passionate and down-to-earth manner has propelled thousands of marketers, salespeople and business owners to embrace their online power, grow their networks, and drive leads.  A pioneer in her industry and a leader in the business community, and when covid struck, Sue launched World Event Center, a virtual venue and service center that gathers large groups online like never before.



Click here to view the 2021 BEA Rules and Submission Guidelines.

Review the judging criteria for each category below:

Business Excellence Award | 1-4 Employees
Business Excellence Award | 5-15 Employees
Business Excellence Award | 16-49 Employees
Business Excellence Award | 50+ Employees
Business Excellence Award | New Business (two years or less)
Business Excellence Award | Not-for-Profit or Charity
Business Excellence Award | Business Person of the Year


The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade would like to congratulate our 2020 Business Excellence Award winners:

1-4 EMPLOYEES CATEGORY: Clarity Chiropractic
16-49 EMPLOYEES CATEGORY: Royal LePage Connect Realty
50+ EMPLOYEES CATEGORY: Provincial Sign Systems

BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR: Jim VanDusen, VanDusen Chevrolet Buick GMC