Geoffrey Smith of EllisDon Corporation named 2013 Ontario EY Entrepreneur Of The Year

EY celebrates 20 years of inspirational entrepreneurs — and their supporters

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(Toronto, 25 October 2013) EY celebrated 20 years of honouring great entrepreneurs by presenting Geoffrey Smith of EllisDon Corporation — an employee-owned company that delivers construction expertise to clients throughout the world — with the 2013 Ontario EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award.

Geoffrey didn't just join the family business in 1997 — he committed himself to growing the company into the 21st century by building on its historic past. EllisDon quickly evolved from small Canadian contractor to global construction services provider under Geoffrey’s leadership. He saw the opportunity to become more of a value-add business and the potential to assume more of their clients’ risk.

“Leading entrepreneurs see the future before it takes place,” says Colleen McMorrow, National and Ontario EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program director. “Geoffrey saw a new path for EllisDon and set the company on track to success. That’s the power of an entrepreneurial mindset.”

Thinking ahead of the curve is a quality Geoffrey encourages throughout EllisDon. And it’s paying off. Today EllisDon is moving into new markets and new sectors across Canada and around the world.

“Inspiring others to embrace entrepreneurship is exactly what we need in Canada,” says McMorrow.

EY’s G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013 reveals that while Canada scores very highly on its entrepreneurship culture, relatively low levels of self-employment suggest there’s room for larger numbers of people to be encouraged to capitalize on the country’s supportive environment.

“We’re proud to shine the spotlight on inspirational entrepreneurs like Geoffrey,” says McMorrow. “Sharing stories like theirs is just one way we can work together to encourage more people to chase their dreams. We’ve done it for over 20 years and we’re far from done.” 

Entrepreneur Of The Yearcelebrates the contribution and spirit of entrepreneurs everywhere. The Canadian program is in its 20th year of honouring the country’s most impressive entrepreneurs from all areas of business. Award finalists are chosen based on their vision, leadership, financial success and social responsibility.

The gala also celebrated His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, with the 20th anniversary EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Supporter of Entrepreneurship Award for his unwavering commitment to and support of entrepreneurship in Ontario.

Category winners of the 2013 Ontario EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards:

Business Services

Bill Shaver
DMC Mining Services | Richmond Hill
dmcmining.com
Provides mining services such as pre-feasibility studies, technical engineering services, raise boring and excavation, civil and mine construction, lateral development, shaft sinking and contract mining.

Business-to-consumer products and services

Christopher Szybbo
CBI Health Group | Toronto
cbi.ca
A health care services and management company, operates clinics and facilities for patients and communities in Canada.

Cleantech and manufacturing

John Kimmel
Normerica Inc. | Mississauga
normericainc.com
Manufactures all-natural dog biscuits, treats and wet dog food.

Emerging entrepreneur

Robert Offley
CentriLogic Inc. | Mississauga
centrilogic.com
Provides international hybrid hosting, cloud computing, co-location and data centre solutions, with headquarters in Canada and data centre facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

Food and beverage

Paul Mastronardi
Mastronardi/SUNSET Brand | Kingsville
sunsetgrown.com
A greenhouse operation that encompasses product research, growing, marketing and distribution of gourmet hydroponic produce while maintaining environmental priorities and exceeding industry food safety standards.

Media and entertainment

Alex Mustakas
Drayton Entertainment | Cambridge
draytonentertainment.com
An award-winning circuit of seven live theatres operating in six communities across Ontario: Cambridge, Drayton, Grand Bend, Penetanguishene, Waterloo and St. Jacobs.

Real estate/construction

Geoffrey Smith
EllisDon Corporation | Mississauga
ellisdon.com
A general contractor specializing in construction and project management as well as a variety of construction services such as BIM, ICT and sustainable building.

Software and technology

John Baker
Desire2Learn Inc. | Kitchener
desire2learn.com
A global leader in cloud-based (SaaS) learning solutions with over 750 clients and 10 million learners in higher education, K-12, health care, government and the corporate sector.

Young entrepreneur

Matt Rendall
Clearpath Robotics | Kitchener
clearpathrobotics.com
A global provider for unmanned vehicle systems serving over 25 countries worldwide.

Special citation — Social entrepreneur

Social entrepreneur is a unique category that awards a special citation to an entrepreneur whose achievements have driven large-scale social change and improved people’s lives or quality of life.

Scott Gilmore
Building Markets | Ottawa
buildingmarkets.org
Connects local entrepreneurs in developing economies like Afghanistan, Liberia and Myanmar to global contracts and credit.   

What’s next?
As the Ontario region’s 2013 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year, Geoffrey Smith will compete with top entrepreneurs from the Pacific, Prairies and Atlantic regions for the national honour of Canada’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013, to be presented at a gala celebration on 27 November 2013 in Toronto. Quebec will also join the running after the regional winner is announced at their gala on 30 October 2013. In June 2014, Canada’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 will move to the world stage to compete with more than 50 other country recipients for the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.

About Entrepreneur Of The Year
Entrepreneurs turn us on. To new ideas, new ways of thinking and new possibilities. We’ve shone the spotlight on entrepreneurs for 20 years — and we’ve only just begun. Nominees are reviewed by an independent judging panel composed of several distinguished business leaders and previous award recipients. The 2013 Ontario judging panel consisted of John Albright, Founder and Managing Partner, Relay Ventures; Claude Haw, Managing Partner, Venture Coaches; Tim Jackson, Vice President, University Relations, University of Waterloo; Don Morrison, Senior Managing Director and Country Head, OMERS Private Equity; Nicole Musicco, Vice President, Funds & Co-Investments, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan; David Shaw, Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario award winner, professional services, 2010, and Founder and CEO, Knightsbridge Human Capital Management; and Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District.

For more information on the program, FAQs and key dates, please visit ey.com/ca/EOY.

For more information about our National Entrepreneur Of The Year awards gala on 27 November 2013, please contact Julie Olden at 416 943 2062 or Julie.Olden@ca.ey.com.

Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada: #EOY20, #EOYOntario.

This year's national program sponsors are National Post, La Presse, RDI, Merrill DataSite and Pandora Jewellery. In Ontario, Entrepreneur Of The Year is sponsored by RBC Royal Bank and OT Communications. The Ontario gala patrons are Bell, Medisys Corporate Health and The Printing House Limited.

About EY’s Strategic Growth Markets practice
EY's Strategic Growth Markets practice guides Canadian entrepreneurs by delivering integrated services tailored to their goals and needs at every stage of the business lifecycle. We are the world's leader in advising, guiding and recognizing the entrepreneurs who propel the economy – and community – forward.

For more information, please visit ey.com/ca/Entrepreneurs.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

For more information, please visit ey.com/ca.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.