P.W. Enns Business Award winners honoured

Access Credit Union Executive Vice-President Myrna Wiebe presents Ralph Fehr of Elias Woodwork & Manufacturing with the Business Excellence Award at the P.W. Enns Business Awards Gala. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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The P.W. Enns Business Awards Gala honoured four businesses and one not-for-profit, April 4. The ceremony, which included a dinner, award presentations and special guest Terry O’Reilly, is held annually to honour the best and brightest in the business community.
This year awards were presented to Elias Woodwork & Manufacturing, Triple E Canada, Winkler & District Health Care Board, Rise Athletics and Wellness and SolutionsIT.

SolutionsIT – Customer Service
SolutionsIT , an information technology services provider was honoured with the Customer Service award.
President and CEO Dennis Kehler said he started the business in 1987 and said everything they do falls under the category of customer service and winning the award is important to them. “The customer service award tells us we’re on the right track,” he said. “We’re doing something right.”
Kehler said keeping customer service at the forefront is no accident. “There is no secret. There is no magic,” he said. “It’s hard work, it’s putting the right team together, it’s building a culture…
It’s also about communication. “We cannot provide customer service without the trust of our customers,” he said. “We have to be able to communicate with customers in a way they understand.”
The company continues to aim high. “One of our biggest challenges is living up to our mantra, be enterprise ready, be mom and pop friendly,” he said.

Dennis Kehler – SolutionsIT – Customer Service Award. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

SolutionsIT: Wes Ens, Dennis Kehler, Dave Giesbrecht, Curt Dueck. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Winkler & District Health Care Board – Not-For-Profit
The Winkler & District Health Care Board won the Not-For-Profit Award. With a goal of responding to community health needs of Winkler and area at the C.W. Wiebe Medical Centre, the board aspires to build greater community capacity in support of primary health care delivery.
Chair Marvin Plett thanked past chairs for the work they’ve done, and recognized partners such as the RMs of Stanley, Roland and Rhineland, the City of Winkler, Physician group, Eden Health Care, Salem Home and the Winkler Chamber of Commerce. “We all have a strong commitment to quality health care,” he said.
Since the health care board was formed Winkler has grown from about half a dozen physicians to 45, plus support positions in many different specialities.
He said they appreciate the physicians who have to come to serve in Winkler. “We are grateful they have chosen our community to practise in, to live in and participate in our sports, schools, churches and culture,” he said.
Plett said the current board is not the only part of their success. “I hope you can see that this award is for all the people who acted on their mission to provide excellent medical care for all of us right here in our community,” he said.

Winkler and District Health Care Board: June Letkeman, Kori da Costa, Marvin Plett. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Rise Athletics & Wellness – Business Builder
Winning the business builder award was Rise Athletics & Wellness.
Owner Kurtis Fox said they were honoured to be a part of the awards. “One of the things that jumped out to us immediately is what an honour it is to be named alongside long standing distinguished organizations in our community that have achieved so much,” he said.
He touched on the recipe of success, saying it starts with an idea but requires a supportive spouse, dedicated and skilled team, clients and mentors.
He credited his team for being integral to their success. “They define what Rise is,” he said. “They deliver what we call the un-gym experience with precision, day in and day out.”
“This achievement is the result of each of them, their unique personalities, gifts and skills and their desire to take massive action towards our collective vision of using fitness to impact people to become the best version of themselves.”
He also thanked the clients. “We’re so grateful for all of you who continue to trust us with your athletic and wellness goals,” he said. “Know that you drive us every single day to learn more, deliver more and be more. We are so honoured to be a part of your success story.”

Kurtis Fox, Rise Athletics and Wellness – Business Builder Award. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Rise Athletics and Wellness: Steven Wieler, Cari Kehler, Nich Lovatt, Kurtis Fox, Mallory Fox, Vanessa Penner, Evan Kehler. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Triple E Canada –
Community Builder
The Community Builder Award was accepted by Triple E Canada.
Ryan Elias represents the fourth generation of the company. “We’re honoured to be nominated and selected for the Community Builder Award,” he said. “P.W. was my great grandfather and how proud he would be today.”
Driven by a commitment to growing the community, Elias said their vision is to be a premiere company. “We’re honoured to continue the legacy that our great grandfather P.W., our grandfather Peter Elias, and our great uncle Phil Enns started in 1965 and continued with our father Terry,” he said.
Elias said they’ve always believed that a community should have more than just employment, but should also have housing, recreational facilities, good healthcare and active organizations. Supporting this for their employees is important and is a part of their identity. “Without a commitment to community, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” he said.

Ryan Elias, Triple E Canada – Community Builder Award. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Triple E Canada: Mike Elias, Ryan Elias, James Elias. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Elias Woodwork & Manufacturing – Business Excellence
Furniture maker, Elias Woodwork was given the Business Excellence Award. CEO Ralph Fehr spoke about his company, and the local atmosphere for companies. “I always think it’s amazing how people of such predominantly conservative values love and are so good at taking risks,” he said.
Fehr said that’s part of the recipe of success and said his greatest fear is when that risk is no longer there. “My greatest fear is retirement, that there’s no risk to get the heart pumping with excitement when I get up, nothing to justify the blood pressure medication,” he said.
Fehr said his father was addicted to risk, adding his mother lived on pins and needles because of it, ready to pounce with her 20/20 hindsight when things didn’t go as planned.
He’s excited to see the next generation willing to do the same.
In fact Fehr shared that employee Jeremy Funk was just honoured for being among the top 40 under 40 in his industry, and that Elias Woodwork was named the fastest growing furniture company in North America.
Attracting and retaining employees isn’t always easy. “John and I didn’t choose an industry that’s known for its high returns on investment and maybe we can’t always compete with the wage levels brought to this town by businesses servicing the oil patch,” he said. “It made us think hard about that it is that retains an employee.”
Running a successful business and retaining employees is about more than making money.
He quoted Warren Buffet speaking about success. “If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster,” he said.
Fehr said his grandfather once told him that just about every business will be successful if it’s run as outlined in the book of Proverbs. He also said he was taught not to do anything out of habit, including using his turn signal if there was nobody to signal too. “Business excellence is a lofty goal to be sure,” he said. “It seems to me there’s a lot of people in this town who aspire to business excellence, at least if the huge number of people not using their turn signals is taken into account.”

Elias Woodwork & Manufacturing: Julie Meyers, Ralph Fehr. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)