Fourth Time’s the Charm -- Thanks for Digital Echidna’s Large Business of the Year Recognition
I was worried we were going to be the digital equivalent of the Buffalo Bills there for a second! <Wipes sweat from my brow>
All kidding aside, I can’t express how grateful I am to receive, on behalf of all of us at Digital Echidna, the recognition as this year’s large business of the year from the London Chamber of Commerce.
First, I want to recognize finalist AM Group of Companies. Ourselves a four-time finalist for a business of the year award, I know first-hand the level of integrity and quality of effort that it takes to reach this level. I know it can be cheesy to say there are no losers, but it really is true. Just to be recognized at this level means we’re both doing something spectacular and it was an honour to be considered alongside you.
This prestigious award is presented annually at the Business Achievement Awards Gala, organized by the London Chamber of Commerce. It is the largest business awards gala of its kind in Canada, with more than 1,200 people in attendance. The Business of the Year Award recognizes one large company for outstanding performance in business achievement, innovation in services, employee training and development, contribution to employment base in London, and commitment to the community.
On a personal note, I think this award means so much to me, because it comes from our home.
We’ve mentioned this a few times over the years, but Digital Echidna really started in the most stereotypical way possible -- in a basement as a one-man (and cat) operation. Over the years, we’ve grown and moved throughout Old South and Downtown London.
I went to university in Waterloo and, to this day, I still have people say, “Why aren’t you in Toronto?” or any other of the traditional tech cities that are out there. But since day one, I’ve been focused on making this work in my own backyard.
I went to high school at South. I grew up in Old South and I’m now raising my family within a stone’s throw of my childhood home. Many of my family members live within walking distance and we’ve been active -- but traditionally quiet -- supporters of local organizations, charities, and causes.
Years ago, I committed to the downtown core and being part of its revitalization. With a growing company, it hasn’t always been easy to find the right place downtown to meet our needs, but the easiest path isn’t always the best. We want to be an active part of the solution to downtown revitalization and we couldn’t do that by moving away. We want our staff to feel a part of the community in which they live, so we work diligently to give them opportunities to be part of events and organizations that make a difference. And, knowing how valuable our post-secondary institutions have been to us, we continue to support and innovate with them to find new ways to give graduates the skills they need to succeed.
We’re proud of who we are and what we do in this community. London has been, ultimately, extremely rewarding for us. We have a great foundation for technological innovation here and London is poised to be recognized as a technological hub. We want to be a cornerstone of that development. It’s not about putting London on the map -- we’re already there. It’s about making sure that London is a permanent and recognized part of that map and we’re proud to be part of that conversation.
I want to take this moment to thank everyone who has ever worked at Digital Echidna. A company is only as good as its people -- and I can honestly say I feel I have the best group anywhere.
I want to thank my wife Roxanne and my four children for their support. Building a business isn’t easy. It can mean days away and long nights. But they’ve been unwavering in their support and this company wouldn’t be a success without them.
And I want to thank the London business community, including the Chamber of Commerce, who honoured us last night. Whether it’s been advice or support, advocacy or partnership, this community has an incredible collection of business leaders who are working -- often behind the scenes -- to affect real change. Over the years, groups like LEDC, Downtown London, TechAlliance, and the Chamber of Commerce itself have been integral to our growth and development, and I can’t adequately express how important that has been.
Finally, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been a part of this Digital Echidna journey. From our early clients who trusted an unknown developer just getting his feet wet, to multinational companies who have allowed us to stretch new muscles as we’ve grown and expanded, we honestly wouldn’t be where we are without you.