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Mayor’s innovation awards recognize organizations and individuals that transform ‘whole community’

Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman made a cameo for this year’s mayor’s innovation awards, an initiative he started “to recognize creativity, innovation, new services, new products, new ways of doing things that were blazing a trail to success in our community.”

15 judges from diverse industries and backgrounds selected winners and runner ups from more than 40 organizations in four categories namely creative collaboration, pivot point, community impact, and shift disturber. 

Lehman said the awards were created “to tell some of the stories that don’t often get told, the ideas that can transform a business or an organization, or indeed, our whole community.”

The four categories “truly represent the big picture of what we feel innovation is all about,” said Stephannie Schlichter, director of Invest Barrie. 

Creative Collaboration

“The creative collaboration category recognizes two or more companies or organizations that have forged an alliance and reached new heights or achievements that they couldn’t have alone,” Schlichter said. “Contributions may be across sectors, industries, geographies or verticals. Milestones may span the development of new products, services, supply chains, operations and beyond.”

Theatre by the Bay and Tourism Barrie were the category co-winners. While, UPlift Black and the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre were joint first runners-up. Talk is Free Theatre was the second runner-up.

Pivot Point

“The pivot point category highlights a company or organization that has discovered and pursued opportunities to grow and unexpected directions. When faced with market or operational challenges. A need to purposefully take action with risk was addressed and implemented,” Schlichter said. 

Black Controls Company Inc. won this year. Ask for Directions Training was first runner-up and Baker Studios was second runner-up.

Community Impact

Schlichter said “the community impact award celebrates an organization or individual that has stepped up to proactively build connection, resilience and morale among berry residents, businesses or cultural communities.” 

Michael Agema of AGEMA Work won the category while Ryan’s Hope was first runner-up and  

YMCA of Simcoe-Muskoka was second runner-up.

Shift Disturber

Lehman especially had special praise for this category. He said it “recognizes a unique individual whose contribution and unique approach to things is really worth celebrating and recognizing.” 

“This award looks to an individual who has championed innovation in their organization or community, where others see opposition, they see opportunity. This individual is a powerhouse of creative problem solving, shaking up norms, and spearheading strategic solutions in the midst of uncertainty,” Schlichter said. 

Marcia Woods of FreshSpoke was the winner this year. The first runner up was Nikki Glahn and 

Brotech Precision CNC was second runner-up.

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