2023 Surrey Business Excellence Award Winners Announced 
by Surrey Board of Trade

November 10, 2023


SURREY – On Thursday, November 9, the Surrey Board of Trade recognized eight winners at their 
25th annual Surrey Business Excellence Awards, with Presenting Sponsors Rogers Business, TD Bank and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, and Supporting Sponsor DP World Canada. Over 450 people were in attendance at the event with Master of Ceremonies Mark Madryga of Global BC leading the program.

“The Surrey Board of Trade focused on the strength and innovation within every entrepreneur to take an idea and use it as the foundation for building a business. They are inspirational – from the very small business to the large business to the not for profit organization to the very innovative young entrepreneurs,” said Anita Huberman, President and CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

The judging team’s evaluation assessed the following competencies: organizational profile, leadership, strategy development and planning, customer focus and market knowledge, employee learning and people focus, process management, supplier/partner focus, community involvement, and overall business performance.

2023 Surrey Board of Trade Surrey Business Excellence Award Winners:

Business Person of the Year: Dr. Paul Ghotra, CIMtech Green Energy Mfg. Inc.  – Dr. Paul Ghotra, the Founder and CEO of CIMtech Green Energy Mfg Inc., has led a distinguished career spanning over three decades. With a background in manufacturing engineering and precision mechanics from India’s leading technical university and BCIT, Paul is a visionary leader and strategic thinker. Under his leadership, CIMtech Green Energy Mfg Inc. has thrived. The company specializes in manufacturing electrolyzers and hydrogen fuel cell assemblies, drawing from over 20 years of experience in the hydrogen energy sector. Paul’s visionary leadership propels CIMtech’s innovation and excellence, firmly establishing the company, and Surrey, as a pivotal player in the green energy and manufacturing sector.

Business Excellence Winner with 1-10 Employees: Back On Track Recovery Ltd. – Back On Track Recovery was founded in 2012 to provide a safe and nurturing home where people struggling with addiction, homelessness, and mental health challenges can come together and pursue a better life through recovery. Currently, Back On Track is working on opening a new facility for women called The Castle, which will offer first and second-stage housing for up to 18 women. Its Fortress community is safe-stage housing for men and, simultaneously, the headquarters for Back On Track Recovery. What started as a single rented home in Newton has now grown to have supported over 3,000 clients and operate eight separate homes where residents can transition after early recovery and begin to return to the workplace or pursue their educational goals.

Business Excellence Winner with 11 – 40 Employees: Big Dig Excavating Ltd. – Big Dig Excavating is a family-operated business in Surrey that has served the Metro Vancouver area since 2017. They possess over 70 years of combined operating experience. Big Dig builds on safety, quality, reliability, integrity, communication, and respect. Based on these values, they take pride in providing excavation services, reliable heavy equipment rentals, landscaping and snow removal. Some of the major contracts that they collaborate on include YVR and the Broadway SkyTrain Station. The company boasts an A+ rating and accreditation by the Better Business Bureau and their customer testimonials are a point of honour. Big Dig has expanded its client base by including private contractors and municipal contracts and aims to extend its operations into the Interior, particularly Kelowna and Kamloops.

Business Excellence Winner with 41+ Employees: Lotus Terminals Ltd. – Lotus Terminals Ltd. is an asset-based transportation and freight management enterprise, operating since 2012. They are your one-call freight management solution for local and worldwide needs. Their team of experienced and caring professionals work out of the state-of-the-art, ten-acre facility that features various freight handling equipment with heavy weight capacities of over 100,000 pounds, overhead cranes, laydown areas, reefer plugs, and a government-certified 80-foot platform scale. Their freight management services now include intermodal rail shipping services across North America, servicing all major ports, rail terminals and more. They also offer flatbed trucking equipment for full truckload and less than truckload dry van needs, including oversized, over-dimensional and overweight freight.

Not-for-Profit of the Year: UNITI – UNITI, formed by the collaboration of the Semiahmoo House Society, Peninsula Estates Housing Society and The Semiahmoo Foundation, has been a cornerstone of the Surrey and White Rock communities since 1958. Their dedicated work directly impacts 500 individuals with intellectual disabilities or acquired brain injuries and provides quality, affordable housing to 250 tenants. With a team of over 300 staff members and numerous dedicated volunteers, UNITI operates in various services and departments, including community inclusion, inclusive housing, employment, and more. Guided by its overarching mission, UNITI ensures that people with disabilities lead self-directed lives in the community at a reasonable cost while upholding their rights and individual choices. Their combined annual budget of nearly $20 million reflects their commitment to making a meaningful impact, holding the highest accreditation level from the Council on Accreditation.

New Business of the Year: Safe Sweat Fitness Ltd. – Founded in 2021, Safe Sweat Fitness is a revolutionary hybrid fitness studio measuring 2,700 square feet, pioneering a unique approach to fitness with private workout spaces called FITsuites. This innovation allows members to focus on their mental and physical well-being in a distraction-free environment, free from the anxiety of public gyms. Each FITsuite is meticulously equipped with cutting-edge fitness gear and recovery technology. Members reserve their FITsuite through the Safe Sweat app and have the flexibility to exercise individually, with a friend, guided by a trainer, or access to a digital fitness library. They can even personalize the ambiance, adjusting lighting, airflow, and music. This unique approach fosters consistency among members, improving mental and physical wellness making Safe Sweat a transformative fitness experience.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Janine Cindy Santiago-Nagi, Sun City Optics – Janine Santiago-Nagi’s arrived in Canada 13 years ago. She studied instrumentation and automation engineering. After working in the oil and gas industry for five years, Janine decided to follow her mother’s footsteps and transitioned from an engineer to an optician. In October 2018, she acquired Sun City Optics, a reputable eyecare practice in Kamloops, serving the community for 15 years. The clinic offers expert guidance and vision services, especially for newcomers to Canada. The commitment to exceptional care and continuous learning has earned Janine recognition. Sun City Optics was selected as a finalist for Canada Eyecare Practice of the Year in 2021 and 2022. In March 2022, Sun City Optics expanded to a second location in Surrey. Indeed, Janine’s dedication and expertise continue to impact her community positively.

The event also saw the 8th Corporate Social Responsibility Recognition Award, presented to Back On Track Recovery. This award was created to recognize a business working to improve the lives of their employees and to enhance the civic environment in which they operate, through environmental, social and governance principles.

The Surrey Board of Trade thanks the corporate sponsors who made this important recognition event possible.

For further information, please contact Anita Huberman, President and CEO,
Surrey Board of Trade, at 604-634-0342 or anita@businessinsurrey.com.


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