Surrey Business Excellence Awards

Surrey Business Excellence Awards

This Surrey Board of Trade awards program celebrates Business in Surrey – a great place to live, learn and work! The businesses featured each year – the nominees and finalists – have reached a special point of business success. The Surrey Board of Trade for the past 20 years have celebrated Surrey businesses in this way. During the awards program that takes place in November, attendees learn what the Surrey Board of Trade represents to their business members which is; economic opportunity, workplace development and education, international trade, government advocacy and business connections. The 2018 event will take place on November 6, 2018.

Surrey is the fastest growing city in Canada and a powerful economic engine in the Lower Mainland. With the largest industrial land base in the region, businesses from near and far are looking at Surrey as their choice to do business in. Surrey has the advantage of being centrally located in the fast-developing Fraser Valley between the commercial hub of Vancouver and the US Border.

Surrey has five major highways as well as deep sea docking facilities and proximity to two international airports – Abbotsford and Vancouver.

Surrey is exciting now! Surrey has an exciting future! And you are ALL a part of it!

Surrey also stands at a critical juncture where the right decisions and investments have and will create economic opportunities for a generation and beyond. The Surrey Board of Trade stands behind the decisions to create a vibrant downtown Surrey and to develop all town centres in Surrey. Why? This harnesses the ability to bring in international businesses as well as local and national investment opportunities for Surrey. The government advocacy, that the Surrey Board of Trade engages in has realized many successes and delivered great media profile locally and nationally. Please check out the work that they do behind the scenes to drive Surrey’s economy at their website –

The event focuses on the strength and innovation within every entrepreneur to take an idea and use it as the foundation for building a business. The video presentations, shown in the evening, are inspirational – from the very small business to the large business to the not for profit service organization to the very innovative student entrepreneurs.

They are all trendsetters. They have made their dreams a reality and inspire others to make their dreams come true.

Event Information and Registration


The objective of the awards is to help local businesses and organizations improve their performance while providing an introduction to business assessment and business excellence models.

Anyone can nominate a business or individual for a Surrey Business Excellence Award and self-nominations are accepted. A Surrey Board of Trade membership is not required, although the business must have a Surrey business license.


  • Categories 1 – 3: Number of employees is based on equivalent full-time employees
  • Categories 1 – 5: Businesses must have been in business for more than 3 years
  • Category 6: Business must have been in operation for a minimum of 6 months and no longer than 3 years.
  • Category 7: Nominees must be 30 years or younger, and own a Surrey-based business.
  • The business premises must be located within Surrey and have a current Surrey business license
  • Previous winners in a particular category are ineligible for 3 years following the year in which they won
  • Completed nomination packages shall not exceed 10 pages including all attachments, not stapled. Use font size 11.
  • Nomination applications must be completed in full to be accepted by the judging panel, including letter of financial health and copy of business license.

The information provided in response to the following questions provides the basis on which finalists are determined. Please respond to the questions as clearly and completely as possible in order to give the judging panel the best information on which to base their initial decisions. The SBOT reserves the right to change categories.

For assistance in completing a nomination form, or any questions about a nomination, please contact Rhona Doria, Events and Sponsorship Assistant at 604.634.0344 or

The Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey Business Excellence Awards are accessible to all businesses in Surrey. The awards help local organizations improve their performance, while providing an introduction to business assessment and business excellence models.


  • Business Excellence Award (1-10 employees)
  • Business Excellence Award (11-40 employees)
  • Business Excellence Award (41+ employees)
  • Not-For-Profit / Association Award
  • Business Person of the Year (any leadership role)
  • New Business of the Year (Surrey business operating less than 3 years)
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year

A Corporate Social Responsibility Award will also be presented, and selected from the Finalists from Categories 1-4 and Categories 6-7.

Recognizing how important social responsibility is to their customers, many companies now focus on and practice a few broad categories of CSR:

1. Environmental efforts: One primary focus of corporate social responsibility is the environment. Businesses regardless of size have a large carbon footprint. Any steps they can take to reduce those footprints are considered both good for the company and society as a whole.

2. Philanthropy: Businesses can also practice social responsibility by donating money, products or services to social causes. Larger companies tend to have a lot of resources that can benefit charities and local community programs.

3. Ethical labor practices: By treating employees fairly and ethically, companies can also demonstrate their corporate social responsibility. This is especially true of businesses that operate in international locations with labor laws that differ from those in the United States.

4. Volunteering: Attending volunteer events says a lot about a company’s sincerity. By doing good deeds without expecting anything in return, companies are able to express their concern for specific issues and support for certain organizations.


Please submit your nomination to:

Rhona Doria
101-14439 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC V3R 1M1
T: 604.634.03444
F: 604.588.7549

2017 Winners

Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Raveena Oberoi, Just Cakes Bakeshop Ltd.
1-10 Employees Award: Sew Kool Embroidery and Screen-Printing
11-40 Employees Award: Safetech Scaffold Ltd.
41+ Employees Award: GroupHEALTH Benefit Solutions
New Business of the Year Award: Forte Law – Employment Law Solutions
Not-for-Profit of the Year Award: Pacific Community Resources Society
Business Person of the Year Award: Sara Hodson
Corporate Social Responsibility Recognition Award: Safe Software Inc.

Business Excellence Awards Finalists 2017 Video

2017 Finalists

Business Person of the Year:

Gary Gill, Fraserview Cedar Products

Gary Gill, and his family immigrated to Vancouver in 1983 from Pholriwal, Punjab, India with a very limited knowledge of English. After quickly learning English in school, Gary became their family “spokesperson” accompanying family members to doctor appointments, to the bank, and all other external contacts in order to facilitate and translate. Gary was first introduced to the lumber industry when a family member was struggling to procure supply for his fence company and asked him for assistance. Before long, Gary was completely involved, liaising with lumber mills to secure cedar supply. In 1994, Gary and his brothers founded Fraserview Cedar Products (FCP). Today, Fraserview Cedar Products is a leading producer of superior Western Red Cedar lumber products, offering customers competitive pricing and on-time delivery while maintaining elevated ethical business practices of honesty and integrity in a harmonious working environment.

Sara Hodson, LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic

Sara Hodson is the Founder and President of LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic in South Surrey, delivering clinically supervised exercise and education to prevent and treat chronic disease. Sara lives to maximize her clients’ health, in spite of their health issues, and has fun while doing it. LIVE WELL’s 3 pioneering clinics (two in Surrey) specialize in helping sedentary people with health conditions such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, and overhaul their lifestyle by offering medically-designed customized fitness programs, nutritional counselling, goal-setting, and habit formatting. She and her staff work in the emerging field of ‘Exercise is Medicine’, to help people live healthier, more active lives while reducing the burden of chronic disease on the health care system.

Charan Sethi, Tien Sher Group of Companie

Born in Jalandhar, Punjab, India, Charan Sethi moved to England when his father found work and began to train as a machinist.  As Britain’s economy began to decline, Charan made the decision to move to Canada with his family. He felt though, that as a machinist, his options were limited and began to look at a career in real estate.  Putting aside a year’s worth of living expenses, he obtained his real estate license in 1985 and went to work under the RE/MAX banner. After a successful twenty-year career as a realtor, Charan began to transition into development: assembling land, rezoning, developing, selling, and providing after-sales service for developers.  As the President of the Tien Sher Group of Companies, Charan is a leader in the Surrey business community, as well as a mentor to his team.

1-10 Employees Category:

BCB Natural Products and Services Ltd.

Dr. Iman Tabari has performed extensive research on medicinal honey and in his experience, he found Canada to be one of the best places to produce it. Founded in 2003, Dr. Tabari established BCB Natural Products and Services Limited and started his research working with 50 beehives. With the bee population of North America in steady decline, it has become Dr. Tabari’s life mission to revive the bee population of British Columbia. He now runs thousands of hives throughout the Lower Mainland and Peace River, with his bees pollinating on a wide variety of crops including blueberry, cranberry, raspberry, and others. In addition to pollination services, BCB also sells locally produced honey at the BCB farm in South Surrey and at local farmers’ markets.

Sew Kool Embroidery & Screen-Printing

Sew Kool Embroidery and Screen-Printing was founded in 2005. Sew Kool supplies and customizes apparel to meet customers’ needs. A large portion of their business is in customizing for local sporting goods shops, as well as creating corporate apparel and uniforms for local businesses. Their operation has diversified over the years to offer many techniques and equipment to serve their customers including embroidery, twill applique, wide-format printing, heat press, numbering, graphic arts, sublimation, and screen-printing. In just over 10 years, Sew Kool has grown from a home-based business to a busy operation with 10 employees.

Sigma Safety Corporation

Sigma Safety was formed in early 2013.  Sigma was originally known as the Public Safety Division of RadioWorks Communications Inc. in Victoria, BC. In late 2012, RadioWorks’ Public Safety Division was separated as a new company and purchased by its staff, rebranded, and expanded. Their staff has had over 13 years of full-time involvement with the public safety industry, enabling Sigma Safety to provide innovative vehicle and personal safety equipment. These items include warning lights and sirens, body armour, and related items. They also have full installation facilities for vehicle equipment add-ons, providing equipment and services to the RCMP, municipal law enforcement, fire services, search & rescue, utilities, and others.

11-40 Employees Category:

LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic Inc.

LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic is a medical fitness clinic specializing in supervised exercise and healthy lifestyle coaching for people who have chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. LIVE WELL’s five current locations focus on helping sedentary people improve their lifestyle by offering medically-designed, customized fitness programs, nutritional counselling, goal-setting, and healthy habit formation, in a supportive and supervised environment. Starting with functional and cardio-respiratory assessments, they establish a member’s level of fitness, then design a customized program geared to their individual health needs. During workouts, LIVE WELL staff monitor vitals: blood pressure, heart rate, and blood glucose, to ensure members exercise safely. They measure and track heart rate, blood pressure, A1C levels, BMI on a daily and quarterly basis and report back to members’ physicians with results. The goal is to help people live healthier, more active lives while reducing the burden of chronic disease on the healthcare system

Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd.

Reborn from the limitations of a regional manufacturing company founded in 1925, Reliance has become a successful marketing and distribution business that supplies decorative bollards, commercial bike racks, industrial cartwheels, and custom castings to customers across North America. Though the company began as a manufacturer, Reliance Foundry now uses global supply mechanisms to design, source and locate the most innovative and cost-effective manufactured components for its customers. Reliance Foundry employs a growing and diversely talented staff to steadily increase its capacity to serve new market demands. Sales are driven by inbound marketing efforts, leading to steady increases in sales and profit for the past nine years.

Safetech Scaffold Ltd

Founded during the peak of the “leaky condo” crisis, Safetech has become a popular scaffold supplier in the Lower Mainland. They have built a reputation for being one of the scaffolding companies of choice for high visibility projects where innovation, commitment to safety, and excellence in customer service are key to success. Safetech serves Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, and Southern BC. They carry a large inventory of scaffold equipment, providing scaffolding for all residential, commercial and industrial construction applications. Safetech has developed a proficiency in engineering and design, project planning, and providing custom access scaffold solutions.  With their associated CWB certified fabrication shop and in-house engineering staff, custom scaffold solutions are another way Safetech is leading in the industry.

41+ Employees Category:

Back in Motion Rehab Inc.

Back in Motion initially opened it’s doors in 1993, and was comprised of five owners who worked together to deliver one program in a single location. Today, the company has grown to over 230 regular staff in 20 locations from Whistler to Abbotsford, serving over 13,000 clients annually. Their workforce is highly diverse, with over 40 different nationalities represented, and 37 languages. Back in Motion is dedicated to assisting people overcome barriers and reach their full employment and health potential. Back in Motion is dedicated to ‘Helping People Work. Helping People Live.’ The company has received recognition as an excellent workplace, most recently being named as one of Canada’s Best Small and Medium Employers in Canada (2016), and winning the Safe Harbour Champion Award (2016).

GroupHEALTH Benefit Solutions

GroupHEALTH was founded in 1982. The business is privately owned and is comprised of 4 operating entities, including GroupHEALTH Benefit Solutions, with 177 employees at their corporate headquarters in South Surrey. GroupHEALTH offers employee benefits and related services to over 4,000 organizations across Canada, including over 40 in Surrey. Their client-centric culture, first-of-their-kind products, services, and cutting-edge technology have helped drive growth of over 250% in the last 5years. GroupHEALTH’s unique solutions allow Canadian businesses to access an expansive marketplace of group insurance coverage and service options through a central sales, service and systems hub.

Safe Software Inc.

Safe Software is one of British Columbia’s largest software companies with more than 20,000 customers in over 100 countries. Utility companies, governments, engineering firms, and other organizations around the world, use its Feature Manipulation Engine (FME) software to integrate enterprise systems and automate data processing. Committed to product innovation, customer service, and organizational excellence, Safe Software is internationally recognized as the leading company in location data transformation and has a network of over 400 partners worldwide. Together with its partners, Safe Software hosts an annual series of user meetings to provide learning and networking opportunities for data professionals. In 2017, the FME World Tour featured events in over 75 cities worldwide. Every 3 years, Safe Software hosts an FME International User Conference, attracting hundreds of the world’s top data experts to Metro Vancouver. Safe Software’s FME Grant Program provides over 7,000 free licenses to educational institutions, researchers, and non-profit organizations every year.

Not-for-Profit/Association of the Year Category:

Pacific Community Resources Society

Pacific Community Resources is an accredited, not-for-profit society serving Lower Mainland communities since 1984. The agency provides alternate education, employment, addiction counselling and prevention services, housing support, and cultural enrichment for children, youth, adults and families. They partner with individuals, businesses, agencies and all levels of government to ensure access to effective, high-quality community resources for people who are often vulnerable or marginalized from society. Pacific Community Resources is committed to community-based research, advocacy, and community development to identify service gaps and strategies to address social problems such as poverty, child abuse, mental health, substance abuse, violence and homelessness.

Seniors Come Share Society

Seniors Come  Share Society (SCSS) provides services to older adults and their families in Surrey and White Rock, enabling them to stay engaged,            informed and independent within their own community. This service is made possible by their dedicated 181 volunteers who bring a wealth of skills among which the ability to speak different languages. By partnering older people, who are struggling to communicate with a volunteer that has similar life experiences and speaks the same language, SCSS decreases their clients’ stress and encourages positive human interaction. SCSS also employs 26 skilled employees.  Many of these employees have been with the organization for over 10 years and work in tandem with the volunteers. SCSS offers over 25 community programs resulting in over 85,000 connections with seniors and their families annually.

Surrey Hospital and Outpatient Centre Foundation

The Surrey Hospital and Outpatient Centre Foundation raises funds for the largest healthcare campus in the Fraser Valley, and B.C.’s newest teaching centre. The campus is anchored by Surrey Memorial Hospital and the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. The Foundation is the successor to the original Auxiliary, which raised 50% of the funds necessary to construct the first hospital in 1959. The campus provides many specialized programs enabling newborns, children, adults and seniors from across Fraser Health to receive specialized care closer to home, as well as providing comprehensive care for Surrey residents. Donors make a difference by helping the Foundation to support innovative equipment and projects that have a direct impact on patient care and help Fraser Health to attract the best doctors and healthcare professionals to work in Surrey. Surrey Hospital and Outpatient Centre Foundation has nine full-time employees, and approximately 250 volunteers.

New Business of the Year Category:

Focused Interiors

Focused Interiors creates a visual studio generating photorealistic images of properties in the real estate market. These images enable property buyers and property owners to see the potential of real estate regardless of its current state. Focused Interiors combines the old methods of real estate marketing with today’s state-of-the-art graphics and computer technology to present properties in fresh innovative ways. Up until now, realtors have not been able to take an existing space and reimagine it for potential buyers. Most sellers are not able to execute the transformations needed to market their home and realtors are left with few options to market and sell these undesirable properties. Focused Interiors addresses this issue by developing interior design solutions for these properties and presents these ideas using photorealistic images and interactive 360 panoramic tours – envisioning what’s possible.

Forte Law – Employment Law Solutions

The team at Forte Law helps employees and employers solve work-related legal problems, from hiring to firing and everything in between. Community integration is a founding principle. Forte Law brings highly specialized legal advice to local businesses and people living and working in Surrey. All of Forte Law’s lawyers and staff live locally and are happy to have left behind long commutes to Vancouver. Their team is actively involved in local sports, arts, charities, community, and business events. Their lawyers work with clients to solve their workplace legal issues so that they can move on with their lives and businesses. Forte Law drafts employment contracts, negotiates fair severance packages and helps both employees and businesses deal with issues of workplace harassment and managing disability in the workplace.  Forte Law is on track to have served 200 clients by their first anniversary on November 1, 2017.

Virtus Security Ltd

Virtus Security Ltd. is a Security Guard and Patrolling Services firm based in Surrey.  Virtus Security provides clients with tailored security solutions with industrial perimeter security as well as event security and crowd management. Its senior management team is composed of three students between the ages of 19 and 23, who established this business in record time while meeting their obligations at school and the community. The team at Virtus Security is excited to grow and build mutually beneficial partnerships with businesses and residents of Surrey and the lower mainland.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year Category:

Gunraj Gill, Virtus Security Ltd.

Gunraj Gill has been fascinated by the world of business and has been committed to public service from a young age. In his role as President and Chief Executive Officer of Virtus Security, he is directly responsible for cultivating the culture, developing the strategy and directing all business operations. In the 2015 Canadian General Election, Gunraj was the campaign manager for the successful election campaign to elect a member of parliament, where his primary role was crafting and implementing strategy. He also served as the Election Day Chair for the successful campaign to elect an MLA to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in the 2017 British Columbia General Election.

Raveena Oberoi, Just Cakes Bakeshop Ltd.

Raveena Oberoi has made cakes and pastries from her home kitchen since she was 16 years old. She continued making cakes while attending university, which helped pay for her tuition, rent, and other expenses. After graduation, from UBC, Raveena travelled to Paris, France where she learned from the very best in the industry how to create authentic French pastry deserts. Upon her return from France she began her inception of her new business. Just Cakes Bakeshop specializes in custom, scratch-made custom cakes for all occasions, as well as artisan French-inspired pastries. Raveena delves into the world of pastry, creating bold flavours and designs with her edible art.

Kathie-Lee Pugsley, Focused Interiors

Focused Interiors creates a visual studio, generating photorealistic images of properties in the real estate market. Within the first year of operation, Kathie-Lee’s company was recognized as an innovative entrepreneurial business. Kathie-Lee received the 2017 Youth Entrepreneurship Award through Coast Capital Savings and was acknowledged for being “highly innovative, resourceful and hav[ing] a strong entrepreneurial drive” while “showing excellence in the start-up phase of [her] entrepreneurial ventures”.  After graduating from university with a Bachelor Degree of Interior Design BID, Kathie-Lee was hired at a design firm in Vancouver. Within her first few months of working at the firm, she began to realize there could be new communication approaches for interior design. As a result, Kathie-Lee opened Focused Interiors and she has been gaining momentum in the real estate industry ever since.

Previous Winners

2016 Winners


1-10 Employees Award: Peninsula Strata Management Ltd.
Sponsored by the Port of Vancouver

Since 2012, Peninsula Strata Management has been a South Surrey based strata and property management company, priding itself on providing a customized style of strata & property management. They provide services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to strata corporations and properties within the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. Their team of local licensed senior strata agents collectively possess decades of experience providing management services to residential, commercial, retail and industrial strata corporations in BC. They deliver exceptional customer service, superior value, proven leadership and integrity.

11-40 Employees Award: Innovative Fitness
Sponsored by Mansonville Plastics Group of Companies

Innovative Fitness opened in Surrey in 2006 and has since established itself as one of the leading personal fitness training organizations in North America. Innovative Fitness is a professional fitness training company that facilitates lifestyle management by challenging customers in the physical sphere and supporting them through the adversity in their training. In doing so, Innovative Fitness helps clients experience parallel victories in other aspects of their lives such as stress management, sleep deprivation, confidence, and self-esteem. Their primary service offering is in personal fitness training. From customer only facility access to pre-booked one-on-one training sessions with their training coaches, they take the boredom out of going to the gym and ensure long-term physical and mental results.

41+ Employees Award: Bottom Line Ventures Ltd.
Sponsored by MNP

Founded in 1992 with 1 store in Surrey, Bottom Line Ventures is now a multi-unit Subway franchisee owner-operator, which currently owns 14 restaurants in the Lower Mainland. Along the way, Bottom Line Ventures Ltd. has owned and operated 30 restaurants. Their innovation is in implementing training programs leading them to fill 100% of management positions with existing employees. They have groomed many front line workers to eventually take over the operations of the location. Over 24 years, Bottom Line Ventures has served on several boards of Subway, including the Subway Advertising Board of BC, Subway Franchisee Advisory Board of North America, and the North America Strategic Planning Board. Bottom Line Ventures has been recognized with hundreds of awards for its service to the Subway brand, including the 2000 and 2004 Franchisee of the Year Awards, and the 2005 Subway President’s Award.

New Business of the Year Award: Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria – Guildford
Sponsored by: Century Group

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria defines what a pizzeria should be, serving authentic Neapolitan pizza in a warm and lively atmosphere. Famoso also serves artisan pastas, salads, and great appetizers. The Guilford location, which opened in 2015, operates a full service bar and serves up menu items that are not available at other locations. This autonomy has been granted to this location based on the proven track record of the co-owners. Their Neapolitan pizzas are made with the finest authentic ingredients – ’00’ flour and Campania tomatoes from Italy – and have a perfectly soft, moist centre with a thin, crisp, slightly charred crust. Cooked in a bell oven from Italy, their pizzas are prepared in the same way as pizza is made in Naples, Italy.

Not-for-Profit of the Year Award: Options Community Services
Sponsored by: Copytek Print Centre

Options Community Services has been committed to empowering individuals, supporting families and promoting community health for 47 years. They operate over 80 different services which include: Early Years Program, employment services, family and children’s intervention services, homeless services, housing and mental health supports, crisis line, services for immigrants, Stopping the Violence Programs, youth and school based services, and specialized counseling services. The name “Options” comes from their belief that for communities to be healthy, people need to have choices and opportunities to live their lives to its fullest potential. Options is accredited by the Council on Accreditation – a demonstration of their commitment to quality, client-centered services and their accountability to the community.

Business Person of the Year Award: Curtis Christopherson
Sponsored by Hamilton Duncan

In 2003, Curtis joined Innovative Fitness as a professional training coach. In no time, he owned the first Innovative Fitness franchise in South Surrey. Since the opening in 2006, Curtis quickly demonstrated his ability to lead a team of trainers. In 2010, Curtis was nominated as Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year as he took over the position of General Manager of Innovative Fitness. He worked alongside Matt Young and Jeff Sharpe, co-founders of Innovative Fitness, to oversee the entire business operations that included 3 corporate facilities and 4 franchises at the time. In 2012, Curtis Christopherson left his partnership at Innovative Fitness Corporate to advance his opportunities in the health & fitness industry. Although he still owns the most successful Innovative Fitness location (in South Surrey), he also founded and owns a Denver, Colorado company called RAD and has become a partner in a 24 year old business called Reflex Supplements in Surrey. Since his involvement with Reflex Supplements, the company has almost doubled in size and is now the most successful supplement retail chain in Western Canada.

Corporate Social Responsibility Recognition Award, sponsored by CN Bottom Line Ventures Ltd. 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 participation in community programs, partnerships with community organizations, volunteering, educational and/or environmental initiatives, and/or for creating a positive environment for employees.

Winners Previous to 2016

Past Finalist-Award Winners-rev2017