Northern British Columbia Business and Technology Awards

The creativity and efforts of our Northern individuals and organizations were celebrated at the Northern British Columbia Business and Technology Awards on January 22 in Prince George. The awards recognized nominees for their key role in implementing technology and innovation to improve themselves and the communities in which they live. Awards were presented in 13 categories with winners being chosen from the 49 nominees. The recipients were deemed to be a role model for other entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations and had to have demonstrated leadership in their field.

West Moberly First Nations/Dunne-za Ventures Received The 2009 Aboriginal Business Award. This award is presented to a First Nations or Metis community, business, organization or individual that has developed, created or implemented innovative technology solutions to enhance a First Nations community or business.

West Moberly First Nations (WMFN) approached the expanding resource industry development within their traditional territory by devising a business strategy that supports an unwavering and exceptional commitment to their mandate: ?to protect and manage the land and environment for economic and cultural uses for our future generations?. They incorporate protection of treaty and aboriginal rights, and actively seek green industry solutions while working toward their long term goal of realizing economic self-sufficiency.

West Moberly First Nations through their wholly-owned, economic development management company Dunne-za Ventures, is initiating use of a new type of terrain protection ? a customized, inter-connective composite matting system. WMFN/Dunne-za has several hundred creek crossings to do on their seismic line projects so these light weight, buoyant mats will facilitate those and protect the fragile stream edge environments in the process. Their minimal weight reduces transportation costs and makes them easy to handle; and they are non-absorbent with an easy-to clean surface that eliminates vegetative and chemical site cross contamination.

WMFN is striving to become a leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency. In pursuit of this goal they are involved in a program through the BC Sustainable Energy Association working in partnership with the City of Dawson Creek to implement solar energy initiatives that reflect their conservation commitment and promote the use of clean energy. The program has four main components: training; knowledge sharing; public outreach; and installation planning. The Solar Communities project will provide training opportunities for WMFN in solar hot water installation, maintenance and inspection.

Dunne-za Ventures, in an effort to stabilize and support the community economy, works strategically with individual band member companies and community based companies to help maintain their businesses. Through their actions WMFN verifies their dedication to the health and sustainability of their community.

LAKE VIEW CREDIT UNION of Dawson Creek won the TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTER OF THE YEAR, an award that is presented to a company, individual or organization not in the technology industry that has demonstrated excellence through superior implementation of a technology tool or through an innovative approach to the use of technology in their business. Receiving the award are Lake View?s IT Manager, Andrew Free (centre), and Controller, Steve Adsley (left) with the sponsor?s representative, Randall Heidt, Manager of Communication Services for the College of New Caledonia.

Lake View Credit Union designed and implemented innovative technology projects to address customer and staff needs. Like many credit unions, they have developed their own website and online blog in-house. However, unlike all the others, this site has attracted attention all over Canada is in the running for an Achievement in Marketing Excellence award for 2009. All design, programming, scripting; all photos and video are created in-house and then incorporated in the website.

In recent months, Lake View Credit Union?s IT Department setup fibre optic links on their own private network to Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge. This was done in order to provide a high level of support for remote branches and will facilitate: server backup and disaster recovery; the use of IP based phones which allow telephone calls to be made over the internet and reduces communication costs amongst branches; and video conferencing capabilities for staff training, meetings, and education for members in remote communities.

Additionally, Lake View has created a custom intranet for use in applications such as staff orientation, security training, product education, anti fraud training and money laundering training. Its very unique and has attracted the attention of other Credit Unions across Canada.

Lake View Credit Union?s marketing department has a complete video editing suite and computer system and software to create their own licensed video content. The department brainstorms, designs and assembles video ads and mini movies for promotion. They use two high-definition digital video cameras for recording; supplementing them is a complete lighting system for studio recording. They have created videos for CJDC TV and Shaw Cable. Lake View is able to produce video very inexpensively with full control over the entire process from initial creative to pre and post production. From video format they can burn a DVD, export to a movie in flash for web delivery, and then stream the production onto the branch?s six large-screen digital TV?s.