Saturday nights Chamber of Commerce awards show was a bona fide love in for the Port of Prince Rupert and its various partners.
With the Fairview Container Port the symbol of a new era for transportation on the North coast and for the Pacific Gateway, it was no surprise that the past year's events on the Prince Rupert waterfront dominated much of the night's discussion and celebrations.
The Daily News reviewed some of the highlights of the celebration of the year of the Port.
Port partners thrilled with chamber accolade
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Prince Rupert turned the corner in the business world during the past year, and while many people were responsible for the growing prosperity of the community, one group shone brilliantly in the starry sky.
The Prince Rupert Port Authority, along with its Fairview Container Terminal partners CN Rail and Maher Terminals of Canada, were awarded Business of the Year at Saturday's Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. After being announced winners of the category, ahead of nominees the Crest Hotel and Northern Savings Credit Union, representatives from the three Fairview partners addressed the audience.
"I'd like to thank the Chamber for recognizing this as a partnership. This dream would not have occurred without that partnership," said Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority.
"Without CN, we wouldn't have the corridor, and without the commitment from Maher very early in the game this facility would not have occurred."
Representing Maher Terminals Canada was Mark Schepp, assistant vice president of terminal operations, who has been heading things locally for the company since moving to Prince Rupert from his home in New York back in the middle of 2007. As excited as Schepp is about an upcoming visit from his wife, he was clearly elated at the level Maher has been embraced by the business community.
"What an honour, and on behalf of Maher we're very happy to be a part of the community here," said Schepp. "As Don mentioned our partners, I'd like to mention that an important part of what's happened here is the local labour. We don't do anything at our facility unless the men and women who walk through those gates do the work, and that's a part of this community I'd like to acknowledge."
Last on the mic was Chris Daniele, mechanical supervisor with CN Rail and the company's representative in Prince Rupert.
"I was born and raised in Prince Rupert, and I'm very proud to be a part of a project that's helping not only the economy in Rupert, but the community itself," he said. "I just want to thank everyone for their hard work in contributing to this project, and on behalf of CN, thank you."
Praise and applause for the port didn't end there, as the Prince Rupert Port Authority was also crowned Newsmaker of the Year for putting Prince Rupert in the media spotlight worldwide.
"It wasn't that long ago that we had to go through a lot of effort just to let people know where Prince Rupert was, or that the Port of Prince Rupert existed" said Krusel after taking the stage to a standing ovation.
"I still remember being in a boardroom at a shipping line in another part of the world, and we were trying to sell Prince Rupert as a future container port. And we quite literally had to get a map off the shelf to show them where it was. It's a David and Goliath story that we're able to tell, making it inviting for media all over the world to tell the story, and it's exciting to be a part of it."