Black Tie Awards celebrate best in Valley

A dog, a robot and a sold-out crowd all combined to honour the best of the business community at the 20th annual Black Tie Awards.

A dog, a robot and a sold-out crowd all combined at Brentwood College on Saturday night to honour the best of the business community at the 20th annual Black Tie Awards.

Presented by the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce and a variety of sponsors, the awards recognized top names in eight categories, along with Lifetime Achievement Award winner Jim Dias.

Winners are nominated first by the community, then go through a rigorous process to narrow the field to three finalists in each category.

Duane Shaw of Mill Bay Marine Group, who took home the Black Tie for Business Achievement 20 or more Employees, summed up the feeling of the business community when he accepted his award, saying “It isn’t about the place, it is absolutely about the people,” whom he called “fantastic and substantial.”

Other winners were Chris and Leigh Davies of Mid-Island Ink Depot in the Customer Service category; Cathy King was Volunteer of the Year for her work for muscular dystrophy, Pay it Forward Crew, Warmland Shelter and others; Judy Stafford and her team at Cowichan Green Community took home top honours in the Green Business category; Young Entrepreneur went to Jacqueline Bergstrom and Christina Hanson of Backwoods Soap & Candle Co.; Naomi and Andreas Kunert of Ancient Art of Stone won Art in Business; Harold W. Wallace of H.W. Wallace Cremation & Burial Centre Inc. won Business Achievement 1-10 Employees; and Sebastien Martin of Wedderspoon Organic Inc. took home Business Achievement 11-19 Employees.

Dias, longtime Chief Administrative Officer for the Municipality of North Cowichan, as well as avid Rotarian and tireless worker for Providence Farm several other community organizations was given the Lifetime Achievement Award to thunderous applause.